Kukla's Korner Hockey
Every time I decry the supposed virtues of the salary cap, I'm surprised to hear from fans who think it's the best thing the NHL and Gary Bettman ever did.
Sorry, but "thumbs down" - yet again - to that belief.
The level playing field the cap is supposed to create shows a current gap of 46 points between first and last place in the NHL standings. It figures to grow larger.
In the season (2003-04) before the advent of the salary cap, the first and last-place teams were separated by 50 points. A small-market club or fan that needs a way to make sure teams like Toronto and Philadelphia don't bury the opposition with unlimited spending should realize the obvious - the way to keep the Leafs and the Flyers from becoming superpowers is to encourage and allow them to spend as much as they wish.
Because look how they spend it.
-Dave Hodge of TSN.
from MArc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Del Zotto now has seven points (3 goals, four assists) in his last eight games.
“I thought he played a really good game,” coach Craig Berube said. “He’s doing an all-around great job.”
Then Berube expanded on the subject.
“He is playing against top lines, defending well and that’s the biggest thing for me,” Berube said. “You know, he’s defending well and then he’s jumping in the play when he can and making good plays with the puck.”
Del Zotto, who turns 25 in June, says this is possibly the most confidence he has had as an NHL player.. He was with the Rangers beginning in the 2009-10 season until being traded to Nashville on Jan. 22, 2014.
In the offseason he signed with the Flyers.
“In the past couple of days the coaching staff has showed a lot of trust in me, throwing me in all situations, the first penalty kill, power play, 5-on-5,” he said. “Anytime that happens it helps with your confidence and it’s going well right now”.
via Philadelphia Flyer PR release,
The Philadelphia Flyers have traded defenseman Kimmo Timonen to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a second round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional draft pick in 2016, according to general manager Ron Hextall.
Timonen, 39 (3/18/1975), was diagnosed with blood clots last summer and has missed the entire season due to the condition, but was recently cleared to play and has been preparing for a return to the ice for the past several weeks. The 2013-14 season was Timonen’s seventh with the Flyers, over which time he recorded 38 goals and 232 assists for 270 points in 519 games. He is a five-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers’ best defenseman, including the last three consecutive seasons, making him one of just three players (Howe, Desjardins) to win the award in three straight years.
from David Isaac of the Courier-Post,
Some players in the NHL just can't bring themselves to buy into the hype of the league's trade deadline…not even when in the hockey Mecca that is Toronto.
Nick Grossmann won't watch the hours of live TV coverage on deadline day.
"No, I don't know why," the defenseman said. "I've never been much of a fan of that. I think it's too much speculation. It's too many rumors."
Wayne Simmonds, on the other hand, can't get enough.
The right wing remembers being a young player in the league and constantly checking his phone and computer to follow the hot rumor for a couple years: that Simmonds, then an L.A. Kings winger, was destined to be shipped to Atlanta for Ilya Kovalchuk.
"Not a chance I was looking at houses in Atlanta," Simmonds said. "I was a 21-year-old kid. I didn't really care. I was just happy to be playing in the NHL."
The Flyers couldn't help but pay attention during their time in town, in which the Maple Leafs made three trades.
"When you're in Canada I think it's a little bit easier," Simmonds said. "Pretty much every single channel is dedicated to the NHL. No matter where you go you see something pop up.
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
Flyers GM Ron Hextall would have gladly moved Braydon Coburn and his $4.5 million salary cap hit next year had the Kings' needs remained. Or Luke Schenn’s $3.6 million hit. Or even Nicklas Grossmann’s $3.5 million hit.
The problem is, all three of those defenseman have a year left on their deals.
When it gets to the NHL Trade Deadline -– March 2 –- teams want rental players who are unrestricted free agents this summer, unless it’s a young player they see as part of their future.
The Flyers have moveable assets, but those assets all have years left on their contracts. That makes Hextall’s job very complicated in moving players at the deadline.
Kimmo Timonen is a pending free agent, but still hasn’t played a game this season because of blood clots. Assuming the soon-to-be 40-year-old suits up for the first time on Saturday against the New York Rangers, it remains debatable whether any club is going to take a chance on him based on what they see in one game.
And forget about moving Vinny Lecavalier, who has three years left on his outrageous deal at $4.5 million a pop. The Flyers have been trying to move the veteran center since summer and still no takers.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
An 8-2-4 run in the past month and the Boston Bruins’ struggles combined to put the Flyers within four points of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference going into their game Thursday at the Toronto Maple Leafs. The climb hasn’t been easy, but there’s no shortage of belief in the locker-room.
