Kukla's Korner

The Colorado Avalanche Had Enough Of Ryan O’Reilly

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei of The Denver Post,

Last week, word came that the Buffalo Sabres signed former Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly to a seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension that kicks in after he make $6.2 million this season and takes him through 2022-23. The deal calls for him to make $11 million in 2016-17 and slide down to $6 million in each of the final four years. The annual cap hit is $7.5 million.

O'Reilly is respected for his work ethic, which stacks up with that of anyone in the NHL. Fans, media and, most important, the Avalanche "got" that his contributions go far beyond the simply quantifiable. (No, I'm not stooping to citing analytics, but offering conclusions reached by actually watching him play.) Yet the virtually universal reaction to his departure has been: Good riddance. I'm not sure I've ever seen a player so respected told so universally to not let the door hit him on the way out....

O'Reilly already had been inordinately rewarded for his contributions. The salary benchmark was raised when the Calgary Flames signed him to an offer sheet — that involved organizational spite as much as coldhearted evaluation — but the Avalanche willingly went along with it by matching and then reaching a two-year, $12 million deal with him last year minutes in advance of an arbitration heading.

The Avalanche finally had enough.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+o'reilly

Morning Line- Kevin Paul Dupont On Matt Beleskey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"I really don't know what to tell you, [Matt Beleskey] has had one good year. Was it a great year? No. This reminds me in some ways of Marty Lapointe, when they gave Marty Lapointe five years, $25 million and were expecting a whole lot of Marty and he was a 'C' player. I hope this guy is a 'B' player."

-Kevin Paul Dupont via CSNNE where you can read more from Dupont.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+beleskey

Would You Trade Tuukka Rask For Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,

This just in from Toronto Star columnist Bruce Arthur  from TSN’s The Reporters, a suggestion that the Edmonton Oilers can’t count on new acquisition Cam Talbot, so should have offered up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in a trade for Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.

Here’s how the conversation played out as the sportswriters described the key moves at the NHL trade deadline:

Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons: “I like the move that sends Cam Talbot to Edmonton. Edmonton is now Canada’s team. They’ve become that. Connor McDavid is going there. Peter Chiarelli is there. (Todd) McLellan is there. They’re putting all the pieces in place. They had to trade for Talbot in New York. We don’t know what it’s like to go from playing behind one of the best defences in the NHL to playing behind one of the worst, but we’re going to find that out. We’re going to find out whether this guy is real or whether he’s not. Because if Edmonton has real goaltending, they’ve got  chance to do some business.”

“That’s a lot of pressure in Cam Tablbot,” countered Arthur. “We don’t know what he is really. He doesn’t have a huge NHL resume. If I was the Oilers, I would have called Boston, I would have said, ‘How much for Tuukka Rask?’ If it’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, I’d do it. Because that’s one of the five goaltenders you can depend on year after year. Cam Talbot?  They’re panning for gold a little bit. But the pressure is on Edmonton to produce while Connor McDavid is on an Entry Level Contract.”

Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated added:

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+nugent-hopkins, tuukka+rask

Morning news: On Smith’s ‘power,’ Howard’s numbers, Mantha and Athanasiou

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among this morning's Red Wings-related news stories:

MLive's Ansar Khan ponders whether Jeff Blashill might finally choose to utilize Brendan Smith on the Red Wings' power play, unlike his predecessor:

"I think Brendan has that ability to do that (power play)," Blashill said. "You have to see where the whole puzzle fits at camp. He's somebody I know that's done that in the past because he's done that for me in the American League (for half the 2012-13 season)."

Blashill has a vision of how Smith can be best utilized.

"I think Brendan's best offensive ability is kind of roaming around below the tops of the circles," Blashill said. "If he's a weak-side guy on the power play, going to the net a lot, he can retrieve pucks because he's quick, he's strong, he's competitive. He's got good offensive instincts once he gets below the tops of circles. I know at Wisconsin he was on his off-side (right side) hitting one-timers. That's something we'll explore going into camp."

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Evening news: On Callahan, Svechnikov and the summer development camp

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among this evening's Red Wings-related news stories and items: The Wings' prospects were busy attending the Cherry Festival this afternoon, after engaging in some wild skating drills (more on that in a minute). However:

Grand Rapids Griffins forward and hopeful future Wing Mitch Callahan is up in Traverse City with the Red Wings' prospects, taking his first steps back from a torn ACL, and he discussed his recovery with DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose as part of a "getting to know" Q and A...

“It’s nice that everybody is training coming into the season, but at the same time I would love to do all of this right now and skating in a full practice or scrimmage,” the 23-year-old Callahan said. “That’s the way it goes this time. I have to accept it and battle through it.”

