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The Next World Cup Of Hockey May Look Like This

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

As opposed to the 2016 World Cup, which ran prior to the start of the NHL season, they would be looking at an in-season tournament which takes place over an extended All-Star break in 2021.

Of course, the shorter tournament in 2021 would mean fewer teams than they had in 2016 — which included Team Europe and Team North America.

“It would be kind of a mini-tournament about a week in length,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Day told Sportsnet. “Tack on a couple of days to the typical all-star break and fit it in an international event.”

Obviously, Olympic participation is a more pressing issue for players and fans alike, but we already know which countries field teams in an Olympic tournament. The next World Cup is NHL/NHLPA property, and as such can be sculpted any way the two sides decide.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHLPA, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Colorado Avalanche Sign UFA Valeri Nichushkin

DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed forward Valeri Nichushkin to a one-year contract for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

Nichushkin, 24, played his fourth NHL season with the Dallas Stars in 2018-19 where he tallied 10 points (0g/10a) in 57 games. The right wing has registered 74 points (23g/51a) in 223 career NHL regular-season contests and has recorded three points (1g/2a) in 17 career games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Stars’ first pick in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft (10th overall), Nichushkin has also appeared in five career contests (0g/4a) with Dallas’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Texas Stars, and has dressed in 104 career KHL games (31g/26a) in Russia with Traktor Chelyabinsk and CSKA Moscow. The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native has registered 23 points (10g/13a) in 53 career KHL postseason contests.

“Valeri is a big, young winger who adds depth to our roster and brings competition to our training camp,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President / General Manager Joe Sakic.  “He brings NHL experience to our team and we are excited to have him with our organization.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Did Jim Benning Deserve A Contract Extension?

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

Shortly after he fired Paul Fenton this off-season, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold laid out his reasons for dismissing his general manager after just one year.

“Paul is a really strong, strategic scout, all of that,” Leopold told The Athletic’s Mike Russo. “But there were parts of his role that just weren’t working out to my satisfaction....

In his five years as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, Jim Benning has demonstrated he has a keen eye for young talent. The draft picks you know about. The secondary wave of prospects you know about. Yes, the jury is still out on some of his selections, but Benning has laid a foundation for the Canucks’ future and he’s been rewarded for his work with a multi-year contract extension.

Just waiting for Elliotte Friedman to supply the exact terms of the deal.

But, like Fenton, Benning has yet to demonstrate he has the other skills required of his office and, ultimately, that’s how he’ll be judged.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jim+benning

Video- Season Preview For The New York Islanders

from Brian Compton of NHL.com,

The New York Islanders know they won't be sneaking up on teams this season. The element of surprise has evaporated after a second-place finish in the Metropolitan Division and a trip to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now it's up to the Islanders, who had home-ice advantage in a playoff series for the first time since 1988 and swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference First Round before being swept by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round, to prove what they accomplished last season wasn't a fluke.

"Expectations will change and the bar will be raised," said Islanders captain Anders Lee, a forward who signed a seven-year, $49 million contract on July 1. "Good teams have to be able to handle that and all those things that go into becoming a championship team."


Below, watch the preview on the Islanders.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink

NHL Network Names Their Top 20 Defensemen

from David Satriano of NHL.com,

20. Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets

In three NHL seasons, Werenski has 128 points (38 goals, 90 assists) in 237 games. He had 44 points (11 goals, 33 assists) and averaged 22:54 of ice time last season. The 22-year-old was a finalist for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in 2016-17, when he had 47 points (11 goals, 36 assists) in 78 games. Werenski had six points (one goal, five assists) and averaged 26:37 of ice time per game in 10 games in the 2019 playoffs.

"He's going to be, within a couple years, top 10, there's no doubt about it," Daneyko said. "… He's a guy that you're going to be able to count on in every situation for a lot of years in Columbus, and a guy that always -- I would expect - [will] be in the top 20 for years to come.

19. Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues

Parayko scored an NHL career-high 10 goals and had 28 points and a plus-20 rating (second on the Blues behind center Ryan O'Reilly's plus-22) last season. His 22:47 of ice time per game was second on St. Louis behind Pietrangelo's 24:05. The 26-year-old had 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) and averaged 25:07 of ice time in 26 playoff games to help the Blues win the Stanley Cup.

"He brings a lot of different elements, his game has grown tremendously," Daneyko said. "… I'd probably have him even higher. Colton Parayko's playing that well and that good for the St. Louis Blues.". But I expect him to climb."

18 more

Below, a short video on the Top 20...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Season Preview For The New Jersey Devils

from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,

The New Jersey Devils were among the most aggressive teams remaking their roster this offseason, adding several high-profile players, including Jack Hughes and P.K. Subban.

The Devils selected Hughes, an 18-year-old center, with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft on June 21 and acquired Subban in a trade with the Nashville Predators on June 22. New Jersey signed right wing Wayne Simmonds (one year, $5 million) on July 1, and acquired left wing Nikita Gusev in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights on July 29.

