Kukla's Korner

Mrazek weighs in on the World Cup

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke with Petr Mrazek regarding his contract extension, his expectations for the upcoming season and his role on the Czech Republic's World Cup team. Here's the last part of his conversation:

Mrazek has a flight scheduled tonight to return to his home in the Czech Republic, where he will begin preparation for the upcoming season as well as the World Cup of Hockey this September in Toronto.

“Yeah, (the season) it starts out different,” he said. “We start early with training camp starting on September 3rd or 4th in Prague for the Czech Republic. So it’s a little different but I didn’t change anything in the summer. The same workout with my fitness coach as we’d done for the last couple of years. We’ll head to the ice soon so I’m pretty ready for it and excited.”

Mrazek is among nine Red Wings who will complete for six different teams in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

“Yeah, those games will be high intensity,’ said Mrazek of the international games set to begin Sept. 17. “I think we have three preseason games, three tournament games that everybody is gonna play 100 percent. Then the tournament starts and we have Canada, the U.S. and Europe, so those games are gonna be great games for like our preseason games for the NHL.”

Mrazek will be joined by Justin Abdelkader (USA), Dylan Larkin (North America), Alexey Marchenko (Russia), Tomas Tatar, Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek (Europe), and Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall (Sweden).

Roose continues at length...

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Pacioretty weighs in on the Subban trade

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From Sportsnet's Luke Fox:

It’s a strange sight.

P.K. Subban is hustling up ice, spinning and slipping blind, backhanded passes thwack on the tape of soon-to-be goal scorers. He’s falling, laughing, and trying to trip contest-winning hockey hopefuls at Gatorade’s GCamp. He’s playfully battling Sidney Crosby, a fellow sponsored athlete, in the corners and dangling around teenagers that idolize him. Chirping, smiling, high-fiving — all gestures as blockbuster-sized as his trade one month ago. In short, P.K. is being P.K.

So that’s not the odd part. It’s what he’s wearing.

Aside from a G-splashed white-and-black sweater, Subban’s dekes and circle-backs are coloured in navy and gold. He’s rocking his official Nashville Predators helmet, gloves and pants. After nearly a decade representing Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, the visual is jarring.

“Very strange for me to see something like that happen,” Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty tells Sportsnet at GCamp, thinking back to one of hockey’s most climate-altering one-for-one trades in history. “P.K. is the person I got drafted with. He was the only remaining player I got drafted with.”

Continued

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  Tags: max+pacioretty, max+pacioretty, montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, pk+subban, pk+subban

NHLPA adds a collective bargaining expert

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From the NHLPA:

BRUCE S. MEYER JOINS NHLPA

TORONTO (July 28, 2016) – National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Don Fehr announced today that Bruce S. Meyer will join the Association as Senior Director: Collective Bargaining, Policy & Legal. Meyer will focus on a wide array of policy and legal issues as part of the NHLPA’s senior leadership team.

Meyer joins the NHLPA from the international law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where he worked for 30 years as a partner and member of the Complex Commercial Litigation and IP/Media practice groups. During his tenure at Weil, Meyer has represented the NHLPA, the NFLPA and the NBPA.

“Bruce will be a great addition to the NHLPA’s staff.  He brings a wealth of knowledge to this new role coming from his law firm where he gained three decades’ worth of valuable experience, including effectively representing the NHLPA and other Players’ Associations as outside counsel,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director.

“Protecting the rights of professional athletes has been a passion for me throughout my career,” said Meyer. “This is an exciting opportunity for me to join the NHLPA’s team, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge.”

Meyer will begin his new role with the NHLPA in mid-August, at the Association’s office in Toronto.

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Coyotes ink Michael Stone, Connor Murphy to new deals

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From the Phoenix Coyotes, first...

Arizona Coyotes General Manager John Chayka announced today that the Coyotes have signed defenseman Michael Stone to a one-year contract. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

We are very happy to have Michael back," said Chayka. "He had a breakthrough year for us last season and we are confident that he will fully recover from his injury and that he will play an important role for us."

The 26-year-old Stone registered 6-30-36 with 62 PIM in 75 games with the Coyotes last season and has collected 23-64-87 in 279 career NHL games. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native set career-highs in points and assists and led the team with 143 blocked shots last season.

And second:

Arizona Coyotes General Manager John Chayka announced today that the Coyotes have signed defenseman Connor Murphy to a six-year contract. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

"We are extremely pleased to sign Connor to a long-term contract," said Chayka. "At only 23, Connor has established himself as a very good NHL defenseman. He's a great skater, a fierce competitor and he has an excellent work ethic. We look forward to him taking the next step and having him on our blue line for many years to come."

The 23-year-old Murphy registered 6-11-17 with 48 PIM in 78 games with the Coyotes in 2015-16 and has collected 11-21-32 in 181 career NHL games. Last season, the Dublin, Ohio native set career-highs in goals, assists and points and finished second on the team with 175 hits and 139 blocked shots.

