Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Phil Housley On His Start As The Head Coach Of The Buffalo Sabres

from Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press,

“Obviously, when you’re not winning, the pressure builds and you have to try to handle all those things and the stressful parts of the job,” Housley said. “But I love the challenge. I love coming to the rink, I love getting better, whether as a coach or demanding more from players and trying to turn the organization around.”...

But injuries and a lack of depth have left Housley limited with the Sabres as the Hall of Fame defenseman tries to work with his Buffalo blue liners.

“We continue to work with those guys, but we’ve been banged up back there, which is too bad,” Housley said. “We haven’t had our top six since Day 1. That’s been a big problem for us trying to create chemistry with partners. But we just try to bring the compete level. That’s the measuring stick day in and day out.”

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  Tags: phil+housley

Afternoon Line- Ken Hitchcock

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Video- Hits Of The Week

Sportsnet style, just under four minutes long.

 

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Morning Line- Gord Miller

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Video- This Is Not A ‘Trap’ Question Nazem Kadri

I had a chuckle when I saw this last night.  Took me some time to find it, but here it is.

 

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  Tags: nazem+kadri

Cam Talbot Needs To Be Better

from Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Sun,

Five-on-five, Talbot’s save percentage is .916, but it’s .829 on the penalty-kill, mostly because the players in front of him were so dreadful, especially at home, for weeks and weeks before turning it around.

“We’re about 90 per cent the last little while, but my play usually dictates the power play (success),” he said.

Talbot is his own worst critic, so you won’t find him tap-dancing around his play.

“Maybe I don’t have to steal games, but I have to give us a chance to win,” he said. “The difference this year and last is my consistency. I’ve had some good games but others I want back and I have to eliminate those ones.”

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  Tags: cam+talbot

The Leafs’ Plan

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

The overall goal is to be better able to afford the expensive, irreplaceable players by making sure there’s lots of choice and competition among the more affordable, replaceable athletes.

The only current Leaf guaranteed to get paid to the max is Auston Matthews. Forget the big hometown discount there. The Leafs need to then manage their cap intelligently to afford William Nylander and Mitch Marner, with the dollar amounts depending on how those players progress.

After that, it’s a matter of having lots of competition for jobs and available cap space. Ideally, the organization will progress to the point where some of those players will be willing to take less to be a Leaf. Tampa surely felt it got that kind of a bargain at the upper end of the payroll with Steven Stamkos last summer, and that could really pay off down the line.

In Toronto, Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri, Connor Brown and Zach Hyman have signed what could be considered team-friendly deals in the past two years. Freddie Anderson is the 18th-highest-paid goalie in the league. Meanwhile, with more than $16 million coming off the books next summer, you’ll have James van Riemsdyk, Leo Komarov and Tyler Bozak all looking for new contracts, probably with the choice of trying to get more as UFAs or settling for less to stay in Toronto.

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Going As Planned For The St. Louis Blues

The Blues are 15-5-1.

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The fast start allowed general manager Doug Armstrong to protect his kids and hoard assets. So far the Blues have gotten by with the players they went to camp with. They have not had to sacrifice long-range prospects to acquire short-term help.

Like about half the GMs in the league, Armstrong would like to add at least one winger to improve his front lines. He and his staff monitor the league closely and remain open to all possibilities.

But his team’s success allows him to remain patient. He knows Bouwmeester’s return will give the team a lift, and he can expect a boost from Berglund soon enough. He knows various prospects will continue their development elsewhere, week after week after week.

The build-up toward true Cup contention continues apace.

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Fixing The Buffalo Sabres

from ESPN,

What one key fix do the Buffalo Sabres need to salvage the season?...

Emily Kaplan: I don't think all hope is lost in Buffalo -- for the long term. After a carousel of coaching and management changes, owners Terry and Kim Pegula say they are committed to stability. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Let's also exercise some patience for rookie head coach Housley and GM Botterill. Remember, Botterill is the guy best known for maneuvering the Pittsburgh Penguins' delicate salary cap over the last decade. If anyone can figure out how to work around Eichel's monster contract and allocate for the right pieces to be competitive, Botterill is a guy I'd trust....

So here's my fix: keep Eichel's third-line demotion until he finally feels enough heat and ups his game. Let him be angry, and go on a tear. Once he does that, name him captain. Stop dangling the title in front of him like an inevitability. The Sabres have a streamlined voice in the front office. Emulate that in the locker room. This is one of the youngest teams in the league, and they're working through some growing pains. They're missing leaders like former captain Brian Gionta. If they expect Eichel to be their leader of the future, challenge him to step up now. It might be bumpy at first, but he'll grow into it -- and the the team will grow around him, too.

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NHL Short Notes


MONDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Columbus 3, BUFFALO 2
Arizona 4, TORONTO 1
Calgary 4, WASHINGTON 1
NASHVILLE 5, Winnipeg 3
New Jersey 4, MINNESOTA 3 (OT)
Anaheim 3, SAN JOSE 2 (SO)

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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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