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Matt Cooke Is Waiting For Work

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

For the past two weeks, almost every single weekday, Matt Cooke has skated hard at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina with several NHLers, including old Wild teammates Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville and guys like Nick Bjugstad, Kyle Okposo, Derek Stepan, Dustin Byfuglien, James van Riemsdyk and Ryan McDonagh.

The only difference between him and many others is the veteran winger, who turns 37 on Labor Day, hasn’t latched onto an NHL team since being bought out of the final year of his contract by the Wild in June.

“This is the first time I’ve had to go through it,” Cooke said this week. “I knew it was coming. I just thought it might be after next year as opposed to this year, but it’s the cards that I’ve been dealt.

“I was hurt last year. There was some mismanagement on my [hip] injury, and part of that is my fault. It led to me getting hurt twice in one season. I’m 36 years old, I only played 30 games last year and then me getting bought out, that’s a tough scenario [to find a job].

“Patience is a virtue and right now all I’m doing is making sure I stay ready, that I get ready. We’re still three weeks away [from camp].”

continued plus more Wild topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+cooke

Questions Facing The Tampa Bay Lightning

from Corey Long at NHL.com,

Will Ben Bishop be the No. 1 goalie by the end of the season? Bishop is the Lightning's top goalie going into the season, but he also is one of their most valuable trade assets.

Bishop is signed through the 2016-17 season at a $5.95 million salary-cap charge, according to war-on-ice.com, and would be highly valued on the trade market after his performance during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs (13-11, 2.18 goals-against average, .921 save percentage). Depending on how negotiations with Stamkos turn out, the Lightning may need to free up money to secure contracts with other players in the future.

Bishop may become expendable if the Lightning see enough early in the season from highly touted prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy, 21, who started Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final with Bishop out because of a groin injury.

Will Jonathan Drouin live up to the hype? It would be safe to say Drouin, 20, had a rookie season to forget. He fractured his right thumb during training camp and missed the entire preseason; it didn't get much better from there.

Drouin, the No. 3 pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, had four goals and 28 assists in 70 regular-season games but never seemed to find a comfortable spot on the ice. He played in six of 26 Lightning playoff games.

The low point of his season may have come in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens. With forward Ryan Callahan unavailable because of an emergency appendectomy, Cooper elected to play Jonathan Marchessault, who had played in two regular-season games, as Callahan's replacement. Cooper later explained his choice of Marchessault rather than Drouin by saying he went with the lineup that gave the Lightning the best chance to win.

Drouin's fresh start begins at training camp. He will be given another chance to become the playmaker that Stamkos could use on the first line, but he'll have to show that he's made improvements on and off the ice.

more

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

Statement From Gary Bettman On The Passing Of Al Arbour

NEW YORK (Aug. 28, 2015) -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the passing of Hockey Hall of Famer Al Arbour:

“The National Hockey League deeply mourns the passing of Al Arbour, revered head coach of the dynastic New York Islanders.

"A four-time Stanley Cup champion as a player and a brilliant motivator and tactician as a coach, Al Arbour directed the Islanders' rapid transformation from expansion team to NHL powerhouse -- guiding them to four straight Stanley Cup championships, five consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Final and an astounding 19 consecutive playoff series victories. As it grieves the loss of a profound influence on coaching and on the game itself, the NHL sends its heartfelt condolences to Al's family and friends, to his former teammates and to all the players he mentored."

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: al+arbour

A Four-Year Extension For Cody Eakin In Dallas

FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed center Cody Eakin to a four-year contract extension. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Eakin, 24, finished tied for fourth on the Stars in 2014-15 with 40 points (19-21=40) in 78 games played. He finished tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (6) and finished with career highs in goals, assists and points. His average of 1:57 of shorthanded time on ice per game was second amongst team forwards and he led the team with 1,292 faceoffs taken, winning 50.8%.

Following the season, he represented Canada at the World Championship, helping the team to a perfect 10-0 record and a gold medal finish. He appeared in nine of those contests, posting six points (4-2=6) and a +7 plus/minus rating.

