Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Voynov remains suspended by both the Kings and the NHL and there is no timetable for a final decision on his potential return to action. That’s a problem. But it’s not one the league seems in a hurry to address.
“Once he is released, his status as a suspended player will not change until we have had an adequate opportunity to review the matter and conclude our process,” (Bill) Daly wrote. “There is no precise or projected timeline for that.”
It’s hard to imagine at this point what the NHL is waiting on aside, perhaps, from the opportunity to meet with Voynov face-to-face. It’s been nearly a year since he was arrested in October and the league’s investigation into the incident has been “ongoing” throughout....
This is virgin territory for the league, and taking careful, considered steps is understandable. But nearly a year on, it’s time to set a standard.
Hopefully, it won’t be needed as a reference anytime soon.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Lucic caught in numbers game
Had Milan Lucic been traded to a team other than the Kings, the ex-Bruin could already have his next contract in place. The 27-year-old left wing, with full health, a primary role, and motivation on his side, is in line to have a good season. An extension now would cost less than a new deal next offseason. But LA’s first priority is re-upping Anze Kopitar, who will also be unrestricted on July 1. And that will be a complicated transaction. Had business proceeded normally, Kopitar would have signed an extension comparable to Jonathan Toews’s eight-year, $84 million blockbuster. Kopitar is LA’s version of Toews. But within the context of a slow-to-rise cap, Toews’s deal is inflationary. As much as they need Kopitar back, the Kings have to be conservative. Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli will be restricted after 2016-17. In that context, Lucic is a secondary priority for the Kings. He may even be a short-term acquisition in the Kings’ push to return to the playoffs.
Anaheim’s goaltending tandem of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson may not continue in 2015-16. The Ducks acquired Anton Khudobin from Carolina for James Wisniewski on June 27. The ex-Bruin could be Andersen’s backup, leaving Gibson to develop in the AHL. If so, it would break up the best mask duo in the league. Andersen will wear another logo-themed lid in 2015-16, this time with a Batman mask over a duck’s face. Gibson will have a mask based on Duck Hunt, the classic 8-bit Nintendo shooter game.
many more hockey topics...
from Curtis Zupke at NHL.com,
The Kings should be humbled and re-energized after they played 64 playoff games the previous three seasons. They added power forward Milan Lucic in the offseason, but they lost significant pieces from their two Cup-winning teams and their depth will be challenged.
Right wing Justin Williams signed with the Washington Capitals, and center Jarret Stoll signed with the New York Rangers as free agents. The Kings terminated the hefty contract of center Mike Richards.
Last season's uphill path started with the defensemen. Slava Voynov was suspended in October and Alec Martinez and Robyn Regehr missed significant time with injuries, as did midseason acquisition Andrej Sekera. That forced Doughty to lead the NHL in total ice time, and coach Darryl Sutter consistently said it was too much for the Norris Trophy finalist.
Regehr retired and Sekera signed with Edmonton, which left Los Angeles with little depth after the core of Doughty, Martinez, Jake Muzzin and Matt Greene. Voynov's situation remained unresolved as of mid-August.
The push for the playoffs ultimately forced Sutter to play Quick 72 games, tying his NHL career high; his total ice time was the second-most among goalies behind Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals.
Offensively, the Kings remain a top-heavy team, but the addition of Lucic, acquired from the Boston Bruins for goalie Martin Jones, defenseman prospect Colin Miller and the 13th pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, gives them two lines as good as any in the Western Conference.
I don’t expect the NHLPA and Kings are negotiating settlement. The NHLPA is unlikely to accept the termination of Richards contract in any form. For the NHLPA, it simply cannot allow this precedent to stand as it could adversely impact its members. By allowing the termination to go unchallenged, the floodgates risk opening with teams terminating problem contracts. ‘He’s fat, cut him. He’s slow, cut him.’ Ultimately, expect the NHLPA to see this case as far too important an event and precedent to go unopposed.
