Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Let’s not get too nostalgic here, lest we look like sentimental fools. Let’s just say that this is nice, that it feels right, that it’s too bad it can’t be this way more often in sports. Nothing wrong with LeBron James getting to orchestrate his future, but if there’s one thing the San Antonio Spurs have taught us hardheaded types, it’s that very good players playing together for a long time can do great things.
And if there’s one thing that Toews and Kane have taught us, it’s that two great players are capable of giving a franchise a chance to win a championship every season. What more could a fan base want?
The surprise these days is when athletes stick around. LeBron’s talk about “four, five, six’’ NBA titles with the Heat is silenced now that he has bolted back to Cleveland after four seasons in Miami. Carmelo Anthony’s decision to stay with the Knicks wasn’t out of feelings of loyalty. It was because the Knicks could allow him to stack more Maseratis atop each other than other teams could. Winning? A secondary consideration, by about 30 lengths.
Toews and Kane are winners. Two Stanley Cups each. Both with a Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player. A rookie-of-the-year award for Kane and more dramatic game-winning goals than anyone has a right to have. International success for both, but especially for Toews and that country to the north. Canada’s two gold medals the last two Olympics didn’t feel so painful here, not with the Hawks’ captain playing such a prominent role.
from Scott Powers of ESPNChicago,
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Wednesday he understands there will be salary cap challenges ahead after recently re-signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to identical eight-year, $84 million contract extensions, but it's his job to make it work.
The new contracts for Kane and Toews will go into effect during the 2015-16 season. The NHL's salary cap is at $69 million for the upcoming season, but is expected to increase in future seasons.
"I don't know if there's any more pressure," Bowman said regarding the salary cap at a news conference at the United Center on Wednesday. "I think that's our job to make it work. It's obviously a puzzle to put together, but we're going to make it work. We've been able to do that in the past. I have a lot of faith in the ability to keep that going.
"I have always said the most important thing for us is you can't get star players. Once you do get ones, it's so hard to win. You got start players here who have shown the ability to win. They want to be here. It's not even a discussion point. I'm just thrilled we have two of them. Most teams would die to have one of these players on their team. We have two of them here. We're very fortunate. The rest of the stuff will work itself out. We put a lot of work into finding young players and surrounding these guys with a great supporting cast."
SAN JOSE, CA - San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Jason Demers (@JasonDemers5) to a two-year contract.
"Jason has been a solid, offensive defenseman and is coming off a good season," said Wilson. "His skill set and his age mesh well within our overall group and we're happy to have him signed for two more years."
from Paul Stewart at the Huffington Post,
Shortly after my retirement from the NHL as an active referee, the Hockey News asked me to name the five biggest whiners I had to deal with on the ice. In descending order from one to five, the players were Chris Gratton, Tyson Nash, Craig Janney, Steve Yzerman and Keith Tkachuk. I'll share stories about the other players some other time but for now, I talk about Gratton.
If you ever looked at Chris Gratton's career, he was the type of player that in the era in which I played would have been branded as a pseudo tough guy. He was bold and brave when either playing at home and/or going up against someone much smaller or at the end of a long shift when Gratton had just hopped on the ice. On the road, he could often carry a carton of eggs in his sweater without breaking any.
Gratton also complained about pretty much every call that did not go his way. He'd give my linesmen grief if he sent in a play two feet offside and the play got whistled down. According to him, he was never guilty of a penalty; to the point that, even when he did have a legitimate beef, he'd already cried wolf too many times before.
much more, a good read...
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
This time last year, the St. Louis Blues were the sexy pick to run the table and capture the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They lived up to the billing early, playing like the NHL's best team for a good part of the season before stumbling down the stretch and flaming out in a first-round loss to the Blackhawks.
It was a familiar story to the team's long-suffering fans. Good ... but not good enough. Again.
That frustrating finish revealed some obvious flaws in the makeup of the club. Compared to conference heavyweights like Chicago and Los Angeles, there wasn't enough talent in the middle. There wasn't enough depth up front. There was an awkward mix on the back end.
To compete with the big boys, St. Louis needed more than a fresh coat of paint. General manager Doug Armstrong has delivered. After his active summer, the Blues may finally be ready for their close-up.
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
... since Trotz and his staff assembled in Washington, the idea of the “Capitals Way” has entered their lexicon, another one of the intangible concepts – think “culture change” or “Brooks Orpik’s leadership” – being preached so much.
So what does this mean, exactly? What is the “Washington Capitals Way” Trotz wants to implement, or rediscover, or put back on track?
“I think it’s team-first and you’re able to count on the guy right beside you, across from you,” assistant coach Lane Lambert said. “There’s a lot of togetherness. There’s a lot of team-oriented concepts that we work on this week.”
“I think it’s going to be something we’re still formulating as a staff,” assistant coach Todd Reirden said. “I think a lot of times when you’re forming a model and words you want to use to describe your team before you go out and make those words public, I think you need to interact with the players and watch and now you can develop some of those characteristics after you’ve played, gone through some training camp games and real games. That’s when you get concrete words that define your team.”
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Wednesday that the hockey club has signed forward Peter Holland to a two-year contract.
Holland, 23, played 39 games for the Maple Leafs in 2013-14 collecting 10 points (five goals, five assists) and 16 penalty minutes. He recorded a career best two goals and three points December 14 against Chicago. The 6-2, 194-pound forward also played 14 regular season games for the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies this past season during which he registered five goals and five assists with 10 penalty minutes. In 11 Calder Cup playoff games he led the Marlies in both goals (7) and points (15), while earning a (+6) plus/minus rating.
I am not a gamer at all, but this looks pretty good to me.
from Stan Fischler of The Fischler Report,
* Now that the Penguins have shut the door on Martin Brodeur it seems to me that the only club open to Mister Goalie is Toronto.
* But for that to happen some club would have to pick up James Riemer who still labors under the misapprehension that he's better than Monsieur Bernier.
* My Top Flop Of The Past Three Years Award goes to Zach Bogosian. Remember he was the third overall Draft pick in 2008.
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
Let’s start at the beginning: August 2005, when the league emerged from a yearlong lockout and teams got their first crack at a new world of free agency.
The 2005 offseason was a strange one. The lockout ended in July, and teams were given the opportunity to use unlimited compliance buyouts to get under the new salary cap. In theory, that should have flooded the market. In reality, teams largely played it cautious.
Best: Scott Niedermayer, Mighty Ducks, $28 million over four years
This one’s not an especially tough call, as Brian Burke and the Ducks nabbed a reigning Norris winner and future Hall of Famer who still had plenty of good years left. (They also had an advantage over other teams in the form of Scott’s brother Rob, who was already on the roster. The two had always wanted to play together.)
Scott Niedermayer posted a career high in points in his first season in Anaheim. When he was joined by Chris Pronger for 2006-07, the dominant duo gave the Ducks the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
Worst: Alexander Mogilny, Devils, $7 million over two years/Vladimir Malakhov, Devils, $7.2 million over two years (tie)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org