Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Russo’s Rants,
Defenseman Nick Schultz has signed a six-year, $21 million extension, the longest contract in Wild history. The particulars will be up later.
via the Florida Panthers blog at the Sun-Sentinel,
The Minnesota Wild hasn’t tried to hide its interest in Jokinen. And it appears the Panthers are at the very least exploring the idea of trading him there by Tuesday’s 3 p.m. deadline.
Panthers director of pro scouting Bill O’Flaherty was at the Wild’s game in Chicago last night. He’s the third different Panthers’ representative to attend a Wild game recently—pro scout Jack Birch and director of player development Duane Sutter are the others—and combined, the trio as attended four of the last six Wild games overall. Perhaps the Panthers want to be very prepared for their Feb. 29 home game against the Wild. Or…....they’re checking out their options for Jokinen.
from Russo’s Rants,
Columbus has two centers available — 38-year-old Sergei Fedorov and 33-year-old Michael Peca. Fedorov is the guy I have a feeling the Wild is eyeing. I know his age might scare many of you, but I watch Columbus a lot, and there’s no doubt he can still play.
He’s also a very quality defensive player, so that fits into Minnesota Wild hockey, and he’s got 162 games worth of playoff hockey experience.
If the Wild is looking at defensemen, there’s Adam Foote and Ron Hainsey as potential guys to be dealt in Columbus….
To get Jokinen, the Wild would likely have to give up at least one core piece, possibly a guy like Pierre-Marc Bouchard — a player who’s a potential restricted free agent who’s one year from being unrestricted.
from Russo’s Rants,
Talking to my writer pal in Philly, the Flyers are still confident they’re going to sign Forsberg. But again, the Flyers are in the tank, Simon Gagne’s out and all this could make a big difference to Forsberg.
I’ve been told he is intrigued about potentially playing in between Gaborik and Demitra, and I can tell you 100 percent, they’re intrigued about the possibility of playing with him. Wild players keep asking me daily what’s the latest, so there’s great anticipation here….
As I said on FSN last night, if they don’t get Forsberg, they need to come up with a Plan B in my opinion. This team needs a center. They have no depth at the position, which to me was apparent last night on that 5-on-3.
more on the Wild…
I actually had a dream last night, a bad one, that Peter was going to sign with Minnesota.
Not a hockey story, but it still caught my eye… from The University Daily Kansan:
Big 12 Rookie of the Week Krysten Boogaard is a 6-foot-5 freshman center from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Boogaard is coming into her own as a player, averaging 11.6 points, 7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks during the last five games. Her brother Derek is an enforcer for the Minnesota Wild of the NHL.
Q: Growing up, were you a bigger fan of basketball or hockey?
A: Well I grew up in a hockey family, like I was pretty much born in a hockey rink. So I really liked hockey and I tried it but it wasn’t something for me so I tried basketball. I’d say I was a bigger fan of basketball.
Q: Two of your brothers started a controversial camp, the Derek and Aaron Fighting Camp, for kids ages 12-18. What’s your stance on the camp?
A: I think it’s a good thing that they’re doing that because they’re teaching kids how to protect themselves if they do get into a situation where someone is going to try and fight them. It’s just like Tae Kwon Do or anything like that. The game plan is not to go out and fight somebody.
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.
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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