Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
via Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Wild center James Sheppard was in an ATV accident yesterday while training in Vail, Colo., and sustained a serious knee injury. Richards called it an injury to his kneecap. He’s already had surgery and will miss up to four months.
This was to be an integral season for the maligned Sheppard. The fourth-year center was already on the bubble to make the team with last month’s signing of veteran John Madden and the emergence of youngsters Casey Wellman and Cody Almond.
from Glen Andersen of Wild.com,
It sure looked like the Minnesota Wild had its roster set for the 2010-2011 season. There were rumors that Mike Modano might return to the birthplace of his NHL career, but that idea (however far-fetched) was squashed by him signing with his hometown Detroit Red Wings.
But General Manager Chuck Fletcher wasn’t finished rounding out his roster for 2010-11. Fletcher often talks about finding character, grit and leadership when acquiring players. On Friday, he found a guy that epitomizes all of those qualities, and he’s got one more. He wins.
Fresh off winning his third Stanley Cup, John Madden agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Wild. His presence provides more depth at a position that is typically the toughest to fill for NHL teams.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Other than the obvious talent, it’s this Koivu quality or intangible that makes GM Chuck Fletcher want to make Koivu the centerpiece to everything he builds in Minnesota.
Obviously, a seven-year, $47.25 million commitment is, in fact, quite the commitment. It’s a $6.75 million salary cap, which is a colossal price for somebody who’s not scored more than 22 goals. I figured Ryan Kesler’s $5 million-a-year contract would be a starting point and the Wild would have to come in higher, but I never thought for a second it’d come in over 6. And truthfully, neither did a couple agents or GM’s I texted with last night.
I asked Fletcher about Koivu’s cap hit on yesterday’s conference call, saying he’s giving this to somebody who doesn’t score 40 or 50 goals. Fletcher replied, “How do you know?”
Hey, very true. But what I meant is Koivu probably could pop in 35 or 40 if he really wanted to, but the reality is he really doesn’t want to.
from Glen Andersen of Wild.com,
On Thursday, the Wild inked the 2001 first round pick to a seven-year extension, meaning Koivu will be a member of the Wild through the 2017-2018 campaign when he’s 34 years old.
“It’s a milestone day in the history of the Minnesota Wild,” said Fletcher minutes after seeing the signed deal on his desk. “When you have your franchise player commit to you, really for the next eight seasons. He’s our best hockey player. He’s our captain. And he’s still just 27 with his best hockey years ahead of him.”
added 5:56pm, via Michael Russo tweet,
Sources: Koivu’s deal is 7 years, $47.25 million. $6.75 AAV, no-trade, 5 signing bonuses throughout. Richest deal in #mnwild history
from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,
Six months ago, Pierre-Marc Bouchard not only stayed off the ice at the Xcel Energy Center, but he dared venture out for only short walks through his neighborhood.
Mentally, he said, he “kind of hit the bottom.”
Last week, however, Bouchard was back to feeling his oats.
“Gotta go,” he said by phone from his summer home in Montreal. “My brother wants to go for a bike ride.”
It’s no coincidence that as Bouchard missed 81 of the Wild’s 82 games last season because of post-concussion symptoms, the Wild floundered in the NHL’s Western Conference standings and fell short of the playoffs.
Team personnel, along with Bouchard, are cautiously optimistic that the playmaking former first-round draft pick will play for the Wild this season. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher can’t wait to see the shifty, 5-foot-10 forward back in the team’s lineup.
“He will come back, and the sooner the better, but again there’s still some healing to be done,” Fletcher said
from Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas,
The market for Mike Modano’s services appears to be growing. The 40-year-old forward said Friday that the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild have contacted him about the possibility of playing next season. That comes days after he met in Detroit with Red Wings personnel.
Modano said Minnesota may want to meet face-to-face with him soon, but no date has been set.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org