Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tarik El-Bashir at Capitals Insider on AO contract talks…
Nothing has changed, he said, since the last time I asked him about this on Oct. 29 in Toronto, adding that serious talks still have not started and that he’s not sure when they might.
I asked him if that lack of an offer is bothering him. At first he said, “No.” Then he paused for a moment before saying, “Of course I think about my contract. It would be stupid to answer that I don’t think about my contract. Of course I think about it. But we don’t start talking. We just wait. We still have time.”
This earlier today from Marty York at Metro News,
Two young NHL stars, defenceman Dion Phaneuf and forward Alexander Ovechkin, have rejected contract-extension proposals from the Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals, respectively.
The Caps offered Ovechkin a five-year pact similar to the deal the Pittsburgh Penguins gave Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million a season), but the sniper is demanding more — between $9- and $10-million a year.
from the Calgary Herald,
Following Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, Keenan had been asked about his boys coughing up another two power-play goals.
The coach figuratively shoved his goalie to front and centre on a first-period tally by Robert Nilsson. His statement included the line: “It’s pretty difficult to criticize the people on the penalty-killing situation when your goaltender is not part of the solution.”
Damning stuff. Which Iron Mike took measures to clarify Monday.
“Well, first of all, the media has misconstrued the comments,” started Keenan.
from All Things Avs by Adrian Dater,
- Calgary is going to implode soon. I’ve talked to a few former Flames and they say there is just plain bad chemistry in their locker room. I don’t see Mike Keenan changing that much.
- Edmonton is terrible. Dustin Penner is a nice player, but Kevin Lowe grossly overpaid for him, in his retaliation move against Brian Burke and the Ducks over Chris Pronger.
more NHL bits plus Adrian wonders where are all the Avs fans?
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
When GM Darryl Sutter deposed Jim Playfair as coach after one season and installed Iron Mike, the thinking was that the Flames had to get back to the hard-nosed play that saw them advance to the 2004 Stanley Cup finals. Sutter, whose relationship with Keenan extends back to their shared days in Chicago, believed the old task master was just the man to do the job.
Now, with the team in a free fall, there are questions about its preparation, focus, drive, energy and desire. Those are all of the things, the intangibles, Keenan was supposed to bring to the table. Those are coaching issues.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
As much as the lazy Sunday away from the horror house known as the Saddledome was a chance for the beleaguered players to clear their minds, rest assured there was plenty of introspection going on.
Certainly, there are plenty of reasons for the Flames, with their under-achieving 6-8-3 record, to consider.
They’ve frittered away a home-heavy schedule that had 11 of those 17 games at the ‘Dome, in which they’ve won only four times. They’ve frittered away half of an eight-game intra-division run.
They’re floundering like Brittany Spears’ career.
from the Calgary Sun,
Hot on the heels of a six-year extension for goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, there’s talk in Calgary the Flames might be a small step closer to signing Dion Phaneuf to a long-term contract.
The 22-year-old defenceman’s agent, Don Meehan, was in town last week, and it’s believed he spent time meeting with Flames general manager Darryl Sutter about a possible extension.
Sources say talks were informal and could help lead to a deal but no dollars were discussed.
Phaneuf’s entry-level contract expires at the end of this season, and as a restricted free agent, he’d be a prime candidate for an offer sheet from another team.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Calgary Flames coach Mike Keenan didn’t exactly leap to the defence of his injured centre Daymond Langkow on Friday….
“I looked at the tape again today,” said Keenan. “I know Matt Cooke, I coached him, he’s a little bit of a hunter, and you know he’s out there, you know he’s coming at you, and you know he’s going to body you.
“But he didn’t leave his feet. He hit him hard into the boards; at the same time, you have a responsibility to know that players like that are out there. It’s a fine line between playing the game hard; he cracked him good, and Daymond maybe should have positioned himself in a more protective manner so he wouldn’t have had the whiplash effect against the glass.”
more NHL talk including Bouillon explaining his hit on Aaron Ward…
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
Calgary is sub .500.
Edmonton is sub .500.
Given the respective stenches emanating from both camps, a cynic might suggest The Battle of Alberta has been replaced by The Cattle of Alberta, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of sizzle on tonight’s steak.
Nothing fuels a barn burner like animosity and desperation and the Flames and Oilers will be bringing plenty of both to a unique and unusually important showdown in Cowtown.
Something has to give. They can’t both lose.
via Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Losers of four straight and participants for maybe 20 minutes in each of those contests, the Flames are a team that has yet to become comfortable with the demands of Mike Keenan. To the fiery coach’s credit, he’s been patient during the process, allowing his players time to adjust. But it’s becoming clear that not everyone is on board, and a shakeup seems inevitable.
Stephane Yelle, a solid defensive player who could add something to any team’s penalty kill, could be available. Center Craig Conroy, who has just two goals this season despite playing alongside Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay for long stretches, is another candidate. His contract brings a $2.85 million hit, but it only goes through this season and becomes more manageable for another team to assume with each passing day. Calgary would like to add scoring (who wouldn’t?), but might be willing to take on a veteran forward with leadership experience and a winning background.
Atlanta’s Bobby Holik, perhaps?
from the Calgary Sun,
What’s preventing the club that’s now lost four straight games from the expected 60-minute performance?
“I have some ideas, but I’m not prepared to share them right now,” Keenan finally said. “I want to discuss them with the team before I make those comments.
“I think I know why but I want to make sure, and in fairness to them give them an opportunity to explain it first before I have that discussion.
“Maybe I can answer your question in a day or two.”
Until then, Keenan’s club will deservedly be queried about its Jekyll-and-Hyde outings. After all, it’s hard to understand how a team that went into the clash having lost three in a row could be listless through the first 30 minutes.
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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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