Kukla's Korner

KK- Donation Drive Update

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Thanks to some very recent donations, the KK GoFundMe Dontation Drive is now over $8000.

Your donations will help make KK a much better place moving forward and I cannot thank you enough.

Do remember, anyone who has donated in the past and does so again, any amount over $20 will get the majority of ads removed on KK to make your browsing experience that much better.

If this is your first time donating, anything over $25 will also to the trick.

Again, thanks to all who have donated.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Erik Haula signs 2-year contract extension with Wild

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+haula, minnesota+wild

‘Two Things’: On the U.S. WJC camp and Blashill going golfing

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I always feel a little guilty about going on vacation at this time of year. While the Red Wings summer news cycle is at its "low tide" point, the Wings' players are slowly but surely getting back on the ice after a summer's worth of training, and by next week, they'll be taking part in "pro camps" and optional skates around Metro Detroit, first in small groups and then in larger ones.

This month is a busy one--on the 22nd, the Joe Kocur Foundation holds its annual softball tournament, and by the 24th or 25th, the Red Wings' players will being skating at Joe Louis Arena "informally" in larger and larger numbers as days go by.

Just as importantly, the World Junior summer camps are taking place presently in Lake Placid and Calgary, and with eight total Red Wings players taking part in exhibition games, and while nothing particularly revelatory will take place, these evaluation camps involve checking and battling for spots on the WJC teams.

In terms of today's news:

Today's Wings-related news is pretty spartan...

1. But USA Hockey's World Junior website reports that Dominic Turgeon scored a goal (which you can watch at the 1:24 mark of USA Hockey's scrimmage recap video) in Turgeon's Team Blue defeated Dylan Larkin's Team White 4-3, and games against Finland and Sweden will begin today at 1 and 4 PM EDT. You can watch them on http://www.fasthockey.com;

2. And if you want to watch Jeff Blashill play golf, Traverse City's 9&10 News covered the Ferris State University alumni golf outing, and as Blashill played college hockey at Ferris State, he's still very much so a proud Bulldog:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

All Tom Stillman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

As Blues chairman Tom Stillman waited for recipients to show up at a food bank in Jennings on July 21, he talked about the state of the Blues. The answers have been edited for clarity. The questions have been edited to make them more concise.

Q: Is it tough when you have to trade someone like T.J. Oshie, who’s been around this franchise so long?

A: Honestly, that and Barret Jackman’s departure are, on a personal level, difficult for me. It is really a hard part of the business. I’m comfortable we’re doing the right thing for the team and all, but those two individuals in particular are really wonderful people. I am sad to see them go. It’s weird to see how the guys can just be uprooted, especially in a trade. Those two guys, they were always immediately willing to do anything to help. Barret Jackman showed up everywhere. He was at the Mathews-Dickey event last year, he would have been here (at the food bank in Jennings). T.J. Oshie, anything you asked him, he’d say, Sure, I’ll do that. He was the guy that was on his knees taking a picture with a kid. I remember at an away game, they had to pull him out of the autograph line. That’s the kind of guy he is. Personally, it’s the tough side of the business.
Obviously, they’ve both been here a long time, and T.J., we saw him grow up here. You become, not close, but friendly with them. I think a lot of fans have sort of a fatherly or motherly view of some of our younger players who have grown up here, so it’s tough to see.

Q: The NHL recently announced that it could expand beyond 30 teams. Would expansion be a good thing for the league?

A: It remains to be seen. The process is open, there’s no commitment that there will be expansion. There’s a long way to go and the league will take a very careful look at it and make sure it’s the right thing on a macro sense for the league and any market candidate will be looked at very carefully. The league is really healthy, it’s hitting on all cylinders. I don’t think it’s ever been stronger, and looking forward to some of the things they have coming down the pike, rather it’s new sponsorship deals, a new level of interest from a number of people, there’s just a lot of things going on.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+stillman

The Top-Heavy Salary Numbers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The Penguins' five highest-paid players — Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury — will make $38 million next season. That will fill 53.2 percent of the $71.4 million salary cap.

Add in the other 17 or 18 players on the 23-man roster — even after the Penguins shed third-line center Brandon Sutter and his $3.3 million salary in a trade with Vancouver on Tuesday — and the team is bumping its head on the salary ceiling.

The only teams that will allocate more than half of their cap space to their top five players are the Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, who are fresh off a Stanley Cup with star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews making eight figures.

On the surface, that might sound like the Penguins and Blackhawks are in an untenable position. A closer look tells a different tale.

First, top-heavy salary structures are common in the NHL. Sixteen of the league's 30 teams allocate between 40 and 48 percent of their cap space to five top players.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Improved Buffalo Sabres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Yerdon at NHL.com,

Things are about to change for the better for the Buffalo Sabres.

The past two seasons were the worst in Sabres history, so it'd be easy to say things can't get worse, but the arrival of the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Boston University center Jack Eichel, has changed the attitude here.

Eichel's arrival, coupled with the eventual debut of forward Evander Kane, who didn't play for the Sabres after he was acquired in a trade from the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 11 (elbow surgery); center Ryan O'Reilly, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on June 26; and coach Dan Bylsma, has the Buffalo fan base hopeful the organizational rebuild will bring results on the ice.

