Kukla's Korner

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Afternoon Line- Kevin Allen

With NHL training camps set to open in less than a month, the league’s unemployment numbers are as high as ever.

Counting a few injured players, there are 60 NHLers who made $1 million or more last season who currently don’t have NHL contracts.

-Kevin Allen of USA TODAY where you can read more on this topic.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A New Beat For Katie Strang Of ESPN

via Katie Strang tweets,

Quick life/work update: I have been reassigned to cover baseball for ESPN. Starting today, I will be covering the Detroit Tigers

To my hockey followers/friends: Promise to keep one eye on pucks and chime in when I still can, so don't leave me just yet

Will always be a hockey girl at heart. A sincere thank you to everyone in this sport/community that made it feel like home. Love you all

Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

How Important Is Zdeno Chara To The Boston Bruins?

from Joe McDonald of ESPN,

With the Boston Bruins beginning a new chapter in their storied history with a new general manager in Don Sweeney, and a revamped roster that includes plenty of new players, many think the of newcomers like Matt Beleskey or Jimmy Hayes would need to make a serious impact in order for the Bruins to be successful.

That statement is 100 percent true, but the success of the Bruins in 2015-2016 needs to begin with captain Zdeno Chara.

The 6-foot-9, 255-pound veteran defenseman had one of the worst seasons in his 17-year career during 2014-2015. Not only did he miss 19 games due to a torn ligament in his left knee, the 38-year-old never regained his form when he returned to action in mid-December.

Chara was slow, not the dominant defender the league has known, and yet was still forced to play an average of nearly 25 minutes per game. After the Bruins failed to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, Boston’s captain admitted he was never fully healed from his knee injury.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zdeno+chara

Team Rivalries

from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,

First, a few ground rules. We’re looking for rivalries between teams — there’s no individual category here. We’re also limiting this to NHL rivalries, so we won’t be including international rivalries like Russia vs. Team USA, Russia vs. Canada, and Canada vs. Sad Americans Getting Silver Medals.

So what makes a rivalry? This being hockey, bad blood will obviously be a key factor, but it’s not the only one. We’re looking for some staying power — one random brawl won’t be enough to earn the crown — and the stakes matter, too. Two teams may hate each other, but if all they’re fighting over is last place in their division, it’s probably not much of a rivalry. Finally, we’ll invoke what we can call the Ric Flair rule — to be the man, you have to beat the man, so in the case of any close calls, the reigning champ keeps the belt.

Sound good? Then, as legendary enforcer Dave Semenko would say, let’s go for a canoe ride. 

read on and good to see McIndoe goes way back...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Lee Stempniak Continues To Work Out While Waiting For A Team To Call

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

It’s late August and despite discussions with “a lot of teams,” Stempniak remains unsigned. Why? What is he after: Money? Security? Ice time?

“It’s a combination of everything. For me, at my age, winning is important. I’ve been on some good teams and some teams that have finished near the bottom in my career,” he explains. “You want to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup and get in the playoffs. I’m looking for the right opportunity with a team that’s capable of winning.

“It’s been slow for a lot of guys. There’s still a lot of good players that are out there. I continue to talk to teams. It’s just about finding the right fit.”

Four teams in the last two years have decided to trade him or let his deal expire, yet Stempniak is training as diligently as ever.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: lee+stempniak

Tracking The Goalies

from Travis Yost of TSN,

Last May, a team executive asked where I thought statistical analysis was having the biggest impact at the NHL level. A few answers came to mind, but I immediately mentioned that I thought our valuation of defencemen – especially puck-moving defencemen – had rapidly improved.

It's not a coincidence that a few days later, I wrote about how the Tampa Bay Lightning's stealing of Anton Stralman out of free agency was paying huge dividends. Stralman is something of an idyllic case, but it does capture the essence of what paying attention to the underlying numbers can do for a team. He never had lofty counting numbers and wasn't the most physical presence on the ice, but his impact on the possession game was indisputably strong. With that, of course, comes the goal differentials that win games.

One other question: he asked where I thought statistical analysis was struggling. This was a much easier answer, and it's a topic that gets a lot of play around the blogosphere.

We haven't figured out goaltenders.

There are myriad problems with the position, especially as it pertains to predictive analysis. The biggest driver is that save percentage – perhaps the best metric we have for capturing a player's ability to stop shots – is swamped by random variance, team effects and (potentially) sample size issues that kill any hope at meaningful confidence intervals. It leads to very little repeatability in goaltender performance, which makes it a struggle to forecast what many players will do in upcoming years.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sign Steven Stamkos

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

Uncertainty about Stamkos’ long-term status is a distraction to this team, this franchise and this player. Do the Lightning really need a distracted captain? Didn’t they try that with Marty St. Louis?

I’m not crazy concerned yet.

The Lightning need Stamkos. I think Stamkos needs the Lightning.

He’s a generational scorer. They’re a young contender.

Deal, please.

But there are a lot of moving parts. Maybe no villains — yet — but moving parts.

Clearly, Don Meehan, whose agency represents Stamkos, wants to break the bank, set the bar high. Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane high. Those Cup winners’ contract extensions are eight years apiece, $84 million, a $10.5 million cap hit for each of them.

Wonder how the Blackhawks feel about Kane’s off-ice troubles right about now.

Where were we?

Then there’s the Lightning side, where Yzerman has to factor in looming costs.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Morning Line- Mike Cammalleri On Connor McDavid

“Before our first scrimmage the other day, before the puck was even dropped, I heard the other team say: ‘Keep your head up, McDavid’. I think it was one of the Stewart brothers (Chris or Anthony). For sure, he’ll get a lot of that. And with good reason. When you have the skill set he has, and you can do the damage he thinks he should be able to do, he’ll earn that attention.”

-Mike Cammalleri of the New Jersey Devils on Connor McDavid at the BioSteel Camp.  More by Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun on McDavid and other topics including player talking about the ads on sweaters.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: connor+mcdavid, mike+cammalleri

What To Pay Andrew Ladd

from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,

What the Jets ultimately decide to do with Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien is going to have long-lasting ramifications on the direction the franchise takes moving forward.

My view on Byfuglien — who will make $6 million this season and carry a cap hit of $5.2 million — hasn't changed. The expectation is that the Jets will continue to work on a new deal for the blue-liner as well.

For now, let's keep the focus on Ladd, who is coming off a season that saw him produce 24 goals and a career-high 62 points in 81 games.

Ladd's worth has always stretched well beyond the numbers but the impressive part of last season's totals was that he was playing through a sports hernia and not close to full health.

Despite playing through injury, Ladd was tied for 12th in points by a left-winger, even with Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild.

The laundry list of Ladd's strong qualities as a player is a lengthy one, but it's his durability and consistency that are at the top of it....

So what's the hold up?

Ladd will turn 30 in December, so you can be sure he's looking to hit a home run with this deal.

It wouldn't be a surprise if his camp is looking for a seven- or eight-year deal worth north of $6 million per season.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ladd

Ryan O’Reilly Has A Scheduled Court Date Today

via WGRZ,

Ryan O'Reilly is scheduled to appear in London court Thursday after being charged for drunk driving.

The Sabres center was charged with impaired driving after a he crashed his pickup truck into a Tim Hortons in Lucan on July 9.

added 10:38am, from AM980,

The case of Buffalo Sabres star Ryan O’Reilly, charged with impaired driving following a crash last month outside a Tim Hortons in Lucan, has been put over until next month.

The 24-year-old, originally from Bluewater, was not at the London court house on Thursday. His lawyer appeared on his behalf.

O’Reilly’s next court appearance was set for Sept. 10th.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+o'reilly

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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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