Kukla's Korner Hockey
It appears as though the Minnesota Wild have a backup plan after losing Josh Harding for the season.
Montreal radio station CKAC is reporting that the Wild have signed goaltender Jose Theodore to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.
added 11:13am, 10/2/2010, via Glen Andressen of Wild.com,
“Jose’s a veteran who’s won 245 games in the NHL,” said General Manager Chuck Fletcher in a hotel lobby in Helsinki. “We’re fortunate he was still available. He makes us a deeper team and we have a terrific one-two punch again.”
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
If the Wild is interested in bringing in free agent Jose Theodore to replace injured Josh Harding, the longtime NHL goaltender would be interested in coming, his agent said Monday night.
Don Meehan, whose firm also represents Harding, said he spoke with Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher on Sunday about Theodore.
“When Chuck called to tell me Harding would be out for the season, Chuck said to me, ‘Look, I’ve got to make a move.’ And I said, ‘Keep me in the loop. Jose Theodore is available,’” Meehan said. “He said, ‘That’s certainly an interesting possibility.’
Darren Dreger tweeted this morning,
A number of teams seem interested in one of SJ’s goaltenders. Greiss is a likely target. Maybe Minny?
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Josh Harding heard a “disturbing pop,” threw off his blocker and gripped the net in dread Friday night in St. Louis.
“I kind of went into shock. I knew something was wrong. I was hoping it wasn’t this,” the Wild goaltender said dejectedly.
Harding’s worst fear was confirmed Saturday morning when doctors determined he tore both the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his right knee. After swelling in his MCL subsides, Harding will undergo reconstructive surgery that could cause him to miss the season, although he refused to rule out a return.
“It’s going to be a battle. I’m ready to take on that battle, though,” Harding said. “It’s not like I’m going to just lay in my bed and feel sorry for myself. That’s not going to help anything.”
via Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Wild goaltender Josh Harding left tonight’s exhibition game with 6:23 left in the first period after St. Louis Blues forward Brad Boyes accidentally fell on his right leg. Harding was in visible pain and could put no weight on the leg after he left the ice.
He’s been replaced by Matt Hackett.
Harding underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his right hip in April. I don’t want to guess, but I’m fairly certain this injury isn’t to his hip. He’ll be evaluated tomorrow in Minnesota, and hopefully I can get more information after the game.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Luckily for the Wild, not a whole lot of fans showed up tonight to watch it. The announced crowd of 16,219 was a heck of a lot more than reality. Lots and lots and lots of empty green seats, which is partly understandable on a rainy night for an exhibition game.
Now, most teams don’t sell out preseason games, but tonight was officially the first non-sellout in Wild history, ending the longest active streak in the league of 409. However, you’ve got to hand it to the Wild marketing geniuses.
The NHL counts regular season and postseason in active sellout streak, so technically the Wild has a 382-game sellout streak still intact. But it’s brilliant. The Wild makes a huge deal of it now, and now if they don’t sell out Game 3 or 5 or 7 of the regular season, we make it just a footnote in print.
Incidentally, the Wild has still not sold out opening night, so tickets are still available if you’re interested.
from Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune,
He’s been asked to tell the story so many times that at first you get a little roll of the eyes.
But it’s there, a movie-of-the-week tale that begins in Toronto’s poverty-stricken Parma Court housing projects 37 years ago.
John Madden, who has joined the Wild—coming to Minnesota with three Stanley Cup championships in his past—will tell you that a difficult childhood and a life spent proving that a 5-11, 190-pounder has a place in the NHL will give you an edge. It’s just that he doesn’t want to make too big a deal of it.
“It’s true,” said Madden, whose parents had divorced by the time he was 10, when asked about learning hockey on a flooded basketball court, about looking out for himself while his mom worked two jobs, about how he had to carry his bag onto the bus, and then the Toronto subway, just to get to games when he was 12.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Q With a team-record payroll of more than $57 million (a few million from the salary-cap ceiling), you could not have been happy with a 13th-place finish. What are your expectations this year?
A: I’m not happy. It’s been a very long offseason. We are committed to winning, and winning means playoffs—and a run in the playoffs. Last year was a bad year. We got off to a surprisingly bad start. We had a decent run in the middle. And then we had a bad ending. We need to have a little bit of luck this year in terms of injuries. If we have a normal injury kind of year, I would expect our team to be a strong playoff team, one that will have a run in the playoffs—whatever that means, however you define that. I know how I define it. All of us were not happy with how we ended last year and where we were in the standings last year. That’s just not acceptable. I’m not proud at all that we didn’t make the playoffs the last two years.
from Kaja Whitehouse of the NY Post,
Hedge fund bigwig Phil Falcone is bucking the odds in his bet to be the new owner of Hooters Casino Hotel, the Las Vegas venture launched in 2006 by founders of the popular restaurant chain.
Falcone, who runs the $8 billion New York hedge fund Harbinger Capital Management, bought the casino’s troubled $130 million senior loan, putting him in a prime ownership position for when the casino seeks bankruptcy protection, sources tell The Post.
But there’s a glitch: Falcone isn’t allowed to own the casino.
The investment guru and avowed hockey nut—who skated for Harvard in college—made a mint shorting toxic mortgages in 2007 and used a small slice of that fortune to buy a 40 percent stake in the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
Now Falcone faces this blind-side hit: The NHL restricts owners from owning a casino with a sports book, and Hooters operates a sports book.
Cal Clutterbuck answered some fan email at Wild.com,
Question: Who are you most looking forward to meeting as an opponent this year to lay a big hit on?
(laughs) Ahh, probably anyone from Vancouver. Maybe Sidney Crosby.
Editor’s Note: Many people asked about former Penguin and current Senator Sergei Gonchar, who took a run at Clutterbuck last year and delivered a heat shot. This was brought up to Clutterbuck.
(laughs) That was a long time ago, but if I have the opportunity to hit him cleanly, I’m going to take full advantage.
more Q & A…
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey New,
James Sheppard’s off-ice ATV accident could end up costing him a significant amount of money, more than $4,000 for each day he is on the injury list, in fact.
Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher made it clear after learning about Sheppard’s mishap in Vail, Colo., that resulted in a broken kneecap, his most pressing priorities were learning the full extent of the injury and getting Sheppard back on the ice as soon as possible.
But with Sheppard being injured while taking part in a higher-risk activity, it puts into question whether or not the Wild will be able to suspend Sheppard and withhold his $803,250 salary this season until he’s healthy enough to play again. Initial reports suggest Sheppard could miss as much as four months this season.
“We’re still looking into the relevant facts and making sure that James is getting the best medical care,” Fletcher said. “At this stage we’re concentrating on helping James speed up the recovery process as much as possible.”
However, Fletcher did contend there are provisions in the collective bargaining agreement and the standard player contract to deal with such issues.
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