Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
And so the dust has all but settled on the free agency battlefield.
There are a few stragglers hiding in the woods, Alexei Yashin, Daniel Markov, Curtis Joseph and, surprisingly, Sheldon Souray. But for the most part teams have staked their claim to improving their lot by throwing boatloads of dough and years of security at this year’s crop of unrestricted free agents. In the final reckoning only a handful will enjoy true success and of course only one will see the ultimate reward with a Stanley Cup next spring. Until then here’s our look at the winners and losers of the free agency conflict.
The New York Rangers…
Dave Stubbs at The Gazette and Habs Inside/Out decided to feature some light entertainment on this hot Friday off-season day. (Not that the Edmonton-Buffalo debacle hasn’t been plenty entertaining, but it’s nice to have a change of pace…)
Here’s one of his entries—you can click here to see the rest.
Caption: “But where the NHL taketh from goalies with a wider net,
it giveth back, with somewhat larger pucks.”
via the Minnesota Wild,
Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed free agent defenseman Sean Hill to a 2007-08 contract.
As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
The NHL suspended Hill for 20 games on April 20, 2007 for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. He will miss the first 19 games of the 2007-08 season after serving one game of the suspension in 2006-07, sitting out Game 5 of the Islanders Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against Buffalo.
MINNESOTA WILD STATEMENT ON SEAN HILL’S SUSPENSION
Sean tested positive for the anabolic steroid boldenone during a league screening last season. Sean acknowledges the use of a testosterone booster for which he was issued a therapeutic-use exemption by the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program Committee. We have talked to Sean at length, and he denies knowingly taking any banned performance-enhancing substance. We also researched the situation and the substance Sean tested positive for and found that boldenone can be ingested inadvertently through health supplements and foods. We cannot determine the source of Sean’s test failure. However, we believe Sean did not knowingly take any banned performance-enhancing substance.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Scott Clemmensen may not have been able to help the Maple Leafs into the playoffs last season, but he’ll get a chance to help them more directly now.
According to Star sources, the former New Jersey Devils goaltender has signed a two-way contract with the Leafs and is expected to be the club’s No. 3 goaltender this season, working with the AHL Toronto Marlies alongside youngster Justin Pogge.
added 5:54pm, via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
John Ferguson, vice-president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Friday that the club has signed goaltender Scott Clemmensen to a one-year contract.
“Scott is an experienced professional goaltender, who will provide depth in the organization at that position,” said Ferguson.
from David Kolb at MSG Network,
Fans on the Isle were ready to jump ship.
Early on in the free agency period, the Isles lost Ryan Smyth, Slava Kozlov, Richard Zednik, Tom Poti and Jason Blake.
Then the news came: Isles sign Jon Sim!
“Jon Sim is an aggressive, hard-working veteran forward with good offensive skills who fits in perfectly with Ted Nolan’s system,” G.M. Garth Snow commented.
Yes, it’s true, Sim does fit in, but it wasn’t the bounce-back splash Isles backers were hoping for.
from Phil Coffey at NHL.com,
A vintage Dominik Hasek is like a classic chess master, seemingly knowing every move opponents are going to make before they make them, Wigge said of Hasek. He stares down his opponent like a witness to a crime scrutinizing suspects in a lineup. His green eyes glare with attentiveness, noting every detail. He hates to even let in a goal in practice. His style is almost like an attack mode.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The Edmonton Oilers, who have been embroiled in controversy in which they claim they signed Michael Nylander before the Washington Capitals, found time this morning to sign Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek to an offer sheet.
Globesports.com has learned that the Oilers are willing to pay Vanek a stunning $50-million (U.S.) over seven seasons. Now the Sabres have seven days to decide whether they will match the lucrative offer sheet to retain the 23-year-old sniper.
added 1:37am, via TSN,
The Sabres have called a news conference for 12:30pm et/9:30am pt to address the news.
added 11:45am, from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
I think that Thomas was shocked,” Steve Barlett said. “I kept telling him I was going to get him a deal, and I don’t think he believed me. I don’t know if I believed it myself.”
Bartlett said there “were discussions with more than one team” about Vanek, meaning that teams seem to be viewing the signing of restricted free agents as a plausible strategy.
“There was a whole range of discussions that went on here,” Steve Bartlett said. “They wanted to know what it would take, and whether I thought Buffalo would match.”
added 12:11pm, You can listen to the Sabres presser at WBEN 930am... but you will have to register first…
Update 12:35pm ET (alanah)
The press conference with the Sabres has revealed that the Buffalo Sabres fully intend to match the Oilers’ offer sheet. GM Darcy Regier said he contacted Kevin Lowe last night and tried to persuade him not to make the offer, that they were always going to match whatever offer the Oilers might make. Larry Quinn’s statement: “We were never not going to match an offer on Thomas.”
Update 6:20pm ET (alanah)
Oilers General Manager Kevin Lowe spoke with the media on Friday afternoon via conference call to address the Thomas Vanek offer sheet, matched by Buffalo, earlier in the day. You can listen to it at the Oilers website here.
from the Spi, the blog of Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
This is about Leaf politics, pure and simple. This is Richard Peddie and his political allies giving in to the demands of Larry Tanenbaum and his allies, but not totally.
Tanenbaum and Co. want John Ferguson out. Peddie, the epitome of a corporate politician, doesn’t, but understands a little compromise will buy him - and JFJ - some time.
So you pretend, through the addition of a Muckler or someone like him, to be improving the team’s hockey office, when in reality what’s going on is jostling for positions of strength at the MLSE board of directors level.
Make it about hockey if you want. But that’s not what this is. Not even for a second.
from the Ottawa Senators,
Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray announced today that the club has named John Paddock as its sixth head coach in franchise history. Murray also confirmed that assistant coach Greg Carvel, strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee, and video coach Tim Pattyson would remain on the club’s coaching staff.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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