Kukla's Korner Hockey
“I had a little bit of a wake-up call this summer, realized I’ve got to be a bit better. I’m going to demand a lot of myself going there, and prove that it was a good signing for them.”
Bruins defenseman Derek Morris. More from Morris by Jim Gintonio of Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
(Phil) Kessel, who will turn 22 at the start of the NHL season, underwent shoulder surgery soon after the Bruins were eliminated by Carolina in Round 2 of the playoffs and likely won’t be ready to play until December. A restricted free agent without arbitration rights, he remains unsigned and has not said publicly what he wants to be paid in his next deal.
Meanwhile, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli, who made the Kessel camp a requisite qualifying offer in June, remains hopeful that the sides can broker an agreement.
“Right now, there is nothing going on,’’ Chiarelli said. “This is a player that we still covet, and we’ll do anything to keep him - within reason, including matching an offer sheet and shuffling our roster around.’’
Kessel, with 66 career goals on his résumé, likely is being offered a deal in line with David Krejci’s new pact - three years at a $3.75 million average.
more plus other hockey notes…
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
It is an all-too-rare lovely summer day, but Bruins winger Shawn Thornton hasn’t exactly spent it on the beach or golf course. By late afternoon, he’s already had two tough workouts—skating in Wilmington, lifting weights at a gym in Charlestown—and his training is far from finished.
Next stop: The Ring Boxing Club on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston near Boston University. Thornton has been a regular at the gym this offseason, working with veteran trainer Tommy McInerney in an effort to improve both his conditioning and punching ability.
“It’s a long day, but hopefully it will pay off halfway through the season,“ Thornton said as he taped his hands for a sparring session with McInerney. “It switches up the monotony, too. It used to be I’d go for a run or whatever to get a sweat. Coming in here is a lot more fun than anything else I could do….”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
• Revenues for 2008-09 have yet to be finalized. But based on current projections, players will earn only 85-87 percent of their contracts because of escrow. For example, Alex Ovechkin, due $9 million in 2008-09, would take home $7.65 million in pre-tax earnings. For 2009-10, escrow could become even more significant to make up for any revenue shortfalls. The 2009-10 figure hasn’t been set yet, but some agents are informing their clients that 20 percent of their salaries could be tucked away via escrow. “You always err on the side of caution,’’ said Andrew Ference, the Bruins’ player representative….
• For those fretting about Phil Kessel remaining unsigned, remember that there is no rush for either side to put pen to paper. The 21-year-old forward might not be ready to play until December because of rehabilitation following shoulder surgery. Kessel can continue his rehab and see if the Bruins sputter at the start, which could put pressure on the club to lock him up….
more hockey notes, most Bruins related…
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Perhaps the biggest contribution Recchi made last season was helping Bergeron rediscover his skills. Bergeron, who suffered a serious head injury in 2007 and another lesser concussion in December 2008, looked like his old self when teamed with Recchi.
If Bergeron returns to the form that saw him score 70 points in two straight seasons from 2005-07, it would have an effect similar to signing one of the top available free agents this summer. Recchi thinks it can happen.
“You can see Bergeron is regaining his confidence,” Recchi said. “When you go through what he’s been through the past 1 1/2 or two years, it’s not easy. But I think he’s back to being the player everybody has seen in the past. He’s holding onto the puck and playing with strength. He’s a great two-way player.
“It’s fun to see him getting back to health and it’s fun to play with him. I’m just trying to support Chuck and Patrice by going to the areas that they need me to go.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins, deep in discussions about the sweater they’ll wear for the Winter Classic, are hoping to create a jersey that can catch a piece of the magic the Penguins created two years ago. For the 2008 outdoor game at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Penguins went retro, pulling their 1968-69 jersey design out of mothballs. Today, the powder blue sweater - the Penguins switched to black and gold in 1979-80, following in the footsteps of the Steelers and Pirates - remains one of the league’s top-selling items.
“That worked,’’ said Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs, “because they’re not necessarily their team colors. There’s no black or gold. It’s a powder blue jersey, and that made it unique. It’s certainly recognized in their market. It’s not like the Pirates, Steelers, or anything else. It’s unique.’’
Jacobs hopes that by the end of August, the Bruins, in conjunction with Reebok and the NHL, will settle on a design that will serve multiple purposes: capture the Bruins’ heritage, stand out as a unique item for the New Year’s Day game against the Flyers at Fenway Park, and convince fans to hand over their money.
more plus additional NHL talk…
from James Murphy of NESN,
I spoke to Phil Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, on the ride up Thursday night and got the latest on Kessel and his contract negotiations with the Bruins.
“Nothing really new to update,” Arnott said. “I wish I had some new news for you, but there’s really nothing major to report.”...
nterestingly, unlike many, Arnott said that he and Kessel did not initially believe the Aaron Ward trade was made as a precursor to re-signing Kessel.
“No not at all,” Arnott said.
So that is where the two parties stand. There were no reports of offer sheets, and while there have been recent rumors of the Islanders and Sharks inquiring about a Kessel trade and the Islanders possibly looking at Marco Sturm, follow-ups have turned up nothing substantial.
As of now, it appears both sides would like to make this work, but the chance is still very real that this might trickle into camp.
from Douglas Flynn of the Hockey Journal,
Hardcore hockey fanatics and the casual sports fans alike turned out in droves, and the heart of a hockey city began beating once again.
“I think, frankly, that a lot more people have tuned in and understand just how close this team is (to a championship),” said Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs. “People have reconnected with this franchise that maybe hadn’t in the previous years. It was really started to reflect that in this community, and we’re seeing that. We’re seeing that interest on our Web site. We’re seeing that on our broadcasts. And we’re seeing that at the box office. People by and large in this city feel good about where their team is today when they think of the Boston Bruins, and that only bodes well for us.”
from .Frolundaindians.com (translated),
Frölunda Hockey Club and forward Per-Johan “Pebben” Axelsson has signed a contract for four seasons.
from James Murphy at NESN,
Both Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien have stressed the importance of a quick transition game, mobility and that first defensive pass out of the zone. And with the addition of Morris, Chiarelli believes he has completed his plan of putting together a blue line that excels in those areas. Despite losing some physical presence with the trade of Aaron Ward and departure of Shane Hnidy, Chiarelli thinks Morris can bring the right combination of skill and size and maybe even join captain Zdeno Chara on the club’s top defensive pairing.
“We feel we’ve added a No. 2 defenseman to our mix,” said Chiarelli. “We feel we’ve upgraded. He’s a guy who brings more skill to our lineup. He can retrieve pucks, he can get to pucks and he can compete. I really like the makeup of our defense now.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org