Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Hammond of the Kings Blog at the OC Register,
Marian Gaborik is expected to miss tonight’s game, and perhaps a couple more, with a lower-body muscle injury. If that’s the case, the Kings are one more injury away from a serious roster pinch.
The Kings started the season last week with a 23-man roster, one that nearly took them to the NHL’s salary-cap ceiling of $69 million.
Since then, the Kings have had three players -- Gaborik, forward Trevor Lewis and defenseman Jake Muzzin -- sidelined with injuries. They now have 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies, and zero healthy ''spare'' players. What happens if another player gets hurt before one of the three injured guys returns?
In that case, the Kings will have a tough decision to make.
The salary cap is rigid for the first 33 days of the season, meaning teams have to stay under it no matter what. The only exception is for players on long-term injured reserve, whose salaries do not count under the cap.
STAMFORD, Conn. – October 9, 2014 – Last night’s NHL opening night doubleheader on NBCSN was the best on record, according to The Nielsen Company, generating record ratings and viewership, as well as digital consumption.
Wednesday Night Rivalry’s Philadelphia Flyers-Boston Bruins matchup (7:27-10:06 p.m. ET) delivered 956,000 viewers and a 0.57 household rating, making it the most-watched opening night game on cable on record (data available since 1993) and the highest-rated NHL regular-season game ever on NBCSN. The game also set live streaming records for uniques and minutes consumed.
Last night George posted a story from James Duthie of TSN did on LA Kings head coach Darryl Sutter.
Here is the video which goes with it. Good stuff.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In the NHL’s age of parity, when the salary cap was supposed to guarantee that teams at the top couldn’t stay at the top, the Kings and Blackhawks are defying expectations. They’ve won two championships apiece over the past five seasons, and they go into 2014-15 as the favourites to win again. The oddsmakers have Chicago opening as a 6-1 pick, L.A. is next at 15-2 and the third-ranked team is the only other one to win a recent championship – the Boston Bruins.
“It’s a tough time to win multiple championships in a row, but I still think it’s possible,” Blackhawks’ winger Patrick Kane said. “I still [think] there are teams out there that can do it, including us. We feel we were close to winning last year, and that would have been a couple in a row, three in five years. So yes, I think it can happen.”
Kane’s Blackhawks were juggling salary-cap questions right up until the moment training camps ended in order to get under the $69-million (U.S.) ceiling for the 2014-15 season. The Blackhawks made little noise this past summer other than signing Kane and captain Jonathan Toews to monster contract extensions that will kick in at the start of next season. Beyond adding Brad Richards as a modestly priced free agent to play on a line with Kane and Brandon Saad and trading away Leddy, the Blackhawks returned essentially the same team.
So, for that matter, did Los Angeles. The Kings signed last year’s key trade-deadline acquisition, Marian Gaborik, to a seven-year contract extension, but they look as if they will go into the new season with no new faces in the lineup.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Would a repeat by the Kings make them a dynasty?
That's up for debate. But in winning the Cup twice and reaching the West final once in the past three seasons, the Kings have won the endorsement of an authority on dynasties — Bill Torrey, architect and general manager of the New York Islanders when they won the Cup in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983 and lost the Final in 1984.
"No one has given me an apt, complete description of what the word means, but they're about as much a dynasty this year as you could be," said Torrey, 80, now an alternate governor of the Florida Panthers.
"When you look at the way they went down in every series last spring and had to fight their way back, no team ever did it before, and they are due lots of recognition."
Sustaining success is difficult in any sport. It's especially tricky under the hard salary cap the NHL implements. Players want raises after they win, but the team's payroll can stretch only so far. Role players want a chance at stardom elsewhere. That creates the kind of upheaval that broke up the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks — though they retooled and won in 2013 — and often leads to years of rebuilding.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
While teams have often viewed road trips early in the schedule as opportunities for players to gain chemistry together – the New York Rangers chose to travel west to Alberta, British Columbia and Las Vegas when expelled from Madison Square Garden last fall due to arena renovations – Darryl Sutter doesn’t necessarily see the benefit of so-called “bonding” excursions.