“It’s obviously our goal to catch the Bruins and the Panthers,” NHL leading scorer Jake Voracek said Wednesday. “I don’t see the reason why we shouldn’t. We’re playing good hockey lately. We’ve got to focus on every game, game-by-game, and hopefully we’re going to sneak in.”
On the morning of Jan. 17, the Flyers woke up in Buffalo 13 points back of the Bruins. Boston has gone 5-7-3 since then, and a knee injury to centre David Krejci stands to make the next four to six weeks even more of a challenge.
Philadelphia needed the Bruins to go on a skid to make the playoffs even a long-shot possibility. But the Flyers have also been much improved to get on track.
“An all-around team game turned our season around,” coach Craig Berube said. “Our team defence first and foremost is what we really turned around. Starting with that, and the penalty killing has gotten better. That’s part of the team defence. All-around, our defensive play is way better.”
from Randy Miller of NJ.com,
Besides Colaiacovo, Schenn has sat out the Flyers' last two games. Before that, Andrew MacDonald was a healthy scratch three games in a row.
MacDonald probably is untradeable because of his contract - he's in the first season of a six-year, $30 million extension - but Schenn perhaps could be moved even though he's a $3.6 million cap hit through next season.
Coburn remains a candidate to go, as well, but the Islanders and Calgary Flames may be the only contenders with enough free cap space to take on his contract, which carries a $4.5 million cap hit through next season.
The Flyers probably would prefer to keep Grossmann, whose deal through next season is for a $3.5 million cap hit, but he has value as a shot-blocking blueliner with size and could be moved for a decent return.
Defenseman Nick Schultz probably could have brought a nice return, because he has a cap-friendly contract that, until last week, ended after this season. But he's now going anywhere after signing a two-year, $4.5 million extension on Feb. 18.
What's decent return for the Flyers' trade bait?
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
Flyers owner Ed Snider met with the media following a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals and gave his thoughts on the team's recent success and weekend sweep over the Nashville Predators and Caps...
Does this feel like 2010 to you?
“No I can’t compare years. All I know is they’ve made it really exciting. Let’s face it, how many weeks ago were we written off by all the press and just about everybody else. Just the fact that we are in the hunt is exciting. I don’t know where it’s going to end up but if we end up making the playoffs it will be quite a story.”
What was going through your mind at that time about four weeks ago when you say everyone was writing you off?
“In my mind I was almost writing them off too. But seriously, these guys just never ever stop believing in themselves. They won’t stop, they won’t quit and we’ve got a lot of nice new pieces. I think [Ryan] White has added a lot to our team, a real hustler. We’re just playing a tough brand of hockey. It’s hard to play against us. I don’t care what team you talk about, it’s hard to play against them.
We just beat two outstanding teams over the weekend. Washington has what, won four in a row, and have really been playing extremely well. Coby [Coburn] made that really big block at the end on Ovechkin and I thought that was fabulous and really great.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- The chatter that began over the summer about Johnny Boychuk wanting to sign with his hometown Oilers this summer when the 31-year-old defenseman becomes a free agent persists even as his value to the Cup contenders on Long Island continues to grow.
As huge a get as Boychuk was for GM Garth Snow when he acquired Boychuk on the eve of the season from Boston (who chose not to use their precious cap space on him while fearful of losing the defenseman for nothing), keeping the righty will be a more challenging task…even as the Islanders appear to be in an outstanding position relative to the cap.
The number will start at $6M per.
- So, if the Jacobs ownership was 10 minutes away from firing GM Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien when the Bruins were down 4-1 to the Leafs with time running down on Game 7 of the first round in 2013 before their historic rally to win it, as we were told by a man who knew the plan, then what will the fallout be if Boston misses the playoffs this time?
We’re betting that the GM will be named Cam Neely by the time of the Entry Draft.
- Hey, have you heard about the NHL renaming the Adams to COY? Not to be confused with the CYA Trophy, about to won yet again by Philadelphia’s “Mr. Snider.”
from the Philadelphia Flyers,
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed 6-1, 200-lb defenseman Nick Schultz to a multi-year contract extension, according to general manager Ron Hextall.
Schultz, 32 (8/25/1982), has appeared in 55 games for the Flyers this season, recording two goals and 11 assists for 13 points. He has already recorded his highest point total in a season since 2010-11, when he had 17 points (3G, 14A). Schultz has also picked up 33 PIM this season and is a plus-6.
continue for more on Schultz...
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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