Kukla's Korner

Forbes: Wings’ home opener 3rd-most expensive on secondary market

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

According to Forbes' Jesse Lawrence, the Red Wings' season-opener vs. Toronto is the third-most-expensive ticket to snag on the resale market presently:

10/9/2015 – Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena | Avg: $955.80 | Get-in: $80

The Red Wings are a perennial contender despite not hoisting the Stanley Cup since 2008, and their fans pay for it when it comes to tickets. They don’t mind it, though, as their team is amongst the most celebrated in all of hockey, as they compete for the Stanley Cup year-in and year-out. Red Wings fans will certainly have to pay a pretty penny if they want to attend the home (and season) opener this season, which comes against the just-as-storied Toronto Maple Leafs. The get-in tag of $80 isn’t so bad when you factor in the usual inflated prices of Red Wings tickets, while games at Joe Louis Arena just aren’t going to drop much in price, no matter the opponent.

That’s so true, in fact, that we had to shave Detroit off the rest of this top-three list, as they would have otherwise dominated our most expensive NHL games breakdown. It’s crazier than you think, as that list runs 20+ deep, with Detroit dominating the NHL tickets landscape going into 2015. That being said, with so many expensive games on the docket for the Red Wings, their home opener against a beatable opponent is a fine bargain.

Lawrence continues, and as you might expect, the Blackhawks' season-opener is the most expensive ticket to snag right now...

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St. James: Outlook for Gustav Nyquist is positive

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Here's the Free Press's Helene St. James' 2015-16 "outlook" for Gustav Nyquist:

Looking ahead: Nyquist should be good for somewhere in the 30-goal range. He began last season with goals in four straight games and stayed pretty consistent -- the most he went without a goal were a few six-game stretches, and the longest he went without a point were a few three-game stretches. After a good showing (five points in 14 games) as a third-line player in the 2013 playoffs, Nyquist hasn't been visible as a top-six forward in two straight playoffs. To be fair, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg also were critiqued in their mid-20s for not being productive playoff performers — but those two always were terrific two-way players. Nyquist doesn't bring that element.

At the very least, Nyquist by now must know how much harder it is to produce in the playoffs (he saw another great example of that in Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos), and maybe it will help next spring to have Brad Richards as a teammate, as Richards is a bona fide springtime contributor. Nyquist has the skill to get it done.

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Sergei Fedorov’s former financial advisor on trial in Florida

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov has already been awarded a massive judgment against his former financial advisor, Joseph Zada, in Michigan, and the Palm Beach Post reports that Zada is currently being tried for his financial mismanagement in Florida:

After calling just three witnesses to testify, lawyers representing Joseph Zada on Thursday said they are nearly ready to let a federal jury decide whether the onetime Wellington high-flyer bilked dozens of people, including former NHL star Sergei Fedorov, out of more than $20 million.

Attorney Richard Lubin, who represents Zada, said he would alert a federal judge today whether he intends to call any more witnesses. If not, it is likely the case will be handed to the jury Tuesday.

While Lubin declined comment on his defense strategy, it didn’t appear that Zada plans to testify in the trial where he is charged with 15 counts of mail fraud and three counts of lying on loan applications.

Continued...

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‘The Most Important Red Wing’ is obviously Pavel Datsyuk

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Via RedWingsFeed, ESPN's Scott Burnside asks and answers the question, "Who is the Red Wings' most important player?" and the answer is no surprise:

Red Wings' Most Important Player: Pavel Datsyuk, forward

Sometimes, you just don’t outthink yourself. Pavel Datsyuk is the Detroit Red Wings' most important player and it might not be close.

The Red Wings are going to be a fascinating team this season as new coach Jeff Blashill takes the reins of a roster filled with players he had great success with in Grand Rapids. Detroit has veteran experience, but will be driven by its youth. The youth alone isn’t enough to win a championship, however.

If the Red Wings are going to break away from that large group of NHL teams in the 90-100 point range and emerge as a possible Stanley Cup contender, they're going to need a healthy, successful season from their most dynamic player: Datsyuk.

Burnside continues, and I disagree with his last line--I wouldn't be surprised to see Datsyuk re-up with the Wings for one or two more seasons when his current contract runs out.

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Roose: Red Wings hire a statistical analyst

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray has more about Campbell:

Continue Reading »

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Talk Of The Summer

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Training camp is so close you can almost feel it, so it is time to shake more of the rust off and do a little rambling.

Flame revival

Pretty darned good summer for Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving, who stole Dougie Hamilton away from the Boston Bruins at the draft and then locked him in long-term while adding useful forward Michael Frolik, a former Cup winner with the Chicago Blackhawks. Then, earlier this week Treliving took care of priority No. 1: Locking up heart-and-soul captain Mark Giordano to a very salary cap-friendly six-year deal worth an average of $6.75 million per season. It's a deal that gives Treliving lots of cap-room flexibility moving forward, even if there's always a risk in such a long-term deal when Giordano will have just turned 33 when the deal kicks in next October. Many believe the Flames are due a step back this season after a surprising run to the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. But that run was accomplished without Hamilton and Giordano, who was out with a torn biceps tendon. Nothing is guaranteed in the wild Western Conference, but Treliving has his Flames well-positioned to return to the playoffs, not just this season but for the foreseeable future.

