Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Cox, Friedman dish NCAA-to-CHL rumors, diving chatter, trade talk and more

12/21/2014 at 12:16am EST

This Saturday, Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman got six minutes' worth of time to discuss hockey headlines, and they stated that:

  • Boston University forward and top 2015 draft prospect Jack Eichel may or may not bolt from NCAA hockey to join a Canadian Hockey League team, with the Saint John Sea Dogs owning his rights. Cox points out that Charlie Coyle, Adam Tambellini and Sonny Milano have all committed to NCAA teams and then joined CHL teams instead, so it is possible that Eichel may be on the move after he plays for Team USA at the World Junior Championships--and BC goalie Thatcher Demko might also exit stage CHL;
  • Friedman states that one of Eichel's teammates, 6'5" goaltender Matt O'Connor, has been courted by the Leafs and Oilers, and Colgate University forward Kyle Baun, who took part in the Wings' develompent camp last summer, is the other marquee NCAA-playing unrestricted free agent-to-be at present;
  • Cox states the NHL's Hockey Operations department has a 9-person panel that reviews "embellishment" plays every Monday, and if 6 of the 9 people vote that you've dived twice, you get a fine, a la Nashville Predators forward James Neal and his $2,000 fine. Cox says that 22 players have been warned about diving once already by the NHL;
  • According to Friedman:
  1. Mike Fisher wants to talk contract extension turkey with the Nashville Predators sooner than later;
  2. Flyers GM Ron Hextall does not believe that Steve Mason's injury will be particularly severe, and defenseman Kimmo Timonen will have a doctor's appointment next month that may or may not clear him to play as he recovers from a blood clot (possible but not probable?);
  • Cox stated that Dallas Eakins may rejoin the Toronto Maple Leafs' organization despite having 2 years at a slightly-sub-$1 million salary. Eakins used to coach the Toronto Marlies and worked in player personnel, as well as an assistant coach;
  • On the trade front, during the trade freeze, Friedman says that Doug Armstrong stated that the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues aren't talking trade turkey about T.J. Oshie--at least on Boston's end--because the Bruins have cap issues and have to re-sign RFA's Reilly Smith, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug;
  • Cox states that among the NHL's plans to expand the AHL's western front, the Edmonton Oilers might want to use their ECHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, to replace the Oklahoma City Barons, and the Calgary Flames are close to buying the Stockton Thunder to replace the Adirondack Flames, with the ECHL teams leaving the league to join the AHL;
  • Friedman reports that new KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko may attempt to speak with the NHL regarding a player transfer agreement, which does not exist presently, but the NHL wants an IIHF-style transfer agreement where there's a per-player sum capped at several hundred thousand dollars, and I can tell you that for over a decade, the executives running both the KHL its precursor, the Russian Superleague, have insisted that one of the league's main goals is to establish a soccer-style per-player transfer agreement in which teams could make an unlimited amount if, say, the next Alexander Ovechkin comes out of Salavat Yulaev's developmental hockey system in Ufa, Tatarstan.
  • According to Cox, referee Eric Furlatt and linesman Steve Miller battled mumps viruses but are OK now;
  • And Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis' "lower-body injury" now includes skating but guarded projections regarding his playing future.

Also of note, per Sportsnet's Emily Sadler:

In an effort to eliminate diving from hockey, the league revised its protocol when it comes to punishment. As per the recently revised rule, players will receive a warning along with a $1,000 fine for their first diving offence. Any further cases will be met with a $2,000 fine as well as the player’s name being released.

According to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox, there are 22 players that have been warned once for diving this season, and are therefore at risk of being publicly identified pending a second incident.

One name now circulating is Evgeni Malkin. Malkin was penalized twice for diving during the Penguins’ game against the Florida Panthers Saturday night.

Update: Rory Boylen annotated the Eakins part:

“Don’t be surprised if he ends up back in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization,” Cox said. “He has held a number of jobs, including being head coach of their AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies. This season, the Marlies are not having as strong a season as they’ve had in recent years. Gord Dineen, formerly Eakins’ assistant when they were both with the Marlies is now the head coach of that team. But Eakins as I said has done a number of things for the Leafs organization including player personnel and assistant coach.”

Eakins served as an assistant coach for the Maple Leafs from 2006 until 2008 and became head coach of the AHL Marlies in 2009. Under Eakins’ watch, the Marlies became a contender, reaching the Calder Cup final in 2012, where they were swept by the Norfolk Admirals.

Currently, the Marlies hold a 10-15-3 record and sit fourth in the five-team North Division.

Eakins appeared on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Prime Time Sports earlier this week and was asked about his future plans. While he said he’d take the holidays to catch up and reconnect with his family, he’d like to get back into the game sooner rather than later.

“My better half, she knows how I am. After probably two weeks of reconnecting and settling down and really being able to take stock of what’s gone on, I’ll be ready to roll to do something. And we’ll see what that is.”

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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