Kukla's Korner

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Morning Line- Nail Yakupov

“When I have a chance now, I have to shoot, for sure. You can’t just play the game just for shots. You can make smart plays with a pass.

“But I look at a guy like Ovi (Alex Ovechkin), the best scorer in the world. Everyone knows they have to give it to Ovi.”

-Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers.  More on Yakupov from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nail+yakupov

Season Preview For The New York Islanders

from Brian Compton of NHL.com,

Here are four reasons for the Islanders to be optimistic:

John Tavares: A two-time finalist for the Hart Trophy (2013, 2015), Tavares is an elite player in the NHL. One of his many attributes is his ability to get the most out of the players around him. Tavares turns 25 on Sept. 20.

"He's gone through Matt Moulson, he's gone through PA Parenteau. … no matter who's on that line and when they're going, he finds a way to get it done," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He makes players around him better and he leads by example, and he's only getting better as a leader too. He's still a young captain in this League."

Experience gained: The Islanders entered last season with some playoff experience (2013 against the Pittsburgh Penguins), but a few more players got a taste after a seven-game series loss to the Washington Capitals. Key young players such as Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson gained valuable experience and now have a better idea of what it takes to succeed in the League.

more

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

There Is Only One NHL

from CNNMoney,

Due to a demand by the National Hockey League, the Company has changed its symbol on the Canadian Securities Exchange ("CSE") from "NHL" to "EAT". In the U.S. the company continues to trade under the symbol "SPLIF" on the OTCQB.

Nutritional High CEO David Posner commented: "We're honored to follow in the footsteps of the Nordiques, who were also asked to change their name upon their move from Canada to Colorado. The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup that year, so we figured why fight a winning formula? While we don't believe anyone would confuse our respective products, we decided to make the symbol change to avoid possible legal costs, despite being on solid legal ground."

if interested in the company, read on...

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line- Kevin Allen

With NHL training camps set to open in less than a month, the league’s unemployment numbers are as high as ever.

Counting a few injured players, there are 60 NHLers who made $1 million or more last season who currently don’t have NHL contracts.

-Kevin Allen of USA TODAY where you can read more on this topic.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A New Beat For Katie Strang Of ESPN

via Katie Strang tweets,

Quick life/work update: I have been reassigned to cover baseball for ESPN. Starting today, I will be covering the Detroit Tigers

To my hockey followers/friends: Promise to keep one eye on pucks and chime in when I still can, so don't leave me just yet

Will always be a hockey girl at heart. A sincere thank you to everyone in this sport/community that made it feel like home. Love you all

Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

How Important Is Zdeno Chara To The Boston Bruins?

from Joe McDonald of ESPN,

With the Boston Bruins beginning a new chapter in their storied history with a new general manager in Don Sweeney, and a revamped roster that includes plenty of new players, many think the of newcomers like Matt Beleskey or Jimmy Hayes would need to make a serious impact in order for the Bruins to be successful.

That statement is 100 percent true, but the success of the Bruins in 2015-2016 needs to begin with captain Zdeno Chara.

The 6-foot-9, 255-pound veteran defenseman had one of the worst seasons in his 17-year career during 2014-2015. Not only did he miss 19 games due to a torn ligament in his left knee, the 38-year-old never regained his form when he returned to action in mid-December.

Chara was slow, not the dominant defender the league has known, and yet was still forced to play an average of nearly 25 minutes per game. After the Bruins failed to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, Boston’s captain admitted he was never fully healed from his knee injury.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zdeno+chara

Team Rivalries

from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,

First, a few ground rules. We’re looking for rivalries between teams — there’s no individual category here. We’re also limiting this to NHL rivalries, so we won’t be including international rivalries like Russia vs. Team USA, Russia vs. Canada, and Canada vs. Sad Americans Getting Silver Medals.

So what makes a rivalry? This being hockey, bad blood will obviously be a key factor, but it’s not the only one. We’re looking for some staying power — one random brawl won’t be enough to earn the crown — and the stakes matter, too. Two teams may hate each other, but if all they’re fighting over is last place in their division, it’s probably not much of a rivalry. Finally, we’ll invoke what we can call the Ric Flair rule — to be the man, you have to beat the man, so in the case of any close calls, the reigning champ keeps the belt.

Sound good? Then, as legendary enforcer Dave Semenko would say, let’s go for a canoe ride. 

read on and good to see McIndoe goes way back...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Lee Stempniak Continues To Work Out While Waiting For A Team To Call

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

It’s late August and despite discussions with “a lot of teams,” Stempniak remains unsigned. Why? What is he after: Money? Security? Ice time?

“It’s a combination of everything. For me, at my age, winning is important. I’ve been on some good teams and some teams that have finished near the bottom in my career,” he explains. “You want to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup and get in the playoffs. I’m looking for the right opportunity with a team that’s capable of winning.

“It’s been slow for a lot of guys. There’s still a lot of good players that are out there. I continue to talk to teams. It’s just about finding the right fit.”

Four teams in the last two years have decided to trade him or let his deal expire, yet Stempniak is training as diligently as ever.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: lee+stempniak

Tracking The Goalies

from Travis Yost of TSN,

Last May, a team executive asked where I thought statistical analysis was having the biggest impact at the NHL level. A few answers came to mind, but I immediately mentioned that I thought our valuation of defencemen – especially puck-moving defencemen – had rapidly improved.

It's not a coincidence that a few days later, I wrote about how the Tampa Bay Lightning's stealing of Anton Stralman out of free agency was paying huge dividends. Stralman is something of an idyllic case, but it does capture the essence of what paying attention to the underlying numbers can do for a team. He never had lofty counting numbers and wasn't the most physical presence on the ice, but his impact on the possession game was indisputably strong. With that, of course, comes the goal differentials that win games.

One other question: he asked where I thought statistical analysis was struggling. This was a much easier answer, and it's a topic that gets a lot of play around the blogosphere.

We haven't figured out goaltenders.

There are myriad problems with the position, especially as it pertains to predictive analysis. The biggest driver is that save percentage – perhaps the best metric we have for capturing a player's ability to stop shots – is swamped by random variance, team effects and (potentially) sample size issues that kill any hope at meaningful confidence intervals. It leads to very little repeatability in goaltender performance, which makes it a struggle to forecast what many players will do in upcoming years.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sign Steven Stamkos

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

Uncertainty about Stamkos’ long-term status is a distraction to this team, this franchise and this player. Do the Lightning really need a distracted captain? Didn’t they try that with Marty St. Louis?

I’m not crazy concerned yet.

The Lightning need Stamkos. I think Stamkos needs the Lightning.

He’s a generational scorer. They’re a young contender.

Deal, please.

But there are a lot of moving parts. Maybe no villains — yet — but moving parts.

Clearly, Don Meehan, whose agency represents Stamkos, wants to break the bank, set the bar high. Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane high. Those Cup winners’ contract extensions are eight years apiece, $84 million, a $10.5 million cap hit for each of them.

Wonder how the Blackhawks feel about Kane’s off-ice troubles right about now.

Where were we?

Then there’s the Lightning side, where Yzerman has to factor in looming costs.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

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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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