Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Monitoring each NHL team’s proximity to the NHL’s $56.8 million salary cap has become a daily routine.
The Chicago Blackhawks are a great example of a team whose payroll indicates that moves are coming and good players could have to go.
The Blackhawks have 13 players under contract for 2010-2011 and a committed payroll of $43 million. Assuming the cap stays the same, that leaves roughly $15 million for Chicago to re-sign ten restricted free agents and two potential unrestricted free agents in John Madden and injured forward Adam Burish.
Star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, along with defenceman Duncan Keith are among the Hawks’ free agent class.
Early indications suggest Keith can expect $5 million or higher, while Toews and Kane may come in around $6.5 million each on an annual average. That’s $18 million for just three players.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“Hopefully what we did this summer, in training camp and over this season is going to be enough work and we’re going to beat them when it really counts,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “This game is a test for us. Every game is going to be one to look forward to when we’re playing the Wings. It’s one of those games we’re definitely going to pick up our game and speed for.”...
“It’s going to be a great test. I’m sure they’re going to be sour after how they came back from their trip,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We know how competitive our division is going to be and certainly they’re a team that always has been at the top. It’s a good measuring stick for ourselves knowing we’ll have to be at our best.”
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Now the Wings don’t look so scary without Marian Hossa, Jiri Hudler, Mikael Samuelsson, Tomas Kopecky or Ty Conklin. They all changed teams in the offseason. Hossa and Kopecky signed as free agents with the Hawks, though shoulder surgery has kept Hossa off the ice.
The two games with the Blues suggest the Wings have goaltending problems.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
Patrick Kane has been getting time on the penalty-killing unit. Yes, the most offensively magical Blackhawk is hopping over the boards on the most thankless unit.
Here’s what gives: This is Kane’s career at a crossroads.
I don’t care if it’s early in the professional life for the kid who’s still not old enough to drink (even if he’s old enough to allegedly beat up a senior cabbie). And I don’t care if Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is underplaying the move by saying it’s just a “way of getting him a little bit more ice time in the course of games.’’ This is a career-defining opportunity that Kane needs to master. Adult skate, kid.
At least, it has been that way with players Kane grew up watching, if not idolizing: Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman, Mike Modano and Joe Sakic. The greatest offensive forces took shifts on the most defensive unit.
via Len Ziehm of Inside the Blackhawks at the Chicago Sun-Times,
The Blackhawks might regret spending the last days of training camp and first two games of the regular season in Europe. It’s been a taxing trip on the players, what with the eight-hour time change between Chicago and Helsinki. It was a good project for team bonding and good for the NHL to expose its product beyond North America, but now the Hawks have to adjust their body clocks all over again for the return to the U.S. and still another road game in Detroit on Thursday. This little stretch of three games is the first good measure of the Hawks this season.
added 2:08pm, from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
Shut up about the Stanley Cup finals being within reach. Shut up about One Goal. Shut up about Cup or Bust.
Once again, the Blackhawks have to learn a hard lesson from the Detroit Red Wings. Drop the puke and play.
from Spector’s Hockey,
Pierre LeBrun reports agent Pat Brisson, who represents Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, has quietly begun contract talks with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman. Toews and Kane are slated to become restricted free agents next summer and would be tempting targets for offer sheets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out the Blackhawks have too many good players and not enough cap space. The ‘Hawks already have over $42 million committed to twelve players for next season, and Toews and Kane will be seek considerable raises after this season. A conservative estimate is it could cost the Blackhawks between $10-$12 million per season to retain those two. Something’s gotta give in Chicago after this season and it won’t be Kane and Toews.
more plus additional player talk…
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
There’s no doubt in my mind the Blackhawks will make a run at the Stanley Cup this season. They certainly should, given their surprisingly strong finish with a young, inexperienced team last season and the offseason additions of Marian Hossa, John Madden and Tomas Kopecky.
Hossa, Madden and Kopecky all played on teams that were big winners last season. They don’t just bring necessary experience; they also bring the mind-set necessary for the Hawks to take their next step forward…
Here are the five biggest potential pitfalls the Hawks must overcome if they are to make a run at their first Stanley Cup title since 1961:
Nikolai Khabibulin was pretty good in goal last season, but he was no world-beater in his four seasons with the Hawks overall. The Hawks should be successful without him.
Cristobal Huet? He just needs to play—virtually all the games, not just every other one.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
Less than two hours after the Blackhawks completed an eight-hour post-game flight from Chicago to this picturesque European capital, the team was on the ice, going through a spirited practice that featured a lively scrimmage and some drills.
“It was just getting the bus legs out a little bit, so to speak,” Hawks captain Jonathon Toews said.
Despite the rigors of flying overnight to Europe and arriving in Zurich in the late afternoon Saturday, the Blackhawks welcomed the opportunity to hit the ice for an hour—even if many of them were slipping on equipment that was still slightly damp from Friday night’s 4-3 win against Minnesota at the United Center.
“I definitely felt a little tired,” said Patrick Kane, who had two goals Friday night. “It was a good practice, though, to get the kinks out.”
Joel Quenneville talks to the media after the Blackhawks’ first practice in Zurich. Watch the video below…
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“It was getting really bad,” said Hossa, who played with the injury last season and scored 40 goals with the Red Wings. “The smartest idea was to do it at the time.
“When I lifted something light, I couldn’t ... raise my arms. It was that bad. Right now the rehab is going well, [and] I can’t wait to start working out with the heavier weights on the upper body. When I’m 100 percent, I’ll jump on the ice and not worry about anything.”
Hossa said the injury worsened during the Wings’ run to the Stanley Cup finals last season as he was limited to three assists in the seven-game series the Penguins won. That performance drew the ire of many Wings fans who didn’t realize Hossa was injured.
“That’s part of our business,” Hossa said. “We can’t talk about injuries during the playoffs. People can say whatever they want. They don’t see what’s happening inside.”
Lyle Richardson for Fox Sports says Chicago, Detroit and Columbus will battle for first in the division with Chicago taking the title.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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