Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Brophy of The Hockey News,
Some hockey thoughts from a scribe who wonders what the heck happened to the off-season:...
HALL OF VERY GOOD: Still trying to figure out why Rogatien Vachon was chosen to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. My recollection of him was he was a very good goalie, but not a great goalie proving once again, it’s not what you do, but who you know. The Hall of Fame is for great players; not very good players.
SHOULD-BE HALL OF FAMERS: Theoren Fleury, Steve Larmer, Rick Martin, Paul Kariya, Alexander Mogilny and (it pains me to say) Tom Barrasso
EVANDER KANE: Not saying he is guilty of anything, but when is Evander Kane going to grow up? This kid has superstar skill, but rank amateur decision making ability. He is only 24 years old so there is plenty of time to grow up, but you have to wonder how long teams will want to bother with him
YOUNG GUNS SCARING VETS: Spoke with a few veterans who will be participating in the World Cup and to a man they said they fear playing Team North America, the team made up of players 24 years old and younger. One player summed it up by saying, “We are in a no-win situation. We are supposed to beat them so if we do, it’s no big deal. If we lose it is an embarrassment.” Frankly, I wouldn’t take it that far, especially now that Matt Murray of the Penguins has served notice that he’s a legitimate NHL goalie.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Doug Armstrong did not consider saying goodbye to David Backes and Troy Brouwer and trading Brian Elliott an enjoyable exercise.
Backes was St. Louis’s captain. Brouwer, acquired the year before from Washington for T.J. Oshie, punched in 18 goals while dressing in 82 regular-season games. Elliott posted a .930 save percentage, the best mark in the league of any goalie appearing in at least half of his team’s games.
Armstrong’s roster, however, had progressed to the threshold where difficult decisions were required. Backes is 32. Brouwer turns 31 on Aug. 17. The 31-year-old Elliott was splitting time with 25-year-old Jake Allen. The Blues have younger players improving and lining up for raises. Calgary, desperate for a starting goalie, was willing to pay the price.
So a team that hit the wall in the Western Conference finals now finds itself in a state of transition that was not only required, but one that might leave it refreshed for another dash through the Central Division minefield.
“The time that I’ve been here with David, we’ve had five really good regular seasons and four really disappointing playoffs,” Armstrong said. “Last year’s playoffs, I certainly wouldn’t call them disappointing. They weren’t the ultimate goal. But it was a move in the right direction. I thought with last year’s team, we extended that window all the way through last year. With that group, I didn’t feel we’d be able to bring everybody back, just because of the age of the players and what we were doing. That was the year, and I thought the guys took great advantage of it.”
continued plus additional hockey topics...
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - Arizona Coyotes General Manager John Chayka announced today that the Coyotes have signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"We are very pleased to sign Luke to a two-year contract," said Chayka. "He's a good, young defenseman and we feel we can optimize his performance here. He will be a solid addition to our blue line."
The 26-year-old Schenn registered 4-12-16 and 82 PIM in 72 games with the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings last season. The Saskatoon, SK native has recorded 28-100-128 with 409 PIM in 566 career games with the Kings, Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 6-foot-2, 229 pound Schenn was drafted in the first round (fifth overall) by the Maple Leafs in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Press release is below...
from Chris Peters of CBSSports,
Here are the five big things you need to know about the NBC NHL schedule for 2016-17, including how many times each team will be on:
1. Blackhawks will appear a league-high 21 times nationally, Flyers get 20 games
The league's most popular brand in terms of TV viewership, ticket sales and merchandise is unsurprisingly going to get a lot of run on NBC's platforms. On top of playing in their third Winter Classic next season - Jan. 2 against the St. Louis Blues at Busch Stadium - the Blackhawks will have 25 percent of their regular-season schedule visible to a national audience. They are the biggest ratings driver the league has and NBC is going to milk that for all it's worth. This is the same amount of Blackhawks games they ordered for last season....
The Philadelphia Flyers, however, also have an extremely robust national TV schedule. They'll be on 20 times next season.
