Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Simmons of Sportsnet,
Are you new to hockey? A disgruntled Leafs fan? Looking for a new team to root for this season? You’re in luck.
In our first edition of Icebreakers, we’ll provide the reasons why and why notto support NHL franchises. And for additional perspective, we’ll even compare NHL teams to other North American sports franchises....
Why this team? The Lightning have become a trendy Stanley Cup pick in the East. They have an up-and-coming head coach, a deep core of young players and a true superstar in Steven Stamkos, who may be the most likable player in all of hockey. Just think what could happen if Drouin lives up to expectations.
Why not? If you’re a sports hipster, this won’t work for you. The Lightning are already big in the mainstream, despite the non-traditional hockey market. There are tons of writers and publications banking on this team to make a deep playoff run.
Other sport comparison: Carolina Panthers — Both expansion clubs from the 1990s have star players that were drafted first overall. Stamkos and Cam Newton have vaulted their teams into immediate contention, even after losing iconic franchise staples (Steve Smith and Martin St. Louis) over the past year.
more on the Lightning plus seven more Eastern Conference teams...
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
The NHL put GoPro cameras on the front of officials’ helmets to record that perspective twice last preseason (both in Toronto) and twice this preseason (in Buffalo and Detroit). It wasn’t for promotional purposes. It was for internal training.
The officials don’t like wearing the cameras – mounted with adhesive, blacked out with gaffer tape. But the cutting-edge footage is for education and improvement.
“You never really know what you’re going to get from it,” said Tom Masters, video manager, NHL officiating. “But hopefully there’s some teachable moments in there you can use going forward.”
from the CP at The Hockey News,
The 2014-15 NHL season opens Oct. 8. Here are 10 players fans should keep an eye on:
P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens Subban starts a US$72-million, eight-year contract hoping nothing changes in the way teammates and coach Michel Therrien looks at him. But that price tag comes with lofty expectations, whether or not the 2013 Norris Trophy-winning defenceman is a captain or an alternate for the Habs.
Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks If the Canucks are going to make last season a blip instead of the beginning of a downward spiral, Miller will be at the centre of the revival. After struggling with the St. Louis Blues, Miller should be back in his element facing more shots behind a weaker Vancouver roster.
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche The Avalanche waved goodbye to Paul Stastny, who went to St. Louis, knowing full well they could replace him with the Calder Trophy-winning MacKinnon. Matt Duchene doesn't hurt either, but MacKinnon is the one who could raise his game the most.
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
How about getting the hockey juices flowing with the Stanley Cup final teams touring Europe for a September series against Europe's top clubs?
As the NHL and the NHL Players' Association work to finalize an agreement to bring back the World Cup of Hockey in September 2016, a tournament of the top eight hockey nations to be held in Montreal and Toronto, officials with the league and players' union are already musing over other plans to spur revenue.
The NHL has rich, long-term TV contracts in both Canada and the U.S. and it generates billions of dollars from corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandise sales. Several NHL team owners told TSN that the league's biggest unrealized source of revenue is income generated from abroad. North America, after all, represents less than five per cent of the world's population.
"The timing has never been better for the NHL to look at international rights," said Ken Yaffe, a former executive with the NHL who oversaw the league's international business.
from Scott Shoshnick of Bloomberg,
The National Hockey League closed a $1.4 billion credit facility, which is more than double the previous amount, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
The person requested anonymity because the league didn’t disclose the lending pool, which was led and structured by Citigroup Inc. (C) and closed yesterday. The facility includes 20 banks and 20 investors, the person said.
NHL spokesman Frank Brown and Citi spokeswoman Natalie Marin declined to comment on the facility.
Among the 11 teams that tapped the facility are the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils, the person said, adding that three so-called parking spots are being reserved for other potential borrowers.
"He's gotten better and more consistent, but if he's truly going to be a top guy and he wants to fall into that high-end category, those players don't go for swings where they are not competing, preparing and being prepared."