“I’m not into that, what you hear about go climbing ropes and going to a fort somewhere,” he said. “You do most of your bonding in May and June, quite honest.”
In the past, there have been excursions he has taken with his team, and the “team bonding” experience is still common in today’s game. The San Jose Sharks held a players’ summit in Lake Tahoe during the most recent offseason, and the St. Louis Blues, taking advantage of a generous break in the schedule while on a Western Canadian road trip during the truncated 2012-13 season, spent three days practicing (and enjoying, presumably) Whistler, British Columbia.
The “enjoying” aspect seems to follow such team bonding trips around.
“It was more in the book, when you looked up ‘bonding,’ it was ‘partying,’” Sutter said. “So, when you think about it, we used to go to Banff, Vegas…Whistler. So when you looked up ‘bonding,’ it was also skiing.”
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Gaborik made $7.5 million each of the past five seasons. But no one makes that much in L.A. – defenseman Drew Doughty’s average salary is $7 million and center Anze Kopitar’s is $6.8 million – and the Kings also wanted to re-sign defenseman Matt Greene under the salary cap. Gaborik’s average salary will be $4.875 million.
“Let’s face it, he could have made a lot more money if he went out on the market,” Lombardi said. “Here’s the rock star that could have gone out and got a lot more. Obviously that bodes well.”
Why not cash in on success?
“I’ve made enough money in my whole career, so it wasn’t about money,” said Gaborik, whose career earnings total $71.379 million according to capgeek.com. “To get a taste of that Cup, I think that gives you motivation to repeat and to be hungry again.
“That is that motivation – to go back there and to do it with this team and to play in this environment, to play in this state. It’s an awesome mix. I didn’t want to leave.”
NEW YORK, NY (September 23, 2014) – Premium TV network EPIX and the National Hockey League (NHL®) announced today that they have formed a partnership to produce and distribute a two-part original series, debuting on EPIX in December 2014, that will bring hockey fans onto the ice and behind-the-scenes with the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals as they prepare to compete in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, and the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on their road to the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™.
Produced by 52-time Emmy award winner Ross Greenburg, the series will offer viewers an exclusive look inside the world of the NHL, with strategically placed cameras and microphones providing an all-access pass to players’ homes, locker rooms, training rooms, and the arena.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Mike Richards, it sounds like anyway, kept his word to the Mad Professor.
Faced with the possibility of his contract being bought out by the Stanley Cup champions, the 29-year-old Richards vowed to Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi in June that he would be more committed to his workouts this summer to help bring back the Mike Richards of old. He would commit himself to trying to bring back the player that Lombardi traded for in the summer of 2011, the one that help transform the Kings from pretenders into winners.
"This summer, I put in the work," Richards told ESPN.com over the phone Monday. "Of course, injuries can happen, but at least going into the season right now I feel good and I’ve skated a lot more than I have in the past. I feel prepared and I’m excited for the year."
As Richards pointed out, who knows exactly how that translates to his on-ice performance once the season starts, but he says he feels much better at this point than he did a year ago.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
Los Angeles Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi isn’t one to surrender his own analytics blueprint, however.
“You can get my book when I’m done,” he joked.
He acknowledged that he has spoken on the phone “a number of times” with former Boston Red Sox General Manager and current Chicago Cubs Director of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein about the use of analytics, but won’t divulge how his own club’s decisions are based on the statistical resources that they’ve compiled.
“Like if you have a secret formula, why would you tell the world about it if you’re trying to win? You know what? Here we come.”
“It’s unbelievable, that question now,” Lombardi said about the analytics discussion. “Every guy from Toronto’s calling me now because they did it. So all their writers call. There’s a perception out here that we have the Holy Grail – some magic formula – that that’s why we’re winning, and Lombardi’s got this blah blah blah. And so, just like you’re talking there, it’s not only the way you play, right, that they copy you, but now they want to know what you’re doing. So, yeah, maybe we have been [using analytics]. But don’t forget, too, like I’ve always said. There’s a big difference between data and knowledge, and how you use it. Be careful. And the other thing, too, is that you’ll never convince me that emotion isn’t a huge part of this game, more than any other game.”
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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