Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Last season wasn’t a mirage. If you’ve watched the postseason, you know a string of mediocre seasons has left the Wild short on young talent, star power and depth, particularly at center.
General Manager Chuck Fletcher knows this, which is why he’s trying to build on the fly by acquiring youngsters Guillaume Latendresse and Cam Barker last season and signing college free-agents like Casey Wellman and Nate Prosser.
But a lot more has to be done. With limited salary-cap room heading into a weak free-agent market anyway, Fletcher will have to get creative and bold this offseason if he’s going to turn the Wild into a true playoff contender.
The trade route might be the only way, especially with the second-most popular trading time of the year coming up—the June 25-26 draft. But the problem is the Wild owns precious few assets that could draw back the significant pieces needed.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Wings have offered a two-year deal to unrestricted free-agent forward Todd Bertuzzi….
The cap is expected to rise $2 million to $58.8 million, leaving roughly $6.5 million in cap space. Besides re-signing Bertuzzi and the five restricted agents, the Wings will use what is left toward a veteran defenseman—possibly Andreas Lilja—and seeing if there’s a gritty forward available via free agency.
more on the Wings…
from Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post,
Stan Kroenke intends to keep ownership of the NHL’s Avalanche and the NBA’s Nuggets within his family, as well as own the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, he made clear in a statement Monday. Kroenke also made his first public comments about transferring ownership of the Nuggets to his son, Josh.
“Our son Josh has been involved with many of our organizations for several years and that family continuity remains a priority,” Kroenke said in a statement to The Denver Post. “My family looks forward to owning the Rams, Nuggets and Avalanche for years to come while being compliant with all stipulations set by the NFL. Our family remains committed to fans in St. Louis and Denver.”
from Chris Stevenson at the Toronto Sun,
On the flight back from Philadelphia, after losing two games and all their Stanley Cup final momentum at the Wachovia Center, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had the idea to hand out pieces of paper to advisor Scotty Bowman, general manager Stan Bowman, to his assistant coaches.
“He said, ‘put down some lines,’” said Scotty Bowman, who sat next to Quenneville on the flight.
“It was fun to do,” said the 76-year-old, who is perhaps the greatest all-time strategist in the game when it came to mixing and matching players, sensing who was in full flight on a given night, which combination of skill, speed and grit would present the greatest challenge to the opponent.
Bowman, remarkably, is involved in his 16th Stanley Cup final and has been a part of 11 Cup winners in different capacities (nine as the coach), so it would only figure that he might have a thing or two to contribute to the ’Hawks’ cause.
In making his suggestions, Bowman started with a basic premise: Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger - through the first four games - was dominating the ’Hawks top line of captain Jonathan Toews and wingers Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Kane. They needed to be broken apart so Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette would be forced to choose against which of the three he would want to play Pronger, leaving the other two more room, perhaps.
Guy Boucher, who earlier in the day turned down the head coaching job with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has accepted the head coaching role with the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to Rue Frontenac and CKAC.
Boucher coached the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs this season. At age 38, he would be the youngest coach in the National Hockey League.
The hiring of Boucher comes as the first major decision made by new Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, who took over that title on May 25.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
...Instead of applauding the shooters, however, the netminders are being portrayed as lacking in talent.
After all, defence good, offence bad, right?
Well, there’s nothing wrong with a Cup final that goes against form and expectations and delivers a product that might be different from the fare usually offered up by the NHL at this time of year.
Fans in both cities seem to like it fine, as do television viewers in Canada and a good number of them in the United States.
Lots of goals, lots of hitting. And you know, you never see anyone walk out of a building in disgust when a goal is scored or a big hit delivered, do you?
And where are the fights, by the way? None of ’em, yet the buildings are jammed and the TV numbers either excellent or encouraging.
I don’t think the Flyers are done yet. I don’t know whether they can win a game at the United Center, but I think there’s enough will in the Philadelphia locker room to give us one more game to contemplate before we have a new Stanley Cup champion. Look for Briere to score the winner for the Flyers despite having had his face mangled by an errant Duncan Keith stick in Game 5.
-Scott Burnside of ESPN. More from Scott and Pieree LeBrun of ESPN.
Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson will introduce the fifth head coach in franchise history at 3:00pm tomorrow.
via Aaron Portzline tweet,
#CBJ will introduce coach Scott Arniel at 3 p.m. on Tuesday
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
Guy Boucher has declined an offer to become the Blue Jackets’ coach, The Dispatch has learned.
Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson would not comment on the report, and Boucher did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Ray Whitney’s days with the Carolina Hurricanes may well be coming to an end.
On Monday, Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News Observer that he does not expect the 38-year old to re-sign with the ‘Canes prior to the July 1st deadline when Whitney can become an unrestricted free agent.
“I think it will be difficult with where he will be at, contract-wise,” Rutherford told the NewsObserver. “I expect him to go into July (and the free-agent market). It appears that’s the way it’s going to go.”
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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