Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Josh Harding, arguably the Wild’s No. 1 goaltender heading into Thursday’s training camp, broke his right foot while kicking a wall after an off-ice altercation with a teammate and is expected to miss at least two or three months. And unsigned goalie Darcy Kuem- per was embroiled in a contract dispute that if not rectified Thursday means he will at a minimum be a late arriver to camp and thus put him behind the 8-ball....
Harding’s injury won’t require surgery, but he is out indefinitely. Yeo and an equally frustrated General Manager Chuck Fletcher were to meet with Harding on Wednesday to try to ascertain how he got hurt. Details are murky, but it’s clear he got into some kind of altercation with a teammate Sunday.
“We just have to figure out what happened,” Fletcher said Wednesday morning. “But I’m not sure I want to get into a whole public exposé of what happened.”
Harding is in the final year of a contract that pays him $2.1 million. In 2010, Fletcher suspended forward James Sheppard for an off-ice ATV accident days before camp that resulted in season-ruining knee surgery.
Asked if the Wild conceivably could do the same thing with Harding, Fletcher said: “I don’t want to get into hypotheticals. I just want to hear what happened and figure it out.
more on the Wild...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
“All I can tell you is my full attention is on that guy right there,” Yeo said, pointing to veteran Niklas Backstrom on the ice during Wednesday’s informal practice. “He’s the one who is here, he’s the one who put in the work.
“You make plans over the summer. I mean, my staff, we’ve been making plans on who’s practicing, what practices we’re going to have, who’s playing in the exhibition games and this was under the assumption we would have Kuemps and Hards and obviously things have changed dramatically.
“We’ve gone from talking about three goalies to sitting here talking about one (Backstrom). I put on the cool face last year pretending we weren’t frustrated about [our goaltending issues], but we’re not even Day One into camp and we’re already talking about it.”
Added veteran Jason Pominville: "Knock on wood. Hopefully nothing else happens. Hopefully we don't get that 'here we go' feeling again."
from Josh Kosman of the New York Post,
Minnesota Wild co-owner Phil Falcone might quit his hockey-crazed home state to make a play for the New York Islanders, The Post has learned.
The beleaguered hedge fund mogul and former Harvard hockey player has been mulling selling his minority ownership in the Wild with the goal of becoming an eventual owner of the Islanders, sources said.
If that happens, Falcone would invest in the Islanders alongside friend and fellow Harvard alum Jon Ledecky, who last month led an investor group that purchased a “substantial” minority stake in the NHL franchise, sources said.
“[Falcone] is thinking about it,” said a source familiar with the situation.
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League club has agreed to terms with RW Nino Niederreiter on a three-year contract.
Niederreiter, 22 (9/8/92), recorded 36 points (14-22=36), a plus-12 rating and 44 penalty minutes (PIM) in 81 regular season games during his first season with Minnesota in 2013-14. He established career highs in every statistical category and ranked second on the team in hits (175), tied for third in goals, fourth in plus-minus rating and fifth in shots. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound native of Chur, Switzerland, added six points (3-3=6) and led the team with 40 hits in 13 playoff games. Niederreiter tallied the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 at Colorado on April 30 to become the third player in NHL history to register his first two playoff goals in a Game 7 and the second youngest player in Stanley Cup Playoff history to record an overtime goal in Game 7. He also netted the game-winning goal in Game 4 vs. Chicago on May 9. Niederreiter skated in four games with Switzerland at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
via the Minnesota Wild PR department...
The sudden loss of my father has been difficult for myself and our family - my dad was my hero and he taught me about life, hockey and what was truly important - family. He will be missed greatly and his legacy and spirit will be with us every day. He lived with the motto “it’s all about the kids” and forever he will be remembered by this.
My family and I also want to say thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support we have received from the hockey community around the world. It means a lot to us to know how much he was loved and will be missed.
from Michael Russo of Russo Rants,
There were several moving tributes and words expressed yesterday on the tragic loss of Bob Suter, Ryan's dad and the Wild scout.
Bob Suter, who died at the rink he co-owned with his son, was, as ESPN's John Buccigross so poignantly said below, a rink rat.
In a story last year, Ryan Suter told me he never grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL. He figured he would go to the University of Wisconsin like his dad and uncle, Gary, and then work at the rink with his dad. His father was always at that rink, whether it was sweeping the locker rooms, resurfacing the ice or devoting his time to the kids who love to skate down at Capitol Ice.
continued and included the video tribute to Bob Suter from John Buccigross of ESPN or you can watch the video below...
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
“That’s going to be a topic around here, especially as training camp rolls around, but I’m not nearly as concerned with the goaltending scenario as most people,” Walz told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation.
Why is that? Walz said that, from the people he has spoken with, Harding is reportedly in an “excellent place right now.” Moreover, he believes Backstrom is in much better shape following the second surgery to repair his groin issues. And Walz was thoroughly impressed by what he noticed in Kuemper last season, saying that the 24-year-old has “tremendous potential.”
If Kuemper begins the season with the team’s AHL affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa, and Harding and Backstrom are healthy to start the season, the club should be in good shape.
“If those two start the season, I think both goaltenders will be among top 10 in the league,” said Walz, who now works as an analyst for Fox Sports North on Wild broadcasts.
Walz thinks the biggest challenge for the Wild is not defending the net, but filling it.
from Tamira Madsen of the MadisonMagazine,
The Suter name means hockey in Madison.
So it’s no surprise that Madison native and National Hockey League superstar Ryan Suter is involved with the Madison Capitols, a new team that competes in the United States Hockey League starting this season. The Capitols drop the puck this month and will play their home games at the Alliant Energy Center.
While Suter is a member of a nine-man ownership contingent of the franchise, the twenty-nine-year-old was motivated to get involved with the Capitols to lend support to a sport that’s given him and his family so much enjoyment over the years.
“It kind of honors my dad, my whole family—bringing the USHL back here and putting the Madison Capitols on the jersey, that’s a huge honor for my family,” says Suter, who played one season at the University of Wisconsin in 2003–04. Now a defenseman with the Minnesota Wild, Suter has played in the NHL for nine seasons and signed a $98 million, thirteen-year contract with the Wild in 2012.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Fletcher has also spent the month dialing up some veterans to check in. Two include the goalies, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding.
Backstrom had season-ending abdominal surgery and hip surgery last season and Harding didn’t play in 2014 due to complications with multiple sclerosis. Fletcher has talked with both the past two weeks to ensure that they’re still both well and that he doesn’t need to go out and sign a free agent, like Ilya Bryzgalov, who remains unsigned despite going 7-1-3 down the regular season’s stretch to guide Minnesota into the playoffs.
“Everything’s a go with both goalies,” Fletcher said of Backstrom and Harding. “Everybody seems to be feeling pretty good, and at this stage, knock on wood, all of our players who were banged up at the end of the season is feeling better. Josh has felt good. Right now we’re not expecting any issues for anybody with respect to passing training camp medicals.
“Now’s the time of the year, with about a month to go, you want to reach out and make sure there’s no issues you don’t know about so if there is something you have time to help the process. With Josh and Nik, you’re just trying to reach out and see how they’re doing. They’re both doing really well.
“There’s still some quality goaltenders out there. Ilya’s out there and a few others, so there’s that type of option out there. But we’re happy with the quality of our goaltending.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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