Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We had arranged to interview the KHL president and oil magnate through a league spokesman. We thought the timing was right given the Jaromir Jagr rumors, the Ray Emery situation, the world economic crisis, the nose-diving Russian ruble, falling oil prices and, well, the KHL’s survival.
An Edmonton Journal blog had the industry chirping Tuesday when it speculated the Oilers were taking another run at Jagr (they tried to sign him last July). The Oilers denied it. As we pointed out Tuesday, Jagr can’t leave his Russian contract with Omsk Avangard; and besides, if he did somehow sign with the Oilers, he’d have to clear NHL waivers first.
“Mr. Jagr played today for Avangard,” said Medvedev, who was in New York to take in the Capitals-Rangers game. “Legally, he has a contract. It would surprise me if it was really true that Edmonton tried to negotiate a deal with Mr. Jagr. I don’t like those rumors. But Edmonton publicly announced it wasn’t the case.”
Besides, continued Medvedev, Jagr is signed for “two years plus one [option].”
“And there is no-out clause [in the contract],” added Medvedev.
From Pierre LeBrun at his ESPN blog:
We have an update for you on that Ray Emery situation we first told you about this past weekend. The former Ottawa Senators goalie has had a change of heart and returned to his Russian hockey club in the KHL.
“I talked to Ray on Monday, and we made the decision that he should go back,” his agent, J.P. Barry, told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “I felt that he should finish what he started and that we would continue to work out the compensation issue.”
Emery didn’t report back to Mytishchi Atlant last week after the league’s break, citing a breach of contract with the club. Emery and Barry believed the Russian team has been using the wrong exchange rate to pay the goalie, and by their count, they were down about 33 percent in pay throughout the course of the season. Emery threatened to stay home in Ottawa until the matter was resolved, but he arrived back in Russia on Tuesday.
Back on January 9th, we cited a report indicating that the former Flames assistant coach was fired by Avangard Omsk of the KHL, mid-game. The following day, Darren Dreger of TSN noted a “power struggle” seemed to be going on, with Fleming acknowleding that “I guess they didn’t fire me.”
Well, for anyone keeping up with the trials and tribulations of Wayne Fleming, today brings this news from Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail:
Wayne Fleming, the Canadian-born coach of the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League’s struggling Avangard Omsk team, is out again as coach – this time for good, it would appear.
Russian hockey sources confirmed Friday Fleming was relieved of his coaching duties earlier this week…
Peter Forsberg says if he plays this season, it will be in Sweden this year.
Read about in an AP story via Sports Illustrated.
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,
Friday night, they broadcast the Ducks’ game played here against Tampa Bay.
Saturday morning, they broadcast an all-star game played in Moscow.
Yeah, thatMoscow, the one in Russia. Not the one in Idaho.
Estimated travel time from Southern California: 12 hours.
How did they do this, exactly? How’d they leave Honda Center at 11 p.m. and, six hours later, call a game 6,000 miles away?
“Three cups of coffee,” Brent Severyn said, “and two doughnuts did it for me.”
It also helped that NBC was able to bring Moscow to them, to Severyn and partner John Ahlers, the two taking a red-eye drive, just 45 minutes up the freeway, transatlantic carpooling.
According to the Calgary Herald, Swedish club Vasteras was under the assumption that Backlund would rejoin them after the World Junior Hockey Championship.
‘‘Mikael Backlund has not been given permission to play for another club,’’ Vasteras official Anders Eklund told the Swedish media. ‘‘There is nothing in his agreement with us that allows him to play for a club in North America and we don’t think it’s right that he did this without communicating with us.
‘‘We are very disappointed in Backlund’s conduct in this case and do not think he acted honestly.’
Backlund suited up for the Calgary Flames last week. Read on.
Update 3:05pm ET: Here’s the original report in the Calgary Herald.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
A bizarre power struggle continues to unfold in the KHL between Omsk management and head coach Wayne Fleming.
Fleming, who was (according to russiatoday.com) reportedly fired in-game this week, met with Omsk general manager Anatoli Bardin on Saturday and was told he hadn’t been fired even though Bardin asked Fleming not to coach the third period of game on Thursday night.
“I guess they didn’t fire me,” Fleming said. “But I told him at the time, if I’m not coaching the third period obviously I’m fired.”
Fleming says he didn’t return for the final period, changed his clothes and left the arena under the assumption his KHL days were over.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
As Jaromir Jagr got ready for the latest unique experience in a season already full of them, he said he has no regrets about leaving the N.H.L. to play in Russia, despite watching a teammate die on the bench, having his coach quit in the middle of a game and playing in a league whose financial situation is said to be faltering.
“You could write a book about it,” Jagr said of his season during a telephone interview from Moscow. “But I’m fine. I’m doing good. I’m happy.”
On Friday, Jagr was getting ready to take center stage for the Continental Hockey League, or K.H.L., All-Star game on Saturday at an outdoor rink in Red Square. There, Jagr is the all-star of all stars, the biggest name in a league marketing itself around him.
added 5:33pm, from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Jaromir Jagr said he has no designs on returning to the NHL in the short term, but if he ever did return he would be happy to go back to the Pittsburgh Penguins to play for his former idol, Mario Lemieux.
“I was thinking about it and if Mario would call me and say, ‘I’d like you to play for our team,’ I would think about it a lot,” Jagr said in a telephone interview from Moscow where the Kontinental League will hold its inaugural All-Star Game outdoors at Red Square Saturday. “I would play for the minimum salary. I would play for $350,000 just for him because I owe him my hockey life. I want to pay him back because he has made me what I am…besides my parents.”
from Russia Today,
The coach of Avangard Omsk hockey team didn’t return to the bench for the third period of his team’s home game against Vityaz Podolsk. Canadian specialist Wayne Fleming couldn’t do so as he’d been fired during the break.
After the second period Avangard were losing 1-0 to lowly Vityaz and the club’s bosses had just had enough of the team’s poor performance in the current KHL season.
I hope the NHL doesn’t pick-up on this marketing idea. It sort of spooks me out.
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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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