Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK (Aug. 28, 2015) -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the passing of Hockey Hall of Famer Al Arbour:
“The National Hockey League deeply mourns the passing of Al Arbour, revered head coach of the dynastic New York Islanders.
"A four-time Stanley Cup champion as a player and a brilliant motivator and tactician as a coach, Al Arbour directed the Islanders' rapid transformation from expansion team to NHL powerhouse -- guiding them to four straight Stanley Cup championships, five consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Final and an astounding 19 consecutive playoff series victories. As it grieves the loss of a profound influence on coaching and on the game itself, the NHL sends its heartfelt condolences to Al's family and friends, to his former teammates and to all the players he mentored."
Byfuglien is scheduled to be a UFA on July 1, 2016.
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
... they were swept aside in four first-round games by the Anaheim Ducks last spring, but that’s precisely how things went for the Tampa Bay Lighting in 2014, one year before the team advanced to the Cup final. The circumstances don’t perfectly align, but it’s a comparison worth making given Winnipeg’s trajectory and the increasingly wide-open nature of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
With that in mind, the best plan for Winnipeg might be to sit tight and see how the first quarter of the season plays out. If things are coming together, hang on to Byfuglien and see if he can’t help you win a playoff round or two. How nice would that be for a city that hasn’t seen its team on the right side of a handshake line since 1987? Yes, you run the risk he leaves for nothing, but with 21-year-old Trouba, 25-year-old Tyler Myers and prospect Josh Morrissey in the blueline mix, the Jets are positioned to withstand that worst-case scenario.
On the flipside, if watching 20 games reveals goalies Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson aren’t up to the task or sees the return of that nasty injury bug that ripped through the Jets’ defence last year, put Byfuglien on the block and see what you can get. It won’t be as much as you would land right now, but that’s not the end of the world for a team with a sturdy prospect pipeline that’s about to spit out forwards like Nikolaj Ehlers, Nic Petan and the aforementioned Morrissey.
In other words, Winnipeg should do what Byfuglien would: take a little gamble and worry about the next move when you must.
The hockey career of Al Arbour...
from the Hockey Hall of Fame,
Alger Joseph Arbour was one of the most successful head coaches in NHL history. As of 1996 his career totals of 1,606 games behind the bench and 781 victories trailed only Scotty Bowman in the record books. Arbour's guidance contributed significantly to the New York Islanders' rapid ascent to competitive status and subsequent run of four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983.
Born on November 1, 1932 in Sudbury, Ontario, Arbour played defence on the junior Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey Association. He distinguished himself as a junior and was signed by the Detroit Red Wings. Arbour gained his professional baptism of fire with the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Hockey League in 1952-53. He split the next four years between Edmonton, Detroit and Sherbrooke of the Quebec Senior League.
In 1957-58 Arbour enjoyed his first full NHL campaign in the red and white of the Wings. Following that season he was claimed by the Chicago Blackhawks where he toiled for three years including a Stanley Cup triumph in 1961. Arbour next played four seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and earned his second Stanley Cup ring in 1962. After spending the 1966-67 season off the ice, he returned to add experience and stability to the defence corps of the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1967-68. Early in the 1970-71 season,he retired as a player with in excess of 600 games played and almost fourteen years of service to his credit.
Upon retiring, Arbour was immediately hired to stand in as the coach of the Blues for the remainder of the 1970-71 campaign. Over the last 50 games of the schedule the team responded well by posting a 21-15-14 mark before losing to the Minnesota North Stars in the Stanley Cup quarterfinals.
added 12:25pm, via the New York Islanders...
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Prosecutors in Manitoba could proceed summarily, a course of action for less-serious offenses, or by indictment, reserved for more serious matters.
"This is an offense for which there is a huge [sentencing] range," said University of Manitoba law professor Debra Parkes. "It will all depend on the seriousness. I've seen examples of people getting discharges for possession of Oxycodone. There are some examples of that across Canada, if the person is an addict, if it is a relatively low amount, no record, that kind of thing. It could be a fine, or could possibly be imprisonment.
"Without a record, and assuming if it was a small amount, it would be possible to argue even for a discharge. But we don't know enough about the facts."
Less than two weeks after Richards was detained at the border, the Kings moved to terminate his contract, citing "a material breach."
The Kings declined to comment on the legal developments in Manitoba, citing the ongoing litigation regarding the contract grievance. Richards' agent also declined to comment.
But when the Kings terminated Richards' contract, they said in a statement: "We are not prepared to provide any more detail or to discuss the underlying grounds for the contract termination at this time."
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Training camp is so close you can almost feel it, so it is time to shake more of the rust off and do a little rambling.
Pretty darned good summer for Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving, who stole Dougie Hamilton away from the Boston Bruins at the draft and then locked him in long-term while adding useful forward Michael Frolik, a former Cup winner with the Chicago Blackhawks. Then, earlier this week Treliving took care of priority No. 1: Locking up heart-and-soul captain Mark Giordano to a very salary cap-friendly six-year deal worth an average of $6.75 million per season. It's a deal that gives Treliving lots of cap-room flexibility moving forward, even if there's always a risk in such a long-term deal when Giordano will have just turned 33 when the deal kicks in next October. Many believe the Flames are due a step back this season after a surprising run to the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. But that run was accomplished without Hamilton and Giordano, who was out with a torn biceps tendon. Nothing is guaranteed in the wild Western Conference, but Treliving has his Flames well-positioned to return to the playoffs, not just this season but for the foreseeable future.
