Kukla's Korner

Expect The Boston Bruins To Make A Trade Before The Season Starts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

The Bruins are in a jam. They have approximately $69 million committed toward 2014-15. This includes Marc Savard’s $4,027,143 annual cap hit and roughly $4.75 million in overage penalties (bonuses achieved last year by Jarome Iginla, Torey Krug, and Dougie Hamilton) they must apply toward their number.

By opening night, they will use the long-term injury exception on Savard to exceed the cap by his average annual value. But even when accounting for that deletion, the Bruins have little breathing room to re-sign Krug and Reilly Smith.

It would be possible to re-up Krug and Smith without moving salary; it would not be preferable. Management would have close to zero roster flexibility to trade or sign players or carry extra bodies.

A trade, therefore, is coming.

The Bruins have excess on defense. General manager Peter Chiarelli has repeatedly classified nine defensemen as contenders for jobs when training camp opens Sept. 18. David Warsofsky, one of the nine, can be assigned to Providence without clearing waivers. But that leaves eight still in varsity play, which is one more than the Bruins usually carry.

Locks to stay are Hamilton, Krug, and Zdeno Chara. The captain is one of the team’s three most important players. Hamilton is developing into a top-four fixture. Krug is the power-play specialist.

Dennis Seidenberg is coming off major knee surgery. He also has a no-trade clause.

The four remaining defensemen are Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller. McQuaid, who is entering the final year of his contract, is a known commodity as a nasty and experienced defensive defenseman. But he does not have a good health history.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Taylor Hall Healthy And Ready To Go

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,

By skipping out on the World Championship, Hall was able to add a month to his workout regimen this off-season.

“That was probably the main reason why I didn’t go to Worlds, I wanted to give myself a really good summer to train,” Hall said. “It seemed like every summer I either had surgery or World Championships or an ankle to heal, so this summer was good for me in that regard. I got some good training in, I got on the ice a little bit earlier than I usually do, and hopefully, that helps out. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling healthy, I’m ready to go and I can’t wait for camp to start.”

Playing for the same head coach for two consecutive years should also benefit Hall heading into the year. In his four previous seasons with the Oilers, Hall has played for three different coaches, all seemingly wanting different things from him. This year, Dallas Eakins will be back behind the Oilers bench.

“That’s a really nice way to go into a year,” Hall said. “There is no awkward handshake at the start of the season (with new coach), it’s a business-like attitude now. I think Dallas feels really comfortable that way and I think all of us players over the course of 82 games got to know what Dallas expects from us and now we can hit ground running at camp.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: taylor+hall

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

"I'll be a depth guy (with the Avs), hopefully they're looking at me as a role model-type, someone who takes care of himself off the ice."

"I'm still committed to doing the little things to keep me where I'm at, having a job in the best league in the world."

-Jesse Winchester of the Colorado Avalanche.  More on Winchester from Todd Hambleton of the Cornwall Standard Freeholder.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jesse+winchester

Have The Winnipeg Jets Improved?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,

Are the Winnipeg Jets better right now than they were at this time last year?

Although there’s still nearly a month to go before main training camp, it’s a question that is generating plenty of discussion these days, whether it be around water coolers or in dressing rooms all across Manitoba....

While realizing the game is played on the ice and not on paper, let’s take a closer look at how the Jets are shaping up right now, position by position.

Goalies

Returnee: Ondrej Pavelec

Candidate for promotion: Michael Hutchinson

The wild card: Connor Hellebuyck

Who’s out: Al Montoya (Florida Panthers)

The verdict: Worse

Given how well Montoya played as the backup last season and the fact Hutchinson has only three NHL games on his resume, it’s tough to argue the Jets aren’t in a worse position between the pipes. Granted, they’re expecting improvement from Pavelec, believe that Hutchinson is ready to make the jump to the NHL after an excellent season in the minors and the future looks bright for Hellebuyck, who is turning pro after a brilliant college career but needs some seasoning. Pavelec understands the importance of the upcoming season and it’s time for him to take the next step in his progression.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- David Branch Discusses The Stance The OHL Has Taken On Staged Fighting

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

David Branch, commissioner of the OHL, joined Jeff Blair and Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet's Prime Time Sports Show yesterday to discuss the stance the OHL has taken on staged fighting.

