Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Still don’t understand Dean Lombardi’s stance on Drew Doughty. With Doughty, he has a Stanley Cup contender. Without him, he has nothing close. The Los Angeles Kings general manager went on radio to say he can’t afford to overpay Doughty. He said this, having committed $8 million US this season to Simon Gagne and Dustin Penner. It’s not that he can’t pay Doughty more. It’s that he won’t ... Some Kings people, by the way, think this contract negotiation has gotten personal. The Kings say they won’t pay Doughty more than they pay Anze Kopitar, who used to be a client of Don Meehan’s. Meehan is now insisting that Doughty be paid more than Kopitar.
• Almost from the moment Mike Modano announced he was retiring, the discussion began: Who is the best American hockey player ever? And where does Modano fit on that list?...
If I’m ranking, it would be 1. Leetch; 2. Chelios; 3. LaFontaine; 4. Modano; 5. An oldtimer, Frankie Brimsek. He won the Vezina Trophy twice while playing for the Boston Bruins and the Stanley Cup twice in the the late 1930s, early ’40s. All of my top five are in the Hall of Fame, or will be.
a few more hockey notes…
From Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com Hockey:
If you want crisis, look to Los Angeles, where the Drew Doughty impasse threatens to cut down a promising Kings’ season before it even begins.
The Kings insist it’s business as usual without their franchise defenseman. They aren’t fooling anyone.
Doughty’s absence hangs over the team like a guillotine.
read on for more plus links to a Q&A about RFAs
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Drew Doughty and his agent, Don Meehan, are entitled to ask the Kings for as many millions of dollars as their calculators have digits.
They can cite Doughty’s fine rookie season and stellar follow-up, which included an Olympic gold medal and top-three Norris Trophy finish. They can downplay his uneven third season by emphasizing his remarkable mobility, vision and scoring potential.
But sometime soon they must recognize that it’s more important for Doughty to score points on the ice than make points at the bargaining table.
Doughty would have gained more by participating in the first training camp sessions Saturday than he will gain if he ultimately prevails in a senseless battle.
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Question: You’re now in a holdout situation with Doughty. What kind of update can you give about his status and the negotiations?
LOMBARDI: “Obviously we’re very disappointed that he’s not here. I don’t think it’s any secret, what we think of this player and his abilities and what his potential is. So that’s certainly not an issue, as far as the quality of the player or the quality of the person. We hold both to high regard. That said, a couple things. I don’t want to get into the intricacies what we offered, in terms of the minute details. It’s safe to say that, as far as the big picture within the league, we certainly made him an offer that puts him amongst the top defensemen in the league. Then you look at your team. It’s no secret that he would be at the top of our team. Then, thirdly, even thought I think you know how I feel philosophically about paying for potential, it’s part of the system unfortunately. But the third thing that’s critical to us is the allocation. Where we’re at now, we certainly stretched the limit in terms of paying him amongst the top players in the league, paying him appropriately within the team’s salary structure and, most importantly, being able to keep this group together.
Update 3:48pm ET: ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun on Twitter offers this reminder—
Worth noting that technically speaking, Doughty is not a holdout , he’s an unsigned RFA. Not that Kings fan will feel any better.
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Once again, the Kings have managed to put themselves in the middle of one of hockey’s messiest offseason stories. Last year, they dipped their toe into the Ilya Kovalchuk situation and ended up getting stuck in free-agent quicksand for a month. Now it’s Drew Doughty’s contract, a situation they hoped to have resolved more than two months ago. Remember, at one point, the Kings hoped to have Doughty signed prior to the start of the free-agency period, so they knew how much money they could offer Brad Richards in their low-profile attempt to sign Richards. Now, no Richards, no Doughty.
Perhaps that was part of the problem. From their perspective, the Kings went big early, deciding in July that they would be willing to give Doughty a contract equal to — or actually, in total, greater than — the one they gave Anze Kopitar in 2008. They thought that would be enough. By all accounts, it isn’t. Thus the problem. The Kings showed, in July, what they claimed (and still claim) was their best hand, and for two months they have remained adamant that they won’t budge. Other offers have been exchanged, at different levels, but nothing has significantly changed.
From Pierre LeBrun at ESPN:
Drew Doughty and the Kings remained at an impasse Wednesday, but that can change with one phone call. Sources told ESPN.com that the Kings won’t pay Doughty more than the $6.8 million Anze Kopitar makes on average per season.
Further, Bob McKenzie of TSN reported late Tuesday night that the Kings won’t do a deal for less than seven years.
In a nutshell, both term and salary remain an issue. But like I said, it just takes one phone call.
continued with updates on Luke Schenn, Zach Bogosian and others
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
“It was a journey and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” said the 33-year-old from Port McNeill, B.C. “2010 was probably the toughest year of my life, but it was probably the best year of my life as far as maturing and growing as a person. The things you learn when you go through something like that.
“The biggest lesson was to worry about things you can control and not the other stuff. It’s worked really well in terms of my relationships with my family, my wife, my friends, my teammates, my coaches. I don’t worry about the stress caused by things I can’t control. I don’t worry if my defence partner didn’t make that hold-up that I would have liked him to make. That is out of your control.
“It’s made me a better person, a better player.”
After the Malkin hit, Mitchell wanted to be left alone in the dark because light made it unbearable and every little noise got to him. The severe symptoms eventually subsided, but then Mitchell faced the external pressure of when he would return.
Everywhere he turned in Vancouver, he would run into a fan, a friend or teammate, and the questions would start. When are you coming back, Willie? How’s your head, Willie? Are you feeling better, Willie? All those queries did was put pressure on Mitchell that he didn’t need.
From Rich Hammond at the LA Kings site:
For the bulk of the summer, housed in a small, windowless office in an industrial section of El Segundo, Terry Murray has been at work, laying the groundwork for a season in which he, his fellow coaches and Kings players will shoulder increased expectations.
Offseason additions of veterans such as Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Ethan Moreau, coupled with the natural maturation of a talented, young team, has led many league pundits to tab the Kings as top contenders in the Western Conference.
Can the KIngs pull it off? They’ll take the first step on Sept. 17, when training camp opens and players officially take the ice for the first time. For Murray, in a way, it will be a culmination though, an end to months of preparation and planning.
“There’s a method to the madness, in terms of what goes on before that first day of training camp,” Murray said. “It goes way back, to literally the end of the previous year.”
from Helene Elliott of The Fabulous Forum,
The process of rebuilding the ice surface began at about 6 a.m. Wednesday and was expected to be finished Wednesday night. It will then require a few days to set before anyone can skate on it.
While that was going on, Bailey, the Kings’ mascot, planted three pennies at center ice for good luck. Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president of business operations, said one was an 1893 penny to commemorate the year the Stanley Cup was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston. Robitaille said the second penny was placed by Bailey and had personal meaning to the costumed mascot.
“I talked to Bailey’s handler, because Bailey doesn’t talk,” Robitaille said. “And I heard they were putting in a 1993 penny. I asked why and they said that’s the year we went to the finals, and I said, ‘That doesn’t make sense. We lost. We’ve got to put something that means something to us that we’ve won.’ So he put something that was personal to him that was meaningful about a championship, and I did too.”
What was Robitaille’s choice? A penny from 2002, the year he won the Cup with the Detroit Red Wings.
more on the Kings…
via Helene Elliott tweets,
Kings say they’ve made “refined” offer to Drew Doughty that gives him different contract lengths to consider. Said they’re awaiting
a response in a day or two. Said everything has been amicable, will have better idea of where they are when Doughty’s side responds.
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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