Kukla's Korner

HHOF Talk & Leafs Super Management Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• The Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2011 will be announced on Tuesday. Nobody asked, but if I was part of the secret-behind-closed-doors vote, my Hall-of-Fame class would begin with a slam-dunk choice in Ed Belfour and be followed by Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour and the long-overlooked Mark Howe.

• The Rick Dudley hiring will certain bring snickers from some NHL teams, and not because Dudley isn’t respected. He is well thought of. It’s because the Leafs have a top-heavy front office that includes former GMs Brian Burke, Dave Nonis, Cliff Fletcher and Dudley, along with Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle. The snickering comes from teams that are having better results than the Leafs with half the front-office people, and more than half the price.

more hockey notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Time For The Avs To Fight Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,

This is a team mired in nostalgia, haunted by Pierre Lacroix, who has become more a ghost of glory past than a hands-on architect of an Avs roster badly in need of an upgrade for the 21st century. From center ice to the front office, Colorado has gone soft, an organization better at pinching pennies than winning playoff games.

Is the team finally done goofing off? Don’t you think it’s about time the Avs are bored with resting in a La-Z-Boy recliner on their big, fat laurels?

Well, we can only hope a new era and the new attitude of Colorado hockey officially began in the past 48 hours, when the Avs took rugged forward Gabriel Landeskog with the second overall pick of the NHL draft.

But almost as important was the departure of veteran John-Michael Liles, shipped off to Toronto in the trade. Guess that means Liles, a thinking-man’s defenseman, won’t be the next captain of the Avs, will he?

The leader this club desperately needs now is somebody who will bloody the nose of anyone who gets in his way.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Can The Bruins Repeat?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

This win was mostly about goalie Tim Thomas, which is what the entire regular season was most about as well. Without Thomas, this is a team that easily could have missed the playoffs. Yes, solid goaltending is a necessity all year. But Thomas provided goaltending that was even better than the Dominik Hasek “Dominator’’ variety, which, Sabres fans will remember, fell just short in the ’99 Final.

If it takes that kind of performance to win the Cup again in 2012, no doubt the ever-battling Thomas is up for it, but those kind of out-of-body experiences pass this way with the frequency of comets.

“Just something about Timmy,’’ mused his old Vermont pal, Martin St. Louis, whose Tampa Bay team was rubbed out by the Bruins in the conference final. “It’s like he knows how good he has to be and plays up to that level. We got more by him in our series than Vancouver did, but he beat us. Then he held Vancouver to, what, eight goals? Unbelievable.’’

That’s money goaltending. And it’s a safe bet that even Thomas can’t bank on it a second time. The Cup win was decidedly goalie-centric, which isn’t to diminish the work of others, but is to say it would be a mistake to think other areas don’t need upgrading.

read on plus additional hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Semi-CBA optimism, meet ‘winter’s coming’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

KK readers had a spirited and plain old smart discussion regarding yesterday’s quips from the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell, pegging the NHLPA and the players as the bad guys because the NHL’s salary cap floor has risen far past its initial post-lockout ceiling, with many comments stating the obvious—that a salary cap based upon league-wide revenues with a narrow, $15 million payroll range is never going to make it easier for the “have not’s” to compete, nor is it the players’ fault that they agreed to a fixed percentage of revenues that’s increased past the league’s projections—but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks brings us a declaration wrapped up in a, “Why the Rangers shouldn’t sign Brad Richards to an inflated contract” frame, suggesting that no matter what happens over the course of the NFL or NBA’s lockouts, we should expect the NHL to demand nothing less than both a rollback in salaries and a reduced “players’ share,” and that “creativity” or logic won’t hold sway. Instead, Brooks believes, the NHL and Gary Bettman will simply try to roll back the clock and bail out his owners’ mistakes on the players’ backs:

Gary Bettman’s utopia proved nothing of the sort. The entire concept of “gross revenue” in the NHL is fraudulent. Teams do not pool their revenue under any circumstance other than to arrive at a figure that’s then used to calculate the cap.

The entire premise of linkage the commissioner posited through the last owners’ lockout—that would all but ensure every franchise would be in position to make a profit—is counterfeit. It never made the slightest bit of sense the Islanders’ minimum payroll would be dependent on the Rangers’ revenues or the Hurricanes would have to spend more because the Maple Leafs make more money year after year after year. But common sense doesn’t matter. Percentage of the gross is Bettman’s baby. It is not going away. It is, however, going down, and if the owners have their way, it is going down dramatically, to somewhere in the range of 48-to-50 percent.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Don’t Go Crazy Sather

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

This weekend has produced insanity. Columbus and Jeff Carter for more than a decade? Good luck. The Kings and Mike Richards for almost a decade? Good luck. The Panthers and Brian Campbell for five more years at more than $7 million per? Well, that’s Dale Tallon for you.

