Kukla's Korner

Phil Kessel Did Not Fit In The Toronto Mold

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bill Harris of the Toronto Sun,

It’s trickier when your most talented player isn’t driven.

But in Toronto, this scenario isn’t just a disappointment.

It’s a train wreck.

As I’ve watched the Chicago Blackhawks in their various playoff runs over the past few seasons, I reached this vague conclusion: Phil Kessel is Patrick Kane.

Toronto wanted Kessel to be Jonathan Toews. But the key isn’t turning Kessel/Kane into Toews, because that never works.

The key is getting a Toews, too.

There’s an extra layer of complication in Toronto.

Since 1993, when the Leafs made their magical playoff run and came within a game of reaching the Stanley Cup final, Gilmour and Clark have combined to form the star template that we crave in Toronto.

Gilmour, looking more like a skeleton with each game, so vicious about winning that he would do absolutely anything.

And Clark, having survived many dark seasons in Blue and White when he had to be the scorer AND the fighter AND the hitter AND the leader, wringing every last morsel of energy out of his battered body, and rising to the occasion.

If you don’t fit that model in Toronto?

You are greeted with annoyed bafflement.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+kessel

Morning news: On reserving judgment, Mantha and Saarijarvi’s OHL possibilities

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Among this morning's Red Wings-related news stories:

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa issued very tepid praise for the Wings' free agency "gambles," suggesting that there's much for both management and the signed players to prove before a positive assessment can be issued:

Holland likely was around the office with coach Jeff Blashill and Mark Howe, the chief professional scout, fielding phone calls and watching the NHL tickers Wednesday. But, when all is said and done, it is always at least a wee bit like being at Mrs. Ilitch's casino and knowing a lot about blackjack.

Despite the bad plate appearance for the Wings on the selection of Weiss, Holland knows when to hold them and when to fold them.

Assuming good fortune, for once, with injuries, Green and Richards are significant upgrades. Healthy, they should provide a rookie NHL coach with more offensive punch and, perhaps more importantly, less time in the defensive zone than Babcock had to coach around for the past few seasons.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

The overnight report: On the Wings’ free agent signings, Fedorov’s #91 and prospect discussion

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Red Wings' prospects spoke with the media at Joe Louis Arena before boarding a bus for Traverse City, MI this to take part in this weekend's summer development camp, but the media availability had a split focus as both Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill discussed the ramifications of the Red Wings' free agency haul.

It's with the latter topic that we'll begin this entry, and Blashill was actually more outspoken about the "possibilities" that Brad Richards gives him as a strong second-line center, as the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Still Quiet In Chicago

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

With 12 forwards, five defensemen and two goaltenders, the Hawks have more than $71 million committed already, and a few spots left to fill. Talks with Kruger continue to inch along slowly, though Bowman said Tuesday that the two sides were “close” to a deal. Defenseman prospect Stephen Johns is the front-runner to make the team out of camp, so that’s another $800,000. And the Hawks want to add another veteran defenseman, whether it’s bringing back Oduya somehow (his cap hit was $3.375 million this past season) or Kyle Cumiskey, or signing someone such as Christian Ehrhoff.

Next year’s salary cap will be $71.4 million, so salary-shedding trades are still coming. The Brandon Saad trade did little to prevent that, as Artem Anisimov and Marko Dano gobble up the salary earmarked for him. Sharp and Bickell still are the leading candidates to be dealt, as they combine for a $9.9-million cap hit, each with two years left on his contract.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Anaheim Ducks/Kevin Bieksa Agree To Two-Year Extension

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed defenseman Kevin Bieksa to a two-year contract extension through the 2017-18 NHL season. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Bieksa, 34 (6/16/81), was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft on June 30, 2015. Bieksa collected 56-185=241 points with a +22 rating and 879 penalty minutes (PIM) in 597 career NHL games with Vancouver. Among all-time franchise defensemen, the 6-1, 198-pound blueliner ranked sixth in scoring, assists and games, and fourth in PIM. Among franchise playoff leaders for defensemen, he led in goals (10), ranked third in appearances (71) and sixth in scoring. Bieksa helped lead Vancouver to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final vs. Boston, earning 5-5=10 points in 25 postseason games.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+bieksa

On The Mike Richards Terminated Contract

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Macramalla at Forbes,

... However, let’s assume the Kings terminated the Richards contract after learning he was arrested in connection with the unlawful possession of OxyContin.

