Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
Kovalchuk isn’t the only player in the sights of the KHL. A source told sportsnet.ca Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin is so upset about having to pay 18 per cent of his salary to escrow he is prepared to pondering leaving the Capitals after this season. Sources say Ovechkin expressed his displeasure with having to pay escrow during an NHLPA conference call meant to talk about the direction of the organization.
more on Kovalchuk…
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via the National Post,
The Edmonton Oilers don’t plan any quick fixes to help their goaltending situation, with Nikolai Khabibulin having surgery Thursday in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disc in his back.
They will ride young netminders Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk rather than make a trade for New York Islanders’ goalie Martin Biron, who is No. 3 on their depth chart behind Rick DiPietro, who is back from a knee injury, and ex-Oiler Dwayne Roloson. A trade like that might cost the Oilers a middle-round entry draft pick.
There is also no truth to rumours the Oilers may be interested in acquiring Jaroslav Halak from Montreal, which would cost them infinitely more.
To the KK readers who have emailed me about the made up rumor of Halak to Edmonton, there is your answer…
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
I apologize for being late to the party on the Steve Ott contract talks, but I just kind of knew they weren’t making progress, so I put it on the backburner.
The talks are cordial, Ott wants to stay in Dallas, and both sides say everybody is happy and open to negotiations. But the fly in the ointment is that it’s really tough to define what Steve Ott is right now.
Is he a gritty third line forward who can kill penalties, agitate and help the team win? Is he a top six forward who can score goals and help make a skilled line tougher? Is he the elusive shut-down checking line center who can win faceoffs that this team so desperately needs?
Because that makes a lot of difference in how a player gets paid.
I’ve had a few emails today from readers asking about any action against Sergei Gonchar for his elbow on Cal Clutterbuck on Monday.
According to an email exchange with TSN Insider Bob McKenzie, there will be no further action…
Nothing on Gonchar. Five minutes deemed sufficient.
So there you have it, end of story. In case you missed the incident, you can watch it here.
from Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Thrashers star Ilya Kovalchuk told the AJC on Wednesday that he is not frustrated by ongoing contract negotiations. Kovalchuk, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the season, also said he remains confident a deal will get done.
“No, not really,” Kovalchuk said when asked if he was frustrated with the length of time that has elapsed. “I just try to focus on my game and my goal to make the playoffs. I don’t care about the contract situation.
“Everybody goes through it. It’s not frustrating at all. … It’s not easy to sign a deal. Whatever it takes, we’ll take our time.”
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
The Leafs have sent down skilled rookie forward Viktor Stalberg to the American Hockey League’s Marlies in order to call up pugilist Jay Rosehill, whose muscle likely will be front and centre against the modern-day version of the Broad St. Bullies tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre.
In 23 games with the Marlies, Rosehill has two points and 122 penalty minutes. It’s easy to see he hasn’t be recalled for his playmaking skills.
The Leafs obviously are attempting to send a message after their fight-filled 6-2 loss to the Flyers in the City of Brotherly Loathe seven days ago.
The primary target for most of their bitterness was Flyers superpest Dan Carcillo, who irked the Leafs when, after scoring a beautiful goal, looked at them in a mocking fashion as he skated past their bench.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
“Ultimately, a cap league is a cap league no matter what sport,” said Holland. “And if you look at the NFL, Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl last year and missed the playoffs this season. It’s hard to stay good for a long period of time. It’s designed for parity, it’s designed for competitive balance.”
Just four years removed from that thrilling Edmonton-Carolina final, the Oilers and Hurricanes find themselves ranked 29th and 30th, respectively, in the overall NHL standings. Just three years removed, the teams from the 2007 Cup finals have also seen better days; the champion Anaheim Ducks are life and death to make the playoffs and the Ottawa Senators already missed them last season.
Free agency and limited cap space has been a toxic force that has forced dramatic turnover on many NHL rosters, and certainly the first four Cup finals teams of the post-lockout NHL.
via the Ottawa Sun,
With their goaltending in tatters and the team on a five-game losing streak, the Senators have fired goalie coach Eli Wilson.
The club has yet to give any official reason for the move, or say who might be taking over, but Wilson is packing his bags from New York, where the team is preparing to play the Rangers on Thursday night.
from Chris Nichols of Sportsnet, I
t’s not all doom and gloom for pending UFAs though, clearly. Some players have managed to take full advantage of their opportunities.
Maxim Afinogenov signed a one-year deal with Atlanta and he’s been money, soon-to-be literally, for this team with 40 points in 45 GP. He’s actually only eight points shy of matching his production from Buffalo over the past two years. Amazing what not being buried in the line-up can accomplish.
Calgary’s Rene Bourque is only four points shy of reaching a new career high and the undrafted winger is setting himself up for a nice raise on his current $1.35M cap hit. He has 37 points in 40 GP with a strong 53 PIM for his standard league owners too.
Vaclav Prospal was bought out of his contract with Tampa Bay and he turned that frown upside down by channelling his vengeance with the New York Rangers, where he has mostly played alongside Marian Gaborik. Prospal just came back from injury in last night’s double shutout tilt against the Devils and he has 32 points in 39 GP. All in all, he’s been a great value for both the Rangers and poolies.
Perhaps the biggest success story amongst the pending UFAs is Patrick Marleau…
EDMONTON - Edmonton Oilers’ General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin will undergo surgery Thursday in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disc in his back.
Khabibulin, 37, has appeared in 18 games for the Oilers this season with a 7-9-2 record, 3.03 GAA and .910 save percentage.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org