Kukla's Korner

Blackhawks leaning on their ‘kids’

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika:

OK, so who's it going to be? Nick Schmaltz? Tyler Motte? Ryan Hartman? Vincent Hinostroza? Tanner Kero?

Who's going to seize the opportunity with the Chicago Blackhawks this season? Who's going to grab the job openings at forward on a team that has won the Stanley Cup three times since 2010? Who's going to play in a lineup that includes Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa?

"The one thing I've told all those players was, 'I'm not sure which of you guys is going to make the team, but we're hoping you make the decision easy for us,'" Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "I think the one thing that's different this year is they don't have a lot of veteran guys ahead of them, so they're essentially fighting amongst themselves. We've got a group of six to eight young players. A number of them are going to make it."

Who makes it could have a huge effect on how far the Blackhawks make it.

Continued

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, stan+bowman

On Wayne Simmonds’ charitable commitment

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From Sportsnet's Donovan Bennett:

Legacy.

It can be something you leave behind or something you benefit from. In Wayne Simmonds’ case, it’s both.

Simmonds is a prime example of a hockey player lifted by his community to heights that allowed him to represent Canada and find success in the NHL. Now, the Philadelphia Flyers forward is calling on his friends and family to help him return the favour through Wayne’s Road Hockey Warriors ball hockey tournament in his hometown of Scarborough, Ont.

The annual event was inspired by a promise he made to his parents that he’d give back to the community if he ever made it big. The idea was originally started with childhood friend Brandon Sinclair who, like Simmonds, also benefited from community initiatives with his adolescent hockey career.

Every summer, 160 kids age eight to 12 get to meet and be coached by NHL players, and even watch them play in a celebrity game.

Continued

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  Tags: philadelphia+flyers, wayne+simmonds

Panning the DeKeyser deal

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

TSN's Travis Yost argues that the Red Wings shouldn't have signed Danny DeKeyser to a 6-year, $30 million contract:

One of the key decisions every general manager has to make is knowing when it makes sense to play hardball with a pending free agent and when it’s time to lock a player in on a long-term deal.

The Detroit Red Wings decided the latter was the optimal route with defenceman Danny DeKeyser, avoiding  arbitration and securing the Western Michigan graduate to a six-year, $30-million deal this week.

I think they made the wrong choice.

Like many of my grievances with player valuations on the defensive side, I can’t reconcile the term or dollar amount of the contract with the DeKeyser we know – a defender who doesn’t belong on a first pairing and who has struggled to move the needle in any meaningful way since becoming a full-time player in the 2013-14 season.

Yost continues

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‘Roughly Translated’: Mrazek’s arbitration hearing ‘turned out beautifully’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Petr Mrazek spoke with iSport.cz's Miroslav Horak on Wednesday night, and here's a rough translationt thereof:

Continue Reading »

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Evening news: On Mrazek’s contract negotiations, criticism of Holland, drinking and softball

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with Ken Holland regarding Petr Mrazek's contract negotiations...

A two-hour breakfast meeting with Mrazek’s agent in Toronto that began before a 9 a.m. arbitration hearing helped the Wings avoid what would have been their second arbitration in 21 years. The hearings, at which both sides assess the performance and comparative worth of the player while asserting their conflicting positions, sometimes cause fissures. Breakfast is nicer than potential irritation.

“Obviously, it’s good any time you can negotiate a settlement versus going through arbitration, where it’s never a great process in building relationships with your players,” GM Ken Holland said. “It’s not something that’s motivating for the player and motivating for the club.”

Holland said he texted Mrazek’s agent Don Meehan Monday night and the two agreed to meet at 8 a.m.

Mrazek, who was not available for comment, also was on hand. Two hours into the meal, the deal was done.

“The arbitration was supposed to start at nine, but we were engaged in back-and-forths,” Holland said. “We made an offer. We had more back-and-forths, and a little after 10 o’clock, we finally came to the solution.”

And the Wings' cap situation...

Continue Reading »

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Oilers will name a captain prior to start of 16-17 season

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From EdmontonOilers.com's Chris Westcott:

The Oilers went through the 2015-16 season without a player wearing the “C” on their chest. They instead elected to go with multiple alternate captains, including Andrew Ference, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Matt Hendricks was among a few other players to don the “A” at various points of the season.

