Kukla's Korner Hockey
I don’t think we’re that far off from making the playoffs, to be honest with you. I think one more piece [on defence] and we’ve got all the talent up front we’ve always had and added more talent via free agency and the draft. When you shore up the back end, which is what Peter’s trying to do, as long as I do my part, I think we could definitely battle for a playoff spot this year and next year and go from there.
-Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers. Read more from Talbot in a Q & A with Luke Fox of Sportsnet.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
... That's why a bridge of a season or two still seems to make the most sense right now.
If Trouba can continue to log big minutes and increase his offensive production, the Jets will be happy to pay him big bucks over a longer term.
One of the potential problems is that as long as Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers and to a certain degree Toby Enstrom remain in the fold and healthy, there haven't been many power-play minutes available for Trouba, which has an obvious impact on his point totals.
But the Jets appear to hold much of the leverage when it comes to this round of negotiations, so Trouba's options seem pretty straightforward.
Sign a bridge deal and bet on himself to progress and cash in next time or lower his salary demands on a longer-term contract, assuming that's what he wants.
If neither of those possibilities appeal to Trouba, that's where things could get dicey.
from Mike Commito of Sportsnet,
Plus-minus is the most polarizing statistic in hockey. There’s no quicker way to draw battle lines in the hockey community than by starting a dialogue about plus-minus. Some still look to it as a way to measure a player’s defensive value, while others see it as the most useless number in the box score.
And it’s not just fans and writers who are dismissive of it. Plenty of players have gone on record over the years to voice their disdain for it. When asked about it this past March, Boston Bruins defenceman Torey Krug said that he personally hates it and finds it to be misleading.
While plus-minus has certainly come under fire in recent years with the advent of more sophisticated metrics, it has a much longer, complicated history that includes criticisms about its usefulness dating back to its inception.
Today, many argue that plus-minus is meaningless because it depends on far too many variables. These include quality of linemates, team systems, deployment, personal shooting percentage, team shooting percentage, team save percentage and sheer luck.
“[It is] the most useless statistic ever devised,” says Brian Burke, President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames. “It’s pretty simple. If your team stinks, so does your plus-minus. And it’s compounded if you play against the opposition’s top players.”
Flames captain Mark Giordano was a guest on Boomer & Pinder on Sportsnet 960 The FAN Monday and he talked about the club’s off-season changes.
Giordano was asked if he felt it was time for a change in reference to Hartley's dismissal. Hartley was behind the bench in Calgary for four seasons as Giordano developed into one of the game's top puck-moving blue liners.
"It's always hard to say...I've been through a few of the coaching changes in my career being in Calgary," Giordano said. "Sometimes a fresh start is needed. I think sometimes it's good for guys.
"Personally, I had a good relationship with Bob. I know he had a lot to do with me being named captain here so I have a lot of respect for the man and I think he's a great coach.
"Ultimately, when things don't go the way as planned...not getting in playoffs for us was a big disappointment as an organization, there's going to be changes."
from the Philadelphia Flyers,
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have agreed to terms on a four-year contract with forward Brayden Schenn, according to general manager Ron Hextall.
Schenn is coming off a career year in 2015-16, his fifth season with the Flyers, where he recorded new career-highs in nearly every offensive categories: goals (26), assists (33) and points (59) in 80 regular season games.
He tied for the team lead in game-winning goals with five, while his 26 goals finished second and 59 points ranked third overall on the team. In addition, he led all Flyers in scoring since Jan. 1 with 44 points (19g-25a) in 44 games, which also tied for sixth among all NHL players.
from Austin Monteith of the Grand Forks Herald,
Player. Coach. Scouting director. General manager.
Marshall Johnston did it all.
And all while spending his summers and more along the shores of Lake Bemidji.
Johnston recently retired from a National Hockey League career that spanned nearly 50 years and culminated with an 11-year tenure as the Carolina Hurricanes’ director of pro scouting.
Johnston has lived in Bemidji for more than 40 years, summering in a cabin on Lake Bemidji before building a home where he and his wife, Barbara, have lived year-round since 2000.
A native of Birch Hills, Saskatchewan, Johnston took a liking to Bemidji after former Bemidji State head coach Bob Peters and U.S. Olympic coach Murray Williamson recruited him to work as an instructor at the Bemidji International Hockey Camp. The camp, which began in 1968, attracted future hockey stars from around the world.
