Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Ilya Kovalchuk will be a Thrasher next season.
General manager Don Waddell told the Journal-Constitution last week that, unequivocally, Kovalchuk will remain with the team as it attempts to re-sign one of the NHL’s elite players. There will be no trade deadline move — such as with Marian Hossa — if negotiations reach an impasse….
Kovalchuk, 26, has made it clear that to re-sign him, the Thrashers must improve a team that has missed the playoffs the past two seasons after failing to win a game in its only postseason appearance.
“If I feel like we’re in the right direction, for sure I think we’ll figure out a way to sign a new deal,” Kovalchuk told the AJC last month.
For Kovalchuk to stay, a player such as Kari Lehtonen might go.
from Sam Kasan of PittsburghPenguins.com,
How many 21-year-olds in the world can claim to be the best in their profession? Actually, how many 21-year-olds are already working in a profession, let alone being the best at what they do?
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is staking his claim as the world’s best hockey player at the young age of 21. His play and poise at such a young age has impressed his peers, including 16-year NHL veteran and linemate Bill Guerin.
“I didn’t realize just how much he does it on a nightly basis. For a young guy to have that sort of consistency, to have that sort of focus is really impressive,” Guerin said. “I know as a young player myself, the consistency part of the game was probably the hardest to get by. He already has that.”
Babcock, Lidstrom, Osgood, Franzen and Zetterberg met with the media today…
Q. Considering you’ve only had one practice to get ready for tomorrow, are you guys ready? I notice you practiced probably an hour, I haven’t seen you practice that long in a long time. Can you talk about your practice today and your preparation for tomorrow.
MIKE BABCOCK: Well, we didn’t practice an hour. We practiced 40 minutes. We got out there late today because we met so much today. Normally you have a couple days. Today we had to jam it in. That’s just the way it is. No different than cramming for a course. I’m sure all of us have done that in the past.
We’re going to be ready and prepared and look forward to playing a good Chicago team.
from Al Cimaglia at ESPN,
At the start of the playoffs my thinking was the Blackhawks could win two rounds and then would probably meet the Detroit Red Wings. I have always had a profound respect for the Wings organization. No matter the changes in rule interpretation or the consequences of the salary cap, Detroit always flourished. More often than not they would put themselves in a position to win the Stanley Cup. Truly the Red Wings are one of the finest organizations in any sport….
We will find out soon if the Blackhawks will have more players being positive factors in this series than the Wings. I believe they have the depth to succeed versus Detroit. It may all come down to “want” and at this point I can’t pick against this group. I don’t have a clue as to how many games it will take, but somehow, some way the Hawks get past the Wings.
Scott’s wife, Julie, was diagnosed with cervical cancer during the team’s series against the Boston Bruins, which concluded with Walker’s dramatic, overtime game-winner in Game 7 on Thursday night in Boston. Julie Walker’s cancer is treatable, and she is expected to make a full recovery.
“My wife is an amazing person and we are looking forward to a positive outcome from this challenge,” said Scott Walker. “I will address the situation with the media this afternoon, but my family would appreciate its privacy going forward.”
from Record News Services,
Last night, Balsillie’s latest filings in response to some strong words earlier in the week from the NHL appeared to include that kind of logical, meet-you-halfway solution. In his court documents, Balsillie offered to keep the Coyotes in Arizona for one more season if the league will let him buy the team for $212.5 million (U.S.).
Not so fast.
Balsillie’s offer was made on condition the relocation of the team gets approved and that the NHL would pick up all the losses, which may have amounted to $45 million this season.
Well, the NHL’s never going to accept that. The other 29 teams would never countenance such a deal. And Balsillie knows it.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
Pierre Lacroix isn’t talking and neither is Patrick Roy, but does anybody really think the latter flew to Denver for something other than to discuss the head coaching job with the Avalanche?
So Tony Granato, whose team finished last in the Western Conference, has two years left on his contract. So what? So did a guy named Guy Carbonneau when he was booted out.
If Roy wants the job, he’s got it. And there’s no reason not to want it now that his sons no longer are with the Remparts and Roy has nothing else to prove at the junior coaching level.
It’s all about filling the seats in Denver.
•How do you explain the Western Conference Finals featuring two teams east of the Mississippi?
• I am starting to get my ‘day clock’ adjusted. Those late games played on the west coast sure threw my body clock into a funk the last two weeks.
• Any one moment from the first two rounds that you will go into your long-term memory bank?
• Those of us in the USA will be watching most of the games on Versus during the Conference Finals. The one thing I want to see go away is that darn commercial bar that appears on the bottom right of the screen during play (see an example in the video).
Any suggestions you have, please leave a comment. This is not a post about knocking Versus but to make suggestions to improve their broadcast.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Ducks General Manager Bob Murray probably cost himself some negotiating leverage and big bucks Friday when he called Scott Niedermayer “irreplaceable” and all but begged the smooth-skating defenseman to sign for another season.
It might be worth the elevated price.
With Niedermayer, the Ducks can retain a strong corps of veterans while easing younger legs into the lineup, a process Murray began with late-season trades that transformed them from a bottom-feeder to a playoff upstart that dismissed the top-seeded Sharks in the first round and took the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings to seven gritty games.
If Niedermayer retires, right wing Teemu Selanne could follow, despite having a year left on his contract. To a team already thin on its second line—Murray’s other priority—losing Selanne might trigger a step backward.
Murray said he needs to know Niedermayer’s plans before the June 26 draft so he can formulate a strategy.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
A new twist in the ongoing Duel in the Desert emerged yesterday, one that might see the Phoenix Coyotes wind up in Las Vegas in a couple of years — with the NHL’s approval.
In a scenario brought to light by a source in Phoenix familiar with the letter of intent — or potential offer, or whatever the NHL is calling the document it has with Jerry Reinsdorf’s signature on it — Reinsdorf’s autograph is the only thing the owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls will put toward the Coyotes, since any cash will actually be provided by a couple of other would-be owners.
Those fellows, the source said, are movie and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Harry Sloan, the chairman and chief executive officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
added 12:11pm, from Paul Waldie of the Globe and Mail,
Could the Phoenix Coyotes be heading back to their old stomping grounds of Manitoba after a 13-year absence of NHL hockey in the province?
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told officials with Phoenix Coyotes that the NHL would consider moving the team to Winnipeg but not Hamilton, court filings show.
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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