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan confirmed with the media on Wednesday at the Mark Spector Golf Classic that the club will have a captain on opening night, when the team hosts Calgary on October 12.

“Will we have a captain? Yeah, we will,” said McLellan.

When pressed on who it might be, McLellan simply repeated himself.

“We will have a captain.”

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  Tags: edmonton+oilers, todd+mclellan

‘Two things’: On the Wings’ cap situation and ‘ice at the Joe’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

After the Red Wings signed Petr Mrazek to a 2-year contract extension, Wings fans were quite concerned about the team's status as over the salary cap, but Wings GM Ken Holland tells MLive's Brendan Savage that LTIR space will allow the team to get back below the salary cap's upper limit before the regular season begins:

Holland doesn't expect Johan Franzen and Joe Vitale to play this season because both are dealing with concussion issues. Franzen is slated to make $3.9 million and Vitale $1.16 million.

Teemu Pulkkinen – who re-signed for $812,500 – won't be ready to start the season after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery.

So when the Red Wings place all three on long-term injured reserve to start the season, they'll be close to reaching the salary cap.

"Certainly we have no expectations that Franzen and Vitale are playing hockey this year," Holland told MLive Wednesday. "I talked to Vitale after we traded (for) him. He's having on-going issues with concussion. He certainly not expecting to be in camp. I'm not expecting to see Johan Franzen on the ice.

"I think realistically, when it's all said and done, we're probably a little over the cap. What's a little? Probably a million dollars or just a little bit less over the cap if you don't count Vitale and Franzen."

Savage continues, and this is good news as well:

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Lightning taking the long route to a contract with Kucherov

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith:

[Nikita] Kucherov, 23, one of the league's top young stars, is a restricted free agent, and is due a hefty raise from the $700,000 he made last season. He's coming off a 30-goal season, and another clutch playoff performance. Think of the Predators' six-year, $36 million deal with Filip Forsberg as an example.

[Steve] Yzerman said Wednesday he remains confident the Lightning can sign Kucherov, though would not put a timeline on when it'd happen. Yzerman suggested it could take until the start of the season. Agent Scott Greenspun declined to comment on negotiations.

"We continue to communicate with his representation," Yzerman said. "And we expect to have him under contract to start the season."

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: nikita+kucherov, steve+yzerman, tampa+bay+lightning

Predators sign Matt Carle

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From the Nashville Predators:

Nashville, Tenn. (July 25, 2016) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Monday that the club has signed defenseman Matt Carle to a one-year, $700,000 contract.

Carle, 31 (9/25/84), is a veteran of 724 NHL contests, amassing 282 points (45g-237a) with San Jose, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. The 6-foot, 197-pound blueliner helped his club advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 with the Lightning, and with Head Coach Peter Laviolette's Flyers in 2010. The Anchorage, Alaska, native played three seasons for Laviolette from 2009-12, posting 35 points or more each campaign, and has spent the past four seasons with Tampa Bay, most recently notching nine points (2g-7a) in 64 games in 2015-16. Carle was a 2007 NHL All-Rookie Team selection and YoungStars Game participant, posting a career-high 42 points and 11 goals during his first full season with the San Jose Sharks in 2006-07.

San Jose's fourth selection, 47th overall (second round), in the 2003 NHL Draft held in Nashville spent three seasons at the University of Denver from 2003-06, winning national titles in 2004 and 2005, and winning the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player in 2006. The two-time NCAA All-American and 2003 USHL Defenseman of the Year also won gold medals at the 2002 World Under-18 Championship and 2004 World Junior Championship, as well as a bronze medal at the 2012 World Championship, where he played with Predators forward Craig Smith and was coached by Assistant Coach Phil Housley.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+carle, nashville+predators

KK: Going slow for the next day or two

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

George here writing for Paul: the boss is having some health issues presently so he's going to take a break from blogging for the next day or two. I'm going to substitute as able, but I'm also preparing to take part in a family vacation in the U.P. this weekend, so my availability will be somewhat limited over the next day or three...

So KK is going into "relaxed mode" for a day or two. I'll do my best to keep you apprised of the big stories taking place in the NHL and with the Red Wings, but it's late July, so I hope you'll give us the benefit of a little charity for the next day or two.

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