-Dave Nonis, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nazem Kadri. More on Kadri from Dan Rosen of NHL.com.
from Nancy MacDonald of MACLEANS,
Miller, in some ways, is an anti-athlete: complex, loquacious, cerebral. He’s an amateur photographer. He reads. He loves playing the guitar. He drives a hybrid. But he also makes pains to establish that he’s no hermit, conscious, perhaps, of his position’s stereotypes: “I’m trying to be a little more social, to be around friends and not be the weird goalie who sits in his house all day and wears the cushions out on his couch,” he’s said.
His loyalties lie with his family, his “pit crew” of core pals, and his wife, television actress Noureen DeWulf.
He spent the summer training and clearing his head. Conscious of the strain that travel exacts on players in the Western Conference, Miller put together an off-season regimen carefully designed to ramp up as the season approached. “Every year, you have to prove yourself,” he says. “You’re not handed a job.”
Although a popular narrative says Miller is fading with age, his numbers tell a different story. He hasn’t posted a save percentage under .915 in six seasons, while topping the league in shots against for the past two. He’s done this almost exclusively while propping up a basement dweller. The truth is, Miller is a difference-maker. And he’s hungrier than ever.
from John Grigg of Sportsnet,
Biggest story line to watch: There’s really only one thing people are waiting to find out: What happens with deposed captains Thornton and Marleau? (That’s right. Did you forget that Marleau wore the “C” from 2004 to ’09?) Will management get its way and be able to move them. And will Wilson and McLellan have the cojones to play their veterans less if it helps make that happen? If they do, San Jose is sunk, because while they’re on the downside, Jumbo Joe and Marsie (or whatever Marleau’s nickname in the room is) are still effective players who’d be top six on just about any team in the league.
A secondary story here is goaltending. If Stalock continues to push Niemi, who will end up the starter?
Finally, is Hertl the real deal? A possible Calder nomination was scuttled by injury last year, but he scored the fifth-most goals in the league per 60 5-on-5 minutes last season. Can the 20-year-old keep that kind of production up?
2014-15 prediction: Anaheim, Dallas, L.A., Minnesota and St. Louis will all be stronger this season, while Chicago remains a standard—that’s six Western teams better than San Jose. You do the math.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
The hits keep on coming for the Blue Jackets, and the real games haven’t started yet.
Left wing Boone Jenner is expected to miss significant time because of a broken left hand, an injury suffered when he was struck by a puck on Sunday during practice. Jenner will have more tests this week to determine the severity of the break and how much time he will miss, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.
The break is below his middle finger, likely the capitate, which can take six to eight weeks to heal.
Jenner’s absence means the Blue Jackets’ entire projected No. 1 forward line is out. Center Ryan Johansen is embroiled in a contract dispute with the club, missing his 12th day of camp today. Right wing Nathan Horton has skated since suffering a back injury while jogging this summer in Florida, but there is no timetable for his return. A source said he hasn’t seen any improvement.
“That’s why we have a second line, a third line and a fourth line,” Kekalainen said. “It’s an opportunity for some of our other guys now.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins have three preseason games to determine their roster for the Oct. 8 season opener against Philadelphia. Jobs are up for grabs on the third and fourth lines. But re-signing Krug and Smith gives the Bruins a clearer snapshot of how they’ll break camp, both in terms of dollars and roster strength.
They will still move a defenseman, most likely for futures. But once they account for the bonus overage and Marc Savard’s long-term injury exception, they will not have to move big bucks — namely Johnny Boychuk’s $3,366,667 — to get the league’s green light.
This is a good thing. After this season, Boychuk will command an annual salary north of $6 million. This is not money the Bruins are in good position to spend.
But trading Boychuk would not improve the team. He is an experienced and dependable second-pairing defenseman. Because of the pot that awaits, Boychuk will be motivated to play well. The Bruins will benefit from that.
This puts Matt Bartkowski and Adam McQuaid at highest risk to be moved.
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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