Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Worst Power Play In Ages

The Florida Panthers have a 7.5% power play success rate through about a quarter of the season.  This is unsustainably bad.  Last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs had the worst power play in the league, with a 14.0% success rate.  Florida was second worst at 14.2%. 

In fact, Florida has only scored five power play goals all season.  Two were scored by Dennis Wideman and one each by Bryan McCabe, Michael Frolik and Steve Reinprecht.  One two power play goals have been scored by Florida forwards.

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NHL Opposes International Play

In 2012, it will be the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Canada-USSR Summit Series which gave us Paul Henderson’s great goal to give Canada the victory in the series.  The idea of a 40th anniversary series to be played before the 2012/13 season has been discussed.  The International Ice Hockey Federation is behind the idea.  Apparently, Vladimir Putin is behind the idea.  Hockey Canada has had some preliminary talks on the idea. It would be an interesting series.  The growing KHL would set up a series with some players who are not regularly seen by North American fans playing for Russia alongside Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.

The problem is this series will not see the light of day. The NHL wants no part of it.  Andrew Podnieks of the New York Times Slapshots Blog reports that Bill Daly, the NHL deputy commissioner is on record against it.

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AHL Scoring Race

The AHL can be an exciting league to watch.  It is also interesting because often its better players make jumps to the NHL.  Looking at last year’s AHL All Star Game, we see players like PK Subban, Tyler Ennis, Jonathan Bernier, John Carlson and Michal Neuvirth were AHL stars last year. 

This year’s scoring race has two players who have jumped out in front of the pack.  They are Corey Locke of the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa’s farm team) and Andrew Gordon of the Hershey Bears (Washington’s farm team).  Locke has 27 points.  Gordon has 25.  No other player has more than 22 points.

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Boston’s Salary Cap Crunch

The Boston Bruins are about to face a salary cap crunch.  They have used long term injury reserve to exceed the salary cap by about $2 million during Marc Savard and Marco Sturm’s injuries.  Savard is ready to come back from his concussion any day now and Marco Sturm is not too far behind him in his recovery from knee surgery.  When they both are back, Boston will have to make an uncomfortable roster move in order to get below the salary cap.

Michael Ryder and Andrew Ference are the two players most in jeopardy of losing their NHL job, should Boston not make a trade or have another longterm injury.

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Early Season Coach Of The Year

As the season progresses, I am picking more and more initial leaders for the NHL awards.  Today, I am looking at the coach of the year.  Generally, my opinions on this award are out of synch with the hockey media who vote on the award.  Generally, the media seem to pick the coach of the most improved team as coach of the year, when often that improvement is due to the players much more than it is due to coaching.  Following that line of logic, the coach of the year will likely be one of Davis Payne, Terry Murray or Guy Boucher as St Louis, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay are some of the most improved teams in hockey.  Past coaches of the year like Bruce Boudreau in Washington and Dave Tippett in Phoenix have no chance to be coach of the year because their team cannot improve enough for them to be candidates again.

At any rate, my coach of the year pick is none of the above.  It is Mike Babcock of Detroit.

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Flames Trades Poor Asset Management

It’s very easy to make a trade in the NHL during mid-season.  All you have to do is offer up your finest young star in exchange for another team’s 30 year old free agent to be third liner.  It’s really hard to make a good trade and that is why we see few trades of any significance during the NHL regular season, at least before the trade deadline hits.  To make a trade, you have to trade players and contracts both by length and by salary cap hit, rarely can all three of these factors coincide to make a deal that makes sense.

The Calgary Flames have just traded Brett Sutter and Ian White to the Carolina Hurricanes for Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulos.  This trade is interesting because Calgary GM Darryl Sutter trades his son Brett.

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A New Worst Player This Season

Last week, I picked Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins as the worst regular player so far in the season.  It is not too surprising that he soon improved his game.  He is far too talented to be the worst player in the NHL.  In the past week, Fleury has three wins, has improved his saves percentage by thirty points and has dropped almost 0.7 goals off of his goals against average.  He still has numbers that are below his established career norms, due to his poor start, but he is getting on track. 

My new pick for the worst regular so far this season is another goaltender who was picked first overall in the NHL Entry Draft.  I pick Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders as the worst regular in the league so far this season.  He has played in seven games and has won twice.  He has a .854 saves percentage and a 4.21 goals against average.  Both are the worst in the league by a large margin.

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Colin Campbell’s Emails

Tyler Dellow of Mudcrutch Hockey wrote a wonderful piece about Colin Campbell, the NHL vice president in charge of discipline and suspensions, who wrote some questionable emails.  These emails came to light as a result of the labor relations case for referee Dean Warren’s dismissal by the league.  Tyler did a very good job of filling in some of the blanks and putting things in context and it doesn’t make Colin Campbell look good.

The main idea behind the lawsuit was that Campbell moved to fire Rick Warren when he became an executive in the NHL Officials Association (NHLOA) and threatened to stand in the way of some of the league’s plans.

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Islanders Fire Coach Scott Gordon

I recently wrote that the New York Islanders are in trouble having lost their last ten games.  I went on to argue that their problem that their problem comes from poor management and from having the league lowest payroll among the players that they play on the ice.  The three highest salary cap hits this year are Alexei Yashin, who had his contract bought out 3 years ago, Rick DiPietro, who has been injured and ineffective in the short periods between injury and Mark Streit who is injured.  That doesn`t leave much to acquire talent that will help to win games.  The problem is management and ownership.  The best story to show what is wrong in Long Island is the story of how Garth Snow took over as GM.

Instead of addressing these problems, which is hard to do in mid-season, the Islanders decided to fire coach Scott Gordon.

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Fantasy Hockey Openings

I have been playing in a deep 30 team fantasy hockey league with a salary cap, playoff system and small minor system for each team.  This league has been running since 1999 and some GMs have been around that long.  A couple teams have opened up and we are hoping that somebody who reads this blog might be willing to take over a team.  Please drop me an email through my profile if this sounds interesting and I will get you in touch with the right people who are running the league.

Thank You.

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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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