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Morning Line- Tom Gulitti

Forget for a moment that the Coyotes’ long-running instability is a red flare for adding a team in a similar non-traditional hockey market such as Las Vegas.

Adding a team anywhere when the league doesn’t have its house in order with its 30 existing teams seems foolhardy.

Of course, for a share of the potential $500 million expansion fee from the Las Vegas ownership group, those 30 teams might be convinced to approve putting a team on Mars regardless of its practicality.

If the NHL has not committed to anything so far with expansion – as Bettman has repeatedly stated – it would hurt no one to wait on Las Vegas until this latest soap opera with the Coyotes plays out.

-Tom Gulitti of The Record where you can read more on this topic.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Two Distinct Coaching Styles From Jon Cooper And Joel Quenneville

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,m

Welcome to the 2015 Stanley Cup final, otherwise known as a Tale of Two Coaches.

In the Tampa corner, you have the personable Cooper, 47, who rubs shoulders with Charles Barkley, had his group’s tab picked up by actor Vince Vaughn at a Chicago steak joint last weekend, and carries with him a swagger that makes you realize just how comfortable he is in his own skin.

Quenneville, 56, is too, but in a far different way. A far nicer man than he gets credit for, especially behind the scenes, Coach Q, as some of the players call him, is far more no nonsense, a do-it-his-way-or-the-highway type who isn’t afraid to let his guys know if they aren’t performing up to par.

In that regard, both teams are reflections of their respective coaches.

The Lightning players are young, fast and, like Cooper, feel as if they can beat anyone.

Like Quenneville, the Hawks are battle-proven, determined, business-like and have established — thanks to Cups in 2010 and 13 — that they’ve already beaten anyone and everyone.

Up until now.

Now comes the real litmus test, at least where these playoffs are concerned.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joel+quenneville, jon+cooper

The Numbers Tell The Story For The Stanley Cup Final

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

The numbers are eerie. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks seem like twinsies in this Stanley Cup final.

Two wins apiece, nine goals apiece, a three-shot difference in pucks on goal, an eight-shot difference in attempts. The same number of blocks. A save percentage just three-hundredths of a point apart.

We’ve had no overtime games thus far but it pretty much feels that way for all 60 minutes, like one goal is going to mean everything. This is the first Cup final to open with four one-goal games since a Montreal sweep of St. Louis in 1968. And that was a sweep where the verdict was pretty much expected, not an up-for-grabs affair like this one.

As we head to Game Five on Saturday in Amalie Arena, here’s the stat I still can’t over: Through 240 minutes over four games, the score has either been tied or a one-goal differential for every second. Another one-goal result, guaranteed if we get our long-overdue first OT, will mark the first time all five games have been that tight since 1951.

At this point, little things become big things. 


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Nate Thompson Out 5-6 Months After Shoulder Surgery

via Eric Stephens of the OC Register,

Surgery on Nate Thompson's left shoulder Thursday revealed two labral tears that will cause the Ducks center to miss the first two months of the 2015-16 season.

A Ducks spokesman said Friday that Thompson will need five to six months of recovery, which could take his return into December. Thompson first hurt his shoulder on April 11 during the team's regular-season finale at Arizona....

The Ducks could enter 2015-16 with Chris Wagner as an option at fourth-line center or possibly address the position with a move over the summer. Wagner is a restricted free agent that will need to be re-signed....

One option no longer available to them is former prospect William Karlsson. Karlsson was sent to Columbus at the March 2 trade deadline in a package that brought the Ducks veteran defenseman James Wisniewski.

Wisniewski did not appear in any playoff games with the Ducks as they used the same six on defense but he still has two years left on a contract that'll pay him $5 million in 2015-16 and $3 million in 2016-17, making the defender part of their plans unless they attempt to move his salary.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nate+thompson

Have the Maple Leafs’ castoffs suddenly become ‘added value’ players?

Sportsnet's Damien Cox suggests that the Toronto Maple Leafs must take an aggressive approach to pre-draft-day trades in order to move out bodies and bring in both younger prospects and picks, and while this entry fits under, "KK Hockey" more than my blog, I (George) read this as a Red Wings fan and thought, "How did two months suddenly turn Toronto's trash into another man's treasure?"

To be in position to get the best players over the next few years, more picks are needed and winning has to become a secondary goal, which means people have to go. Phaneuf almost went at the trade deadline to Detroit, and that’s a scenario that will be revisited, even though the Leafs have yet to hire a new general manager. Shanahan feels comfortable making major deals with Mark Hunter, Kyle Dubas and Mike Babcock at his side, and the Red Wings may be willing to give up the futures now that they weren’t willing to relinquish in March when a deal that featured Phaneuf going to Motown for the contract of Stephen Weiss and defenceman Brendan Smith wasn’t concluded because the Leafs also wanted futures the Wings weren’t willing to surrender at that point.

