Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Smith of CarolinaHurricanes.com,
At the end of the 2013-14 season, the fifth straight year in which the Carolina Hurricanes had missed the playoffs, captain Eric Staal once again faced the media in a haze of disappointment.
He was dejected, and he was blunt.
“I know everybody is frustrated,” he said. “I know our fans are frustrated. Management, staff, players, everyone is. That’s not a secret, and that needs to change.”
He was asked how it could change.
“Bottom line: We’ve just got to get better, all-around.”
from Kevin Kurtt of Let'sPlayHockey,
Let’s say, just for the heck of it, that NHL teams are organized with players playing for their home American state, Canadian province or European country instead of for a professional franchise. And let’s say, just for fun, that teams in the NHL consist of a total of six players – a starting lineup of three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie.
Who would prevail in this scaled-down, community-based NHL?
Minnesotans are a provincial bunch, happy to celebrate when ‘one of us’ succeeds on the local, national or international stage. In the new-look NHL, that provincialism would be commonplace as states, provinces and countries would laud their homegrown talent playing for their local club.
It would be like high school all over again. Instead of cheering for a team with players that have little to no connection to the area, fans would ‘root, root, root for the home team,’ supporting their native sons in their quest for geographical supremacy and birthplace bragging rights.
In an effort to determine what the community-based NHL would look like, I declared myself Supreme General Manager and created 45 teams, made up primarily of current NHL players (with a few minor league goalies to fill some states’ lack of NHL netminders). Every state/province/country with enough NHL players to field a starting lineup was awarded a franchise, with several areas getting 2-3 teams based on the number of elite players available.
With a little bit of practice, you too can learn to stop worrying and love record-breaking contract extensions. And you don’t even need to feel rushed — we’ve all still got 11 months to practice before the $100 million Steven Stamkos deal is announced next summer.
-Sean McIndoe of Grantland where you can read more on big-time contract extensions.
MOSCOW, August 07. /ITAR-TASS/. The extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is particularly important in view of the current global political situation, KHL President Alexander Medvedev said on Thursday.
An agreement to extend for one more year the Memorandum of Understanding, which stipulates respect for contracts of professional players from the both Leagues, was signed on Thursday prolonging it until June 30, 2015. The memorandum is primarily aimed at resolution of disputable situations in case of players’ transfer from the one league to the other.
“It is not a secret that the signing of first such agreement in 2011 was not easy,” Medvedev told an ITAR-TASS correspondent. “Annual prolongations of the memorandum were not smooth as well. I am not going to name the reasons behind as the most important thing is that the agreement was signed and in line with all rights and obligations, which KHL and NHL previously exercised.”
“The signing of the document is particularly important against the background of the current global political situation. It keeps the sport out of politics,” the KHL president said. “I only want to express hope that our foreign partners, who manage ice hockey in the United States, Canada and Europe, will maintain such approach in the future.”
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Connor McDavid spent most of Wednesday night with Russians draped over his back.
Unlike a year ago at the Canadian team’s world junior summer camp — when the physical play overwhelmed McDavid at times — the 17-year-old phenom met power with power.
The favourite to be selected first overall in the 2015 National Hockey League draft, McDavid was an offensive wizard in a 5-2 Canada victory in a world junior exhibition game, creating scoring chances on seemingly every shift.
That’s nothing new for the Erie Otters star. What is revealing is how he was getting it done. A prime example came in the second period, when he stayed on the puck and manufactured a play that led to a goal by Nick Ritchie.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The 57-year-old Langway, reached via phone at his residence outside Fredericksburg, Virginia, said he thinks an improved defense will be a huge asset for the Capitals moving forward. The Capitals also added another former Penguin, veteran Brooks Orpik, for good measure to round out a back end that was a sore spot for the team last season.
"They have more balanced defensemen now,” Langway told ESPN.com “They have their 1-2 defenseman, their 3-4 that can play against top players but might rather not, and their 5-6 can play on the penalty kill, fill in, or be tough guys that play against tough guys. That can change the momentum. I don’t think the Capitals have had that for years."
