Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the Associated Press:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expects the salary cap for the 2015-16 season to settle in around $71 million, depending on the fluctuations of the Canadian dollar.
Appearing between the first and second periods of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night between the Anaheim Ducks and hometown Blackhawks, the commissioner said he expects it to climb five per cent from this year’s cap figure of $69 million.
Bettman also faced several questions about concussions three months after the death of former defenceman Steve Montador, 35, who was subsequently found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephelopathy — or CTE — a degenerative brain disease.
Puck drops just after 8:00pm ET on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
The series is 1-1 and the series shifts to Chicago for the next two games.
Discuss as you wish.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
“All of our players have to understand that the four teams playing this week all have different attributes of skill, size, speed, and grit,” Sweeney said Wednesday at TD Garden. “But they have a sacrifice level that it takes to win in the playoffs. You have to have a blend of that to get there. We have to have more aggression in our game.”
Sweeney also wants cap flexibility. The Bruins have approximately $60 million invested in their 2015-16 roster. Dougie Hamilton, Brett Connolly, and Ryan Spooner require new contracts. The Bruins need a backup goalie.
Milan Lucic is in the last year of a deal that averages $6 million annually. It is a high sum for a player for whom 18 goals and 26 assists was considered a disappointment. Sweeney does not want to play limbo too closely under the ceiling, which is projected to be approximately $70 million next year. Trading the 26-year-old winger with cap relief as an objective would help Sweeney gain breathing room.
“We have some challenges,” Sweeney acknowledged. “We have some flexibility issues that we have to get back out in front of and that we have to address head-on.”
Moving Lucic, however, would mean losing the NHL’s signature power forward. If he and David Krejci stay healthy, Lucic’s presence and production will grow next year. Trading Lucic would not necessarily improve the team in 2015-16.
Determining Lucic’s future is one of Sweeney’s most immediate decisions. It is also one of his hardest.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Mike Babcock did nothing but win in Detroit. He won without high draft picks. He won without large free-agent signings. He won without all-star goaltending.
He won — or better put, the Red Wings won — partly because of elite talent such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg — and moreso because the organization under general manager Ken Holland understood and fostered player development in a way few franchises ever have.
The model is there for the Maple Leafs.
It is Holland’s model with Jimmy Devellano’s signature on it and a clear mandate from management and coaching: Every spot on a team is earned.
Every player is developed with a sense of patience and logic.
There is a clear and unwavering plan that never changes.
The kind of plan Brendan Shanahan keeps referencing without much explanation.
The model to follow is partly Detroit, partly Tampa Bay for Shanahan’s Maple Leafs. It is not coincidence that Steve Yzerman is running the Lightning. It is not coincidence that Jim Nill traded for Tyler Seguin in Dallas. It is not coincidence that Todd McLellan is the new coach of the Oilers and Jeff Blashill is likely the new coach in Detroit and Paul MacLean is a former coach of the year before he was let go in Ottawa.
All learned the Red Wing way. All became part of that family — and are still, in a way, part of that culture.
“I thought I was doing OK when I went to Detroit. They offered me double what I was getting in Pittsburgh, so I said, ‘Hell I might as well go'.
“The best I ever did, I was the first coach that ever made a million. In Detroit, they paid me after we won the two Cups. That’s 20 years ago now, nearly.”
-Scotty Bowman via Mark Spector of Sportsnet where you can read more from Bowman, plus video of Mike Babcock talking from their studio.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
“People are looking for a smoking gun that doesn’t exist.”
That is how Sabres general manager Tim Murray describes the fallout in Buffalo, after the city’s coachless hockey club finished second in the Mike Babcock sweepstakes to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I’m not upset or anything,” Murray told WGR 550 Sports Radio in a lengthy interview Thursday afternoon. “It was a great process for me. This is my first real shot at doing interviews and hiring my coach.”
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
While he indicated Thursday he has been having discussions with current St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock since the season ended, General Manager Doug Armstrong refused to shed any light on the team’s coaching situation.
Hitchcock’s contract expires in June and the Blues reportedly explored the possibility of bringing in former Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. Media reports suggested that Babcock had talks with the Blues, Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres before deciding to sign a record-breaking eight-year, $50 million contract to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs.
During a conference call with reporters Thursday to discuss the hiring of new assistant general manager Martin Brodeur, Armstrong was asked specifically if he knew whether Hitchcock would be brought back as head coach of the Blues next season.
“You’re trying to put words in my mouth,” Armstrong said. “When I have something to communicate, I will.”
from the CP at TSN,
Mike Babcock took over as Toronto head coach Thursday, saying the Maple Leafs are Canada's team and they need to be put back on the map.
The 52-year-old Babcock, no stranger to coaching Team Canada, becomes the 30th head coach in Leafs' history.
Babcock said he was thrilled and excited to take the Toronto job. He cautioned the journey will be a long one, but promised it will be a lot of fun.
The former Detroit Red Wings coach takes over a 30-44-8 Leafs team that finished 27th in the league this season.
Babcock told the packed news conference in the foyer of the Air Canada Centre that he embraces the job ahead.
"I came here with my eyes wide open," he said.
Babcock made it clear that he is aware of the size of the task ahead and would have no problems operating in the fishbowl that surrounds the Leafs franchise.
"This is going to be a massive, massive challenge," he said.
added 1:23pm, Watch the full Babcock press conference below...
via Eric Stephens tweets,
Milbury was apparently asked how he would stop Corey Perry. "If I were playing against Corey Perry, I’d probably want to hurt him in (1/2)
(more) some painful and permanent way. And I think most of the rest of the league feels the same way." (2/2)
Perry on Milbury comment last night: "it's not something that's been taken lightly. If somebody said something about his kid that way (more)
How would he feel?" Milbury had said if he played vs Perry he would " want to hurt him in a painful and permanent way."
Home Team in Caps
TAMPA BAY 6, NY Rangers 5 (OT) – TBL leads series 2-1
KUCHEROV’S OT HEROICS POWER LIGHTNING TO 2-1 SERIES LEAD
The Rangers tied the game with 1:56 remaining in regulation, but Nikita Kucherov (1-1—2) scored at 3:33 of overtime to end a seesaw affair and power the Lightning to a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Final.
* The Lightning improved to 11-7 in 18 all-time playoff overtime games, including a 3-0 record this year. They also earned their third such win at home (in seven total games) and first since April 16, 2004 vs. NYI (Game 5 of CQF).
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.
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