Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Pierre McGuire at Sports Illustrated,
The NHL got a dream finals this spring: Its biggest star, Sidney Crosby, facing the Red Wings, perhaps its most entertaining team. After getting essentially anonymous matchups in 2006 (Carolina-Edmonton) and ‘07 (Anaheim-Ottawa), the league can now hope (off the record, of course) for a Penguins-Wings rematch in 2009. Here’s a look at each team’s off-season challenges.
Red Wings: Though nine of last season’s regulars were 35 or older, don’t expect this deep team to drop off.
Plus SI’s Michael Farber reflects on the series and its fantastic finish.
From Ansar Khan at MLive,
“I think Jimmy Howard is very close, if not there, to playing in the NHL,” Holland said. “I’m guessing Ozzie can play 50 games, maybe more. The 20-30 games that Chris doesn’t play in a parity league, those are key points. The hardest thing is, we’re trying to continue to be a Cup contender. How do you move young people into your team at a key position?”
Even if the Red Wings anticipate Howard being the backup, they are likely to pursue a low-priced, experienced goalie, in the wake of Dominik Hasek’s retirement.
more on signing Brad Stuart, Mike Babcock, etc
From the Ottawa Sun,
As was first reported in the Sun on the weekend, Calgary Flames D Dion Phaneuf will be the main cover boy for Electronic Arts’ NHL 09 video game.
But the two-time all-star and 2007-08 Norris Trophy finalist won’t be getting the video game limelight all to himself.
Two countries will sell games with a player other than Phaneuf on the cover—one of them Sweden, where Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson draws the coveted cover spot. Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin will be on boxes in Russia.
From George Richards of On Frozen Pond at the Miami Herald,
That said, I do think the Panthers and Jokinen will probably part ways in the coming weeks. I don’t think Olli and [Jacques Martin] like each other very much, and if JM was still the coach, Olli would probably have found himself somewhere else.
But know this: JM is not going to trade Olli away out of spite, is not going to settle on a deal just to make the deal. Certain other GMs of this franchise may have made up their mind to trade a fella, then made sure that was done.
JM is not that kind of a GM. Jacques Martin is patient to a fault, and is not going to be rushed into making a major deal like this without doing due diligence.
From Brian Biggane at the Palm Beach Post,
The Panthers announced their pricing schedule for the 2008-09 season Monday and, although the price of season tickets will remain largely unchanged, single-game seats for so-called “high-demand” games will carry a $25 surcharge.
“We’re doing it mostly to protect our season seat holders,” Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark said. “We did it last year and didn’t get a lot of push back.”
Last year was the first year the Panthers implemented any surcharge, which is becoming a staple in the industry after it was introduced by Major League Baseball and brought to the NHL by the Buffalo Sabres a few years ago. Last year’s surcharge for Panthers games was $10.
Is this a smart move? Panthers home attendance for 2007-08 was 30th in the NHL at 80.2% capacity. But that being said, Biggane’s article also notes that their ticket prices are currently among the lowest in the NHL.
From Mike Knobler at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Waddell said he will begin interviewing three or four candidates later this week and that two of them will be [John] Anderson, coach of the Thrashers’ top minor-league affiliate, and [Brad] McCrimmon, the Thrashers’ associate coach. [Todd] McLellan, an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings, was in San Jose on Monday interviewing for the Sharks job and will interview for the Thrashers job, too, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
“He’s one of several people we’ve reached out to talk to,” Waddell said of McLellan, but there’s no guarantee he’s one of the ones who will have a face-to-face interview.
A coach will be in place before the NHL draft June 20-21, Waddell said.
From Mike Itchue at MLive.com:
Chris Osgood joined The Stoney and Wojo show on WDFN (1130 AM Detroit) Monday afternoon to share stories of his weekend adventures with the Stanley Cup and talk about upcoming appearances.
Osgood and Nicklas Lidstrom will appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday, and Osgood will also walk the Cup down the red carpet at the premiere of the Mike Myers movie “The Love Guru,” which has a hockey theme.
“That is one thing I’m nervous about,” Osgood said of his red carpet walk.
Go to MLive for audio of the complete interview with Osgood.
From Darren Dreger at TSN:
San Jose Sharks are slowly zeroing in on [Ron Wilson’s] replacement. Todd McLellan, an assistant coach with the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings will interview for the job on Tuesday before heading to Atlanta to discuss the Thrashers coaching vacancy with General Manager Don Waddell.
Sources say Kitchener Rangers head coach and GM, Peter DeBoer is also high on Doug Wilson’s list in San Jose and failing a change of heart, may be considered the frontrunner.
The Sharks may be in competition for DeBoer as the Ottawa senators and Florida Panthers remain in the mix. The Senators are believed to have strong interest in DeBoer along with Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds coach Craig Hartsburg and veteran NHL coach, Bob Hartley.
From Mike Brophy at The Hockey News:
Watching the Toronto Maple Leafs conduct business is always an interesting proposition.
Unlike watching a well-oiled success story like the Detroit Red Wings, a team that hires well, scouts well and gets the desired results, the Leafs are more like watching a drunken sailor on leave trying to weave his way through traffic while traveling westbound on Highway 401 East – on a bicycle.
plus more on the Leafs… if you’re up for that.
Hasek leaves the NHL as one of the most important goaltenders the game has ever seen. From 1993 to 2001, The Dominator won six Vezina Trophies and became the first goalie since Jacques Plante (1962) to be named the league’s Most Valuable Player. Hasek was also the first goalie ever to win consecutive Hart Trophies in 1997 and 1998.
Update 11:30am ET: Noted in the Free Press, “It’s time to say goodbye,” Hasek said.
Update 2:42pm ET: Some reflections on Hasek from Mitch Albom at the Free Press. Meanwhile, HockeyTownTodd has already moved on to Jimmy Howard…
Update 3:10pm ET: Video from Hasek’s press conference now added below.
Update 6:34pm ET: From Pierre LeBrun at the CP, Brodeur, Peca and Ruff remember Hasek as one of the best.
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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