Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
A Thrashers-Wild blockbuster could be in the works.
Denials will come from Thrashers GM Don Waddell and Wild counterpart Doug Risebrough (they always do), but the whisper around the NHL is those teams have been discussing a huge deal involving superstar forwards Marian Gaborik and Ilya Kovalchuk.
Risebrough has been shopping Gaborik all season, but it’s been tough to find a taker because of his injury history. The talk is the Thrashers might have an interest if they can get Gaborik signed to a long-term contract, but the asking price would be high.
There’s a belief the sides have been talking about sending Gaborik and D Kim Johnsson to the Thrashers in exchange for Kovalchuk and RW Colby Armstrong.
continue to read more whispers…
added 10:18am, from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
If Gaborik stays in one piece, the Wild will be looking to move him to an Eastern Conference-based team. I’m sure they’ve talked to the Montreal Canadiens. Bob Gainey and the Wild tandem of general manager Doug Risebrough and coach Jacques Lemaire are buddies from their playing days with the Canadiens.
Chris Higgins, a strong winger who seems to have fallen into disfavour in Montreal, is a likely target for Minnesota. Maybe Guillaume Latendresse, too, because Mark D’Agostini has come up from the minors and keeps scoring. A former Habs first-round pick, left-winger Max Pacioretty (Hamilton Bulldogs) is another possibility.
From John Shipley at the Pioneer Press:
Marian Gaborik will return to the lineup for the first time since Oct. 14 when the Wild play host to Calgary on Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
After a 90-minute practice today, Gaborik declared himself fit.
“I’m good to go for tomorrow,” he said.
via Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,
All signs point to Marian Gaborik returning to the ice for the Wild on Wednesday night.
“It looks pretty good,” he said of the possibility he would be ready to play against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night at the Xcel Energy Center, adding that his status remains “day by day.
“Today was a good day. Hopefully, it’ll be another good day tomorrow, and if everything goes good, hopefully jump into the game Wednesday.”
Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said Gaborik “looks very good” and added, “I just want him back.”
But, Lemaire cautioned, “It’ll be up to him.”
from Russo’s Rants,
Gaborik was clearly happy to be on the ice with his teammates. The last time was Oct. 30, but that was just an optional morning skate and he sustained a setback. He was chirping some of his teammates this morning and was smiling a lot.
Lemaire was less excited. He was in kind of an abrasive mood. He said Gaborik was a long way of playing, said he was rusty and almost had an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude. After all, Gaborik’s sustained setbacks before.
Lemaire even sarcastically said, “If we’re not too strict with his defense, we’ll be fine. He’ll be able to get some goals.”
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
The Wild sent center Krys Kolanos back to Houston on Monday, and it’s not because Owen Nolan is due back soon.
Could it be the harbinger of Marian Gaborik’s return?
Assistant general manager Tom Lynn would only say “it’s a possibility” that Gaborik will practice with the team this morning. The franchise’s career scoring leader has been skating on his own the past week or so “as he ramps up to full strength,” Lynn said.
Gaborik has missed 24 of 26 games with what the Wild are calling a lower body injury. If he practices today, he could make the team’s three-game road trip to Phoenix, Los Angeles and Anaheim, Calif.
added 4:33pm, via MinnesotaWild.com,
A bit of an early practice today (10:30 a.m.) because the Wild wives held a luncheon. The big news out of the skate is that Marian Gaborik practised with the team for the first time since suffering a lower body injury in mid-October. Gaborik wasn’t on a particular line, and was the only player with a light green sweater. Jacques Lemaire said that Gaborik was not scheduled to go on the trip out West.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Tobin Wright is the Minneapolis-based agent who works for Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based agent Ron Salcer, the agent who represents Marian Gaborik, Brent Burns and Derek Boogaard.
As I reported Sunday morning, Wright has been banned from the Xcel Energy Center event level. I couldn’t report the reason Sunday. I can now.
Salcer is accusing the Wild of banning Wright as punishment for refusing to testify against Willie Mitchell in his arbitration case against the Wild.
Mitchell claims he had a bulging disc in his neck that prevented him from playing during the lockout. If you were not medically cleared to play as of Sept. 15, 2004, players were supposed to be paid their NHL salaries until they were medically cleared. Mitchell is claiming he was unfit to play, and thus should have been paid his $1.775 million salary from the Wild.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
This contract ordeal has been watched closely by the entire NHL, and over the past month the Star Tribune has talked to nearly a dozen current and former league executives. Many refused to be quoted or asked for anonymity, but they all had an opinion—from “Gaborik should re-sign” for a fair deal to “the Wild waited too long.”
“Unfortunately, it’s as difficult and challenging a situation that you can be in,” said Doug MacLean, the former Columbus Blue Jackets general manager.
That’s in part because it’s hard to see an end game that has Gaborik re-signing, yet the team’s ability to trade him has been halted by this injury. It’s a worst-case scenario for the Wild.
“You’ve got the [March 4 trade] deadline,” MacLean said. “That’s the sad part of this whole scenario. They had an amazing asset that’s diminished.”
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
Don’t view any investment as a safe investment. Don’t draw an inside straight. Don’t argue politics with someone who didn’t want change. And don’t ever, ever discount the Minnesota Wild’s chances of making the playoffs as long as Jacques Lemaire is coach.
I’m not even waiting for New Year’s Day to make my resolution. That’s now my philosophy after watching November unfold.
In October, my prediction was that the Minnesota Wild wouldn’t make the playoffs. Today, they have the third-best winning percentage in the Western Conference and they are leading the NHL in goals-against average.
Looking at Minnesota’s roster and reviewing how the Wild have performed this season, my conclusion is that as respected as Lemaire is around the NHL, we might still be underestimating his importance.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Stars Blog,
“Turco pushed the net,” Lemaire said. “It’s the third time that Turco does that, just against us. He goes like he’s going to stumble, and he just lays on the post, that’s what he does. It’s a trick, but now they’ll know. Next time, they’ll watch.”...
When told that Lemaire said that historically speaking, Turco had a history of doing that, Turco replied:
“When he played, they had steel pegs in there, and the net wasn’t coming off, And I don’t know how many times he was in front of the net, anyway…historically speaking.”
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
There is a rumor out there that the Minnesota Wild are on the verge of trading Gaborik. As in any hour or day now, it’s that close.
Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be a reach.
Gaborik, after all, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
Gaborik, thus far, has rejected all contract offers from the Wild and it doesn’t look like he’s about to put pen to paper in the Twin Cities any time soon.
added 1:36pm, via Russo’s Rants,
Risebrough, by the way according to multiple sources, was at last night’s Ottawa-Rangers game — two teams I said weeks ago made sense for a potential Marian Gaborik trade. Bryan Murray, Ottawa’s GM, loves making blockbusters, and Rangers GM Glen Sather is buddy buddy with Risebrough
Clarification: Doug Risebrough was on the Ottawa-Rangers press box seating chart, but he never made it to the game. He planned to scout the game, but flight problems forced him to detour to Pittsburgh. He was in Pittsburgh by 4:45 yesterday..
added 2:24pm, Mark Hermann of Newsday wonders if the Rangers could fit Gaborik into the lineup…
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