The Devils are looking to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in the past eight seasons.

Hughes, who gives the Devils depth at center, joining Nico Hischier, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, had 112 points (34 goals, 78 assists) in 50 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team last season.

"Jack has physical tools that are elite," Devils coach John Hynes said. "But the thing that really separates guys with physical tools is their love and passion for the game, the desire to get better. Jack has that component in spades in his personality."


Watch the season preview below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey Talk In Mid-August

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- How have NHL stars been penalized by the league’s salary cap? Before the cap, 15 years ago, Peter Forsberg was the NHL’s highest paid player at $11 million a season. Now, it’s Connor McDavid at $12.5 million. That’s less than a 1% increase per year increase for the sport’s greatest player. Over the same period of time, the value of the Maple Leafs as a franchise has gone from $265 million to $1.4 billion. Up more than 500%. In other words, ownership wins once again.

- The NHL must be just a little concerned that Pittsburgh Penguins majority owner, Ron Burkle, is being mentioned as a former associate of Jeffrey Epstein, the scandal ridden American who apparently killed himself behind bars.

a few more hockey blurbs...

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Mike Milbury Wants To Stay Old School When It Comes To Analyzing The Game

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Be it in the studio alongside Keith Jones in Stamford, Conn., or in a broadcast booth with the likes of Mike Emrick, ex-Bruins defenseman Mike Milbury is about to embark on his 13th season as part of NBC’s NHL coverage....

The ever-blunt Milbury, 67, fills a more versatile broadcast role than the more narrowly defined life he led on the Boston blue line for a dozen seasons (1975-87), which had him cast in a stay-at-home and slug-it-out role (1,552 penalty minutes in 754 games).

During his tenure with NBC, Milbury has been the guy in the cast most likely to say whatever pops into his head, albeit with a tiny bit more self-restraint and censoring than his ex-coach, Don Cherry, who made a fortune the last 30-plus years as Canada’s premier loose cannon during NHL broadcasts.

For the upcoming season, the NHL plans to mine a massive amount of player data through its new Puck and Player Tracking system. Just how NBC or any of the league’s other broadcast entities plan to integrate the data treasure trove remains to be seen. Milbury sounds like a guy who still would prefer to wrap his hands around an opposing forward’s neck than to, say, dive into a fresh load of numbers about puck possession or speed of the puck as it rockets off a player’s blade.

“I have zero interest in it,” Milbury said this past week, reached by telephone at his home in the Boston suburbs. “I know they’re counting on it, but I’ve made my feelings known. No thanks. I mean, every move measured and calculated . . . what the [bleep] is the fun in that?! I guess I could be wrong, and there’ll be something in all of it that will catch my eye, but..."

more plus other hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+milbury

The Chicago Blackhawks Are Big Believers In Analytics

from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Al MacIsaac first heard of analytics approximately 4,500 miles away from his spacious United Center office.

Shortly before the Blackhawks’ 2009-10 season opener in Finland, MacIsaac sat down alongside Stan and Scotty Bowman to meet a stranger in Helsinki’s grand Hotel Kamp for a brief presentation....

“It started as a project that we were going to build on,” MacIsaac told the Sun-Times this week. “Now we have analytics for everything. ... It’s evolved from that first chance meeting in 2009 to something that we feel proud of and that our staff have come to embrace.”

The term ‘analytics’ itself is mentioned nowhere in MacIsaac’s job description, and it takes quite a bit of scrolling down the Hawks’ front office directory to find Andrew Contis, the lone listed member with it in his title.

But MacIsaac will disclose there’s a whole team of employees — “young people,” he calls them — who compose the Hawks’ analytics department, collecting and analyzing data and looking for new areas to explore.

“Our ideas can’t be cascading down from the senior guys like me and Stan,” MacIsaac said. “We want ideas cascading upwards, and that comes from guys like Andrew Contis and a number of others.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Season Preview For The Nashville Predators

from Robby Stanley at NHL.com

The Nashville Predators hope bolstering their forwards will be enough to win the Central Division for a third consecutive season and make a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Predators signed center Matt Duchene to a seven-year, $56 million contract (average annual value $8 million) on July 1. In order to clear space under the NHL salary cap and sign Duchene, Nashville traded defenseman P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils on June 22.

"Let's call it like it is: If we don't make the Subban trade and get rid of his money ($9 million AAV), it's going to be much more difficult to get into the Duchene sweepstakes, if you will," Predators general manager David Poile said. "Maybe we could have, and we'd be over the [salary cap] today and we'd being having a player or players that we'd have to move. That really, I guess you would say, took the pressure off in terms of doing this.

"So Subban for Duchene sounds like a reasonable way to say it. The good news is with [defenseman Dante Fabbro] coming in, that we feel like maybe he can't replace [Subban] right away but he certainly has the potential of being a top-four defenseman. With [Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis] there as our top three, I think we still have a really good defense."


Watch the season preview on the Preds below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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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