Kukla's Korner

The NHL/NHLPA Relationship

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Brandon Sun,

At this time in 2012, the NHL season was on hold as officials from the league and Players' Association were embroiled in tense lockout negotiations. More than three months of hockey were lost before a 48-game season was salvaged.

Three years later, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr rave about the quality of play — some of the fastest and most exciting hockey they believe the sport has ever offered. Not only is the on-ice product thriving, but the relationship between the NHL and NHLPA is stronger than it has ever been.

"There have been times in the past where some might get the feeling that the union was working against us," Bettman said during a sit-down interview in his New York office. "Don and the union, people who work with him have been extraordinarily constructive, professional, in working on things that make sense to both of us.

"It doesn't mean we're not going to have disagreements about some things. But the places where we can work together, we are, and I think that's great for the game."

Bettman and Fehr are at the forefront of the friendlier NHL-NHLPA partnership. The two men have known each other for over 30 years, Bettman said, and there's at least a high level of respect in peace time and during labour talks.

In a phone interview last week, Fehr echoed Bettman's caveat that there are philosophical disagreements between the league and the players and also the feeling that the two sides can work together now to accomplish some positive things.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: donald+fehr, gary+bettman

We’re passing through turbulence, please fasten your seat belt

Blog: Above the Glass By Samantha

When four days of business travel got put on my work calendar during the heart of hurricane season, I knew I was in for it. Last week, the pre-cursor to Hurricane Joaquin passed right up the East Coast, where some blissfully unaware colleauges decided it would be a good time and place for client meetings. I used to call New York City home and my time there was a lot like my business trip: too long, turbulent and a daily battle to keep up with the skinny, pretty people who surrounded me. What does it all have to do with hockey? I can think of one or two lessons learned from life at 30,000 feet. 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Above the Glass | Permalink

A One-Year Deal For Jonas Gustavsson In Boston

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Boston, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, October 4 that the club has signed goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year, one-way contract through the 2015-16 season worth a cap figure of $700,000.

Gustavsson played for the Detroit Red Wings from 2012 to 2015 appearing in 41 games, compiling a 21-10-6 record. Prior to Detroit, Gustavsson played for three seasons in the Maple Leafs organization from 2009 to 2012. In total, the 30-year-old goaltender has appeared in 148 NHL games, racking up a 60-55-21 record with a 2.89 goals against average and .901 save percentage.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonas+gustavsson

The Rebuild In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sean Fitg-Gerald of the Toronto Star,

By the end of last season, the air around the Maple Leafs had grown heavy and toxic, where angry fans threw jerseys on the ice, frustrated players protested and, ultimately, where Joffrey Lupul abandoned Twitter with a brief message: “Goodbye. Thank you for your support. I love you.”

This season, the veteran winger said, will not be like last season.

“It wasn’t a good environment to be around,” Lupul said. “It wasn’t fun to be around the guys, it wasn’t fun to go on the road. For the first time in my career, I wanted the season to be over — I was looking forward to the next season, already.”

As he spoke, Lupul was the only player left in a dressing room that has welcomed scores of new players, in a franchise that has turned over its management team and undertaken an ambitious rebuilding program. As part of that program, the Leafs are not expected to be very good this year, meaning that while this season will undoubtedly be different than last season, it will not be without its challenges, especially for veterans.


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

Is The “Detroit Way” Changing?

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Michael Traikos at the Toronto Sun,

As training camps come to a close, the dominating story around the league is about all the players who could be jumping straight from the draft floor to the NHL. There is, of course, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Buffalo’s Jack Eichel. But from Carolina’s Noah Hanifin to New Jersey’s Lawson Crouse and even Pittsburgh second-round pick Daniel Sprong, top-end teenagers are getting ready to make their debuts everywhere you look.

Everywhere, it seems, including Detroit.

While the Red Wings have already returned 2015 first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov to his junior team in Quebec, last year’s No. 15 pick Dylan Larkin (three goals and one assist in five games) is on the cusp of heading straight from college to the NHL.

For a team that had Tomas Tatar spend four years in the AHL, this is a bit unprecedented. The "Detroit Way" is to let prospects mature in the minors. Unless your name is Datsyuk or Zetterberg, the path to the NHL has been long and tiresome. In fact, you have to go back 25 years, when Keith Primeau was the No. 3 pick, to find the last draft pick who went straight to the NHL.

But with an aging roster and a new head coach, the way Detroit does things could be changing.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

“High Hopes” In Ottawa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,

... with so little turnover from the squad that raced to the playoffs on a record-setting run last spring — the Senators traded Lehner to Buffalo and third-pair defenceman Eric Gryba to Edmonton and defensive specialist Erik Condra signed with Tampa as a free agent — there are high hopes.

