Kukla's Korner

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it’d be brash but…

it seems like philly is pretty desperate for a goalie…. I’m wondering what they’d give for Osgood right now?

Seems like a crazy move and the Wings would probably never do it, but the fact is it’s a transitional year anyway and there’s some outstanding talent in the Wings minor system. Daniel Larsson is chomping at the bit. He was the best goalie in the entire Swedish Elite League a few years back and was an AHL All Star last year… with Jimmy Howard as the other goalie on his team! He’s been as good if not consistently better than Howard his whole time with the Griffins. It just happened that it was Howard’s turn… he could no longer be sent down to the minors. It was time to see what he could do in the NHL. And we’ve seen it. Could Larsson be even better?

What’s more, the kid playing behind Larsson in Grand Rapids is Thomas McCollum a 20 year old first round draft pick who is supposed to end up the best of them all!

And what’s more, is the kid wasting away on the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL, waiting to get called back up to Grand Rapids, is Jordan Pearce… the best goalie in all of college hockey last year. Pearce had a 1.68GA and a .931SV% for Notre Dame.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

Sam’s rule for outrageous salary demands, flying elbows, etc.

I’m less than one week from finally learning all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook. With the Olympics imminent and all the trade talk in the air, I’m moving on to the IIHF Rulebook and the business of hockey. On the latter, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the Kovalchuk trade. And don’t even start me on the elbow that Patrice Cormier put on Mikael Tam.

When you see things like the death of Brian Burke’s son or the loss of Ryan O’Byrne’s mother, it makes things like brain-damaging elbows and outrageous salary/trade demands even uglier.  Therefore, I propose my own addition to the current NHL Rulebook. Again, I don’t consider myself an expert just yet, so here is my admittedly amateur take on this whole circus:

1. I don’t know what’s more horrifying, Kovalchuk saying no to $101 million or the reason he did it. What have we come to in this world that anyone in any profession anywhere says no to a nine-figure salary offer AND still stays employed? Even more horrifying:

2. I read somewhere that acquiring Patrice Cormier in the deal was apparently a “must” for Waddell. Let me first say that I love a good clean hit. I love the sound of guys crashing into the glass and I firmly believe that fighting is one of the rules that was meant to be broken. But that hit on Tam was cowardly and unacceptable. If you’re good enough to get drafted into the NHL and be named captain of your World Junior team, you’re good enough to find a more honorable way to win.

3. That being said, I propose my own addition to the NHL Rulebook: Humility. Here it is: 88.1, Humility. Players are responsible at all times for understanding that the world does not revolve around them and that they are fortunate to be in the NHL at all. Players who do not endeavor to appreciate their good fortune and/or who try to pout their way to a higher salary or trade shall be subject to removal from the NHL and permanent reassignment to an ordinary day job in a windowless office with a salary cap of $60,000 a year before taxes.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

Tough decisions coming for the Wings:  perhaps loyalty is overrated in the cap era? Perhaps not.

So with the return of Johan Franzen, barring any other injuries, the Wings are going to have to trim salary to stay under the cap. As was pointed out yesterday in this MLive Article , there are only a few ways out of the financial thicket and it’s starting to seem obvious what Ken Holland is going to do… waive (or trade, but I’m not sure what other GM would want to bale out the Wings) Ville Leino.

Well, I am here to say that I think it would be a mistake. (did I just dare question the greatest GM in professional sports?!). It’s true that his options are very limited. I think it’s clear that Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves are off the table. They have more than earned roster spots on this squad and will both likely be resigned. And if only waiving Brad May were enough, because he is not likely to be picked up and we will not really need him in the playoffs (I realize how controversial this last statement is to the “protect our stars at all costs” crowd. But the thing is, when’s the last time Brad May was on the same line as a star anyway? How do you protect Datsyuk when you aren’t on the ice with him? Staging a fight with the other team’s goon in your 6 minutes of playing time?). Regardless, if he were to clear waivers, we could recall him for the playoffs anyway (or next injury, which we all know is right around the corner). But as most of us are aware by now, waiving Brad May still leaves the Wings around $100k over the cap. Enter Ville Leino…

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

What Would You Do?

