Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Category: NHL-Teams

Hockey Talk On An Early Sunday Morning

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

- Alex Tanguay appeared in only 16 games for the Avalanche last season because of knee and hip injuries. This season, the 35-year-old’s good health is showing in his game. Through 46 games (he missed two because of a jaw injury), Tanguay has 13 goals and 19 assists. The left wing is on pace to score 22 goals, a number he hasn’t hit since 2010-11 when he was with Calgary. Tanguay, who’s riding with fellow ex-Flame Jarome Iginla on Colorado’s second line, is skating like he’s 10 years younger. Because he’s moving well, Tanguay is separating himself from defenders well enough to use his terrific shot. Tanguay is signed through next season at $3.5 million annually. He would draw attention if Colorado made him available.

- If Jaroslav Halak follows his career history, he will get hurt or go into a slump. If that happens, the Islanders need Chad Johnson to find his game quickly. The ex-Bruin has an .870 save percentage through 13 appearances. That’s not even close to good enough.

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Sunday Morning Trade Chatter

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

- The Leafs are getting plenty of calls on forwards James Van Riemsdyk and Morgan Rielly, but neither of those guys are going anywhere. The talk is if the Leafs don't get up off the mat and back into the playoff race then the rebuild will begin in Hogtown. While many would like to see winger Phil Kessel and captain Dion Phaneuf moved, there may not be much action on the latter. "You're going to have a pretty tough time moving that contract unless you're willing to take back somebody else's problem," an executive said. 

- Buffalo GM Tim Murray is sitting quietly and is still expected to be active before the deadline. The Sabres are being patient with forwards Chris Stewart, Drew Stafford and Torrey Mitchell. Teams remain interested in Stewart -- including the Flames and Bruins.

- Everybody is waiting to see what the Arizona (don't call me Phoenix) Coyotes decide to do at the deadline. They've got pieces they want to move: Centre Antoine Vermette, forward Martin Erat, along with defencemen Zbynek Michalek and, possibly, Keith Yandle, who has one year left on his contract. There's plenty of interest in Vermette so it's almost a certainly he will be moved. The real question is what will they do with captain Shane Doan? He has a "no-move" clause so if GM Don Maloney wanted to entertain the thought of moving the veteran, who has a year left on his contract, he would need permission. The thinking is Doan doesn't want to go anywhere and he'll stay in the desert. That could change next year when he's a few months away from UFA. The Coyotes don't control the deadline though. "There's this thinking that they have teams clamouring for all their players. That's just not the case," said another league executive.

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Wrapping Up The Skills Competition

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Ryan Johansen won over the home crowd, Jakub Voracek and Johnny Gaudreau brought the comedy, and Shea Weber left his fellow all-stars in awe of his impressive slap shot Saturday night during the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Nationwide Arena.

Team Foligno, captained by Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno, won the competition by a 25-19 margin against Team Toews, captained by Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews. Though the score will likely be forgotten by Sunday, the highlights from the event will live on for a long time.

"It's been a great atmosphere here," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "It's a nice building with great fans here, and I think it's just been fun. Any time you're around this type of atmosphere, I think it's a special time and something you want to remember and cherish for the rest of your life. As far as the competition, you know, Weber's shot was pretty hard. Nobody shoots it that hard except for him. It's pretty impressive."

Weber, the Nashville Predators captain, dropped many jaws in the building with his 108.5 mph slap shot that won the AMP NHL Hardest Shot competition. He was 0.3 mph shy of tying Zdeno Chara's record shot of 108.8 mph, which the Boston Bruins captain had in the 2012 Skills Competition in Ottawa.

continued

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The Latest Salary Cap Talk

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Cap-challenged teams were relieved Saturday to hear from the NHL that the plunging Canadian dollar won’t impact the salary cap as much as many feared.

"It’s not as bad as everyone is predicting," Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said after the Board of Governors meeting. "Some of the stuff we heard from them is more reassuring."

What they heard is what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman later told media at a state of the game news conference: "I assure you, even with the decline in the Canadian dollar, the salary cap does not fall off a cliff. When we gave you the rough estimate/projection in December, the same estimate I gave to the clubs, we were projecting a cap of $73 million, assuming the 5 percent increment under the CBA, based on the Canadian dollar at 88 cents to the US dollar to the rest of the year. At 82 cents, the cap would be $72.2 million and at 80 cents, the cap would be $71.7 million.

"No one can project where it’s going, but the point I’m making is, you are not going to see a dramatic difference. The cap is computed based on currency on a daily basis, it’s averaged over the season. So even with an 80-cent Canadian dollar, still looking at a cap of almost $72 million." 

continue plus LeBrun basically puts a bow on all the news of the day other than the World Cup...

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Tracking The Goals

from KEvin McGran of the Toronto Star,

When Scotty Bowman watches a hockey game, it’s not like anybody else watching a hockey game.

The legendary coach is a savant when it comes to breaking down plays, habits and tendencies. Tell him more goals are scored off rebounds than any other kind of play and he already knows why.

