Kukla's Korner

Ingrid’s Son A Star

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Kingston Whig-Standard,

The youngster referred to the goalie as a “famous Canadian,” which might be a stretch but not in the north country. In this neck of the woods, Smith is a bona fide star, a local puckster who learned his trade in the shivering confines of the nearby tin-walled shinny barn in Piccadilly and now performs in grand arenas of North America, with and against the finest players on the planet.

Make no mistake, these are indeed heady days for Ron and Ingrid’s strapping son, the 161st player drafted in the 2001 NHL draft. Traded from the Dallas Stars to the Tampa Bay Lightning midway through last season, Smith recently inked a two-year, $4.4-million contract extension. More importantly, he now has an opportunity to become a No. 1 goaltender, something he would not have had in Texas as long as good friend and all-star netminder Marty Turco was turning aside pucks.

“It goes without saying that Mike has a bright future in the Lightning organization,” said the team’s vice-president of hockey operations, Brian Lawton.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+smith

Wild Sign Bouchard for 5 Years

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pioneer Press,

After losing offensive weapons Brian Rolston and Pavol Demitra through free agency during the offseason, the Wild made sure that they’d have playmaking whiz Pierre-Marc Bouchard around for the next two seasons at least.

The Wild and Bouchard agreed late Friday night to a five-year, $20.4 million contract that includes, according to assistant general manager Tom Lynn, a commitment by general manager Doug Risebrough not to trade Bouchard for at least two years.

continued

thanks to KK member PuckHound61 for posting the signing in the KK Forum very early this morning.  I went to the Chicago/Detroit ballgame last night with plans to update KK when I got home.  Well, things didn’t turn out so well for the Tigers so I spent some extra time crying in my beer.

added 10:43am, Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has re-signed right wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard to a five-year, $20.4 million contract.

  “Pierre-Marc is just 24 years old and the best years of his career are ahead of him,” said Risebrough. “He is a good example of how drafting and developing your own players leads to team success. This is why the Wild was willing to make such a substantial and long-term commitment to him.”

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pierre-marc+bouchard

Bouwmeester Has Issues With Panthers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,

Have spoken to a number of folks within the organization (none of whom own the initials J.M.) and even a couple of players. Not one thinks Jay signs a long-term deal here before his hearing, and only one said he expects Jay to be here come the start of the 2009-10 season. It appears to me that there isn’t just one reason why Jay isn’t a big fan of the Panthers; there are quite a few issues here.

Jay’s agent told our Barry Jackson that he rejected the Panthers most recent offer (I have heard almost $6 million per for six years but cannot get that confirmed by the agent nor JM) and they are preparing for arbitration. Which is their right. And, I’ve been told, the Panthers will give Jay whatever the arbiter rules he’s worth for the coming season and roll the dice hoping to keep him.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jay+bouwmeester

Boudreau Goes To Work To Save Money

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,

Saturday morning, Boudreau will put 48 hockey players through their paces in something called the Hockey Resume Free Agent Camp in Niagara Falls, Ont. Now, the Hockey Resume Free Agent Camp and, let’s say, the first round of the NHL draft should not be confused. Hockey Resume is a company that tries to find jobs in the minor leagues, often the low minors, for players who don’t have contracts….

“I’m basically doing it so my son doesn’t have to pay,” Boudreau said. “They wanted something like 400 bucks (actually $325) for the camp and I said I’d help out with a practice and give their camp some validity if my son could attend for free. I did the same thing at the Roger Neilson Hockey Camp last week for my other son.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bruce+boudreau

Putting The Myths To Rest

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Lynn at Hockey Ops Blog,

Myth #1: Expansion has diluted the level of talent in the NHL

This is the popular fable of the myopic scribes who cover hockey in some of the oldest markets. As the story goes, in the “Original Six” NHL (there were actually eight teams originally, but this fact was somehow lost on them) there were so few spots available on the teams, the level of play was extremely high. This was their “Golden Age” of hockey, with so many (per capita) of the League’s players achieving legend status and enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. In 1951, the top five scorers in the NHL all ended up in the Hall of Fame (Howe, Richard, Bentley, Abel, and Schmidt). Later, so the fable goes, with the NHL expanding more and more, anyone who could lace up a pair of skates was eligible for an NHL roster spot. This reached its lowest point after the last expansion, to 30 teams, when the Wild and Columbus took to the NHL ice with players that offended the high sensibilities of the Fourth Estate and older columnists.

