Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Maxim and Igor Gratchev will leave their Billerica home early tomorrow morning and head to Logan Airport, their flight plan scheduled to take them to Columbus, Ohio, their future—once again—uncharted.
“Whoever takes me, I’m fine with that,” said Maxim, 18, pondering what team might select him in the NHL draft that begins tomorrow night—a day he says he has anticipated his entire life. “I want to get my career started, work hard, get on a roster, and by the time I am 22 or 23 years old, I want to be an impact player in the NHL.”
from the Buffalo News,
The NHL free agency period starts July 1, and for the first time people are looking at all the available names, not just the ones on the unrestricted list. There’s a belief Clarke’s offer will be mimicked.
“The rules are there, and I think other teams will start using them,” Clarke said by phone last week. “Why wouldn’t you? Your responsibility is to do what’s right for your team, to help your team as a manager, and if you’re willing to give up draft picks and probably pay a little more to get a player, then why shouldn’t you use the rules? I think it will be used a lot more now.”
Kesler’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, agrees. He said a handful of teams inquired about Kesler before Clarke made his offer in September, and he feels the interest in restricted free agents will turn into action now that someone has made the first move.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The most reasonable process for Bettman to follow would have been to invite Balsillie to Manhattan yesterday to make a presentation to the board and answer a few questions. Nothing formal. No vote on the ownership of the Predators.
Instead, Bettman avoided dealing with the issue at all. The biggest news of the day then became that Jeremy Jacobs, Bettman’s No. 1 supporter, who has singlehandedly remade the once proud Boston Bruins into a failed franchise, is now chairman of the board.
The battlefield is now well-defined. Three Americans – Bettman, Daly and Jacobs – dedicated to defeating Balsillie’s bid to bring hockey to the world’s richest hockey market.
And never having to really explain why.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
On Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, the first-guessers (scouts and GMs) will complete more than a year of hard work. They won’t have the luxury of hindsight when making their selections.
With the Blackhawks on the clock, we second-guessers figured it would be a good time to look back at some of the best and worst selections in draft history.
Five best value picks (active players)
• Nicklas Lidstrom, D, Detroit, 1989 (53rd overall): In 1989, teams still were weary about European players. In that regard, Detroit’s management was on the cutting edge.
I am happy to report KK will be updating live from the 2007 NHL Draft in Columbus.
I will be arriving in Columbus on Thursday so start looking for updates from there late afternoon.
Alanah will be holding down the Kompound and who knows, we just may be having a bit of fun.
I am looking forward to meeting the MSM that I have frequently pointed to, spoke with and interviewed. The same holds true regarding many of the folks affiliated with all of the NHL teams.
As important, I anticipate meeting the large contingent of bloggers that are attending the event. Who has the first round?
It should be a great experience and we look forward to giving you an inside look at the NHL Draft.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL hierarchy right now seems determined to do anything in its power to prevent a blue-chip potential owner from moving a moribund franchise in a dead American market to a Canadian city where folks are falling all over themselves to offer up deposits on season’s tickets.
To that end, various league sources have started trying to demonize Jim Balsillie, referring to him off the record as “a clown,” sending out the message that he’s a Mark Cuban in waiting, perhaps an Al Davis, that he’d be a destructive influence on the league. (Unlike, say, the various former NHL owners who have been led away in handcuffs.)
Many of you know the long hours I put in at KK, but this is not a complaint. I love what I am doing but thought I would be able to get a little break.
Not… see my NHL blog today.
from Dave Pagnotta at NBC Sports,
Smyth, who will become an unrestricted free agent in less than two weeks, has averaged 30.5 goals and 63.5 points per season over the last four years, reached the 70-point plateau, and won Olympic gold.
If Hartnell’s worth $4.2 million, you can be sure the Smyth camp will be asking for more than $6 million on the open market.
Smyth, 31, had spent all 11 of his NHL seasons with the Edmonton Oilers before being traded to the New York Islanders on February 27. Just prior to the move, Smyth turned down a five-year, $27 million contract from the Oilers, which prompted the team into dealing him.
Had he accepted the offer, Smyth would have made $5.4 million, per season.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Speaking of Souray, the Canadiens chances of re-signing him went from possible to unlikely after the Philadelphia Flyers secured the rights to Nashville defenceman Kimmo Timonen and signed him to a six-year deal worth an average of $6.3 million U.S. a season.
Souray’s history of injuries might discourage a team from offering him a six-year contract, but he should command the same kind of money as Timonen. Souray is a year younger, has a definite edge in size and is more of a force on the power play.
more hockey talk…
from the Maven,
• One possible destination for Alexei Yashin could be Washington. Yash would be a nice fit with fellow countryman Alexander Ovechkin. Of course, that’s contingent on Yash passing the puck!
• Detroit will only bring back Todd Bertuzzi if the price is right. Big Bert must regain his form next season if he’s to make the big bucks. Speaking of the Wings, rumor has it that management thinks Valterri Filppula is ready for a second-line center role, which would mean Robert Lang becomes trade bait.
more from Stan… and yes, Lang is a UFA…
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com