Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Lewis of Sportsnet,
Here are four players who could enjoy productive seasons in their new environments.
Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings
Mike Green goes from quarterbacking one of the NHL’s deadliest power plays to…well, quarterbacking another one of the league’s deadliest power plays.
Green isn’t about to deliver another 30-goal season like he did with the potent 2008-09 Washington Capitals, but he’s likely to see his overall minutes climb back up over 20 per night under rookie head coach Jeff Blashill with the Detroit Red Wings.
Consider Marek Zidlicky’s performance while playing a leading role on the Red Wings’ man-advantage late last season. Now consider Zidlicky is practically a fossil compared to the younger Green, and whoa boy, we have a fit for the latter.
There’s a lot to like about Green with the Red Wings, including the very reasonable three-year, $18-million contract he signed this off-season.
Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins
For all the things Phil Kessel has done so well in his career that are quantifiable, it’s the potential impact the soft sciences could have as he moves from Toronto to Pittsburgh that have many thinking he could turn in a career year.
read on for more on Kessel plus Lucic and Semin...
from the HHOF,
Red Kelly was a unique player - versatile and talented enough to be one of the National Hockey League's best-ever defensemen early in his career and a high-scoring center at the end. The red-haired gentleman was cool and calculating on the ice and never swore, but there was no doubt about his ability to take care of himself. He had been a championship boxer at Toronto's St. Michael's College, skills the four-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy wouldn't often display during his 20-year NHL career.
Born in Simcoe, Ontario, in 1927, Kelly was 20 years old when the Detroit Red Wings brought him up to the big league directly from St. Michael's. A solid but mobile and skilled defenseman, he quickly found a home on the team playing with such superstars as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel. Kelly was an effective checker, at home on the blue line or on the left wing, where he was sometimes used due either to injuries or to add a little muscle on the offense.
Kelly earned enough All-Star votes in 1950 to win a spot on the NHL's Second Team and the chance to play in the All-Star Game. The Red Wings, well on their way to being the league's dominant team, won the Stanley Cup that year, as they would in three of the next five seasons. And Kelly was an integral part of Detroit's winning formula. His puck-carrying ability allowed the Wings to move from their own zone quickly and provided them with a quick transition game.
Watch the Legends of Hockey feature on Red Kelly below...
Summer is the time for me to look back at some of the greats from our game....
from the HHOF,
He was best known as 'The Big M.' Exploding down the left wing, Frank Mahovlich would strike fear in the souls of goalies, from the moment he made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1956-57 until the day he last untied his skates as a member of the WHA's Birmingham Bulls following the 1977-78 season.
By the time the 1972-73 season began, Frank had played on five Stanley Cup championships, had been named to the NHL's All-Star Team eight times and had already played 15 sterling seasons of professional hockey — 1 with Toronto, 3 with Detroit and a season-and-a-half with the Canadiens. Something else had also transpired — a victorious but unsettling tournament known as the Summit Series. Although Mahovlich played in six games, scoring a goal and an assist, he had been ill before traveling to the Soviet Union. "I developed a bad allergy that forced me to seek medical treatment," Frank admitted. "I stayed back in Canada for a couple of days before rejoining the team. This allergy hit me hard and both my eyes were swollen shut. It wasn't until two or three years later that I found out that the enemy was ragweed."
Legends of Hockey video on Mahovlich is below...
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
Pomp and pageantry was definitely not part of the NHL’s inaugural draft when six general managers sat around a hotel room in Montreal to divvy up 21 player prospects.
There were no calls to the podium. They weren’t greeted on stage by the league commissioner. Nobody slipped on a team jersey and cap while smiling uncontrollably as countless cameras and smart phones chronicled the moment of a lifetime.
Peter Mahovlich was part of the league’s first draft in 1963, though he didn’t know about it until the next day when a Red Wings scout called the house.
It was June 5, 1963 inside the Queen Elizabeth Hotel where the Red Wings, with the second overall pick, behind the Montreal Canadiens, selected a 16-year-old Mahovlich, who was finishing his sophomore year at St. Michael’s in Toronto.
“I was playing Junior B hockey at the time and we didn’t ever know there was going to be a draft,” said Mahovlich, now a pro scout for the Florida Panthers. “I found out the next that I was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings.
Jeff Blashill will be the coach of the Detroit Red Wings at 11:00am ET tomorrow.