In four NHL seasons with Washington and Dallas, he has produced 107 points (46-61=107) in 237 games played. He has appeared in six career playoff games, posting five points (2-3=5) and a +2 plus/minus rating.

"Cody is a well-rounded player and has the versatility to play in a number of roles," said Nill. "He has the ability to shutdown opponent's top players, win faceoffs and kill penalties, all while producing offensively. Cody has been an important part of our team and will continue to be a part of our core for the next five seasons."

 

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cody+eakin

What To Do With Dustin Byfuglien

Byfuglien is scheduled to be a UFA on July 1, 2016.

from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,

... they were swept aside in four first-round games by the Anaheim Ducks last spring, but that’s precisely how things went for the Tampa Bay Lighting in 2014, one year before the team advanced to the Cup final. The circumstances don’t perfectly align, but it’s a comparison worth making given Winnipeg’s trajectory and the increasingly wide-open nature of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With that in mind, the best plan for Winnipeg might be to sit tight and see how the first quarter of the season plays out. If things are coming together, hang on to Byfuglien and see if he can’t help you win a playoff round or two. How nice would that be for a city that hasn’t seen its team on the right side of a handshake line since 1987? Yes, you run the risk he leaves for nothing, but with 21-year-old Trouba, 25-year-old Tyler Myers and prospect Josh Morrissey in the blueline mix, the Jets are positioned to withstand that worst-case scenario.

On the flipside, if watching 20 games reveals goalies Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson aren’t up to the task or sees the return of that nasty injury bug that ripped through the Jets’ defence last year, put Byfuglien on the block and see what you can get. It won’t be as much as you would land right now, but that’s not the end of the world for a team with a sturdy prospect pipeline that’s about to spit out forwards like Nikolaj Ehlers, Nic Petan and the aforementioned Morrissey.

In other words, Winnipeg should do what Byfuglien would: take a little gamble and worry about the next move when you must.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dustin+byfuglien

Al Arbour Passes Away At Age 82

The hockey career of Al Arbour...

from the Hockey Hall of Fame, 

Alger Joseph Arbour was one of the most successful head coaches in NHL history. As of 1996 his career totals of 1,606 games behind the bench and 781 victories trailed only Scotty Bowman in the record books. Arbour's guidance contributed significantly to the New York Islanders' rapid ascent to competitive status and subsequent run of four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983.

Born on November 1, 1932 in Sudbury, Ontario, Arbour played defence on the junior Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey Association. He distinguished himself as a junior and was signed by the Detroit Red Wings. Arbour gained his professional baptism of fire with the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Hockey League in 1952-53. He split the next four years between Edmonton, Detroit and Sherbrooke of the Quebec Senior League.

In 1957-58 Arbour enjoyed his first full NHL campaign in the red and white of the Wings. Following that season he was claimed by the Chicago Blackhawks where he toiled for three years including a Stanley Cup triumph in 1961. Arbour next played four seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and earned his second Stanley Cup ring in 1962. After spending the 1966-67 season off the ice, he returned to add experience and stability to the defence corps of the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1967-68. Early in the 1970-71 season,he retired as a player with in excess of 600 games played and almost fourteen years of service to his credit.

Upon retiring, Arbour was immediately hired to stand in as the coach of the Blues for the remainder of the 1970-71 campaign. Over the last 50 games of the schedule the team responded well by posting a 21-15-14 mark before losing to the Minnesota North Stars in the Stanley Cup quarterfinals.

continued

added 12:25pm, via the New York Islanders...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: al+arbour

The Mike Richards Case

from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,

Prosecutors in Manitoba could proceed summarily, a course of action for less-serious offenses, or by indictment, reserved for more serious matters.

"This is an offense for which there is a huge [sentencing] range," said University of Manitoba law professor Debra Parkes. "It will all depend on the seriousness. I've seen examples of people getting discharges for possession of Oxycodone. There are some examples of that across Canada, if the person is an addict, if it is a relatively low amount, no record, that kind of thing. It could be a fine, or could possibly be imprisonment.

"Without a record, and assuming if it was a small amount, it would be possible to argue even for a discharge. But we don't know enough about the facts."

Less than two weeks after Richards was detained at the border, the Kings moved to terminate his contract, citing "a material breach."

