Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Vegas Golden Knights plan to be very active when NHL free agency begins, general manager George McPhee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"Money's not a problem," McPhee said Monday in a Q&A with season-ticket holders. "Our owner, Bill Foley, is not afraid to spend to get the right player, and it's our job to identify who those players are."
Some players who can become unrestricted free agents on July 1 are San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie, and Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk....
"Things are going to be very busy," McPhee said. "But we don't want to miss these opportunities to get another look at players who may be able to help us."
McPhee also said Vegas plans to wait until the end of the NHL regular season to hire a coach.
"We decided in August to take our time and pick who we wanted in the spring. That plan hasn't changed," McPhee said. "We want someone who is very current with the game, someone progressive on how the game should be played."
Barry Trotz joins Dave Amber to talk about resting players in the final stretch of the season, the tough Metropolitan division, and Alex Ovechkin.
With John Tavares' future looming over the Islanders, should the team consider trading their captain if they aren't making progress on a long-term extension by a certain date? The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss, and also touch on the Sens' dilemma in signing prospect Colin White, the Canucks' plans for prospect Brock Boeser, Brian Elliott's interest in sticking long-term with the Flames, and more.
Watch the segment at TSN...
As more players and owners are speaking up with their opinions on the NHL’s involvement in the 2018 Olympics, commissioner Gary Bettman was the latest to comment on the stand-off.
Speaking to Reuters Tuesday at the Sport Business Summit in New York, Bettman said there were no negotiations currently ongoing between the league, IOC and IIHF and that perhaps people should start thinking about the very real possibility the league stays out of the Pyeongchang Games.
“As things stand now people should assume we are not going,” Bettman said.
The NHL has raised a few concerns with going to the 2018 Games, not least of which is that the league has to shut down for two weeks and send its best players to an event they don’t control. Just last week, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was recalling the 2006 Games when his goalie, Dominik Hasek, went to play for the Czech Republic as Ottawa looked poised to go on a Cup run. Hasek was injured at the Games and never played for the Senators again.
from Craig Button of TSN,
Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads continue to occupy the top two spots in the March edition of Craig’s List.
Patrick has done nothing but solidify his spot at the top of our rankings for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. After missing much of the first half of the season due to injury, Patrick’s game is rounding into form (20 goals and 26 assists in 33 games). He’s showed he has all the attributes and potential to become a top centre at the next level.
Patrick combines high-end sense and feel for the game with considerable skill and size, leaving no doubt that he belongs on the top of the list.
Hischier (38 goals and 48 assists in 57 games) remains firmly in second. While the Swiss centre has been pushing Patrick for first overall, he hasn’t done enough to surpass him.
Martin Necas, who has played the entire season with Brno in the Czech Extraliga, the highest league in the Czech Republic, moves one spot up from our January rankings to land in third.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
ESPN.com: As one of the leaders on this team, what do you do with the younger players when they come in for the first time? Is it more by osmosis, leading by example, or do you sometimes take a kid aside and talk to him?
Keith: It's a little bit different for everybody. You get a guy like [Ryan] Hartman, who had played in the minors for a couple of years. I think he was ready to make that step this year. He's got good habits already. Maybe with other guys, you notice that they're young and need to learn, whether it's taking them aside or just showing them or saying, 'Hey this is what you need to be doing here. This is a big step from college.' But a lot of it is on the individual, too. It's up to them. It's like the old saying, 'You can lead the horse to the water, but you can't make him drink.' We've been lucky to have guys who come in and want to be part of a winning team.
ESPN.com: Do the core guys, the original group, ever take stock of what you've accomplished so far together?
Keith: I spend a lot of time with Seabs, obviously. I think we're both proud to have played with the same organization as long as we have and to play in a city like Chicago, and for these fans. There are times when we reflect how lucky we are to be in this situation, and how much fun we've had in this city. It wasn't always the organization that it is now. I's been quite a turnaround. We just feel lucky to be part of it.