It should be noted that both Philadelphia and Chicago have all of their non-nationally broadcast games broadcast on regional Comcast Sports Networks, which are under the same umbrella as NBC Sports. That allows NBC to pull their feeds without having to send a full broadcast crew to those games.
from Lou Michel, Jane Kwiatkowski Radlich and Dan Herbeck of the Buffalo News,
Three Buffalo Police detectives were seen meeting Kane outside the Central Booking Bureau in City Court around 11 a.m.. They put handcuffs on Kane and accompanied him into the City Court building. Kane turned and walked away from a Buffalo News reporter when she asked them if he had any comment.
Although Kane voluntarily turned himself in to police, he still proclaims his innocence and plans to fight the charges, his attorney, Paul J. Cambria, told The News.
“Without a doubt, he plans to defend himself against these charges,” Cambria said....
Sources familiar with the case told The News Kane will face one count of misdemeanor criminal trespass – for allegedly refusing to leave the bar.
added 5:27pm, The Buffalo News updated the story with this...
Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane was charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and harassment today in connection with an incident at a downtown Buffalo bar last month.
added 9:35am. Rangers' release is below...
from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,
The real question is whether the Canadiens are a better team now than they were at the end of this disastrous season. I spoke to my buddy Simon Boisvert – a filmmaker and former QMJHL scout – and his take on the new-look Habs is that this is an “all-in” edition, as in Bergevin wants to win in the next year or two.
But Boisvert calls it a “semi all-in” because the team still doesn’t have the roster to compete with the best teams in the league.
We agreed that presumably the first line next season will be Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, which I suggested is a decent first line but hardly spectacular.
“It’s a second line at best on a championship-winning team,” said Boisvert. “But it’s not a top line on a championship team.”
Then the next line has to be Tomas Plekanec at centre, Radulov on the wing along with maybe Sven Andrighetto. The plus is you presumably have new pick-up Andrew Shaw on the third line.
“So your first line is actually a second line and your second line is actually a third line,” said Boisvert. “Then you have two fourth lines.”
from Arpon Basu of NHL.com,
The Ottawa Senators are built like a team that is ready to contend. The problem is, their recent history suggests they are in no position to do that.
The Senators have a veteran roster that has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in two of the past three seasons, but it is one new general manager Pierre Dorion said is ready to make a move and challenge the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
He made that clear by acquiring center Derick Brassard from the New York Rangers on July 18 in a trade for center Mika Zibanejad, getting a player who is better now but six years older and therefore likely with a lower ceiling than the player traded away. On top of that, Dorion included a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, getting a 2018 seventh-round pick back.
"I think the message from management is pretty clear: Our time is now," Brassard told TSN 1200 the day he was traded. "I do think this team is mature now and we have to win next season."...
A team with so few young players has pressure on it to win immediately, and Dorion has no interest in alleviating that pressure.
"Why can't we be good now?" Dorion told TSN 1200 on the day of the trade. "We've been young and hungry. We've been the 'Pesky Sens.' Why can't we, first of all, make the playoffs and challenge the better teams?
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Barring a game-changing trade, the Canucks’ 2016-17 roster looks pretty set.
Questions, of course, abound. Will Anton Rodin’s skills translate in the NHL? Is Erik Gudbranson an improvement on Dan Hamhuis? Is Bo Horvat really best-suited in a defensive role after leading the team in scoring in last season’s second half? Is there enough playing time on defence for three players most slotted for a third pairing, Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin and Philip Larsen? And where exactly is Alex Burrows going to fit in?
But there is one question that trumps all. At least for the Canucks’ front office, and the sub-section of fans who can’t stomach a rebuilding team. Is this Canucks roster good enough to make the playoffs?
Management sure hopes so. Moves like trading futures for Gudbranson and signing Loui Eriksson, the best 31-year-old winger available, to a six-year deal, are transactions you make in an attempt to get back to the post-season sooner rather than later. But when last season ended, Vancouver had a long way to go.
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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