Kukla's Korner Hockey
Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell released the following statement Thursday afternoon regarding contract talks with winger Ilya Kovalchuk.
“Our goal from the start of this negotiating process was to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a long-term contract. During the process, Kovy affirmed his desire to be a Thrasher for life. We’ve spent several months exploring scenarios with Kovy and his agent to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, and offered many lucrative packages in an attempt to meet his financial objectives. Unfortunately, we’ve reached an impasse and at this point he has declined all of our proposals and we can’t reasonably go any higher.
from Robert Wilonsky the Dallas Observer,
It took a while, but Lisa LeMaster just sent a statement addressing The Hockey News’s report that Tom Hicks, fresh off closing a deal to sell the Texas Rangers, is also looking for someone to either invest in the team or take the Dallas Stars off his hands altogether. In short: The report was right.
read on for the release from the Hicks Sports Group.
from John Shannon of Sportsnet,
• Ever since the work stoppage, the average NHL club’s front office structure has begun to slowly mirror the corporate world. There are, now more than ever, presidents of hockey and of business and coaches have become middle managers. And like the corporate world, middle managers are often the scapegoat when a company fails. The Ken Hitchcock firing is another example of the middle manager being fired. It’s never senior managements’ problem or the workers’ problem, its always the middle managers’ problem. My expectation is that Hitchcock will be near the top of the list to coach Canada at the World Championships, but if and only if, Canada wins gold.
• The NHLPA search continues. They are still looking for that one person to right the ship and probably re-write their constitution. To me, it looks more and more like Donald Fehr, the former leader of the Baseball union, is going to be in that leadership mix. Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if he became the Executive Director himself.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
With about a month to go before the trade deadline, here are my picks for the teams with the most intriguing decisions:
9. New Jersey Jersey Devils: General manager Lou Lamoriello is stealthy when it comes to player acquisition. He is the league’s most secretive general manager, but we certainly know that he looked into the Kovalchuk sweepstakes and we know his team needs more scoring. He never has been shy about moving prospects for proven players. It would be surprising if he didn’t make some move.
10. Ottawa Senators: Nobody is talking about the Senators making big moves, but I believe general manager Bryan Murray is looking at options to improve his team. The recent winning streak has bolstered the team’s confidence. Do they risk undermining team chemistry? I think they will add a player or two.
read on for the Top 8 teams…
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
Often when blockbuster deals are made, like the one we’re expecting with Ilya Kovalchuk, the trade is made with a team that hasn’t been prominently rumored. So while Kovalchuk rumors continue to surround the Kings, Devils, Bruins and Flyers, I set out today to see if I could discover a mystery team I thought was most likely to land the talented Russian.
Following some conversations, some logic and a little leap of faith, I came to my conclusion: The San Jose Sharks.
It made so much sense. There’s pressure in San Jose to win a Stanley Cup. They have the assets to make it happen and a GM not afraid to make a big deal.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Poile has spoken with Hamhuis’s agent, Wade Arnott, but it’s uncertain whether Poile can accommodate what Hamhuis will want, both in terms of dollar and term. Now, the $64,000 question is whether Poile makes a pre-emptive move to trade the solid Hamhuis, an invitee to Canada’s Olympic orientation camp in Calgary this past August, before the trade deadline or keep him because he is a key component in the Predators’ quest for a postseason berth (the 12th overall pick in 2001 averages 21:04 a night in ice time).
It’s an unsavory dilemma, and Poile acknowledged GMs are going to have to get more used to watching assets walk away on July 1 in the new NHL. That said, if that was to happen with Hamhuis, “I can’t believe on July 1 I’d be very happy,” Poile said.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Why won’t Kovalchuk take Atlanta’s money?
There’ve been some huge offers. One report said $80 million over eight years, another had $101 million over 12. Grossman has a reputation as a bottom-line guy, and there is no doubt the agent is trying to hit a grand slam. A talent like this has never hit unrestricted free agency at age 27.
I reported earlier this year that another Russian player told me that if Kovalchuk is not in Atlanta next year, “He will be in the KHL. It is between Atlanta and Russia.” At least two other GMs (one who considered acquiring him and one who didn’t) believe that to be true, because he can make more there than here.
more including teams mentioned that are chasing Kovalchuk.
from Jim Kelley of Sports Illustrated,
No GM is going to send a coach off into his good night with the reputation of not being able to work with kids. That’s why you hear things like “the team was not progressing” even though many of the players currently on the St. Louis and Columbus rosters were simply going through the learning experience that comes with having success early and then falling back as teams play against them with greater intensity.
Still, you have to wonder if Murray or Hitchcock will get another chance in the now youth-conscious NHL. You also have to wonder if once the Blue Jackets move past Noel (or the 54-yer old shows them that he can relate to their kids), Howson won’t be placing a call to Filatov.
Mother Russia looks nice right now, but NHL money, a spot on Nash’s wing and no one harping about defensive play can be a powerful lure…especially for a GM who has lost a potential franchise player.
“It’s definitely tough news when you find out you’re not going to be playing hockey for four to six months.
“In the end it’s not an easy thing missing the Olympics—an opportunity like that doesn’t come around very often—but more importantly the Leafs have made a commitment to me and the best thing at this point is to have this surgery and have it take care of by arguably one of the best shoulder guys.”
-Mike Komisarek of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Team USA. More from Jonas Siegel of am640.
from Brian Duff of the NHL Network at NHL.com,
A quick survey of my colleagues at the NHL Network, who have been immersed in the game in some way, shape, or form for years, finds that they are still amazed at how the storylines of a season evolve far beyond the imagination of anyone.
Former Calgary Flames GM Craig Button—“My biggest surprise has been the Colorado Avalanche. They were a team with a promising future, but who knew that future was so soon?...
Gary Green, a former NHL coach—“The Phoenix Coyotes, without a doubt. I thought that they would be hurt by the lack of interest and the summer fallout of the bankruptcy. Not knowing the team’s future has often hurt teams in the standings over history in the NHL.”
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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