by Patrick Hoffman on 02/07/10 at 01:56 PM ET
Millian, the host of “The Blue Line: Hockey Talk Radio”, was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk about the trades that took place in the past week as well another thought on our favorite sport:
PH: What do you make of Kovalchuk landing in Jersey? Does the deal automatically make them Cup contenders?
M: Kovalchuk, IMO, is going to be a rental player, and I feel he is is going to see what the KHL has to offer. Not many teams will be available to offer $101M dollars, so there is definitely more to that story. A lot is going to hinge on what happens in the Olympics as well. One twisted knee and he is out for the remainder of the year, and NJD gave away players for nothing.
I worry about the Devils chances in general simply because of the amount of Olympians they have, including their star goalie, who has been having a rough time lately. With Kovy, they add another Olympian to that equation.
Also, I am not sure how Kovy is going to mesh with Lemaire, both in terms of playing styles and of butting heads. Kovy does not really play defense, nor backcheck, and I dont see Lemaire looking the other way too much. If he butts heads with him, Ilya has no ties to NJ, and therefore, no reason to stay. In the KHL, they will be happy to smooch his rump, and in my estimation, he will command near $20M per year.
PH: Do you think Lou Lamoriello will try and sign Kovy long-term? What is the likelihood of that happening?
M: Not likely. Louie Lam does not throw big contracts around, and never has. Their golden boy Marty B is making $5.2M this season, but has a proven track record. Kovalchuk wants twice that amount, and to date has never won a playoff game. In fact, this trade makes him the highest paid player on the Devils (on paper) over Marty B and Patrik Elias.I don’t see that boding too well in Newark in the future if there is not real production brought to the table.
Also, the window is closing in NJ with Brodeur almost done with his playing career, and a lot of unproven prospects in the pipeline. I think this was a deal they needed to make, to take a few last shots with thier current crew. So, I think they will try and all thing equal, will probably do some damage. I think Lou Lam is a great GM and negotiator, so it’s possible. But if I had to guess, I say Kovy is a rental.
PH: What are your thoughts on the Leafs/Flames deal? Who won in that deal?
M: The Leafs are the winners because they have addressed a key issue with their goalie controversy. You now have a proven winner in net, and a young guy he is mentoring. This takes that distraction away from the team’s core matters. They also add an elite defenseman who can help keep pucks away from said goaltender as well. That is a great building block for the team So, the Leafs still need to address scoring, which is still in the mix as the second trade deadline approaches.
The Flames keep bringing in players who play well with an open offensive playing style. Unfortunately, the Flames don’t play and open offensive playing style. They bring in guys who should fit, hoping that they will, and they never seem to. I don’t think Calgary is done though. They have a glut of wingers now, and I think Sutter will keep dealing. More in store, I think. I also believe that gutting your team in the second half of a season, never looks good on your resume. I am thinking the Sutter days in Calgary may be numbered.
PH: What other thoughts regarding hockey/NHL would you like to share with us?
M: Did I mention that this is the best sport on Earth, and that I hate football? This weekend especially is the most annoying day of the sports year for me, given all of the millions of drunk, football “experts” that I have to listen to on Sunday, and in the many weeks following. But, we as hockey fans, love them anyway. One day, they may see the light and we will be here for them. Thanks to all of your listeners for reading my rantings, and thanks to you as well.
Thanks Paul. You are a blessing to my show.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.