Kukla's Korner

Harding Wants To Be A #1 Goalie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,

Josh Harding knows he might not be long for the Wild with starting goalie Niklas Backstrom signed for four more years. And as much as Harding loves Minnesota, he would be perfectly OK with being traded.

“I want to be a No. 1,” said the 25-year-old backup goalie. “You ask anybody that, they want to be a No. 1. I love Minnesota. I love it there. It’s a great organization. That’s why it’s kind of a win-win situation.

“If some team has trust in me that maybe I could be a No.1 goaltender, it would be great for me and my career. I’m behind Backy. Backy was probably one of the top two, three goalies in the league last year. It’s tough to crack that. I think I played well this season and hopefully people recognize that, whether it’s Minnesota or another team.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: josh+harding

All Quiet In Tampa

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,

Where has all the Vinny Lecavalier chatter gone?

It seems only recently Lecavlier’s name was all the rage in trade rumor circuits, with the Lightning captain’s new 11-year, $85 million contract extension, which includes a no-movement clause, to begin on July 1.

But as the NHL draft approaches Friday and Saturday, the volume has been turned down to a low murmur on message boards and Web sites in regard to Lecavalier’s situation. Even Lightning general manager Brian Lawton’s phone has not been ringing out of its holster.

“It’s been reasonably quiet around here,” Lawton said of trade talk from his Tampa office on Friday. “We’ve had some calls, but nothing I would consider serious.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bouwmeester Not Oilers #1 Target

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Will the Edmonton Oilers make a play to sign Florida Panthers defenceman Jay Bouwmeester or trade for his negotiating rights just before the free-agent market opens on July 1? Sources say the Oilers would rather, for now, spend the $6 million US or so a year it would take to sign the 25-year-old unrestricted free agent on somebody to play with winger Ales Hemsky on their No. 1 line.

The Oilers like the Edmonton product, who will likely be on Canada’s 2010 Olympic team, maybe as a shutdown-type defenceman. But they see other bigger holes on their club. They’re crying out for a goal-scorer.

Edmonton would also have to move a blue-liner to bring Bouwmeester in and they aren’t prepared to do that.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jay+bouwmeester

Hockey Observations On A Sunday Morning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

• Hey, how would you like the promotional bump the NHL received from its network television partner NBC after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup?

Slap Shots has been told by a source who essentially always gets it right that NBC refused the league’s request to have Sidney Crosby appear with the Cup on the “Today” show in New York.

At the same time, we were also told that Crosby, apparently not wanting to miss Mario Lemieux’s pool party, declined an invitation to travel to L.A. to be a guest on “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien.”

• Daniel and Henrik Sedin aren’t going to get the lifetime achievement awards they’re shooting for in Vancouver, and as such appear headed to the market.

• The Rangers, by the way, have made no effort to re-sign Colton Orr, who will have no trouble at all scoring a multi-year deal within hours of the opening of the market. We’re told Florida is keenly interested in the heavyweight.

more including Heatley destinations…

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

Here Comes The Blues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Red Wings remain an elite, powerful and wonderfully skilled unit, and a 20-point gap is formidable, but the Blues have been drawing closer. The chase has been fascinating to watch. Not too long ago, the Blues were the worst team in hockey. Now they’re one of the league’s fastest-rising franchises. The Note returned to the playoffs this past season, and their future holds considerable promise.

And age is creeping onto the Detroit roster. The list of key Red Wings players in the mid-30s or older includes Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper, Mikael Samuelsson and Chris Osgood.

Moreover, the Red Wings are experiencing a salary-cap squeeze. Barring trades, they’ll have less than $5 million to dispense in dealings with unrestricted free agents Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky and Mikael Samuelsson. And the Wings have two restricted free agents in Jiri Hudler and Ville Leino.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sunday Hockey Bits

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• The same people who think hockey can survive in Phoenix were the ones who thought an NHL awards show in Las Vegas was a good idea.

