Kukla's Korner Hockey
TAMPA BAY – Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LLC has entered into a long-term partnership with Amalie Oil Company (AM-a-lee), giving the manufacturer of motor oils and industrial lubricants naming rights to the downtown Tampa home of more than 100 events per year, including the home games of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tampa Bay Storm, Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik announced today. The recently renovated 19,204 seat arena, which opened in 1996 as the home of the Lightning, will be hereafter entitled “Amalie Arena.” The arena naming rights had been controlled by the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) since 2002. Although it cedes the naming rights of the arena to Amalie, The Times will remain the organization’s exclusive print partner.
“I am pleased that the Barkett family has chosen to partner with our organization in displaying the good name of its local, family owned company on our facility,” said Vinik upon making the announcement. “Like Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, the Barkett family and Amalie Oil are heavily vested in our community, providing jobs and stimulating economic activity. The brothers share our vision and values and we look forward to a long and healthy partnership working together to achieve business and community objectives.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We’ll take a look at different storylines over the next couple of weeks as camps near, but here are two of the teams that grab my attention right away: the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
This is an important season for this franchise. They’ve been knocking at the door for three years and have one playoff series win to show for it.
Of course, losing to powerhouse Chicago in the opening round last spring is hardly anything to be embarrassed about. And they lost to Los Angeles the other two postseasons. Talk about playoff royalty. It just underlines yet again the imbalance that exists in the NHL right now in terms of the predominance of the Western Conference.
It’s difficult, yes, but the Blues have to figure out how to join the Kings and Blackhawks at that level.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Who are the best 14 players in the NHL at each position as teams prepare for the start of the 2014-15 season? Arpon Basu, Brian Compton, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen have cast their votes and the result is NHL.com's "Top 14 for '14-15" project....
1. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars, 52 points (2 first-place votes) 2013-14: 34 goals, 79 points, 81 games played
Benn has improved in each of his five NHL seasons, but last season he moved to the left wing and teamed with an elite center in Tyler Seguin to put up career-best numbers across the board, including 28 even-strength goals, which was third in the League. General manager Jim Nill has finally put the pieces around Benn to make the Stars a contender. Benn also won gold with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He turned 25 in July.
2. Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild, 49 points (1 first-place vote) 2013-14: 29 goals, 56 points, 67 games played
Parise is arguably the most difficult left wing to match up against because of his relentless pursuit of the puck, particularly on the forecheck, and his fearlessness in front of the net. He is a five-time 30-goal scorer, including his career-high of 45 with the New Jersey Devils in 2008-09. He likely would have been a 30-goal scorer last season if not for a foot injury.
from the Florida Panthers,
Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with D Aaron Ekblad.
“We are very pleased to have signed Aaron,” said Tallon. “He is a talented, strong, smart and hardworking defenseman who is ready to take the next step in his professional career. We look forward to watching him compete and develop at our prospects camp, throughout our main training camp and in preseason competition.”
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Recently, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford indicated that the club’s starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would enter the 2014-15 season without a contract extension.
Rutherford said it was not an immediate priority to re-sign the 29-year-old netminder, who is heading into the last year of a seven-year, $35 million deal. His agent, Allan Walsh, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he had no problem with that, saying the decision was “of no consequence at all.”
But that doesn’t mean that the lack of a new deal won’t be in the back of Fleury’s mind when he enters training camp next month. His friend and former Penguins teammate Brent Johnson can only imagine the impact that situation might have if he were in Fleury’s skates.
“I believe, if that were me, I’d probably take it worse than Marc [has],” Johnson told ESPN.com in a recent telephone conversation. “It could weigh on your mind. I’m not saying it will, but it could.”
The 37-year-old Johnson, who backed up Fleury for three years and knows him about as well as anyone, thinks Fleury will handle it like a true professional. A player that Johnson describes as “outgoing” and “affable,” Fleury will likely keep any anxiety or unease he may have about the situation private, Johnson said. You won’t see him spouting off to the media or griping behind closed doors, he said. Fleury will want to make his statement in the crease, instead.
RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has hired Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk to serve as a professional scout and advisor.
