Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Russo’s Rants,
I was told by a pretty good source that Wild GM Doug Risebrough has been working the phones a lot lately and has been talking to Florida casually. Risebrough’s not with the Wild right now. But that’s why these Olli Jokinen rumors intrigue me.
Also, Duane Sutter, the Panthers’s director of player development and my favorite player growing up, is on the Minnesota Wild tour right now. He was in Vancouver last night and told me he’d be in Calgary tonight.
Obviously, if Jokinen is up for grabs, several teams would have interest and it would take a heckuva lot to unleash the captain.
from the Vancouver Province,
With Mikko Koivu and Mattias Ohlund about to meet on the same sheet of ice for the first time since the Vancouver Canucks defenceman broke the leg of the Minnesota Wild centre with a timber-felling whack two months ago, tonight’s tilt isn’t just any old game.
No, according to the Wild, it’s Game 48 on the schedule.
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Two important points against a divisional opponent up for grabs. A road trip to get off on the right foot against three Northwest teams in cities in which the Wild have yet to win this season.
Mattias Ohlund? Who’s he?
From John Shipley at the Pioneer Press,
The Wild take a three-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s game against divisional rival Calgary at the Xcel Energy Center, and you can bet Harding will be in the nets. He was the winning goalie in all of those victories, with a 1.54 goals-against average and .959 save percentage.
On the flip side, Backstrom was 2-2 in his previous five starts, with a 3.40 GAA and .868 save percentage. Harding relieved him Thursday in Detroit, after Backstrom gave up leads of 3-1 and 4-2 in what was a 6-5 shootout victory for Minnesota.
After Harding backstopped a 4-1 victory over Phoenix on Sunday, coach Jacques Lemaire was asked who his No. 1 goalie is.
“The one that stops the puck is ahead of the other one,” he said. “The one that stops more pucks is the best one. So you’ve got to figure that one out.”
from CanWest via the National Post,
A healthy Gaborik has been somewhat of a treat for the Wild this season. He also took home the same honour earlier this season after he became the first player in more than a decade to score five goals in a game, Dec. 20 versus the New York Rangers.
In 2006-07, the 25-year-old native of Trencin, Slovakia, was limited to just 48 games, in large part due to a groin injury. When Gaborik was in the lineup, the Wild went 33-9-6; when he scored a goal, the team was 19-2-2.
Needless to say, as long as Gaborik, and fellow Slovak Pavol Demitra, stay healthy, the Wild will continue to compete for the Northwest title.
“I feel pretty good right now,” said Gaborik, who has 25 goals and 22 assists in 40 games this season.
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
“I can’t sit in the stands,” Leipold said. “I can’t because I’m a pathetic fan. There is a standard as an owner that I should be abiding by that I have a hard time doing. I’m not mad at our players or coaches. I just get mad at the other team, I get mad at the referees. So I sit up in my suite because I’ve got to have space because I am going all over the place.
“I can’t sit down in the chairs. There are too many people out there, and I’m going to hurt somebody.”
Leipold said that after games he loves going down to the locker room, shaking hands with the players and pow-wowing with the coaches.
“They can be screaming at players and I’m just in the corner drinking a beer,” Leipold said. “I’m not going to react to it. I never have. I’ve never called a coach or GM up and said, ‘You need to do this.’ I’m a fan, but I know my boundaries.”
added 7:03am, from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Now, after fruitlessly trying to sell the game to people who don’t want it, Leipold takes control of a contending team in one of those rare American locales where hockey has deep cultural roots. He might even make an operating profit.
Happy, happy, happy.
And it smells to high heaven.
It is impossible to have followed the travails of Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, as he attempted first to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and then the Predators in the hopes of moving a franchise to Southern Ontario, and not to connect the dots to what happened this week.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
As it happens, Minnesota can make a fairly respectable claim to being the state of hockey, even though there would be some dispute from Michigan and Massachusetts.
Still, there’s no disputing that Minnesota is definitely a hockey hotbed and that people in that area are passionate fans.
But they lost their original NHL team when Norm Green found a way to make a mess of that great market.
They got Bob Naegele, who talked a good game but never got around to backing up his words with on-ice achievements.
And now they’ve got Craig Leipold.
They deserve better.
From the Minnesota Wild,
Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has activated center Mikko Koivu from injured reserve and that center Dominic Moore has been claimed off waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
added 1:27pm, from TSN, the Leafs have recalled goaltender Justin Pogge.
from Russo’s Rants,
The Wild has placed center Dominic Moore on waivers, sources confirmed this morning, so Koivu will be able to return tomorrow in Chicago.
After talking to Jacques Lemaire, Doug Risebrough said Lemaire made clear he wants to continue to play Pavol Demitra at center and that Moore would be the odd guy out.
more on the Wild…
via the Minnesota Wild,
Minnesota Sports & Entertainment (MSE) has announced a major press conference regarding the organization on Thursday, January 10 at 12:30 p.m. CT
The parent company of the Minnesota Wild will announce this afternoon that the team is being sold, a source close to the situation tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
added 11:53am, via Michael Russo at the Star Tribune,
While the announcement was unclear Thursday morning, there have been indications for months that majority owner Bob Naegele was considering selling the team.
Recently, there have been reporters that Craig Leipold, the Racine, Wis., native who finalized the sale of the Nashville Predators in November for $193 million, was interested in buying into the Wild.
Update 1:50pm ET: From Russo again,
Bob Naegele’s tenure as owner of the Minnesota Wild ended today when it was announced he sold his interest in the team to former Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold.
From Michael Russo at the Star-Tribune,
“If somebody’s going to sign Butch to an offer sheet, I doubt it would be for 5 percent more than [his $2.6 million salary],” Lynn said. “In fact, that might be a favor for us. So let’s assume it would be a huge bonus to what he’s making this year. The field narrows pretty quickly, and then of those few, they’d have to be willing and able to do so.”
Of course, if Bouchard is in the Wild’s long-term plans, the team will eventually have to pony up anyway. After all, Bouchard can become an unrestricted free agent in July 2009. So why not pay now?
“If oil’s $100 a barrel, would you rush out now and buy as much as you can if you know there’s a good chance it won’t get worse?” Lynn said. “Or, would you wait and see if it goes down to $70 or $80 a barrel? You could always spend $100 a barrel three months from now.”
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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