Whereas Mike Green was once considered among the elite defenseman in the league, particularly for his offensive abilities, he has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency in recent years. John Carlson has been regarded as one of the top young blueliners in the league, but the defense struggled as a whole this past season. Now, with more depth, certain players like Carlson and Green may have a little less responsibility and a little more freedom to produce offensively.
That won’t be the only positive spillover effect, either. Langway thinks an improved defense could also pay dividends for the likes of Ovechkin, who was routinely criticized for his defensive shortcomings last season despite leading the league with 51 goals and nabbing his fourth Rocket Richard Trophy.
from Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com,
How will the Rangers supplement the forward depth they lost? -- In his first year as Rangers coach, Alain Vigneault rolled all four lines and got consistent scoring from the top three units. He'll be challenged to do that again this season.
New York got key plays from Richards and Pouliot, who signed a five-year, $20 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. A fourth line considered among the NHL's best was also dismantled when Brian Boyle signed with the Lightning and Dorsett was traded.
The Rangers hope free-agent additions Lee Stempniak, Tanner Glass, Chris Mueller and Matthew Lombardi, and some of their young talent, can help maintain that forward depth.
Can Rick Nash return to elite form? -- New York's success drew attention away from a disappointing season for its highest-paid skater.
Nash led the Rangers in goals last season, but 26 goals and 39 points in 65 games aren't necessarily numbers befitting a star player responsible for a $7.8-million cap charge in each of the next four seasons. Nash's production dropped precipitously during the postseason, when he scored three goals in 25 games.
With St. Louis and Stepan potentially serving as linemates, Nash will be expected to recapture the form that saw him score 38 or more goals three times with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Yes, it is that time of year...
I’ve gotten to know him pretty well. He lives pretty much in the town right next to me, and we’ve been skating together this summer. I started to get to know him heading into the Olympics, and then I got to know him pretty well there. He’s a good guy and he’s going to be a great teammate. He competes like crazy. The fans are going to love him and his work ethic. Talking to him, he’s really looking forward to a fresh start in Anaheim. It’s going to be great.
-Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks on new teammate Ryan Kesler. More from Fowler in a Q & A by Kyle Shoraha of the Ducks' website.
Craig Custance of ESPN just completed an online chat...
Who is the (very) early favorite in the East? Does NY stay at the top? Does Boston bounce back? TB, MON, PIT, PHL?
Craig Custance My early favorite is Boston. I'm curious to see how Peter Chiarelli gets under the cap. He'll have to move a d-man, but I love how that team is constructed. I like Tampa Bay. I think it's going to be really hard for New York to duplicate last year's success, especially considering how their depth took a hit this off-season.
Craig, great to have NHL chat! What is the goalie situation in Pittsburgh? With MAF playing great in the regular season, but horrible in the playoffs, who do you see the Pens signing to be their #1 this upcoming season? Also, do you think the Pens can land a solid D player, with Orpick gone? Thanks! BRING ON OCTOBER!
Craig Custance Great to be chatting Jdub! This is a big year for Marc-Andre Fleury. He has a new regime to convince he's the answer in Pittsburgh. The one thing you know about him is that he has the unwavering support of that dressing room. He's loved in that room. But you're right, nobody is going to be overly impressed with a strong regular season unless it's followed by a playoff run. The Ehrhoff signing by Jim Rutherford was outstanding and addresses the defense. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he gets a long-term deal before the season ends.
I believe this is the final year of Bobby Ryan's contract - do you think the Sens will try to extend him or trade him this season?
Craig Custance You are correct. This is Bobby Ryan's final season. They may try to extend him but if you're Bobby Ryan, what's your motivation to sign on long term in Ottawa? That's a budget team and if I'm him, I'm playing this thing out to free agency. And if that's the case and the Sens are out of the playoff hunt, Ryan will be one of the big pieces available at the trade deadline.
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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