Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Leipold wants aggressiveness, creative thinking and risk-taking—on and off the ice. And he believes Fletcher is the perfect guy to take the Wild to the next level.
One thing’s for sure. Fletcher will at least try to swing for the fences.
First of all, he knows that’s what Leipold wants, and he has been schooled by GMs who love taking chances—Bryan Murray, Brian Burke, Ray Shero, and his father, Cliff Fletcher.
You can bet Cliff’s son will jump feet-first into what is sure to be an active trade market this summer. Remember, many teams must dump salary in hopes of creating salary-cap flexibility, so Leipold had to find somebody not scared of maybe trading a Josh Harding or even a James Sheppard.
Leipold also needed somebody who doesn’t have a hatred of the agent who represents the best scorer the Wild has ever known. That doesn’t mean Fletcher definitely will be able to re-sign Marian Gaborik; it’s still an incredible longshot this close to free agency.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
If Leipold wants excitement, he’ll get it from the “Monster Man.” Think Don Cherry without the Chinese-tablecloth jacket and the Afghan mission. “Bam!”
But the former Hartford Whalers head coach is not just another Cherry. McGuire loudly stumped for no red line and is not a member of Hockey Night in Canada’s Granite Club when it comes to skill players and fighting. He favours visors. He’s not above eviscerating a Sean Avery, but prefers the positive approach — something he plans to take into any GM’s job.
Says McGuire, who won the 1992 Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins: “With the access I’ve had in the past 12 years to successful and unsuccessful teams, you can compile unbelievable reserves of information. I’m a better hockey person as a result. You saw that with John Davidson in St. Louis.”
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
The short list includes Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Chuck Fletcher, TSN and NBC color analyst Pierre McGuire, longtime NHL GM and coach Pat Quinn, Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton and Wild acting GM Tom Lynn.
While other unidentified candidates possibly could emerge, sources say the two considered frontrunners have interviews lined up.
Fletcher, 41, is expected to be in town later this week, while it’s believed McGuire, 47, will interview today.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The Minnesota Wild might view Pierre McGuire as the next John Davidson.
That would be good for McGuire.
Or, the Wild might see less Davidson, and more Barry Melrose.
Not so good.
What we know for sure is that McGuire, as well-known a hockey broadcaster as there is in this country outside of Don Cherry, is on the short list to become the next general manager of the Wild, succeeding the departed Doug Risebrough.
The Minnesota Wilds Derek Boogaard has just undergone surgery. From TSN:
Minnesota Wild left wing Derek Boogaard has undergone surgery on his right shoulder.
The team said Tuesday the six-foot-eight enforcer is on the road to recovery and will begin rehabilitation Wednesday.
And Niklas Backstrom is up next. From John Shipley at the Pioneer Press:
Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom is scheduled to have surgery to repair his left hip Friday in Vail, Colo.
The procedure will be done by orthopedic specialist Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed surgeries on the hips of Wild winger Marian Gaborik, most recently on Jan. 5.
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
It was exactly a week ago that team owner Craig Leipold told Risebrough he would not renew his contract after nine years and eight seasons spent building Minnesota’s second NHL expansion franchise.
“Yes, I was in shock, because there was no discussion about it,” Risebrough said at press gathering in St. Paul. “There was no discussion that day, or about my extension. And that’s OK.
“I totally appreciate the situation; a guy like myself makes decisions, and sometimes they’re difficult. For somebody who has made a decision like Craig has, I respect that he’s come to that decision, and he’ll have to live with that decision.
“There wasn’t a lot of discussion about it, which I was fine with. I’m moving on, and he’s going to find a new GM.”
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Ron Salcer, best known in these parts as the agent for free agent Marian Gaborik, accused the Wild of negligence Friday, saying it allowed one of his other clients, defenseman Brent Burns, to play six weeks with a concussion.
Acting Wild General Manager Tom Lynn disputed the substance of Salcer’s claims.
Burns, 24, was injured in practice Jan. 26 but wasn’t shut down until March 7. He is still affected with severe postconcussion syndrome.
“I met with Brent in L.A. [March 6],” Salcer said. “We’re having lunch with him and [fellow client Derek Boogaard] and he’s telling me about when he hit his head six weeks earlier. So I’m listening to him, and I’m incredulous listening to him.
“He’s telling me how, ‘Ronny, I’m an avid reader and I’m not able to read on the bus anymore. I get headaches that go all around my head. I can’t sleep. During the game, I’m not focusing. I feel like everything is happening, but I’m reacting slow. I go, ‘Brent, are you kidding me? You’ve got a concussion. You cannot play. You cannot play anymore!’
read on plus the Gaborik topic is brought up too…
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
I know Jay Feaster’s called already. I talked to Pat Quinn and Doug MacLean, who are very interested. I believe Neil Smith would like it. I think Rick Dudley would be a great candidate. I believe Pierre McGuire would be an interesting choice (he’s long been interested in getting into management), as would Nashville Director of Hockey Ops Mike Santos and assistant GM Paul Fenton.
You can see the list I’ve compiled. You can bet they’d be interested in Dave Nonis, but I can’t see Brian Burke letting him go from Toronto. Jim Nill in Detroit has been coveted by many, but he never leaves. Lots of people will line up.
Normally I’d think Tom Lynn would be a candidate, but Leipold made clear today he’s looking for “new eyes.”
Said Leipold, “If I’m someone out in the NHL, and this job is available, with the kind of players we have coming back next year and the kind of fan base, I would jump all over this.”
from Sid Hartman of the Star-Tribune,
It’s hard to understand how Craig Leipold sang the praises of Doug Risebrough when Leipold bought the Wild, only to fire Risebrough, one of the best hockey executives in the game, as team president and general manager a year later….
The johnny-come-lately owner of the Wild must not be informed of all the great things that Risebrough did, taking over an expansion club and making it pretty competitive from the start….
To top it off, Leipold didn’t have the courage to face the media and call a news conference to announce his decision to fire one of the most popular sports executives in my long media career, instead staging a conference call to let the media learn what I consider to be sad news.
added 10:59pm, via Darren Dreger of TSN,
The Minnesota Wild are building a list of candidates to replace fired general manager Doug Risebrough.
Sources tell TSN the Wild have contacted the Toronto Maple Leafs seeking permission to speak with Dave Nonis, the Leafs senior vice president of hockey operations.
Toronto has flatly declined.
from Russo’s Rants,
(Craig) Leipold was said to have agonized over the decision but decided, in the final analysis, that a change in direction was called for.
Here’s the memo from the team:
Minnesota Wild Owner, Craig Leipold, announced today that the organization will not renew the contract of President and General Manager, Doug Risebrough, beyond the 2008-2009 season….
Update 2:48pm ET: From the Pioneer Press—
I’ve got just three words for Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold:
Bring back Jacques.
Not as the coach. Jacques Lemaire, he’s been there. He’s done that.
Now that Leipold has fired Doug Risebrough, the Wild have an opening for a president and general manager.
That’s the job for Lemaire.
Update 3:36pm ET: From John Shipley at the Pioneer Press:
Asked if he’d be interested in the general manager job, Lemaire said, “No, no, no, no. I wouldn’t look at it. We had a good thing there, that’s it.”
Lemaire said he doesn’t question Leipold’s decision to fire Risebrough, but added he doesn’t see the reason for it.
“Not myself,” he said, “but I was involved in it. When you’re involved in it, you see what you’re trying to do. We were going through tough times, but everybody does, and you keep working.
Update 3:38pm ET: More thoughts on a replacement from Bob McKenzie at TSN.
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