Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
I was going to write about my impressions of last week’s NHL draft, but Bill Simmons, a popular American sports columnist, beat me to the punch and I don’t want to be accused of being a copycat.
Never mind I wasted a good part of the night sitting in front of the TV taking notes.
Simmons’ piece was humorous, although there does seem to be a tried and tested formula that all American sports columnist must follow when they write about hockey, and that is:
- Right off the bat, establish the fact that you used to like hockey, but not anymore.
You don’t have to explain why, although an inability to follow the puck is often cited, which is surprising because you can’t follow a bullet yet the No.1 sport in the U.S. is, well ...
from On the Islanders Beat at Newsday,
Ryan Smyth’s agent Don Meehan and Islanders general manager Garth Snow talked on Monday and are planning to talk again today, Meehan said last night. The question is whether Meehan and Smyth are using the Islanders to build the pot or whether there is genuine interest in signing up for the long haul on the Island, which probably was among the last places Smyth ever imagined himself going before the trade on Feb. 27.
“We’re having ongoing discussions,” Meehan said yesterday. “Garth is well-intentioned. We’re having good discussions, but it’s complex.”
Asked if there is any possibility Smyth would sign with the Isles before the free agent market opens on Sunday, Meehan didn’t even look at his cards before saying. “It’s too early to tell.”
Have the Islanders made a firm offer? “I won’t discuss negotiations,” Meehan said.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The fiscal conservatives suggest that in a year when the salary cap could reach $50-million, more teams will be governed by a second set of restrictions: Their own budgets.
If enough teams cap their payrolls in the low 40s, it may be that the anticipated free-agent frenzy will fizzle in the same way the NHL trading game failed to take off at the recent entry draft.
A more broadly held view, though, is that the old rules of supply and demand will once again rule the market.
There are probably 10 teams with the need and the cash to make a free-agent splash. And if the expected bidding war for the aforementioned four players gets overheated, the feeling is that someone will overpay to get their man.
In fact, principals of both sides of the discussion - agents and general managers - question whether the term overpay applies any more.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
How much do you think top NHL centres Daniel Briere, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury are going to be offered when the doors open for business and agents start fielding calls? “I hear Drury might get $8 to 8.5 million a year,” said one NHL executive, who did not want to be identified.
With the knowledge that the salary cap might be be about $50.4 million US next season, is Drury worth $8 million? Although he’s a good leader, scores big goals in the playoffs and is a strong team player, the Buffalo Sabres centre has never garnered 70 points in a season. Nevertheless, some GM might show the 30-year-old the money.
much more on UFAs…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Martin Brodeur may again wear the crown as the NHL’s top goaltender, but that doesn’t mean those in authority are willing to listen attentively to his views on the game.
The New Jersey Devils goaltender, who won his third Vezina Trophy two weeks ago, has abruptly resigned from the league’s competition committee after 18 months of frustration….
“I didn’t feel I was making a difference, and I hate wasting my time when it doesn’t seem to matter,” he said. “I brought up a lot of different points, suggested different ideas like a bigger crease, but nothing’s changed. The protection of goaltenders has just become ridiculous.
“It’s hard when nothing’s improving and your name is associated with it. I didn’t want to live with that.”
I don’t know how I never heard of these guys before, but 2 Man Advantage is producing some entertaining video judging from the newest episode of their show, released yesterday. Thankfully, they dropped us an email about it.
In this episode, the guys interview one-time NHL GM Neil Smith and get some entertaining scoops on the Rangers, the origins of fantasy hockey and a wee bit of trash talk.
Scott Burnside of ESPN takes a look at and possible destinations of the UFA forwards…
Although the big money will chase the big three (Gomez, Briere and Drury) as teams try to build down the middle, there is surprising depth in the free-agent market at the center position. Handzus, an underappreciated player in Philadelphia who was hurt early on in Chicago last season, is an intriguing possibility. Although he’s not regarded as a true first-line center, the defensively sound Handzus is a fine faceoff man. Sounds like a pretty good fit for a team looking for help on both sides of the puck. One team that might be interested is Columbus, where coach Ken Hitchcock is well aware of Handzus’ value from their days in Philadelphia.
from The Maven at Game On (yes, another website for Stan),
Although the NHL Players’ Association fired its boss, Ted Saskin, the union still has to do business with the league. Gary Bettman tells us that one of the triumvirate – at least temporarily – running the Association is none other than onetime enforcer, Stu Grimson. Grimson‘s partner is Ian Penny.
a few more NHL bits from Stan…
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Fans in the arena were as enthusiastic as any I’ve seen assembled for the draft. And I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but the crowd’s ovation for Blue Jackets owner John H. McConnell before his pre-draft welcome speech bordered on touching.
At that point, anyone in the stands who hailed from Boston or Chicago could have been forgiven for believing they were hallucinating.
more on the Columbus experience…
The view of Columbus from the End of the Bench,
The long anticipated draft weekend has come and gone. I’ve taken a moment to relax and reflect. In the aftermath, I felt exhausted but I’m not really sure why. I didn’t work all that hard, stay up too late, or party too hard. Still, it was a whirlwind twenty-four hours for me….
New Jackets GM Scott Howson stepped to the stage to announce the seventh pick, and was met with thunderous applause, cheering, and chants of “Let’s Go Jackets!” I’m sure he couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the hockey fans in Columbus.
from Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated,
Based on the post-draft thoughts of scouts who were asked to assess the proceedings based on which teams made the most of the day, five clearly impressed their peers with their choices.
5. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks entered the day with no first-round pick (having traded theirs to St. Louis in the Bill Guerin deal in February), but left with a pair: Logan Couture (#9) and Nick Petrecki (#28). GM Doug Wilson—again proving himself to be a master of asset management…
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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