Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press,
Craig Leipold, who on Saturday begins his first full season as owner of the Wild, figures he has a playoff team.
“I think it’s very fair to say we’re a playoff team,” said Leipold, a former owner of the Nashville Predators. “We have the same players basically (as last season’s division champions). My expectations are high, and I think we’re going to go a long way. I like this team — there is high energy — and I think everyone on the team would be disappointed if we didn’t make the playoffs.”
As for the contract extension stalemate with all-star player Marian Gaborik, Leipold said he still hopes to sign the team’s top scorer, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Gaborik’s future in Minnesota is basically up to Gaborik, Leipold said.
a few more hockey related bits…
from the Minnesota Wild,
The Minnesota Wild is excited to welcome the newest member of the Team of 18,000, Nordy. Nordy hails from way up yonder and is a lifelong resident of The State of Hockey. Born in Eveleth, Minnesota, he was raised with a stick and a pair of blades and cut his teeth on the ponds and lakes throughout the Iron Range. He now resides at Xcel Energy Center and calls the Capital City home.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
If the Minnesota Wild don’t want to give winger Marian Gaborik more than Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin ($8.7 million a year) in a seven- or eight-year extension, they could always consider trading a star for a star.
Here’s one wildcat trade possibility: Gaborik to Pittsburgh for Malkin because the Penguins are very weak on the wing.
That would be akin to Dany Heatley for Marian Hossa, pretty rare stuff in this league where quality usually gets dealt for quantity.
continued with more NHL talk
from Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press,
Why was there such tepid interest in Nashville?
It’s a cultural thing.
Is that anything you didn’t know going in or were you too optimistic?
Both. Nashville is a market where people who were raised in Nashville go to college in Nashville, they go back to work in Nashville. It was a little harder to break into that culture, and I should have known that. The fans in Nashville are great. They’re rabid. They’re vocal. They’re passionate. There just aren’t enough of them.
Do you consider your investment there a failure or a learning experience?
I don’t consider it a failure. I look at it as I was the caretaker there the first 10 years and I’ve now passed it off to some local guys, and hopefully they can take it to a level I wasn’t able to take it to. If the team ends up cratering and moves out, then I would say I was not successful.
more from Leipold, mostly on the team he currently owns, the Minnesota Wild…
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Marian Gaborik’s long-term future with the Wild never has been more uncertain.
General Manager Doug Risebrough told the Star Tribune on Friday that he does not expect to sign Gaborik, who is one season from unrestricted free agency, to a contract extension by the start of the season.
“Not making any headway,” said Risebrough, who last month said it would be prudent to sign Gaborik, the team’s all-time leading scorer, to an extension by next Saturday’s season opener. “I was trying to do something before the season. It’s not happening. ... It’s not going to happen by the start of the season.”
Asked if he’ll react by putting Gaborik on the trading block, Risebrough said, “That, I’ll have to determine.”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
So chances are when all is said and done, with all those forces working on him, Gaborik will swallow his personal feelings and sign. But if he doesn’t, that’s when it really gets to be fun.
There’s no way Minny trades him to Vancouver. That almost certainly won’t happen given they’re in the same division. But if the team taking him in a deal can’t re-sign him, he may well consider coming here next year to meet up with old buddy Demitra. Gaborik probably wouldn’t mind playing with Marian Hossa either, but Hossa will also be a free agent next year and going for big money, so any team that wanted to pair them would have to be laying out a minimum of $18 million for the next five or six years.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Marian Gaborik was nowhere to be seen today.
Negotiations are clearly at a delicate juncture, very delicate. The two sides are far apart, although Risebrough said he plans to keep trying to get Gaborik inked to an extension. He again maintains he has had no trade talks and doesn’t plan any in the foreseeable future.
The irony here is the big risk in paying Gaborik Ovechkin money or Crosby money or Malkin money or Staal money or Lecavalier money is he’s so injury prone.
And here Gaborik is seeking to be paid like a top two or three player in the NHL while he’s out with a strained quad aggravated on the first day of training camp.
more on the Wild…
from Russo’s Rants,
The Wild met this afternoon again with Gaborik’s agent, Ron Salcer. I don’t know if it’s still going on.
Risebrough said things are “crystallizing.”
He also said, “It’s time to make a decision,” but he still doesn’t know what the results will be.
Risebrough said it all will come down to guaranteed money, and once that is agreed upon, everything can work itself out.
from Spector’s Hockey,
MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE/PIONEER PRESS: both reported on the current status of Marian Gaborik’s contract talks with the Minnesota Wild, noting they’re still ongoing but Wild GM Doug Risebrough has no set timetable on these talks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect the Wild to start shopping Gaborik if he’s not re-signed by the start of the season.
more trade and signing talk…
Dany Heatley for Marian Hossa trades don’t happen everyday in the NHL. Stars aligned a few years back and Atlanta and Ottawa was able to make a star for star trade.
That likely won’t happen here if Gaborik is dealt. Sure, the Wild could likely get a strong package of players/picks back, but you’re not going to get fair value back — at least for the short-term.
Gaborik will have his choice to play most anyplace he wants next season, and he knows that. To get him to forgo that opportunity, the Wild will have to pay him, and probably overpay him. Most teams can afford to pay Gaborik $9-10 million on a long-term deal next summer.
-Michael Russo at Russo’s Rants
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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