Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Philly News,
“Oh my God, the pressure, the pressure,” Holmgren said, keeping the subject of what the Flyers will do this weekend as light as possible. It’s only the linchpin to the upcoming season, after all.
“We’re going to be aggressive,” he said. “We’ll be on the phone.”...
Another player whose future is uncertain is defenseman Joni Pitkanen. The Flyers have opted to take him to arbitration, but are quietly making him available in a trade.
Holmgren said there haven’t been offers and added that rumors of a deal among Edmonton, Carolina and the Flyers are not accurate.
“I really don’t know where that is coming from,” he said. “There is absolutely nothing to that one.”
from the National Post,
Gary Bettman, for all our jeers, is no fool. We all loathe him for giving up on Winnipeg and Quebec City, but he fought like a mother bear to protect the six remaining Canadian franchises, bending league rules to permit Edmonton and Calgary to adopt distributed-ownership structures….
In expecting him to give up on the growth of the game in the U.S. and start repatriating NHL franchises to Canada willy-nilly, we’re asking him to abandon a plan that has worked out just fine by the only measure that matters to him—the owners’ bottom line. Even after deliberately turning down the high bid for his asset, Leipold is likely to end up earning about 9% per year in nominal dollars on his original US$80-million investment in the Predators. That’s what we call a satisfied customer.
added 8:45am, from the National Post,
The National Hockey League was prepared to deliver a team to William (Boots) Del Biaggio and Kansas City’s Sprint Center as part of a plan to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh, sources told the National Post yesterday.
Sources said the league, which didn’t want to lose a value market in Pittsburgh, asked the Kansas City investors to back off their chase of the Penguins while indicating to the group it would be next in line for an NHL franchise.
from the Denver Post,
The last big unrestricted free-agent signings by the Avs came in 2003, when they signed Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne. Kariya and Selanne, as of Thursday, were prospective free agents again, but the Avs aren’t expected to make a bid.
More likely to interest Giguere are other top-line forwards - including Drury, Forsberg, Daniel Briere and Ryan Smyth. Forsberg underwent surgery on his troublesome right ankle in Sweden on Thursday, but his agent, Don Baizley, characterized the surgery as minor.
Giguere is likely to be high on Drury and Smyth, but will face stiff competition. A free-agent defenseman also is likely to interest the second-year Avs general manager. Giguere has spoken frequently about his belief in a strong defense, and the team already has said it will not offer a contract to its free-agent defenseman, Patrice Brisebois.
from the Edmonton Sun,
Former Oilers defenceman Dick Tarnstrom might become current Oilers defenceman Dick Tarnstrom on July 1.
The 32-year-old blueliner, who spent last season in Europe, is coming back to the NHL.
He has apparently narrowed his list of potential employers to Edmonton and another club and will be making a decision shortly after the start of the free agent frenzy Sunday afternoon.
from the Calgary Sun,
The Flames still have a handful of pending UFAs, notably defencemen Brad Stuart and Roman Hamrlik, as well as forwards Tony Amonte, Jeff Friesen, Darren McCarty, Byron Ritchie and goaltender Jamie McLennan.
It’s unlikely any of them will sign by Sunday’s deadline.
Sutter wouldn’t discuss negotiations with any of his players but did intimate the acquisition of defenceman Adrian Aucoin is about as big a splash as he’ll make.
“We don’t have to make major changes,” he said of the upcoming UFA frenzy. “We have a very good hockey club.
“The Aucoin trade makes it that way for us.”
The Star-Telegram did a Q & A with Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks…
Anaheim GM Brian Burke recently said he’s still positive about the NHL’s future. Do you agree?
Given the cards we were dealt, we’re playing the hand well. We can improve, and I think we will. I think our broadcast partners will continue to do a better job, and in the long term we have to be in a position of total coverage in HD (high definition) to get the viewing of hockey to be at the level fans want to see on television. That’s the direction the world is headed. The cap right now is acting as a magnet rather than what it was intended to do. There are teams spending to it that shouldn’t be. Fewer [teams] will do it this year than last because those who did lost money. The whole idea was for it to be a midpoint, to keep a competitive balance at a high level.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
“I’ve always been very consistent and I got away from that last year,” Brule said. “I want to make this year a straight line rather than a roller coaster. I’m glad I’m here. I want to be pushed, and I’m going to push back.”
From the outside, the perception is Brule’s presence in prospects camp is some kind of punishment. More likely, it’s the new status quo. Hitchcock sounds something like Darth Vader when he starts talking about training camp in September. He and new general manager Scott Howson have been preaching “the players decide who makes the team” and this message, by all indications, will be applied in practice.
from the Buffalo News,
Although the All-Star Game MVP claimed he hasn’t given up on re-signing with the Sabres, his decision to man a war room of sorts with Brisson doesn’t bode well.
“It’s exciting,” Briere said of free agency. “I’ve never been though it before. If it gets there, I just want to be around where it’s going to happen and where my agent’s going to be so we can deal with it directly and not over the phone, relaying messages. I want to be there when the offers come in.”
Briere on Thursday confirmed the Sabres, after nearly six weeks of indifference, had finally extended an offer. Minutes later, he learned Brisson had rejected it.
Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn declined to discuss any of the club’s pending free agents.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
J.P. Barry, Emery’s Calgary-based agent, confirmed yesterday he has had talks with two teams willing to make the Senators goalie an offer sheet as a restricted free agent.
“He is an elite goalie so I’m not surprised by the fact some teams would consider making an offer for his services,” said Barry, co-managing director of CAA Sports.
Boston, St. Louis and Los Angeles are believed to be among the teams looking for goaltending help and may have held discussions with Barry about the 24-year-old Emery.
from Mike Zeisberger at the Toronto Sun,
Come on. Kansas City?
When will commissioner Gary Bettman and his colleagues finally stop this pipe dream of shoehorning the NHL into each nook and cranny of the U.S.?
Hockey is a niche sport in many pockets south of the border. Many Americans just don’t care about it.
Phoenix. Florida. Nashville ... the list goes on concerning struggling, non-traditional hockey markets there.
Perhaps this is all about the all-mighty dollar and the NHL’s tangled web of bureaucracy but Mr. Bettman should remember one thing.
More than 14,000 season tickets were sold in Hamilton in two days.
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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.
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