Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Florida Panthers will pick first in the 2014 NHL Draft after winning the lottery Tuesday.
As the 29th place team in the final 2013-14 NHL standings, the Panthers entered with an 18.8 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick.
The Buffalo Sabres had the best chance to win the lottery (25 percent) based on their 30th-place finish. The Sabres will pick second.
The draft will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center, with the Philadelphia Flyers as host.
from Ken Warren of Senators Extra,
In Tuesday’s post-mortem on what went so wrong with his team this season, he was an open book about a club that started slowly and only found a degree of consistency when the season was already lost.
He had some harsh words for the work of coach Paul MacLean, saying his approach to players must change. He said captain Jason Spezza’s future with the team is undecided. He acknowledged the loss of former captain Daniel Alfredsson last summer was pivotal.
He recognized that young defencemen Jared Cowen, Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba didn’t meet expectations, and he was disturbed by the “careless” and “confused” moments inside the Senators’ blueline.
He steadfastly defended some of his own controversial trades. He also said it’s paramount for the organization to find a “harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for teammates if necessary,” and says there will be other changes.
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 15, 2014 – On the strength of the inaugural NHL Stadium Series, the return of the NHL Winter Classic, and the second season of Wednesday Night Rivalry, the 2013-14 NHL regular season set a full-season viewership record for NBCSN, and is expected to do the same for NBC when final figures become available later this week, according to The Nielsen Company.
Gary Bettman appeared on the Squawk Box on CNBC today to talk hockey...
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Malkin missed the final 11 games because of a hairline fracture to a bone in his right foot. He participated in a full practice Tuesday and centered a second line with Neal and Jussi Jokinen as his wingers.
Malkin said he felt “no pain” immediately after the session. He needed to meet with Penguins physicians to gain clearance to play in Game 1.
Malkin appeared at ease on and off the ice Tuesday. His skating stride was fluid, and he handled turns and stops without signs of discomfort. He even took a friendly jab at Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, a fellow Russian.
“He stays in the net,” Malkin said, smiling. “All Russian goalies do.”
Malkin said he likes how the Penguins match up with Columbus. He cited the clubs' similar systems and structure, hinting that the Penguins' familiarity could lead to a sense of calmness he feels they lacked in two previous opening-round series against Philadelphia and the New York Islanders.
By Nick Tranfaglia of TiqIQ,
In what is sure to be a promising and competitive postseason, the first round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature a few of the league’s most historic rivalries. The Philadelphia Flyers will head north on the New Jersey turnpike to take on the New York Rangers beginning April 17, with the two teams splitting their season series 2-2. The Chicago Blackhawks will look to defend their championship title and continue writing the script to a long-storied rivalry with the St. Louis Blues. The Los Angeles Kings square off against their Northern California foes in the San Jose Sharks, while the Kings took the season series 3-1-1. As one would expect, prices for these matchups are becoming expensive on the secondary market according to TiqIQ.
from Mike Harrington of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres' rebuild starts in earnest tonight with the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto, after what General Manager Tim Murray admitted was an "unacceptable" last-place season.
Murray and coach Ted Nolan met with reporters today in a wrap to the Sabres' 21-51-10 trainwreck of a season, the worst by an NHL team in 14 years. And Murray was frank in his assessment of what happened and what he'll do going forward. He said he pulled no punches when he met with his players yesterday prior to the taking of the annual team photo.
"This year was completely unacceptable," Murray said. "I told them it wasn't all on them. It was on management, it was on coaching staff. A lot of it was on injuries where we had to put people into positions that they aren't ready for. So that's out of our hands. As far as coming next year and being ready to battle for jobs, there's going to be competition and we're not going to hand jobs to come in unless they deserve it."
"A lot of nights it was hard to watch," Murray said a few minutes later. "A lot of nights we competed hard and just didn't have enough talent to put us over the top but other nights weren't pretty."
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
- Pending free agent Paul Stastny says he wants to stay in Colorado, and the Avalanche keeping him past the trade deadline shows a sense it can be done. But he will be watched very closely in the playoffs, just in case. Scouts like his two-way game, his intelligence, his positioning and his ability to make others better. If there's one concern, and he's heard it plenty, it's his skating. If you get him on the market, you're going to have to give up term. Will there be a point where he slows enough that it changes his game? Teams will risk it if they think he can help them win soon.
- Another who will be watched closely is Mike Richards. Just 41 points this year, his lowest since he was 21 years old in 2006-07. His points-per-game goes up from 0.71 to 0.79 in the playoffs, so there is an expectation he will be a difference-maker. He seemed slower this season, not as energetic.
- "If you look at their history," said one exec, "If you're going to get Boston, you might as well get them in the first round." The last three seasons, they've gone to a Game 7 overtime in the opening stage, winning two and losing one.
more including Friedman passing out some hardware...
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
Key quotes from the Craig MacTavish press conference.
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish held a year-end presser, starting off with the expected comments, that the team hadn’t met expectations this year, but everyone in the organization is still committed to winning a Stanley Cup. The culture of the organization is to bring in hard-working, competitive “character” people.
This is exactly what the 14 other NHL GMs who didn’t make the playoffs are now telling their fans.
As for specifics, MacTavish gave a stay-the-course kind of message, with no promise of any bold moves, though he did talk about adding a “high-end” d-man.
On Eakins: “This is the right coach to lead us.”
“I’m more confident in my decision to hire Dallas Eakins than the day I hired him,” MacTavish said. “I’m more convinced that this is the right coach to lead us into much more successful times. … Time will prove that this coach was a very good hire for our organization. I really feel like he’s the guy to add the cultural elements, and police the cultural elements, that are necessary to build the quality team that we’re trying to build.
"Any place I go, I'm going to be me. I'm going to be involved within the community. I'm going to work my butt off for that NHL team. That's the only way I know. That's how I'm wired."
-Barry Trotz. Much more on Trotz from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
Would you want Trotz to coach your NHL team?
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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