Kukla's Korner

A New Era In Florida

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,

The Florida Panthers have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since accumulating a franchise-record 98 points in the 1999-2000 season. If the Panthers are to break that drought before it stretches into a second decade, they will do it with a distinctly new look….

Following last season’s near-miss, Jacques Martin, the team’s general manager and former coach, walked away in early June to become coach of the Montreal Canadiens. The Panthers have yet to name a new GM, and front-office duties are being handled by legendary executive Bill Torrey and assistant GM Randy Sexton.

Jay Bouwmeester, the team’s franchise defenseman, was the next one out the door. Unable to get the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent under contract, the club made the difficult, but necessary, decision to move the All-Star defenseman. The deal, after much speculation, went down at the 2009 Entry Draft, sending Bouwmeester to Calgary for defenseman Jordan Leopold and a third-round pick in the 2009 Draft.

Leopold and Ballard will likely anchor a completely rebuilt defense this season. The club also signed European vet Ville Koistinen and returns Bryan Allen and Bryan McCabe.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Big Year For Briere

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,

Too much money, too little return. He was untradable, an anvil around a team unable to improve because of salary-cap restraints.

His heart was questioned. His guts, too. His head.

“People will never say it to your face,” Briere was saying the other day. “I’m aware. I think I’m a realist. I’m aware of the contract and what that means in terms of last year. I think a lot of people maybe don’t quite understand the difference between being injured and not living up to the contract.

“But I’m not really worried about it because I’m confident that last year is behind me and I can now focus on being the player I’m supposed to be in Philadelphia. It’s not really important what happened in the past. It’s what you do in the moment. That’s how hockey and sports operates. It’s what can you do for me now.”

“Now” is a month away.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+briere

The Build-Up Begins For The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Turco Under Pressure

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,

“The pressure (comes from) missing the playoffs for the first time in my career, a new coach, a new general manager—for all of us in the organization after completing our worst season I’ve been around, there is pressure on everybody,” Turco told Sporting News.

Now Turco enters the final year of a contract that averages $5.7 million, and he could be playing for his future in Dallas….

Along with trying to get his team back in the postseason, Turco wants to keep his job, too.

“I have a family—three kids now. I turned 34 (Aug. 13) and have one year left on my contract. That’s personal. We’re human and this is my job,” Turco said. “That’s pressure different than the arena of sport. I feel fortunate that I don’t feel stressed about my personal situation. As competitive and driven as I am, these things seem to take care of themselves.”

more plus a look five other goalies facing pressure this season…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marty+turco

Hockey Canada Says Insurance Issues Are Cleared Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald via the National Post,

As far as Hockey Canada is concerned, the issue of insurance coverage for the country’s best players has a giant check mark beside it.

“Everything is fine,” Johnny Misley, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations, said regarding the controversy over insurance coverage for NHLplayers attending the upcoming orientation camp for potential 2010 Olympic team members.

“We have secured insurance to help protect the players - given the low risk there is - to give them peace of mind.”

Peace of mind doesn’t describe the mindsets of the NHL or NHL Players’ Association - at least judging by recent public comments regarding the camp.

continued

added 7:50pm, Icethetics may have the first pictures of what the Team Canada sweater may look like for 2010.

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: team+canada

Hockey Really Doesn’t Change Much In An Olympic Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Terry Frei at ESPN,

Disregarding last season’s four-team, four-game opening show in Europe that preceded the North American portion of the schedule, and also the five-day All-Star break, the NHL’s 82-game season was stretched out over 181 days in 2008-09. Sticklers can add five days for the Senators, Lightning and Penguins, and four for the Rangers.

This season’s schedule, not counting the 14-day break, will take 179 days. The season-opening European games in Helsinki (Panthers versus Blackhawks) and Stockholm (Red Wings versus Blues) are built into the same period in which all teams are playing.

The two fewer days doesn’t qualify as significant compression.

Actually, schedule compression compared to the previous season hasn’t been much of an issue since the ‘98 and ‘02 Games, and they came in seasons when the NHL also had four-day All-Star Game breaks.

read on

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

League Doesn’t Want Balsillie To Talk With Peddie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via TSN,

The NHL has agreed to allow depositions from commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and two of the league’s owners in the contentious bankruptcy proceedings of the Phoenix Coyotes.

However, the league wants Judge Redfield T. Baum to reject the proposed deposition of Toronto Maples Leafs’ Richard Peddie.

Lawyers for Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie want to question Peddie over what role the Maple Leafs might play in the proposed relocation of the Coyotes to Hamilton.

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

Are GM’s Finally Getting The Message?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province via the National Post,

Well, you don’t have to understand all the intricacies of the collective bargaining agreement to understand the prevailing attitude toward Zherdev and others of his ilk. It’s taken some time but it seems GMs around the league have finally clued in to the great danger of overpaying for offence; of overextending their payroll for players whose promise doesn’t always match their production.

Zherdev is a glittering talent. He was the fourth pick overall in the rich 2003 draft. When he arrived in Columbus, he looked for all the world like a 35-goal, 85-point man. But four seasons later, and after an ongoing battle with Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock, he was traded away to the Rangers where two more coaches - Tom Renney and John Tortorella - quickly grew tired of his act.

But here’s the thing. Zherdev hardly represents an isolated case. As of this writing, Maxim Afinogenonv, Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Tanguay, Mike Comrie, Miro Satan and Petr Sykora are all unrestricted free agents who’ve been waiting all summer to sign with an NHL team.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharks Sign Two Goaltenders

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has re-signed Group II restricted free agent goaltender Thomas Greiss to a two-year contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Greiss, 23, appeared in 57 games for the Worcester Sharks (AHL) during the 2008-09 regular season. He posted club records for wins (30-24-2 record) and goals-against average (2.47) along with a .907 save percentage and one shutout.  He also set a Worcester franchise record making 16 straight starts (1.90 goals against average).

“After a tremendous season in Worcester and an outstanding playoffs, we are excited to have Thomas under contract for the next two seasons,” said Wilson.  “His development towards becoming an NHL goaltender has continued to progress.  We were very impressed with the work ethic and dedication he has put forth and the results have shown in his play.”

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has signed Group III unrestricted free agent goaltender Henrik Karlsson to a one-year contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: henrik+karlsson, thomas+greiss

Bloggers Send The Wrong Message With Kane Stories

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,

The question of whether independent bloggers should have equal status with mainstream media is a hot topic in the industry. But the alleged Patrick Kane robbery and battery of a cabby was not exactly a shining moment for the integrity of bloggers. The release of the police charges Monday morning brought an immediate torrent of abuse in the blogosphere for Kane, who was accused of beating a hapless Buffalo cabby for a 20-cent tip. Before Kane could explain his side, sites were saying “How could Kane be this stupid?...

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, NHL Media, Hockey Bloggers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrick+kane

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