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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Jacques Plante And The Goalie Mask

from Stan Fischler at NHL.com,

For decades goaltenders never would think of donning a mask. But then again, why would they?

In the years leading up to World War I and the formation of the NHL in 1917, shots on goal were rarely as dangerous, and certainly not nearly as hard, as blasts from today's players. But by the end of World War II the NHL had become faster and more furious than ever, and so were the shots on goal.

Maurice "Rocket" Richard, with his backhand drive alone, could propel a puck at speeds of more than a mile a minute. When his teammate, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, developed a slap shot at even faster speeds, goalies were in big trouble.

Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Glenn Hall once told me in no uncertain terms, "Goaltending is sixty minutes of hell." Hall's teammates had no doubts about his statement; they watched him vomit before every game. Yet Hall, who starred on the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning team in 1961, played 502 consecutive regular-season games without facial protection.

As it happened, one of Hall's contemporaries, Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens, began getting the notion that being playing goal without a mask was a bad idea. Ever creative, even as a junior player, Plante began experimenting with the idea of a face protector.

At first he did it surreptitiously, and for good reason: He knew that Montreal coach Toe Blake would dismiss the idea of a goalie mask out of hand.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+plante

An Important Year For Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

from Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal,

“Just wait until Nuge gets his ‘old-man strength’!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard variations of that statement over the time Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been in Edmonton, but forgive me for feeling the expression itself is getting old faster than RNH himself seems to be.

Nugent-Hopkins is now 24 years old, six years removed from being the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft and suddenly the senior member of the Edmonton Oilers.  He’s nearly halfway into a seven-year contract that pays him at an elite level, and I think it’s fair to say that to this point the expectations have exceeded the results.

This season just past saw RNH return to full health after an injury-riddled 2015-16 campaign in which he missed a third of the campaign due to illness, a broken hand, and a concussion that limited him to 34 points in 55 games. Alas, his production remained middling at best, as he produced just 18 goals and 47 points over 95 regular-season and playoff games. Basically, 0.5 points per game in all situations....

All of which leaves the player at a crossroads entering the 2017-18 season. He appears destined to line up somewhere in the middle six, and as McLellan alluded he desperately needs to recover some of the attacking acumen he displayed earlier in his career. Both of his former sidekicks, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, have been dispatched stateside in significant one-for-one trades the past two summers, and Nuge might be next.

With Draisaitl likely to be paid next season and McDavid already signed to big money the following campaign, the cap budget at centre is tight. Whether Nugent-Hopkins stays or goes in the longer term, he needs a major bounceback next season to prove his worth.

more

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+nugent-hopkins

Gary Bettman On A Few Topics, Twitter Style

Yesterday the commissioners from the four major North America sports leagues were at an event and did a Q & A.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal tweeted these comments from Gary Bettman-

NHL commish Bettman: "We've had challenges with our union for as long as I've been commissioner."

NHL commish Bettman: "Historically, we have been underserved by traditional media."

NHL commish Bettman: The concern is making sure that millennials and Gen Z continue to want to watch team sports.

NHL commish Bettman: We're a small part of betting compared to football and basketball...I don't worry about fixing games.

Moderator Zaslav: How do you deal with violence in sports? NHL commish Bettman: You mean physicality, not violence.

NHL commish Bettman: The issue of fisticuffs in hockey gets overblown. It's an extremely small part of the game.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

The Top 50 Russians All-Time In The NHL

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

A Russian magazine recently unveiled it's list of the top Russian NHLers. Here's a look at the list along with their notable NHL accomplishments.

Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin did not manage to make the cut when the NHL unveiled its Top 100 players of all-time – an omission that essentially compromises the entire list – but he can take solace in not only being on another list, but being at the top of it. Russian magazine Sport-Express recently named the top 50 Russian NHL players of all-time and Malkin, who recently picked up his third Stanley Cup, is No. 1.

The magazine did its ratings based on the following criteria: level of play at the peak of the NHL career, consistency, titles and longevity. Careers in Russia and in international play were not considered.

So that’s what makes this list unique. Malkin is at the top of it, just ahead of Sergei Fedorov, only because of what he has done in the best league in the world. If the entirety of careers were taken into account, Slava Fetisov would be vying for No. 1 instead of being at 30. Soviet legends Alexander Kharlamov, Vsevolod Bobrov and Vladislav Tretiak would join Fetisov at the top of the list, with Boris Mikhailov and Alexander (Rags) Ragulin close behind....

1. Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh): Tied with Fedorov and Igor Larionov for most Stanley Cups (three) and could be No. 2 on all-time Russian scoring list by the time he retires.

2. Sergei Fedorov (Detroit, Anaheim, Columbus, Washington): Highest-scoring Russian player of all-time and joins Bobby Clarke as the only players in NHL history to win both the Hart and Selke trophies during the careers. Fedorov is the only player to do it in the same year.

