Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times,
The season is over. Now there's only the door. And Stamkos walking through it. And his introductory news conference, in Toronto, Detroit, Buffalo or wherever.
It's just a question of when No. 91 walks through that door, be it July 1, when he can become an unrestricted free agent, or sometime after.
Feel free to surprise us with an eleventh-hour contract, guys.
It would be the salary cap upset of the century.
Let's not get all weepy here or turn this into an Adele song. Stamkos will make tens of millions of dollars no matter where he goes, and the Lightning will carry on.
It still feels like the end of something.
I think the Lightning is crazy for letting 312 goals and 26 years old walk. I think Stamkos, given the talents around him, is crazy to walk. No one is to blame. Everyone is to blame.
How did a deal not get done last summer? How?
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
It is a rare fantasy players’ bracket that remains intact in this upset-fraught chase to the Stanley Cup, though no doubt some statistical smarty pants picked the Sharks and the Penguins to be the two left standing and will never let you forget it.
But there are still predictions to be made.
Here is one man’s prognostication of the storylines that will be ground into paste during all those travel-day plane flights:
* On San Jose coach Pete DeBoer, a slight underdog to be hoisting the Cup 19 days from now or fewer, while the two men who fired him as head coach, Lou Lamoriello in New Jersey and Dale Tallon in Florida are, respectively, looking up from 30th place with the Toronto Maple Leafs and adapting to having been replaced as GM by the Panthers.
* On Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan, ever-so-slightly favoured to be drinking from Lord Stanley’s old cuspidor while silently celebrating that the man who fired him from his only previous NHL head coaching job, Peter Chiarelli, has since been fired himself and is currently trying to solve the Rubik’s cube with 29th-place Edmonton.
* On Penguins’ Phil Kessel, who appears to have given up hotdogs for scoring clutch goals, and Justin Schultz, dismissed as part of the problem in Edmonton, playing on the Pens’ power play.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Larry Murphy one more time.
To the most cynical of Maple Leaf followers — and few bands of collectively-minded folk have more reason to be cynical — you can see why it might feel that way.
Just as Murphy was booed as a Leaf and transferred to Detroit only to become a Stanley Cup champion twice (!!) as a Red Wing, here we are in 2016 with Phil Kessel, a reluctant star found wanting as a franchise player in Toronto, just four wins away from earning a Stanley Cup ring with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Same rotten deal, right?
Well, not quite. Murphy was traded in 1997 for future considerations, which were essentially nothing. Kessel, to boil it down, was dealt to Pittsburgh for a first-round pick next month and prospects Kasperi Kapanen and Scott Harrington, as well as $47.6 million (U.S.) worth of extremely valuable salary cap relief spread over seven seasons....
The similarity is Murphy wasn’t flourishing as a Leaf when he was traded but did so in Detroit, where he was surrounded by a much stronger roster. Kessel is having a heckuva playoff, but it’s useful to point out that on a talented Pittsburgh team he’s doing so as a third-liner facing third defence pairings, a big difference from his days as a Leaf when he always received first-line minutes against the best opposition checkers.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Jimmy Rutherford looks at Mario Lemieux. Mario Lemieux looks at Jimmy Rutherford. They nod their heads in unison. Then, as if they were following a Hollywood script, they both break into huge grins.
It is an acknowledgement of very few words. Then again, not many are needed here. The message to Rutherford from the Silent One — aka Magnificent Mario — is clear enough.
A job well done, Mr. General Manager. Just one more to go, one obstacle to overcome, one road block to conquer en route to the Stanley Cup — the San Jose Sharks.
It is mere minutes since the Penguins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup final, and the owner and general manager are relishing the moment.
In Rutherford’s case, he certainly has earned the right.
In his two-year stint running the Penguins, he has torn apart the roster, brought in one of the most polarizing figures in the sport in Phil Kessel, and made a coaching change. Now, he is four victories away from guiding the Penguins to a Stanley Cup, exactly one decade after he did the same with the Carolina Hurricanes.
from Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times,
Senior reporter Frank Seravalli of The Sports Network in Canada tweeted on Friday morning that he heard Brown had been told he would no longer be captain of the Kings, adding that the team wanted to go in a different direction.
Brown could not be reached for comment. A front office executive did not dispute the item but objected to an interpretation of the news, stating, via text, that Brown had not been “stripped” of anything.
The Kings, also, would not confirm if the new captain would be Kopitar, who would be starting an eight-year contract worth $80 million this upcoming season.
The change in captaincy, if it takes place, would be the first for the Kings since 2008, when Brown took over after Rob Blake signed with the Sharks as a free agent. Blake, now the Kings’ assistant general manager, finished his playing career in San Jose and took over the captaincy from Marleau with the Sharks in the 2009-10 season.
Brown’s leadership style during the Kings’ two Stanley Cup winning runs, in 2012 and 2014, was collaborative in nature. He had plenty of assistance from more vocal types such as Matt Greene, Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams, plus behind-the-scenes help from quieter leaders such as Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.
But with the Kings winning one playoff game the last two seasons, changes are inevitable, even cosmetic ones. Brown, 31, has been a bottom-six forward making top-six money: He has six years left on what was an eight-year, $47-million deal signed in 2013.
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
There's the (10?) million-dollar question of whether Yzerman can re-sign captain Steven Stamkos to a long-term deal before or after he reaches unrestricted free agency July 1. There's wing Nikita Kucherov, another potential building block, a 30-goal scorer this season due a hefty raise from $700,000 as a restricted free agent.
Top defenseman Victor Hedman and forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are due new deals after next season, as is Vezina Trophy-finalist goaltender Ben Bishop, unless Yzerman decides to deal Bishop or 21-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy in the next year.
And Yzerman has to balance all that with a relatively flat salary cap while considering a potential expansion draft.
"The next two summers will kind of define our team the next seven or eight years," Yzerman said Friday. "I have an idea of what we want to do. And we're doing our best to get everyone to buy in to what we're trying to do and keep it together."
But the Lightning realizes that after returning nearly the entire team from last season, next year's team could have a much different look.
TORONTO (May 27, 2016) – All eight teams announced today their final, 23-man rosters for the World Cup of Hockey 2016, the best-on-best international hockey championship that will be held Sept. 17 – Oct. 1 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Each of the eight teams – Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Europe, Team Finland, Team North America, Team Russia, Team Sweden and Team USA – added seven players today, joining the 16 selected to the respective teams on March 2. A total of 173 of the 184 selections are NHL players, plus two others -- Team North America forward Auston Matthews and Team Finland forward Patrik Laine -- who are projected to be early first-round selections in the 2016 NHL Draft.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks lead all NHL teams with 12 selections apiece. The Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals follow with eight each.
Team North America, Team USA and Team Canada rosters are below...
And I believe Brown's agent...
TORONTO (May 26, 2016) Eighty-two regular season games played. Twelve postseason battles won. Now, only four wins separate the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins from capturing the Holy Grail of hockey, and Sportsnet is game-ready to deliver every moment of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
The battle for the Stanley Cup begins on Monday, May 30 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT as the Penguins host the Sharks in Game 1. Fans can catch every game of the Stanley Cup Final on CBC and OMNI Television, Sportsnet 960 The FAN and stream online via Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE. (See below for full broadcast details)
Sportsnet’s 2016 Stanley Cup Final full coverage details are as follows:
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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