If that’s the case, expect the Kings to have a tough time upholding the termination of the Richards contract in the event the NHLPA files a grievance....

Why the uphill battle for the Kings? The reason is the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse And Behavioral Health Program Policy.

This Drug Policy sets out specific drug treatment protocols that must be followed in the case of an arrest or conviction related to drugs. Since it was collectively bargained between the Union and the NHL, adhering to the Drug Policy is not optional for teams; it’s mandatory. For example, a team cannot simply elect to ignore the collectively bargained terms for the sake of convenience. The whole idea behind the Drug Policy is to get players the help they need. The focus of the Drug Policy is ultimately rehabilitative and not punitive.

Any departure from collectively bargained terms may be met with a grievance.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+richards

Do The Vancouver Canucks Know What They Are Doing?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

Benning is apt to be judged by how well many of the young prospects the club has and continues to bring in under its umbrella do as their careers unfold. Certainly, the early reports on him as a negotiator and as a trader are not particularly good, although there’s no way any of his trades can be fully judged yet.

But the dismissal of Laurence Gilman Thursday seems to be yet a monumentally bonehead move for two reasons.

First, the contract negotiation work in which Gilman had a massive hand during the Mike Gillis years was infinitely superior to the couple of early samples of contract work we’ve seen from this regime. If ever there was a clear strength from the old crew it was in this area, both in negotiating the hard ones and getting guys to take less to stay here. Yet they kiss off the guy largely responsible. How the owner can sit there and watch this happen is anyone’s guess.

Second, Gilman had an outstanding relationship with the powers that be in the NHL’s head office. Losing that longevity of rapport for the money they paid Gilman makes no sense, even if they decided that the wizard who signed Derek Dorsett and Luca Sbisa should continue in that role and Trevor Linden will forever be listed among Gary Bettman’s favourites.

It’s not that we didn’t know it was coming, given Gilman had no hand in negotiating anything other than dinner reservations for these guys, but the stupidity of it hits home when it happens.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Los Angeles Kings Statement On Slava Voynov

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

LOS ANGELES – Earlier today, Slava Voynov entered a no-contest plea to a single misdemeanor, domestic violence charge. The Los Angeles Kings have issued the following statement relating to this development:

“We believe the legal system has effectively resolved this matter and the punishment is fair and just. Any act of domestic violence is unacceptable. As an organization, the prevention of domestic violence and the education of our players and employees is of paramount importance. We will continue to actively develop and implement a strategy to deliver this message. We remain steadfast in our support of the National Hockey League as they now begin their own investigative process. Until that is complete we will withhold further comment.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: slava+voynov

T.J. Oshie Traded To The Washington Capitals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ARLINGTON, VA. – The Washington Capitals have acquired right wing T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for right wing Troy Brouwer, goaltender Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

“T.J. is an outstanding skater with a tremendous skill set,” said MacLellan. “He is a powerful player and has consistent track record of production throughout his career in the NHL. We feel that he complements our core group nicely and can help us get to the next level in achieving our ultimate goal. We also want to thank Troy for his contributions to our organization on and off the ice and wish him well in St. Louis.”

added 4:58pm, St. Louis release is below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: t.j.+oshie, troy+brouwer

KK- It Is An Extended Holiday Weekend

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Canadians may still be celebrating Canada Day, Americans may have started early with the 4th of July weekend.

Me, I will be around, doing what I do but maybe with a pop in hand on occasion.

Enjoy, be safe and check every so often for any hockey news.

Also, please consider the KK Donation Drive if you haven't done so at this point.  Thanks.

Filed in: KK Website Business, NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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