Kukla's Korner

A Look At 3ICE

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sean Shapiro of The Athletic,

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kevin Fitzgerald remembers the pitch vividly.

Come play three-on-three hockey in an upstart league, all costs will be covered traveling across the United States and Canada, and you’ll get paid to do it.

“It sounded too good to be true,” Fitzgerald said. “I thought there was no way this was legit.”

Three weeks into 3ICE, the 25-year-old forward has close to $18,000 in his bank account, proving the pitch was, indeed, legit.

“I’m a guy right out of college, so after the first week that was the largest deposit I’ve ever had go into my bank account,” Fitzgerald said.

A nine-stop summer touring circuit, 3ICE is many things, but most importantly it’s a potentially life-changing financial event for the 42 players spread across six teams.

continued ($$$)

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Wings Have Money To Make Moves, Will They?

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

The Los Angeles Kings had extra cap space because Dustin Brown retired. They made a deal to land Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild. The Nashville Predators owned more than $20 million in cap space and used some of it to land veteran defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Will the Detroit Red Wings make the next big trade?

The Red Wings, according to CapFriendly.com, presently own more than $35, 771,111 million in salary cap space. Only GM Pat Verbeek’s Anaheim Ducks have more. They are in a position to do what the Kings and Predators did.

A handful of teams, including the Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs, are looking to move a player or two to create cap space for their team.

The Red Wings also are in a favorable salary cap position to bid on top free agents. However, free agents won’t be lining up to come to a team that has missed the playoffs six consecutive season.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Mike Grier Will Be Named GM Today For The San Jose Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sportsnet,

The San Jose Sharks will announce Mike Grier as their new general manager on Tuesday, Sportsnet can confirm. It is believed he will be the first Black man in NHL history to hold the position.

Grier, 47, played 14 seasons in the NHL beginning in 1996, three of them with the Sharks. His last season was with the Buffalo Sabres and he retired from playing in 2011.

Grier replaces interim GM Mike Will, who took over when Doug Wilson stepped away in November of 2021 for medical reasons. Wilson had held the position for 19 years and resigned in April.

The Detroit-born, but Massachusetts-raised Grier has held various non-playing positions since retiring. He spent two seasons behind the bench as an assistant with the New Jersey Devils from 2018 to 2020. A year ago, he was hired as an adviser to hockey operations for the New York Rangers. He has also served as a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks between 2014 and 2018.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Playoffs Is The Goal For Rick Bowness

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun,

Newly-minted Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness sees a good hockey club, one he believes he’ll lead back to the promised land.

Speaking to the media for the first time since he was officially announced as the third head coach of the Jets 2.0 era in Winnipeg, Bowness acknowledged Winnipeg’s shortcomings last season and pledged to be the man to help navigate them back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“For whatever reason (the team) lost its way last year,” said Bowness, seated beside general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff at Canada Life Centre on Monday. “Myself, my coaching staff when we get it all together, we’re going to work very closely with ownership, with management, everyone associated with this organization, and we’re going to get it back on the right track and get this team back into the playoffs.”

To do so, Bowness, who coached the Dallas Stars for the past three seasons, leading them to the Stanley Cup final in 2020 before stepping down after in May, will have to unite a fractured group. The 67-year-old is aware of some of the problems that plagued the Jets during their miserable 2021-22 season, something he and Cheveldayoff covered during the courting process.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Only The Best Today

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Top Connor McDavid plays from the past season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Ten Years Ago The Minnesota Wild Made A Splash

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune,

Parise and Suter were the top free agents in an offseason that contained few stars. There were headlines on the pursuit of Parise, son of J.P., a North Stars legend, then head of the Shattuck Academy hockey program in Faribault. Suter seemed destined to stay in Nashville.

And then, on July 4, always Minnesota's favorite holiday, even on a Wednesday as it was this time … laziness, friends, family, shooing flies from the potato salad, maybe a ballgame on the radio with that new guy, Cory Provus, joining Dan Gladden.

It wasn't a day for ice-shattering sports news, but then came the reports before noon: The Wild had reached deals with Suter and Parise for the same money ($98 million) and length (13 years).

Minnesota went nuts. Even Ron Gardenhire and Joe Mauer were celebrating with the Twins in Detroit. They had done videos at the behest of the Wild, telling Suter and Parise they would "look great in green."

Revised history has it that the 13-year contracts were a burden. Actually, the length was a benefit to the Wild to spread out the dollars.

Revised history also says the Parise/Suter signings were a failure because the promise of a Stanley Cup run was never met. There was no such promise. The signings were done to compete again and prevent echoes in the X.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

It’s The 4th Of July

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The grill is cleaned and ready to go.  

