Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald via Faceoff.com,
GM 1: “Do me a favour, will ya’? Don’t make any trades.”
GM 2: “Why not?”
GM 1: “Because if you make one, then my owner’s going to expect me to make one. And that never works.”
GM 2: “Good point.”
This hypothetical conversation pretty much sums up the bluffer’s poker that’s going on in the NHL’s dormant trade market….
Which is not to say the trade stalemate is a bad thing. Stupid deals are stupid deals no matter when they’re made, and if the GMs are having sober second thoughts about mortgaging the future for six weeks on a guy with a bad knee and a worse attitude, then good for them.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe may be in pursuit of free-agent sniper Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers, according to sources….
It seems inconceivable that Hossa would want to play in Edmonton because the Oilers aren’t an elite team. He’s 29, in his prime and wants to win a Stanley Cup.
But maybe Lowe still wants to give it a shot, even if he may be baying at the moon. He presumably has got the money for Hossa with the immiment takeover of the team by billionaire drugstore magnate Daryl Katz—the big winger is expected to command $7.5 million a year come July 1.
Hossa’s agent, Ritch Winter, is a Katz fan, too. Whether Winter sees a future for his client in Edmonton is debatable because it also gets to be 30-below zero in the winters and Hossa might want a more established cast of players.
from Scott Morrison at Sun Media,
“The system today is designed to make it difficult to remain on top for very long and you shouldn’t remain on the bottom very long, either,” Fletcher said. “The difference between us and a team solidly entrenched in a playoff spot is five wins ... we want to improve to the point that we can compete with the top teams in the league night in, night out. That’s our goal.”
more on the Leafs…
from Bernie Miklasz at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Even if the Blues fall short in the standings, they are achieving a broader and more important goal this season: They’ve re-established a strong and meaningful presence in the St. Louis sports culture.
Fifteen is a huge number of sellouts considering that the Blues had only three home sellouts, combined, in the previous two seasons. In 2005-06, the Blues were 27th in the NHL in average home attendance (14,213). The team’s on-ice performance improved last season, but the crowds were slow to return. The 2006-07 Blues were last in the NHL in average home attendance (12,250) and sold only 59.6 percent of available tickets.
This season, the Blues are selling 83 percent of their seats, and their average home attendance of 17,456 ranks 13th in the NHL.
from the Prague Post,
“We’ve become a supermarket for the NHL, where they get top products at discount prices,” said Zbyněk Kusý, the national team’s general manager. “We are left begging NHL clubs to pay our players while letting them play for the national team in their free time.”
The national team’s head coach, Alois Hadamczik, is planning to leave late this month on a North American tour, hoping to lure some Czech NHL players in for the World Championship in May. The more NHL players on the national team, the stronger it will be, Hadamczik said.
“The days when NHL players merely boosted our team are gone. … Now, we must form the whole team with them in order to be competitive,” he said.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
After meeting with general manager Scott Howson in recent days, Foote has expressed his desire to sign a contract extension with the Blue Jackets rather than risk being traded at Tuesday’s NHL trade deadline.
“I want to be here,” Foote said. “That’s been made clear to Scotty by both me and my agent (Rick Curran). To my understanding, Scott Howson wants me to be here, too. So there we go.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Blueshirts are believed interested in bringing back St. Louis winger Martin Rucinsky for a fourth tour of duty on Broadway. Rangers would deal Marek Malik - whom St. Louis president John Davidson likes - but would need to get a defenseman back either while or before moving him.
Sharks and Thrashers have talked about a blockbuster in which Patrick Marleau and Matt Carle would go to Atlanta in exchange for a package featuring Marian Hossa and Bobby Holik .
read on for more, including Avery going the AO route, Boyle talks and some other rumors…
from the Buffalo News,
Regier said discussions remain open between the Sabres and Larry Kelly, Campbell’s Ottawa- based agent.
“We continue to communicate, have spoken over the last couple of days and I expect we will again over the next few days,” Regier said. “Money and terms have been discussed.”
Asked if he felt it’s still possible to work out a deal instead of trading Campbell, Regier said, “Too early to tell, believe it or not. We’ll just keep working on it. I am hopeful because that’s what I should be. I should be hopeful and hopefully it works out.”
From Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice,
Was there a sense of whether there’s going to be an active market at the trade deadline?
“No, I didn’t get a sense of that. I also saw statistics which were very interesting as far as the number of trades that transpired last year as compared to two, three, four, five years ago. (They were) very similar.
“But the trading deadline and (making) trades is always determined by who are buyers and who are sellers, but before you can be a buyer or a seller you have to have someone who has the potential of being out of the playoffs. And right now if you look at the points in each conference, you can see that if you go on a three-game winning streak or a four-game losing streak, you can find yourself on one side or the other. It think a lot will be determined very close to the trading deadline when those decisions have to be made with individual people with their free agency. Do I think there will be movement of players who are not free agents? Unless it’s a pretty big deal for both sides, I would be surprised at this point. It would have happened already.”
much more... of an interesting conversation with Lou Lamoriello Wednesday night, discussing everything from trade rumors to rule changes discussed at the GM meetings in Naples this week.
*with thanks to Steve for providing the heads-up on this interview
from STATS Blog,
Parity seems to be a byproduct of the new NHL. Nine of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference are in first place or within five points of it. Only two teams in the East are more than 10 points out of first.
The division leaders in the Western Conference—Detroit, Minnesota and Dallas—have larger leads than their Eastern counterparts, but parity still figures in a tight playoff race. Take the runaway Red Wings and Pacific-leading Stars out of the equation, and the next 10 teams in the Western Conference standings are separated by just 10 points.
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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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