Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
Well, they have a couple goalies, just not one you’d stake your Stanley Cup life on right now. I realize that the Blues beat the Hawks on deflected shots, so I’m not hanging that specific loss on Cristobal Huet. But that position remains the biggest question because Huet has never won a playoff series and Niemi has never played so much as a postseason minute in the NHL.
And now, Huet can’t handle a small workload. The Hawks’ game of keepaway means their goalies see fewer shots than other netminders, but the quality of the chances against them might be just as high. The last few times that Huet has faced 20 shots or so, he has not given anyone confidence that he can be trusted in the heat of spring. Anyone in the Hawks organ-I-zation, I mean.
Maybe that changes soon. Maybe one of these two guys—- nobody cares which, at this point—- gets it together before April. It appears one of them will have to because this isn’t your father’s NHL trading deadline, where 100 bodies change teams. Nope, this is a salary-cap era that is hamstringing the Hawks—thank you, Billfold Wirtz—- so Huet or Niemi will need to be Roy or Brodeur.
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,
Here’s how you know the Caps are becoming a big deal: Tony Kornheiser discusses them on national television without using the phrase “choking dogs.”
“Odds the Caps win the Cup” appeared during PTI’s oddsmakers segment Wednesday afternoon. Wilbon put the odds at 49 percent. Kornheiser chose 60 percent. Those aren’t bad odds.
“They’ve got the most points in the NHL, they’ve got an 11 game winning streak and they’ve got the most exciting offensive player in the league in Alex Ovechkin,” Kornheiser began. “But this always comes down to a goalie. And if the guy Varlamov, or however you pronounce that, who was in the playoffs last year, if he’s healthy I like their chances. If Theodore is in the nets, I like them not quite as much, but I still like them. Watch this Reali, 60 percent.”
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
The Wings said yesterday that Franzen’s target date for a return is next Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues, putting his rehab time at the minimum of four months and potentially giving him three games before the Olympic break. Then he can put his feet up on the coffee table and do whatever it is a guy nicknamed the Mule does to relax for a few weeks, having been left off the Team Sweden Olympic roster.
That snub didn’t exactly sit well with Franzen. In speaking with Swedish newspaper Expressen (article hilariously translated here, including the phrase “it feels a little sandbox on the whole”), Franzen said Team Sweden officials “made a mistake and they want to hide it” after keeping him off the roster.
According to the admittedly rough translation, the paper previously reported that Swedish head coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson hadn’t spoken to Franzen since November and that the team didn’t consult Detroit doctors about his injury rehab.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
We get it. John Tortorella is the chess master playing with one king, one rook, a knight, a bishop and about a dozen pawns. But at some point the head coach of the Rangers must declare and implement a strategy against more heavily fortified opponents that does not change every five minutes.
By going public with the Ilya Kovalchuk will be traded line yesterday, Atlanta GM Don Waddell is trying to create more interest in his star player.
With that in mind, what is your best offer for Ilya, and let’s assume it is as a ‘rental player’ only, meaning he will be going to the UFA market come July 1st.
For some real trade talk, Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey takes a look at all the teams mentioned as a possible destination for Kovalchuk.
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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