Kukla's Korner

Ranking The Off-Season Moves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

All teams have been ranked from 1 through 31 according to off-season performance only. (This is not an order of strength heading into 2017-18 but strictly an assessment of recent front office moves.)...

The “previous ranking” number assigned to each franchise indicates their official standings finish in 2016-17.

1. Once Brad Treliving got his own contract, the dude put in overtime. Keeping UFA Michael Stone and adding Travis Hamonic gives the Flames one of the best D cores in the NHL. Mike Smith isn’t young but he’s solid and should be motivated to play for a team with a chance. And retaining complementary forwards Micheal Ferland and Kris Versteeg for $1.75 million cap hits is a tidy bit of business on Treliving’s part.
Previous: 16

2. Either Steve Yzerman is part genius, or there’s something to this “athletes don’t like paying taxes” thing. The Bolts locked up RFAs Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat for reasonable rates, secured one of the most enticing defence prospects (Mikhail Sergachev), and took a reasonable two-year gamble on Dan Girardi for blue-line depth.
Previous: 18

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

‘Roughly Translated’: An interview with Filip Hronek

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings prospect Filip Hronek gave an interview to iSport.cz's Pavel Rysavy, and here's a very rough translation thereof:

Chelios learned Hronek's name. The Czech defenseman heard a lot of praise from Detroit

He wanted to talk a lot about him and praise him. Legendary defenseman Chris Chelios joked that he couldn't say his last name. Filip Hronek made a good impression on Detroit during the year. "It was really valuable to listen to remarks from people like Chris Chelios, Shawn Horcoff and Jiri Fischer," says the 19-year-old offensive defenseman from Hradec Kralove.

Actually, it happened right now, in July. Everything started a year ago in Detroit for Filip Hronek. And it ended a few days ago, a camp that made a start for a great season. In juniors he posted more than a point per game, and then moved to the farm team, where the Grand Rapids Griffins won the AHL title. The last stop? He arrived at the development camp, where he heard, 'You got better, you look better.'

Are you in a good mood now? "I don't have a bad feeling out of camp. It was good, a little different than a year ago. We have a new development coach in Shawn Horcoff, so it was different and interesting, he had prepared some news for us compared to last year, when we had, for example, special skill trainers."

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‘Roughly Translated’: An interview with Petr Mrazek

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Petr Mrazek gave an interview to iDnes.cz's Robert Sara, and here's a very, very rough translation thereof, and it's a pretty weird article in that it suggests that one report and one Wings beat writer were "at fault" for perpetuating a rumor that Mrazek is cocky--which just isn't the case.

"He is bloated," they say about Mrazek. He reacts: Self-realization is needed.

What's next? In the last two seasons, Petr Mrazek played in at least 50 NHL games. He has a contract in Detroit.

It's been four weeks since MLive.com, an overseas website, hit Petr Mrazek hard. Detroit reporter Ansar Khan wrote, "Mrazek has always been full of confidence, which the team's leadership was grateful for. Sometimes, however, he became overconfident, and that hurt him. Besides, it's not easy to coach him now." The goalkeeper was silent and did not respond.

Up till now. In an interview with MF Dnes and iDNES.cz, he returns to the critical words: "I don't do that, because those who know me--the boys in the locker room, the coaches--know who I am."

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‘Two Things’: On Dominik Shine and Keith Petruzzelli

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Brendan Savage posted a profile of Dominik Shine, who's turning pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins (or Toledo Walleye) this fall:

The development camp is valuable for players like Shine since it's the only opportunity NHL teams get to work with college players on the ice each summer in order to preserve their eligibility. At age 24, Shine admitted to feeling a bit like an old-timer this year.

"That's one thing I knew coming in," he said. "You're an older guy. For college guys, it's a little different. They still want to see more of you because you're not able to go to the prospects tournament if you want to stay in college. That kind of limits the games you can play.

"I feel a little older but I feel comfortable. A lot of guys like Soup (free agent Brett Supinski, who lockered next to Shine), it's his first camp and things like that so guys who haven't been to camp ask questions and little things. I've been to a couple so I know my way around a little bit."

Shine's goal for this season is simple.

"I hope to first of all make the (Griffins) lineup and take a spot in the lineup," he said. "Whatever I get from there is something I'm going to have to earn every day and I'm not going to take anything for granted."

Savage continues...

2. And I plain old forgot to mention that Keith Petruzzelli will be taking part in the World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena from July 28th to August 5th, with Petruzzelli playing for "Team USA blue" (this was announced yesterday).

That makes four Wings prospects that I know of taking part in the "Summer Showcase"--Petruzzelli for Team USA, Dennis Cholowski and Givani Smith for Canada, and Filip Larsson for Sweden.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

The Attendance Issues For The Carolina Hurricanes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Abbie Bennett of the News & Observer,

The Carolina Hurricanes have the second worst home game attendance in all of major league sports.

Financial news website 24/7 Wall St. published a report on “Sports Teams Running Out of Fans” on Monday that showed the Hurricanes have seen a serious dip in home attendance.

Over the last 10 years, attendance at Canes home games dropped 32 percent, with just 64 percent of all seats filled. Average home game attendance for the Canes is 11,776.

The Hurricanes relocated to Raleigh from Hartford, Conn., in 1997 and lackluster performances in recent years appear to be hurting ticket sales, according to the report.

