Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP via TSN,
The Islanders, meanwhile, have touched base with the Smyth camp. They’ve made it their priority to try and keep Captain Canada from hitting the market. Blake appears gone from the Island. Blake’s agent Neil Sheehy last spoke to Isles GM Garth Snow last Tuesday and there was no progress made.
“Based on our discussion, nothing has really changed,” Sheehy said Monday. “Basically we kind of agreed that going on the free-agent market was probably the best thing to do.”
“I’m not saying Jason doesn’t want to be an Islander, I’m just saying that based on everything he’ll probably be on the market July 1.”
much more UFA talk…
Al Strachan at Fox Sports wants to fix the game with a 10 point plan…
10. Market the players
These guys are the most articulate, entertaining and accessible athletes in pro sports yet as soon as one of them says something remotely controversial, Bettman and his minions rush to silence them. Build some commercials around them. Increase their image. The league knows how much the players can sell the game, but too many owners feel that if they market the player, then his salary demands would increase accordingly. That’s probably true but it’s time to stop worrying about such matters.
read the other nine…
from Craig Custance at the Thrashers Blog,
Slava Kozlov and not Keith Tkachuk, is looking like the potential Thrashers free agent who will be drawing the most interest come July 1st (assuming the Thrashers don’t get him locked up in the next couple of weeks, which isn’t out of the question).
The rumors of Kozlov’s return to Detroit continue to circulate, as James Jahnke points out in the Detroit Free Press roundup. The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson says the Florida Panthers are interested in Kozlov, but there are concerns down in South Florida that his asking price might be a little too high. The other Southeast Division team with some cash to spend, the Washington Capitals, might be a Kozlov suitor as well.
from The Maven,
• It says here that the Rangers or Devils would be attractive to Yash, who makes his home in Manhattan with gal-pal Carol Alt. Question is, do either Glen Sather or Lou Lamoriello have any interest in him?
• Thousands of Islanders fans are nervous about the possibility that Ryan Smyth may not opt for Nassau after all.
Not that we want to make them any more anxious but one whisper going the rounds has it that none other than Glen Sather may have Smyth in his fiscal crosshairs!
more on numerous NHL topics…
from Darren Dreger at TSN,
Top defensemen always draw a crowd.
Sheldon Souray, Scott Hannan, Brad Stuart and Kimmo Timonen are prime unrestricted free agent targets for a lot of NHL teams.
But, scratch below the surface and you’ll find two prominent blueliners who despite their contract status might be considered available, to the right team.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
There are those who believe the Los Angeles Kings already have a jersey made up for July 1 with the Sheldon Souray’s name on the back ... Daniel Alfredsson may have shot the puck at Scott Niedermayer and hit Henrik Tallinder from behind, but he is the one Ottawa player who has nothing to apologize for. His linemates disappeared in the final, he didn’t.
more NHL bits scattered throughout Simmon’s Sunday column…
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
“I was shocked actually… I know Yashin and Mr. (owner Charles) Wang are pretty tight. Caught me off-guard,” said Smyth, who would be getting the C on his jersey if he wants to return to Long Island, so tickled were they by his leadership in the six weeks he was there last season. Smyth has always wanted to be an NHL captain, so it’s obviously an enticement, but it’s still a long shot that he’ll sign again there. He may be a Western boy at heart.
“Being a captain? Yeah, that would be nice. But I just want to win,” said Smyth, who says he doesn’t know where talks are with the Islanders, who are also trying to keep heart-and-soul centre Jason Blake before he hits the open market.
read on... more UFA talk…
from the Vancouver Province,
With poker getting high ratings and with the success of all the collegiate sports ESPN has dipped into since dropping hockey, the league would have to beg the network to take the game back. Even then there’s not much likelihood given NBC’s staggeringly poor ratings.
It’s a shame, because at times this spring, the entertainment level during playoffs was high, much better than during the regular season. The pace was sometimes electric and the hitting often spectacular, with the better officials working and some intensity blossoming.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The commissioner has plenty of work ahead in legitimizing a league that for years was perceived as irrelevant. Hockey’s television ratings, laughable at their height, were down 20 percent in the United States and 18 percent in Canada from last year for the Stanley Cup between the Ducks and the Ottawa Senators.
Bettman spent years trying to sell people on the strength of the league when anybody paying attention knew otherwise. But the opposite is true in this case. The NHL isn’t nearly as weak as TV ratings would suggest. The salary cap is expected to increase again next season, a sign the league has a strong revenue stream.
Take a closer look, and you’ll see Bettman’s vision from the mid-1990s slowly taking form.
from Larry Brooks at the NY Post,
As an over-35-year-old signing a one-year contract, Brendan Shanahan would be eligible to receive signing, games-played and performance bonuses that would allow the Rangers to exceed the cap by 7.5 percent or alternately be applied against the 2008-09 cap if they didn’t have that space. Thus, Shanahan, who played for $4 million last season, could sign a deal for a cap-applied base of $2 million with readily attainable bonuses to allow him to earn another $2 million without jeopardizing the Blueshirts’ position.
Folks around the league who presume Chris Drury will leave Buffalo to play in either L.A. or Colorado are overlooking the Big Moment Kid’s lifelong desire to play the Big Stage on Broadway, and the reciprocal interest the Rangers’ organization has in him.
more from Brooks, including the cap will now be around $48.5M…
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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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