• Only in Gary Bettman’s NHL can a team without an owner, Phoenix, make a trade with a team that doesn’t have a general manager, Florida.

• Expect Mike Babcock to be named Canada’s Olympic coach on Thursday, and don’t be surprised if Lindy Ruff, Ken Hitchcock and Claude Julien are part of the coaching package.

• I see where Mike Gillis, who often fudged the truth about his professional relationship with disgraced agent David Frost, wants to build the Vancouver Canucks on the values of character and integrity. If that’s the case, maybe he should start by resigning.

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

Montreal Canadiens Potentially Sold

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The Montreal Canadiens have an agreement in principle to sell the team.  Current owner George Gillett bought the Habs and the Bell Centre (then called the Molson Centre) for $185 million US.  Over the past year he has looked at his world wide holdings in an effort to adapt to the current economic downturn and decided to sell some assets including the Montreal Canadiens.  An agreement in principle exists for Geoff, Andrew and Justin Molson to buy the team.  Exact details have not been released, but it is expected that the Molsons could pay as much as $550 million.  NHL approval for the sale may not come until August.

This sale and its price clearly show that there are “two NHLs”.  There are high valued franchises in good markets with rapidly escalating values.  These teams have no problem with payroll and could easily afford to pay well above the salary cap were it allowed.

There is also an NHL of teams like the Phoenix Coyotes.  These teams are struggling financially.  In Phoenix’s case, it isn’t clear that anyone wants to keep them in their current market.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Changing The Sabres

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Bucky Gleason and John Vogl both of the Buffalo News play GM (Gleason) & coach (Vogl) for a day.

from Gleason,

In addition to Afinogenov and Hecht, Numminen, Peters, Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman are gone. All are either dead weight or will become unrestricted free agents in the next 13 months. They’re expendable for a team that’s two or three years away.

Plus, I need to make room for Jay Bouwmeester, the premier defenseman in the free-agent market. He’s a difference-maker the Sabres have needed and an upgrade over since-departed Brian Campbell. He would immediately stabilize the blue line, help tutor promising rookie Tyler Myers.

more

from Vogl,

Of all the sentences from the Buffalo Sabres during the past two playoff-free seasons, three stick out.

“We came out flat. The effort wasn’t there. We just weren’t ready to play.”

That’s going to stop. The first-period sleepwalk (which occasionally carries into the third) is going to end. The best part is, this Coach for a Day doesn’t need new personnel to do it. The answer is already sitting in the dressing room. So, I present to you the Sabres’ starting lineup each and every night, three guys about whom those quotes never apply:

Paul Gaustad at center, Patrick Kaleta at right wing and Adam Mair at left wing.

read on

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

How About Heatley To The Wild?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,

(Bryan) Murray, who is extremely close with Fletcher after mentoring him with Florida and Anaheim, said Heatley has given him a list of teams. But if he works out a better deal with another team, Heatley will be pressured to make it work or he will remain in Ottawa.

Asked if he could add an expensive player such as Heatley or Vincent Lecavalier, Fletcher said: “I won’t talk specific names, but I think we could. But we’d have a lot of $500,000 players in key spots unless you could move another salary and create room that way. So there’s ways to do anything. But the higher the number gets, the less flexibility you have to fill other holes.”

And Fletcher said he believes the Wild must add a center, winger and as many as three defensemen via trade or free agency.

You can bet if Fletcher had the choice between re-signing Gaborik and trading for Heatley, he would choose Gaborik simply because it means not giving up assets.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley

Setting A Drug Testing Standard

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Both Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside have been filing numerous stories out of Las Vegas the last few days.

I wonder if they can figure out a way to stay there while covering the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal?

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

It is rare for a professional sports league to have the opportunity to get out in front of scandal, to be able to insulate itself against the most damaging kinds of publicity and blows to its integrity.

Yet, that is exactly the enviable position in which the NHL and its players find themselves.

Now all the players have to do is to have the courage to ante up and embrace not just a more stringent drug testing policy, but also the most comprehensive in pro sports.

continued

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

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