Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Todd Kimberley at NHL.com,
Wasn’t the pain supposed to end April 12?
That’s what Colorado Avalanche fans must be asking in the midst of a surreal summer—which followed the worst NHL season Denver has seen since the Avs relocated there from Quebec City in 1995.
A mea culpa comes from no less than team president Pierre Lacroix, who had waded back into the fray after working behind the scenes in semi-retirement since 2005.
“It was my mess. I caused it,” Lacroix said. “I have no excuses. We lost our way of doing business. But our people, our organization, our owner, our players and I will clean it up.”
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
Two of Sakic’s peers—Steve Yzerman and Joe Nieuwendyk—fall into that category as well. All three were pivots that could put the puck in the net, yet they were also equal parts puck distributors. With all three recently retired, it got me to musing about today’s top scoring threats in the middle amongst the younger players. Who are the pure scoring pivots that don’t sacrifice on assists to get theirs? Are there any pure shooters in today’s game to carry the mantle in the middle of legitimate threats to score from distance?
That last qualifier is an important distinction when considering a Sakic-type threat versus, say, a Sidney Crosby-dynamo who scores his goals through hard work and diligence in getting to the net rather than looking off a defender, getting to a spot and ripping a shot past the goaltender.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Whatever Foote is, he’s not naive. His days here are numbered, and the first team that demonstrates a willingness to take on his contract, whether that’s for the entire season or near the trading deadline, likely can get him for any offer than isn’t a complete embarrassment. (And maybe even for one that is.) The chances of Foote returning for 2010-11, even if he doesn’t retire, are minuscule.
That’s how the scorched-earth approach works.
The uncertainty is one reason Foote probably won’t succeed Sakic as the Avalanche captain this season, although he and Milan Hejduk would be the best short-term choices. Instead, the nod probably will go to Paul Stastny, the 23-year-old center who would have to grow into the job.
more on the Avs…
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that it has signed first-round draft choice Matt Duchene to a three-year, entry-level contract.
“Matt is an integral part of our future,” said Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman. “He is a very skilled, two-way player with a strong work ethic and great character. We’re excited to have him under contract and look forward to him participating in training camp this fall.”
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
The Avalanche, once the envy of so many NHL cities because of the assembled talent and the sellout streak that ultimately reached 487 games, now has been transformed into a franchise jumping on the chance to “get young” and “rebuild” with a little too much enthusiasm.
That enthusiasm is all about money….
Now, in the wake of Joe Sakic’s retirement, it looks as if the Avalanche will end up with major cap room for next season. The rationalization will be leaving more room for flexibility in the future in what everyone knows has to be a rebuilding process.
Detroit isn’t the model. The model is Pittsburgh, which had elite draft choices and a payroll that has increased as their phenoms (e.g., Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury) matured and got beyond their first contracts. But this also is coming off as an ownership mandate that, well, the Avs are going to be rotten, anyway, so they might as well cut payroll to threaten the league-mandated minimum of $40.8 million.
Rebuilding doesn’t have to be the excuse for a complete scorched-earth policy.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
His voice quavering almost as soon as he reached the podium, Joe Sakic made it official today – after a distinguished 20-year career, he is retiring from the NHL
also from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“He’s had an outstanding, brilliant career,” Gretzky said. “He’s been a tremendous asset to the National Hockey League. He’s been a Stanley Cup champion and just as important he was a huge part of the [Olympic] gold medal in 2002.
“He was a winner. The thing about Joe is he did it with so much class and so much dignity. He is very humble, very quiet, almost shy. But when he got on the ice he was dynamic and very unselfish. The thing about Joe is that he worked hard every shift, every game.”
What they are saying about Joe Sakic and the top 10 Sakic moments below…
added 2:53pm, Watch the Sakic press conference below… Live Event!
NEW YORK/TORONTO – NHL Network will be live at 3 p.m. ET today to provide coverage of the announcement of the retirement of Joe Sakic, the long-time captain of the Colorado Avalanche. The two-hour live program will feature an in-depth look at Sakic’s 20-year NHL career and will be hosted by Dan Pollard and analyst Dave Reid, who played with Sakic on the Colorado Avalanche’s 2001 Stanley Cup winning team. Additional guests scheduled to call in to the show include Ray Bourque, Steve Yzerman and Peter Forsberg.
from John F. Molinaro of CBC Sports,
Nothing impressed me more about Joe than the sheer drive he displayed every time he took to the ice,” Marc Crawford, now coach of the Dallas Stars, told CBCSports.ca.
Crawford should know, having coached Sakic for four seasons and winning a Stanley Cup together in 1996. Calling him a natural leader, Crawford said Sakic had a great hockey mind, and understood the game better than most of his contemporaries.
“It’s funny, because I never felt I really coached him; it was more like I collaborated with him,” Crawford explained.
Possessing brilliant hockey instincts, Sakic went about his business in a workmanlike fashion, becoming one of the premier players in the NHL in the process.
Playing against him was no picnic, according to former Edmonton Oilers forward Craig Simpson.
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the organization will officially retire number 19 in honor of team captain Joe Sakic.
The club will raise Sakic’s number 19 in a special ceremony prior to the start of the club’s 2009-10 season opener (game date and time to be announced).
“It is appropriate and deserving that we launch the season by honoring Joe’s accomplishments,” said Avalanche President Pierre Lacroix. “It will be a tremendous event for a very special person and hockey player. We can’t put into words what he meant to this franchise and to our hockey fans.
“Joe’s numbers and records speak for themselves. He’s been the face of the franchise for two complete decades and his impact on this team and this city cannot be overstated. By retiring number 19, we are honoring one of the finest professionals in the history of the National Hockey League and we are bidding farewell to one of the greatest individuals in pro sports.”
Sakic’s 19 will be the third sweater number to be retired in the 14-year history of the Colorado Avalanche, joining Ray Bourque (77) and Patrick Roy (33). Sakic will be the seventh player in franchise history to have his sweater number retired, as the Quebec Nordiques retired the jerseys of Peter Stastny (26), Michel Goulet (16), Marc Tardif (8) and J.C. Tremblay (3).
DENVER – Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic announced today that after 20 seasons and 1,378 games with the same organization, he has played his final game in the NHL.
“After having the privilege of playing for 20 years, I’m leaving the game of hockey with nothing but great memories and a sense of accomplishment,” said Sakic. “The game has given me more than I ever dreamed of, and for that I am truly grateful.”
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.
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