Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Not sure if it's because we've all become so used to them winning -- twice being Stanley Cup champions since 2010 -- but has a first-place team ever gone without less fanfare than the Chicago Blackhawks?
A 3-1 win over Nashville pushed their league-best record to 25-7-5, the reigning Cup champs laughing in the face of the so-called Cup hangover that beset other former champions over the past decade.
Rookie netminder Antti Raanta, 24, improved to 7-1-1 for the Hawks, and while he's been impressive, don't you think Santa himself could be in net and the Hawks would still keep on winning? Just saying.
The Western Conference is a beast, and the likes of L.A., Anaheim, San Jose, St. Louis and Vancouver, among others, will have a mighty say in whether the Hawks can become the first repeat champions since the 1997-98 Red Wings. As one Eastern Conference GM recently told me, "The road still goes through Chicago, no matter what anyone says." True that.
more notes from the hockey experts at ESPN...
from the Blackhawks,
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have acquired goaltender Jason LaBarbera from the Edmonton Oilers, in exchange for future considerations. LaBarbera will be assigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.
Missed how he was injured? Watch it here.
Looks like a groin strain to me...
Would the review room in Toronto overruled the call on the ice if this type of ruling would be reviewable?
And how about this call from the Colorado/Calgary game...
“I don’t know if I’m in the minority, but I’m hesitant; there’s no accountability for these random people making these predictions the cap is going to be $80 million. I might be wrong. I think there’s folly. There’s so many factors that go into the salary cap.
“Because there’s a new television deal, I’m not going to assume it’s going to be $80 million. I don’t operate that way. If you base your assumptions on predictions and you’re wrong, I can’t say, ‘They said it was going to be $80 million.’ I’m going to wait to see where it goes. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to go up. It’s think it’s a little bit irresponsible to say where it’s going to be unless you have intricate knowledge of the cap.”
-Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman on the future of the salary cap. Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago has more from Bowman on the cap in regards to siging Toews and Kane.
Craig Custance of ESPN answers some email...
Where do you suppose the Kane and Toews deals come in at next summer money wise? Stan Bowman has done a good job of getting guys to take a tad less money to stay in/on a good situation/city/roster in Chicago. Also, if Kane and Toews do want to break the bank, does that screw the up the whole plan?
Great question. I recently went to Chicago to chat with both of them and they talk about their next contract at length in the next ESPN The Magazine. Make sure to grab a copy when it hits newsstands. But it’s a fascinating negotiation.
One of things we talked about was whether or not they needed to have the exact same deal and they pointed out that we’ve seen teammates like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf all take different amounts of money to get long-term deals done. In the case of Kane and Toews, they’re both represented by Pat Brisson, which might make things easier in that regard. But those are the deals I’d look at when figuring out their potential value. You have to throw out Sid’s deal because it was done before the new CBA. But Perry, Getzlaf and Malkin are certainly fair comparables so we’re talking something in the annual range of $8.5 to $9.5 million. Malkin had KHL leverage, which Kane and Toews don’t, so I’m not sure Stan Bowman has to go as high as the Malkin deal. Also, I don’t know how you do anything less than eight years for these two considering their age (25). So let’s split the difference and say they get $9 million per season, for the sake of answering your final question. That’s an extra $2.7 million per season cap hit for each player, for a total of an additional $5.4 million compared to their current deals. A healthy raise but not debilitating to Chicago’s future cap.
It doesn’t screw up the long-term plan at all because most salary cap projections have it continuing to grow in the next couple years, especially considering the billion dollar Canadian television deal. I don’t think it’s a reach at all to think that the salary cap will be north of $70 million when the new deals kick in for Chicago. Even if the cap just gets to $70 million for the 2015-16 season (the first year of a new Kane/Toews contract), which I think is conservative, that’s a $5.7 million increase from the cap this season, covering the $5.4 million raise we’re giving those two annually. If you look at the cost certainty Bowman has already built into the equation with his other long-term deals, the Blackhawks should be able to keep the band together.
more Q and A (paid subscription)
Chicago is the new Detroit. As such, Bowman is the new Ken Holland, trying to hold together a nucleus in a cap world, where team success breeds big paydays for individual players. While other GMs are scouring the UFA market for top-six forwards and top-pairing defencemen, Bowman already has those. Instead, he is busy trading away roster players for draft picks, to assuage the cap issues that are inherent with winning Stanley Cups. You’ll notice that Bolland, Frolik, Stalberg and Emery left after last June’s Cup win with not a single player returning to Chicago. That’s four roster players out, and not a single player coming back.
-Mark Spector of Sportsnet. Read on to find out why he feels that way.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The Hawks lost winger Bryan Bickell in the first period with what appeared to be a left-leg injury, the result of him crashing into the Avs' net. "We'll see more (Wednesday). It might be more than day to day, but I'm not sure yet," Quenneville said.
more on the loss to Colorado...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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