It’s been a rough two years for Callahan, who underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in February. Ten months earlier, the Red Wings’ sixth-round pick in the 2009 draft, suffered a fractured jaw and lost 10 teeth when he was struck by a puck.

Callahan is in Traverse City where this week he is working out with team trainers and skating on his own at the Wings’ development camp at Centre Ice Arena.

“Just skating on my own but no tight turns or stop and starting as of yet. That’s probably next week,” said Callahan, who expects to be ready for the Red Wings’ main training camp in September. Going to camp like everybody else trying to compete for a spot,” he added. “Just to be healthy and prove that – even though I had a knee injury – that my game hasn’t changed. There’s no setback in my game. … I’ll be 100 percent and ready by the end of August, so that’s right in time for camp.”

And Roose continues...

Evgeny Svechnikov isn't a man of too many words, but he discussed being drafted by the Wings and taking part in the development camp with the Windsor Star's Bob Duff...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

A Flawed Concussion Protocol In The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune,

When it comes to handling concussions, the NHL is miles behind the NFL — hardly the model on the issue. In the NFL, there is an independent injury spotter in the press box at every game, looking out for head injuries. If a spotter suspects one, he or she informs the team doctor and athletic trainers, who examine the player with an independent doctor present. And if a player is diagnosed with a concussion, an independent physician must clear him before the player returns to the field.

The key word there is independent. It doesn't appear in the NHL's protocol.

The NHL puts concussion diagnosis and return-to-play protocols solely in the hands of its teams and team physicians. This creates a conflict of interest for the team doctor and the player, who might appear weak to fellow teammates if he reports an injury. A heavy onus is on the player to report his symptoms to doctors, which is laughable given the backward macho culture that requires players to play through everything and teams to reveal nothing about injuries, especially in the playoffs.

read on

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

Axel Holmstrom Preparing For The Next Step

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Holmstrom (6-foot-1, 198 pounds) had 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 44 games with Skelleftea, then exploded in the playoffs with 18 points (seven goals) in 15 games.

The way Holmstrom sees it, though, it was mainly being in the right place at the right time.

“I got good confidence from my coach and we had a real good team, good teammates,” said Holmstrom, who can play center or left wing. “We had a lot of good self-confidence in our group. Myself, I started the playoffs pretty good and got confidence from that and just kept going. I had some lucky bounces.

“I shot the puck more, my coaches told me to do that and I would get more goals. It was unfortunate we lost in the finals but both me and the team had a good team.”

Holmstrom will return to Sweden this season and plans on turning pro in North America after his Swedish season, joining Grand Rapids.

Given his inexperience and not having played pro in Sweden, a full season playing there would be a positive decision.

“I want to take the next step and be good the whole season, just take a bigger role with the team,” Holmstrom said. “I want to keep getting better.

“I have to get better in every (way. The NHL is) the best league in the world and I want to do my best and develop the best I can.”

more

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

LTIR Fraud Trades

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Among the recent NHL trades are two that highlight the problem of LTIR fraud.  Chris Pronger and Marc Savard signed longterm contracts that their teams regretted.  When they suffered injuries their teams found an out.  These players were placed on the longterm injured reserve.  Neither has played an NHL game since 2011 and under any normal circumstances would have retired.  The problem is their retiring would have cost their respective teams' salary cap space.  So Pronger and Savard have remained active on paper even though both have taken other jobs and have no interest in returning to NHL careers.  We have found a new level of silly to add to the story.  Both of these players have been traded.  A different team wants them even though they will never play another NHL game.

Chris Pronger was traded to the Arizona Coyotes along with Nicklas Grossman for Sam Gagner and a conditional draft pick.  Arizona wants Chris Pronger because their finances are troubled,  Pronger allows them to pay their team less.  His salary cap hit is his average salary over his contract of $4.935 million but he is only paid $525,000 per year over the next two years.  This allows Arizona to make the salary floor without actually paying players that amount of money.  It signifies that Arizona is in financial distress and will bend rules to pay their team less than they are formally allowed to.  It shows that Arizona is going to be a bottom feeding team this year.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Red Wings’ Gustav Nyquist files for salary arbitration

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From MLive's Ansar Khan: The NHLPA released the list of players who've filed for salary arbitration, and Gustav Nyquist is among them:

This should facilitate a contract agreement in short order.

Update: Khan confirms in article form...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

23 Players Have Elected Salary Arbitration

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

TORONTO (July 5, 2015) – Twenty-three players have elected Salary Arbitration:

Arizona Coyotes

Mikkel Boedker

Phil Samuelsson

Brendan Shinnimin

Buffalo Sabres

Phil Varone

Continue Reading »

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

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