Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be in the hot seat today.
Bettman will be surrounded by lawyers acting for players suing the league over concussions suffered while playing, who will be asking him all about what he and the league know or believe about repeated head trauma, and what he did or didn’t do to protect those players.
Bettman’s deposition promises to be the most significant development so far in the concussion lawsuit that is plodding its way through the U.S. legal system.
Like all that have been deposed before him — including Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan — Bettman’s testimony about what he knew and what the league knew about the effect of repeated head trauma on players will be sealed, hidden from public scrutiny.
U.S. district court judge Susan Nelson will rule — perhaps before NHL training camps begin in September — whether to unseal the depositions to allow the public to know fully what both sides have been arguing.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When the Vancouver Canucks were able to augment their centre position through the Brandon Sutter trade this week, they hit upon one of the proven formulas of improving a team in the NHL.
The difficulty in pulling this off more often, of course, is getting yourself into the right position and then finding a team which has the assets you covet, and having stumbled into same the position the Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves in before this trade.
Positioning yourself to take advantage of teams that are over the salary cap and must pare down before the start of the season is something the Canucks have done successfully in the past, and other teams as well have found this a winning formula.
After all, when you are making a trade with a team that has to make a trade, the odds are very much in your favour that success will be forthcoming.
from Sarah McLellan of azcentral,
The Coyotes still have a few items left on their wist list -- namely a puck-moving defenseman -- but General Manager Don Maloney doubts any more changes will hit the roster before it is set to debut at training camp in the fall.
"There are still a lot of players out there," Maloney said Thursday. "If anything, I can see maybe some tryouts coming our way. The good thing for us we still have roster flexibility. We have some payroll flexibility, but I'm just adamant not to shore up a roster with any more one-way contracts unless it's a very good deal."
After watching the talent brewing in the pipeline at the team's prospect development camp earlier this month, team brass is eager to see how many youngsters can legitimately contend for a job in the NHL. If the candidates become slim, the team isn't opposed to exploring outside options at that point.
But the possibility of prospects competing for roster spots is enticing; actually, despite also coveting another winger, Maloney said he'd probably rather add a mobile defenseman instead of a winger because of the exciting youth currently in the team's forward group.
Even so, the Coyotes are still keeping a pulse on the market.
"We're still talking, more kicking tires," Maloney said.
MONTRÉAL – Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Thursday that the team has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with forward Alex Galchenyuk (2015-16 to 2016-17).
Galchenyuk, 21, played 80 games with the Canadiens in 2014-15. He set personal highs in goals (20), assists (26) and points (46). Three of his goals were tallied on the powerplay and scored one winning goal. The 6’01’’, 198-lbs forward maintained a +8 differential and was assessed 39 penalty minutes, while maintaining an average of 16:25 of ice time per game. Galchenyuk added four points (1 goal, 3 assists) and a +1 differential in 12 playoffs contests.
from the CP at TSN,
Quebecor Inc. says it's recruiting partners for its bid to bring the Nordiques back to Quebec City.
The media and telecom company said Thursday it has opened talks with some sponsors and signed contracts but has yet to secure another investor willing to help foot the US$500 bill it costs to launch an NHL expansion franchise.
"Submitting this application is one more step towards our ultimate objective of making sports an additional growth segment," president and CEO Pierre Dion told analysts on a conference call after the company posted its latest financial results.
"We will soon be approaching potential partners, which we believe will attract high interest levels."
from Ken Daneyko at The Players' Tribune,
I’ve never told anyone this story until now, but during the second game of Lou’s tenure, we were playing in Toronto, and they were really giving it to us. One of Lou’s biggest frustrations with the team he inherited wasn’t just that we weren’t all that good, but that we’d get beat up and pushed around too much. In general, we didn’t carry ourselves in a way that demanded respect. At some point during the game against the Leafs, Claude Loiselle received an elbow to the head by Wendel Clark, a talented young player who was tough as nails. It looked bad, and Claude was woozy coming to bench.