It's going to be a simple day here at the KK compound.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, asparagus and corn on the cob going on the grill around 4pm.

What are your plans to celebrate?

Please be safe around the fireworks.  I am talking from experience, as a kid I had a full pack of 'black cats' explode in my packet.

3rd degree burns, spent my whole summer on the couch and I still have the scar to prove it.

Enjoy our day/

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Lot To Talk About

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of The Daily Faceoff,

Maybe all off-seasons are wacky, but to us it just seems what lies ahead for the 32 clubs, with the draft Thursday and Friday and then free agency set for July 13 less than a week later, is more super-charged this summer than in the past.

So, yes, we’ve got stuff to get off our chest.

So, where were we?

Julien BriseBois is The Man. Full stop.
Was there ever any worry that BriseBois would find a way to free up enough cap space to (likely) return Ondrej Palat to the Lightning fold? By peddling veteran defenseman Ryan McDonagh to Nashville, the Lightning have cleared more than $4 million in cap space and could clear more if they end up buying out Philippe Myers, who came in Sunday’s big deal, although that doesn’t sound like it’s part of the plan...

Preds don’t get younger but get serious
I have to admit I didn’t like McDonagh’s playoff performance too much. But any drop-off in play – and there was a drop-off – has to be weighted against the fact McDonagh was playing through injury. If he can get back to the level we saw him play at in 2020 and 2021 when he helped Tampa to back-to-back Stanley Cups,...

many more...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

They Could Move

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Ahead of the opening round of the NHL Draft on Thursday and free agency on July 13, TSN.ca keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.

It appears pending unrestricted free agent Ilya Mikheyev won't come cheap to his next team on the free agent market.

While the Toronto Maple Leafs have informed teams they're open to trading the winger's rights, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports Mikheyev will be looking for a multi-year deal carrying an an average annual value of $4.75 million to $5.5 million on the open market....

- Jakob Chychrun's name has been on the trade market dating back to the deadline in March, but as the off-season heats up ahead of the draft, it appears the defenceman is likely to remain with the Arizona Coyotes.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong told Craig Morgan of PHNX Sports on Friday that, while the door is never closed on a trade, he expects Chrychrun to be back in the desert next season....

- While the Winnipeg Jets checked one box off their off-season to-do list in hiring Rick Bowness as head coach over the weekend, plenty remains on the table for the team this summer.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported on Insider Trading that captain Blake Wheeler is available on the trade market, while the team is also expected to get calls on Pierre-Luc Dubois as he seeks to hit unrestricted free agency in 2024.

- It appears Nikita Zaitsev may have played his final game with the Ottawa Senators. 

Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia writes that, while Zaitsev remains a serviceable defenceman, he no longer fits with the Senators....

more on all of the above at TSN...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Waiting On The Core In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damein Cox at the Toronto Star,

Nathan MacKinnon is now 26 years old, and was drafted in 2013. Victor Hedman, the unusually talented big man who dominates the Tampa Bay defence, was drafted in 2009 and was 29 years old when the Lightning captured the “summer bubble” title in 2020. The Leafs obviously are hoping that Mitch Marner (now 25, drafted in 2015) and Auston Matthews (24, drafted in 2016) are getting to the same point in their careers as those players, but there’s no guarantee.

Instead, showing that not all seven-game, first-round playoff losses are created equal, this off-season seems mostly about the Leafs not necessarily improving themselves, but making sure they don’t get worse.

Not exactly exciting, right? But in a salary cap league in which big trades involving star players are mostly a thing of the past, that’s the way it is for most teams.

You can always hope another club makes a big mistake that benefits your team. Colorado certainly feels that way about how they acquired Nazem Kadri from Toronto. Tampa still can’t believe it got Mikhail Sergachev from Montreal for Jonathan Drouin. Or you can hope that money and/or cap woes motivate teams to dump good talent, like Minnesota recently did with Kevin Fiala. Arizona is apparently trying to get its payroll as low as it can go as it prepares to further embarrass the NHL by playing out of a 5,000-seat arena, so maybe some team will land talented defenceman Jakob Chychrun for some combination of prospects and picks.

Teams in Toronto’s division are making moves. Boston hired Jim Montgomery to coach, and Detroit did the same with Derek Lalonde. Montreal, with the first pick in the draft, will get a big-name prospect this week, and Ottawa will continue to try to chart its future in the post-Eugene Melnyk era.

The Leafs, meanwhile, have bumped Jason Spezza from the fourth line to the front office, signed Mark Giordano and Timothy Liljegren to very affordable contracts and fired their goaltending coach. Ilya Mikheyev has apparently been deemed unaffordable, and there’s some concern Rasmus Sandin could be an offer-sheet target.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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