Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
The Avs, in fact, have just six of their own draft picks on the roster, and only two selected outside the first round: forward Ryan O'Reilly (second round, 2009) and defenseman Tyson Barrie (third, 2009). The other Colorado-drafted players are top-three overall picks Matt Duchene (2009), Gabe Landeskog (2011) and Nathan MacKinnon (2013) — who were tabbed as future stars before their drafts — plus Alex Tanguay (1998), who has played for three other teams before returning to the Avs.
Which explains why Sakic and Roy recently fired head amateur scout Rick Pracey after a summer's worth of adding depth free agents to stock the big-league roster as well as their minor-league affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters. The Avs declined to address Pracey's firing, but his poor draft results outside the no-brainer top-three picks and the O'Reilly and Barrie selections wholeheartedly support the move.
Fact is, the only mid- or late-round Colorado pick to make a dent with the Avs was 2008 fifth-rounder Mark Olver, who is now playing in Russia at age 26. That's a small dent. And even some of the premier picks haven't panned out. Former first-rounders Joey Hishon (2010) and Duncan Siemens (2011) appear to be mistakes, and second-rounders Cameron Guance and Peter Delmas ( both 2008), Stefan Elliott (2009) and Mitchell Heard (2012) are shaping up similarly.
more with a comparison between the Avs and Oilers when it comes to the draft...
How can a netminder allow more than three times as many goals in the second period as he does in the third? And twice as many goals in the first frame as the final one? His third period save percentage would win him the Vezina in a heartbeat if he could play that way all night, every night. But his second period save percentage wouldn't allow him to keep his job in the NHL if his numbers were like that across the board.
HOSSA POWERS BLACKHAWKS TO DIVISION LEAD
Marian Hossa snapped a six-game scoring drought with a pair of markers, including the game-winning goal, to power the Blackhawks to their sixth consecutive victory.
* With the win, the Blackhawks (18-8-1, 37 points) leapfrogged the Predators (17-7-2, 36 points) for the top spot in the Central Division. They have won two of their first three meetings with Nashville this season; these clubs face off one more time in 2014-15, Dec. 29 at CHI.
* Hossa posted his 78th career multi-goal game and first since Jan. 17, 2014 vs. ANA (2-0—2). Per Elias, his 78 multi-goal games rank fourth among active players, behind only Jaromir Jagr (120), Jarome Iginla (103) and Alex Ovechkin (89).
* Scott Darling made 32 saves, including 12 in the third period, to improve to 3-1-0 with a 1.74 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in four career NHL appearances.
* Brandon Saad (1-1—2) posted his fourth multi-point game of the season to stretch his point streak to four contests (3-2—5).
* The Blackhawks improved to 9-1-0 in their past 10 games; they have allowed 19 total goals during that stretch and lead the NHL in goals against per game this season (1.96).
via the Montreal Canadiens,
Live from the Bell Centre as fans pay their last respects to Mr. Jean Béliveau.
The public viewing is from 10:00am to 6:00pm ET today and tomorrow.
"When you think in terms of how we were playing and what could have happened, I think you have to look at this as a turnaround for us, I hope. I'm very pleased of what I've seen."
"I'm very much behind what Hexy's doing ... from the get go, from the very first day, love his plan. I think he's doing a great job for us and I'm looking forward to what's going to happen in the future."
"It's always frustrating when you're losing, but by the same token it happens to teams and we were hoping for a good trip. We've had a pretty good trip. It could have been better if we hadn't given up that goal (in San Jose) with 15 seconds to go and not lost in regulation in any of the games. So I'm very proud of this team."
-Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers after beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 last night. More from Randy Miller of NJ.com.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
It is a good season to stink, or to be hit by a tsunami. The two young men rated at the top of the 2015 draft class, forwards Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, have been described as “generational” players. Sidney Crosby has allowed that McDavid might be even better than he was coming out of junior hockey.
That is the way Stanley Cup champions are built, by having good timing with god-awfulness and reaping the benefits in the draft. The Pittsburgh Penguins in their dark years drafted Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin and Crosby. The Chicago Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
The Los Angeles Kings picked up Dustin Brown in the loaded draft of 2003, Anze Kopitar in the top-heavy draft of 2005 and Drew Doughty in 2008.
