Kukla's Korner

The Wrong Way To Build In Montreal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

When Bergevin signed Price to a long-term deal this summer, the Habs’ GM’s strategy was crystal clear. He’s hoping the Canadiens’ all-world netminder performs the kind of heroics he’s often showcased and bails out the middling team in front of him.

With Anahim Lake, B.C.’s most famous citizen signed through 2025-26 with an annual salary of US$10.5 million, the franchise’s next decade is going to be built around Price.

And that, in my humble opinion, is a big mistake. The big news in hockey this week was the Edmonton Oilers signing centreman Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year US$68 million deal. There was a lot of chatter about the fact that the Oilers are paying Draisaitl all this dough and will also be paying his teammate Connor McDavid a few Brinks truckloads of greenbacks (US$100 million over eight years) as well in the coming years.

But here is the $168-million question — would you rather have Draisaitl and McDavid locked-up to long-term deals or Price and Shea Weber? To ask the question is to answer it.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Mikko Koivu Statement On The Stabbing Attacks In Finland

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

About the attack....


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mikko+koivu

The overnight report: Larkin’s pitch(es); a short, hot take; on prospects past and present

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Dylan Larkin threw out the first pitch at Friday night's Tigers game as a part of "Michigan Night" at Comerica Park, and he sat down with Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating before delivering the pitch:

The Wings' Twitter account followed Larkin's path to the pitcher's mound as well:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Colorado Avalanche Will Have An Affiliated AHL Team Joining Them In Colorado

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,

The Avalanche will announce an upgraded minor-league partnership with the Loveland-based Colorado Eagles next month, with the current ECHL team becoming the 31st American Hockey League franchise, according to two sources close to the situation.

Beginning with the 2018-19 season, the Avs’ top prospects and veterans on assignments will play for the Colorado Eagles out of the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. The Budweiser Events Center seats 5,289 for hockey but likely will be renovated to accommodate larger crowds.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink

St. James on Zetterberg’s outlook

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Free Press's Helene St. James discusses Henrik Zetterberg's 2017-18 season outlook this afternoon:

Zetterberg turns 37 on Oct. 9. That’s getting up there in age, but Zetterberg has put in two straight 82-game seasons, and missed only five games in 2014-15. He’s figured out how to adjust his workouts relative to his aging body, and having had back surgery in the spring of 2014. He’s still such a smart player, and still difficult to knock off the puck. He still inspires teammates with the sort of shift that changes a game.

How much longer will Zetterberg continue to carry the Wings though, one wonders. Zetterberg signed a mammoth 12-year, $73 million deal in 2009. It was front-loaded, and after this coming season the actual salary drops to $3.5 million (still a truckload of money). The final two seasons, however, sees the salary drop to $1 million a year. The good thing is that if Zetterberg walks away before the contract ends, it comes off the books because it took effect before Zetterberg turned 35. (Datsyuk’s last contract did not, hence the mess his year-early departure created).

Zetterberg has been integral to the Wings’ success since he embraced a burgeoning role around the mid-aughts, making his mark as captain in similar vein to the quiet, example-setting leadership of predecessors Nicklas Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman. Even in the twilight of his career, Zetterberg remains a marvel.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Bad In Colorado And Getting Good In Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

When it all goes sour, no one remembers the flowery compliments, the strong words of commitment and belief.

That’s mostly because it was all hot air anyways, all public relations chatter designed to get people to buy tickets and invest their money and affections in the supposedly golden future of an NHL team.

Remember, for example, the words of Colorado executive Joe Sakic back in July 2013 when the Avalanche inked blue chip young forward Matt Duchene to a five-year, $30-million (U.S.) contract.

“Matt already is and will be a big part of our team’s nucleus for the long term,” said Sakic. “We all felt it was important to secure his rights.”

Well, four years later, the Avs are trying to get rid of him, and Duchene wants out. The team is terrible, and “locking up” the core of Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog (seven years, $39 million) and Nathan MacKinnon (seven years, $44.1 million) has led the Avs exactly nowhere....

The Oilers do appear set up better than any other Canadian team for a run at the Stanley Cup, and for those among us who would very much like to see the Cup back in Canada, this would be a fine thing indeed. At this point, after a quarter century of watching U.S. clubs from Carolina to California hoist the grand trophy, it hardly matters which of the seven Canadian teams manage to get the job done.

Both McDavid and Draisaitl are coming off terrific seasons. They might be Edmonton’s answer to Pittsburgh’s dynamic duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin. But the wealth they now have may change many things for them. Moreover, we live in an age when can’t just assess hockey players on their talent. You have to assess their impact on their team’s cap situation, among other factors.

more on both teams...

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

Reminder: Joe Kocur Foundation’s annual charity softball game scheduled for August 26th

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Milford News posted a superb reminder that the Joe Kocur Foundation's annual charity softball game will take place in Highland Township, MI next Saturday, August 26th (with tickets available online for $10):

The Joe Kocur Foundation for Children announced its 2017 Celebrity Softball Series will take place Saturday, Aug. 26, at Duck Lake Pines Park in Highland.

