Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Word is that any day now the Vancouver Canucks are going to give head coach Alain Vigneault a three-year extension on his contract on top of the year he has left.
Now Vigneault is a good NHL coach and has done some fine work here in his three years, but why would general manager Mike Gillis be so generous when there appears to be absolutely no pressing reason why a coach needs what is essentially a four-year deal?
Isn’t that what Brian Burke did with Marc Crawford? He gave his coach a three-year extension and the club ended up dining on a year of that salary. And clearly by the way the Crawford era ended here, that decision should have been made a year earlier, meaning they would have eaten two years of that deal.
via the Buffalo Sabres Twitter,
The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed Drew Stafford.
BUFFALO, NY (September 13, 2009) – Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced today the team has signed forward Drew Stafford to a two-year deal.
Stafford (10/30/1985, 6-2, 220 lbs) appeared in 79 games for the Sabres last season collecting NHL career-highs in goals (20), assists (25) and points (45). During the 2008-09 campaign, Stafford had 12 multi-point games and picked up his second career hat trick on January 12 against the Edmonton Oilers.
from Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic,
He said he needed a fresh start, and he’s getting that with the Coyotes, who signed him as a free agent.
“It’s been kind of a tough six months for me,” he said. “I went through a tough year on the ice last year and went through some tragedy in my personal life.
“Now I’m just looking to sort of getting my career back on track and coming down here with a new team, a young team. I think it will be good for me, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity here.”
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Cheechoo has to get back to the 30-goal range and Michalek has to increase his offensive output to justify his cap hit for this deal to come close to being a winner for the Senators.
The winner of this deal right now is the Sharks: They got a 50-goal scorer of questionable character, who, if he’s happy and motivated, is one of the best scorers in the league. All they gave up was a guy they were trying to dump and a young player who may or may not live up to his paycheque.
AN NHL SCOUT’S TAKE: “A tough deal for Bryan Murray to make. Michalek is a good player. Cheechoo just hasn’t been very good the last two years. Michalek is going to score 20 goals. The issue is always going to be that they gave up the best player and that’s Dany Heatley. He’ll go in there and burn it up. This could be the deal that defines Bryan Murray’s career in Ottawa.”
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Had this been Montreal, where he spent 13 seasons and united a sometimes-fractured city in admiration of his victory over non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the stands would have been jammed with reporters and photographers interested in the million issues that percolate around the Canadiens.
Instead, Koivu had 90 minutes of blissful privacy to meet teammates and start settling in as the Ducks’ second-line center, a process that will continue today when training camp begins at Anaheim Ice.
“It is different, there’s no doubt,” he said, smiling. “Like today here it felt good. You can just be among your teammates and have fun and practice hard but it’s more of a tighter feeling than it was in Montreal.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Don’t look now, but there is another Phoenix Coyotes situation on the National Hockey League horizon.
The Florida Panthers were supposed to be sold this summer, but quietly no deal was ever agreed to with the difficult owner Alan Cohen, and those who know the situation best wonder what comes next.
The current owners clearly want out. They didn’t even bother to replace Jacques Martin as general manager this summer. They are operating on a shoestring budget and rumblings are the owners may consider abandoning ship if need be.
This isn’t the kind of news the NHL wants to hear as another season is about to begin, especially considering what this summer in bankruptcy court has been like for the league.
continued plus more hockey notes…
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock estimates his team might have as much as a 37 percent changeover in personnel from last year’s season-opening roster.
Most of the new names are familiar, but it marks the biggest change since Detroit added five new players following the lockout four years ago.
“This year potentially (could) be eight,” Babcock said. “None of these people started on the team last year: (Darren) Helm, (Jonathan) Ericsson, (Justin) Abdelkader, (Ville) Leino, (Jimmy) Howard, (Patrick) Eaves, (Todd) Bertuzzi, (Jason) Williams. I’m not saying they’re all on the team—they still have to make the team—but our team is going to change, no question.
“To me that’s very exciting. I think change is a good thing.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Marian Gaborik did not participate in the on-ice sprints due of a tender groin. This is not related to previous hip problems.
“We just want to be careful,” Tortorella said. “We don’t want to do anything stupid. We want to get him ready for the regular season.”
read on for the latest on Dubinsky and some talk about Zherdev offering to return to the Rangers…
from Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune,
Had Gretzky been successful in a suit and tie, it would behoove the Coyotes to wait on him. But let’s face it: He’s been a disaster as an executive and marginal as a coach. The Coyotes have yet to make the playoffs under his tenure.
Is that entirely his fault? Of course not. But he had the loudest voice in the organization and the biggest stick. He has to take responsibility.
More than likely, the legal battle between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Balsillie will drag on for months. The players will suffer, the fans will suffer, the organization will suffer.
Gretzky’s resignation won’t solve any of that. But the last thing the Coyotes need right now is another distraction.
Do the right thing, Wayne.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
How would you answer the questions? What are you most excited, eager and/or anxious to see/hear about in training camp?
WILL THE RUMORS END?
Don’t count on it. In June, “confirmed” reports had the Kings trading for defenseman Chris Pronger. This week, they supposedly acquired forward Patrick Marleau. Both reports turned out to be little more than rumor babble, but given that the Kings have a deep pool of talented prospects, it’s no surprise to hear them attached to every wacky trade rumor. The rumors are unlikely to die down unless Alexander Frolov, due to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, signs a contract extension during training camp. If the Kings add anything before the start of this season, it’s likely to be a veteran defenseman, not a forward.
IS THIS THE YEAR?
Since the end of the 2002 season, Kings fans have waited to see a playoff game. Dean Lombardi is entering his fourth season as the Kings’ general manager, and while the pieces of his plan seem to be falling in place - the Kings have an ever-improving young defense and a stable of talented young goalies - the Western Conference is tough, deep and balanced, and the Kings need to show that they have enough offense to make a big jump from last season’s 14th-place finish in the West.
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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