Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Here's a look at seven players we're watching closely heading toward Monday's 3 p.m. ET deadline.
Chris Stewart, Buffalo Sabres
Teams have been talking about the big Buffalo Sabres winger since the opening days of the regular season. And he's going somewhere. But for how much and to where? In our minds, anything higher than a third-round pick is too risky given Stewart's uneven play. So, what about the Chicago Blackhawks, who need help up front? We're not comparing Stewart to Patrick Kane, other than he is a human being who plays hockey. But Stewart is attractive to a number of teams -- the Boston Bruins would be another -- because he has shown in pretty small sample that he has an 'A' game, which means crashing the net, scoring and generally banging around in the offensive zone. One executive told us he doesn't care that Stewart isn't likely a long-term option given the wild fluctuations in his game, but playing for a contract over a short period of time, like the playoffs, he would be interested in his services.
Antoine Vermette, Arizona Coyotes
Vermette is undeniably the top pure rental forward available. He can play center, wing, in the top six, top nine. But let's not overstate Vermette's potential impact. He is not, for instance, going to replace the kind of production the Blackhawks lost when Kane went down.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
The Sharks have won just three of their last 12 games, but there have been specific moments of mental weakness during the run of futility that are perhaps even more concerning than the record.
Take the last two losses. Against the Kings outdoors on Saturday, most of the Sharks seemed to disregard the pregame warning that they would have to play a simplified game on bad ice. They managed to do it in a strong second period, but after Marian Gaborik’s third period goal gave the Kings a 2-1 lead after a misread by Brent Burns, the team sagged emotionally and didn’t generate much of anything until the final minute with the goalie pulled.
Against the Red Wings on Thursday, the start of the game was the best they’ve had in weeks. Instead of maintaining that level of play that earned them a 1-0 lead after the first intermission, though, they were outclassed by Detroit the rest of the way in a 3-2 defeat, their seventh straight on home ice. There were warnings from the coaching staff that the Red Wings were going to regroup, but Luke Glendening's game-winner late in regulation occurred after back-to-back unforced turnovers by Burns and Joe Pavelski.
After the game, coach Todd McLellan didn’t seem to disagree that his team is a fragile one. “The belief system is not as high as it needs to be,” he said.
from Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t believe hockey fans are interested in salary information regarding teams and players. He couldn’t be more wrong.
Since the NHL imposed its salary-cap system nearly a decade ago, there’s been growing interest among fans regarding the cap payrolls of NHL teams and of the salaries of each player. Given the financial implications for teams when signing free agents or acquiring players via trades or waivers, salary data is worthwhile information for die-hard hockey fans. It provides a better understanding of the limitations in building and maintain rosters. It’s also invaluable for participants in fantasy hockey, especially those which use a salary-cap system.
It’s easy to simply dismiss these fans as merely a nerdy number-crunching sub-set of NHL followers, just as it was to mock those who tracked those supposedly weird-ass puck possession stats with funny names like Corsi, Fenwick and PDO. Except now those “fancy stats” are called analytics, which the league has finally fully embraced by posting puck-possession numbers (albeit with different names) on its site. A growing number of pundits and commentators now cite analytics in their coverage of the game.
NEW YORK (February 27, 2015) – NHL Network, NHL.com and NHL Social™ will offer fans the most comprehensive coverage of the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline™. From now through the 3 p.m. ET deadline on Monday, March 2, NHL Network™, NHL.com and NHL Social will provide breaking news, exclusive interviews, insider information and official player transactions.
HAMMOND AGAIN UNBEATABLE AS SENATORS SNAP KINGS’ STREAK
Andrew Hammond denied all 35 shots he faced to record his second shutout in as many days, backstop the Senators to their fourth consecutive victory and halt the Kings’ winning streak at eight games.
* At 26-23-10 (62 points), the Senators moved within five points of the idle Bruins (29-22-9, 67 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference:
* Hammond also stopped all 25 shots he faced in a 3-0 victory over the Ducks on Wednesday. He is the first goaltender in Senators history to win each of first four NHL starts, compiling a 1.02 goals-against average and .965 save percentage through six career appearances.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
So much for the untradeable player with the unmovable contract. That species of player, thought to be alive and well in the salary cap era, does not exist. In fact, he never has because GMs such as David Nonis and Jarmo Kekalainen can cook up deals like the one they did Thursday afternoon.
In swapping the ill-suited and much maligned David Clarkson for the seriously and likely permanently injured Nathan Horton, Nonis and Kekalainen conspired to help each other out of contractual straitjackets that were paralyzing their rosters. This deal was so much more than just swapping one bad contract for another one.
And it’s the kind of deal the salary cap and all the machinations the owners have tried to put in place since the lockout in 2004-05 have been trying to prevent. The salary cap, which causes more problems than it solves in your correspondent’s humble opinion, was supposed to prevent teams from buying their way out of their mistakes. It was supposed to take away that competitive advantage that the big-revenue teams used to enjoy.
But lo and behold, what we have here is legal circumvention of the salary. Brilliant, innovative and clever legal circumvention of the salary cap, but circumvention nonetheless.
via Bob McKenzie tweets,
CGY recalls Tyler Wotherspoon from ADK amid unconfirmed speculation Mark Giordano's injury may be serious (season ending?). For the record..
CGY GM Brad Treliving, on CGY radio this morning, said Giordano is still being evaluated by medical staff, still too soon to say.
from David Isaac of the Courier-Post,
Some players in the NHL just can't bring themselves to buy into the hype of the league's trade deadline…not even when in the hockey Mecca that is Toronto.
Nick Grossmann won't watch the hours of live TV coverage on deadline day.
"No, I don't know why," the defenseman said. "I've never been much of a fan of that. I think it's too much speculation. It's too many rumors."
Wayne Simmonds, on the other hand, can't get enough.
The right wing remembers being a young player in the league and constantly checking his phone and computer to follow the hot rumor for a couple years: that Simmonds, then an L.A. Kings winger, was destined to be shipped to Atlanta for Ilya Kovalchuk.
"Not a chance I was looking at houses in Atlanta," Simmonds said. "I was a 21-year-old kid. I didn't really care. I was just happy to be playing in the NHL."
The Flyers couldn't help but pay attention during their time in town, in which the Maple Leafs made three trades.
"When you're in Canada I think it's a little bit easier," Simmonds said. "Pretty much every single channel is dedicated to the NHL. No matter where you go you see something pop up.
from Josh Cooper of Puck Daddy,
The sights and smells of the game are gone from the players’ collective consciousness from that Vancouver day. But there is one general consensus amongst the men who stepped on the ice at Canada Hockey Place (a.k.a. Rogers Arena) on Feb. 28, 2010 for Canada vs. the United States, a 3-2 Canada OT win:
“It was … maybe one of the greatest games I’ve ever been a part of.” – San Jose Sharks/Team Canada forward Joe Thornton.
“One of the best games I’ll ever play in.” – Anaheim Ducks/Team USA forward Ryan Kesler.
“It was one heck of a hockey game. It was probably the best game I’ve ever played in.” – Anaheim Ducks/Team Canada forward Corey Perry.
Thornton has played in countless international and NHL major competitions. Kesler has played in a Stanley Cup Final. Perry has won a Cup.
With the five-year anniversary of the gold medal game Saturday, we wanted to hear from some of the players involved in this instant classic.
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