Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
So the Rangers have reconstructed their flanks by essentially trading in Markus Naslund, Nik Antropov, Nikolai Zherdev, Lauri Korpikoski, Fred Sjostrom and Colton Orr for Marian Gaborik, Christopher Higgins, Vinny Prospal, Ales Kotalik, Enver Lisin and Donald Brashear.
It’s not exactly a cash-for-clunkers deal, but it sure does seem as if the ceiling for the new Rangers wingers is considerably higher than the one the departed could not crash through last season. And this does not take into account the potential impact the young and raw Evgeny Grachev might have at some point during the year if his development exceeds expectations.
Indeed, other than in nets, where Henrik Lundqvist reigns supreme, the Rangers are stronger on the wing than at any other position. This of course is the classic good news-bad news scenario. It’s good news they’re reasonably deep on the flanks, terrible news the Blueshirts are so thin on defense and down the middle.
from Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times,
As a restricted free agent, Versteeg would have been given a 10 percent raise on his $490,000 salary from last season. But when the offers weren’t received in time—which eventually led to the ouster of former general manager Dale Tallon—Versteeg was paid millions more. He signed a three-year deal worth $9.25 million, meaning he’ll earn more than Patrick Kane ($875,000), captain Jonathan Toews ($850,000) and defenseman Duncan Keith ($1.9 million) this season.
‘‘I still took less money,’’ Versteeg said. ‘‘If I had gone onto the open market, I could have gotten much more. But I signed for less money to stay with the Hawks because I love the Hawks, I love my teammates, my fans and the city of Chicago.
‘‘But I don’t see myself not working harder and taking this season serious just because I got more money. I’m here to win, and I want to win really bad. That’s why I’m going to continue to work as hard as I can.’‘
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Some won’t believe he’ll ever be comfortable in his own skin, which by itself raises the issue of how will he handle the boondoggle that is Toronto hockey. You can’t hide in Toronto. Some players love that. Some get eaten up by it.
When I spoke to Kessel at the USA Olympic camp, he did seem more grown up. He did make eye contact. He didn’t look at his shoes the way he had in previous conversations.
He will be traded before his Oct. 2 birthday because the Bruins must be under the salary cap by the start of the season. They may even do better in a trade than they would have had someone signed an offer sheet for Kessel.
Kessel will be paid somewhere above $4.5 million US a year, which would entitle the Bruins to a first-, second- and third-round draft pick. The Leafs will pay that much for him, probably more.
added 9:13am, via John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The Predators have offered a combination of draft picks and prospects to Boston for forward Phil Kessel, General Manager David Poile said Wednesday.
“I certainly believe in being aggressive and persistent and going after what I want. But I’ve made it clear what we can do,’’ Poile said. “It’s fairly apparent what other teams are doing.’‘
There have been reports saying Toronto is willing to give up two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder for Kessel.
“If (Chiarelli) gets two firsts and a second, he’s getting really good compensation,’’ Poile said. “But it is all in the eye of the beholder for a 21-year-old player who scored 36 goals.’‘
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
It is generally conceded that Allaire was brought in mainly to help Jonas Gustavsson, the Swedish free-agent goalie who was widely considered the best goalie not playing in the NHL. Gustavsson, of course, has been sidelined by a non-invasive heart procedure that necessitated an incision through his groin. Toskala started last night and played 24:01 and stopped 14 of 15 shots and his workload this weekend will be determined by how he feels today.
“Been awhile,” Toskala said afterward, grinning. “I’m not 100 per cent comfortable yet. But that’s normal. I just wanted to have fun, to play again.”
Burke describes Gustavsson as a “B-plus,” goalie. “What we mean by that is a butterfly-plus guy,” Burke said. “Gustavsson plays the butterfly but he is still very athletic but can make saves with his feet or his hands.
“Most guys are butterfly guys. Even the hybrid guys are 80 per cent.”
Allaire goes out of his way to avoid being doctrinaire as he discusses his role. His job, he says, is to stress controlled movement – “how, when and where … timing is important,” he said. He is a consultant; Corey Hirsch is still listed as goaltending coach.
Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal was wired for sound recently during training camp practice at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Flyers coach John Stevens is experimenting with a forward line combination of Briere and van Riemsdyk on either side of sophomore center Claude Giroux. And while Jeff Carter stole the show Tuesday with two goals in the morning scrimmage, Briere’s explosiveness spoke volumes about how far he has come since missing 53 games with groin strains last season.
“To me he looks a lot better,” Stevens said. “He looks more confident—he looks quicker—he looks like he can get to loose pucks and pop in holes. I think his summer training is going to do a world of good for him because he needs to have his quickness to be the player we all know he can be.”
Canadian PM Harper met with Pres. Obama today and word is a tentative agreement has been reached to resolve the issue.
See KK Twitter for more…
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Devils forward Patrik Elias underwent surgery Tuesday in Philadelphia to clean up some scar tissue in his groin and will be out for three to six weeks, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said this morning (10:15 a.m).
That mean Elias will miss the team’s regular season opener against Philadelphia on Oct. 3.
Dr.William Meyers, the a sports hernia specialist who performed the groin surgery on Elias four years ago, also performed this procedure, which was done arthroscopically.
“His groin had stll been bothering him, but his hip was feeling fine, so we decided to send him to see the doctor who originally did his groin surgery four years ago, Dr. Myers in Philadelphia,” Lamoriello said. “After consultation with our doctors and Dr. Myers, what he did was he decided to look and see what was going on there after the MRI. It happens that he had a lot of scar tissue that had been built up in that area and he just broke up the scar tissue.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports,
It’s been reported that Toronto is offering two first-round picks and a third-rounder for Kessel.
One source said that offer is now the two first-rounders, a second-rounder and a player – although Burke denied that by e-mail Tuesday night.
As for the player, I can’t get confirmation, so I’m not going to guess.
At least one other team isn’t giving up hope.
It’s been a four days since Nashville’s David Poile admitted his interest. Since then, he hasn’t spoken to his Boston counterpart.
“Nothing is happening ... I don’t know where it stands,” the Predators GM said Tuesday afternoon.
“But we’re interested. Who wouldn’t be?”
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
“There’s pressure there with the team we have on paper,” 24-year-old Flyers captain Mike Richards said after a spirited practice in Voorhees, N.J., yesterday. “Pressure to perform. Everybody around us has those expectations. You feel it.
“What we’re going to do with those is still to see.”
So begins the latest chapter of Flyers hockey, the latest effort to reconnect to the consecutive championship seasons of the mid-1970s, the way the Phillies last October finally bridged to 1980. Great players have come and gone, but the pattern of early promise morphing into lingering doubt has marked this franchise like a witch’s wart, and as the team plays its first preseason game at Detroit tonight, we approach that precipice again.
Is this a team on the brink of a Stanley Cup?
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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