3. Alex Ovechkin (Washington): Easily the greatest Russian NHL goalscorer of all-time, but has yet to get his team out of the second round of the playoffs. Father Time is chasing both him and the Capitals.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Nico Hischier Wants To Be The Magic Man Part 2

from Dave Caldwell at ESPN,

Hischier's favorite hockey player, and the player he thinks he most resembles on the ice, is Pavel Datsyuk, the 38-year-old legendary left-handed center who played for the Detroit Red Wings for 14 years before joining St. Petersburg SKA in the Kontinental Hockey League last season.

Hischier wears No. 13 because Datsyuk wore No. 13. The Devils will decide later whether Hischier will become only the second player in the team's 35-year history to wear No. 13, but even if he is assigned another number, Hischier said he plans to keep playing like Datsyuk.

"I just really like his game," Hischier said at the Devils' development camp last week. "It's just his two-way game -- he's one of the best defensive centers, and offensively, he's pretty good, too. I try to be a center like Datsyuk."

more on Hischier...

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nico+hischier

Jarome Iginla And Shane Doan Want To Continue Playing

from NHL.com,

Free agent forwards Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan want to play in the NHL this season but are having difficulty finding someone to sign with.

The veterans each told Kamloops This Week that they have been in contact with multiple teams.

"At 40, you want to be on a contending team," Iginla said last week. "With the parity in the NHL, there are probably 15 teams that have a chance. … You factor all that in, along with family. At this point, we're still uncertain."

Iginla had 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) and was minus-30 in 80 games for the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings last season.

"I know last year I had a tough year, probably the toughest of my career," he said. "I look at it as fuel. I think I can bounce back and score goals and help a team in different areas."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarome+iginla, shane+doan

A Three-Year Deal For Jean-Gabriel Pageau With The Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators (@Senators) announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau on a three-year contract that will run through the end of the 2019-20 National Hockey League season. The average annual value of the contract is $3.1 million ($2.6M, $3.3M and $3.4M).

Pageau, 24, spent his second full season with the Senators in 2016-17 registering 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) in addition to 24 penalty minutes and was one of three Ottawa players to appear in each of the team's 82 regular season games. He led the Senators with eight goals (and also earned two assists) while skating in each of the club's 19 post-season contests.

Drafted by the Senators in the fourth round (96th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Pageau has recorded 101 points (45 goals, 56 assists) and 71 penalty minutes over 251 NHL games. The Gatineau native will enter the 2017-18 campaign as the Senators' current Ironman leader and nine games shy of becoming only the ninth player in franchise history to appear in 200 consecutive games for the club.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jean-gabriel+pageau

Brian Campbell Announced His Retirement This Morning

 

 

added 9:06am, Chicago press release is below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+campbell

Hockey Topics Today

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- This, too, on (Tyler) Johnson and (Ondrej) Palat, both of whom are eminently movable before their respective no-trade clauses kick in next July 1:

Am I the only one envisioning both of them being part of the package the Lightning would offer the Islanders in exchange for John Tavares at some point this season if No. 91 remains unsigned?

I know the Islanders say (and likely believe) they are committed to riding out the entire season, if necessary, in order to get the captain under contract just the way the Lightning did through 2015-16 when Steven Stamkos was on the cusp of unrestricted free agency. And of course, the Tampa Bay organization’s patience was rewarded when their No. 91 agreed to an eight-year contract extension two days before he could have hit the open market....

- According to a well-placed source, there has been no communication between the NHL and NHLPA regarding the league’s anticipated ruling on which classes of players, exactly, will be barred from participating in the Olympics.

The league unlikely is to prohibit players in the NHL or AHL from going, but Sixth Avenue’s intentions are unclear regarding athletes under contract playing in Europe or in the Canadian junior leagues.

Slap Shots has been told the PA views this as a matter under which individual owners should be permitted to grant permission to their respective team’s players to go to Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Indeed, the union would be expected to grieve or otherwise contest blanket prohibition of players under NHL contract from participating in the 2018 Games.

more topics

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

Afternoon Line- Steve Simmons On Mike Sullivan/Phil Kessel

Mike Sullivan had a deal with Rick Tocchet when the two were together with the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Tocchet, the assistant coach, dealt with Phil Kessel. That way Sullivan, who didn’t want to talk to him, didn’t have to....

It’s not that he doesn’t care for Kessel. It’s that he truly doesn’t want to deal with him in any significant way. Tocchet was perfect for that role and for Kessel. The Hall of Famer, Mark Recchi, is assuming the role Tocchet had in Pittsburgh. He may be handed the Kessel portfolio. Sullivan needs someone to do what he doesn’t want to do himself.

-Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun where you can read more on Kessel and a few hockey notes too.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+sullivan, phil+kessel

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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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