A little bit of his mindset here plus if you close your eyes you may think you are listening to Mike Babcock.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Mike Babcock did nothing but win in Detroit. He won without high draft picks. He won without large free-agent signings. He won without all-star goaltending.
He won — or better put, the Red Wings won — partly because of elite talent such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg — and moreso because the organization under general manager Ken Holland understood and fostered player development in a way few franchises ever have.
The model is there for the Maple Leafs.
It is Holland’s model with Jimmy Devellano’s signature on it and a clear mandate from management and coaching: Every spot on a team is earned.
Every player is developed with a sense of patience and logic.
There is a clear and unwavering plan that never changes.
The kind of plan Brendan Shanahan keeps referencing without much explanation.
The model to follow is partly Detroit, partly Tampa Bay for Shanahan’s Maple Leafs. It is not coincidence that Steve Yzerman is running the Lightning. It is not coincidence that Jim Nill traded for Tyler Seguin in Dallas. It is not coincidence that Todd McLellan is the new coach of the Oilers and Jeff Blashill is likely the new coach in Detroit and Paul MacLean is a former coach of the year before he was let go in Ottawa.
All learned the Red Wing way. All became part of that family — and are still, in a way, part of that culture.
As an analyst, based on what we've seen/heard, the prevailing sentiment is Babcock will stay in DET. That appears to be conventional wisdom
But I have to tell you, based strictly on not much more than instincts, I could see Babcock ending up in BUF. Like I said, just a hunch.
If I had to bet big bucks of my own money, I'd probably wager DET. If I could lay down a loonie or twoonie with a big payoff, I'd pick BUF.
-Bob McKenzie via Twitter this morning.
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
I guess Detroit could be mentioned as well, although anyone who thinks Babcock will remain where he is would have a hard time explaining why.
I won't pretend to guess where he might land, but I will tell you what I'd say if he asked for my advice.
If his main aim was to sign the most lucrative contract possible, I'd tell him to interview in Toronto in the morning and Buffalo in the afternoon and see which of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Terry Pegula would be willing to make him almost as rich as they are.
If he liked the challenge of re-making a dynasty and coaching hockey's next great superstar and working with people he knew well, I'd tell him to go to Edmonton.
And if he wanted to find the quickest way to win another Stanley Cup, he'd be advised to wait and see what happens with Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis before doing anything else.
more plus the waived off goal against the Caps last night...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
If I had to put money on an early front-runner, I’d pick the Oilers given the exciting new direction of the team plus Connor McDavid's arrival in June. Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson has strong ties with Babcock from their Team Canada Olympic tournaments. New GM Peter Chiarelli intends to speak with Babcock soon.
The Sabres will make a push, too, with GM Tim Murray having ties to Babcock from hiring him to his first NHL head coaching job back in the Anaheim Ducks days.
And Sabres owner Terry Pegula won’t be shy to spend money.
There’s also Toronto, of course, but for me the Maple Leafs are only a serious player if they slap down crazy, crazy money. Their outlook isn’t as advanced as the Oilers or Sabres in terms of a rebuilding roster.
Could the Philadelphia Flyers or San Jose Sharks or another team make a call? No question, I would bet on it.
Detroit remains very much part of the mix, too. Babcock's desire to speak to other teams and what he ends up hearing from them may only re-affirm his realization of how good he has it with the Red Wings.
I had no intention of making the KK Hockey section 'The Babcock News' today so if you want everything that transpired today, check out The Malik Report where George did a great job on this topic.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Babcock faces the paradox of choice – more options, more anxiety. No matter which team he chooses, he will be turning down great opportunities elsewhere. If he leaves Detroit, he will be leaving an owner who has treated him well, a GM with whom he has worked well, a team with which he has won a Cup, a city his kids have called home. He will be saying somewhere else is better than a place he loves.
He needs to talk to his wife. He needs to talk to Holland. Maybe his wife tells him to stay. Maybe the Wings increase their offer and convince him the roster can contend for the Cup in the coming years. Maybe he needs to talk to other teams before he can evaluate, let alone decide. We can speculate, but he can’t explore his options legally until his contract expires July 1 – unless the Wings give him permission.
“I’m flattered,” Babcock said. “I really am. But my wife and I will go through a process, and Kenny and I will go through a process, and within 10 days we’ll have a plan. I’m not letting this go forever and ever. Kenny will decide what we do.”
Gonna be a long 10 days. At least.
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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