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Goal Line Report

Looking for Fans Reactions To a Few Questions I have

Good morning folks. The dog days of summer really are here and as such, I want to help keep hockey on your minds.

As such, I would like to get your thoughts on the following questions:

- Will Kovalchuk still end up being a New Jersey Devil? Why or why not?

- Was the NHL right to reject the Kovalchuk contract? Why or why not?

- Does this whole Kovalchuk saga prove that the league could be headed for a lockout in the next few seasons? Why or why not?

- How will the Chicago Blackhawks be next season after losing several key players due to salary cap problems? Why?

- Where will UFA goaltender Marty Turco end up signing? Why? How about UFA netminder Jose Theodore?

- With the moves that new Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has made, are they a playoff hockey team at the end of the season? Why or why not?

- If you’re the Philadelphia Flyers, do you really want Michael Leighton to be your starting goaltender? Why or why not?

- So far, which team do you think has improved the most during the off-season? Why?

- So far, which team do you think has taken a few steps backwards this off-season?

- Do you folks expect any more big moves/signings? If so, which teams/players will be involved?

I want to get your thoughts folks!

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, illya+kovalchuk, jose+theodore, marty+turco, michael+leighton, new+jersey+devils, nhl, philadelphia+flyers, steve+yzerman, tampa+bay+lightning

Comments

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Kovalchuk should end up still being a Devil because the NHL was wrong to reject his contract without there being specific wording in the CBA allowing them to do so. Rather, specific wording that lays out what the contract did wrong, other than following pre-set rules and precedents that had been legal.

The league won’t lockout or strike.  Everybody knows there’s too much at stake and too many teams can’t survive the backlash that would follow another stoppage. This is a hint that the NHLPA needs to get their shit together.

The Blackhawks will be a middling playoff team.  A conference finals berth should be considered a success.  They still have a very good defense and will have two good scoring lines, but depth will hurt them.

Turco and Theodore - no idea.  LA maybe?

The Lightning make a strong run for the playoffs and ultimately end up the 8th seed. Yzerman’s plan is multi-year.

As the Flyers, no on Leighton.  He was outplayed by a guy with a sub-.900 save percentage in the cup finals.  He can’t get it done.

The Lightning have improved the most, followed closely by the Thrashers.  No big splashes, but a lot of little ones in the right direction.  Hopefully the Southeast won’t continue to be as big a joke as it has been in years past. 

Chicago has definitely gotten worse the most.  Their cap situation required it.  The Sharks are also a team that have yet to really fill the gaps left by Nabokov and Blake.

Probably no more big moves, unless you count Huet to the minors.  No more big signings either.  Kovalchuk already signed a valid contract and I hope that it stays that way.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/23/10 at 11:06 AM ET

Ajax19's avatar

Will Kovalchuk still end up being a New Jersey Devil? Why or why not?

Yes.  They may have to modify the deal a bit, but Lou Lamarello will get it done.  The deal is not that different than the Hossa deal or a few others.  This is was just a shot across the bow.

- Was the NHL right to reject the Kovalchuk contract? Why or why not?

Right or wrong, they have the right to under the CBA.  I think it’s fine what they did.  It’s more about how it’s resolved.

- Does this whole Kovalchuk saga prove that the league could be headed for a lockout in the next few seasons? Why or why not?

No.  I do not believe there will be another lockout.  I don’t think the issues run anywhere near as deep as they did back in 2005. 

- How will the Chicago Blackhawks be next season after losing several key players due to salary cap problems? Why?

The Blackhawks will still be one of the top teams in the west and NHL.  Their core is still young and getting better.  They have definitely lost some depth and will likely deal with a bit of a Cup Hangover, but I don’t think any other team has really improved all that much.  Does Nittemayki make San Jose better?  Vancouver made a few nice moves with Hamhuis and Malholtra, but do those moves put them over the top?  Goaltending will be the big question in Chicago if they don’t end up getting Niemi under contract.


- Where will UFA goaltender Marty Turco end up signing? Why? How about UFA netminder Jose Theodore?

Speaking of goaltending, if Niemi wins his arbitration award, I could see Turco ending up in Chicago.  I am not sure about Theodore.  I don’t see him having much value as a starter right now.

- With the moves that new Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has made, are they a playoff hockey team at the end of the season? Why or why not?

- If you’re the Philadelphia Flyers, do you really want Michael Leighton to be your starting goaltender? Why or why not?

