Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darrell Preston and James Nash of Bloomberg,
Hockey was probably always going to be a longshot in the desert. But nobody expected what’s playing out in sunny Glendale, where the city’s done the unthinkable to the Arizona Coyotes.
Tired of doling out $15 million a year in subsidies, the Phoenix suburb last week abruptly cut its payments to the National Hockey League franchise by more than half. The move, pretty much unheard of in professional sports, was the latest blow for the Coyotes, the league’s third-lowest in attendance last season, holder of the worst win-loss record in the western conference and the butt of jokes.
What Glendale did “is almost the exact opposite of what happens in these extortion situations,” said sports economist Victor Matheson of College of the Holy Cross. “Typically the team extorts more payments out of the taxpayers.”
The city canceled its stadium lease contract with the Coyotes in June, done with funneling so much to them as part of the deal even as it was cutting municipal services and raising the sales tax.
If you missed the release from NBC, read it here.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
And if the new Nords have to play in the West to earn admission, well, you can bet they’ll happily bite the bullet. But surely that inelegant solution isn’t the only one on the table.
Probably the best option is to create an eight-team all-Canadian division. It’s one that would guarantee the extension of some of the best rivalries in the game—Edmonton vs. Calgary, Toronto vs. Montreal, Toronto vs. Ottawa, Montreal vs. Quebec City—and would see the popular Eastern Canadian teams make more visits out west. The league would have to make some accommodations in terms of scheduling and, possibly, offer compensation for higher travel expenses, but it’s a sensible approach for those teams. It would also allow for simple geographic division of the remaining 24 American-based teams and would ensure that a Canadian market would be involved in the final four—a boon for broadcast partner Rogers.
It’s also conceivable that Quebec could be placed in the East with another team, possibly the Blue Jackets, moving back to the West.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (July 27, 2015) --- The Buffalo Sabres today announced Russ Brandon will become President and Alternate Governor of the Buffalo Sabres effective immediately while continuing as Managing Partner/President of the Buffalo Bills. Brandon will oversee all aspects of the business operations for both the Sabres and Bills organizations and report directly to Terry and Kim Pegula. Former team President Ted Black has mutually agreed to part ways from the organization.
Nashville, Tenn. (July 27, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Monday that the club has signed restricted free agent Colin Wilson to a four-year, $15.75 million contract. Wilson will be paid $3.75 million in 2015-16, then $4 million in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 for an average annual value of $3.9375 million.
Wilson, 25 (10/20/89), set career highs in goals (20) and points (42), while tying a personal best in assists (22) in 2014-15. The Greenwich, Conn., native also led the team and set a career high in plus/minus rating (+19), and tied a career high and ranked third on the Predators in game-winning goals (5). During the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 6-1, 216-pounder set franchise records for goals (5) and power-play goals (4) in a playoff series during the Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Chicago. In 368 career NHL contests since 2009-10, Wilson has 178 points (77g-101a).
New York Rangers release is below...
Chiasson was asking for $2.475M while the team offered $1M.
added 7:31am, Ottawa press release is below...
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets are the chic midsummer pick to leap the pack in the Eastern Conference. They ought to be. Expensive teams that are not the Philadelphia Flyers look good on paper, especially in July. And the Jackets are expensive.
The salary-cap ceiling for 2015-16 is $71.4 million. According to NHLnumbers.com, the Jackets have but $3.6 million in remaining cap space — and most of that is set aside as a “bonus cushion” (in case, say, Ryan Murray activates some bonus clauses in his entry-level contract).
In fact, the Jackets are one of the seven most expensive teams in the league. That might change as other teams fill out their rosters, but the bottom line is the Jackets’ bottom line. They are no longer a budget team. They have spent just about as much as any team can spend. We are not accustomed to this, not in our market.
So, Jackets fans ought to doff their cap to majority owner John P. McConnell. Whatever else one might say about the man, he has been willing to spend on talent. That is all one can ask of an owner. The rest is on management and on the players.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
... with the coach Mike Babcock already hired and not the least bit intimidated about what the GM may or may not say or want to do and Brendan Shanahan evidently making the real calls in the organization, you have to wonder as to how effective he’ll be. After all, when he was in Jersey he was pretty much all powerful. What he said was law until the final days of his time there. In this case, it’s Babcock who holds all the power when it comes to running the team.
Lamoriello’s peculiar dictates ran the Devils and it made life miserable for many, which is why most players tried to get out of New Jersey as quickly as possible with the exception of lifers like Patrick Elias, Martin Brodeur and Ken Daneyko.
Who can forget Igor Larionov telling the story of how, at age 42, when he was finishing his career, he wasn’t supposed to have a glass of wine with his dinner the night before the game. And, as we know now given his involement in Napa, Iggy understandably took wine very seriously.
In the team pictures taken in civilian clothes, everyone had to wear the same color shirt and tie. Members of the media were not allowed to go into any of the coaches’ offices, even if invited, which they most assuredly were not but only because of Lou’s dictates. No player was allowed facial hair as he obviously considered them far too immature to be able to make their own personal choices.
Legend had it he had security cameras installed in the hallway so he could tell which player was talking with which reporter at all times.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Who has the best general manager-coach combination in hockey?
The question seemed appropriate in the wake of the Leafs stunning hiring of Lamoriello.
Before this summer, I would have put the combination of Ken Holland and Mike Babcock at the top of any list. But with Babcock gone and Jeff Blashill about to coach his first NHL game, it’s impossible to speculate where they rank.
The Stan Bowman-Joel Quenneville combination in Chicago is certainly strong and at times contentious. The Dean Lombardi-Darryl Sutter duo in Los Angeles, coming off a dreadful season in so many ways, still has two Stanley Cups to their names. The next in line for a Cup is the Steve Yzerman-Jon Cooper tag team in Tampa Bay. Others that impress: Doug Armstrong and Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis; Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan in Edmonton; Jim Nill and Lindy Ruff in Dallas; Bob Murray and Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim.
The easiest to ignore: Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins in Vancouver; Ron Francis and Bill Peters in Carolina; Jim Rutherford and Mike Johnston in Pittsburgh.
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