Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
While saying the Devils did nothing illegal in signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract, general manager Lou Lamoriello admitted that such a deal was bad for the NHL and should be eliminated in the next CBA.
I asked Lamoriello what he would think if someone brought up Kovalchuk’s contract in the next round of CBA negotiations (in two years) and pointed to it as a flaw.
“I might agree,” he said. “But there is nothing that we have done wrong. This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn’t have these. But I’m also saying that because it’s legal and this is something that ownership felt comfortable doing for the right reasons.”
It was clear that ownership—headed by Jeff Vanderbeek—was behind this particular contract. Not that Lamoriello didn’t endorse bringing Kovalchuk back.
from Erik Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
First-year Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher is close to rounding out his staff after naming two assistant coaches on Tuesday.
The Lightning hired Boucher’s two assistants with Hamilton of the American Hockey League last season, Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond. The trio led the Bulldogs to the Western Conference final in the AHL playoffs.
Boucher, who is leaving Thursday for a three-week family vacation, is expected to add one more coach to his staff.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Remember when both Florida teams were gong shows? Well, with Steve Yzerman in Tampa and Dale Tallon taking over as general manager in Florida, those days are gone.
Now, add into the recipe that there is no state tax in Florida, travel in the Eastern Conference is vastly superior to the West, and of course, the family is always happy to relocate to the kind of neighborhood where a millionaire in Florida might live, and you get quotes like this one from Simon Gagne:
“Tampa Bay was a team I was more than willing to waive my no-trade for,” Gagne said. “I really like the direction the team is headed in with a solid owner, Steve Yzerman as GM and coach (Guy) Boucher.”
When is the last time you heard a player say THAT about the Lightning? Give Tallon some time in Florida, and they’ll be talking that way about the Panthers as well.
Sunshine, the beach, low taxes, zero media scrutiny… It is just another example of why teams in Canada had better draft well, because landing big-name free agents is getting tougher and tougher.
more hockey topics…
Maxim Afinogenov, F
The Russian forward had 24 goals and 37 assists for the Thrashers last season, equalling his career-high in points (61, a mark which he had previously set during the 2006-07 campaign). Last season was Afinogenov’s first year with a team other than the Sabres, where he had spent nine seasons (he was drafted by Buffalo in 1997). At 30, Afinogenov seems poised to bring some added scoring to a team looking for a solid offensive force with lots left to offer.
Marc-Andre Bergeron, D
Bergeron had 13 goals and 21 assists in 60 games with the Habs last season but has not yet been locked up by any team. The 29-year-old Quebec native has seen his fair share of NHL squads over the years, having played for the Oilers, Islanders, Ducks, Wild and Canadiens….
The embed feature has been disabled, so watch the press conference at NH.com.
It is scheduled to start at 1:00pm ET.
added 1:50pm, from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Ilya Kovalchuk met with the media in New Jersey this afternoon for the first time since signing his 17-year contract worth $102 million. He sat alongside managing partner Jeff Vanderbeek, coach John MacLean and team president Lou Lamoriello. Martin Brodeur, Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were among the teammates who attended. Here are some highlights:
Kovalchuk on why he picked New Jersey: He said he was impressed with the professionalism of the organization and that he learned a lot about winning in his short time. “There is unfinished business,” Kovalchuk said. “That was the biggest reason.”
added 5:08pm, You can watch the press conference below…
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
Many believe that after a nearly two-week lull in free agency, a mild flurry of moves is set to follow, that the next wave of GMs getting their rosters settled in advance of 2010-11 is about to take place. And if you’re a GM needing one defenseman—much less two—the temperature has just been increased.
Don’t be surprised if Howson begins taking a different tack this week. Here-to-fore he was content to let the summer play out, to let Vancouver GM Mike Gillis, Toronto GM Brian Burke and possibly others weigh their options for the players they’re peddling. In Vancouver’s case that’s Kevin Bieksa, and in Toronto’s case it’s Tomas Kaberle.
Howson is a patient man, but not when duty calls. Though he’s not making annual blockbuster trades or monster free agent signings—as some would like—he has never been guilty of letting the virtue of patience turn into a vice. Howson is not the type to get caught with his well-pressed pants down, yet he has to know he’s running that risk here.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
There’s been plenty of debate on the issue of Spezza’s mindset since Murray told the media Spezza informed him he wouldn’t “object” to being dealt.
“At no point did I ever demand a trade,” Spezza said Tuesday at his annual charity golf tournament, being played at Greyhawk. “I’ve seen a lot of what’s been written and talked about ... at the end of the year I was pretty emotional and upset ... I was upset at us losing, and I was upset at a bit of the response I got.
“I talked to Bryan and (said) I read the newspapers, I see every year there’s trade talk about me. I just basically told him, if you want to move me, you can move me. Obviously, I had (a) no-trade clause coming up on July 1. I want to be here, but if he thinks it’s best for the team for me not to be here, and the city, then he can move me.
“He told me he wasn’t going to move me, and to be honest, I was happy about it, because I like being here in Ottawa.”
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Most points, career: Wayne Gretzky, 2,857
Given the way the game is played today, many of Gretzky’s offensive marks will be hard to beat—after all, he played in an age when offense was king. Today’s goaltenders are better-coached, far more athletic and have better equipment; teams also pay a lot more attention to keeping the puck out of their next….
Most goals by a rookie: Teemu Selanne, 76 in 1992-93
Selanne was an untested kid from Finland when he burst into the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93 and immediately began terrorizing goaltenders. He blew past Mike Bossy’s rookie record of 53 goals and didn’t stop until he’d reached 76, tying him with Buffalo’s Alexander Mogilny for the League lead….
from Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune,
It’s an interesting way to go about his business, though. Yzerman told the world he’ll build the Bolts through scouting and player development, then acquired four 30-plus guys. And to clear space on the salary abacus, he added a guy who will be the third-highest paid player on the team.
It might seem like a backward way to build, but it makes sense.
No, it really does.
Getting older now allows the Bolts the chance to be more competitive immediately. Nothing’s worse than a three-year building plan that calls for lots of losing, especially when fans have been forced to swallow lots of losing already.
It’s tricky and I’m not sure I agree with all of it, but there is a plan there and that’s refreshing to see. While wandering in the wasteland the past three seasons, the Bolts’ plan seemed to be drawn up on the back of a napkin with a felt-tip pen that promptly ran.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
...Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on Monday that Patrick Sharp wouldn’t be traded, it doesn’t mean goalie Antti Niemi is as good as gone.
Bowman continues to negotiate with Niemi’s agent, Bill Zito, on a contract for the restricted free agent who is scheduled to go to arbitration on July 29. It’s believed both said are trying to come up with a creative solution that will keep Niemi in Chicago and allow the Hawks to stay under the salary cap.
However, it still might come down to the arbitration hearing and what Niemi gets awarded. If the money is too much, the Hawks can walk away from the ruling and Niemi becomes an unrestricted free agent, likely to be pursued in that event by a number of teams including San Jose and Washington.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com