Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
The migration of on-and-off-ice talent from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Los Angeles Kings franchise that has won two of the past three Cups is not lost on observers. At various points in the past 15 years, the Flyers (a) employed L.A. GM Dean Lombardi as their western scout, and Kings assistant coach John Stevens as their coach; (b) centered their core of forwards around Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, who each have two rings with the Kings; and (c) had Ron Hextall as their director of player personnel before he joined L.A. and was part of their Cup win in 2012.
Hextall returned to the Flyers last summer and will enter his rookie year as Philly’s GM. His best chance to deliver a Cup is if owner Ed Snider leaves him alone to work at it. That hasn’t always been true in the nearly five decades Snider has owned the team. And the success of the Kings – the success of components not good enough for the Flyers – should show Snider the best thing he can do to satisfy his competitive urges is to wall himself off from hockey decisions.
Because in the modern era, it’s a fact: Stanley Cups are won by teams whose owners stay out of the picture.
This is not to say Snider has directed every move made by Paul Holmgren, Bob Clarke or any past Flyers GM.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
At this point, it seems highly unlikely Johansen will be on the ice at the start of training camp. Overhardt will use that as leverage, as he has many, many times with clients in the last decade, including Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky in 2009 when he played for the New York Rangers.
The Blue Jackets, thus, must be prepared to play without Johansen in the lineup. They've already had discussions to that end.
There are numerous NHL free agents out there who will be heading to NHL camps under tryout agreements if they don't sign contracts. Saku Koivu, Dustin Penner, Michal Handzus, Andrei Loktionov, David Steckel, Ryan Malone, Ville Leino, Colin Fraser, Daniel Carcillo, Ryan Carter, and others are all still on the UFA market.
As of Friday, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said a camp tryout agreement with a player is unlikely, especially early in camp. (Koivu, huh?) The Blue Jackets have so many young player in-house, and they want to see how they've progressed. But stay tuned. (Keep your phone on, Saku.)
Another possibility, should Johansen not be part of the team, is that Boone Jenner could be moved back to center, the position he played throughout his youth and most of his junior career. That's not ideal, as the Blue Jackets love Jenner's presence in their top six, but it's a possible remedy.
from Curtis Zupke at NHL.com,
How much will Kesler help close the gap between Anaheim and the Kings and Chicago Blackhawks? – Kesler is adept in the faceoff circle and will help the Ducks' 22nd-ranked power play. When healthy, he is good for 10-15 power-play goals per season and is also a shorthanded threat.
Defensively, Kesler has won the Selke Trophy (and was a finalist two other times) and provides size and a 200-foot game that is valuable in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
That said, Kesler alone won't put Anaheim on par with Los Angeles and Chicago. The Ducks had to give up Nick Bonino in the trade and veterans Koivu and Perreault were not brought back, so they aren't as deep down the middle on their third and fourth lines.
How does the goaltending shake out? – Frederik Andersen is probably the No. 1 at the moment but that could change in a heartbeat if fellow second-year goalie John Gibson has an outstanding training camp. Andersen and Gibson both usurped Jonas Hiller, who signed with the Calgary Flames, and there might be times this season when Anaheim realizes how much it misses Hiller. That's why Jason LaBarbera was signed to provide veteran leadership.
"We think we've got two really good goalies and an experienced, veteran goalie," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think we're OK there, I just don't know how it will shake out."
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Tonelli, who won four Stanley Cup championships with the Islanders, thinks the addition of Jaroslav Halak and backup netminder Chad Johnson could be huge for the Isles this season as they try to make it back to the playoffs after a disappointing 26th place finish last year.
“I think they made a great move getting some goaltending help. It’s tough for one guy to carry the load and it always helps when you bring in another guy,” said Tonelli, who played in front of the legendary Billy Smith during the Isles’ dynasty days. “Goaltending seems to be the key ... it starts from there, taking care of your own end.”
And dynamic young center John Tavares gives the Islanders an electrifying element.
“He’s just such a pleasure to watch,” Tonelli said. “You know, he’s exciting to watch and he wants to lead by example. He wants to be there. He wants to see the Islanders become a great team. As a former player for the Islanders organization, that’s what it’s all about. We all want it to be there. We all wanted to be part of a great team. I see that in [Tavares].”
added 11:50am, Brad Marchand too... below....
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE who answered some questions from fans...
w/ cap issues, too many D and age starting to show, how do you feel about shopping big Z while value is still high?
JH: I feel like this may happen eventually if he continues to show his age in key spots during the season (cough, cough…the playoffs), but the Bruins would need to develop an exit strategy first. I don’t see anybody on Boston’s roster that could step in and become the defensive stopper and play 25-30 minutes a night against the other team’s best offensive players.
You could force Johnny Boychuk to play that role or push Dougie Hamilton into it before he’s potentially ready to take that on, but that could have negative consequences. Just look in Toronto where the Maple Leafs have pushed Dion Phaneuf into a stopper D-man role that he’s really not suited for, and Toronto’s entire defensive effort has been compromised because of it.
The bottom line: the guy was a Norris Trophy finalist last season and had an excellent year. Be careful what you wish for, especially now that the 6-foot-9 defenseman has agreed to park his big frame in front of the net on power plays. That’s been a big difference-maker.
more Boston related questions and answers...
added 11:35am, Edmonton Oilers press release is below...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
With National Hockey League training camps three weeks away from starting, this is the first time in his life he didn’t spend his summer getting ready for hockey.
He says there are no withdrawal pains now, but come Oct. 9 when the Calgary Flames are here for the Oilers home opener, maybe they’ll kick in.
For now, he’ll be as far away from the rink as possible. He’ll be a National Football League and a baseball fan.
“I’m heading to Seattle this weekend to watch the Green Bay Packers,” said Smyth.
“Then I’m going to New York to see Derek Jeter close in on his final games.
“These are not things I’d be doing if I was going to camp. Trying to keep busy.”
He has seen the inside of a gym since hanging up his skates four and a half months ago. He hasn’t turned into a sloth.
from Eric Gilmore at NHL.com,
How will the Sharks respond after their stunning first-round loss? -- The Sharks were humiliated after losing four straight games to the Kings. Most likely, they'll use that meltdown as motivation.
"The way we ended was disappointing to say the least, but it's something that we're going to have to look into the mirror, each one of us, and look to each other and all start pushing in the same direction," defenseman Jason Demers said.
"I think we still have that team that can go all the way."
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