Kukla's Korner

Sunday Morning Trade Chatter

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

- The Leafs are getting plenty of calls on forwards James Van Riemsdyk and Morgan Rielly, but neither of those guys are going anywhere. The talk is if the Leafs don't get up off the mat and back into the playoff race then the rebuild will begin in Hogtown. While many would like to see winger Phil Kessel and captain Dion Phaneuf moved, there may not be much action on the latter. "You're going to have a pretty tough time moving that contract unless you're willing to take back somebody else's problem," an executive said. 

- Buffalo GM Tim Murray is sitting quietly and is still expected to be active before the deadline. The Sabres are being patient with forwards Chris Stewart, Drew Stafford and Torrey Mitchell. Teams remain interested in Stewart -- including the Flames and Bruins.

- Everybody is waiting to see what the Arizona (don't call me Phoenix) Coyotes decide to do at the deadline. They've got pieces they want to move: Centre Antoine Vermette, forward Martin Erat, along with defencemen Zbynek Michalek and, possibly, Keith Yandle, who has one year left on his contract. There's plenty of interest in Vermette so it's almost a certainly he will be moved. The real question is what will they do with captain Shane Doan? He has a "no-move" clause so if GM Don Maloney wanted to entertain the thought of moving the veteran, who has a year left on his contract, he would need permission. The thinking is Doan doesn't want to go anywhere and he'll stay in the desert. That could change next year when he's a few months away from UFA. The Coyotes don't control the deadline though. "There's this thinking that they have teams clamouring for all their players. That's just not the case," said another league executive.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Wrapping Up The Skills Competition

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Ryan Johansen won over the home crowd, Jakub Voracek and Johnny Gaudreau brought the comedy, and Shea Weber left his fellow all-stars in awe of his impressive slap shot Saturday night during the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Nationwide Arena.

Team Foligno, captained by Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno, won the competition by a 25-19 margin against Team Toews, captained by Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews. Though the score will likely be forgotten by Sunday, the highlights from the event will live on for a long time.

"It's been a great atmosphere here," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "It's a nice building with great fans here, and I think it's just been fun. Any time you're around this type of atmosphere, I think it's a special time and something you want to remember and cherish for the rest of your life. As far as the competition, you know, Weber's shot was pretty hard. Nobody shoots it that hard except for him. It's pretty impressive."

Weber, the Nashville Predators captain, dropped many jaws in the building with his 108.5 mph slap shot that won the AMP NHL Hardest Shot competition. He was 0.3 mph shy of tying Zdeno Chara's record shot of 108.8 mph, which the Boston Bruins captain had in the 2012 Skills Competition in Ottawa.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey conquers all

Blog: Above the Glass By Samantha

I've spent the better part of the past two months battling lower body injuries and flu-like illnesses, which can make one feel very old and very sorry for oneself very easily. Through it all, one thing made living on my couch tolerable: hockey, but of course. It saves the day when nothing else - not even modern medicine - will do the trick. It really, truly is the very best and most beautiful game in the world.

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Filed in: | Above the Glass | Permalink

The Latest Salary Cap Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Cap-challenged teams were relieved Saturday to hear from the NHL that the plunging Canadian dollar won’t impact the salary cap as much as many feared.

"It’s not as bad as everyone is predicting," Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said after the Board of Governors meeting. "Some of the stuff we heard from them is more reassuring."

What they heard is what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman later told media at a state of the game news conference: "I assure you, even with the decline in the Canadian dollar, the salary cap does not fall off a cliff. When we gave you the rough estimate/projection in December, the same estimate I gave to the clubs, we were projecting a cap of $73 million, assuming the 5 percent increment under the CBA, based on the Canadian dollar at 88 cents to the US dollar to the rest of the year. At 82 cents, the cap would be $72.2 million and at 80 cents, the cap would be $71.7 million.

"No one can project where it’s going, but the point I’m making is, you are not going to see a dramatic difference. The cap is computed based on currency on a daily basis, it’s averaged over the season. So even with an 80-cent Canadian dollar, still looking at a cap of almost $72 million." 

continue plus LeBrun basically puts a bow on all the news of the day other than the World Cup...

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

Tracking The Goals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from KEvin McGran of the Toronto Star,

When Scotty Bowman watches a hockey game, it’s not like anybody else watching a hockey game.

The legendary coach is a savant when it comes to breaking down plays, habits and tendencies. Tell him more goals are scored off rebounds than any other kind of play and he already knows why.

“That’s because they made big changes in the game,” says Bowman. “Defencemen used to be big, strong guys who could take people out in front of the net. They eliminated all the interference. They give out penalties for roughing and cross-checking. And they made the end zone bigger. They made it 64 feet (in 2005-06). I’m not a big proponent of that. That’s why players stand in front of the net blocking shots. The wingers used to be out at the point, but now it’s too far.

“Now they’re down below the circle blocking shots because that’s the scoring area. That means you don’t get as many counter-attacks. They want to protect the house.”