“Joe brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our organization,” said Francis. “He will be based in Dallas, and will be a major asset to the Hurricanes in player evaluations.”
Nieuwendyk, 47, served as the general manager for the Dallas Stars from 2009-2013, acquiring many of the players that formed the foundation of the Stars’ playoff team in 2014, including Alex Goligoski, Kari Lehtonen, Cody Eakin, Alex Chiasson, Ray Whitney, Antoine Roussel and Brenden Dillon. Prior to joining the Stars, Nieuwendyk served in advisory roles for the Maple Leafs and Panthers, and served as assistant general manager for Canada’s silver-medal-winning team at the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
One of the many things that have taken place over the summer with the Vancouver Canucks has come about quietly, but once again it shows how much the ownership wants to bring a Stanley Cup to this town.
They have definitely gotten in their own way at times, but if you ever needed a more graphic demonstration of how much the Aquilini family wishes to succeed on the ice, you only have to look at the front office to see how they’re trying to push every advantage they might have as a high-revenue team.
Hamstrung in what they can spend by the salary cap, like the Toronto Maple Leafs and a few of the other high-revenue teams are doing, they have expanded the number of people in the front office looking for all the additional help they can find in unearthing ideas and players that one day might be the difference in winning it all.
Consider that former president and general manger Mike Gillis has essentially been replaced by four people. Trevor Linden and his hire Jim Benning have combined to become what will hopefully act as a two-headed president and general manager, although Gillis and Laurence Gilman essentially did that under the old regime.
But Gilman, Lorne Henning and Stan Smyl have all been wisely retained from that regime and two more guys have been added in the hockey-management department in VP of administration TC Carling and VP of player personnel John Weisbrod.
Add any more and the VP meetings, which include all the people from the other departments, will have to be held in the lower bowl of Rogers Arena.
Oh boy. Per the QMI News Agency:
Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby was arrested by Ottawa Police late Tuesday while driving a rented Porsche, sources have told QMI Agency.
Reasons of his arrest were unknown, but appear to be driving related.
Sources say Crosby was taken to the Ottawa police headquarters on Elgin street for fingerprinting and a mugshot.
It is unknown at this time why the NHL star was in Ottawa.
Ottawa Police have been unable to be reached for comment.
I hope he's okay and I hope that this isn't what I think it might be.
added 7:57am, via the CP and TSN,
Ottawa police are denying a published report that they arrested NHL superstar Sidney Crosby.
QMI Agency quoted sources as saying the Pittsburgh Penguins captain was arrested late Tuesday while driving a rented Porsche.
The report said the reason for the arrest was unknown but that it appeared to be "driving related."
The Ottawa police duty desk told The Canadian Press: "It never happened."
Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau also tweeted that the police "have had no dealings with Mr. Crosby."
The Penguins also confirmed to TSN that Crosby is in Vail, Colorado training for the start of the season. "Penguins confirm, Crosby is in Vail, Colorado training this week," tweeted TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger on Wednesday morning.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's returned from his summer vacation, and LeBrun suggests that the juiciest story of early September involves the contract impasse between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen:
Two sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday there’s been next to no dialogue for a while as both sides remain more than $3 million apart per season on a proposed two-year contract.
That’s a sizable gap to be sure.
The sense is that the Johansen camp is willing to go longer on term but the team at this point is more fixated on a two-year bridge deal.
There are different layers to this squabble. From 10,000 feet above, there’s the baggage that this organization carries and the danger of alienating a core fan base that has been so, so patient through all the down years. An ugly fight with perhaps the young star most popular with the fan base is not the kind of thing you want when you consider the history here with Rick Nash, etc.
LeBrun continues, offering an assessment of the "salary ask"...
The nuts and bolts: It’s believed the Johansen camp, led by veteran agent Kurt Overhardt, wants the 22-year-old paid like some of the higher-end, young centers in the league (I’m guessing north of $6 million a year) and why not after a 33-goal campaign. Not to mention the drop-off at center on this team if Johansen isn’t playing. There’s leverage there for the player to be sure.
And LeBrun concludes by suggesting that the Blue Jackets will try to work out a PK Subban-style "bridge deal," though he's not sure whether that will happen before training camps kick off late next week.
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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