Gates open for parking and early seating at 11 a.m. Bleacher space will fill up quick, so it is recommended attendees also bring lawn chairs. The event will consist of three five-inning softball games, which are currently scheduled for 12:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., and 4:15 p.m.

Previous participants have included Detroit Red Wings Alumni and others such as Joe Kocur, Dylan Larkin, Chris Osgood, Darren McCarty, Dino Ciccarelli, Manny Legace, Todd Bertuzzi, Mickey Redmond, Brian Smolinski, Steve Avery, John Ogrodnick, Dave Lewis, Dave Rozema, Eric Hipple, Jason Woolley, Jiri Fischer, Kevin Miller, Pat Peake, Kris Draper, Scott Lusader, Al Iafrate, Mike Knuble and Kirk Maltby.

Among this year's participants are the following alumni and active Wings players:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

All Glen Gulutzan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Flames report for main camp in mid-September. Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson caught up with Gulutzan as he enjoyed the final few days of his summer vacation for a Q&A about the upcoming season …

Wes Gilbertson: What’s this time of year like for a coach, knowing another season is just around the corner?

Glen Gulutzan: “Your mind is starting to shift gears a little bit — to getting back to the office — and you’re starting to get excited. I know I am, and I’ve talked to a few of the players in the last couple of days and I know they are too. I think everybody is excited to get back and get going. But I guard against gearing up too quick. This is where I kind of take time to re-charge my batteries. I know what the season looks like, I know the workload involved, so here I try to spend as much time with my family as I can and just re-charge.”

WG: What’s the big difference now, as you prepare for your second season in Calgary, compared to when you were introducing yourself at training camp last fall as the new guy?

GG: “I think the biggest difference for me, going into it now, is that we made mega changes to the style of play last year, as you know. The beginning was, ‘Is this going to work?’ but we just stayed with it. I think for me, coming into this season, I’m going to have 12 or 13 other guys — whatever we have returning — with me that are going to be saying, ‘Yeah, this is the way we do things.’ So we’ve put the markings on creating a little bit of a culture here, of what our expectations are. For me, laying all that groundwork isn’t as important now as making sure we’re refining things right away as we come in.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: glen+gulutzan

Questions For Ansar Khan

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

Ansar Khan of Mlive is the answer man today...

Q: Do you think they would waive Jonathan Ericsson over Ryan Sproul if they have to waive a player as (general manager Ken) Holland has said they will only carry seven defensemen?

A: No. I think they would waive Sproul before Ericsson, even if it means losing a young defenseman for nothing. You can make a case for waiving Ericsson instead because it’s highly unlikely any team would claim him with three years remaining at a $4.25 million cap hit. If he was taken it would clear up significant cap space.

But as much as Ericsson has struggled and drawn the wrath of fans, the organization believes he is better than many make him out to be. They have a track record for favoring veterans over inexperienced players. They also have concerns about Sproul's defensive play. Waiving Ericsson would trim only $1.025 million in cap space, which still might be enough to solve their issue.

Q: The Wings should play (Xavier) Ouellet, create openings for Sproul, (Robbie) Russo, forwards (Tyler) Bertuzzi and (Evgeny) Svechnikov, (Luke Witkowski on defense). (Trevor) Daley, another 34-year-old, added, so it would appear Ericsson should be the odd-man out. Or put (Niklas) Kronwall on LTIR. The Wings “best options” not getting the job done, so how can they bust the clog on defense? And why do the Wings insist their development players must be better than guys on the downward slope, now overpriced? The cap imposes value judgments, and the Wings are not getting adequate value for the cap squeeze they are in.

read on for the answer and questions about Mrazek and McIlrath...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The overnight report: Kulfan’s questions, prospect talk, Tweets of note and fundraising

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan notes that the opening of training camp takes place four weeks from Friday, and as such, Kulfan has nine questions for the Wings in the final full month before the preseason opens. Among them:

Will there be a spot for Tyler Bertuzzi or Evgeny Svechnikov? Depending on how the salary-cap situation evolves, there might be a spot for Bertuzzi, but it’s far from certain.

Luke Witkowski can play either forward or defense, which is a huge plus given the current salary cap crisis.

If the Red Wings keep only 22 players, and all eight defensemen are healthy, there isn’t any room for Bertuzzi (unless a forward is injured).

As for Svechnikov, he’s an exciting prospect, but he’s not quite ready for the NHL.

Kulfan continues at length...

2. On Thursday morning, we discussed ESPN's Corey Pronman's mentions of Red Wings prospects among his Top 100 NHL Prospects list, and later on Thursday, Proman penned an Insider-only take on each and every one of the NHL's 31 prospect pools. Here's his take on the Wings' 10 best:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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