Kukla's Korner Hockey
feom Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Claude Julien owes a tip of the cap and maybe a whole lot more than that to his friend, Mike Babcock, for the $25-million deal he just signed with the Montreal Canadiens.
And he’s not alone in the coaching fraternity.
When Babcock left the Detroit Red Wings for Toronto, he did so with more than one intent in mind. He wanted to change the salary structure for the head coach in hockey. He wanted it more in line with what coaches are paid in the NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball. He wanted to be the difference maker — not just behind the bench — and he did considerable research to establish a new paygrade for a coach in the National Hockey League.
Babcock is paid $6.25-million US salary per season with the Leafs and in signing that deal, he absolutely obliterated the previous marks. And with it has come a difference.
continued plus a few NHL topics...
Canadiens fans who were so excited by the return of Julien to replace the fired Michel Therrien ended up booing the team off the ice Saturday.
Welcome back, Claude.
-Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette where you can read more on the Habs...
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
McPhee’s phone is already buzzing with GMs trying to make deals in principle. He is permitted to eventually make expansion-draft trades with teams. In other words, McPhee says, “Maybe we take a pick or prospect to promise not to take this player from a team or to take a player from that team.”
“I’ve built high-flying teams in the past, offensive, entertaining teams and would like to do the same thing,” said McPhee, the Washington Capitals GM for 17 years. “What we do with the expansion draft hasn’t been settled yet because until we see the entire universe of what teams want to do, who they want to protect and expose, we don’t know which way we’re going to go.”
more plus other topics
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The March 1 trade deadline is less than two weeks away. It’s possible that Cup chasers such as Washington, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota look into roster-finishing rentals for depth purposes.
But based on chatter around the league, the deadline is not shaping up to be a locus of activity involving first-round picks, prospects, and players with term changing teams. The refrain that executives are parroting around the league: The draft-and-develop blueprint is not negotiable.
Part of this is because of current circumstances. The $73 million salary cap is not expected to rise significantly in 2017-18, if at all. The only committed sellers are Colorado and Arizona because of the parity promoted by the cap and the points system. Teams are pursuing compliance for the expansion draft out of fear of losing a first-round pick for not meeting the league’s criteria.
But teams also are finally wising up to the fact that drafting and developing is the most effective team-building approach. If trades happen, they take place before the draft when picks are in play and budgets have yet to be filled. The deadline is more for complementary acquisitions.
more plus additional hockey topics...
STAMFORD, Conn. – NBC Sports celebrates Hockey Day in America this Sunday with an NHL quadrupleheader on NBC and NBCSN, as well as a collection of stories and features that explore hockey’s impact and influence across the U.S.
Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC, when Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. NBC’s HDIA presentation continues at 3:30 p.m. ET, when Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins host Dylan Larkin and the Detroit Red Wings.
from Gare Joyce at the New York Times,
This is a story about one of those scouts, Fred. I tell Fred’s story whenever I overhear a fan talking about scouting as a dream job.
When I first met him, in the early 2000s at the World Junior Championships in Pardubice, in the Czech Republic, his scouting career was off to a promising start. He was in his early 30s, in his first N.H.L. gig.
As a player, he was short and, to be polite, stubby. On the ice, he had lived by his wits. Scouts grade prospects on “hockey sense,” an intuitive understanding of the way the game should be played. Scouts, of course, would be helpless without it. As a player and scout, Fred had hockey sense in spades.
Though he never played in an N.H.L. game, Fred believed he had found his niche as a scout, and now wanted to get made, to become a part of the fraternity, to have not just a career but a good career, to be a 25-year, maybe a 30-year hockey man.
We got to where we’d call each other up every couple of weeks or so to swap notes. On more than a couple of occasions, we shared rides to games — braving icy two-lane highways on the banks of the St. Lawrence going into the small-town Quebec. We became friends.
Fred was a good scout, industrious, conscientious, always looking for a certain type of player, like he had a favorite flavor.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
This team, well, the parts just don't seem to fit. Some of the players have aged quickly. Others have underperformed and look as if they need a change of scenery.
So what should general manager Ron Hextall do?
At some point before the March 1 trade deadline, sell, sell, sell.
Try to get some draft picks for soon-to-be unrestricted free agents Mark Streit, Nick Schultz, and Michael Del Zotto, three defensemen who don't figure to be here next season. And attempt to get a team to throw in a backup goalie who can be exposed in the expansion draft, enabling the Flyers to protect Anthony Stolarz.
Deal one of the goalies. Michal Neuvirth and Steve Mason also will have the potential to become unrestricted free agents after the season, and playoff-bound Edmonton is shopping for a backup goalie. Neuvirth, who didn't help his value in Thursday's embarrassing 6-3 loss to the Oilers, or Mason could fill the bill....
Listen to offers for one of the core players because the makeup of this team is not working. In other words, nobody should be deemed untouchable if the right offer came along.
Find out why Claude Giroux looks as if he's 29 going on 34.
Maybe Giroux is playing injured, though he denies it. Maybe past injures, including a concussion, have just taken a toll. Maybe he just needs big wingers by his side - he was at his best when he played between Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr - to give him more skating room.
Jaromir Jagr with puck theft against Josh Manson...
Below, the Blue Jackets thought they had a goal...
Home Team in Caps
COLUMBUS 2, Pittsburgh 1 (OT)
Colorado 2, CAROLINA 1 (OT)
Florida 4, ANAHEIM 1
JAGR ADDS TO GAME-WINNING GOAL TOTAL IN PANTHERS WIN
Jaromir Jagr (1-0—1) scored the 135th game-winning goal of his career to extend his all-time record and help the Panthers improve to 6-1-0 in their last seven contests.
* Per Elias, Jagr became just the second player to score a game-winning goal after turning 45 years old. Chris Chelios scored his last game-winner with DET on Feb. 18, 2008 at age 46 (4-0 W vs. COL).
* Florida (26-20-10, 62 points), who has won three straight contests to begin a five-game road trip, moved within a point of Toronto (26-19-11, 63 points) for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
* James Reimer made 35 saves to improve to 7-1-1 in his last nine decisions (2.13 GAA, .930 SV%).
from Eric Gomez of ESPN,
MEXICO CITY -- In a sports bar tucked between the Roma Sur and Narvarte neighborhoods on a recent weekday night, a dry erase board lists the top three events available on its multiple screens.
Save for a very small minority, every patron is there to watch the main event, a World Cup qualifier between Mexico and Panama. Also listed is an NBA contest, with the Chicago Bulls battling the Portland Trail Blazers. And the third event on the board is the NHL clash between the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It's a small, perhaps even throwaway gesture, but the mere acknowledgment of hockey in Mexico is still notable at this point, as the sport slowly continues to build in popularity and relevance for a country that has provided leagues and sports north of the border with an apt opportunity for expansion in recent years.
In the past 12 months, Mexico City has hosted Major League Baseball, auto racing's Formula 1, UFC's mixed martial arts, the NFL's Monday Night Football, two regular-season NBA games, even wrestling's WWE. For the NHL, a league also looking to expand its brand beyond its usual sphere of influence, Mexico could provide an interesting destination and a chance to gauge future outings beyond North America in an effort to popularize the game.
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