I am not, but I think he earned at least a shot.  And while he might need the answer, the Flyers don’t have the cap space for a major upgrade.

- So far, which team do you think has improved the most during the off-season? Why?

As I mentioned before…  No one really.  I see a lot of lateral moves.  I don’t think any team really got that much stronger.  I know people love what Vancouver did.  I like Hamhuis and Malholtra is good for what he is, but I think they over spent on Manny.  If Halak can be the goalie he was, I think St. Louis did well to solidify that position.


- So far, which team do you think has taken a few steps backwards this off-season?

Well, the Blackhawks, obviously, but not significant steps.

- Do you folks expect any more big moves/signings? If so, which teams/players will be involved?

Nothing big.  The teams that have money are up against the cap and the teams that have the cap space don’t have the money.

Posted by Ajax19 on 07/23/10 at 11:23 AM ET

Paul From Cali's avatar

- Will Kovalchuk still end up being a New Jersey Devil? Why or why not?
Kovalchuk will still be a Devil, but they’ll have to tweak the contract a bit to get it done.  He’ll get his $100M but they’ll probably have to knock some years off the end.

- Was the NHL right to reject the Kovalchuk contract? Why or why not?
The NHL was absolutely right to reject the contract.  Everyone outside of New Jersey knew it was an absurd deal.  You can’t just give a guy unlimited years on the back end at no money just to help spread out the cap hit.  Other teams could have given him his $100M over 20 or 25 years but they wouldn’t have been legit contracts.  There has to be some place to draw the line.

- Does this whole Kovalchuk saga prove that the league could be headed for a lockout in the next few seasons? Why or why not?
It seems like every major sport is heading for some sort of labor strife in the next 3 or 4 years.  All indications are that the NHL is certainly positioning itself for another lockout by challenging the contract.  It wasn’t so much about that contract as it was about telling the NHLPA that the loophole that allows these crazy deals must be closed.  The NHLPA isn’t going to give in to that issue, or others, so easily.  I believe another lockout is coming, but I pray it’s a very short one this time.

- How will the Chicago Blackhawks be next season after losing several key players due to salary cap problems? Why?
Chicago will struggle to make the playoffs.  If they do it’ll be as the 7th or 8th seed.  You can’t move half your team and expect to contend again.

- Where will UFA goaltender Marty Turco end up signing? Why? How about UFA netminder Jose Theodore?
Turco will end up in Europe or Russia if he plays at all.  His NHL career is over.  Theodore might land a starting job with someone in the NHL if there is a team that can afford him.  Philly would be the most likely place, but I’m not sure if it’ll get done or not.  If not he’ll go to Europe or the KHL as well, or he’ll just sit out a year.  I can’t see him accepting a backup role in the NHL.

- With the moves that new Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has made, are they a playoff hockey team at the end of the season? Why or why not?
Another typical offseason for Tampa Bay.  They fluff the pillows and make everything look bright, but in the end they still don’t have a team that can contend for a playoff spot.  10th in the eastern conference at best.

- If you’re the Philadelphia Flyers, do you really want Michael Leighton to be your starting goaltender? Why or why not?
Philly needs a starting goalie and it’s not Leighton.  But they’ve needed a starting goalie for what?  15 years?

- So far, which team do you think has improved the most during the off-season? Why?
I’m not sure anyone really has improved.  It was a weak free agent class.  I guess if I had to pick a team it would be Vancouver.  Edmonton if you’re asking about through the draft.

- So far, which team do you think has taken a few steps backwards this off-season?
Clearly Chicago has lost quite a few key pieces.

- Do you folks expect any more big moves/signings? If so, which teams/players will be involved?
After all this mess the Kings HAVE to do something.  I look for Dean Lombardi to make a couple of deals in the next few weeks.  If he doesn’t he’ll be looking for a job next summer.

Posted by Paul From Cali on 07/23/10 at 11:56 AM ET

Avatar

I wonder if the whole Kovalchuk contract dispute coming up now—instead of letting this issue of “lifetime contracts” fester until the labor negotiations begin—will actually be beneficial.  It’s like the league and the P.A. have to get the dialogue started earlier than they would otherwise (even if that dialogue is just a bunch of yelling and screaming and catty comments thrown across the media).

With that said, I agree with JJ’s comment above—I don’t see a lockout happening.  There’s too much to lose.  Another lockout would be the point of no return, even for many serious fans of the sport.

Posted by nosferatu from Albany, NY on 07/23/10 at 02:09 PM ET

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About Goal Line Report

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 patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.