Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Susan Bickelhaupt at the Boston Globe,
Two years ago, the year after the NHL lockout, Versus reached an agreement with the NHL to start airing games twice a week, including the conference playoffs and the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals.
Tonight, Versus will air the NHL draft for the second year in a row. After a pregame show at 6:30, the network will have live coverage (7-10) from Columbus, Ohio.
“I think the first year there was a lot of criticism for a network that was known for more outdoors than anything else,” said Versus president Gavin Harvey. “And I think the NHL made a bold move to put this on the network, but they understood what we were, and they understood what we and [owner] Comcast wanted to do with the network. And I know that hockey fans were a little confused that first year, thinking we’re glad we got hockey back, but it’s on that other network . . . there was a lot of controversy.
“But we know, and not just from anecdotal evidence, that hockey fans are great, and they found us, and they bookmarked us. And that’s the power of the NHL.
more… (*requires registration)
From Ed Moran at Philly news
“We had some inquiries,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “But we’re really in no rush to move back in the draft. The guys we want to pick with the second pick are all a notch above the other guys in the draft and we want to stick with it.”
According to Holmgren, there have been a lot of calls but most teams have just been offering other picks.
“One team called and tried to get creative - a couple of guys and that pick, or a couple of guys and this pick - but there was nothing that made sense to us.”
While it would make sense for the Flyers to trade the second pick for an established player, it wouldn’t make sense to move down any farther than the fifth- or sixth-ranked player. The draft just isn’t that deep this year.
From Ted Kulfan at Detroit News,
Beyond the draft, the Wings are trying to assess the free-agent market. Teams can sign unrestricted free agents beginning July 1.
In the meantime, the Wings continue to negotiate with their players, who are eligible to become free agents.
Holland expects to be busy talking with the agents for defensemen Mathieu Schneider and Danny Markov, goaltender Dominik Hasek and forward Todd Bertuzzi.
Holland and Hasek’s agent, Ritch Winter, are expected to work out a one-year contract long before July 1—possibly even this weekend.
It gets a bit dicey with the other free agents.
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
In an ideal hockey world in which people were fairly recognized for their diligence and hard work, this would be Dave Morrison’s day.
In case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Morrison is the chief scout of the Maple Leafs, hardly a position that has been repeatedly crowned with glory over four decades of generally mediocre Leaf drafting, but a notable posting all the same.
Somewhere around, oh, 9 p.m. tonight, after 12 other teams have hemmed and hawed and thanked the city of Columbus for its Ohio hospitality and congratulated the Anaheim Ducks on winning the Stanley Cup, Morrison will call out a name of some young man who will immediately be deemed the newest next great hope.
For a fleeting moment, Morrison and that young man will matter. But only for a fleeting moment.
From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,
The National Hockey League general managers who sit on their thumbs in the next day or so may wind up as the big off-season losers.
With the Stanley Cup having been won by the Anaheim Ducks only 16 days ago, there is a race going on among the 30 general managers to improve their teams. There was so much chatter and gossip buzzing around that the usual debate on which young talent would be drafted when and where took a back seat on the eve of the 2007 NHL entry draft.
“We’re in a hurry, aren’t we?” one general manager said. “I got in here late [Wednesday] afternoon and there already was a tremendous buzz, and I think we all expect a lot of movement here.”
continued… (*looks at the swirl of rumors yesterday)
From Eric Duhatschek,
If there was any doubt that coach Mike Keenan will have a say in Calgary Flames’ personnel decisions, it was put to rest with Friday’s first transaction of the NHL team’s new Iron Mike era.
Keenan, like his boss, general manager Darryl Sutter, has a habit of collecting his former players and the two were at it again, bringing in 33-year-old Adrian Aucoin from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Andrei Zyuzin.[..].
Aucoin a hefty $4 million for two more years. If he’s healthy, it might be money well spent. If not, then an area that was once a Calgary strength - defence - may soon become its biggest question mark.
From Bruce Garrioch at Slam!
Wade Redden has declared he wants to stay with the Senators, but it hasn’t stopped teams from knocking on Bryan Murray’s door.
While the Senators GM confirmed yesterday he’s had “a couple” of inquiries about the future of the veteran defenceman in Ottawa, sources say Murray has been holding intense discussions with Oilers GM Kevin Lowe.
With Round 1 of the NHL draft set for tonight at Nationwide Arena, there was talk the Senators could send Redden and winger Antoine Vermette to the Oilers for centre Shawn Horcoff and defenceman Jason Smith. It’s believed the Senators would prefer winger Joffrey Lupul over Horcoff.
Sources tell TSN that Chicago defenceman Adrian Aucoin has agreed to waive his no trade clause to permit a deal that would send him to the Calgary Flames.
But sources said the paperwork and formal approval of the transaction will not be completed until Friday. The deal, therefore, cannot be deemed official until then. But Aucoin is prepared, the sources said, to be a Flame and the Blackhawks and Flames have agreed on the terms.
The Flames were in the market for a defenceman and zeroed in on Aucoin.
At $4 million a season, Aucoin carries a price tag the Blackhawks were looking to shed.
From Craig Custance at AJC,
What’s harder than predicting where an international cast of hockey prospects will end up during this weekend’s NHL draft in Columbus? Easy. Hosting a three-hour Thrashers draft party and radio show on a night when the Thrashers aren’t scheduled to make a single selection.
That’s the challenge Dan Kamal, Jeff Odgers and Darren Eliot face tonight as hosts of the Thrashers draft party at Jillian’s.
Elite prospects like center Kyle Turris, forward Patrick Kane and forward Alexei Cherepanov are expected to go early in tonight’s first round. But thanks to two trades — the deal with St. Louis for Keith Tkachuk and the trade with Anaheim for Vitaly Vishnevski — the Thrashers don’t pick until the third round. On Saturday. Long after those three prospects are gone.
continued… (*noting that GM Waddell has made deals during the Draft every year since 1999)
From Erick Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Hope needs to turn into performance, and performance into success before they’re playing in front of packed houses again, but Tallon is keeping his fingers crossed.
“We sent out an e-mail about a draft party on Friday and I think we have close to 3,500 people coming,” Tallon said. “That’s new. That’s good, and there’s a buzz about it. It’s certainly not where you want it to be.
“You’re competing heavily with so many different entities here. Our owner [Bill Wirtz] is not the most popular guy in the world because of the television deal [Blackhawks home games are not broadcast locally] and not making the playoffs. So we’re trying to be positive.
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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