Kukla's Korner

The overnight report: Two more years of Zetterberg; an obituary, a stat of note and fundraising

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated with more Zetterberg stuff at 7:32 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Henrik Zetterberg gave a long interview to his hometown paper, Sundsvalls Tidning, but the interview is behind a paywall. The interview's teaser suggests that Zetterberg focuses on his foundation's charity work in Africa, that he discusses the close call with career-ending injury that was the Sochi Olympics, and discusses Detroit's situation...

But there's also tidbit about "tricking the system" that drew the interest of Aftonbladet's Andreas Kack, who peers behind the paywall (noting that the interview appeared in several different online newspapers) and shares Zetterberg's take on his contract. What follows is Kack's report, and it's roughly translated:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

UFAs Still Without Work

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

It’s Aug. 20th. Players are skating and getting in shape for National Hockey League training camps, which open on Sept. 11.

If your name is Daniel Winnik, P.A. Parenteau or Dennis Wideman, the deal your agent was hoping for hasn’t materialized. Now it’s a Professional Try Out, or nothing. Then there are the high-profile names, like Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan. Surely they wouldn’t stoop to attending a camp on a PTO….

Would they?

A delicious menu of unrestricted free agents remains, with some prime restricted free agents also unsigned late into August. Here is a look at some players without contracts, and what fate might befall them in the next month.

Top UFAs

Jaromir Jagr: You’d think someone would find room for Jagr’s 46 points, even if he does turn 46 in February. Maybe New Jersey, now that centre Travis Zajac is out long-term, will bring the big Czech back. We don’t see Jagr in a Canadian market, and we’re not sure a long playoff run and Stanley Cup hunt are his top priorities. Vegas? No chance. Still, he’s regular-season productive. And he’s still Jaromir Jagr. Somebody…? Anybody…?


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Five Day Road Trip Ends For The Vegas Golden Knights

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

Remember that this is an expansion team within an expansion team. The media, social media and marketing folks came from different places and must come together to execute their game plan, not unlike the players, coaches and executives. This was a great bonding experience for them, as well as an outreach mission for the Golden Knights.

To this point, they had spent about 38 hours traveling 2,272 miles together on the bus since leaving Las Vegas on Monday, taking naps, watching movies, eating snacks, playing games. They'd been up before dawn at times. They'd eaten on the run at times. They'd checked in and out of a different place each day. They had worked hard, and they had also had fun seeing new places and getting to know each other better.

And they couldn't have been nicer and more welcoming to a writer from NHL.com who wasn't on the team, just along for the ride. I can't thank them enough.

Now it was time to go home to Las Vegas, for more hard work before the veterans report to training camp Sept. 14 and the regular season opens Oct. 6.

The bus pulled out for another seven-something-hour ride over another 430-something miles, and I stayed behind to write and fly home Sunday morning.

The hope is that they will make the Vegas Golden Knights Road Trip an annual thing, a tradition, not a one-timer before the inaugural season. I think I should cover it each year, because, you know, I have experience now and NHL.com needs to be on this story. Right, boss?

much more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vegas+golden+knights

The iBench System

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

During the 2017 playoffs, the first in which NHL teams used the iBench system, then-Pittsburgh assistant Rick Tocchet regularly used one of the team’s tablets in games to show Kessel what he, his teammates, and opposing penalty kills were doing on the power play. Coach Mike Sullivan does not believe it was a coincidence the Penguins scored on 20.5 percent of their power plays, or that Kessel led all playoff performers with 11 man-up points.

“The main areas where we probably gained the most use out of it was special teams, because you get immediate feedback,” the two-time Stanley Cup-winning coach said of the technology. “You can make subtle adjustments on the fly. In the playoffs, you might only get two power plays a game. So if you have the ability to make an adjustment that might lead to an opportunity to score or generate a scoring chance, that could be the difference between winning and losing.”

Just before the puck dropped on the playoffs, the NHL gave teams the green light to use iBench. It is a system powered by XOS Digital, the Wilmington-based company that provides video solutions to 25 NHL teams, including the Bruins. Based on the teams’ needs, iBench gave coaches like Tocchet and Sullivan any degree of video replay to show their players during TV timeouts or even while play was ongoing.

read on plus many more topic including a bridge deal may work best for the Bruins and David Pastrnak...

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

The Wrong Way To Build In Montreal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

When Bergevin signed Price to a long-term deal this summer, the Habs’ GM’s strategy was crystal clear. He’s hoping the Canadiens’ all-world netminder performs the kind of heroics he’s often showcased and bails out the middling team in front of him.

