Kukla's Korner

‘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:

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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...

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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

Open post: hockey talk in late July

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The "Royal Exalted Grand PooBah" suggested that KK's little daliance with a "Casual Friday" might yield an open post for KK members to discuss hockey talk that might not make the blog at this time of year, and so here is that open post for your enjoyment. Gab away, and I'll start with this:

Wings summer camper Matej Machovsky spoke to the CTK News Agency about his time at the Wings' summer development camp, and Machovsky stated that the Wings offered him an AHL deal, but he turned it down, hoping to earn an NHL contract after this season playing for HC Plsen. The Grand Rapids Griffins then signed Calvin Heeter from Medvescak of the KHL to fill their goaltending pipeline with Jared Coreau, Jake Paterson, Eddie Pasquale and Heeter battling for spots with the Griffins and Toledo Walleye.

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‘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."

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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.

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  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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Top Defensive Zone Starters

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

I am continuing mu summertime sabermetrics series by listing the 20 players with the most excess defensive zone starts.  I have already posted the leaders by offensive zone starts and this is the opposite group.  Zone starts are the number of faceoffs for which a player is on the ice sorted by offensive, neutral and defensive zones.  This list is the list of players sorted by defensive zone starts minus offensive ones. 

This group is used by their teams in very defensive roles.  As a result they will not score as often as they might have if they played a more offensive role.  This can be used to adjust a Corsi rating in order to make it a more individualized number.

Here are the top 20 players by excess defensive zone starts in the 2015/16 NHL season:

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Thomas Vanek among NHL’ers playing in Minnesota’s ‘Da Beauty League’

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

All of a sudden, this story is marginally Red Wings-related. From the Minnesota Daily's Jack White:

Team workouts have begun for collegiate hockey teams across the country, but many [University of Minnesota Golden] Gophers hockey players are finding offseason training from a different kind of practice.

Seven current Gophers players are lacing it up in Da Beauty League, which is composed of six teams with college, amateur and professional hockey players, this summer. The teams play two games a week, each on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, at Braemar Arena in Edina, Minn.

“You are playing against NHL guys who are obviously more talented than some NCAA guys,” said rising junior defenseman Steve Johnson. “You know the skill out there and the talent is definitely really good, so whenever you get to skate against these guys, it’s an opportunity you don’t really want to miss out on.”

Da Beauty League is a 4-on-4 hockey league with two 30-minute halves. The game is fast-paced and rarely features checking. Many players utilize the league to stay in shape during the offseason.

The league has six teams that feature seven current Gophers and 22 former Minnesota players, including Minnesota Wild players Mike Reilly and Jordan Schroeder and former Wild forward Thomas Vanek.

Continued

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