-Eric Macramalla at Forbes on the LA Kings/Mike Ricards situation. Much more at Forbes.
from Jonathan Quick at The Players' Tribune,
There are certain complexities to the game at the NHL level that can only be explained if you’ve seen them firsthand on the ice. That’s why I wanted to write this piece explaining what makes Elite Snipers so difficult to deal with for goaltenders....
Datsyuk is probably the most deceptive player in the NHL. He’s a magician in the way that he’s able to hide the puck on his stick. Part of that is his hardware. He uses a type of blade that is pretty unusual in the league. It’s a lot thicker from top to bottom, and somehow when you combine this with his quick release and the fact that he’s hardly ever looking at the net when he shoots, it’s extremely difficult to track the puck coming off his blade.
Like I said above, 90 percent of the save happens before the guy releases the puck. Most guys have a little tell. You look at where the puck is in relation to their feet, or the way they’re bending their knees to get ready to shoot, and you just know what’s going to happen before it happens. But the problem with Datsyuk is that he fools you with his intentions. He will be way out on the wall with his hands, feet, and eyes positioned for a cross-ice pass — and it’s the right decision. It’s what 99 percent of players will do in that situation. So you instantly start cheating your eyes over to where he’s going to pass. Next thing you know — what the hell? — the puck is behind you in the net. He shot it. Who shoots from there? Datsyuk shoots from there.
read on for more on Datsyuk and other players...
Milan Lucic met with the LA media today...
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
On whether he expected to be traded:
I didn’t really know what to expect. Obviously, with the change in the GM in Boston, obviously with the Bruins not making the playoffs, kind of talking about a transition of things moving forward. So, when you hear the rumors, especially now with social media, you know it’s kind of hard to get away from the rumors, you hear things floating around. I expected anything, I expected the unexpected and I mean, I definitely didn’t expect to get traded to a team like LA, but I couldn’t be happier to end up in a spot like this with a team like this, such a great organization with the success that they’ve had the last couple of years. I’m just hoping that I can come here and help the team out the best way I can, help them have some more success moving on in the future.
Below, watch Lucic talking with the media...
from Geneen Pipher of Hockey VIPs,
Former NHL star and Hockey Hall of Famer Vyacheslav Fetisov, who now serves in the Russian senate, said Voynov has to accept responsibility for his actions.
“I think he got off light,” the Detroit Red Wings legend told Russia’s TASS news agency. “[Voynov] laid hands on a woman and he has to answer for it. And it will be a lesson for everyone. I could never let myself hit a woman in my life and I never will.”
As for his future prospects, Fetisov said it is unclear how this incident will affect Voynov’s career but suggested other players should learn from his mistakes.
“It is difficult to tell if [the incident] influences his further career or not,” he said. “I can only assume Voynov will continue playing in the United States, but I don’t know his plans. He must draw the right conclusions and go through this serious test [first].
“He has been under the pressure of public attention and the media for a long time. For others, I’m sure, it will be a didactic moment.”
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Everyone knows Kings Coach Darryl Sutter loves to play youngsters. That is sarcasm — but Sutter might have no choice.
General Manager Dean Lombardi has noted that the Kings don't have a lot of cap space to make a big move, which is why they weren't able to keep "rental defenseman" Andrej Sekera, who went to the Edmonton Oilers for a six-year, $33-million deal, or veteran Justin Williams. The forward went to the Eastern Conference, joining the Washington Capitals for a two-year deal worth $6.5 million.
There are two problematic issues for the Kings, the first concerning center Mike Richards, whose contract has been terminated by the club. But the expectation is that the NHL Players' Assn. will appeal that move. Until the matter is resolved, the Kings won't know their options for sure. If worst came to worst, they could always put him in the minors indefinitely.
Equally problematic is the situation revolving around defenseman Slava Voynov. After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor in the wake of a domestic violence charge, Voynov has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, meaning there is a chance he could still be unavailable as the Kings prepare to start their regular season Oct. 7 against the San Jose Sharks.
Complicating matters, he is still recovering from surgery for a torn Achilles' tendon and the league still needs to conduct its investigation into the domestic violence incident.
So the uncertainty over the futures of Voynov and Richards will keep the Kings in limbo for the foreseeable future.
more on the Kings...
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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