I know it’s early but I was looking through the Red Wings cap situation next season and I came accross some interesting decisions that Holland and Co. are going to have to make for the 2010-11 season.

Goaltending and Defence are pretty much set on Detroit.  Lidas, Raf, Kronner, Stu, Lilja, Rig, and Kindl.  If we can sign Janik to another minor-league deal, he’s good insurance.  If Liljs doesn’t end up coming back due to health reasons, there are other options out there (Ward, Boynton, etc.).
 
Up front though, we have some issues:
 
Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen, Filppula, Cleary, Helm, Draper, and Eaves are all coming back (Helm and Eaves needing to be re-upped).  That’s 8.  Throw in Homer and that’s 9.
 
Abby has to make the team next year as does Ritola.  Assuming both stick, that’s 11.  Ritola can be the 13th forward, so not a big issue.  But, what do you do with Abby? 
 

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  Tags: datsyuk, detroit+red+wings, holland, lidstrom, salary+cap, zetterberg

Applying the NHL Rulebook to life

Hello all.  This is my first posting here, so here’s a little about me:

I’m a hockey fan from Arizona (pre-Coyotes). Which means I grew up loving hockey, but not really understanding it. For example, I thought a short-handed goal meant it was scored unassisted.  Really.

I’m rectifying that by learning all 87 rules in the current 2009-2010 NHL Rulebook. You can see the results here: http://87in107.blogspot.com

.

I’m still learning, so I don’t claim to be an expert on trades, stats, or scouting reports.  But I can tell you that every rule in the book also applies to life. Here are a few examples of what I’ve learned so far:     

—I now understand the expression “that’s hockey.”  Almost all of the rules include “in the judgment of the referee” or “at the discretion of the referee.” Translation: It’s not fair and there’s not a lot we can do about it. Which perhaps is why the NHL did not include in the rules “at the discretion of fans who dispute a call by yelling and cursing at referees, who can’t hear them anyway.” 

—Not a lot of the rules say you can’t do something. Like laws, they just define the offense and outline the punishment. So, for things like hits to the head - will the NHL ban them or just impose a stronger punishment?

—The goalie’s restricted area where he can play the puck needs to go. A) Most of them are the same size as a Christmas tree: they need room to move. B) For every one rule in the book on players, there are at least two for goaltenders. There are enough restrictions on them - I say give them a break and at least give them some space.

P.S. Thanks for the posting on the top 10 fights -  I personally believe that no hockey game is complete without at least one major penalty for a scrap.

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  Tags: hockey, rules

The Definitive Top Ten Fights of the 2000s

With THN (awful awful awful picks) and Hockey Fights Dot Com (decent, but a one-man show list) leading the way with their lists of the top fights of the 2000s, Fried Chicken’s Hockey Fight Site had to have its say on such a prestigious list.

Using a systematic tournament consisting of approximately twenty candidates, the widely recognized most knowledgeable hockey fight site has narrowed its list down to ten blood soaking, knuckle knocking, toe-to-toe massacres, and KO nighty-nights that put an end to the debate.

Whereas the #1 fight earned extra points for being a nationally televised game (Gary still has nightmares), be sure to check out the flying teeth in the runner up. 

Enough writing.  Enjoy the scraps!  [Big props to FC’s Kramer for adding these all in one video!]

So when are Jeremy Yablonski and Jon “Nasty” Mirasty getting a call up?

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Boston Bruins still seeking an identity

By: Mark Marino

It was just a month ago where the Bruins were looking decent – playing well enough for second-place in the Northeast Division, and fifth overall in the East. In fact, their 19-11-7 record [43 points] was just five points away from the top team in the Division – the Buffalo Sabres.

Fast forward 14 games, plus a few injuries, and the Black and Gold have tanked to their nethermost point of the 2009-10 season. After stinking up the RBC Center last night – losing 5-1 against the 29th ranked Carolina Hurricanes – the Bruins find themselves down four spots into ninth-place overall in the Eastern Conference [54 points].

