Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times,
As a restricted free agent, Versteeg would have been given a 10 percent raise on his $490,000 salary from last season. But when the offers weren’t received in time—which eventually led to the ouster of former general manager Dale Tallon—Versteeg was paid millions more. He signed a three-year deal worth $9.25 million, meaning he’ll earn more than Patrick Kane ($875,000), captain Jonathan Toews ($850,000) and defenseman Duncan Keith ($1.9 million) this season.
‘‘I still took less money,’’ Versteeg said. ‘‘If I had gone onto the open market, I could have gotten much more. But I signed for less money to stay with the Hawks because I love the Hawks, I love my teammates, my fans and the city of Chicago.
‘‘But I don’t see myself not working harder and taking this season serious just because I got more money. I’m here to win, and I want to win really bad. That’s why I’m going to continue to work as hard as I can.’‘
from Brian Compton of NHL.com,
Just three years after drafting Jonathan Toews with the third pick and less than 48 months following the No. 1 selection of Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks found themselves in the Western Conference Finals. As they enter the 2009-10 season, the word “rebuild’ isn’t even a part of the Hawks’ vocabulary. These days, Kane believes only two words should be used.
“It’s probably (Stanley) Cup or bust this year, and that’s what we want,” Kane told NHL.com. “I think you’ve got to play for those expectations. The better you get, the more the expectations are going to grow. Expectations are probably to the ceiling, but that’s the way it should be. That’s the way we want it.”
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential at ChicagoNow,
Patrick Kane just made his first preseason slip-up. It’s time for the Blackhawks bosses who want him to grow up and take responsibility for his actions to tell him for his own good to shut up and stop playing the victim.
One more attempt by Kane to feel sorry for himself will be one too many.
“Actually, this is probably the hardest summer that I’ve ever worked out in my life and people are going to say because of one night that I didn’t work out this summer,” Kane told ESPN.com.
Whaa, whaa, whaa, Charlie Brown. No word yet on whether Kane had opened his ever-useful tear ducts for more sympathy when he said those words.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Coach Joel Quenneville’s primary goal is to win the Central Division, which won’t be easy despite the losses of Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson, Jiri Hudler and Tomas Kopecky in Detroit.
The Red Wings have won eight straight division titles and still are loaded with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary. The Wing certainly need some kids to come through, however.
Will this be the year age catches up to Lidstrom, who is 39? And goalie Chris Osgood turns 37 in November.
The Hawks haven’t won a division title since capturing the Norris Division in 1992-93.
more Blackhawks topics…
from Ross McKeon of Yahoo,
It’s hard not to get sucked into the hype, but it’s really hard to be considered a top-flight Cup contender without a more proven goalie so that’s where the Hawks fall short. Chicago will finish second in the division again, slip to between fifth or sixth in the conference and won’t last long in the postseason.
more on Chicago….
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The Toronto Maple Leafs today re-acquired their own much-travelled 2010 second-round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Toronto’s third-round pick in 2011 and a 2011 second-round pick that was previously acquired by Toronto from Calgary.
Why would the Leafs effectively pay a net price of a third-round pick to get a second-round pick in the 2010 draft instead of the 2011 draft?
Well, the move now gives Toronto their own first, second and third-round picks in the next NHL entry draft, which is the prerequisite for any team that would want to submit an offer sheet on a top restricted free agent player this summer.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
“The challenging thing is that it just doesn’t magically happen again,” Bowman added. “There’s an awful lot that has to happen to get back to that level.”
One of the biggest challenges for the team might be in how it now is perceived around the NHL. For a team that spent as long as the Blackhawks did looking up at the rest of the league, they will have to get used to being considered contenders. That not-so-subtle change in dynamics isn’t lost on Bowman.
“I like our chances,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with expectations, but, like I said, you can’t be paralyzed by it.”
NHL star Patrick Kane and his cousin James Kane have pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct.
The charges stem from an incident earlier this month.
The Kanes had been accused of beating the cab driver after a dispute over a fare.
Patrick and James Kane have been sentenced to one year conditional discharge and they will issue an apology to cab driver Jan Radecki.
from Natasha Korecki of the Chicago Sun-Times,
An Erie County grand jury has passed on felony charges against Blackhawks star winger Patrick Kane but indicted him and his cousin this afternoon on misdemeanor harassment and theft charges.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said in a statement: “Patrick Kane will not be prosecuted more leniently or more harshly because he is employed as a hockey player.” The charges come following testimony from “all known witnesses, including a witness suggested by defense counsel,” according to the statement.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Paul Kelly, executive director of the NHL Players Association, said he would be surprised if the investigation of Marian Hossa’s contract with the Blackhawks resulted in a ruling against the team.
“Based upon everything that we know, those contracts are perfectly valid and proper under the terms of the (collective bargaining agreement),” Kelly said, speaking Tuesday at the USA Hockey Olympic camp in Woodridge.
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