Kukla's Korner

Grading the Habs deadline

Blog: The Upper Canadien By The Upper Canadien

The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Montreal Canadiens are a better team than they were on Sunday. As far as I'm concerned, that's the most important aspect of the deadline when a team is in playoff contention. However, the other important factor is, of course, what the team gave up to acquire assets. A quick recap:

  • The Habs started the day early, sending a 2nd round pick, and a conditional pick (which could become a 3rd depending on playoff results) to Edmonton for Jeff Petry. Petry was one of the most sought after defencemen at the deadline, known for his smooth skating, strong shot, and defensive positioning. Petry gives the Habs just what they needed on the back end, and was a solid pick up by GM Marc Bergevin at a reasonable price.
  • Bergevin stayed busy, sending a 2016 5th round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for versatile forward Brian Flynn. Flynn gives the Habs speed on the third and fourth line, and he's strong on faceoffs. He should provde valuable depth and character heading into the playoffs.
  • Bergevin's final move of the day was sending a 7th round pick and physically-inclined prospect Jack Nevins, again to Buffalo, for Montreal native Torrey Mitchell. Mitchell is another gritty third or fourth liner, who is a solid penalty killer and has playoff experience. He's also a local son, who was very excited to become a Hab. A solid depth pick up at a very reasonable price.

All in all, the Canadiens had a solid day, as trader Marc added valuable depth pieces for the impending playoffs. What Bergevin did not do is add a proven top-six scorer - many believe he was close, and added Flynn and Mitchell anticipating another move of multiple players - but he addressed the Canadiens primary need, which was a top four defenceman. If I am assigning a grade, I would give the Habs a B+, below the A level because of the inability to add a scorer, but a job very well done nonetheless.

All that said, the Canadiens are a better team than they were to start the week, and they didn't have to part with much. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a solid deadline.

The Habs are in Anaheim tomorrow. Let's see what the new additions can do. 

Filed in: | The Upper Canadien | Permalink
 

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Plan Moving Forward

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Whyno of the CP at NewsTalk 610,

Brendan Shanahan wants fans to know the Toronto Maple Leafs are committed to a long-term rebuilding project, and that they won't have to pay more to see it unfold next season.

In a letter to season-ticket holders that will go out Wednesday morning, the team president outlines the expectation for short-term pain with the goal of becoming a Stanley Cup contender in the future.

"There are no shortcuts to building a team the right way," Shanahan writes in the letter. "It will require patience and a long-term view, but it is important for you to know that the process will be well worth it when we get there."

In line with that, the Leafs will not raise ticket prices for next season. It's the fifth time in seven years all ticket prices will remain the same across the board, following increases in some areas of Air Canada Centre for 2014-15.

The Leafs are on their way to missing the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 seasons. Shanahan, who was named team president in April, tells season-ticket holders that the management team and players will be committed to becoming a contender "and will not be satisfied with anything less."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Does the NHL still ‘owe’ Henrik Zetterberg an apology for Jamie Benn’s face-punches?

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The NHL doesn't deliver formal "apologies" to players, but Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave believes that the league ought to do the same thing that Erik Cole did during Tuesday's practice--apologize for Jamie Benn's unpunished indiscretion that probably concussed Henrik Zetterberg:

Zetterberg has missed the last four games after he was punched repeatedly in the head by Benn in a scrum surrounded by four officials. Zetterberg left the game and did not return for the third period, when the Wings overcame two two-goal deficits in the third period of a wild, 7-6 Detroit victory. And what did we hear from the NHL about that? Crickets.

Imagine how league officials would have responded if Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby or Washington's Alexander Ovechkin had been sucker-punched like that. Or anybody in Toronto or New York. Oh, the outrage!

Such hypocrisy. For a league that insists it's doing everything possible to protect its players from head injuries -- especially when caused by such gratuitous violence -- the unthinkable decision not to slap Benn with some form of supplemental discipline is inexcusable.

Zetterberg missed four games with headaches. He skated hard Monday and again on Tuesday, and hoped to be cleared for contact afterward. He remains questionable for Wednesday's game against the visiting New York Rangers.