One byproduct of the Giordano signing is that the attention on top-end players entering their contract years is amped up. Tops on that list of course is Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, followed closely by Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. The slower-than-expected rise in the salary cap coupled with benchmark contracts like those extended to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane by the Blackhawks last summer that kick in this season has made life more difficult for all GMs, but specifically for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Kings GM Dean Lombardi. Locking up Stamkos and Kopitar are obvious priorities for the Bolts and the Kings respectively and we assume the deals will get done, but the longer it takes, the more speculation will percolate that things are amiss.
continued with more topics...
from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,
Goaltender Cam Ward was the first off the ice Thursday at Raleigh Center Ice, soon to be followed by Eric Staal.
Ward and Staal have been two constants for the Carolina Hurricanes for more than a decade. They’re the two remaining members of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup champions, a reminder of better times.
Each will be entering the final year of long-term contracts this season. Both have said they want to remain a part of the organization, indicating the desire to sign contract extensions.
“Right now, I’m just going about my business and making sure I’m ready to go,” Ward said after an informal skate. “Obviously, it’s no secret I love being here and there’s nowhere else I want to be.”...
“In a perfect world I’d like to have something done, but there’s no pressure,” Ward said. “I’ve just got to prepare myself for a great year, not just for myself but for the team. It’s team first. We want to be ready.”
Since the Cup run in 2006, when Ward was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP, the Hurricanes have reached postseason just once, in 2009. The past six seasons have ended with Hurricanes players and coaches facing longer summers than they wanted, with their fans disappointed.
from Marty Klinkenberg of the Globe and Mail,
A buff 36-year-old in a T-shirt and shorts stands at the front. A hockey star in a hockey town, defenceman Andrew Ference has been the captain of the Edmonton Oilers since joining them as a free agent in 2013. Unusual for a professional athlete, he works to bring attention to the matters he is passionate about: the environment, human rights and physical fitness.
Upon arriving in Edmonton, he began staging free workout sessions and invited everyone to come. They happen three mornings a week, with Wednesday reserved for running stairs at the home stadium of the Canadian Football League’s Eskimos.
This week, Mr. Ference begins by instructing everyone to find someone they don’t know and give them a hug. Someone’s sweet-tempered pit bull runs among them, wagging and barking in a studded collar and an Oilers kerchief.
A few minutes later, as the sky brightens, the group files into the empty stadium and bounds up the stairs.
Those waiting at the back of the line exercise their legs by bouncing up and down.
“It’s a great morning,” says Mr. Ference’s sister Jen, who helps organize the free gatherings with her hockey-playing younger brother. It is not quite 6 a.m. and she is cheerful.
“There is great energy here,” she says. “So many people want to get up early.”
from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,
Heading into the season, there is excitement in Buffalo due to the manner their roster was turned over.
“I think it’s like Edmonton right now, there is a lot of turnover and changes in coaches and we have some high-end prospects coming in and there is a lot of optimism,” Ennis said following a session at Perry Pearn’s 3-on-3 camp Thursday. “It’s really exciting, we made some really good moves, I think. I feel like the rebuild is finally coming to fruition. It’s been a tough couple of years but it’s going to be worth it, because we have a lot of great players and a lot of guys to be excited about, coming in.”
Shrewd trades and quality draft picks have, seemingly, expedited the rebuild process in Buffalo. As one of the club’s veterans, Ennis is looking forward to playing on a more competitive team this year.
“Time flies by. That’s why the last two years were such a tough two years,” Ennis said. “Your career goes by quickly. It seems just like yesterday that I got drafted and now I’m going into my seventh year of pro. You want to be in contention every year, because you may only get a couple of chances to win it.”
Heading into the year, Ennis is looking to improve on the 20 goals and 46 points he posted last season. He has a point total in mind, which he is hoping to reach, but would not divulge a number.
by Joe Sudburg,
The New York Rangers were one game away from back-to-back Stanley Cup appearances before being upended by the Tampa Bay Lightning in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, a game that the Rangers had everything going for them prior to the puck dropping.
With the support of the Madison Square Garden fans and Henrik Lundqvist’s stellar Game 7 record, it was almost expected to see the Rangers get another shot at Lord Stanley’s Cup. But the night belonged to the Lightning, who moved on to the Stanley Cup Final where they would lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
So the window question, whether it's wide open or closing, is legitimate for the Rangers. How many chances does a team get before the bottom falls out? Does getting close put even more pressure on the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup this season?
Vigneault understands the queries, but he's not concerned with them because he sees the Rangers as a contender regardless of what they have done, or not done.
"We signed most, if not all, of our core guys to pretty good contracts as far as length, so we have to believe that these guys are going to give us good years," Vigneault said. "Are we in our window, and how many years is that window? We're a good team. I'm going to let the experts decide if we're in the window or not."
The Rangers should be in their window for the reasons Vigneault outlined, and many others. They should see themselves as contenders because their core is intact and in its prime.
Henrik Lundqvist will turn 34 this season but should be able to maintain his status as an elite goalie for several more seasons because of the shape he stays in and the way he maintains his body and mind throughout the season. He is entering the second year of a seven-year contract.
Defenseman Ryan McDonagh is a 26-year-old captain with four years remaining on his contract. Defenseman Marc Staal is 28 and entering the first year of a six-year contract extension. Defenseman Dan Girardi is 31 and has five years left on his contract.
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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