The inevitability of a dramatically reduced cap is the reason the Rangers cannot, simply cannot, get into a wild bidding war for Brad Richards, regardless of his unimpeachable immediate value.

General manager Glen Sather cannot, simply cannot, put the team in handcuffs coming out of the next round of negotiations. With or without a rollback, dozens of players will be available after mechanisms are imposed to allow teams to get under a reduced cap.

If the Rangers were one player away—were one Richards away—from winning the Cup this season, it would be different. But they’re not. Anyone who paid attention to the playoffs would have to recognize that reality.

It is, therefore, Sather’s charge to maintain maximum flexibility going into 2012-13 just the way the Blackhawks and Bruins did going into 2005-06.

continue for some CBA discussion…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Meeting the ‘new guys’ and more news from the Red Wings’ busy day at the Entry Draft

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of note: Big news about Jonathan Ericsson staying in Detroit and Jagr watch blah inside: After an extended period of time perched over my laptop, frantically searching for information on the nine newest Red Wings who became part of the team in a little under four hours, I succumbed to the boss’s advice and fatigue and took a nap. And I had a dream that My Little Ponies were singing a Wu-Tang Clan song…no, wait, I did see that on YouTube (can’t link it, though). And I can confirm that the Red Wings have at least drafted one player who wowed the local media enough that this YouTube video made its way onto the evening news:

If you followed the draft day open post, we’ve at least got a general idea of who the nine players the Wings picked are, and somewhere between 3-7 years from now, the Wings hope that at least one or two of Tomas Jurco, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, Alan Quine, Marek Tvrdon, Phillipe Hudon, Mattias Backman, Richard Nedomlel and/or Alexei Marchenko are playing for the Red Wings. That’s a hard mathematical equation to swallow on a day that’s akin to high school graduation day, but as Mike Babcock tends to say, “That’s the facts.”

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

After taking an interminable four hours to wade through the first round Friday night, NHL scouts and GMs blazed through the final six rounds Saturday in about the same time.

OK, who thinks four hours stretches the bounds of credulity?

The NHL, which moved the first round to Friday night to try to gain a national television audience, might do well to insist on a tighter time line to ensure the draft stops looking more and more like the Academy Awards in terms of bloated excess.

-Scott Burnside of ESPN.  More from Scott on ‘what’s next’ for the NHL world.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Senators Can Be A Great Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

After having the lowest scoring team in the league last season with only 192 goals, Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk was pleased to see Murray and his scouting staff try to help improve the offence in this weekend’s NHL draft.

In an exclusive e-mail Saturday, Melnyk told the Ottawa Sun: “The guys have gone for offence, offence and more offence. We are well set on defence with what we already have. “We are well now positioned to provide our fans some awesome, exciting hockey and have built a nucleus on what can be a GREAT team.”

Melnyk said he was happy the Senators drafted players from the 67’s and Gatineau Olympiques.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Brouwer Will Be Looked At As A Leader In Washington

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Katie Carrera of the Washington Post,

Acquiring 25-year-old Troy Brouwer, a gritty leader who already has won one Stanley Cup in his career, might not have been the glitziest move that occurred over the past few days while the hockey world assembled in Minnesota. But it’s one that General Manager George McPhee believes will help Washington on and off the ice. It was the Capitals’ lone trade during the draft, and they used picks in the final four rounds to select a goaltender, two defensemen and a center.

“We thought it was a really good move for our club at the right time,” McPhee said. “I talked to him [Friday] night; he was really excited and sounds like a great kid. It’s amazing to feel that after a three-minute conversation, but he seems like the kind of leader that we’re looking for.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: troy+brouwer

The NHLPA shouldn’t be portrayed as the ‘fall guy’ in the next round of CBA discussions

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As noted earlier, the Carolina Hurricanes, among other smaller and mid-market teams, find themselves a little financially squeezed by the fact that the league’s revenues have exceeded the $3 billion mark, thus yielding a salary cap “floor” of $48.3 million and a cap ceiling of $64.3 million, which are obviously much higher numbers than the league was working with coming out of the lockout, but as the smaller-market franchises begin to lament a CBA which they wholeheartedly supported, negotiated between Bill Daly and a sycophant in Ted Saskin, because a) the “payroll range” is determined by league-wide revenues instead of team-by-team revenues and b) because one Gary Bettman’s dream CBA involved parity, thus a $15 million gap between floor and ceiling instead of a more reasonable $20-25 million one…

The Hockey News’s Ken Campbell insists that, when the NHL and NHLPA engage in CBA negotiations after whatever happens happens in terms of the NFL and NBA’s lockouts, it’s the PA that should take another salary rollback because they’re earning too much of the pie, especially after applying their 5% inflator, thus making the PA the “bad guys,” if not the “fall guys,” upon which the smaller-market teams should foist blame:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

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