Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Eric Lindros and the late Pat Quinn share one dubious distinction when it comes to their respective illustrious careers: Neither won an NHL championship.
Of course, the last time we checked, the sport’s most sacred institution is not called the Stanley Cup Hall of Fame. It’s the Hockey Hall of Fame and, because of that, it says here both men are worthy of induction when the Class of 2016 is announced on Monday.
Since becoming eligible in 2011, Lindros has been snubbed five consecutive times, partially because of the presence of a flood of marquee players who have deservedly found their way into enshrinement.
But there is no such excuse available this time around, given that the 2016 cache of candidates lacks any shoo-ins.
As of last year, Lindros was the only Hart Trophy winner (1995) eligible for the Hall who had yet to be inducted since Blackhawks goalie Al Rollins captured the award in 1954. In the process, he was dominant for almost a decade, recording 600 points in 431 games from 1992-99.
Quinn, meanwhile, may have never hoisted the Cup, but the fact that he led Canada to gold medals at both the Olympics and world junior championship speaks volumes to his coaching skills.
Steven Stamkos will be a Leaf if the Leafs break the bank for him. 11 or 12 million say and Steven will be even better in Toronto than he was in Tampa believe it or not because everyone knows Ontario boys play better in Ontario than other players because of friends and family so says coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs Mike Babcock and so says American GM Brian Burke when he was with Toronto.
That’s why Toronto went out and drafted in the first 3 rounds, a Russian, a Swede and 3 Americans. Mark Hunter, the draftee or whatever you want to call him, is from Ontario. His expertise is one of the reasons he was hired, he knows all the kids in Ontario. He was GM for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Mark was going to be our hero, from Ontario and the 40,000 kids that play for the GHTL of Ontario were looking forward to this draft.
We were looking forward to the draft so much and he drafts 3 Americans, a Swede and a Russian in the first 3 rounds but we will still cheer and support the Leafs. I have season seats and we will definitely cheer for the Leafs because it seems in Ontario we like to get kicked in the n-ts.
-Don Cherry via Twitter....
Take solace Canada, you are still a world power – unquestionably the team to beat at the World Cup. Canada’s men’s and women’s teams have won gold in the past two Olympic Games. Crosby was named most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and goaltender Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie, an award that likely would have gone to fellow Canadian Carey Price had he not missed most of the season with an injury. Oh, and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings won the Norris Trophy as best defenceman.
But hockey is not Canada’s game. It belongs to everybody.
-Mike Brophy of The Hockey News were you can read more on this topic.
from John Doyle of the Globe and Mail,
One recent Sunday evening I went out for a pint. In a neighbourhood bar I watched the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup. I was a bit surprised to be witnessing this – I had no idea that the darn thing was still going on. Thing is, in this reasonably crowded downtown Toronto bar, filled with twentysomethings and TV screens, there was me and one other guy paying attention to the hockey on TV. That’s it – two of us.
Hockey is fast becoming a dinosaur sport. The world has evolved and NHL hockey hasn’t. And neither has the TV broadcasting of the game. That makes the issue of George Stroumboulopoulos or Ron MacLean as anchor of Hockey Night in Canada redundant. It doesn’t matter, because hockey has lost its appeal.
Certainly it has lost its appeal to the TV audience that matters – urban youth. Maybe Rogers was onto this when it first put Stroumboulopoulos in place as the new face of HNIC. With his hey-man style of interviews and some distance from the old, old school of CBC’s HNIC, his task was as obvious as it seemed – to make the broadcast more appealing to a younger audience. If that was the case, Rogers bungled the execution of the plan.
The countless ads for the show, in which Strombo was obliged to prove his hockey bona fides, were excruciating. For a start, it raised the question that Rogers didn’t want asked – “What does this guy know about hockey?”
Possibly, it was too late anyway. NHL hockey now exists, and has for some time, in the arena of boomer nostalgia. In the popular culture, its appeal is on the level of progressive rock from the 1970s.
What’s happened is that NHL hockey plods along, in its arrogance and incompetence, as if the digital age hadn’t happened. The manner in which it is televised is calcified, as if social media was still a novelty that was best ignored. While all coverage of all sports has changed, across multiple media platforms, hockey on TV is the same old, same old.
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
The Wild has had trade talks with the Edmonton Oilers about center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, although all Oilers skilled forwards not named Connor McDavid are also said to be in play. The Oilers appear to want right-shot Matt Dumba and other pieces, including next year’s second-rounder. The problem is the Wild no longer owns that pick.
Fletcher, after trading scores of second-round picks since 2013 and seeing second-rounders Brett Bulmer and Raphael Bussieres flame out, is hesitant to mortgage the future further anyway.
“I can understand the fans’ frustration, but you have to make the right deal,” said Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, Fletcher’s former Harvard pal, referring to his fan base and not talking about the Wild specifically. “I’m having lots of discussions. It’s hard to get a No. 1 defenseman. … As I’ve said, I’d prefer a right-shot defenseman. That’s what I’m focusing on....