After seeing that, I hopped over the boards for my shift and challenged Wendel to a fight at center ice. I don’t remember who won it, but I’m going to safely assume I took a few good shots.
We ended up losing the game, but afterwards Lou came up to me and stuck his hand out to shake mine, and I noticed he was gripping a couple of $100 bills. My eyes kind of widened and I looked at him seriously and said, “What’s this for?”
He goes, “I like what you did tonight. You stuck up for a teammate. Now take this and get yourself something nice.” I said, “That’s not necessary. This is my job.” Then Lou got a little hot, looked me in my eye and said (minus the expletives), “I want this team to understand that we’re in this together, thick and thin, on and off the ice. Read between the lines!”
from Josh Cooper of Yahoo,
We give five reasons why Nashville should trade Weber, at least at some point within the next year.
1. The offers will be ridiculously in Nashville’s favor
His $7.857 million salary cap hit, while less awful in today’s post 2012-13 lockout world, is a lot. Also, some teams have the money, and the lunacy, to part with multiple good, young NHL-ready forwards Nashville needs. Weber is a physical speciman and cornerstone defenseman, but his perceived value, especially amongst old boys GMs, may be greater than his actual worth. Many probably still drool over this 2010 Olympics shot where the puck went through the net on a goal.
The Oilers under former general manager Craig MacTavish always seemed to be hot after Weber. And he’s the type of player the current Edmonton group could use with Connor McDavid coming in. Wait, how would Weber ever allow a trade to EdmonHoth? Oh yeah, the Predators didn’t give him any no-trade clause. So they can deal him to whatever team they want.
And new Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has seemed OK with dealing good, young forwards at points of his career. If you’re going to trade the face of your franchise, you need to make sure you get the right pieces back. There are teams that have the type of NHL-ready young talent who can step in and score right away – like again, Edmonton.
Q: A lot of the Flyers roster is in tact from last year, but can you talk about the additions of your countrymen Michal Neuvirth and Radko Gudas…
“I know Michal very well. I played with him on the national teams growing up. He’s a great goalie and I think that was a great pick up by the organization. The last two years I’ve been the only Czech here by myself so it’s good to have two guys. I’m very excited to be able to talk every once in a while in Czech to someone. Sometimes it was hard when I called home and I tried to talk Czech with my mom. She would ask me if I was sleeping because I talked like I couldn’t speak Czech anymore.”
Q: On Gudas…
“I said this before… I think he’s going to be one of the favorite players on the team to the fans next year because he leaves everything on the ice and plays with a lot of grit. It’s very good to see that we have a player like him in our organization.”
Q: Finally, your thoughts on your new head coach, Dave Hakstol. Is it true he flew to Czech Republic to meet with you in person?
“Yes, it says a lot that he flew all the way to Czech Republic to meet with me, and he had some Czech food so that’s a good sign! I’m very excited for him coming in here and a new system. We spent a lot of time talking about everything from everyday life to what he’s expecting from us, as well as myself and I think it went very well.”
When asked what led him to sign the enigmatic Semin, who was bought out by the Carolina Hurricanes this summer after scoring only six goals in 57 games last season, Bergevin said: “He’s high skilled … he brings something that not a lot of players do have. Obviously, things didn’t go his way in Carolina. He’s going to have a chance to prove that he is a player that he once was and he’s still young at 31 years of age. So we hope he’ll bring his skill and his compete level to Montreal.”
The Hurricanes gave Semin a five-year, $35-million contract extension in March 2013 after he had averaged a point a game in his first 30 games with Carolina (eight goals and 22 assists) after signing a one-year, $7-million free-agent contract. The buyout will cost the Hurricanes $14 million spread over the next six years.
Bergevin told reporters in Foxboro that the 31-year-old Semin, who was selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round (13th overall) at the 2002 NHL Draft, needs to show more consistency in his game.
“That was the downside that he had in Carolina and that’s what we’re looking for,” the GM said. “If you don’t score — (and) it’s hard to score in today’s game — you have to bring something else to the table. So it’s either backchecking or stripping pucks or playing solid hockey … that’s what I expect from you if you don’t score.”
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