Kukla's Korner Hockey
By George James Malik:
The Edmonton Journal’s Dan Barnes sums up the storyline that will become front and centre for the next few weeks in lamenting the Oilers’ decision to trade Ryan Smyth:
Too much? Absolutely. But this wasn’t supposed to happen under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Prongers of the world could be had, the Smyths could be kept; that was the bill of goods sold to long-suffering Oiler fans. They could have forgiven Lowe’s inability to find that defenceman. Heck, they would have forgiven a season sans playoffs, if only Lowe had found a way to keep Smyth. Didn’t he save enough money on the Pronger deal? Shouldn’t there be enough in the kitty to overpay the heart and soul of the franchise?
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Holmgren should get the job for good. He should be the one who makes the next set of moves this summer, when the Flyers’ general manager gets to make use of the draft choices and salary-cap space and trade assets that Holmgren has so assiduously acquired.
But will he?
“I plan on it, yeah,” he said yesterday, after the news conference to announce the Biron deal.
But has he been told?
“No, not necessarily,” Holmgren said.
from On the Islanders Beat,
Negotiations between Ryan Smyth and agent Don Meehan with Edmonton for a contract extension broke down 20 minutes before the 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline. Ten minutes later, the Islanders called their shocking deal with the Oilers in to league headquarters, a team official said.
The attorney on the other end of the phone expected something minor, and when he heard Smyth’s name, his reaction was, well, the exact words of surprise can’t be repeated in a family blog. Smyth is an icon in Edmonton, and his loss sent shock waves across Canada, especially since it came on Mark Messier Night for the Oilers.
from On Frozen Pond,
The Panthers weren’t going to sign Bert for the money he was seeking, so now he’s gone. Basically, the Panthers gave up Roberto Luongo for Bryan Allen and hope of something better out of Alex Auld, the prospect (Shawn Matthias) and the conditional picks.
Even kids on Sesame Street know that sucks with a capital S.
Not that the Panthers had much choice in the matter, not with Bert only playing in seven games this season. Keenan, for one, is excited for the Red Wings. “That’s a great deal for Detroit,’’ he said on TSN, where he serves as an analyst.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
While TSN was reporting that Buffalo goaltender Martin Biron had been traded, the cast of dozens at Rogers Sportsnet were showing viewers live shots of some game-show eye candy getting their makeup, the Hanson brothers performing their 30-year-old shtick and the back of blogger Eklund’s head as he provided the first in a series of often obvious and even more often erroneous rumours….
In fact, the most entertaining part of Sportsnet’s ``deadline bash” wasn’t the balloons, the Hansons or the table hockey games. It was Eklund, who fell just short of naming every NHL player in trade rumours…
1:04 p.m. Eklund reports more rumours, this time citing ``really, really good sources.”
2:08 p.m. Eklund reports that Edmonton has signed Ryan Smyth to a long-term deal.
3 p.m. Eklund reports that L.A. has dealt Mattias Norstrom to Anaheim, ``but I may be wrong on that.” He was.
3:15 p.m. Eklund says rumour has Leafs trading Matt Stajan. They don’t.
more...The MSM is finally getting the picture that many of us have known all along…
from Terry Jones at the Edmonton Sun,
When it came to Smyth, Edmonton fans didn’t care about the dollars. He’d signed his previous two deals with hometown discounts. If it was $5.5 million per year, which seems to be the number it would have cost per year over five years to keep him here, fine.
To the fans, Ryan Smyth was not about dollars, he was about love and location.
To Kevin Lowe, he was about “a hockey decision.”
There will be a public outcry about this one. And you can’t blame fans for feeling that way.
Lowe and Oilers ownership and management made it quite clear they expect negative initial reaction from the fans.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The great myth of equality amidst all the screams of inequality has morphed into a league with a trading deadline that is no longer about trading at all.
This is a league that shut its doors with vigilance, fighting for the little guy and the little franchise, striving for cost certainty, parity and equality, and profit for one and all. This is a league where the hated commissioner was given standing ovations in Edmonton because he was fighting for their very existence.
Wonder what people in Edmonton think of the NHL today.
Wonder what it’s like to wake up and find the face of your franchise is now an Islander.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
“I’m not gun shy at all,” he said, looking back on his deadline deals. “Some of the players we traded for were very good players. It’s taught me one thing and that’s you have to have good chemistry and right now we have fantastic chemistry.”
Muckler said he wouldn’t compromise the Senators’ future to make a move now.
“There’s only going to be one parade, that’s all,” he said. “The rest (of the teams that make big deals) don’t win. They aren’t going to be successful. It’s wrong. If you hurt the future of the organization, you’re better off not doing anything.”
From the AP,
After his No. 11 jersey had been raised to the ceiling on Tuesday, Messier took a final lap of the ice in the old building where he helped turn the Oilers into a dynasty. The sold-out crowd roared loud enough to shake the arena.
Messier, the NHL’s second-leading career scorer, was already in tears when he finished his skate with the Stanley Cup and placed it on a table at center ice. His three-year-old son, Douglas, wearing a vintage Messier jersey, promptly jumped into his arms as the crowd again cheered.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for all of your support,” Messier told the 16,839 in attendance. “(The Oilers are) an institution in the world of sports.”
From David Ginsberg at the AP via SFGate,
The Florida Panthers dealt two talented players before the trade deadline, then blew a three-goal lead against the Washington Capitals. So who could blame them for thinking the worst when the game went to a shootout? Florida was 0-7 in shootouts and 1-13 when extended beyond regulation, but all that changed Tuesday night.
Jozef Stumpel and Ville Peltonen scored in the extra session to back a three-goal effort by Olli Jokinen, and the Panthers salvaged a 6-5 victory.
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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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