The team often made postseason appearances during its first 10 years in Raleigh and won the Stanley Cup at the end of its 2005-06 season. The following season, home game attendance regularly topped 17,000.

But last season marked the eighth consecutive year that the Canes did not make a playoff appearance and average home game attendance was below 12,000.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jacques Plante And The Goalie Mask

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler at NHL.com,

For decades goaltenders never would think of donning a mask. But then again, why would they?

In the years leading up to World War I and the formation of the NHL in 1917, shots on goal were rarely as dangerous, and certainly not nearly as hard, as blasts from today's players. But by the end of World War II the NHL had become faster and more furious than ever, and so were the shots on goal.

Maurice "Rocket" Richard, with his backhand drive alone, could propel a puck at speeds of more than a mile a minute. When his teammate, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, developed a slap shot at even faster speeds, goalies were in big trouble.

Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Glenn Hall once told me in no uncertain terms, "Goaltending is sixty minutes of hell." Hall's teammates had no doubts about his statement; they watched him vomit before every game. Yet Hall, who starred on the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning team in 1961, played 502 consecutive regular-season games without facial protection.

As it happened, one of Hall's contemporaries, Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens, began getting the notion that being playing goal without a mask was a bad idea. Ever creative, even as a junior player, Plante began experimenting with the idea of a face protector.

At first he did it surreptitiously, and for good reason: He knew that Montreal coach Toe Blake would dismiss the idea of a goalie mask out of hand.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+plante

An Important Year For Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal,

“Just wait until Nuge gets his ‘old-man strength’!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard variations of that statement over the time Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been in Edmonton, but forgive me for feeling the expression itself is getting old faster than RNH himself seems to be.

Nugent-Hopkins is now 24 years old, six years removed from being the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft and suddenly the senior member of the Edmonton Oilers.  He’s nearly halfway into a seven-year contract that pays him at an elite level, and I think it’s fair to say that to this point the expectations have exceeded the results.

This season just past saw RNH return to full health after an injury-riddled 2015-16 campaign in which he missed a third of the campaign due to illness, a broken hand, and a concussion that limited him to 34 points in 55 games. Alas, his production remained middling at best, as he produced just 18 goals and 47 points over 95 regular-season and playoff games. Basically, 0.5 points per game in all situations....

All of which leaves the player at a crossroads entering the 2017-18 season. He appears destined to line up somewhere in the middle six, and as McLellan alluded he desperately needs to recover some of the attacking acumen he displayed earlier in his career. Both of his former sidekicks, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, have been dispatched stateside in significant one-for-one trades the past two summers, and Nuge might be next.

With Draisaitl likely to be paid next season and McDavid already signed to big money the following campaign, the cap budget at centre is tight. Whether Nugent-Hopkins stays or goes in the longer term, he needs a major bounceback next season to prove his worth.

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  Tags: ryan+nugent-hopkins

Gary Bettman On A Few Topics, Twitter Style

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Yesterday the commissioners from the four major North America sports leagues were at an event and did a Q & A.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal tweeted these comments from Gary Bettman-

NHL commish Bettman: "We've had challenges with our union for as long as I've been commissioner."

NHL commish Bettman: "Historically, we have been underserved by traditional media."

NHL commish Bettman: The concern is making sure that millennials and Gen Z continue to want to watch team sports.

NHL commish Bettman: We're a small part of betting compared to football and basketball...I don't worry about fixing games.

Moderator Zaslav: How do you deal with violence in sports? NHL commish Bettman: You mean physicality, not violence.

NHL commish Bettman: The issue of fisticuffs in hockey gets overblown. It's an extremely small part of the game.

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

Windsor Spitfires to get their ‘Days With the Memorial Cup’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Windsor Star's Jim Parker reports that the Windsor Spitfires are going to take the Memorial Cup on a tour of Ontario and Michigan this August:

The Spitfires have had plenty of local appearances with the trophy for fans and sponsors in Windsor and Essex County as part of the team’s Community Tour of Champions with local players Mikey DiPietro and Daniel Robertson. More local stops are planned and will updated on the team’s website each week.

But now, team officials are putting the final pieces in place to take the Memorial Cup to the hometown of several players throughout Ontario and Michigan.

“Looking around, I don’t think anyone’s really done this with a formal tour where you pack up and take the Cup to the people,” said Dave Ducharme, who is the Spitfires coordinator of media and public relations.

It didn’t happen when the Spitfires won the title in 2009 or 2010 and Ducharme doesn’t believe other winning teams have taken the task on.

“We really didn’t do it (before), but it’s a good thing,” said Rychel, who is scouting in New York on Tuesday. “It’s a chance for individual families to have it and spend time with it, much like the Stanley Cup. I think it’s great. We always try to do right thing and one of things you want to do is the right thing by players. They’re the ones that earned it.”

Continued

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‘Three Things’: On the Larkin Hockey School, Tatar’s ‘comparables’ and Matt Lorito

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note a little later this evening:

1. WXYZ's Brad Galli posted a report on the Larkin Hockey School, which is taking place this week in Waterford, MI:

2. The Athletic's Craig Custance attempted to find the best "comparable" for Tomas Tatar as his agent and the Red Wings attempt to avoid arbitration on Thursday:

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