Johnston had been a national champion at the University of Denver, where he played from 1959-63. Before turning pro, he was a member of the Canadian National Team at the 1964 and 1968 Winter Olympics, captaining Canada to the bronze medal in ‘68.
from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
Murray Craven turned 52 last Thursday. But he was too busy to celebrate.
Figuratively speaking, he has so much on his plate, there’s no room for birthday cake.
The former NHL player and Medicine Hat, Alberta, native who has been serving as Bill Foley’s adviser throughout the billionaire businessman’s quest to bring major league sports to Las Vegas is multitasking more than ever now that Foley has his team. Craven is overseeing the final phases of construction of the team’s locker room at T-Mobile Arena. He’s trying to get all the engineering and building permits in place so construction can start on the team’s 105,000 square-foot practice facility adjacent to Downtown Summerlin.
He’s helping general manager George McPhee with hockey matters as McPhee is assembling his scouting and operations staff. And he’s involved with the next big announcement — the team’s name and brand.
“Every day is hectic,” Craven said. “But that’s what happens when you’re building a new organization. There’s so much that has to be done.”
"I wish P.K. only the best and good luck with his new team. "P.K. is a great person, a great guy, a great hockey player. He's just enjoying his life, having fun. You have to know the kind of person and player he is.
"It's not always easy playing with him, but I had lots of fun doing so. And I probably learned some new things from him."
"I don't know [Weber] personally but his numbers and the way he plays prove he's one of the top defensemen in the league, and everybody knows that. He's been a captain in the NHL for many years and he's going to bring a different style of game and leadership to our team. I'm looking forward to that.
"The changes? Who cares about my opinion? I'm going to keep it [to myself]. Management knows what they're doing. I'm 100 percent sure that they're not making any moves to hurt our team. They only want to make us better."
Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens. Read more on Markov from Dave Stubbs of NHL.com.
from Mike Brophy of The Hockey News,
Some hockey thoughts from a scribe who wonders what the heck happened to the off-season:...
HALL OF VERY GOOD: Still trying to figure out why Rogatien Vachon was chosen to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. My recollection of him was he was a very good goalie, but not a great goalie proving once again, it’s not what you do, but who you know. The Hall of Fame is for great players; not very good players.
SHOULD-BE HALL OF FAMERS: Theoren Fleury, Steve Larmer, Rick Martin, Paul Kariya, Alexander Mogilny and (it pains me to say) Tom Barrasso
EVANDER KANE: Not saying he is guilty of anything, but when is Evander Kane going to grow up? This kid has superstar skill, but rank amateur decision making ability. He is only 24 years old so there is plenty of time to grow up, but you have to wonder how long teams will want to bother with him
YOUNG GUNS SCARING VETS: Spoke with a few veterans who will be participating in the World Cup and to a man they said they fear playing Team North America, the team made up of players 24 years old and younger. One player summed it up by saying, “We are in a no-win situation. We are supposed to beat them so if we do, it’s no big deal. If we lose it is an embarrassment.” Frankly, I wouldn’t take it that far, especially now that Matt Murray of the Penguins has served notice that he’s a legitimate NHL goalie.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Doug Armstrong did not consider saying goodbye to David Backes and Troy Brouwer and trading Brian Elliott an enjoyable exercise.
Backes was St. Louis’s captain. Brouwer, acquired the year before from Washington for T.J. Oshie, punched in 18 goals while dressing in 82 regular-season games. Elliott posted a .930 save percentage, the best mark in the league of any goalie appearing in at least half of his team’s games.
Armstrong’s roster, however, had progressed to the threshold where difficult decisions were required. Backes is 32. Brouwer turns 31 on Aug. 17. The 31-year-old Elliott was splitting time with 25-year-old Jake Allen. The Blues have younger players improving and lining up for raises. Calgary, desperate for a starting goalie, was willing to pay the price.
So a team that hit the wall in the Western Conference finals now finds itself in a state of transition that was not only required, but one that might leave it refreshed for another dash through the Central Division minefield.
“The time that I’ve been here with David, we’ve had five really good regular seasons and four really disappointing playoffs,” Armstrong said. “Last year’s playoffs, I certainly wouldn’t call them disappointing. They weren’t the ultimate goal. But it was a move in the right direction. I thought with last year’s team, we extended that window all the way through last year. With that group, I didn’t feel we’d be able to bring everybody back, just because of the age of the players and what we were doing. That was the year, and I thought the guys took great advantage of it.”
continued plus additional hockey topics...
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