Kukla's Korner

A Look At Gary Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alexandra Wolfe of the Wall Street Journal,

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t grow up ice skating. He only learned in college, when his girlfriend at the time (now his wife) helped teach him. These days, Mr. Bettman doesn’t skate much, but he does watch his grandson play.

The longest serving commissioner in any major league sport today, the 62-year-old Mr. Bettman is looking for new ways to attract fans. At the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, he plans to announce the slate of outdoor NHL games for next season (most games are played in covered arenas), as well as the return of the World Cup, an international hockey event that he says “will be back in a major way” next year. A successor to the Canada Cup, which was held occasionally between 1976 and 1991, the World Cup has only been played twice, in 1996 and 2004.

Hockey’s popularity has been on the rise. Total attendance at pro games has grown to 23.5 million last season from 15.5 million in 1993, when Mr. Bettman took over. Over the same period, the NHL’s revenue has grown to nearly $4 billion from $400 million a year. (By comparison, professional football and baseball each had revenue last year of about $9 billion, while basketball took in about $5.5 billion.) In recent decades, the NHL has gone to great lengths to broaden the sport’s national footprint, expanding into new markets and relocating teams to places where ice hockey wasn’t traditionally played, such as Dallas.

continued

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

The Nashville Predators In The Spotlight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Organ of The Tennessean,

The Predators have skated into a brighter spotlight this season.

Their dramatic improvement over last season has been a natural attention-grabber, but other factors have contributed to a new level of respect for the franchise locally and nationally.

“They’re getting more attention because it’s such a surprise for them to be where they are,” USA Today hockey writer Kevin Allen said. “And also there is the storyline of (Peter) Laviolette replacing Barry Trotz, who everyone had such great respect for. He’s moved on and you go from a defensive coach to an offensive coach. The story is intriguing.”

At the NHL All-Star break, the Predators (30-10-5) lead the Central Division and are second in the Western Conference and overall NHL standings.

The story is intriguing, Allen said, not because Trotz failed to move the Predators into a more prominent position, but rather because he laid the foundation for them to evolve to where they are mentioned among the league’s best teams.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

‘Goin’ out west’ with the Wings

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings posted the first part of what will be a 4-part video series chronicling the team's Western Canadian road trip, and I hope this video is a harbinger of more things to come:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Steven Stamkos Wants To Stay In Tampa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from TSN,

The future of Steven Stamkos has become a hot topic as he approaches unrestricted free agency in 2016.

And during the media session for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game on Friday, Tampa Bay Lightning forward gave one of his strongest indications to date that he's leaning towards staying with the team that drafted him in 2008.

"Yeah I think that's exactly what the plan is," Stamkos told reporters. "Obviously, July 1 you can announce a deal and something hopefully similar to what (Patrick) Kane and (Jonathan) Toews did, sometime after July 1. It's a long ways away. I'm not really focused on that. We haven't really talked about that at all.

continued

added 4:04pm

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

My All Star Game Injury Replacements

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

A couple weeks ago I posted my NHL All Star Game rosters.  Unlike the NHL, I like the East Conference vs. West Conference game a lot more than two teams selected by captains that they will use.  Thus I have kept the East vs. West format.  I haven't worried about selecting rookies to participate in the skills competition but not the actual game - I see little point in that.  In fact it seems to keep rookies who are All Star worthy out of the actual game itself.  I have Filip Forsberg and Aaron Ekblad listed as All Stars.  The NHL doesn't since they are only listed as rookies despite being worthy All Stars.  I am holding myself to the constraint that at least one player comes from each team - which the NHL did initially but after injury hasn't bothered.  Detroit will not have an All Star representative in the actual game since Jimmy Howard got hurt.  The NHL appears to have let several veterans choose not to play in the All Star Game.  That is the only logical conclusion given Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and the Sedin brothers not being chosen from their respective teams when they are far more logical choices than the players actually selected (Jimmy Howard and Radim Vrbata).  I am not doing this in my game because I have no reliable way of knowing exactly which players may have been offered an All Star berth but declined it.  Thus I almost certainly have All Star players who are not actually available.

In order to determine which players are injured and thus unavailable for the All Star Game, I am using the NHL injury list on tsn.ca.  This list gives Pekka Rinne, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang as injured players that I put on my original teams.  I suspect that Malkin and Crosby may have injuries that will keep them out of the All Star Game but no regular season games, meaning that some players who are opting out of the All Star Game are getting out in my system - but not all.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Possible Trade Targets For Dion Phaneuf

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,

Phaneuf doesn’t have an easy contract to move because he’s being paid like a franchise defenceman despite the fact he isn’t playing like one. His salary cap hit is $7 million annually until 2021, which means if the Leafs were to move the 29-year-old, they might have to retain some salary to get a deal done — depending on what Dave Nonis and Co. get in return.

