Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Montreal Canadiens Potentially Sold

The Montreal Canadiens have an agreement in principle to sell the team.  Current owner George Gillett bought the Habs and the Bell Centre (then called the Molson Centre) for $185 million US.  Over the past year he has looked at his world wide holdings in an effort to adapt to the current economic downturn and decided to sell some assets including the Montreal Canadiens.  An agreement in principle exists for Geoff, Andrew and Justin Molson to buy the team.  Exact details have not been released, but it is expected that the Molsons could pay as much as $550 million.  NHL approval for the sale may not come until August.

This sale and its price clearly show that there are “two NHLs”.  There are high valued franchises in good markets with rapidly escalating values.  These teams have no problem with payroll and could easily afford to pay well above the salary cap were it allowed.

There is also an NHL of teams like the Phoenix Coyotes.  These teams are struggling financially.  In Phoenix’s case, it isn’t clear that anyone wants to keep them in their current market.

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Why Zdeno Chara Was A Poor Norris Trophy Choice

The NHL awards were announced on Thursday.  One award winner, which I think was chosen poorly, was Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins who won the Norris Trophy.  He was nominated alongside Mike Green of the Washington Capitals and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit red Wings.  Either of them would have made a better selection.  In the First All Star Team voting, Green did defeat Chara, which shows that the race was close in the voter’s minds.  Slightly changing the parameters in which they vote, changed the result (for the Norris they get one first place vote and for the all star team they get two).

Zdeno Chara was considered a Norris favorite before the 2008/09 season began.  He had been a nominee in 2008, where he finished third behind Lidstrom and Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames.

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NHL Awards Announced

The NHL had their awards ceremony in Las Vegas tonight.  Here were the people I would have voted for to win the awards if I had a ballot.  Here were my comments when the award nominees were announced. 

The voting results can be found here for the awards and here for the all star teams.  Usually, the award results are well enough established that the addition of one further ballot changes little.  This year, if I had voted I would have caused two changes.  Mike Richards would have won the Selke Trophy instead of Pavel Datsyuk and Pekka Rinne would have been the third Calder nominee in place of Kris Versteeg.

Let’s run down the awards.

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Top 20 Adjusted +/-

One relatively simple sabermetrics and hockey statistic I like to keep track of is adjusted +/- ratings.  There are a few ways to adjust them.  Today, I am looking at the counting stat method outlined in The Hockey Compendium by Jeff Klein and Carl-Eric Reif.  The basic idea is that a team adjustment is subtracted from all players’ +/- ratings in order to give a more team independent value.  The statistic is good for identifying players who succeeded in their role with their team last year. 

Here are the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings (limited to players with 50 NHL games played in 2008/09 that played with only one team):

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Judge Puts Phoenix Situation On Hold

Judge Redfield T. Baum has ruled that there isn’t enough time to deal with the unresolved issues in the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy case.  The June 22nd auction of the Coyotes will not happen.  The June 29th closing date for the franchise purchase that potential owner Jim Balsillie had put on the sale will not be met.  It looks like the Phoenix Coyotes will remain in Phoenix next season and likely as a dead team that everyone knows will be moved soon after.

Balsillie had made a $212.5 million offer to bankrupt owner Jerry Moyes to buy the team.  Initially, the NHL challenged Moyes right to declare bankruptcy, since he had received NHL financing during last season, but that idea was overruled.  Judge Baum says that the NHL has a right to impose a relocation fee on top of the sales price, but at this point there is nothing but speculation as to what this fee might be.

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A Very Early Look At Next Year

The season has barely completed and we do not know what rosters will look like next year, but nevertheless I thought it would be fun to take a look at next season.  Obviously there is uncertainty in any pronouncements that can be made at this point.  A big trade or a big free agent signing might render these assessments moot.

I have grouped the teams into six different groups of five teams.  There are the likely contenders, possible contenders, probable playoff teams, possible playoff teams, likely also rans and the bottomfeeders.

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Hershey Bears Win The Calder Cup

Overlooked in the excitement of the Stanley Cup being won on Friday, there was another important cup victory in the AHL.  The Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup.  I will review the finals, but first links to the first, second and third rounds.

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Pittsburgh Penguins Win The Stanley Cup

I was wrong in prediction for the Stanley Cup finals.  Pittsburgh won.  That brings my record to 9-6 in my playoff predictions.  It’s a .600 record, which isn’t bad but I have done better in past years.  While I was wrong, the Detroit fans that make up most of the commenters on this blog were even more wrong.  For the last month or more they have been screaming at me how Detroit is an elite team and a dynasty.  Their dynasty didn’t win the Stanley Cup.

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When Was Osgood’s Prime?

In the comments of the answering some questions thread it remains clear that the Detroit fans who make up a large portion of the Kukla’s Korner readership maintain some misconceptions about Chris Osgood.  There remains the idea that he is still a top goalie and a few people even claim he is still in the prime of his career.  This clearly isn’t the case and is relatively easy to show statistically,

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Talbot Having A Good Final Series

If I had told you earlier this season that Maxime Talbot would be one of the best players in the Stanley Cup finals, you would probably have scoffed at me.  He is a solid NHL player, but hardly one of the key players on the Pittsburgh Penguins.  In Talbot’s four years in the NHL, he has never scored more than 26 points in a season.  He is a good depth player, but hardly a star.  Nevertheless in the finals so far, his four points are second on his team.  His +3 +/- rating is team leading.  The Penguins probably wouldn’t be in game seven if not for the play of Talbot in this series.

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com

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