Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brian Hedger at NHL.com,
Will the Blackhawks have to make more moves to get under the NHL salary cap? As things stand now, yes. Chicago is $393,462 over the $71.4 million salary cap for 2015-16 with an NHL roster of 22 players (14 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies), according to war-on-ice.com.
That figure doesn't include fourth-line forwards Marcus Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom, who remain restricted free agents.
Kruger, the fourth-line center and a top penalty-killer, has played a key role in each of Chicago's past two championships. He's reportedly waiting to see if general manager Stan Bowman can free enough cap space to sign him long-term, which could be the case with Nordstrom.
Either way, the Blackhawks have unfinished business heading into training camp, much like they did a year ago, when they traded defenseman Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders to get under the cap. This year, the cost might be veteran forwards Bryan Bickell or Kris Versteeg, or it could be somebody who's not thought to be on the trade block.
Will the top four defensemen be as effective with Trevor Daley replacing Johnny Oduya? If the Blackhawks last season proved anything, it was that the Stanley Cup can be won with four defensemen handling the vast majority of the work.
Oduya, 33, who signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 15, was one of Chicago's top four defenders. The good news for the Blackhawks is that Daley, acquired from the Stars in the trade for Patrick Sharp, is comparable in build, age and skating ability. He moves the puck quickly, has loads of experience, and has high-end offensive instincts, scoring 16 goals in a 38-point season for the Stars in 2014-15....
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
It’s a good bet that in a future practice, when Mike Fisher leans over to take a faceoff, the Nashville center will have a drone hovering overhead to film his technique. The Predators are one of the teams that have expressed interest in the Phantom 3 ($799) and the Inspire 1 ($2,899), two drones manufactured by DJI. The Predators, who are more invested in video coaching than most organizations, are considering drone use to complement traditional fixed-location cameras.
“They really want to use it as an eye in the sky to track players, track specific plays, and track the puck,” DJI marketing manager Michael Shabun said of teams considering drone use. “For example, they really love looking at the overhead shot for faceoffs to see exactly what the player is initiating. Before, you couldn’t really see a lot of things because of obstruction with pads and players. Anything overhead is extremely valuable for these guys.”
Outdoors, the FAA restricts drones from flying 5 miles from airports, over stadiums, or higher than 400 feet. Inside a rink, such regulations do not exist. Teams can employ drones as they like — over the faceoff circles, over the net to film goalies, or near the ceiling to capture breakouts, forechecks, and power-play formations. Currently, teams seeking multiple angles would have to build and break down traditional camera-atop-tripod setups around the rink. Such time is hard to find in a midseason road practice between games.
more plus other hockey topics...
Mara Teigen just got a message from her hockey player ex-boyfriend ... a message she and anyone else driving the Sunset Strip could see.
It appears Evander Kane isn't closing the book on her relationship, making it clear to the Wilhelmina model he still has love for her.
The Buffalo Sabres forward rented the billboard above 1 OAK in West Hollywood, which as billboards go is prime real estate and impossible to miss.
Hope you score, Evander.
if you want to see a picture of the billboard...
from Vicki Hall at the Calgary Sun,
The Todd Holt story, in many ways, is made for Hollywood.
A young hockey star ends up playing for a sexual predator. He drinks to the point of destruction. His life is spent numbing the pain in any way possible until, one day, he finally tells the world what happened, which leads to criminal charges against his tormentor.
In the Hollywood version, he lives happily ever.
But reality for survivors of sexual abuse often fails to follow such a romantic story arc. The collateral damage inflicted by the likes of Graham James spans generations, and the healing journey follows no set timetable.
But as Holt arrives in Swift Current, he’s more at peace than he has been in a long time.
“I used to look at Swift Current as a place with ghosts, a scary place,” he says. “But now it’s my second home. I gave 20 years of my life to the whole abuse situation. If I would have missed this opportunity, this experience, it would have been devastating all over again.”
By the time Holt arrived in Swift Current in 1989, Graham James had long since mastered the art of grooming victims for his abuse.
A look back at the storied career and life of New York Islanders legendary coach and Hall-of-Famer Al Arbour, who passed away at the age of 82.
Watch the 7 1/2 minutes video below...
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...
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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