Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Mark Everson of the NY Post,
General manager Lou Lamoriello has begun initial talks aimed at keeping vital defenseman Johnny Oduya, an unrestricted free agent, with the Devils, The Post has learned.
The discussions were strictly preliminary, agent Don Meehan told The Post, but mark the first such move toward preventing major players from becoming unrestricted July 1. Oduya could be expected to command a salary of $3.5-4 million on the open market, after earning 600G last season.
from Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets,
Hello everyone. I just spent my first afternoon in Vegas and the one thing I got out of it was blisters. We went down to the strip and walked EVERYWHERE. I can’t remember the last time I walked that much. We checked out a few of the other hotel-casinos. Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio were two of them. I gambled a lit bit – slot machines – for fun, but mostly we just took it all in.
There are a ton of shopping places here. We went to Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and there was an Elvis impersonator actually singing in one of the stores. That was pretty cool… sort of creepy, but cool. There was another place across the street from Bellagio that had a ton of stores, too.
continued (Mason is blogging from the NHL Awards Show)...
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
There’s balls and then there’s balls.
Chutzpa versus cojones.
Exhibit A: Jim Balsillie; Exhibit B: Nicklas Lidstrom.
Both have taken it in the groin – one off the ice, from the courts; the other on the ice, from a hockey stick. You are invited to take the measure of each man.
We’ll start with the player, Detroit’s inestimable captain, a ferocious warrior who, despite gallant effort, was unable to capture a second straight Stanley Cup triumph for the Motor City.
from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,
Pat Quinn is a helluva quote, that’s for sure, based on his recent interview with Dan Tencer of 630 CHED, where he essentially said goodbye to Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson and criticized Oilers attack ace Ales Hemsky for not passing the puck.
Here’s Quinn on Roloson and the Oilers goaltender position: “We know there is very likely to be a change in goaltending.”
And here he is on Hemsky: “You’ve got a great talented center here that never distributes the puck. Is he a great talent? Yeah. But he’s like playing with the Lone Ranger.”
added 8:55am, from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
There have been no discussions between the Oilers and Kotalik’s agent, Larry Kelly, on a new deal, with the NHL free-agent store opening for business in less than two weeks.
Kotalik hasn’t told Kelly to tell the Oilers he’s going to try free agency, but the Oilers’ inaction so far would seem to indicate they are prepared to let the 30-year-old winger walk.
That seems strange, considering that Kotalik had seven goals and 11 points and was plus-six in his 19 games with the Oilers after they acquired him from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline.
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Adam Deadmarsh could soon be coming back to the Avalanche.
His playing days are over, but Deadmarsh has interviewed for a management position with the Avs organization, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Avs vice president Jean Martineau said that while Deadmarsh is not up for the team’s vacant second assistant coaching position, he has interviewed for another management job and is being strongly considered.
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
A report in the Ottawa Sun last week cited anonymous league sources saying Bouwmeester has already told the Panthers he won’t return. Asked if that was true, Sexton, noting he has had “frequent” conversations with Bouwmeester’s agent, said, “Until such time we know exactly what’s going to happen, I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment.”
Asked about the same report, Bouwmeester’s agent, Bryon Baltimore, said Wednesday: “We have always said we’d wait to see what unfolded July 1 [the start of free agency]. That in itself speaks as to what is going to happen.”
Baltimore said he hasn’t given the Panthers a list of teams Bouwmeester would like to play for, but “we’d certainly be open to discussing that with them.”
Baltimore said that while returning to western Canada is a factor for the Edmonton, Alberta, native, he’s not limiting himself to that.
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,
Before I went to watch Alex Ovechkin play poker this afternoon (more on that later) I caught up with GM George McPhee and asked him about Michael Nylander’s status with the Caps for next season.
McPhee stopped short of dismissing recent reports that the veteran center is attempting to negotiate a deal to join a KHL team, but he did say that he believes it’s unlikely Nylander will end up in Russia next season.
“If he wants to go he can, if it’s a mutual arrangement,” McPhee said of Nylander, who fell out of favor with Coach Bruce Boudreau last season and hardly played in the postseason. “There’s nothing to stop a player if he’s agreeable and the club is agreeable. What’s going to stop him? If he agrees and they agree, we assign him” to the KHL….
Asked if he expects Nylander to play in Russia, McPhee said: “Probably not.”
I also asked McPhee about a few other issues facing the Caps, namely the status of pending UFAs Sergei Fedorov, Donald Brashear and the assistant coaching vacancy. Here’s what he told me:
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
A smart betting man would wager that Kesler, not goaltender Luongo, will be the first Canuck to sign a long-term extension this summer.
Canuck general manager Mike Gillis said before leaving for Vegas that he’d be speaking with both to get an idea how they might like to proceed on July 1, when teams are eligible to extend contracts due to expire after next season.
Luongo is due to become an unrestricted free agent 12-and-a-half months from now. Kesler would be a restricted free agency with, likely, a load of leverage in salary arbitration. He’ll make $1.75 million US next year, Luongo $7.5 million US.
“We’ve had some preliminary discussions with him,” Gillis said of Luongo, who has said he’ll stay in Vancouver if he feels the Canucks have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. “Very preliminary.
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke let it be known that the Leafs will not be in on the Dany Heatley sweepstakes, and he pulled no punches along the way.
In a phone interview with Deb Placey and Billy Jaffe on NHL Live! broadcast on the NHL network, Burke stated that the Leafs had no interest in the two-time 50 goal scorer, largely because of the way he has chosen to handle his trade request.
“We’re not going to be in on that,” Burke stated. “He’s a good player but I have certain guidelines on how players ask for trades.”
I was listening to the interview and one thing not mentioned in the above story is Burke was asked about the Phoenix/Hamilton issue. Burke said he cannot discuss right now, the league is handling the issue, but once he gets the OK to talk about it, NHL Live should book him for an hour, because he has a lot to say on that topic.
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.
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