Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Johnette Howard of Newsday,
To players and agents, the Islanders have become an NHL stop of the last resort. The sharpest proof lately was how Ryan Smyth, a character player the Isles gave up a gaggle of players for and hoped to build around, couldn’t get out fast enough after coming here for an 18-game cameo during the season….
Islanders general manager Garth Snow took the hint from the Smyth caper and is going with a youth and rebuilding movement, which seems like a sound idea on the surface. But the philosophy would feel a whole lot better if the kids whom Snow is counting on this season were a bunch of can’t-miss prospects like Sidney Crosby or Dany Heatley were once upon a time, and not the middling-to-fair group that prompted The Hockey News to recently rank the Islanders’ farm system in the bottom third of the league.
from Mike Celizic at NBC Sports,
The Devils have a backup goalie. His name is Kevin Weekes. This year, coach Brent Sutter should use him.
This isn’t a suggestion. It’s a mandate. If the Devils want all-world goalie Martin Brodeur to take them deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs, they can no longer write his name in the line-up every day for weeks and even months at a time.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
By Wednesday, the Calgary Flames need to pare three players from their roster and more than US$1 million in salary cap space.
Darryl Sutter has plenty of work to do….
Trading away Warrener and Eriksson would save the club nearly US$4 million in cap space. Other options include finding places for the duo in Europe or sending them to the minors.
Sutter fully intends to see new blood injected into the team.
from Kelly Egan of the Ottawa Citizen,
The Los Angeles Kings are playing their second game of the season in Oakland. There are 2,668 fans in the stands. Mr. Regan is the general manager of the Kings and his boss, Mr. Cooke, is not happy.
The Kings are having their home opener in four days. There are only 1,400 or so tickets sold and Mr. Cooke wants his GM to do something about this. Mr. Regan is watching the penalty-filled Oakland game in the stands when he gets an idea: if the fans want rock ‘em, sock ‘em hockey, he will give it to them.
He decides to punch a referee.
“I really enjoy it here, and it’s become a home for me. I can’t really see a better place to play hockey, so hopefully we can figure something out that can work for both of us.”
-Henrik Zetterberg who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2009. More on ‘Z’ from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
If the Minnesota Wild don’t want to give winger Marian Gaborik more than Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin ($8.7 million a year) in a seven- or eight-year extension, they could always consider trading a star for a star.
Here’s one wildcat trade possibility: Gaborik to Pittsburgh for Malkin because the Penguins are very weak on the wing.
That would be akin to Dany Heatley for Marian Hossa, pretty rare stuff in this league where quality usually gets dealt for quantity.
continued with more NHL talk
from Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press,
Why was there such tepid interest in Nashville?
It’s a cultural thing.
Is that anything you didn’t know going in or were you too optimistic?
Both. Nashville is a market where people who were raised in Nashville go to college in Nashville, they go back to work in Nashville. It was a little harder to break into that culture, and I should have known that. The fans in Nashville are great. They’re rabid. They’re vocal. They’re passionate. There just aren’t enough of them.
Do you consider your investment there a failure or a learning experience?
I don’t consider it a failure. I look at it as I was the caretaker there the first 10 years and I’ve now passed it off to some local guys, and hopefully they can take it to a level I wasn’t able to take it to. If the team ends up cratering and moves out, then I would say I was not successful.
more from Leipold, mostly on the team he currently owns, the Minnesota Wild…
from Corey Masisak of the Washington Times,
As the only new member of the organization, (Jose) Theodore will have to endure scrutiny this season. But toss in the position he plays and the great expectations for the franchise, and Theodore could be the linchpin for success or the scapegoat for failure.
Being a goaltender in places like Montreal and Colorado, Theodore knows all about that type of pressure. He also knows what the intense media scrutiny was like with the Canadiens - both on and off the ice - and is looking forward to settling in and being comfortable in the District.
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
(Jason) Blake was not a stranger to new coach Ron Wilson. Wilson had coached him on U.S. national teams and knew the level at which he should be performing. Wilson also watched him on TV last season and it was a different Blake than the one he remembered. He spoke to the winger about it during camp.
“The Jason Blake that I knew on national teams and when he was scoring went hard to the net and competed,” said Wilson.
“Last year, I thought he kind of circled the wagons all the time and took a lot of perimeter shots that were a waste of time. They looked good on paper. He’d come of the game with five shots, but they’re all 50-foot wrist shots. He’s going hard to the net and he’s starting to score now.”
I still think he’ll come back around December. Where? To be determined. His heart remains in Toronto, but if the Leafs are already out of it come that time, he’ll need to cut the cord. Keep an eye on the Rangers and Flyers.
-Pierre LeBrun of ESPN on Mats Sundin. More from LeBrun and Mats, but we have heard it before…
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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