Those are players you can’t swing a trade for or sign as a free agent. Ryan Johansen is one of those types. How long did it take the Jackets to find a true No. 1 center?
The think about tanking is it takes commitment. The Jackets are on pace to lose 550 man-games to injury. That is a certain type of commitment. The Jackets had a 6-15-2 record coming out of last weekend. They were last in the NHL with 14 points in 23 games. That is a certain type of commitment.
Then they swept a home-and-home with the Florida Panthers. In the second game, Sergei Bobrovsky had a franchise-record 52 saves. Jeez, Bob, now you’re getting hot?
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The summation of an athlete’s career, especially those greatest at their sport, always comes down to numbers. So inevitably last week that was the case with Jean Beliveau, the sublime, larger-than-life Montreal Canadiens center, his name etched into the Stanley Cup 17 times, though his unremitting dignity, elegance, and grace truly immeasurable, unquantifiable.
Beliveau’s numbers, including the “4” he wore on the back of his Habs sweater for 18 full seasons, his 10-year captaincy, his bountiful goals and assists, will be easy to summon. They have long been engraved in silver, noted in NHL record books, inscribed on his plaque at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Those numbers are the hard facts of what he was, while his dignity, elegance, and grace, the very being of who Joseph Jean Arthur Beliveau was, are left but to the memory of those who saw him play, knew him in his life off the ice, absent his skates, his stick, or iconic CH sweater.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Having Iowa so close is one reason why the Wild has kept its roster at 22 players the past few weeks as opposed to the maximum 23. It saves money and salary-cap space.
It’s an advantage the Anaheim Ducks (Norfolk is their affiliate), Arizona Coyotes (Portland, Maine), Colorado Avalanche (Erie, Pa.), Los Angeles Kings (Manchester, N.H.), San Jose Sharks (Worcester, Mass.) and even the Calgary Flames (Glens Falls, NY), Edmonton Oilers (Oklahoma City) and Vancouver Canucks (Utica, N.Y.) don’t have.
That’s why as early as next season, there could be a titanic transformation in the AHL. The NHL’s chief development league is well on its way toward several relocations of eastern markets to western markets that’ll include some and eventually maybe all of the above teams.
“It’s a work in progress,” said David Andrews, the AHL’s president and CEO who attended Wednesday’s Wild-Montreal Canadiens game. “It has been for about 30 months. I would say the work is getting a little more intense, and I would say it’s eventually going to happen. We’re essentially working on a framework.
“Our relationship with each of the NHL teams is what our league is about, so if that’s what they want for player development, we’re committed to work with them and make it happen.”
more and other hockey topics...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Future points to salary retention
The Sabres have assets, including power forward Chris Stewart, who is on the Bruins’ wish list. Stewart, Drew Stafford, and Torrey Mitchell, all unrestricted at season’s end, could fill needs for teams in the playoff hunt. But Buffalo’s most significant advantage is its room under the cap. According to http://www.capgeek.com Buffa,lo has the league’s third-lowest payroll. This leaves GM Tim Murray plenty of space to retain salary in any trade. For some teams approaching the ceiling, including the Bruins, salary retention would be required because they would not otherwise have space to bring on acquisitions without sending money the other way. This will allow Murray to ask for a premium in return.
Dealing with the new system
Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Anaheim, and Vancouver entered this weekend as the top clubs in their respective conferences. Of the four teams, only Pittsburgh has long-term, back-diving contracts (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) that the current collective bargaining agreement has stricken from GMs’ toolboxes. The Lightning, Ducks, and Canucks are operating without the benefit of any pre-lockout contracts, which lower a club’s overall cap hit. Chicago (Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa) and Los Angeles (Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Jonathan Quick) are close to the upper limit. They’d be in even bigger cap trouble if they didn’t have these back-diving contracts lessening their cap burden.
more hockey topics...
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
It’s still too early to push the Panic Button.
But you might want to make sure it has fresh batteries.
Remember the good olds days when your Montreal Canadiens were the number one team in the NHL?
That was what, 10 days ago?
The Canadiens have lost six of their last seven games. They are third in the Atlantic Division.
And check the rear-view mirror: the Leafs are five points behind the Canadiens – with three games in hand.
Button finger getting a tad itchy?
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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