Just over two minutes long.
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Chris Schwarz has a dream job.
As the strength and conditioning coach of the Ottawa Senators, Schwarz helps keep world-class athletes such as Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris and Mark Stone finely tuned.
Schwarz isn’t referring to those star players, nor is he citing recent flu virus issues in the NHL when he says: “I can’t tell you how we’re in trouble. It’s an epidemic.”
Schwarz is talking about the lack of athleticism among our youth, even including some elite hockey players who didn’t play other sports or freelance in the playgrounds as children. He offers this simple test for parents: “Ask your kid if he or she can somersault. See if they can play catch with both hands. Can they run backwards? Do those three things. I think most parents would be astonished that their kids can’t do it.”
Those same parents approach Schwarz at his Fitquest private strength training centre and ask him to “make my son skate fast.” Unfortunately, it’s a losing proposition if the child hasn’t first learned to run and play; to kick and throw a ball.
Surprisingly, in this era of the professional who trains year round, some very good hockey players have come through the system, only to hit a wall at a certain point because their hockey aspirations lacked a foundation.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
What have you noticed lately from your veteran guys? Scoring is down [two goals in the past three games], but otherwise have you seen a jump in them, something different in the last little while, or are they kind of by the book, day by day, grinding through?
"No, I think there is a definite rise in play and in production and, really, everything. These guys are big-game players. They always have been. Until you go through a season after a Stanley Cup Final loss, knowing what it's like to go that deep and lose, and then compound it with the World Cup, you don't realize the extent of the fatigue, mental and physical. What I've seen here in the last month or two has been all our big guys seeing the finish line and playoffs coming and really raising their level."
Have you see a season like Brent Burns is having before, considering the position he plays and the fact that he leads the League in shots and he's right up there in points too? But on top of that, is he showing any frustration that he hasn't scored a goal in [13 games]?
"He's playing through it. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't frustrated. He expects to score and he wants to score, and there is always frustration when you do that and it's not going in. But I think he's smart enough to recognize he's doing all the same things he was before and it's just not going in. It is exceptional what he's doing when you consider the age of shot-blocking and the attention paid to getting in lanes. For a guy that is shooting a lot of nights from the blue line, not from 10 or 15 feet out, it's an incredible stat [to lead the League in shots on goal]. The other thing you have to realize too is I would say at least half his shots he's shooting for a stick or a tip, he's not even aiming for the net. I think his shot totals could be even higher on net if he wasn't so unselfish.
"I can remember [Alex] Ovechkin coming into Florida when I was coaching there still, my second or third year, and one night he had 11 or 12 shots on net, five or six hits. It was just fantastic stuff, like this guy is better than anybody we've seen this year. It's that type of reaction other coaches have had in their coaches room after we've played them because he's been that dominant.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
With this playoff push growing more tense and exciting by the day, it is widely being painted as on-the-job training for Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and friends.
But from the philosophical locker stall in the corner, where a quiet intensity burns like an ember from Boyle, this is about much more than that. All he sees are the 11 games left on the schedule following Monday’s 4-2 victory over Boston and the chance to go on a playoff run now.
“You’re not automatically going to be a better team from one year until the next,” said Boyle, with the wisdom of a veteran among rookies. “I learned that. We had a great year my first year in Tampa, we kind of struggled the next year and we picked it up (in the playoffs), and then this past year you look what happens and a bunch of guys get moved.
“It wasn’t where we thought we’d be.”
This wasn’t where many figured the Leafs would be, either, back when Matthews scored four goals on opening night in a game his team still managed to lose. The expectations were non-existent in November, grew steadily through December, January and February and dipped again as recently as last week following a 7-2 loss in Florida.
Yet here we had the young Leafs navigating playoff-like conditions in back-to-back games while grabbing three out of a possible four points from Boston and Chicago.
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 email@example.com