 

 

Below, read some of the changes the OHL recently announced...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: david+branch, ohl

Catching Up With Dan Bylsma

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Dan Bylsma hasn't gone anywhere. He has no plans to anytime soon. Pittsburgh is home and will be through hockey season, unless an NHL job opens.

Better be the right job, though.

Running the Penguins' bench for 478 games imparted the importance of stability upon Bylsma.

“I think we were a model,” Bylsma said over a wide-ranging conversation that lasted more than four hours. “We had stability, great stability. From ownership, from within the organization, with our players. I was fortunate to coach in a stable situation, and I shared that vision with my general manager — and I coached for a great general manager.

“If Ray Shero wasn't the best GM in hockey, he was definitely top three. That's what I believe.”

Penguins ownership stopped believing in Shero long before CEO David Morehouse fired him May 16. Different sides have different details about what happened and where it went wrong. The only consensus to emerge after the confounding crash is that nobody was happy with where things were.

Shero and Bylsma always figured last season was one of transition. They had a plan for this offseason. It was an intriguing one, but that job belongs to others now.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+bylsma

Questions The Tampa Bay Lightning Must Answer

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com,

Will Bishop show last season wasn't a fluke? -- Bishop was one of the League's true breakout players last season, establishing career bests with 37 wins, a 2.23 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and five shutouts. He missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an arm injury, but was rewarded for his efforts when he was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
After signing a two-year extension earlier this month, it's now time for Bishop to show 2013-14 wasn't an aberration and he is indeed a franchise goalie.

"He was arguably the MVP of our team last year. We really leaned on our goaltender heavily," coach Jon Cooper told NHL.com. "I truly believe he's coming into his prime. With his work ethic and the way he approached the game as the year went on last year, I'm fully confident he'll be a rock back there for us."

Can the Lightning make it count in the playoffs? -- Outside of their run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2011, the Lightning haven't won a playoff series since hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2004. After being swept last season by the Montreal Canadiens, this team is expected to take the next step in the postseason.

"We know the standard that is set, what's expected. We set a really high bar for ourselves and I'm really excited about that," Cooper said. "It's so hard to make the playoffs in this League. We know what it takes now. If we want to not only make the playoffs but try to advance, we know the work that has to be put in."

 

Below, watch E.J. Hradek and Dan Rosen discuss the outlook for the Lightning...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Red Wings overnight report: catch-up mishmash

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 2x at 8 AM, curse you, insomnia: I'm currently in the midst of my famous late-summer sinus infection, but there are some things you need to know:

1. Red Wings single-game tickets go on sale today at 10 AM (online, at box offices, etc.) and the $9 seats go on sale on Saturday, in-person-only, at the Joe;

 

2. The Joe Kocur Foundation's annual set of charity softball games take place on Saturday in Highland, MI, with the gates opening at 10 AM for 4 softball games that take place at 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM and 5 PM (the latter pair of games are the Wings alumni games) and tickets are $11.54 online until noon today, and then you have to pay $15 at the door.

The Milford Times' Joe Thiesen reports that the event's super-fan-friendly...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Datsyuk can deke and dangle on social media, too

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Via the Score's Thomas Drance, Pavel Datsyuk deked, dangled and scored past Paul Bissonette...On Twitter (and hey Sauce Hockey, free advertising!):

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

What Will The Sharks Dressing Room Be Like?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,

From the outside, particularly from some media that aren’t regularly in the dressing room or coach’s office, the team has been on the receiving end of some pretty harsh criticism. Some of it is certainly warranted. The Sharks were unable to trade either Thornton or Marleau, and signing the pair to three-year contract extensions with no trade clauses now seems like a mistake. At the very least, Wilson should have left himself with some flexibility there, or made them prove they had what it took to lead a team to another deep playoff run before re-upping them.

There’s more. If a guy like Joe Pavelski is eventually named captain (and he’s probably the best bet), it might cause an awkward situation in that he’ll have two former team captains sitting just a few feet away from his locker stall. The team didn’t add anyone of note other than bruiser John Scott, who likely won’t even be in the lineup half the time. A strong argument can be made, too, that the Sharks only needed to add a few pieces to a team that pushed the eventual Stanley Cup champs to seven games.

But much of that condemnation tends to conveniently forget or gloss over the issue in the dressing room, and that really is the biggest issue of all. Had there not been some sort of change, there’s no reason to believe that the Sharks wouldn’t flame out in the playoffs again, as they have so many times in the past. 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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