The Sabres will have a young and talented group of forwards to try to lift an offense that scored an NHL-low 158 goals last season. The addition of Eichel, Kane and O'Reilly to Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons gives Buffalo a youthful core. If Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, makes the roster, it would make the Sabres that much younger and add another potential scorer.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Hockey Talk In Early August

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- This is the perfect kind of hiring for the Phoenix Coyotes: They have brought in the respected hockey operations consultant, Claude Loiselle — and the best part of it, from the Coyotes end — is they don’t have to pay him. The Leafs are still paying Loiselle for two more seasons after letting him go last July.

- The Leafs must relinquish two third-round picks as compensation for the signings of general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock. For a team trying to rebuild with drafting and developing, that’s a heavy blow. What’s worse — Babcock’s contract was up in Detroit and Lamoriello replaced himself as GM in New Jersey. There was no reason for compensation in either case. The sooner this ridiculous compensation rule goes away in the NHL, the better.

- Barring a trade between now and September, the Leafs will open camp with their top centres as either Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri. New GM. New coach. Same old centres.

- Little more than a year ago, Sergei Berezin, the former Maple Leaf, became certified as an NHL player agent. This week, Berezin had his agent status suspended by the NHL Players’ Association.

The suspension came after Berezin and his wife were arrested in South Florida, for Medicaid fraud. While living in a mansion in Boca Raton, it turns out the Berezins, according to police, were making insurance claims indicating they had no income at all. The claims, over a two-year period, were for more than 50,000 US.

Berezin secured his first NHL client last year when he represented veteran Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov. In fact, Berezin did well getting Markov a three-year extension at just under $6 million a season. It isn’t known if he has added other clients to his business since then.

Undoubtedly, the NHLPA will look further into the Berezin situation while the agent remains under suspension. The PA has strict regulations regarding illegalities. There is no word of when the Berezin matter will go to court or when the PA will further act in this case.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Los Angeles Kings Have The Best Team Corsi

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Yesterday I posted the team Corsi ratings for 2014/15.  Leading the NHL was the Los Angeles Kings with a +760 team Corsi.  They had 760 more attempted shots in five on five situations than their opponents.  This is almost ten more per game.  This makes the kings the top puck possession team in 2014/15.

The problem is these Kings posted 95 points in the season.  That placed them ninth place in West Conference.  That is one point out of the playoffs.  In 2012, the Kings posted 95 points and that was good for eighth place in the West.  They won the Stanley Cup.  That year the Kings were 12 points out of first place in Corsi.   I would argue that both teams are similar in quality. 

How can the Kings either miss or barely make the playoffs with the best puck possession in the league?  Puck possession isn't everything.  They are average at special teams.  Their shooting and saves percentages were roughly average last season.  Their problem came in overtime and shootouts.  Los Angeles had a 3-15 record when a game went to overtime.  That was the worst record in the league in that circumstance.  That result is so poor that it must be seen as a fluke.  It isn't sustainable.  In any normal season they would have had several more points in overtime and shootouts.  Under those circumstances the Kings would have made the playoffs.  As a playoff team they had a good chance to make a serious run.  Los Angeles was unlucky to not make the playoffs.  They were a team that could have made a significant run.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

St. James: World Junior summer camps are music to Ken Holland’s ears

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

As mentioned earlier today, a total of eight Red Wings prospects are taking part in World Junior summer camps this week--Dylan Larkin and Dominic Turgeon (USA), Julius Vahtalo and Vili Saarijarvi (Finland), Christoffer Ehn and Axel Holmstrom (Sweden) are all taking part in the U.S. World Junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, NY, and Joe Hicketts (Canada) and Evgeny Svechnikov (Russia) taking part in Canada's World Junior camp in Calgary.

And, as you might imagine, Red Wings GM Ken Holland is absolutely delighted with the fact that six of the Red Wings' top prospects are taking part i a high-level competition in early August, as he told the Free Press's Helene St. James (via RedWingsFeed):

“They’re playing against their peers, that’s why I like it,” Holland told the Free Press. “To evaluate 18-19 year olds, if you try to evaluate them at a main camp, against pros, they don’t have the puck a lot. If you see them against their peers, you get a better read for their potential, and things they need to improve on.”

Just as importantly, unlike the summer development camps, spots with national teams are on the line, so there's checking, physical battling and different sets of team officials to impress.

It’s an especially good opportunity to see Holmstrom, because while the Wings have signed him, “we’re not bringing him to camp in fall because he’s trying to establish himself with a Swedish Elite League team,” Holland said.

While Saarijarvi is expected to play next season in Flint and Larkin either will be in Detroit or Grand Rapids, this is an opportunity to get a better handle on all six, as well as seeing some of next-year’s draft-eligible players.

St. James continues, stating that Holland will take in both camps. I'm sure he won't be representing the Wings alone--the World Junior summer camps precede the Under-17 Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic, so this is basically the "start of the 2015-16 season" for the Red Wings' amateur scouts.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Evening Line- Eric Macramalla On The Mike Richards Contract Termination

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I don’t expect the NHLPA and Kings are negotiating settlement. The NHLPA is unlikely to accept the termination of Richards contract in any form. For the NHLPA, it simply cannot allow this precedent to stand as it could adversely impact its members. By allowing the termination to go unchallenged, the floodgates risk opening with teams terminating problem contracts. ‘He’s fat, cut him. He’s slow, cut him.’ Ultimately, expect the NHLPA to see this case as far too important an event and precedent to go unopposed.

-Eric Macramalla at Forbes on the LA Kings/Mike Ricards situation.  Much more at Forbes.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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