If he does play, he'll likely be flanked by Cole, a speedy and acerbic 6-foot-2, 210-pound on one wing, and Justin Abdelkader, 6-1 and 220 pounds, on the other. Not since Steve Yzerman had Bob Probert on one wing and Gerard Gallant on the other has a top-line center been surrounded by such a combination of size, speed, grit and goal-scoring ability

Gave continues, and while I wouldn't go as far as to compare Abdelkader and Cole to Gallant and Probert...Do you think the NHL still owes Zetterberg an apology it won't give him? Should the NHL apologize when players who injure others go unpunished?

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Salary Cap Talk For The LA Kings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,

Tough decisions on free agents-to-be lie ahead, as you are well aware. Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, Martin Jones, Andy Andreoff and Nick Shore are bound for restricted free agency, while Jarret Stoll, Justin Williams, Robyn Regehr, Andrej Sekera and Jamie McBain are due to become unrestricted free agents if they don’t receive new contracts. Based on financial information that was available when CapGeek.com was operational, Los Angeles has roughly $62.75 million allotted to 16 players for the 2015-16 season, a figure that includes both Mike Richards’ and Slava Voynov’s contracts; next year’s salary cap isn’t expected to rise much farther than $69M, if at all. So, as has been explained many times previously, difficult decisions lie ahead.

As for the restricted free agents, I’ve been told by hockey operations that the Pearson and Jones contracts are likely to be the next two to fall, and that Toffoli’s next contract is expected to take a bit longer to be finalized. There doesn’t appear to be a concern in regards to negotiations with Toffoli; as noted, from my understanding it’s just going to take a little bit longer. The team’s focus has been handling its own players before looking elsewhere, hence the recent extensions signed by Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford.

more on the Kings...

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

‘Tired Legs’ Have Hit The Nashville Predators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Glennon of The Tennessean,

The Predators' game Tuesday against New Jersey will mark the team's 20th in 36 days since the NHL All-Star break. Only one other team, Florida, has played 20 in 36 since the break, and only two teams, Washington and the New York Islanders, have played as many as 19 games in those 36 days.

"It's been a grinding schedule since the All-Star break," Predators general manager David Poile said, hours before his team tries to snap its season-high, three-game losing streak at New Jersey.

"It's been very, very busy, and it doesn't seem like it lightens up much. There have hardly been any practice days. I'm not trying to give excuses. I'm just trying to say it's been a grueling schedule.

"To me, the last couple of games, we just haven't had our legs. Other teams have been quicker than us the last two games, and we just need to get that back."

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Red Wings collecting school supplies for ‘Operation: Kid Equip’ on Friday

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Here's an important FYI from the Red Wings' PR department:

Wings collect supplies for Operation: Kid Equip
Fans encouraged to bring new school supplies for children in low-income households to Friday’s game at Joe Louis Arena

DETROIT – The Red Wings are hosting a school supply item collection on Friday to provide children in low-income households with the necessary supplies to learn and participate in the classroom. Fans are encouraged to bring new school supplies to the collection drive set for the Red Wings home game on Friday, March 6 when Detroit takes on the Calgary Flames at 7:30 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena.

All donations will benefit Operation: Kid Equip, which has the capacity to serve 70,000 Metro Detroit students, with more than 6,000 of these students currently homeless. Operation: Kid Equip provides free school supplies, books, hygiene and food items for local children in need.

The items most in need are pencils, markers, crayons and glue sticks. Volunteers from Operation: Kid Equip will be on hand at each entrance of Joe Louis Arena when the doors open at 6:00 p.m. to collect donations.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Chad Johnson Not Happy With Tanking Topic From TSN

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Harrington Of The Buffalo News,

New Sabres goalie Chad Johnson was quite a punchline yesterday and he's not happy about it.

The Sabres traded Michal Neuvirth to the New York Islanders for Johnson, and it's obvious to anyone in hockey it was because the red-hot Neuvirth -- and not any opposing player -- was the biggest threat to the organizational goal of finishing in 30th place.

TSN, the Canadian media giant doing wall-to-wall trade deadline coverage, called Johnson when the trade was completed and bombarded him with questions about tanking. Johnson immediately shot them down by pointing out players are paid to compete and try to win.