Yes, because Teemu Pulkkinen scoring like a machine during two-and-a-half rounds of the Grand Rapids Griffins' playoffs = he's totally redundant.

Kessel, meanwhile, has seven years to go at $8 million per, but even in an off, off season he potted 25 goals. There’s no obvious match here, but lots of teams failed in the playoffs or missed them because they struggled to score and could have interest in the winger.

And so they're supposed to surrender major compensation for someone described by the Toronto media as nothing more than a malcontent and a cancer?

Bozak and Lupul would be the next two on the list, and if Kessel can’t be moved, they are easier to deal. Lupul has three years left at $5.25 million, Bozak three more at $4.2 million.

The Leafs have demonstrated in the David Clarkson trade with Columbus and the Phaneuf talks with Detroit they’re willing to absorb salary if that’s what it takes to make a deal. Moreover, they’re keenly aware that once the free agent market opens July 1, and with the cap likely to increase only to about $71 million, their options to move these players are likely to be reduced significantly as budgets get spent.

That doesn't mean their prices have gone up since the trade deadline, when the Leafs weren't able to consummate deals for any of the above-listed players.

Cox continues, and I'm not trying to rip the guy, but let's just say I think his take on the value of the players the Maple Leafs' press corps bashed for the entire 2014-15 season aren't any higher because other teams are desperate to take the Leafs' problem children on this summer.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+shanahan, david+clarkson, detroit+red+wings, dion+phaneuf, joffrey+lupul, kyle+dubas, mike+babcock, phil+kessel, toronto+maple+leafs, tyler+bozak

Ron Francis Has Some Decisions To Make

from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,

Both Eric Staal and Ward need to be either re-signed or traded, because their contracts are up after next season. Jordan Staal is signed to a long-term contract but came here to play with his brother and may not want to stay without him. Skinner has three years left on his contract but is one of the Hurricanes’ most marketable assets.

Francis and Curran met Wednesday to discuss the group’s conjoined future, and no matter what happens it’s impossible to separate their fates. No part of this discussion can be conducted in isolation.

“Over the years, I’ve had a number of occasions where I was faced with similar situations, with five or six clients on a particular team and it’s just coincidental with the dates of their contracts being due,” Curran said. “When I’m dealing on behalf of a client, I’m very cautious and very concerned to focus on the individual client. But having said that, you have to step back and look at the big picture and recognize any decision one client might make has a net effect on what someone else might want to do.”

In each case, Francis is more willing to consider a blockbuster trade than he was a year ago when he was just taking over as general manager and wanted to see if a few tweaks could get the Hurricanes back into the playoffs. That failed, and drastic changes are more likely.

“From my standpoint, I would say I have more interest in doing that at this point,” Francis said. “How it plays out, it’s tough to tell.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Arizona Coyotes File Restraining Order Against The City Of Glendale

GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- The Arizona Coyotes issued the following statement today:

"The Arizona Coyotes have acted to defend their rights and reaffirm their continuing commitment to their great fans by seeking a restraining order to stop the City of Glendale's baseless attack on, and improper attempt to void, the Coyotes' lawful and proper lease to play at Gila River Arena. The suit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court against the City of Glendale, the Glendale City Council and other City officials."

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Greg Stanton, Mayor Of Phoenix

"My position is that, it's really important that this team, the Coyotes, stay in our Valley. We are lucky to have an NHL franchise in the Valley of the Sun. We are lucky to be one of the few communities in the country that have the four major professional sports organizations located in our Valley. As Mayor of Phoenix, I'm a leader. I'm a leader not just for my city, but for this entire region, and I'm going to do what I can to make sure that this very, very important asset to this community -- this hockey team -- stay in the Valley of the Sun."

-Greg Stanton, Mayof of Phoenix.  More at Arizona Sports.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Jon Cooper On A Few Topics Today

via Sportsnet,

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper tells Millard and Shannon that he’s enjoying every bit of his team’s phenomenal run to the Stanley Cup Final, talks about the status of Ben Bishop, and how he uses his skills as a lawyer to his advantage.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jon+cooper

Morning Line- Steve Rosenbloom

Why did Alex Killorn high-stick Kimmo Timonen in the first period of Game 4?

Why would anyone high-stick Timonen ever?

Timonen is 40 and bad and nearly died every time the Ducks forechecked.

If Killorn had injured Timonen, he would’ve deserved a benching for eliminating the chance that Hawks coach Joel Quenneville would play an ill-equipped defenseman.

Timonen, who surprisingly drew into the lineup for Game 4, played his eight shifts without somehow giving up a goal. He’ll undoubtedly draw into Game 5.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

-Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune were you can read more on the Blackhawks.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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