Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Ryan Johansen is a star-quality player. He is, as his agent is wont to say, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound No. 1 center. Last season, Johansen had more goals (33) than all but three other centers (Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin and Sidney Crosby). He had more points than all but 16 other centers. He is defensively responsible and physically intimidating. He is a rare player, already, at age 22.
Essentially, this is the case being made by Johansen and his militant agent, Kurt Overhardt. If Johansen accepts a contract worth $3 million a year, it would represent 4.3 percent of a $69 million team payroll. They argue that he is more than 4.3 percent of the Blue Jackets.
And they are right.
The Blue Jackets are holding the collective bargaining agreement above their heads and saying that Johansen, as a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights, has no leverage. They are referencing Johansen’s body of work over his first three seasons — and his pedestrian, Derek Brassard-like numbers over that span — and they are saying, “Prove yourself in the short term and there is a blank check waiting for you long-term. That is the system.”
And they are right.
Rock, meet hard place, and add pressure.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
... how Miller plays in this marketplace as the starter and another key face of the franchise will become a daily obsession. However, strong beliefs in how he should attack the position and the attention that’s going to afford are nothing new.
“That’s anywhere, honestly,” Miller said Monday.
“A lot has been made of it here and that’s because there are passionate fans. When you go to any NHL city and you talk about goaltending, it’s all the same. I was compared to Dominik Hasek my entire career and there was always that shadow in the background because he was one of the greatest goalies ever, and you have to live up to that.
“People constantly compare you and they want to see you play to that level. And when you don’t, it’s: ‘Dom was better.’ You just do the best you can. It’s the same in any NHL city and you guys don’t have a monopoly on that here — sorry. You’re under the microscope everywhere.”
Despite going 2-4 with the St. Louis Blues in the postseason with a 2.70 goals-against average and .897 saves percentage after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres,
from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,
Turns out, Mikael Backlund’s injury could be more serious than originally thought.
The 25-year-old centreman has been dealing with an abdominal strain he suffered during the final few weeks of training in Sweden before the Calgary Flames 2014-15 training camp. And although he’s been listed as day-to-day, Backlund has been missing from on-ice sessions since the beginning of training camp,
“I don’t have any news to tell you,” reported Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley when asked about the pivot’s absence from the ice over the past few days. “But I’m worried . . . he’s still not on the ice.”
Not a good sign, especially so early on and especially based on the strides he made last season, becoming one of Calgary’s most reliable pivots.
continue for more on the Flames...
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
Sidney Crosby. Evgeni Malkin. Drew Doughty. Claude Giroux. Nathan Horton. Tyler Bozak. David Clarkson. Jonathan Drouin. We’ve barely started and they’re already missing. They aren’t the only ones.
It’s hard to know how similar each case really is, because Obama isn’t as protected as NHL injury information. But, one thing is for certain, teams are beginning to wonder if off-season training is a bigger injury factor than they realize.
“It can be very hard to identify who guys are training with,” said Anthony Belza, Toronto’s strength and conditioning coach. (He would not specifically discuss Bozak or Clarkson.) “It’s important to ask questions about their routines, what they are doing.”
What concerns you?
“Anything to do with quantity over quality,” he replied. Belza and his contemporaries are asking more questions now: Are our guys getting enough post-season rest? How much are they working out? How much are they lifting? And, are they doing things that don’t help you with hockey?
continued plus 30 Thoughts....
“The letter thing is I think overblown by people on the outside. Within this room, we’re confident going forward. If we have a captain, if we don’t have a captain, if someone else is the captain, we don’t really care. There’s enough leaders in here to do a good job.”
-Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks. Much more on the Sharks from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo.
from Jesse Lawrence at Forbes,
According to TiqIQ, the season average for Blackhawks tickets at the United Center is currently $262.32 on the secondary market. This marks an 12% increase from last year’s season average of $234.43. The significant increase in ticket price on the secondary market comes on the heels of the team’s Western Conference Final appearance last season, though the Blackhawks ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Kings in seven games. The Blackhawks won 46 games last season, the most wins in a single season since 2009-10, despite a franchise-record 15 overtime losses. In the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13, the average secondary market price for Blackhawks tickets was $237.38 in 24 home games, marking a 10.5% jump in price for the upcoming season in comparison to 36-7-5 season the Blackhawks had two years ago. The Blackhawks also have the highest average price for any American NHL franchise this season on the secondary market.
The Blackhawks will host their most expensive home game of the season against the Detroit Red Wings on February 18. The current average price of Blackhawks vs Red Wings tickets is $333.60 on the secondary market, 27% above the season average.
Gary Bettman and George Strompolos were at the Canadian Club of Toronto today and discussed numerous topics including expansion.
You can watch more videos on different topics today at Sportsnet's YouTube page.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Where it stood as of Monday morning: The Jackets still want their leading scorer back at around $3 million a season over two years. It’s been their stance for a long time when it comes to a two-year deal, and it’s believed Overhardt came down last Thursday from the $6 million plus a year he originally asked for to less than $5 million per year. Overhardt would not comment on that information but a source confirmed it to ESPN.com.
But it’s still a standstill. Neither side appears to be wilting one bit.
The Jackets believe they can overcome the loss of Johansen. After all, they got almost nothing from either Nathan Horton or Marian Gaborik (before he was traded) last season and still made the playoffs. So there’s a strong, team-first belief in Columbus that no matter which player is missing, they can overcome it.
more plus the Ottawa Senators' goaltending battle...
Hockey is back and so is NHL Live, which kicks off another season Monday at 5 p.m. ET from the NHL Powered by Reebok Store in New York City.
NHL training camps are under way, and Steve Mears and EJ Hradek will commence their daily season previews with a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks. NHL Network insider Darren Dreger also joins the show with the latest news from around the League, including the status of unsigned restricted free agents.
The Anaheim Ducks are among the projected top contenders for the Stanley Cup. NHL Live welcomes coach Bruce Boudreau to discuss what's ahead for a recalibrated Ducks team that bulked up at center with the addition of Ryan Kesler.
Remember to submit your #AskEJ questions all season long to @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and join the conversation on Twitter as we ask your opinion on some hot topics around the NHL.
from Michael Babad of the Globe and Mail,
“The opening of National Hockey League training camps … will be welcomed by a range of Canadian businesses including stadiums, bars and clothing retailers,” associate economist Alexander Lowy said in a weekly report on Canada by Moody’s Analytics, a sister company to the well-known ratings agency.
“Canada’s favourite professional sport often has a measurable impact on economic activity,” he said, noting part-time employment as arenas hire, and the boost for food and shelter as “fans gather in bars and restaurants” to take in the games.
In Canada, the total output in sports and performing arts is “particularly tied” to hockey, Mr. Lowy said.
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