Kukla's Korner

Buffalo Sabres Have The Worst Team Corsi

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

A couple of days ago, I posted the team Corsi ratings for 2014/15.  This is the difference between shots attempted by each team and their opponents in five on five situations.  This is a measure of puck possession and is one of the more repeatable facets of hockey teams.  The worst team in the league is the Buffalo Sabres.  Buffalo's -1789 Corsi is the furthest deviation from the zero point that has ever been recorded since these statistics could be collected.  Buffalo had over twenty more shots attempted by their opposition per game than by the Sabres themselves.

When looking at the worst 20 individual players by their Corsi, fourteen of the twenty players played for the Buffalo Sabres in 2014/15.  Buffalo was a horrid puck possession team.

Buffalo finished last in the NHL in 2014/15.  They posted only 23 wins and 54 points.  This left them two points behind Arizona, who was second worst.  Given their poor puck possession, one might expect Buffalo should have been even worse than that.  Were there mitigating circumstances that had Buffalo finish better than they should have, despite being last place?

Not only was Buffalo bad at puck possession in 5 on 5 situations.  They were also horrible on special teams.  They had the worst power play at 13.4% and the worst penalty kill at 75.1%.  There wasn't any circumstance when the Sabres looked like a good team. 

There is some press about how this team has improved.  Have they?  They have a long way to go to be merely a weak team.  To make matters worse, their biggest addition this summer Ryan O'Reilly has legal troubles.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

The Latest On The Concussion Lawsuit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rick Westhead of TSN,

The National Hockey League has been ordered by a judge to turn over reams of data about player injuries and concussions to lawyers representing former NHL players who are suing the league.

The roughly 80 former players who are suing the NHL, including Bernie Nicholls, Gary Leeman and Butch Goring, allege NHL and team executives knew or ought to have known about the links between head trauma and long-term cognitive problems but failed to do enough to protect players, all the while profiting from the violence of hockey.

The NHL has argued interested players could have read medical research and news reports on their own and put “two and two together” about the dangers of repeated head hits and concussions.

In an order released late Friday, U.S. Federal Court judge Susan Nelson agreed to some but not all of the requests for discovery filed by the former players’ lawyers.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jonathan Bernier Reaches A Contract Agreement With The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+bernier

Erik Haula signs 2-year contract extension with Wild

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+haula, minnesota+wild

‘Two Things’: On the U.S. WJC camp and Blashill going golfing

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I always feel a little guilty about going on vacation at this time of year. While the Red Wings summer news cycle is at its "low tide" point, the Wings' players are slowly but surely getting back on the ice after a summer's worth of training, and by next week, they'll be taking part in "pro camps" and optional skates around Metro Detroit, first in small groups and then in larger ones.

This month is a busy one--on the 22nd, the Joe Kocur Foundation holds its annual softball tournament, and by the 24th or 25th, the Red Wings' players will being skating at Joe Louis Arena "informally" in larger and larger numbers as days go by.

Just as importantly, the World Junior summer camps are taking place presently in Lake Placid and Calgary, and with eight total Red Wings players taking part in exhibition games, and while nothing particularly revelatory will take place, these evaluation camps involve checking and battling for spots on the WJC teams.

In terms of today's news:

Today's Wings-related news is pretty spartan...

1. But USA Hockey's World Junior website reports that Dominic Turgeon scored a goal (which you can watch at the 1:24 mark of USA Hockey's scrimmage recap video) in Turgeon's Team Blue defeated Dylan Larkin's Team White 4-3, and games against Finland and Sweden will begin today at 1 and 4 PM EDT. You can watch them on http://www.fasthockey.com;

2. And if you want to watch Jeff Blashill play golf, Traverse City's 9&10 News covered the Ferris State University alumni golf outing, and as Blashill played college hockey at Ferris State, he's still very much so a proud Bulldog:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

All Tom Stillman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

As Blues chairman Tom Stillman waited for recipients to show up at a food bank in Jennings on July 21, he talked about the state of the Blues. The answers have been edited for clarity. The questions have been edited to make them more concise.

Q: Is it tough when you have to trade someone like T.J. Oshie, who’s been around this franchise so long?

A: Honestly, that and Barret Jackman’s departure are, on a personal level, difficult for me. It is really a hard part of the business. I’m comfortable we’re doing the right thing for the team and all, but those two individuals in particular are really wonderful people. I am sad to see them go. It’s weird to see how the guys can just be uprooted, especially in a trade. Those two guys, they were always immediately willing to do anything to help. Barret Jackman showed up everywhere. He was at the Mathews-Dickey event last year, he would have been here (at the food bank in Jennings). T.J. Oshie, anything you asked him, he’d say, Sure, I’ll do that. He was the guy that was on his knees taking a picture with a kid. I remember at an away game, they had to pull him out of the autograph line. That’s the kind of guy he is. Personally, it’s the tough side of the business.
Obviously, they’ve both been here a long time, and T.J., we saw him grow up here. You become, not close, but friendly with them. I think a lot of fans have sort of a fatherly or motherly view of some of our younger players who have grown up here, so it’s tough to see.

