Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
It’s never easy to see somebody lose his job, even in the big-dollar world of the NHL, but it does help to be prepared. So here’s a look at 10 seats around the league that are already getting warm or worse.
Sharks Coach Todd McLellan
Why he’s in trouble: McLellan has been on the hot seat for years, and his firing seemed like a sure thing after last season’s playoff collapse against the Kings. He was given a surprising reprieve by GM Doug Wilson, who vowed to overhaul the roster instead. That led into the summer’s odd standoff with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and the team emerged without a captain but with essentially an unchanged core. So far, that patience hasn’t paid off, as the team has hovered around the .500 mark....
Flyers Coach Craig Berube
Why he’s in trouble: He’s the head coach of the Flyers, which is one of those positions where the seat starts getting warm on the day you take the job. That’s especially true when the team struggles to get over .500, which the Flyers have for much of the season. And he’s working for a GM who didn’t hire him; Ron Hextall was the assistant GM when Berube got the job last season, and could want to put his own guy in place now that he’s in charge....
more on each of the above plus more 'hot seat' candidates...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There was so much focus on Toronto yesterday in the aftermath of the embarrassing loss to the Predators, but I suspect we need to keep just as close an eye on Edmonton, where the Oilers dropped to 0-9-1 against Western Conference teams this season with the loss to Vancouver. Simply unacceptable.
I know management in Edmonton was not going to sit on its hands and let another debacle of a season roll by without any action. They're craving a trade for a center, although that's easier said than done. And you wonder about the job security for Eakins if the losses continue. Not sure exactly which direction Oilers management will go, but if the losing continues, I'll be shocked if something doesn't happen in the next month or two.
read on for Strang, Burnside and Custance on either the Leafs or the Oilers...
Elliotte Friedman sat down with David Poile and Dave Nonis to talk about what the general managers talk about at the GM Meetings, and what topics are peaking their interest at the moment.
It sounds to me the GMs still are not 100% behind video review...
ALL-STAR FAN VOTE
The 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote, presented by SiriusXM, opens today at 12:00 p.m. ET at NHL.com/vote and via mobile phones. All 700-plus active players are on the ballot, which includes enhanced interactive features designed to simplify the player search options for fans.
The ballot page at NHL.com/vote will include a leaderboard of the top vote-getters as well as trending players. Vote totals will be posted on NHL.com every Tuesday, starting Nov. 25.
Voting concludes Thursday, Jan. 1, with the top six vote-getters by position – three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender – set to take part in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game.
FIFTH ANNUAL USA HOCKEY SLED CLASSIC
The fifth annual USA Hockey Sled Classic, presented by the NHL and hosted by the Capitals, begins today at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. The event is part of the fourth annual Come Play Hockey Month, a joint effort between USA Hockey and the NHL.
The record 18-team field for the USA Hockey Sled Classic will include 200-plus athletes. Ten members of the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team that won gold in Sochi, as well as 11 current members of the 2014-15 U.S. National Sled Team, will participate in the tournament.
Click here for more details.
from Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey,
There’s no pleasant way to say this: the Leafs suck. I don’t mean that to trash talk. It’s simply the way it is. They’ve missed the playoffs every season but one since the end of the season-killing lockout of 2004-05, and then only made the playoffs in a lockout-shortened season.
Over the past three years the Leafs have been among the league’s worst puck-possession and defensive teams. Those figures quoted by the hockey analytics nerds might piss off some fans and pundits, but they’re not wrong. They weren’t wrong last season and they’re not wrong this season. By the way, nerd is no longer an insult. They rule the world now. Deal with it, jockstrap.
What is it about the Leafs over the past decade which has thwarted the otherwise shrewd hockey men brought in to manage and coach this team?
With the world commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this week, TSN's Dave Naylor explores the story of hockey's famed Stastny brothers. TSN Original Feature Stastny focuses on Peter and Anton, who defected from Czechoslovakia in dramatic fashion in 1980, and older brother Marian, who joined them a year later, all in search of the opportunity to compete on the North American stage.....
"By defying the Iron Curtain and defecting to North America, the Stastny brothers changed the face of professional hockey forever," said Naylor. "To help people appreciate their story, we take viewers back to the brothers' home city of Bratislava in an Eastern Bloc country with limited freedoms. The circumstances under which the Stastnys escaped, including the torturous choice to leave family behind, mark an important time in both hockey and political history."
read on and watch the video below...
from Ron Cook of the Pitsburgh Post-Gazette,
It seems so wrong to worry about what the Penguins are going to do without Pascal Dupuis.
That’s just not important. All that matters is Dupuis’ long-term health as he battles a serious, recurring problem with blood clots in his lungs. He has to do everything he can to live to be a very old man for his wife and their kids.
“I’ve got to be healthy for them,” Dupuis said Wednesday at what likely was this city’s most somber sports news conference since the Penguins announced beloved coach Badger Bob Johnson had died from brain cancer at 60 in November 1991.
Sadly, the Penguins do this sort of thing too often. Just last month, they announced defenseman Olli Maatta, who isn’t old enough to buy a beer in this state, needed surgery to remove what turned out to be a cancerous tumor from his thyroid. In February, they announced defenseman Kris Letang, then 26, had a stroke. Going back to January 1993, they announced superstar center Mario Lemieux had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
But the Dupuis news conference was much different. There was a lot of optimism that Maatta, Letang and Lemieux would be able to return to the team. All did, quickly. There was no such optimism with Dupuis, mostly because this is the second time in 11 months he has had a potentially life-threatening blood clot.
Then Bob McKenzie with the takedown.
from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The door slammed, opened, and slammed again.
Inside the changing room, a sanctuary for players that is usually kept at an arms-length from team management, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall was peeling the paint off the walls with words that would make a stevedore blush.
"Are you [bleeping] kidding me?" Hextall screamed, loud enough for the media waiting next door in the locker room to hear. "That's [bleeping] embarrassing! Jesus [bleeping] Christ!"
The door slammed, one final time, but not until it sounded as if a wastebasket bounced off the wall deep inside the bowels of Madison Square Garden - where the Flyers have now lost nine consecutive regular-season games.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
On the morning of Oct. 7, two days before the Blue Jackets opened the 2014-15 season, Jack Johnson left his Ferrari parked in the garage of his Dublin apartment and drove his BMW to a federal courthouse Downtown to file for bankruptcy.
Johnson has earned more than $18 million during his nine-year NHL career, not including the $5 million he will be paid this season by the Blue Jackets.
Almost all of the money is gone, and some of his future earnings have already been promised — which is why Johnson, surrounded by a new team of financial advisers and an attorney, signed his financial surrender.
The scene was nearly four years in the making, after a string of risky loans at high interest rates; defaults on those loans, resulting in huge fees and even higher interest rates; and three lawsuits against Johnson, two of which have been settled and one that’s pending.
“I’d say I picked the wrong people who led me down the wrong path,” Johnson, a 27-year-old defenseman, told The Dispatch last week. “I’ve got people in place who are going to fix everything now. It’s something I should have done a long time ago.”...
But sources close to Johnson have told The Dispatch that his own parents — Jack Sr. and Tina Johnson — are among the “wrong people” who, as Johnson put it, led him astray financially.
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