The Star analyzed data from every game sheet so far this season to track what happened just before each of the 3,710 goals scored.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Sky May Be The Limit For Aaron Ekblad

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Dale Tallon cannot tell a lie. He knew Aaron Ekblad was good, just not this good.

The 18-year-old Ekblad, youngest player in the NHL, might be Drew Doughty good, although with a bigger chassis at 225 pounds. Not Doughty good today, of course, but let’s see in a year or two. Tallon, once a junior defenceman like Ekblad, who went second overall in 1970 to centre Gil Perreault, walks around with a perma-smile in Florida. The No. 1 pick last June could be the NHL’s best rookie because he plays the toughest position, plus he’s the baby of the Calder litter, but Filip Forsberg, the Nashville right-winger, who may get 65 points, is more visible on stats sheets.

That said, Ekblad is something else, and, to this day, Tallon, the Panthers’ GM, is very grateful he resisted the urge to fill several holes on his club to move back a few spots with a big draft-day trade last June.

“He’s been phenomenal,” said Tallon.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: aaron+ekblad

The First Steps For The World Cup Of Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

This is just the beginning. When the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association stage the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto – featuring the Big Six nations, plus a team of other Europeans and one of 23-and-under North Americans, unfortunately – it will be the first step in what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called their “joint vision for international hockey.”

“The aspiration,” said John Collins, the NHL’s chief operating officer, “is to build a global brand and a global business.”

The NHL and the NHLPA announced the World Cup on Saturday at the All-Star Game. But they are working on a Ryder Cup concept – say, a best-of-5 series between North American and European NHL stars in a city like London or Berlin in 2018. They’re researching expanding eligibility requirements so NHL players who can’t make their national teams can represent other nations where they have roots – say, England or Italy. They hope to hold a qualifying tournament in 2019 to fill out the 2020 World Cup, so they don’t need teams of other Europeans and 23-and-under North Americans and the World Cup can become a pure nation-on-nation tournament.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Philadelphia Flyers Have A Big Hole To Climb Out Of

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

His style is to lead by his relentless style on the ice. Giroux's teammates haven't followed the example enough. There have been too many listless periods, too many breakdowns on the penalty kill, too many nights where they fall behind early and are chasing the game.

"I'm not the only one frustrated. I think everyone in the room is frustrated," said Giroux, who will play in his third All-Star Game on Sunday. "Instead of me going in and yelling at everybody, I think it's important we stick together and we do this together. We can't be blaming and pointing fingers. I think it's important we stick together, and if we do this, we're going to get out of this hole."

The hole is deep. At the all-star break, the Flyers are 12 points out of a playoff spot and need to hop over four teams to get the final berth. Impossible, no. Highly improbable, yes.

The Flyers need a staggering 49 points in their remaining 34 games (say, 22-7-5) to finish with the same amount of points as last season - 94 - likely enough to qualify for the playoffs.

Now that would be a Miracle on Ice.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Flyers Struggle

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The Philadelphia Flyers have been one of the most interesting teams in the NHL.  They haven't done very well so far this season.  They have a 19-29 record with 7 regulation tie points.  That gives them 45 points and leaves then 12 points back of a playoff berth.  This has been done despite some significant individual performances.  Jakub Voracek leads the NHL with 56 points.  Claude Giroux has 51 points and is fifth in scoring in league.  On defence, Mark Streit has 34 points and is fourth in scoring among defencemen.  Any team with as many high scorers is unlikely to be doing as poorly as the Flyers.  What is wrong in Philadelphia?

One problem is that there isn't a significant scorer beyond the top three of Voracek, Giroux and Streit.  The Flyers have no other players with as many as 30 points at all star break.  They only have three more above 20 points (Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier).  The Flyers have a very limited group of players who can score.  They are even worse defensively.  There is no top flight shutdown defenceman in Philadelphia.  Nick Schultz is the player who best qualifies and he is well below star level.  Mark Streit, Michael Del Zotto and Andrew MacDonald lead their defence in ice time per game and none are too defensively sound.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Charlie Jacobs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“What are we, 6-1-3 in our last 10 games? I feel we’re certainly trending better. We’ll still have the odd game where we seem a bit uninspired, but I guess you’re going to have that in an 82-game schedule. Having said that all of that, the stuff that we’ve done with the better play has gotten us to eighth place.

“Do I feel better about it that we’re in a playoff spot? Yes. Do I wish we were in a better position than we are? Absolutely. Again, I’ll repeat that for this team to be even remotely close to missing the playoffs isn’t something we can be happy about. I would hope that this solid continues for the next 10, the next 20 and for the rest of the season, frankly. We’re at where we’re at, we’ve dug ourselves a hole and we’re starting to get ourselves out of it. But until we have a nice playoff run, the jury is going to have to be out on this group.”

-Charlie Jacobs, CEO of the Boston Bruins.  More from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlie+jacobs

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