Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
I’m getting more and more of these kinds of emails, just so Avalanche management knows:
I am a beyond huge Avs fan, and enjoy your articles on the team. This ongoing war (and sadly, mostly to the Avs fault that it is now a war) between O’Reilly and the team is sickening me, mostly because it was avoidable. Like you mentioned, the Avs could have taken care of this during the season, as they also could have done with Statsny, by signing him then.
There are two kinds of owners in professional sports: Those who are out to make a profit at all costs, or those who are trying to win a championship. Sadly, we clearly know which camp the Kroenke family is in. I can see owners who do not have deep pockets trying to save money because they do not have a lot to spend in the first place (i.e. Kansas City Royals, Buffalo Bills, etc.), but the Kroenke family has untold billions of dollars. Yet, they have this ridiculous cost-containment policy towards the Avs, and this will all but guarantee that they will not be winning a Stanley Cup anytime soon.
continued which includes a note from another fan with the opposite view...
Maybe there is still time to patch up the relationship between O’Reilly and his current employers. And to be sure, Colorado still has enough elite talent in its system to survive the loss of O’Reilly if it happens. However, in a league where the reputation of how a team treats players does matter, the Avalanche are doing themselves more harm than good by picking a fight with a youngster who’s delivered on everything that’s been asked of him.
There are positives to drawing lines in the sand as Colorado is doing with O’Reilly. But that line might also represent the limits of how far the Avalanche can progress by repeatedly testing the loyalty of their best young players.
-Adam Proteau of The Hockey News where you can read more on this topic...
Arbitration hearing is this Wednesday.
“We’ve got two good lines that we feel like he’ll complement either one — whichever one (Head Coach Patrick Roy) wants to put him with. And really with that power play and in front of the net he’s still got a great shot. And that leadership — you can’t have enough leadership in the dressing room and he’s definitely going to bring that.”
“Our core guys are young and we try to surround them with great veteran leadership that can help them get to the next level.”
-Joe Sakic, President of Hockey Operations for the Colorado Avalanche on Jarmome Iginla, via CBSDenver.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Wednesday in some office room in Toronto, the Avalanche will face off against Ryan O’Reilly, pun intended.
It really does look like they are going to arbitration, folks. No last-minute settlement – as often happens between player and team right before an arbitration date – is likely. Both sides in this matter don’t like it when I say there is “bad blood” between the two sides, that this is all just business and nothing more.
But I wasn’t born yesterday. If they don’t like “bad blood”, how about “perceived differences in value that has gotten a bit personal.”
The Avs didn’t like it when I wrote in the middle of last season that, hey, why not get something done with Ryan O’Reilly long-term right now, why risk going into the summer without a new deal between them and O’Reilly and potentially have things go sideways like they did before and during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season? The Avs told me that things were good between them and O’Reilly, and that they had peacefully agreed to postpone serious talks until the summer — and gave me the indication that it would be a foregone conclusion that a new, long-term deal would happen.
Silly, gullible me. Because, here we are on July 18, with no long-term contract between Ryan O’Reilly and the Avalanche.
... I like big-name guys on my team. I like it when teams get guys like Iginla - aging guys, yes, but box-office draws who still have something in the tank.
Iginla is a future Hall of Famer, one of the best right wings in league history.But not quite in the same level of stardom as Bourque. He scored 30 goals last year with the Bruins. I can't see him doing much worse on a line with either Nathan MacKinnon or Matt Duchene.
-Adrian Dater of All Things Avs where you can read more of Dater answering some emails...
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Negotiations toward a new, long-term contract between the Avalanche and left wing Ryan O'Reilly proved fruitless, so the parties are headed to arbitration on July 23, an NHL source said.
While the Avs and O'Reilly could still avoid arbitration by agreeing to a deal before that, such a prospect appears unlikely.
What it means is this: O'Reilly will have the terms of his next contract dictated by an arbitrator, who will present the 23-year-old forward with the choice of either a one-year or two-year binding contract, and O'Reilly will have to decide one or the other.
O'Reilly's base salary of $6.5 million last season means that the arbitrator cannot award him anything less than 85 percent of that figure, which guarantees O'Reilly at least a $5.525 million salary with the Avs for 2014-15.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It is fair to conclude therefore that Iginla’s No. 1 priority in selecting the Avalanche over a handful of other suitors - including of all teams, the Vancouver Canucks - was not the money. Iginla was always like that, come contract time. In his years with the Calgary Flames, he wanted a fair deal, but he wasn’t trying to squeeze maximum dollars out of them either. For eight years in a row, he made $7-million per season – the going rate for players of his stature (two Rocket Richard trophies, three first-team all-star berths).
No, the lure of Colorado was the chance to finally win a Stanley Cup on what is likely to be the final contract of his NHL career (and which will leave him just shy of $100-million in lifetime compensation). You can buy a lot of waterfront property in Belize for that kind of dough.
Iginla took a long hard look at where the best opportunities to win might be and based on conversations with both long-time teammate Alex Tanguay and the Avalanche’s president of hockey operations, Joe Sakic, came away convinced Colorado was that team. Iginla made the point to the Denver Post on the weekend that Colorado’s raw youth was not a hindrance in his mind – that the Pittsburgh Penguins won their one-and-only championship of the Sidney Crosby era when Crosby was 21 and Evgeni Malkin 22; and that the Chicago Blackhawks won the first of two with the current core group when Jonathan Toews was 22 and Patrick Kane 21. The point is, if the talent is precocious enough, then the age on the birth certificate is not necessarily an impediment to winning. On the contrary, it might be an asset.
read on plus more hockey topics...
The heated rivalry that developed between the Avalanche and Blues last season, involving coaches Ken Hitchcock and Patrick Roy and leaking out onto the ice, was an element in the St. Louis signing of Stastny. I’m convinced of that. These are Central Division rivals, the Blues blew the division title last season by losing six straight to finish the regular season, and lost to the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong wasn’t publicly drawn into the bitterness that developed between the two franchises, but it all adds up to a perfect storm — Stastny’s St. Louis roots; the Blues not only adding Stastny, but taking him away from a division rival; and perhaps a one-finger salute from Hitchcock to Roy in the wake of their bitter and even profane exchanges last season.
-Terry Frei of the Denver Post where you can read more on the Avalanche losing Paul Stastny to the Blues in free agency.
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