The Kings declined to comment on the legal developments in Manitoba, citing the ongoing litigation regarding the contract grievance. Richards' agent also declined to comment.

But when the Kings terminated Richards' contract, they said in a statement: "We are not prepared to provide any more detail or to discuss the underlying grounds for the contract termination at this time."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+richards

Talk Of The Summer

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Training camp is so close you can almost feel it, so it is time to shake more of the rust off and do a little rambling.

Flame revival

Pretty darned good summer for Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving, who stole Dougie Hamilton away from the Boston Bruins at the draft and then locked him in long-term while adding useful forward Michael Frolik, a former Cup winner with the Chicago Blackhawks. Then, earlier this week Treliving took care of priority No. 1: Locking up heart-and-soul captain Mark Giordano to a very salary cap-friendly six-year deal worth an average of $6.75 million per season. It's a deal that gives Treliving lots of cap-room flexibility moving forward, even if there's always a risk in such a long-term deal when Giordano will have just turned 33 when the deal kicks in next October. Many believe the Flames are due a step back this season after a surprising run to the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. But that run was accomplished without Hamilton and Giordano, who was out with a torn biceps tendon. Nothing is guaranteed in the wild Western Conference, but Treliving has his Flames well-positioned to return to the playoffs, not just this season but for the foreseeable future.

Next signing?

One byproduct of the Giordano signing is that the attention on top-end players entering their contract years is amped up. Tops on that list of course is Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, followed closely by Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. The slower-than-expected rise in the salary cap coupled with benchmark contracts like those extended to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane by the Blackhawks last summer that kick in this season has made life more difficult for all GMs, but specifically for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Kings GM Dean Lombardi. Locking up Stamkos and Kopitar are obvious priorities for the Bolts and the Kings respectively and we assume the deals will get done, but the longer it takes, the more speculation will percolate that things are amiss. 

continued with more topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Cam Ward Wants To Stay In Carolina

from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,

Goaltender Cam Ward was the first off the ice Thursday at Raleigh Center Ice, soon to be followed by Eric Staal.

Ward and Staal have been two constants for the Carolina Hurricanes for more than a decade. They’re the two remaining members of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup champions, a reminder of better times.

Each will be entering the final year of long-term contracts this season. Both have said they want to remain a part of the organization, indicating the desire to sign contract extensions.

“Right now, I’m just going about my business and making sure I’m ready to go,” Ward said after an informal skate. “Obviously, it’s no secret I love being here and there’s nowhere else I want to be.”...

“In a perfect world I’d like to have something done, but there’s no pressure,” Ward said. “I’ve just got to prepare myself for a great year, not just for myself but for the team. It’s team first. We want to be ready.”

Since the Cup run in 2006, when Ward was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP, the Hurricanes have reached postseason just once, in 2009. The past six seasons have ended with Hurricanes players and coaches facing longer summers than they wanted, with their fans disappointed.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward

Training With Andrew Ference

from Marty Klinkenberg of the Globe and Mail,

A buff 36-year-old in a T-shirt and shorts stands at the front. A hockey star in a hockey town, defenceman Andrew Ference has been the captain of the Edmonton Oilers since joining them as a free agent in 2013. Unusual for a professional athlete, he works to bring attention to the matters he is passionate about: the environment, human rights and physical fitness.

Upon arriving in Edmonton, he began staging free workout sessions and invited everyone to come. They happen three mornings a week, with Wednesday reserved for running stairs at the home stadium of the Canadian Football League’s Eskimos.

This week, Mr. Ference begins by instructing everyone to find someone they don’t know and give them a hug. Someone’s sweet-tempered pit bull runs among them, wagging and barking in a studded collar and an Oilers kerchief.

A few minutes later, as the sky brightens, the group files into the empty stadium and bounds up the stairs.

Those waiting at the back of the line exercise their legs by bouncing up and down.

“It’s a great morning,” says Mr. Ference’s sister Jen, who helps organize the free gatherings with her hockey-playing younger brother. It is not quite 6 a.m. and she is cheerful.

“There is great energy here,” she says. “So many people want to get up early.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ference

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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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