Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Edmonton Journal,
After all, at 25, he is the free-agent baby.
Hartnell, who grew up in Lloydminster, is the youngest player available when the league’s unrestricted free-agent market opens for business July 1. The new collective bargaining rules stipulate that players who begin their careers in the NHL at age 18 are free to move on just seven years later.
A hard-nosed player with some offensive touch, Hartnell brings a lot to the table. How much do you pay for him?
from Earl McRae of the Ottawa Sun,
“Life is not as much about what happens to us, but what happens in us.”
And because of what happened in Billy Huard—Designated Tough Guy, his hands and fingers scarred, disfigured, and in constant pain, permanent pins in his wrists—Billy Huard deserves to be heard, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, like it or not, has an obligation to hear him.
The Open Statement of Billy Huard:
“Since my retirement, I have seen all the rule changes, another lockout, and the demise of the fan base in a big way. And behind much of this seems to be ‘the fighting issue.’ Nobody can figure out how to deal with this. Here is what I, a former fighter, has to say, someone who performed the role for a living.
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.
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.
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