Anaheim Ducks: This one might seem like a long shot, but consider this: Ducks GM Bob Murray has made 13 separate trades with the Maple Leafs since 2009. Francois Beauchemin is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and the salaries of Sheldon Souray, Eric Brewer and Ilya Bryzgalov are coming off the books at season’s end. The Ducks will have room on the blue line and money to spend. Phaneuf could do great things playing beside Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen or Cam Fowler – three of Anaheim’s outstanding young defencemen. Phaneuf would also add some muscle to complement a smooth-skating defensive corps.

Potential trade chips: Matt Beleskey, Devante Smith-Pelly, Nick Ritchie, Shea Theodore, Nick Sorensen

 four more trade destinations...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dion+phaneuf

Questions For Ansar Khan

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

There also were questions about the goaltending situation and prospects with the Grand Rapids Griffins:

Q: Seems everyone still wants to have a top-four defenseman who shoots right but I can't see it happening because the asking prices are high on what appears to be a shallow market. Can't see the Wings paying a lot for a rental. I still think they trade (Jakub) Kindl, a roster player such as (Joakim) Andersson and a pick for a good forward. This makes room for (Xavier) Ouellet on the D. He's your D upgrade. I've been hearing the Wings checked in on Arizona's Antoine Vermette and Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly. Are either possible options for the Wings? If they opt to trade for a forward and make room for Ouellet, who else might they target?

A: You're right in that the Red Wings aren't going to pay a lot for a rental. In fact, I don't think they'll pay a lot even for a player who's locked up for several years. As I've said in recent weeks, don't expect the Red Wings to part with a top prospect, any of their good, young roster players or a first-round pick for that right-handed shooting defenseman.

There's no urgency to make such a move. If the Red Wings acquire a defenseman by the March 2 trade deadline I think it'll be third-pair, depth guy.

I don't think there's any need to acquire a forward. And trading Kindl, Andersson and a pick wouldn't get them a top-six forward anyway. I don't believe Vermette or O'Reilly are realistic trade possibilities for the Red Wings.

The 23-man roster limit is lifted at the trade deadline, so they wouldn't need to make room for Ouellet.

more

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Time For The New Jersey Devils To Move Some Veterans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,

It’s not too difficult to make the argument that Lamoriello is the best general manager in New York sports history. After taking over in 1987, his first 25 years on the job saw the team win three Stanley Cups, make it to two more Cup finals, appear in two more Conference finals and qualify for the postseason in 22 of 25 tries. But that brings us up to 2012, when they beat the Rangers in conference finals, lost to the Kings in the Cup final — and haven’t seen the playoffs in the two seasons since.

It’s looking now to be a third season in a row, sitting 15 points out of the final wild-card spot, so maybe it was only a quarter-century that Lamoriello was granted his prescience. Or maybe what he’s doing this season, with his three-headed coaching monster — him at the helm, with Adam Oates and Scott Stevens splitting the coaching responsibilities by splitting the ice in half — is the first step in setting the team set up for the future.

But really, the first step should be conceding this year. And that means actively engaging the trade market before the March 2 deadline and getting a head start on receiving some return for a handful of veteran and expiring contracts.

more plus other NHL topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Top Plays Of The NHL Season At The All-Star Break

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

TSN style...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

High Escrow An Issue For NHL Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rick Westhead of TSN,

When Bettman predicted the $73 million cap, he was likely assuming that the NHLPA would, as it has done consistently in past years, opt to trigger a five per cent cap inflator.

Pushing the overall salary cap limit higher drives up the amount of money available for potential free agents - bad news for a spartan free agent class this summer that’s headed by Martin St. Louis - but it also leads to higher escrow collections for all players.

Players have become increasingly conflicted about this, several NHL player agents say.

“Players are worried about paying additional escrow,” Ian Pulver, a former NHLPA executive and current player agent said in an interview. “It’s a vicious cycle. Over the course of 10 years, players have voted to increase the cap, to ride with increasing revenue.”

Pulver said it would be a mistake not to trigger the escalator clause.

"Because there are a couple of bumps along the way shouldn’t mean the players shouldn't continue to increase the cap and force the major players — the NHL, the clubs and the NHLPA - to grow revenues. To vote against the increase of the cap because of a fear of escrow runs counter to the collective good and common sense."

more

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

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