FYI:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: phoenix+coyotes

Wild re-sign Dumba

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From TSN:

Matt Dumba has agreed to a two-year, $5.1 million contract to stay with the Minnesota Wild.

The 22-year-old will earn $2.35 million in 2016-17 and $2.75 million in 2017-18.

The Regina, Sask. native finished with 10 goals and 16 assists in 81 games last season with Minnesota, setting career highs in each category.

He also ranked third on the team in power play goals with six.

Dumba has 19 goals and 25 assists in 152 career games in three seasons with the Wild.

The right-handed defenceman was selected seventh overall by Minnesota in the 2012 Draft.

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  Tags: minnesota+wild

Discussing Tomas Tatar’s pluses and minuses

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Free Press's Helene St. James spotlights Tomas Tatar this evening:

Looking back: After coming within a goal of 30 in 2014-15, Tatar didn't take the step forward last season the team had hoped to see. Tatar had an especially slow second half, scoring just six goals the last 30 games. He struggled to create his own chances. During playoffs, Tatar ended up being demoted to the fourth line while still used heavily on the power play. Disappointing playoffs with no goals, especially considering Tatar scored three goals in the 2015 playoffs.

Looking ahead: The Wings need Tatar, 25, to make more of a push to help take over for the older generation of scorers on the team (with Pavel Datsyuk gone, that's essentially down to Henrik Zetterberg). Tatar can be a hard-nosed player, making up for his lack of size with a willingness to go into corners. Maybe new assistant John Torchetti can prod more from Tatar. Maybe being in a contract year will help (he'll be wanting a raise similar to the $4.75 million annual average value of Gustav Nyquist’s contract). It's also feasible the Wings use Tatar as part of a trade package for an upgrade on defense.

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Mid-afternoon mishmash: on the ‘NJEC,’ Walleye’s A.J. Jenks and fantasy Zetterberg

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Southeastern Michigan and Northwest Ohio hockey-related note this afternoon:

1. USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth is hosting the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp from July 30-August 6, and Vili Saarijarvi will be representing Team Finland at the camp. USA Hockey's website has more details regarding the event:

2. Today the Toledo Walleye announced that they've re-signed leading scorer A.J. Jenks:

Continue Reading »

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Krupa speaks with Petr Mrazek regarding his contract extension

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with Petr Mrazek regarding his contract extension with the Red Wings in English:

“Yeah, really, really happy that it’s over and that I can be with the Red Wings for two more years,” said the presumed No. 1 goalie heading into next season, after he replaced Jimmy Howard in Game 3 of the five-game, first-round playoff elimination by the Lightning in April. "You know, it’s Hockeytown. The team is great, so I’m more than happy to be back.”

With the team straddling the salary cap, despite the relief provided by players on long-term injured reserve, with three new acquisitions in free agency and while looking at young members of the roster and prospects in Grand Rapids, things have gotten a little tight.

One example was the Wings filing for arbitration, when Mrazek’s salary request reportedly came in toward the top of what starting goalies make in the NHL.

No fun sitting around a room hearing from your nominal bosses that you should not be paid as much as you think – and here is why, specifically.

GM Ken Holland said the Wings were pleased about avoiding any such contretemps, with Mrazek or any other player. Mrazek liked the idea, too.

“It’s a business. I would say it has nothing to do with the personal stuff that you can hear in arbitration,” he said. “I don’t think Ken wanted to go, as well. But we made the deal before the arb started.”

Krupa continues, discussing Mrazek's role on the Czech World Cup team and getting Mrazek's take on his inconsistent 2015-16 campaign...

Update: Here's more from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

Continue Reading »

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Devils Do Defensive Zone Starts Differently

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I am always on the lookout for teams that do things differently from all the others in order to better gage the efficiency of that strategy.  Yersterday's post showed one such situation.  I listed the top 20 players in 2015/16 by excess defensive zone starts.  This list included 18 forwards and two defencemen.  Both defencemen are New Jersey Devils in Adam Larsson and Andy Greene who were ranked second and third overall. 

While the other teams in the NHL try to match their defensive forwards and faceoff men with defensive zone starts, New Jersey does something differently.  They have a top defensive line that they attempt to play in as many defensive faceoffs as possible.

New Jersey was not a particularly successful team last year finishing 20th overall and missing the playoffs.  However they were successful in preventing goals having the ninth best goals against in the NHL.  While part of the credit for that is due to Cory Schneider's strong goaltending, it is hard to give Schneider credit for the Devils allowing the eighth fewest shots against.

Continue Reading »

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‘Roughly Translated’: Jiri Fischer discusses Mrazek’s contract

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer discussed Petr Mrazek's contract with iDnes.cz's Michael Beren and Robert Sara, and here's a rough translation thereof:

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