With Anahim Lake, B.C.’s most famous citizen signed through 2025-26 with an annual salary of US$10.5 million, the franchise’s next decade is going to be built around Price.

And that, in my humble opinion, is a big mistake. The big news in hockey this week was the Edmonton Oilers signing centreman Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year US$68 million deal. There was a lot of chatter about the fact that the Oilers are paying Draisaitl all this dough and will also be paying his teammate Connor McDavid a few Brinks truckloads of greenbacks (US$100 million over eight years) as well in the coming years.

But here is the $168-million question — would you rather have Draisaitl and McDavid locked-up to long-term deals or Price and Shea Weber? To ask the question is to answer it.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Mikko Koivu Statement On The Stabbing Attacks In Finland

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

About the attack....


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mikko+koivu

The overnight report: Larkin’s pitch(es); a short, hot take; on prospects past and present

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Dylan Larkin threw out the first pitch at Friday night's Tigers game as a part of "Michigan Night" at Comerica Park, and he sat down with Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating before delivering the pitch:

The Wings' Twitter account followed Larkin's path to the pitcher's mound as well:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The Colorado Avalanche Will Have An Affiliated AHL Team Joining Them In Colorado

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,

The Avalanche will announce an upgraded minor-league partnership with the Loveland-based Colorado Eagles next month, with the current ECHL team becoming the 31st American Hockey League franchise, according to two sources close to the situation.

Beginning with the 2018-19 season, the Avs’ top prospects and veterans on assignments will play for the Colorado Eagles out of the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. The Budweiser Events Center seats 5,289 for hockey but likely will be renovated to accommodate larger crowds.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink

St. James on Zetterberg’s outlook

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Free Press's Helene St. James discusses Henrik Zetterberg's 2017-18 season outlook this afternoon:

Zetterberg turns 37 on Oct. 9. That’s getting up there in age, but Zetterberg has put in two straight 82-game seasons, and missed only five games in 2014-15. He’s figured out how to adjust his workouts relative to his aging body, and having had back surgery in the spring of 2014. He’s still such a smart player, and still difficult to knock off the puck. He still inspires teammates with the sort of shift that changes a game.

How much longer will Zetterberg continue to carry the Wings though, one wonders. Zetterberg signed a mammoth 12-year, $73 million deal in 2009. It was front-loaded, and after this coming season the actual salary drops to $3.5 million (still a truckload of money). The final two seasons, however, sees the salary drop to $1 million a year. The good thing is that if Zetterberg walks away before the contract ends, it comes off the books because it took effect before Zetterberg turned 35. (Datsyuk’s last contract did not, hence the mess his year-early departure created).

Zetterberg has been integral to the Wings’ success since he embraced a burgeoning role around the mid-aughts, making his mark as captain in similar vein to the quiet, example-setting leadership of predecessors Nicklas Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman. Even in the twilight of his career, Zetterberg remains a marvel.


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Bad In Colorado And Getting Good In Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

When it all goes sour, no one remembers the flowery compliments, the strong words of commitment and belief.

That’s mostly because it was all hot air anyways, all public relations chatter designed to get people to buy tickets and invest their money and affections in the supposedly golden future of an NHL team.

Remember, for example, the words of Colorado executive Joe Sakic back in July 2013 when the Avalanche inked blue chip young forward Matt Duchene to a five-year, $30-million (U.S.) contract.

“Matt already is and will be a big part of our team’s nucleus for the long term,” said Sakic. “We all felt it was important to secure his rights.”

Well, four years later, the Avs are trying to get rid of him, and Duchene wants out. The team is terrible, and “locking up” the core of Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog (seven years, $39 million) and Nathan MacKinnon (seven years, $44.1 million) has led the Avs exactly nowhere....

The Oilers do appear set up better than any other Canadian team for a run at the Stanley Cup, and for those among us who would very much like to see the Cup back in Canada, this would be a fine thing indeed. At this point, after a quarter century of watching U.S. clubs from Carolina to California hoist the grand trophy, it hardly matters which of the seven Canadian teams manage to get the job done.

Both McDavid and Draisaitl are coming off terrific seasons. They might be Edmonton’s answer to Pittsburgh’s dynamic duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin. But the wealth they now have may change many things for them. Moreover, we live in an age when can’t just assess hockey players on their talent. You have to assess their impact on their team’s cap situation, among other factors.

more on both teams...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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