Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the AP via Post-Bulletin,
Heading into today’s first round of the NHL Draft, the Minnesota Wild are still picking gravel out of their teeth after being bulldozed by Anaheim in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
With two of the best defensemen in the game and a group of big, skilled forwards that relentlessly stormed the net, the Ducks rolled past Minnesota in five games and only lost four more en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
With that in mind, the Wild will be looking to emulate Anaheim’s blueprint for success. After qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2003, the Wild own six picks in this year’s draft, including the 19th selection in the first round.
An assault charge against a National Hockey League player has been stayed in a Regina courtroom.
Prosecutor James Fitzgerald says the Crown has decided not to move forward with the case against Derek Boogaard, 24, of the Minnesota Wild. Boogaard was charged with assault causing bodily harm after an alleged fight at a Regina nightclub last August.
from the Pioneer Press,
“There’s no doubt that’s a lot of money in goalies,” Risebrough said, “but at some point that will resolve itself.”
How? Either Manny Fernandez will play so well in tandem with Backstrom that the Wild won’t want to deal him, or he’ll play so well some desperate team “will come looking for (a goalie) and make an unbelievable offer.”
That’s sound thinking, but it assumes the Wild enter the 2007-08 season with Fernandez, and his $4.3 million cap hit, on the roster. Risebrough knows his offseason would be hamstrung with that money on the books and acknowledged the ideal time to trade Fernandez probably is during the NHL draft.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
So, which teams are likely to inquire about Fernandez? Florida, Phoenix and Los Angeles have been mentioned often, but one player agent believes the Maple Leafs are interested in the Toronto native. And that makes sense, as incumbent Andrew Raycroft clearly needs to be challenged for the starter’s job – and their two salaries (in terms of cap hit) combined would come in at $6.33 million next season.
added 12:42pm, from Russo’s Rants,
The reality is it’s not easy to trade a player when the team’s in need of a goalie (Phoenix, Florida and possibly Boston, Detroit and LA) all think the Wild HAS to trade Fernandez.
Right now, Risebrough would be lucky to at least get a mid-round pick for Fernandez because everybody believes he’s got to dump his $4.33 million cap hit. But Risebrough would love at least a first (Phoenix has two firsts), especially when he was able to trade Dwayne Roloson to Edmonton for a first-rounder in March 2006.
Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has re-signed goaltender Niklas Backstrom to a multi-year contract.
“Niklas’ character, his ability to adapt to the NHL and to a changing role, and his steadiness of play made him an increasingly valuable piece of our team,” said Risebrough. “Since Day 1 goaltending has been the foundation of our team, and, with Niklas re-signed, we are confident that that position will remain one of depth.”
added 3:51pm, According to the Star Tribune,
The Wild signed goalie Niklas Backstrom to a 2-year, $6.2 million contract today. The deal contains a limited no-trade clause, which means Backstrom can’t be traded during the first year of the contract.
from the Pioneer Press,
Yearning to “break free of these chains” binding him to the Wild, goalie Manny Fernandez expects to be traded this summer and said Tuesday he wants to play for more supportive coaches and teammates than he has had in Minnesota.
With his bags packed for a transaction that might not occur, Fernandez said he has been “fighting against some demons” since the Wild acquired him before their inaugural 2000-01 season and is ready to move on with his $9.25 million contract.
The thing is, Backstrom gave his agent, Don Baizley, a clear directive. They met last weekend in Finland, face to face. “And it was good for me and him. It got really clear for both of us that I want to stay there, and stay in Minnesota,” Backstrom told me earlier this morning. “So we went through everything and he knows exactly what I think, and what I want. Of course, if something new comes up, then he just calls me and wants to know what I think about it, but we went through a lot of things.”
via the Star Tribune,
For Wild fans, success will have a price.
The NHL team this season advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2003, falling to Anaheim in five games in the first round. On Friday, the Wild announced its 2007-08 season ticket prices, which will include increases of more than 10 percent in all lower- and upper-level sections. Club-level ticket prices will not change.
Lower-level tickets will range from $82 on the sides (up $8 from 2006-07), $71 in the corners (up $7) and $60 on the ends (up $6).
from the Pioneer Press,
Here’s the upshot of an otherwise disappointing first-round loss: new rivalry, new hero and newfound respect for a couple of Wild players. There also should be the realization that a lot of work remains to be done. The team has to get bigger. The guys were worn to the nub by the end of Game 5.
At least the Wild have found a blood rival for next year. In a season filled with faceless opponents and emotionless games, the Ducks will be an exception.
The Ducks earned the right to become the team Minnesota loves to hate. People will circle their calendars for next season’s quack-ups at the Xcel Energy Center. It will be the biggest thing since Todd Bertuzzi was with the Vancouver Canucks.
from the OC Register,
“People may not read this properly, and I swear it’s from my heart, from who I am,” May said. “I hope Kim Johnsson is OK. I never in one moment wanted to hurt somebody and take an opportunity of them playing away. I hope that I haven’t put him in a terrible or a bad or a tough situation. He wants to play hockey as much as I want to play hockey. He wants to win like I do.
“I respect Kim Johnsson. I respect his teammates. I respect (Minnesota left wing) Derek Boogaard, who said that I have no respect for people. I do have respect for people. We’re playing hard for our teams. So I respect the other team, and I understand their animosity and anger toward me. I accept that.”
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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