Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Edward Fraser of the Hockey News,
As I’ve done with the Pacific, Southeast, Northwest and Northeast over the past four weeks, here are my picks for the top three ’09 UFAs from each team in the Central Division. I’ll finish the tour next Friday with the Atlantic.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Henrik Zetterberg ($2.9 million)
He’ll never get close to UFAdom; you can bet each of GM Ken Holland’s Stanley Cup rings on that.
Marian Hossa ($7.45 million)
Even if the Wings don’t repeat as champs and Hossa doesn’t get the Cup he so desires, don’t expect him to take another one-year deal. How does eight years and $68 million sound?
Johan Franzen ($1.15 million)
A shoo-in for the Conn Smythe if he didn’t go down with an injury in the playoffs, the 28-year-old is the heir apparent to an aging Tomas Holmstrom.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks sold 57,000 single-game tickets Monday, and with their increasing season-ticket base have sold more than 500,000 tickets for the upcoming season, an increase of more than 300 percent from this time last year.
While no games are officially sellouts because the team is withholding tickets for season plans, many games — including the home opener Oct. 13 against Nashville, the Feb. 27 game against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins and games against the Red Wings — were unavailable to some buyers Monday….
McDonough said the Hawks’ season-ticket base had increased from about 3,400 at the beginning of last season to more than 12,000 so far this season. Full-season ticket-holders will get an opportunity to purchase tickets for the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Red Wings at Wrigley Field.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
If his career continues, it will be with a team that ignores statistics and values the impact he has on others. You want points? Find somebody else. He’s not a 60-goal scorer or a 140-point guy for his career. You want a selfless teammate, a tireless worker, a consummate professional, a leader by example? He’s waiting by the phone.
Unfortunately, players like him aren’t in high demand in the NHL. The Blackhawks thought the world of his intangibles last year, but they’re over the salary cap after signing defenseman Brian Campbell. Don’t be surprised if they make some moves to get their salary structure in order and bring back Adams, who made $600,000 last year, for another season.
The Blackhawks acquired him because they thought he could mentor rookies Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews while boosting the penalty kill. After all, he’s been a respected leader for years and helped Carolina win the Cup in 2006. The Hawks wound up treasuring him more for his work while he was injured than they did for his play on the ice.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
Seinfeld had the Summer of George. I’m predicting 2008-09 will be the Winter of Some Original Six Team. Theoretically, I’m not supposed to cheer, but deep down I’ll have a soft spot this season for these three golden oldie franchises:
Montreal: The Habs are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, they’re holding the All-Star Game and the entry draft at Bell Centre and the club is a bona fide contender in the East. It’d be sweet to see the NHL’s most storied franchise reach the peak again.
“‘We’re going to do what’s best for the Chicago Blackhawks,’’ Tallon said. ‘‘If it’s keeping Khabibulin, we’ll do it. Right now we’re sitting tight.
‘‘Winning is the bottom line, and the No. 1 position to win is great goaltending. If you don’t have that, you’re going to struggle. If it doesn’t work out with the number of games [each goalie] plays or someone not wanting to be here, then we’ll have a look at it.’‘
-Dale Tallon at the Chicago Sun-Times. Read more on this topic including comments from Huet.
I wish every hockey fan could have at least one conversation about hockey with Scotty Bowman. I’m telling you, there is absolutely nothing like it. It’s like you are talking to the actual NHL itself - if it could be humanized - when you do. He’s done it all, he’s seen it all, and he remembers it all.
-Adrian Dater of All Things Avs where you can read more about Scotty and Stan Bowman…
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Bowman joined the Blackhawks Thursday as senior advisor of hockey operations, but those in the industry maintain that nobody should be fooled - Bowman didn’t leave a great situation with the Detroit Red Wings to just sit back and be a consultant in Chicago.
In fact, there are those who maintain Bowman’s hiring is simply greasing the skids for him to take a much more prominent role in the organization, with either GM Dale Tallon or coach Denis Savard, or possibly both, being replaced before long.
It is well-known new Hawks president John McDonough is not a big fan of either Tallon or Savard and that McDonough was the driving force behind the signings of unrestricted free agents Cristobal Huet and Brian Campbell.
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
Doug Wilson, Ken Holland, Dale Tallon and Doug Armstrong have spent a lot of time in recent years trying to outsmart each other. We’re talking about three NHL general managers — Wilson with the Sharks, Holland with the Red Wings, Tallon with the Blackhawks — and Armstrong, an ex-GM in Dallas who is now part of the Blues’ front office.
No matter. The four of them are heading to Ireland next week, leaving families behind to knock a golf ball around some of that country’s fine courses.
from a press release by the Chicago Blackhawks,
The Chicago Blackhawks will introduce Scotty Bowman as Senior Advisor, Hockey Operations at a 3pm ET press conference today.
added 1:01pm, The Blackhawks will be streaming the press conference today.. I have pointed you to their homepage where you can get more information.
added 2:36pm, Scotty Bowman, more than anyone in hockey today, embodies the traits we are integrating into this organization in order to bring a Stanley Cup to Chicago. He symbolizes excellence, performance, work ethic and delivering results. So do we,” said W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz, Chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks.
From the Detroit Free Press:
Representatives from the National Hockey League, the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey Players’ Association gathered this morning atop the third-base dugout of Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ historic home, to talk about the upcoming NHL Winter Classic 2009. They were joined by Blackhawks Hall of Famers Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito, along with the exciting young Chicago forward tandem of Pat Kane and Jonathan Toews.
The 701st all-time meeting of the clubs – no NHL opponents have played more regular-season games against each other – will begin at the memorably unique venue at 1 p.m. on Jan. 1.
“The NHL is delighted to bring its most historic rivalry to one of the most historic venues in sports,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “We thank Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough for their vision. We thank Mike Ilitch and the Red Wings for their cooperation. We also thank the entire Cubs organization and Mayor Daley, in advance, for the warm welcome we know the City of Chicago will extend to our newest tradition.”
Update 3:15pm ET: NHL.com was featuring a photo of Wrigley Field on their front page this afternoon, giving an idea of the ice placement. I’ve added it below.
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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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