Unprompted today, Johnson brought up the interview again with Buffalo reporters and was not happy with how the network orchestrated it.

"That whole TSN thing bothered me a little bit," said Johnson, 28. "I was asked to do an interview with them, they called me and I'm sitting on hold while they're saying what they have the right to say. But it was obviously a little disrespectful for them to have me on hold listening to what they have to say and then bring me on line to ask me these questions while they sort of bash me or whatever it is.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chad+johnson, tsn

$50 Could Be Yours In The Free BoltDraft/KK Fantasy Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

note- original post was on 2/3/15 at 6:30pm, just moving to top of page so all can see and participate.


$50 to the winner of the free BoltDraft/KK fantasy game on Tuesday.

Ten NHL games on Tuesday so you have a very good selection of players to pick for your roster.

You just need one forward, one defenseman and one goalie, then sit back and see how the night plays out.

If you are registering for the first time, remember to use passcode kukla22 and then set your roster.

It's a fun quick game to play and more and more KK members and guests are joining in.

Give it a try and you won't be disappointed and make sure your roster is set by 7:00pm ET on Tuesday.

Scoring rules are below and if you have any questions regarding the game, the Rules/FAQ page at BoltDraft should be of help.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: boltdraft

LeBrun discusses why Wings-Leafs Phaneuf negotiations fell apart

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Reading this post-deadline "Almost" from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, regarding the purported Dion Phaneuf deal, is a relief:

The reality is once Detroit and Toronto really laid their cards on the table, both front offices realized they were talking about a completely different deal.

The Red Wings would have wanted the Leafs to eat part of Phaneuf's $7 million-a-year salary, and the parts coming back weren't going to be Grade A stuff. The Leafs wanted a high-end return, and I'm not real sure just how much they would have wanted to eat of the Phaneuf salary.

As one source involved in the talks told ESPN.com, once both sides realized they were talking about a completely different deal than what the other side had in mind, it was time to move on.

Darren Dreger was on TSN 1050 this morning, and he stated that the Leafs wanted a Larkin or Mantha and the Wings' 1st round pick to make a "hockey deal" out of something the Wings did not want to make anything less than a salary-for-salary situation, and as the Wings aren't moving Larkin, Mantha or a 1st-rounder, that was the end of that.

And the Wings did, making an excellent deal for pending unrestricted free agent Marek Zidlicky instead, paying a modest price of a conditional third-round pick. Now, the fact that Zidlicky had a full no-move clause (and thus limited the New Jersey Devils' trade options severely) also helped keep that price modest. (The Wings tried on the Edmonton Oilers' Jeff Petry as well, but the weekend price on him was too high, so the Wings moved on. It's believed the Canadiens got Petry for less on Monday -- a second-round pick and a conditional fifth -- than what the Oilers were asking for over the weekend.)

LeBrun continues, discussing Lupul, the Bruins, Lightning and the Anthony Stewart deal.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Ken Holland explains trade deadline moves, talks about the ‘next generation’ on Detroit Sports 105.1

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery for about 18-and-a-half minutes on Tuesday afternoon, delivering nothing less than a fascinating interview:

1. Regarding the thought processes surrounding adding Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky, the "state of the team" as he and Mike Babcock view it;

2. The reasons why the team's demoted Teemu Pulkkinen (Babcock told Holland Pulkkinen wouldn't be in the lineup on Wednesday) and Petr Mrazek--so that they play and don't sit [edit: and Holland said it's Babcock's decision as to whether Marchenko will remain in Detroit when he heals from his oblique muscle injury /end edit];

3. Holland both acknowledged that the team feels that the Zetterbergs, Datsyuks and Kronwalls won't get many more chances at making a deep run and/or Cup run, which the team hopes to do this year;

4. And Holland also suggested that some of the non-starters trade-wise were the Wings' next generation in Andreas Athanasiou, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, [edit: and I believe it was implied that the following players were among them Pulkkinen, Xavier Ouellet /end edit], Alexey Marchenko, Ryan Sproul and Mrazek. This is really great stuff:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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