Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
You will hear this term a lot leading into free agency: There is a “price point” the Wild is willing to reach for certain players. Thomas Vanek is no longer a given. Four or five months ago, I think it was a given. But the bright future that many of the kids provide the Wild coupled with Vanek’s tough postseason with Montreal has changed things.
The Wild has a lot of players 28 and older, a lot of players 24 and younger. You don’t want to get too many players north of 30 on long-term deals, so there’s a specific price point I think the Wild’s willing to reach with Vanek. I don’t get the impression the Wild’s willing to sign him to a long-term deal anymore. Vanek will have good options in free agency, so is he really going to sign in Minnesota for two or three years? Hard to believe, especially after reportedly turning down a seven-year, $49 million deal with the Islanders. While that contract probably won’t be on the table with any team anymore, he certainly should still be able to get decent term of four or five years with some teams.
much more on the Wild...
from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
As much as Vanek disappeared for the Canadiens in the playoffs, Gaborik has grabbed the spotlight. Of course, we always have to clarify that by saying "a healthy" Gaborik has grabbed the spotlight. Still, it's fascinating to watch. And Gaborik, too, is about to be a free agent.
There's no question the Kings will make every effort to re-sign him, but Gaborik still will field offers before making his decision. He is 32 years old. Vanek is 30. For the sake of decision, let's look at some numbers.
Vanek is coming off of a seven-year, $50 million contract originally signed with the Buffalo Sabres. He didn't help himself with his playoff performance, but he is still going to command a long-term deal. Gaborik is coming off of a five-year, $37.5 million contract originally signed with the New York Rangers. With his history of injuries, he won't be able to command a long-term deal.
Let's say they end up with similar money on the open market -- I don't know that they will, but we'll assume that -- but Vanek insists on five or six years while Gaborik will take three years or maybe even two. Does that make it more interesting? After all, the Wild have young players coming up through the pipeline. It might be tough to commit that much money for that long.
from Mike Doyle of the Minnesota Wild website,
For Mike Yeo, the first three years as the Minnesota Wild’s head coach has been a process. In his second season, Yeo guided the team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five years. This season, the bench boss led Minnesota to its first playoff series win since 2003.
Yeo and the Wild will continue the process, as General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced the club has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Head Coach Mike Yeo.
”I am very excited to continue to coach the Minnesota Wild and pursue a Stanley Cup for the State of Hockey,” said Yeo. “Our fan support has been amazing and it went to a new level during the playoffs this season. We are all motivated to reward them.”
added 5:05pm, Wild press release is below...
First up, the Chicago Blackhawks post-game in the dressing room...
Below, three more videos...
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
The sound of that stanchion may reverberate inside the heads of every Wild player, coach, front-office person, Wild employee, arena worker and fan for a long time.
The second I heard that hideous clank, I took a big gulp because I knew something abnormal was about to happen, and that it did.
What a brutal way to end a hockey game and certainly a season for the Wild.
The Wild earned a lot of respect around the league for how it performed this postseason. Tonight, the Wild outplayed the Blackhawks but just couldn’t finish and fell because of it, 2-1, in overtime thanks to yet another Patrick Kane big moment.
“It hurts to lose, and we really believe that we were capable of doing more than just winning this game tonight,” coach Mike Yeo said.
So many glorious Wild chances left on the ice will haunt the Wild this offseason, whether it would be shots Corey Crawford saved (about time he gets the respect he deserves league-wide) or shots that hit the post (Mikael Granlund) or shots that were swung at and missed (Dany Heatley and Jason Pominville) or shots that were blocked with wide-open nets in front (Justin Fontaine and Mikko Koivu).
A short video below of the Kane OT, series wining goal. Kane just happened to be mic'd up.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
The Wild is conceding nothing.
The objective Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks is the same as it was two weeks ago when the Wild forced a Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche behind Zach Parise’s career-high four points.
Facing its third elimination game of the postseason, the Wild desperately wants to take this “must-win” contest so it can get a fourth crack at winning in Chicago. A victory in Game 6 would force a decisive Game 7 on Thursday night at the United Center and give the Wild a chance to advance to the second conference final in franchise history.
But whatever happens, all the stress and anxiety that has come this taxing postseason can only help this growing organization in the long run.
“Every day it’s a different emotion depending on how you play the night before or the sleep you get or don’t get,” veteran defenseman Ryan Suter said. “There’s a lot that goes into it. I’m enjoying it. It’s fun. It’s a learning experience for me. I’ve never been past the second round. It’s a huge challenge for me and for our team.”
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
Wild coach Mike Yeo didn’t exactly channel Yogi Berra, but he came close.
Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
Late Sunday night, after the Wild had allowed Game 5 to slip away 2-1 to the Blackhawks, Yeo said, “We’re in familiar territory again.”
These playoffs have become the Department of Redundancy Department. For the second consecutive series, the Wild lost a Game 5 on the road and faces a win-or-stay-home Game 6 at Xcel Energy Center. The opponents, Colorado and Chicago, are far different in pedigree. The feelings are nevertheless the same.
To know what was happening early Sunday night at United Center, you didn’t need HD TV or a 300-page pamphlet on how to figure out whether the NHL playoffs were being broadcast on CNBC, MSNBC, BBC or the Food Network. (Breaking news: Next year the playoffs will be seen on Uncle Luke’s Cable Access in Tupelo, Miss.)
All you had to do was listen.
With Mother’s Day weekend many were out with family. I, myself, spent yesterday at my mom’s house getting asked by my family for hockey updates and being asked to recap the playoffs thus far. Here are some hockey highlights (or low lights depending on what way you look at it).
In case you missed it Friday kicked off the start of the preliminary round for the IIHF World Championship taking place in Minsk, Belarus.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
from Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press,
As Minnesota Wild players filed into the visiting locker room at United Center, they walked to the same stalls they occupied in Games 1 and 2 out of habit.
But it quickly became apparent they were in the wrong spot, pads and nameplates serving as evidence.
After losing the first two games of their second-round series on the Chicago Blackhawks' home ice, the Wild switched things up before Game 5 in Chicago, hoping a different routine might yield different results.
The team stayed at a different hotel, occupied different locker stalls, went through a few different drills at the team's morning skate and left for the rink at a different time -- if only by a few minutes.
Some habits die hard, though.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
- One of the best in the league at any time, King Henrik is now 8-2 in his past 10 post-season games that the Rangers have faced potential elimination. Even better, after New York's 5-1 win at Pittsburgh on Friday, Lundqvist has a .953 save percentage and 1.38 goals against average in that 10-game stretch.
It may mean little if the Rangers forwards regress to the poor play they displayed earlier in the series, but given the suspect play of Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 5, the tone in this matchup may be starting to shift....
- Has the Minnesota Wild figured out the key to shutting down the Stanley Cup champions?
In a series that is turning out to be more interesting than many figured, the Wild are all square with the Hawks after four games and have been doing it by stifling the Chicago attack....
more on the Rangers and Wild plus a few more hockey topics...
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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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