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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Ranking The Off-Season Moves

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

All teams have been ranked from 1 through 31 according to off-season performance only. (This is not an order of strength heading into 2017-18 but strictly an assessment of recent front office moves.)...

The “previous ranking” number assigned to each franchise indicates their official standings finish in 2016-17.

1. Once Brad Treliving got his own contract, the dude put in overtime. Keeping UFA Michael Stone and adding Travis Hamonic gives the Flames one of the best D cores in the NHL. Mike Smith isn’t young but he’s solid and should be motivated to play for a team with a chance. And retaining complementary forwards Micheal Ferland and Kris Versteeg for $1.75 million cap hits is a tidy bit of business on Treliving’s part.
Previous: 16

2. Either Steve Yzerman is part genius, or there’s something to this “athletes don’t like paying taxes” thing. The Bolts locked up RFAs Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat for reasonable rates, secured one of the most enticing defence prospects (Mikhail Sergachev), and took a reasonable two-year gamble on Dan Girardi for blue-line depth.
Previous: 18

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Attendance Issues For The Carolina Hurricanes

from Abbie Bennett of the News & Observer,

The Carolina Hurricanes have the second worst home game attendance in all of major league sports.

Financial news website 24/7 Wall St. published a report on “Sports Teams Running Out of Fans” on Monday that showed the Hurricanes have seen a serious dip in home attendance.

Over the last 10 years, attendance at Canes home games dropped 32 percent, with just 64 percent of all seats filled. Average home game attendance for the Canes is 11,776.

The Hurricanes relocated to Raleigh from Hartford, Conn., in 1997 and lackluster performances in recent years appear to be hurting ticket sales, according to the report.

The team often made postseason appearances during its first 10 years in Raleigh and won the Stanley Cup at the end of its 2005-06 season. The following season, home game attendance regularly topped 17,000.

But last season marked the eighth consecutive year that the Canes did not make a playoff appearance and average home game attendance was below 12,000.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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.

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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

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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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