Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stan Fischler of The Fischler Report,
* Those who don't appreciate Mike Babcock annually predict a "Doomsday in Detroit." And it never happens because of Mike Babcock. And that, my fine, feathered friends, is not what you'd call a coincidence.
* Some hockey players put on a good act for the media but I truly believe Mike Ribeiro will turn over a new -- good -- leaf in Nashville.
* Sorry but I need help; is Jamie Benn really a star or is he still on his way to stardom?
Sportsnet's Luke Fox has been monitoring the fates of the "NHL's Top 10 Unrestricted Free Agents"--with an emphasis on those who remain on the marketplace--The Score's Thomas Drance has penned a list of 3 categories of "cheap free agent gambles that pay off year after year," and while general managers are most likely "at the lake" or golf course right now (World Junior Selection camps begin in August and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic kicks off the 2014-2015 scouting season), both Fox, Drance and ESPN's Craig Custance duly note that there are some bargains out there.
Said players tend to have to reduce their asking prices and may end up waiting until training camps begin to find their NHL homes, but the Devin Setoguchis, Tomas Vokouns, Dustin Penners, Daniel Winniks, etc. do tend to make significant impacts eventually...
And Custance's Insider-only entry leads off with a player who may or may not fit into the "best player who played outside of the NHL last season" category:
All about the curious case of Jimmy Hayes (and Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard contract updates)
This is something of a "choose-your-own adventure" entry. CBS Sports' Chris Peters and SI's Allan Muir tell the story of a Chicago Blachkawks prospect who might get away, someone who deliberately skipped the Hawks' summer development camp, and you can indulge yourself in the New York Post's Larry Brooks' reporting (which served as inspiration for said "adventure") at your leisure.
Muir explains that Blackhawks 2010 draft pick Kevin Hayes, a 6'4" Hobey Baker Award finalist, happens to be property of the Blackhawks until August 16th, when the 65-point-scorer (that's pretty dang great for NCAA Division I hockey) becomes a free agent per, "Player is your property until four months after he graduates" CBA rules, after which time he can signa 2-year entry-level deal with any team...
You tend to read a story like this, reported by the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno, and you just hope for the best:
Patrice Brisebois is leaving the Montreal Canadiens for personal reasons, a source tells The Canadian Press.
Brisebois, who has served as director of player development for the past two years, told general manager Marc Bergevin of his intentions earlier this week, the source said.
The 43-year-old Montreal native played 16 of his 18 NHL seasons for the Habs. Between Montreal and the Colorado Avalanche he played 1,009 career games.
A team losing its director of player development is a big deal, and this will present a challenge and a half for Bergevin and his management group, but you've got to let folks deal with their personal lives first and foremost...
Via NHL.com, reading this kind of thing is usually quite scary, but the Calgary Sun's Wes Gilbertson reports that the Calagary Flames' new starting goaltender has
Calgary Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller needed a minor procedure after having an appendicitis attack working out in Switzerland, the Calgary Sun reported via Twitter.
Flames beat writer Wes Gilbertson wrote Hiller is "expected to make a speedy recovery."
Initial reports from Switzerland said Hiller had the attack at a goalie camp in Verbier. The camp director did not know if Hiller would need surgery.
The wonders of modern medicine, eh?
“The whole season overall wasn’t how I wanted it to be. It was unfortunate losing your confidence early. It’s a confidence game. So I’m just trying to get it back this summer. I know what I can do and can provide a team. I’ve done it in the past; I’m just trying to get there again.”
-Unrestricted Free Agent Michael Del Zotto. More on Del Zotto from Luke Fox of Sportsnet.
from Ian Cooper at the Toronto Star,
The free agent sweepstakes ended in a flash and two of our favourite players (Radim Vrbata and Benoit Pouliot) found themselves a new home and a significant raise.
For those who can’t get enough hockey in July, the league has served up its next round of entertainment: the arbitration game.
What could be more exciting than following the stories of 23 players as they, their employers, and a phalanx of lawyers and agents slowly wend their way toward a settlement on the courtroom steps?
NHL salary arbitrations have detailed rules and a veneer of science to them as the combatants try to come up with “comparables” to assess a player’s worth.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
The off-season is when NHL teams examine their rosters and look to improve. But as we know, there’s more to every franchise’s business dealings than the players themselves. There’s also the matter of the in-arena experience for fans who spend big money on tickets. While some teams are better at it than others, there’s lots of room for improvement in the way paying customers are entertained 41 nights per season. Here are three easy ways to do that:
1. Enough of the same old song. At the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the same songs often are played not just game after game, but in the exact same circumstances every night. (I’m not talking about a team’s “goal song”. That’s fine.) While there are hundreds, if not a few thousand people on any given night who may only attend one or two games a year, there are many more who are season-ticketholders in attendance every night. It’s indefensible to subject them to a near-identical, cookie-cutter in-game experience, but that’s the reality in many rinks.
from Mary Clarke of CSNPhilly,
If they're going to win the Cup, Roenick believes they'll have to do it with a different goaltender.
"I like Steve Mason," Roenick said on Philly Sports Talk, "but I don’t think Steve Mason is the answer to winning a Stanley Cup."
Mason posted a 33-18-7 record, .917 save percentage and 2.50 goals-against average in his first full year with the Flyers. The 26-year-old once won the Calder Memorial Trophy, in 2008-09, as the league's rookie of the year with the Blue Jackets. But he regressed in his next three and a half seasons before Columbus eventually shipped him to the Flyers for Michael Leighton and a third-round pick.
"I think you need an upper echelon defenseman, I think you need an upper echelon goaltender," Roenick said. "The Flyers do not have [either].
"I think that’s something that you’re going to have to look at in terms of improving your team."
more including video of Roenick making the remarks...
The Bruins need to continue showing they’re the tough, experienced, puck-possession team to beat in a wide open East or the current band may not be together that much longer.
-Joe Haggerty of CSNNE on the Boston Bruins. Read more to find out what choices the Bruins may be forced to make.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org