Kukla's Korner Hockey
The latest on Mats Sundin, Nikolai Khabibulin, Teemu Selanne, Dwayne Roloson and more….
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Tallon cannot move Khabibulin by the start of next season then he’ll have little option but to make other deals as he must get under the cap.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
One place, during the NHLer’s recent trip to Africa, had propsfor them to actually demonstrate—branches that crudely looked like hockey sticks.
So, using a lock for a puck, they demonstrated passing and shooting.
“I don’t know if the kids got it,” Regehr says with a chuckle, “or if they just thought we were crazy.”
Crazy or not, the memories that the Calgary Flames defenceman re-turned with from Africa will last with him forever.
from Mike Swift of the Mercury News,
From cultivating gays in San Francisco to trying to make San Jose the launch pad to promote ice hockey in China, Bay Area pro sports teams are facing the demographic fact that the biggest growth in their fan base isn’t necessarily among fans with a lifelong affinity for their sport….
Recognizing that demographic fact, the four mainstream professional leagues are trying to expand their demographic base. They are cultivating female, Latino, Asian, and gay and lesbian fans; signing international stars who can forge lucrative immigrant connections in a team’s home market; and even planting teams outside the United States.
The Sharks are following that last route. San Jose’s NHL franchise will have an affiliated pro team in Shanghai this fall with North American and Asian players - the China Sharks - playing teams from Japan and Korea.
The goal, said Sharks President and Chief Executive Greg Jamison, is to seed hockey interest in the world’s most populous nation.
from the Washington Times,
The Washington Capitals’ run to the playoffs has created an unprecedented level of interest in new season tickets for the upcoming season.
The team is expected to boost its season-ticket base by as many as 5,000 seats this year, thanks in part to a sales campaign that has included monthly events at Verizon Center and an aggressive phone and direct mailing effort.
“It’s really going to be a great offseason for us,” Caps vice president of ticket sales Jim Van Stone said.
Hundreds of fans went to Verizon Center on Thursday for an open house featuring Caps defenseman Mike Green, and the team sold more than $100,000 in new season tickets during the event.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
There actually was one Selanne sighting recently, if the Finnish video of Teemu playing tennis doubles was shot recently. I forwarded it to Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who didn’t seem amused.
“If anyone spots him,” Burke said, “have him call me.”
What’s the rush? Just because training camp opens next month and the Ducks open their 2008 exhibition schedule Sept. 24 against the Sharks?
I’m guessing Selanne, an unrestricted free agent, will re-sign — for whatever the Ducks have to offer under the salary cap — as soon as Burke makes another roster move (perhaps trading Mathieu Schneider) to reduce the payroll.
By now, everyone in the organization should realize there is Pacific Daylight Time — and then there is Teemu Time.
from the mailbox of Ray Stein of the Columbus Dispatch,
Mr. Stein: I’ve lived here for 10 years and am still amazed when Buckeyes fans get threatened by the local NHL team. I’ve come up with several theories why:
1. They don’t like to share “their town” with anybody—maybe state government should leave, too; 2. They don’t like it that people in “their town” couldn’t care less about Ohio State and the football team. 3. They have a growing inferiority complex based upon their shortcomings.
Ten bucks (sorry for the pun) says Beyer will be more than willing to share “his town” and jump on the Blue Jackets bandwagon when the “misfits” become winners. Hopefully we won’t choke in the big game….
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Anaheim will most assuredly move defenseman Mathieu Schneider, his puck-moving abilities, and his $5.625 million contract to a club that can absorb such a cap hit. Chicago will undoubtedly move goalie Nikolai Khabibulin’s $6.75 million salary, especially with newbie Cristobal Huet ($22.5 million over four years) expected to grab the No. 1 job. Ex-Bruin Mike Knuble, entering the final year of his contract (a mere $2.8 million per season), might be up for grabs for a club seeking a power forward.
Second, Mats Sundin has pledged to make a decision on his future by Friday, which should let loose a torrent of activity for the clubs that lose out on the pivot’s services - if, in fact, the big Swede decides to return to the NHL.
“I think it has a tremendous effect,” said Chiarelli on how Sundin’s decision has affected the market. “Starting from July 1, you saw an ebb and flow of signings. It has a tremendous effect. It’s certainly within his rights to wait and make a choice. He’s a tremendous player who had a tremendous year.”
much more hockey talk…
from Brian Cosetllo of the Hockey News,
Looking ahead to next season, many hockey observers – at least most everyone in our office – expect the Predators to be right in the thick of things again, pushing for and making the playoffs.
But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nashville fall to among the bottom two or three teams in the Western Conference. Here’s why.
The goaltending position is extremely unsettled. They got rid of Vokoun because Chris Mason was supposed to be the heir apparent. Now Mason has been shuffled off to St. Louis because of the strong play of Dan Ellis last season. What if Ellis and his 45 games worth of NHL experience can’t repeat? The backup is Pekka Rinne. The Preds have among the league’s least palatable goaltending tandems going into next season.
Can understand the Bruins buying out unproductive Glen Murray. Can’t understand why they waited for late July to do so.
-Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
...Which reminds us. We’d pay to be in the room for a hypothetical meeting between Wang and Tortorella in which the owner suggests Doug Weight be given more time on the power play. We bet it would be play out much like the exchange between Tortorella and me that’s been on YouTube for more than a year.
Bryan Trottier, meanwhile, in the organization and compatible with ownership, would be an outstanding choice at this time to coach this team. So would Butch Goring. And then there’s Ulf Samuelsson, an assistant in Phoenix, who may or may not be ready for his first head-coaching gig, but sure is ready for an interview.
Even as Trottier was overwhelmed by the job on Broadway, and even if he had no clue how to communicate with people like Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure - sure, let’s play Ronald Petrovicky on the first power play to teach Bure a lesson; why not? - the Great No. 19 was terrific with the kids on the Rangers’ roster.
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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