Kukla's Korner

Sabres Set Season Ticket Renewal Record

Blog: The Sabres Observer By @DaveDavisHockey

From the Sabres,

The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has achieved a record renewal rate of 99% for their 2011-12 season tickets. As a result, season ticket sales have been capped at 15,200 tickets for the 2011-12 season. That total includes 100 new season tickets, which have been sold to members of the Buffalo Sabres Blue & Gold club.

Due to this extraordinary rate of renewal, the supply of tickets for the upcoming season will be much more limited than years past. The demand was so great that the Sabres will – for the first time in franchise history – cap the number of Mini-Packs at 3,500 accounts.

“We anticipate this year’s Mini-Packs will sell out quickly,” said John Sinclair, the VP of Ticket Operations & Services. “Those individuals that are currently members of the Blue & Gold Club will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets, as well as individuals who purchased Mini-Packs last season. At that point, it will move to the general public.”

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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
 

The gang of four

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Sportsnet’s John Shannon quotes Charles Dickens repeatedly in his latest column, and when he talks about “the worst of times,” he suggests that four teams’ ownership situations merit serious, serious concern:

Fresh from the 12-month reprieve in Phoenix, the demise in Atlanta must still sting some of the veteran owners who have witnessed the Atlanta experiment twice. But there are other issues still to be resolved. And there still seems to be issues with at least four other franchises:

—In St. Louis, where the ownership (Towerbrook Financial) has made it perfectly clear that they want out, and the leadership (Dave Checketts) tries to find new investors. The search is closing in on a year. Even former Coyote suitor Matthew Hulsizer has been invited in to ScottTrade Center for a tour.

—In Dallas, where the commissioner is still trying to get full value for a franchise that appears to be bleeding to death. Mr. Bettman has been told countless times that new owners are ready, willing and able, but not at the value that he has placed on the team. In fact, there are still locals who want to own the team, including NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and former co-owner of the MLB Texas Rangers, Chuck Greenburg. It appears inevitable that a new owner will come in, only after the team takes drastic action. Read ‘drastic’ as filing for bankruptcy.

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Signing bonuses are the ‘new normal’ as a potential lockout year approaches

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The vast majority of this summer’s high-profile free agent signings have involved gigantic signing bonuses, and as the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle suggests, the Sabres’ latest signing, a re-signing in Andrej Sekera, represents a trend in which players are now receiving somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-60% of their contract via front-loaded bonuses, including money that’s owed to the player regardless of whether there’s a lockout during the 2012-2013 season:

It wasn’t a contract that drew much attention leaguewide, and certainly not on the day that Steven Stamkos finally signed, but there was an interesting wrinkle in Buffalo Sabres defenceman Andrej Sekera’s new four-year, $11-million deal yesterday. The contract wasn’t just front-loaded: It was heavily so, with $6-million – or 55 per cent of the contract – due in the next 11.5 months.

(As one agent put it after seeing the figures: “It’s a new world order in Buffalo!”)

Sekera’s deal comes with a $3-million signing bonus this season and another $1.75-million signing bonus on July 1, 2012, which gives him the type of “lockout insurance” many players are building into their deals these days and front loads a front-loaded deal even more than normal with the lump sum payments. Even if the NHL misses time with a work stoppage, Sekera will likely have more than half of his salary, guaranteed. (How exactly signing bonuses work depends on the language in the contract but, by design, that’s the intent of all of these 2012 ones that have been showing up.)

As such, the signing bonus list Mirtle cobbled together via Cagpeek.com figures, involves over $40 million in signing bonuses to be doled out during the next season alone:

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Blackhawks exercise walk-away rights, make Chris Campoli a free agent

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Updated 2x at 6:19 PM: Per the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle on Twitter, the Blackhawks have officially allowed defenseman Chris Campoli to become a free agent:

Told Chris Campoli is an unrestricted free agent as he and the Blackhawks have parted ways. Details to come.

TSN’s Darren Dreger confirms that the Hawks walked away from Campoli prior to their scheduled arbitration hearing on August 3rd...

Update: TSN now confirms on their website:

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Why did the Capitals waive a first-round pick?

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Via NHL.com, the Washington Capitals made a strange move today, placing 2008 first-round draft pick and former Swedish national team coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson’s son, one Anton Gustafsson, on waivers today:

The Washington Post is reporting the Washington Capitals placed 2008 first-round pick Anton Gustafsson on unconditional waivers Wednesday. Any team can claim his contract for $125; if Gustafsson goes unclaimed by noon ET on Thursday, the Post is reporting the Caps will terminate his contract.

Gustafsson, 21, was taken with the 21st pick of the 2008 Entry Draft. He’s played just one game in North America, with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, in 2009-10. He failed to make the Capitals’ roster to start the 2010-11 season and was assigned to Hershey, which then re-assigned him to the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. After one preseason game with South Carolina, he returned home to Sweden, and the Capitals suspended his contract.