Like many myths, this one is based on a reasonable premise, but has the unfortunate quality of being completely false.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, Old School, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Babcock’s Day with the Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

imageFrom the Stanley Cup Blog at NHL.com,

Just after 9 a.m. that morning, Mike and Maureen Babcock met the plane at the Saskatoon airport and received the Stanley Cup.

There are two things indigenous to Canada – hockey and Tim Hortons coffee, and the Babcock’s merged the two by taking the Stanley Cup to a local Tim Hortons. The only things that could make the morning more Canadian would be if a Mountie carrying a beaver had held the door open for them!

and lots more on Babcock and his face-time with Stanley.

*thanks to Snapshots for the pointer

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock, stanley+cup

Avalanche Sign Svatos, 2 Years

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced the signing of forward Marek Svatos to a two-year contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing scheduled for today.

“Marek Svatos has been a key ingredient to our success the last few years,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. “He’s scored many big goals for this club and we expect him to be a strong force for us again this season.”

—via Colorado Avalanche, press release

Update 12:53pm ET: According to Adrian Dater at All Things Avs, the contract is worth a total of $4.1 million—$1.75 this year and $2.35 next year.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marek+svatos

Therrien’s New Deal

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Ron Cook at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

My money is on Michel Therrien. It’s been on Therrien since he took the Penguins coaching job in December 2005 and immediately showed he wasn’t afraid to rattle the cages to shake the losers he inherited out of their country club ways. No matter what, the players were going to do it Therrien’s way. It’s no coincidence they soon turned into winners, big winners, nearly Stanley Cup winners last season.

Now, I’m betting Therrien will break one of the most astonishing records in Pittsburgh sports history.

I’m betting Therrien will become the first coach in Penguins history—41 years and counting—to start and finish four consecutive seasons.

continued…

Steven Ovadia at Puck Update provides a contrary opinion on Therrien:

Therrien is a dangerous combination of narrow-minded and panicky. You could see it during the finals when he didn’t change anything against the Wings until he suddenly moved Ryan Malone to the top line, only to put things back the next game. I suspect we’ll see more moves like that from Therrien, and as he loses people in the locker room, which is rumored to be the case, these knee-jerk switches will be less and less effective.

I was surprised the Penguins gave Therrien a three-year extension. Watching him coach has often felt like watching someone drive a car that’s too fast.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michel+therrien

Early Rankings

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

With the exception of future Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan, Mats Sundin (the ponderous one), Joe Sakic and Teemu Selanne, all the big-name free agents have been snapped up, and the complexion of the vast majority of NHL teams is well-established heading into the dog days of summer.

Here’s a look at our Summer Power Rankings with less than two months to go before the start of training camp:

Eastern Conference

15. Atlanta Thrashers

The Thrashers, Leafs and Isles look to be in a heated battle for the No. 1 pick in next summer’s draft and the chance to land super prospect John Tavares. That’s about as good as it gets for the Thrashers, whose spotty lineup promises to make rookie coach John Anderson’s first season a long one.

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Baltimore a Long Shot for NHL Franchise

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Childs Walker at the Baltimore Sun,

A new arena is a poor risk for Baltimore if the city is counting on attracting an NHL or NBA franchise, sports business experts say, but some agree with city leaders that a proposed 18,500-seat venue could be profitable without such an anchor tenant.

Neither the NBA nor the NHL offers many relocation or expansion prospects, analysts said, and the presence of basketball and hockey teams in Washington make the odds even longer for Baltimore. [...]

NHL spokesman Frank Brown said the league has no plans for expansion or relocation, though several cities have expressed interest. He said questions about the Capitals’ sharing a market with another team are “way too hypothetical for me to answer.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: arenas, expansion, frank+brown, nba, nhl

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