It’s also believed the Wild has talked to the Rangers about center Derek Stepan and the Arizona Coyotes about veteran center Martin Hanzal and prospect Christian Dvorak.
But with Saturday’s start to the free-agent courting period, Fletcher has begun contacting agents to gauge interest. Free agency opens Friday.
Part of Fletcher would prefer that path because it makes him sick to have to trade a Dumba or Jonas Brodin. But the other part of Fletcher knows that he has gotten into trouble signing free agents in the past.
via John Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Sun,
The wagering opportunities for NHL games at T-Mobile Arena once the Las Vegas franchise begins play in 2017 have been specified. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman commented about wagering on the team during Thursday’s formal announcement that the league’s Board of Governors had unanimously approved an expansion team for Las Vegas. Bettman said NHL games were not as “susceptible” to wagering as NFL or NBA games.
Which means there will be no live betting stations inside T-Mobile Arena, though the arena exists on the Strip and is co-owned by MGM Resorts. But you can legally wager on the Las Vegas team from any MGM Resorts sports book (or any sports book in the city), and also from apps on your smartphone. Handily, MGM Resorts is in the trial stages of its own betting app, called playMGM, which is similar to those operated by William Hill, Cantor Gaming and Station Casinos. The trial should be completed within a month or two, then be ready to go live.
What this means is, you can indeed bet on the Las Vegas NHL team inside T-Mobile — from any online application — even if manned wagering stations are not set up in the venue. How this affects the atmosphere inside the arena remains to be seen. It might be a little like pulling for your home NBA or NHL team even if you have players on your fantasy league team playing against your own team.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
In St. Louis, it was coach Ken Hitchcock who saw Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Miller and then 25-year-old Jake Allen as Elliott's superior or equal, preventing him from taking over a starting job finally waiting for him in Calgary.
"He's had to fight for the net in St. Louis because management has always felt there's a goaltender there that's his equal," said Flames hockey president Brian Burke.
"That's certainly not the situation with us."...
Between both parties, we realized it was probably best to try to find a home for me somewhere else," said Elliott, 31, who was traded for the 35th pick Saturday and a third rounder in 2018 conditional on him re-signing in Calgary.
"I wanted to have that opportunity, just based on how the past couple years have gone. (Jake Allen) is a really good goaltender and is a good friend of mine. I don't want to go out with bad blood. I respect St. Louis, the city and the organization. I think they respected me as well. I think they wanted to give me an opportunity and I worked hard for it but they weren't able to give it to me.
"With this trade, Calgary's obviously shown a lot of interest in me and it was welcoming. Just having the GM and the coaching staff show interest in me, it makes me feel great. It makes you want to get to Calgary right away."
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Doug MacLean could not get the Blue Jackets off the starting line. Scott Howson pushed it forward and then stalled. Enter Jarmo Kekalainen, the team’s third general manager in 16 years, who was billed as a workaholic with a keen eye for talent.
Surely he would drive the franchise to a level above abject mediocrity. Given the Jackets’ history, even commendable mediocrity would be an improvement.
To push the analogy toward the garish, Kekalainen is spinning wheels — but, at least, he is not gunning the engine. Maybe this is the smart play. We will not know until the Jackets manage to avoid burying themselves by Thanksgiving.
Jackets fans: What you see is what you get. Kekalainen is sticking with his roster, as constructed. It is largely the same roster that finished with a 15-1-1 flourish at the end of the 2014-15 season, when John Davidson, chief of hockey operations, proclaimed a Day of Jubilee. It is almost exactly the roster that got the coach fired early in the 2015-16 season, another playoff-free year that JD described as “a kick in the teeth.”
In sum, this is the same roster, minus Ryan Johansen, that has been up-and-coming one year and underperforming the next year, and missed the playoffs both years.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The work necessary to maintain the Rangers’ five-year run as an upper-echelon team will continue following this NHL Entry Draft weekend, over which general manager Jeff Gorton was unable to get much accomplished.
“I think we have things to do to get us where we want to go,” Gorton said Saturday. “We’re in a spot where we’re trying to get better, trying to make deals to get better. We’ve been in a lot of [trade] conversations. We’re listening to everything and we’ll see where it goes. We tried to do some things, and I’d say we came close to doing something to get into the first round, but it didn’t work out and we weren’t going to be forced into doing something just to do it.”
Better safe than sorry for the Blueshirts, no doubt about that. There is time to renovate before the free-agent market opens July 1, there is time to renovate before camp opens in mid-September, and there is time to renovate before next season’s trade deadline. A year ago at this time, the Penguins weren’t anyone’s idea of a contender, much less a Stanley Cup champion.
But if there were no acceptable deals to be had this weekend, the process of remodeling a roster filled with expensive (some would say, onerous) contracts isn’t necessarily going to get any easier for Gorton, who has been steadfast in not offering assets such as Rick Nash and Derek Stepan at a discount.
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.
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