Kukla's Korner

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The LA Kings Plan To Start Winning Again

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Todd McLellan had a good first day of training camp. The Kings’ new coach found his way to the rink, for starters, and while that’s a low bar it put him ahead of his predecessor. Willie Desjardins got lost on his way to Toyota Sports Performance Center for his first day as interim coach last season, and players quickly followed his lead by trudging through a lost season.

McLellan arrives at a strange and uncertain moment in the Kings’ history. The memories of their 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup triumphs are fading and they haven’t found the right mix to climb back to prominence. Management’s mistaken belief that the core players of the championship teams had two more kicks at the Cup left in them delayed the necessary rebuilding process. It all cratered last season with a 30th-place finish and league-worst goal differential of -61 that showed how far they’d strayed from their identity as defensive demons.

“We need to be a winning team this year. We were embarrassed with the last four seasons, if you ask me,” defenseman Drew Doughty said on Friday, honest as always. “Since we won the last Cup it’s been ----. We’re ready to go, and we need to get on each other and expect more out of each other.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- The Mitch Marner Signing And Other RFAs

via Sportsnet's YouTube page,

Elliotte Friedman gives his thoughts on Mitch Marner signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs for six years. Examining the term, dollar amount, and impact this contract has on other restricted free agents around the NHL.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mitch+marner

Expect A Good Third Year For Nico Hischier

from Chris Ryan of NJ.com,

Over two NHL seasons, Hischier scored 37 goals and posted 99 points over 151 games. Hischier played without Hall for the entire second half of the 2018-19 season, when Hall was sidelined with a knee injury. Yet the center found ways to drive a line on his own without leaning on Hall, and that experience should benefit the Swiss forward....

The raw stats didn’t make a jump for Hischier in his second NHL season, but Devils brass saw plenty of signs that pointed to Hischier making strides. With Hall back and an improved core of forwards all around him, the results could show up in the box score in 2019-20.

“If you look at his first year he comes in, he’s 18, he has a tremendous year,” Devils coach John Hynes said. "He centered the Hart Trophy winner and we make the playoffs, and then last year he came back, we thought he was a better player. We really went through a lot of the clips on the line numbers and things like that. He was a really strong, impact player for us.

“I just think physically and mentally, in your third year, you’ve been around the league, he understands the league better, he’s bigger and stronger, he’s more confident. He’s had some highs and lows and a lot of times that doesn’t just happen in one year, but a combined two-year situation for him is good.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nico+hischier

David Quinn’s Second Year With The New York Rangers

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Make no mistake. While overseeing development of the Yoots of Broadway was an important component of Quinn’s assignment coming out of Boston University, the coach had a mandate to restore the Blueshirts’ work ethic and attention to practice detail after steady slippage in both areas the past couple of years under the previous regime, headed by Alain Vigneault.

And Quinn succeeded. There was a method to the string of outbursts at practice in which he lectured his team about work habits. There was a method to the selection of healthy scratches in which those perceived as laggards were left in street clothes. The Rangers responded. Other issues — primarily a lack of high-end talent coupled with a total eclipse of defensive-zone structure and Henrik Lundqvist’s late meltdown — undermined the team through its 20-28-12 final four months, but the work ethic remained strong through the final overtime victory in Pittsburgh on the final night of the season.

The base has been established. Expectations are known. This time around, Quinn should have do far less loud talking, though no one should expect a transformation to a coach whisperer. There should, however, be much more nuanced coaching.

read on

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

A New Deal For Mitch Marner

 

 

more below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mitch+marner

Last Season Ended Too Early For Sidney Crosby

from Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Sidney Crosby had an unusual summer.

Last week, his hometown of Cole Harbour was impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

The volatile weather was little more than a nuisance for Crosby, who reported little damage to his inland home, but a sign welcoming visitors to the “home of Sidney Crosby” did get blown over.

The most aggravating part of Crosby’s summer was the length. For the first time in his career, Crosby was swept out of the playoffs in the first round.

After being overwhelmed by an underwhelming Islanders team in the first round before the calendar even turned over to May, Crosby and company had a surplus of nearly five months in down time. Considering this team has played well past Memorial Day in recent years, it was a strange feeling.

“We weren’t happy with the way things finished,” Crosby said.

contiued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Mike Babcock Knows The Pressure Is On

from the CP at Sportnet,

Mike Babcock is aware his seat will be a little warmer than usual this season.

And if things don’t go according to plan for the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it could get positively scalding.

That’s life behind the bench of a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, a talent-loaded roster and three straight first-round playoff exits.

"I do, for sure," Babcock said when asked if he feels the screws tightening as training camp opened this week. "The expectation each and every year should be greater than the previous year if you’re going in the right direction."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock

Afternoon Line- Paul Maurice

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: paul+maurice

What Division Is The Toughest In The NHL?

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Nikolaj Ehlers wasn’t buying the argument.

No way. No how.

Are you kidding, he asked. Like, for real?

We were sitting at a table inside a Chicago hotel boardroom and talking about the many moves that the Florida Panthers made this past summer — such as hiring a head coach with three Stanley Cup rings and signing a two-time Vezina Trophy winning goalie — and how it beefed up what I had already considered to be the toughest division in the NHL.

After all, the Atlantic Division included three 100-point teams last year. There was Tampa Bay, which won the Presidents’ Trophy, a Boston team that reached the Stanley Cup final, as well as the still-rising Toronto Maple Leafs. And now, the underachieving Panthers were being added to the mix.

As Ehlers listened, you could see the Winnipeg Jets forward mentally preparing his counterargument.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

News Out Of Dallas

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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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