Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the New York Times,
“It’s been great,” Leetch said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Boston. “I used to always be thinking about the game. It’s a big weight off my shoulders. I get to enjoy being a dad.”
This is semi-retirement for Leetch, a defenseman who spent the first 16-plus seasons of his career with the Rangers. He has decided not to play this season, so far, although at 38 he has not yet called it a career. He and his wife, Mary Beth, have stayed in Boston, where Leetch played last season.
He said he still received calls from teams with offers to play, but none had felt quite right, including a possible return to the Rangers.
from the Washington Post,
The Washington Capitals have approached Richard Zednik’s agent about extending the right wing’s contract. Although the sides are not close to reaching a deal, according to David Schatia of Octagon Athlete Representation, the move does provide insight into the club’s plans for the veteran as the Feb. 27 trade deadline approaches….
“They are interested,” Schatia said by telephone from Montreal. “We’ve had several discussions, exchanged ideas, figures and concepts, but nothing has been resolved. I would like to think the [negotiations] are positive.”
read on (reg. req.)
Following the disappointing finish of the men’s U.S. Olympic hockey team in Torino a year ago, USA Hockey has assembled an all-star lineup of NHL general managers to make sure the program gets its best players on the ice at future international competitions.
ESPN.com has learned Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell, the GM of that ill-fated Torino squad, will be joined by Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke, Nashville Predators GM David Poile and Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero on the management advisory board.
USA Hockey is expected to make an announcement Tuesday.
Breaking News per TSN…. more to follow.
added 5:42pm, Sean was recently on NHL Live during the ASG break, and was in NYC conducting the interview. He said he would love to play for the Rangers, talks with Shanahan all the time…
update 5:46pm, per TSN,
The Los Angeles Kings have traded centre Sean Avery and prospect John Seymour to the New York Rangers for right winger Jason Ward along with prospects Marc Andre Cliche and Jan Marek.
added 8:00pm, from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The question for Rangers fans is whether Avery is the main course or just the appetizer as the clock ticks toward the Feb. 27 trade deadline. No doubt fans won’t confuse Avery with the highly coveted Peter Forsberg and, presumably, Rangers management will continue to beat the bushes for a scoring center and puck-moving defenseman.
from the Philadelphia Flyers,
Former Philadelphia Flyers captain Keith Primeau took part in a conference call with the local media on Monday regarding his being honored by the club prior to the game on Monday, February 12 against the Detroit Red Wings. Below is a transcript of the conference call.
How do you feel about this tribute, your decision and everything that has gone on since?
Primeau: “It’s definitely mixed emotions. I am extremely honored and humbled. I [would] prefer to be still playing, but as I explained before, I think I started to come to the realization last summer and still know that I have made the right decision. To be honored this early following the conclusion following my career is exciting.”
Nashville coach Barry Trotz took part in a NHL tele-conference today…
Q. When you took the job when the Nashville Predators, I’m sure you were well aware the career expectancy of an expansion coach historically has not been very good. Can you remember back to what your thoughts were? Could you ever have anticipated you would have been around to enjoy the success of the Predators?
BARRY TROTZ: Yeah, really looking back, I remember when I first got the job, I obviously was excited going from the Portland Pirates and Washington’s organization to Nashville. I remember talking to David. When I sort of had a moment by myself, I said, Am I ready for this? A, you’re going to be a head coach in the National Hockey League. I felt I was ready for that. I didn’t know if I was ready for an expansion team in a non-traditional market. That was probably the one thing that crossed my mind.
After reflecting another moment, I said, If I’m ever going to do anything in this business in the coaching aspect, there’s probably no bigger challenge. I sort of took that as the challenge to see if we could be competitive as an expansion team, just do what you do best, see if you can do it for a long time. I’ve been very fortunate. I remember reflecting over that moment. Am I sure I’m ready for this with an expansion team? It’s been a great process.
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
• Finally, my friend asked, “State of the NHL: Better or worse than what the casual sports fan thinks?”
The state of the NHL is better than what the casual sports fan thinks because the casual sports fan thinks it’s on par with Arena Football, WNBA and MLS. This is what much of the media tells them. First of all, the media ignores the passion in Canada, and this is irresponsible. In Canada, the NHL has a much stronger brand name than all of those leagues combined. It has history and Maurice Richard’s eyes. Hey, MLB has the Royals and Devil Rays, and the NBA has the Hawks—if your team stinks, people don’t go.
read on... Bucci is right on with a few of his suggestions…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
They were set to hang Mike Vernon’s No. 30 jersey from the rafters at the Pengrowth Saddledome Tuesday night, which was singularly appropriate in some ways. So many times during Vernon’s career with the Calgary Flames, which featured two trips to the Stanley Cup final and more wins (259) than any other goaltender in franchise history, some of the local boo-birds would have just as soon seen his sweater raised to the roof, with Vernon inside.
from John McGourty at NHL.com,
We’re not going to haul out the tape measure, but when Lanny McDonald, Joe Mullen, Al MacInnis, Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joel Otto, Hakan Loob and the rest of that team turned to congratulate Vernon, the top of his head was at the level of their logos. And, he looked like the happiest man on Planet Earth.
Many of those players will be back in Calgary Tuesday to honor Vernon and to a man they’ll tell you they wouldn’t be wearing Stanley Cup rings were it not for him.
from Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated,
I can’t wait to see what Tavares, Angelo Esposito and the next generation of speedy, creative snipers can do in the NHL. But after repeated viewings of that video on the heels of another relatively listless slate of matches on Saturday, it left me wondering: Where’s the next Wendel Clark? Where’s the next Cam Neely?
There’s so much time spent trying to improve the game. Fix the schedule. Bigger nets. More power plays. Any or all of those may make a difference, but all hockey really needs is an influx of the kind of fury and passion Clark and Neely brought to the rink in 60-minute increments, 82 times a year.
from Eric McErlain at NBC Sports,
So what’s the solution? I admit that I’m at a loss. As Wednesday night’s game in Pittsburgh and the weekend fireworks that followed on Canadian television seemed to demonstrate, it seems as if the choice is between seeing the superstars of the game be targeted for serial retaliation on the one hand, or to cede the rule of law to the ethos of the Wild West on the other. Either way, it seems as if the league is doomed to suffer another black eye in its efforts to expand its fan base while keeping the die hards happy. It’s not a job I’d want.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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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