Next signing?

One byproduct of the Giordano signing is that the attention on top-end players entering their contract years is amped up. Tops on that list of course is Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, followed closely by Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. The slower-than-expected rise in the salary cap coupled with benchmark contracts like those extended to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane by the Blackhawks last summer that kick in this season has made life more difficult for all GMs, but specifically for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Kings GM Dean Lombardi. Locking up Stamkos and Kopitar are obvious priorities for the Bolts and the Kings respectively and we assume the deals will get done, but the longer it takes, the more speculation will percolate that things are amiss. 

continued with more topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Cam Ward Wants To Stay In Carolina

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,

Goaltender Cam Ward was the first off the ice Thursday at Raleigh Center Ice, soon to be followed by Eric Staal.

Ward and Staal have been two constants for the Carolina Hurricanes for more than a decade. They’re the two remaining members of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup champions, a reminder of better times.

Each will be entering the final year of long-term contracts this season. Both have said they want to remain a part of the organization, indicating the desire to sign contract extensions.

“Right now, I’m just going about my business and making sure I’m ready to go,” Ward said after an informal skate. “Obviously, it’s no secret I love being here and there’s nowhere else I want to be.”...

“In a perfect world I’d like to have something done, but there’s no pressure,” Ward said. “I’ve just got to prepare myself for a great year, not just for myself but for the team. It’s team first. We want to be ready.”

Since the Cup run in 2006, when Ward was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP, the Hurricanes have reached postseason just once, in 2009. The past six seasons have ended with Hurricanes players and coaches facing longer summers than they wanted, with their fans disappointed.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward

Training With Andrew Ference

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Marty Klinkenberg of the Globe and Mail,

A buff 36-year-old in a T-shirt and shorts stands at the front. A hockey star in a hockey town, defenceman Andrew Ference has been the captain of the Edmonton Oilers since joining them as a free agent in 2013. Unusual for a professional athlete, he works to bring attention to the matters he is passionate about: the environment, human rights and physical fitness.

Upon arriving in Edmonton, he began staging free workout sessions and invited everyone to come. They happen three mornings a week, with Wednesday reserved for running stairs at the home stadium of the Canadian Football League’s Eskimos.

This week, Mr. Ference begins by instructing everyone to find someone they don’t know and give them a hug. Someone’s sweet-tempered pit bull runs among them, wagging and barking in a studded collar and an Oilers kerchief.

A few minutes later, as the sky brightens, the group files into the empty stadium and bounds up the stairs.

Those waiting at the back of the line exercise their legs by bouncing up and down.

“It’s a great morning,” says Mr. Ference’s sister Jen, who helps organize the free gatherings with her hockey-playing younger brother. It is not quite 6 a.m. and she is cheerful.

“There is great energy here,” she says. “So many people want to get up early.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ference

Tyler Ennis On The Rebuild In Buffalo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,

Heading into the season, there is excitement in Buffalo due to the manner their roster was turned over.

“I think it’s like Edmonton right now, there is a lot of turnover and changes in coaches and we have some high-end prospects coming in and there is a lot of optimism,” Ennis said following a session at Perry Pearn’s 3-on-3 camp Thursday. “It’s really exciting, we made some really good moves, I think. I feel like the rebuild is finally coming to fruition. It’s been a tough couple of years but it’s going to be worth it, because we have a lot of great players and a lot of guys to be excited about, coming in.”

Shrewd trades and quality draft picks have, seemingly, expedited the rebuild process in Buffalo. As one of the club’s veterans, Ennis is looking forward to playing on a more competitive team this year.

“Time flies by. That’s why the last two years were such a tough two years,” Ennis said. “Your career goes by quickly. It seems just like yesterday that I got drafted and now I’m going into my seventh year of pro. You want to be in contention every year, because you may only get a couple of chances to win it.”

Heading into the year, Ennis is looking to improve on the 20 goals and 46 points he posted last season. He has a point total in mind, which he is hoping to reach, but would not divulge a number.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tyler+ennis

The Outlook For Brendan Smith

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2015-16 outlook: Former coach Mike Babcock kept a tight rein on Smith, a freewheeling offensive defenseman at Wisconsin and in Grand Rapids. A terrific skater, Smith likes to rush the puck and takes a lot of chances, prompting Babcock to comment that he creates as much offense for the opposition as he does his own team.

Will Jeff Blashill give Smith more freedom to branch out offensively? Blashill has indicated he might give Smith an opportunity on the power play, even though the additions of Mike Green and Brad Richards gives the club plenty of options. Blashill said he likes Smith's ability to roam around the tops of the faceoff circles and use his quickness to retrieve pucks.

The team will benefit more if Smith improves defensively – not get caught out of position as often and cut down on turnovers. He's competitive and should continue playing with edge.

Smith might be paired with Kyle Quincey, since Blashill plans to play Green with Danny DeKeyser and might not want to split the top pairing of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson.

Key question: Will Smith's offensive production increase under Blashill?

more

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