The Bruins have now dropped eight of their last nine games [1-7-1] and had recorded a pitiful 4-9-1 record since the “good ‘ol days” just four weeks ago. Over this 14 game span, the B’s have managed to muster just 11-of-28 possible points, as they continue to slip down the proverbial slide. Now 51 games into the season, and the Big Bad Bruins are still searching – a little too late – for an identity to this team.

 

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  Tags: boston+bruins, claude+julien, nhl, peter+chiarelli

New York Rangers interested in Edmonton Oilers’ Sheldon Souray

According to Pierre Lebrun of ESPN, the New York Rangers are very interested in the Edmonton defenseman, who would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to help the Oilers and play in New York.

But to make it happen, as Lebrun said, the Rangers would need to create cap room by shedding the contracts of either Michal Rozsival ($5 million cap hit; will earn $4 million next season and $3 million in last year in 2011-12) or Wade Redden ($6.5 million cap hit; four more years left after this season at $6.5 million for 2010-11 and 2011-12 and $5 million per year in 2012-13 and 2013-14). The only real option on Redden is to send him to the AHL and eat his contract. A buyout next summer doesn’t solve anything because the Rangers would still carry a $2 million cap hit from him for the next eight years.

image
Sheldon Souray (Getty Images)

 

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  Tags: edmonton+oilers, michal+rozsival, new+york+rangers, sheldon+souray, wade+redden

Penguins scouting heavily Maple Leafs’ Alexei Ponikarovsky

According to Pittsburgh Insider William Depaoli, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been scouting the Toronto Maple Leafs in the past month. Head scout Derek Clancey has been seen at Air Canada Centre many times with winger Alexei Ponikarovsky being a player of interest for the Penguins.


Alexei Ponikarovsky (Getty images)

Ponikarovsky, 29, is a big winger (6′4”, 220 lb) with great hands that has 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points in 48 games with the Maple Leafs this season. Poni is in the final year of his contract that pays him $2.5 million this season; his cap hit is $2.1 million.

The Kiev-native had a career-year last season in Toronto, recording 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points in 82 games. He would surely complement well Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins’ second line who is forced to play with pluggers Maxime Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko. Talbot only has five points in 25 games this season, while Fedotenko only has 16 points in 47 games this year.

The Penguins also need help on the power play; as of today their power play ranks 29th in the league with a dismal 14.8% efficiency. You have to wonder what’s wrong in Steel Town when you have talented players like Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, Bill Guerin and Alex Goligoski on your first unit. With his large frame, quick hands and great vision, Ponikarovsky would certainly help the Penguins in that department.

Ponikarovsky, a fourth round (87th overall) pick of the Leafs at the 1998 NHL entry draft, has spent his entire career as a member of the Maple Leafs.

Does Brian Burke envision him as a core player of the Leafs’ future success or does he use him as a trade-bait to get back some of the high draft picks he traded to acquire budding star Phil Kessel from the Boston Bruins before the start of the current season?

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: burke, crosby, fedotenko, goligoski, gonchar, guerin, kessel, malkin, ponikarovsky, talbot

Georges Laraque’s demise as an NHL enforcer

Once upon a time Georges Laraque was one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL. He was even unanimously awarded the ‘Best Fighter’ award from The Hockey News in 2003. In 2008, Sports Illustrated named him the number one enforcer in the league. During his days an an Oiler, Laraque racked up the penalty minutes, 826 in 490 games, while scoring the occasional goal here and there. Also known as “Big Georges” or simply “BGL”, Laraque even scored 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 2001-01 with Edmonton.

BGL’s good old days:

Georges Laraque’s fight compilation

After short stints with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bob Gainey signed BGL to a 3-year $4.5M contract on July 3rd, 2008. Gainey needed to add toughness to a small corps of forwards as his team had been outplayed physically in the 2008 playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.

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  Tags: bob+gainey, edmonton+oilers, georges+laraque, jacques+martin, montreal+canadiens

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