“That’s because they made big changes in the game,” says Bowman. “Defencemen used to be big, strong guys who could take people out in front of the net. They eliminated all the interference. They give out penalties for roughing and cross-checking. And they made the end zone bigger. They made it 64 feet (in 2005-06). I’m not a big proponent of that. That’s why players stand in front of the net blocking shots. The wingers used to be out at the point, but now it’s too far.

“Now they’re down below the circle blocking shots because that’s the scoring area. That means you don’t get as many counter-attacks. They want to protect the house.”

The Star analyzed data from every game sheet so far this season to track what happened just before each of the 3,710 goals scored.

continued

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The Sky May Be The Limit For Aaron Ekblad

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Dale Tallon cannot tell a lie. He knew Aaron Ekblad was good, just not this good.

The 18-year-old Ekblad, youngest player in the NHL, might be Drew Doughty good, although with a bigger chassis at 225 pounds. Not Doughty good today, of course, but let’s see in a year or two. Tallon, once a junior defenceman like Ekblad, who went second overall in 1970 to centre Gil Perreault, walks around with a perma-smile in Florida. The No. 1 pick last June could be the NHL’s best rookie because he plays the toughest position, plus he’s the baby of the Calder litter, but Filip Forsberg, the Nashville right-winger, who may get 65 points, is more visible on stats sheets.

That said, Ekblad is something else, and, to this day, Tallon, the Panthers’ GM, is very grateful he resisted the urge to fill several holes on his club to move back a few spots with a big draft-day trade last June.

“He’s been phenomenal,” said Tallon.

continued

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  Tags: aaron+ekblad

The Philadelphia Flyers Have A Big Hole To Climb Out Of

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

His style is to lead by his relentless style on the ice. Giroux's teammates haven't followed the example enough. There have been too many listless periods, too many breakdowns on the penalty kill, too many nights where they fall behind early and are chasing the game.

"I'm not the only one frustrated. I think everyone in the room is frustrated," said Giroux, who will play in his third All-Star Game on Sunday. "Instead of me going in and yelling at everybody, I think it's important we stick together and we do this together. We can't be blaming and pointing fingers. I think it's important we stick together, and if we do this, we're going to get out of this hole."

The hole is deep. At the all-star break, the Flyers are 12 points out of a playoff spot and need to hop over four teams to get the final berth. Impossible, no. Highly improbable, yes.

The Flyers need a staggering 49 points in their remaining 34 games (say, 22-7-5) to finish with the same amount of points as last season - 94 - likely enough to qualify for the playoffs.

Now that would be a Miracle on Ice.

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Afternoon Line- Charlie Jacobs

“What are we, 6-1-3 in our last 10 games? I feel we’re certainly trending better. We’ll still have the odd game where we seem a bit uninspired, but I guess you’re going to have that in an 82-game schedule. Having said that all of that, the stuff that we’ve done with the better play has gotten us to eighth place.

“Do I feel better about it that we’re in a playoff spot? Yes. Do I wish we were in a better position than we are? Absolutely. Again, I’ll repeat that for this team to be even remotely close to missing the playoffs isn’t something we can be happy about. I would hope that this solid continues for the next 10, the next 20 and for the rest of the season, frankly. We’re at where we’re at, we’ve dug ourselves a hole and we’re starting to get ourselves out of it. But until we have a nice playoff run, the jury is going to have to be out on this group.”

-Charlie Jacobs, CEO of the Boston Bruins.  More from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.

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  Tags: charlie+jacobs

Three Outdoor NHL Games Next Season

NEW YORK (January 24, 2015) – The National Hockey League announced today the participating Clubs, locations and dates for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ games planned for the 2015-16 NHL regular season.

 The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will feature the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, on Jan. 1, 2016. When these long-time rivals meet, Boston will become the first Club to host the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® for a second time, after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime at the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Fenway Park. It will mark the first time the Canadiens will play in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, and just the second time a Canadian-based NHL team will play in the game, following Toronto’s appearance in 2014.

 The 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will feature two games. On Sunday, Feb. 21, in a first for the Club, the Minnesota Wild will play host to the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium on the Univ. of Minnesota campus. The following weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 27, the Colorado Avalanche will make their debut in a regular-season outdoor NHL game when they play host to the Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The World Cup Of Hockey

New York/Toronto (January 24, 2015) – The World Cup of Hockey will return in September 2016 in Toronto, Canada when eight teams, comprised of the world’s best hockey players, compete for a best-on-best international hockey championship, the National Hockey League (NHL®) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today. The World Cup of Hockey is a joint effort of the NHLPA and the NHL, in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). It is expected that more than 150 of the best players in the NHL will participate in this tournament in what should be the biggest celebration of the game.

The eight teams will be divided into two Groups of four, and each will compete in three tournament games within their assigned Group in a round-robin format. The top two finishers in each Group will advance to a single game semi-final against a team from the other Group. Winners of the semi-final games will advance to a best-of-three final round. All tournament games (round-robin, semi-final and final) will be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto from September 17 - October 1, 2016.

“We are thrilled to partner with the NHLPA in planning and producing what we expect will be the world’s best international hockey tournament,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will highlight not only our global reach, but also the skill and passion of the world’s best athletes. We would like to thank our international partners – the IIHF and their members – for their cooperation in helping to make this event a reality.”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHLPA, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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