“To see 20, 21 guys return is usually a rare occasion,” said goaltender Craig Anderson, who is expected to open the season busy, playing three games in four nights. “It shows the faith management has in the group we have here. It’s up to us to make good on the deal and prove to management they made the right decision by not bringing in extra players and moving guys out.”

Looking around the dressing room at all the familiar faces, Karlsson says, “It felt like we almost didn’t have a break.”

Ryan suggests the team has drawn from the positives of last spring. “The feeling carries over when you see that many faces coming back,” he said.

Senators coach Dave Cameron employed a serious, no-nonsense approach to his first camp as head coach, putting an “NHL group” in place after only a few days. As expected, his emphasis was on skating and more skating, and he came away generally satisfied with the effort and results.

“In our business, as coaches, we’re never completely happy,” Cameron said. “Overall, I have no real complaints. I have some individuals I’m pushing a little harder than others, but on the overall, I think it has been pretty good.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Red Wings demote 14, place Datsyuk, DeKeyser, Helm, Marchenko on IR

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the Red Wings:

… Four Players Placed on Injured Reserve; Roster Reduced to 27…

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today assigned forwards Andreas Athanasiou, Louis-Marc Aubry, Tyler Bertuzzi, Colin Campbell, Anthony Mantha, Zach Nastasiuk, Tomas Nosek and Eric Tangradi and defensemen Nick Jensen, Robbie Russo and Ryan Sproul to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned goaltender Jake Paterson to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. The club also released forward Mark Zengerle and defenseman Scott Czarnowczan from their tryout agreements.

Additionally, the Red Wings placed Pavel Datsyuk, Danny DeKeyser (retroactive to Sept. 30), Darren Helm (retroactive to Sept. 18) and Alexey Marchenko (retroactive to Sept. 28) on seven-day injured reserve.

The Red Wings’ active roster currently stands at 27 players.


Larkin, Cleary, Ferraro, Pulkkinen and Ouellet are all still on the Wings' roster.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Red Wings place Brian Lashoff, Andy Miele, Mitch Callahan on waivers

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Per TSN's Bob McKenzie:

Update: Confirmed:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

All Mike Babcock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jonathan Gatehouse of MACLEAN'S,

Q: You’ve talked about the need to make Toronto a “safe place” for players. What do you mean, and how do you do that?

A: I felt, last year, from the outside looking in, that the players took a lot of hits—deservedly so, in some ways. But to me, you have to look after those guys. You have to build a product that’s good enough that they can win enough, that they feel good about themselves. I don’t care what you do in your life; if you have no confidence, it’s hard to feel good about who you are. That could be in the workplace, or the home. Any time there’s no trust, it makes it hard. We’re going to make it safer that way. We’re going to look after them the best we can. And we’re going to build a structure here so that they can be safe on the ice, and play well on the ice.

Q: At the same time, you’ve stressed a need for more accountability—to teammates, management, the fans and media. How do those two concepts go together?

A: I call it “sharing the love.” You know when your wife’s having a good go at you? I always say to the guys, “Hey, she’s just sharing the love. If she didn’t love you, she wouldn’t talk to you like that.” To me, it’s kitchen-table accountability. When you sit around your kitchen table with people you love, if you say something stupid, they call you on it right away—because they’re honest with you and they’re making you better. That’s what we’re going to have here. We’re going to have an honest respect for one another, to make everyone maximize the potential they have. I expect the players to listen to me, and I’m going to listen to them. We’ve got to make each other better here, and it’s another way to create safety, because the players know you’ve got their backs. When you tell a player what you want, he will try to please you.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock

Joe Hicketts sets Victoria Royals assist record

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Last night, Joe Hicketts established a new Victoria Royals record via a 3-assist performance against Kamloops, and the Victoria Times-Colonist's Cleve Dheensaw spoke with Hicketts about his record:

Joe Hicketts had three assists, with the first of those historic. The Detroit Red Wings-signed 2015 world junior championships gold medallist broke the franchise record for most assists by a defenceman and has 94 in 170 games. Hicketts overtook Brandon Manning, who had 91 assists in 200 games when the franchise was located in Chilliwack.

Hicketts (118) is now stalking Manning (136) for the franchise record for most points by a blueliner. Manning, who graduated from junior in 2010-11, the season before the franchise moved to the Island, has played 21 NHL games for Philadelphia but has spent most of his post-Chilliwack career in the Flyers minor-pro system.

“This has been a real fun start,” said Hicketts, who is a native of Kamloops.

“I don’t think about the personal accolades. I’ve been able to adapt to Dave’s [Lowry] system. It’s more getting off to this start that keeps this so enjoyable. With a lot of new guys in the line-up this season, we’re trying to keep it simple. We have a real team concept. There’s not the age separation as in the last couple of years.”

Dheensaw continues

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

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