Q: The NHL recently announced that it could expand beyond 30 teams. Would expansion be a good thing for the league?

A: It remains to be seen. The process is open, there’s no commitment that there will be expansion. There’s a long way to go and the league will take a very careful look at it and make sure it’s the right thing on a macro sense for the league and any market candidate will be looked at very carefully. The league is really healthy, it’s hitting on all cylinders. I don’t think it’s ever been stronger, and looking forward to some of the things they have coming down the pike, rather it’s new sponsorship deals, a new level of interest from a number of people, there’s just a lot of things going on.

more

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  Tags: tom+stillman

The Top-Heavy Salary Numbers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The Penguins' five highest-paid players — Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury — will make $38 million next season. That will fill 53.2 percent of the $71.4 million salary cap.

Add in the other 17 or 18 players on the 23-man roster — even after the Penguins shed third-line center Brandon Sutter and his $3.3 million salary in a trade with Vancouver on Tuesday — and the team is bumping its head on the salary ceiling.

The only teams that will allocate more than half of their cap space to their top five players are the Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, who are fresh off a Stanley Cup with star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews making eight figures.

On the surface, that might sound like the Penguins and Blackhawks are in an untenable position. A closer look tells a different tale.

First, top-heavy salary structures are common in the NHL. Sixteen of the league's 30 teams allocate between 40 and 48 percent of their cap space to five top players.

read on

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The Improved Buffalo Sabres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Yerdon at NHL.com,

Things are about to change for the better for the Buffalo Sabres.

The past two seasons were the worst in Sabres history, so it'd be easy to say things can't get worse, but the arrival of the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Boston University center Jack Eichel, has changed the attitude here.

Eichel's arrival, coupled with the eventual debut of forward Evander Kane, who didn't play for the Sabres after he was acquired in a trade from the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 11 (elbow surgery); center Ryan O'Reilly, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on June 26; and coach Dan Bylsma, has the Buffalo fan base hopeful the organizational rebuild will bring results on the ice.

The Sabres will have a young and talented group of forwards to try to lift an offense that scored an NHL-low 158 goals last season. The addition of Eichel, Kane and O'Reilly to Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons gives Buffalo a youthful core. If Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, makes the roster, it would make the Sabres that much younger and add another potential scorer.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Hockey Talk In Early August

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- This is the perfect kind of hiring for the Phoenix Coyotes: They have brought in the respected hockey operations consultant, Claude Loiselle — and the best part of it, from the Coyotes end — is they don’t have to pay him. The Leafs are still paying Loiselle for two more seasons after letting him go last July.

- The Leafs must relinquish two third-round picks as compensation for the signings of general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock. For a team trying to rebuild with drafting and developing, that’s a heavy blow. What’s worse — Babcock’s contract was up in Detroit and Lamoriello replaced himself as GM in New Jersey. There was no reason for compensation in either case. The sooner this ridiculous compensation rule goes away in the NHL, the better.

- Barring a trade between now and September, the Leafs will open camp with their top centres as either Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri. New GM. New coach. Same old centres.

- Little more than a year ago, Sergei Berezin, the former Maple Leaf, became certified as an NHL player agent. This week, Berezin had his agent status suspended by the NHL Players’ Association.

The suspension came after Berezin and his wife were arrested in South Florida, for Medicaid fraud. While living in a mansion in Boca Raton, it turns out the Berezins, according to police, were making insurance claims indicating they had no income at all. The claims, over a two-year period, were for more than 50,000 US.

Berezin secured his first NHL client last year when he represented veteran Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov. In fact, Berezin did well getting Markov a three-year extension at just under $6 million a season. It isn’t known if he has added other clients to his business since then.

Undoubtedly, the NHLPA will look further into the Berezin situation while the agent remains under suspension. The PA has strict regulations regarding illegalities. There is no word of when the Berezin matter will go to court or when the PA will further act in this case.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Los Angeles Kings Have The Best Team Corsi

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Yesterday I posted the team Corsi ratings for 2014/15.  Leading the NHL was the Los Angeles Kings with a +760 team Corsi.  They had 760 more attempted shots in five on five situations than their opponents.  This is almost ten more per game.  This makes the kings the top puck possession team in 2014/15.

The problem is these Kings posted 95 points in the season.  That placed them ninth place in West Conference.  That is one point out of the playoffs.  In 2012, the Kings posted 95 points and that was good for eighth place in the West.  They won the Stanley Cup.  That year the Kings were 12 points out of first place in Corsi.   I would argue that both teams are similar in quality. 

How can the Kings either miss or barely make the playoffs with the best puck possession in the league?  Puck possession isn't everything.  They are average at special teams.  Their shooting and saves percentages were roughly average last season.  Their problem came in overtime and shootouts.  Los Angeles had a 3-15 record when a game went to overtime.  That was the worst record in the league in that circumstance.  That result is so poor that it must be seen as a fluke.  It isn't sustainable.  In any normal season they would have had several more points in overtime and shootouts.  Under those circumstances the Kings would have made the playoffs.  As a playoff team they had a good chance to make a serious run.  Los Angeles was unlucky to not make the playoffs.  They were a team that could have made a significant run.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

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