According to the Post, Gustafsson has battled injuries since being drafted. He played just 11 games last season, with Langnau in the Swiss-A league. In 2009-10 he was limited to just 34 games with Boras in Sweden.

So why did they do so? Well, part of it has to do with the player and part of it has to do with his agent, who happens to be the high-powered J.P. Barry spoke to the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera about his request:

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Justin Abdelkader’s a ‘Blue Bomber’ and Conklin speaks

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 9x at 7:32 PM with Pearce signing confirmation, more from Conklin and a video of Abdelkader flying with the Blue Angels: Oy. Deadspin finds it delightful not that Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader didn’t lose his lunch and in fact had a great time flying with the Blue Angels in an F/A-18 this morning—as he told the Free Press’s Helene St. James and the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan—but instead because Abdelkader had this to say about flying over the Big House:

“We were joking around (when) we flew over Ann Arbor, went over the Big House, if we’d had a couple of bombs on it (the jet), maybe we would have dropped a couple on there.”

Lt. Tickle, an Alabama native, said: “One of the maneuvers that I can show him is a bombing hop. As we speak right now, we have men and women flying in Iraq, Afghanistan, wherever else. So I was able to show him kind of what we do. We just happened to be over Ann Arbor at the time and I know he’s a Michigan State guy, a big rivalry. So it worked out great we could pretend we were bombing Ann Arbor for him. Obviously I would never bomb Ann Arbor. I have nothing against Michigan.”

The Wings’ website posted a photo gallery of Abdelkader’s flight (video is probably in the works), and Abdelkader wasn’t too brave to tell Annarbor.com’s Kyle Meinke that even an NHL’er is no match for six or seven times the force of gravity…

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Evgeni Malkin’s Workouts in Moscow

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From ESPN:

Have you been wondering how Evgeni Malkin is getting ready for the upcoming season since having knee surgery in February? Pittsburgh Penguins strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar provides an inside look at Malkin’s workouts, which include doing stick-handling drills in a parking lot in Moscow.

Video from the Penguins:

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+malkin

Mark Bell Signs With Ducks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed center Mark Bell to a one-year contract. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Bell, 30 (8/5/80), has played seven NHL seasons with Chicago (2000-06), San Jose (2006-07) and Toronto (2007-08), collecting 87-95=182 points with 597 penalty minutes (PIM) in 445 career games. He last appeared in the NHL with Toronto in 2007-08, scoring 4-6=10 points with 60 PIM in 35 games. The 6-3, 220-pound center played 80 games-or-more in four consecutive seasons from 2001-06, including a full 82-game schedule in three straight NHL campaigns. Bell has also appeared in nine career Stanley Cup Playoff games with Chicago (2002) and San Jose (2007), going scoreless with 10 PIM.

Update 3:55pm ET: According to Helene Elliott, Bell’s contract is $575,000/$105,000

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mark+bell

My Name is Marc, and I have a (Flyers) Hockey Problem

Blog: KK Hockey By Marc Siciliano

Our new Flyers blogger could not wait to get started, so here we go.

Please welcome Marc to the KK blogging umbrella.  His (and all the other new bloggers who will be introduced just like this) own blog will be ready within the next 30 days or so, but in the meantime, his blogs will appear in the Hockey section of KK.

-Paul


Greetings everyone!

Somehow, I have been lucky enough to be chosen to spread the Orange and Black opiate to the masses here at Kukkla’s Korner, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to do so. By the time this waning offseason draws to a close, the goal is to have this blog up and running in full force, ready to give you all the coverage you clamor of this new-look Flyers team. I know we’re all chomping at the bit to get a glimpse of what this team can do, so I’m excited to provide you with the best possible coverage I can of this team going forward.

To give you a little idea about myself, I’m a recent college graduate from hockey-crazy Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. I graduated with a degree in media production and communications, and have since spent my time pursuing a career in sports production. I’ve had the privilege of working on projects like “Hard Knocks: Bengals” and ‘24/7 Penguins vs Capitals”, and currently work with VERSUS controlling the ticker you see on the bottom of the screen (yes, that’s actually a job).

 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Marc Siciliano, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Devils Have Their Disposable Coach

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The New Jersey Devils hired their coach yesterday.  Former Florida Panther coach Peter DeBoer is their choice.  They made this choice on July 19th, well after the draft and free agent frenzy.  This is well after the other NHL teams hired their coaches.  As a result several top coaching candidates have already accepted head and assistant coaching position in the NHL and other leagues thus taking them out of running for the New Jersey position.

I have criticized the way the Devils handle their coaches.  It is clear that Peter DeBoer is seen as an interchangeable part.  I think he is most likely going to be replaced as Devils coach within two year and I think that is the way Lou Lamoreillo wants things.  He doesn’t want a longterm coach.  He would let DeBoer have a longterm run in the unlikely outcome of a Stanley Cup or runaway coach of the year, but otherwise this is a shortterm position.

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