Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
The Lightning apparently has interest in acquiring Flyers left wing Simon Gagne. It’s tough to tell how serious it is because no one within the organization has said so publicly, but it would be naïve to believe otherwise.
Put another way, why wouldn’t Tampa Bay at least inquire about a proven goals and points producer who is being shopped by a team desperate to clear cap space? And to put it even ANOTHER way: Why wouldn’t general manager Steve Yzerman be salivating over the possibility of having his top two lines be (left to right) Gagne-Vinny Lecavalier-Marty St. Louis and Ryan Malone-Steven Stamkos-Steve Downie?
Acquiring Gagne, 30, who in the past three seasons in which he was healthy scored 47, 41 and 34 goals, would make the Lightning automatic playoff contenders. It would spike ticket sales. It would make Tampa Bay relevant again in a market where it has been the butt of jokes the past two years. And, besides, what’s the harm in a little short-term gain while Yzerman decides what direction to take the team in the future?
added 7:07am, from Dave Fuller of the Toronto Sun,
Still one of the most dangerous left wingers in the NHL — when healthy — Gagne, 30, has only a year left on his deal and could become an unrestricted free agent next July 1.
The Leafs, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are thought to have the most interest in the explosive winger, though with a no-trade clause in his contract, Gagne retains the right to pick-and-choose. Unless the Flyers waive him, which seems unlikely.
So, what about Gagne joining the Leafs? Is general manager Brian Burke interested?
Well, he didn’t completely dismiss the notion when contacted Wednesday by e-mail.
“Not at this time,’ was his intriguing, though noncommittal response when asked about Gagne.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Two weeks into free agency, the Detroit Red Wings are keeping in contact with unrestricted free agents Kirk Maltby and Andreas Lilja, while waiting for Mike Modano to decide on his future.
Maltby, the longtime Red Wing, is seeking a one-way contract on the open market.
If he doesn’t get it, the Red Wings will offer him a one-year, two-way contract (lower salary in the AHL). He would have to compete for a roster spot in training camp and the preseason and would be assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins if he doesn’t beat out somebody.
At this stage of his career, it seems unlikely that Maltby, 37, would be willing to play in the minors.
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
Craig Custance: What’s your biggest challenge in taking over as coach of the Blue Jackets?
Scott Arniel: The biggest thing is we have to change the mindset here. We’ve got to learn how to win. You can only be a young team for so long. Now it’s a case of where the younger group has to start to mature and get better. We’ve seen it in the past with a team like L.A. They took a big step last year. Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington—it’s a case of young guys stepping up.
from Noah Love of PostedSports at the National Post,
Bowman likely won’t have a choice on Huet and Niemi. He’ll move Niemi’s RFA rights for (hopefully) NHL-ready prospects, and then one or two of Sharp/Bolland/Hossa for prospects and draft picks so he can fit a pile of cheap forwards and defencemen into the lineup next season.
The Hawks will lean on Toews, Kane, Keith and Seabrook like never before just to make it back to the playoffs, and Bowman will start putting the puzzle back together.
Enjoy the glow of Stanley Cup success this summer, Blackhawks fans. The next few seasons will probably feature a lot less Vince Vaughn.
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
It appears as though Nikolai Zherdev is determined to make his second NHL tour of duty a memorable one with the Philadelphia Flyers.
In his initial conference call with the media Wednesday after signing a one-year deal with the club July 9, Zherdev fielded questions regarding his return to the League following a one-year stint in the Kontinental Hockey League.
“I’m very happy to be back in the NHL,” Zherdev said via Russian translator Alexander Tyjnych. “I had some difficulty last season signing a contract in the NHL and I made the decision to stay one season in Russia. But basically my goal is to come to the NHL and be one of the best players, and play every night, and show everybody I’m ready. It’s a new team, new teammates, new coach, new organization, new city, but I’m a hockey player. I still have my tools and I like to show to everybody I’m still a good hockey player.”
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
A number of players came out of nowhere last season to put up numbers no one expected of them. Their challenge in 2010-11 is to show they’ve got what it takes to repeat (or at least come close to repeating) the numbers they put up last season.
Here is a look at seven players who will try to replicate their surprising showings from 2009-10:
Jimmy Howard, Red Wings—No one was more responsible for Detroit’s late-season surge than Howard, who emerged to give the Wings the kind of goaltending they desperately needed to cope with a slew of injuries. Howard, a second-round pick in 2003, finally earned a full-time NHL job as Chris Osgood’s backup this season, but he made the most of his opportunity as the starter when Osgood struggled early in the season….
Patric Hornqvist, Predators—Teams don’t expect much from seventh-round draft picks, so Hornqvist’s 30-goal performance last season was like found money for the offensively challenged Predators. Hornqvist never had scored more than 23 goals at any level during his career and had just 2 goals in 28 games as an NHL rookie in 2008-09. But he became an offensive force last season, leading the Preds in goals and helping Nashville return to the playoffs….
“The Flyers have given us permission to talk to teams and we’ve been doing that, and they’ve been talking to teams, but at this point there’s not much else to say. We’ll keep talking and see if we can find a good place for Simon.”
-Bob Sauve, player agent for Simon Gagne of the Philadelphia Flyers. Via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
There are a number of different ways to go and I guess it’s up to Stan and I to try and find something that makes sense for everybody,” Zito said Wednesday on “The Mully & Hanley Show” on WSCR-AM 670. “Antti would like to stay and like to be a part of this thing and I guess the onus is on us to figure out a way to do it.”
Despite Niemi’s impressive showing during the Hawks’ drive to the Stanley Cup championship, Zito said he’d rather not leave it up to an arbitrator to make sure his client gets a nice raise from his salary of $827,000 last season.
“We’re confident we have a good case, but with that said, there is always risk,” Zito said of the unpredictability of a hearing. “It’s just like going to court ... Did O.J. (Simpson) really not do it?”
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
—The Blue Jackets met with season-ticket holders last night and they’ll do the same tonight. President Mike Priest, general manager Scott Howson and others fielded questions from the masses, many of whom have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the Blue Jackets dating back to day one. Priest confirmed to The Dispatch this morning that the club has sold 7,000 full-season ticket equivalents. They ended last season with 10,274 FSEs. Two 20-game packs equals an FSE, in case you’re wondering.
—News flash: Attendance will be way down this season, especially early.
continue for more on Columbus…
from Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News,
Mike Modano should wear the hated Detroit Red Wings’ red sweater this season as long as he’s playing because he can’t imagine life without hockey – not because his ego needs some TLC.
It’s easy to see why Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk made the difficult, but correct, decision to inform Modano that he’d played his last season for the Stars.
Like most superstars, especially those who spend the bulk of their career with one team, Modano feels a certain sense of entitlement.
Talk to enough people within the organization and they’ll tell you that Modano, while still likeable, had become a curmudgeon the last couple of seasons.
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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