Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brian Compton 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. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, 52 points (1 first-place vote) 2013-14: 51 goals, 79 points, 78 games played
Ovechkin will be playing for yet another coach (Barry Trotz) when training camp opens, but he continues to produce regardless of who is behind the bench. The 28-year-old scored 51 goals for Adam Oates last season and now has 422 goals in 679 games, all with the Capitals.
2. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks, 51 points (1) 2013-14: 43 goals, 82 points, 81 games played
Ovechkin was the only player in the NHL who scored more goals than Perry last season; it marked the second time in Perry's career that he scored at least 40 goals. He followed with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forward Daniel Carcillo to a professional tryout contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Carcillo, 29, originally broke into the professional ranks with the Penguins organization after being drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft. He played two seasons with the Penguins’ American Hockey League affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, from 2005-07, tallying 54 points (32G-22A) and 494 penalty minutes in 103 regular-season games.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Carcillo has played nine NHL seasons, beginning with the Arizona Coyotes in in 2006-07. Since then, he has gone on to suit up for the Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Ryan Johansen, the Blue Jackets’ top-line center, needs a new contract. His agent is Kurt Overhardt. The Jackets’ point man is assistant general manager Bill Zito.
Overhardt and Zito stopped negotiating on or around Aug. 1, which was five weeks ago.
The sides have agreed on a two-year term. The price tag is another matter. The Blue Jackets are offering around $7 million, or $3.5 million a year. Johansen’s agent is seeking something in the neighborhood of $13 million, or $6.5 million a year.
So, the sides are about $3 million apart, per year, and neither side is budging, and training camp is two weeks away.
This is getting stupid....
I am not bashing Johansen here. I am merely wondering what his agent is doing asking for the same second-contract money that was fetched by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Will Joey be as good as Toews? Maybe — but he is not as good right now, by any measure. Where is the Cup?
Overhardt should have an offer sheet from another team by now, if that is his angle. That would be fine. If he is aiming for a protracted holdout, I am betting the Blue Jackets hold firm. And they should.
from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,
It may seem a contradiction, but Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward had an uneasy, productive summer.
For Ward, the uneasiness came in persistent speculation he might be traded. Asked this week if he believed he might have played his last game for the Canes, Ward said, “I think I’d be lying if I said no. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
The trade rumors spiked around the NHL draft and then the start of free agency, but there was no move. The tension subsided, Ward said, when general manager Ron Francis called to say Ward and Anton Khudobin would be the Canes’ two goaltenders this season.
“It was an important summer in my career,” Ward said. “These last couple of years haven’t gone the way I expected of myself. I feel like that’s behind me and you move forward. I’ve done everything I can to prepare myself to play with confidence.”
Ward, 30, said he intensified his physical conditioning, looking to add more muscle. He changed his diet, looking to improve his nutrition.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Dispatch,
Schwartz’s agent, Wade Arnott, and Blues general manager Doug Armstrong have held lengthy discussions in recent weeks, but agree they are not close on a contract extension.
“We remain significantly apart on our respective positions at this point,” Arnott said Wednesday.
“I understand their position, they understand our position,” Armstrong said, “and there is a gap in the level of compensation.”
The success of Schwartz, 22, in such a short time has made for a complicated negotiation.
In 2013-14, Schwartz ranked third on the Blues’ roster with 25 goals and fourth in points with 56. He finished with a plus-minus rating of plus-28, tops on the team and tied for No. 13 in the NHL.
From NHL.com's Arpon Basu:
The NHL is close to hiring a new head of the Department of Player Safety, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday.
The NHL has been without a permanent lead disciplinarian since Brendan Shanahan left the League on April 11 to become president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stephane Quintal, who worked under Shanahan since November 2011, took over as head of player safety on an interim basis through the end of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We're getting to the short strokes of that process," Commissioner Bettman said, speaking at a media event outside Montreal. "We've interviewed a lot of candidates, including somebody that's been doing it on an interim basis, and we will be making a decision shortly. We wanted to finish the process; [NHL deputy commissioner] Bill Daly and I each managed to take a little time off in August, but certainly well in advance of the start of the season we'll have an announcement."
Bettman also tells Basu that he's working with the NHLPA to reestablish "more international play," i.e. a revival of the "World Cup of Hockey":
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"When you do it every day for a couple of weeks we'll see how it feels," Alfredsson said. "Make sure it holds up and it's not just feeling good for a little bit and then you're in and out all year long. That's not what anybody wants.
"Every day it's been progressing good. As we push more and more it's going to be more telling."
Alfredsson will decide before the team leaves for training camp in Traverse City on Sept. 17 (on ice starting the 19th).
"If Alfie tells me he can't play hockey, my decision has been made," general manager Ken Holland said. "If Alfie tells me he feels great, and he wants to play hockey then we have to sit down and talk.
"He wants to play. He wants to be fair to the Detroit Red Wings. And he wants to put himself through an everyday test that starts this week."
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
According to a report out of the Czech Republic, David Krejci has agreed to a six year contract extension with the Bruins that will pay him in the neighborhood of $43 million. Hokej.cz is reporting through Krejci’s management group that the playmaking center and the Bruins have agreed to terms on a six year extension that would pay him $7.16 million per season.
The $7.16 million cap hit would put him slightly above the pay scale of Patrice Bergeron ($6.5 million), Zdeno Chara ($6.9 million) and Tuukka Rask ($7 million) to make him the highest paid Bruins player on an average annual value basis. The salary number isn’t a surprise given the rising salary cap and the big money extensions handed out to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews earlier this season, and guarantees that the Bruins will keep together a roster built around their top two frontline centers for the majority of the next decade.
Both the B’s organization and Krejci haven’t yet confirmed the contract extension to CSNNE.com, but it was fully expected that the B’s would work something out with their top line pivot prior to the season.
via the CP at the Globe and Mail,
Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday a report the NHL will expand by four teams was a “complete fabrication,” and the league isn’t looking to add any new franchises.
“The part of the story I found particularly difficult was suggestion we would sell four franchises for $1.4-billion is way too low,” Bettman said. “It undervalues our franchises.”
Sports Business News reported via Twitter last week the NHL will expand into Las Vegas, Seattle, and Quebec City while adding a second franchise in Toronto by 2017.
Bettman said there’s plenty of interest from people wanting NHL expansion teams but added the league hasn’t researched the issue.
Mark Spector of Sportsnet answered a few Twitter questions today regarding the Vancouver Canucks and this one is about the playoff chances for the Canucks.
Vancouver missed the playoffs last spring for the first time in six seasons. They finished a miserable 12th in the West and 25th overall—down from third and eighth, respectively, the year before. Pick any team in any league that declined that much in one season, and tell me if you would pick them to rebound and make the playoffs the following season.
Exactly. We don’t see the Canucks as heading into a full blown Edmonton- or Calgary-type rebuild, but they do share some traits with teams that have been forced to go that route. Poor drafting. Bad trades. Sketchy free-agent signings. All of those have left Benning with the task of filling in a huge gap in the Canucks pipeline between the ages of 20 and about 28.
The draft-and-develop route takes much time, while changing the NHL roster via trades and free agency is also slow. But those two jobs are the priority in Vancouver, and that means an NHL linesman won’t drop a playoff puck in British Columbia come April. I’ve got the Canucks at 11th in the West.
more question answered...
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