Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
...The Thrashers have to decide if he’s worth it. As elite of a goal-scorer as Kovalchuk is, he has flaws. For a max contract, you’d prefer flawless.
The Thrashers are open to the idea of a deal that could run as long as 12 years, but the question they have to answer is this: Will a 39-year-old Kovalchuk be worth $10 million? Or $9 million? Because the 26-year-old Kovalchuk has no interest in signing one of those Chris Pronger or Marian Hossa long-term deals where the final years are worthless.
“That’s probably the hardest thing,” Waddell said. “If we had that answered, we’d have a deal done. We look at other players—what’s the age where you see a dropoff? If we had the exact answer, it’d be easier.”
This deal is complicated, partly because it’s hard to find a comparable player. Vincent Lecavalier’s 11-year deal worth $85 million could be comparable, but he was 28 when he signed his contract extension, two years older than Kovalchuk. He also had a Stanley Cup.
from Bill Tiller of Ice Man at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Personally, I put far more of the blame for the current predicament the Thrashers are in on the players than he or the current coaching staff. You can disagree with me if you wish…but I’ve seen what his system can do when players are where they are supposed to be and doing the things they are supposed to do. So, I’m not ready to give up on the good coach at this time.
However, if…IF…IF the Atlanta Spirit gang actually does decide that “enough is enough” and move to make a change, then they need to decide that simply changing just the coach… again… is not “enough”. They need to also give careful consideration to the notion that the man who has hired the first three head coaches in the franchise’s history should not be given the opportunity to hire the fourth.
In short, if a firing of any kind is in order here, this time it simply has to be Don Waddell that is shown the door…whether or whether not the coach is on his way out as well.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
...Joe Pavelski (USA), Joe Thornton (Canada), Patrick Marleau (Canada), Dany Heatley (Canada), Douglas Murray (Sweden), Thomas Greiss (Germany), Evgeni Nabokov (Russia) and Dan Boyle (Canada) represent the Sharks’ Olympic crew.
The question, of course, is whether a Stanley Cup contender like the Sharks wants to have that many core players at the Olympics, given the possible wear and tear, or even injury. But the answer from the Sharks’ organization is unequivocally, yes, it’s very much worth it.
“The positives far outweigh the negatives,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson told ESPN.com this week.
The debate is an interesting one, and you get different answers from different people around the game. It’s been a conversation largely triggered by the 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings, a powerhouse team that was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by underdog Edmonton. Looking back, many people wondered if having their Swedish contingent win it all at the 2006 Torino Games in any way wore them out in the second half. Wings GM Ken Holland still doesn’t buy it.
from Mike Milbury at CBC,
Gifted indeed. Is he worth the dough? Maybe. Probably not. Definitely not. Most definitely not. That’s my answer and I am sticking with it.
Atlanta has made the playoffs once while Kovalchuk has been with the team. He gets his goals and what else? He backchecks occasionally? Oh, thank you.
Reports are that Kovalchuk has been offered about $10 million US per season for about the rest of his playing life and he still can’t accept. OK ... fair enough. He likes Atlanta but not the Thrashers’ chances of success and he has the right to go free agent. No problem, but can’t he give some relief to the franchise that has been more than fair to him for about a decade?
more hockey talk…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The problem, when a coaching death watch begins, is that they often become self-fulfilling. The players start to hear rumblings about a possible change and it creeps into their collective psyche. They wonder about its implications, good and bad, for them as individuals. They stop playing on instinct; hesitation sets in.
Pretty soon, everybody is standing around, waiting for the other shoe to drop – and the frustrated general manager is there, watching the whole thing unfold, ready to tear out his hair because he doesn’t want to make a coaching change, but knows he may have to.
That, in a nutshell, is pretty much where the Columbus Blue Jackets stand at this moment, on the heels of a 7-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night, the first of three games in Western Canada that continues Thursday night in Edmonton.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed Tyler Sloan to a two-year contract extension and David Steckel to a three-year contract extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sloan, 28, is in his 10th professional season and second NHL campaign in 2009-10. A 6’4”, 204-pound native of Calgary, Alberta, Sloan has averaged 12:43 of ice time in 22 games. He has played both as a forward and a defenseman for the Capitals this season and registered four points (two goals, two assists).
Sloan was signed by the Capitals as a free agent on July 2, 2008, and made his NHL debut on Oct. 21, 2008, in his hometown of Calgary. He scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 25, 2008 in a 6-5 overtime victory at Dallas.
Steckel, 27, is in his sixth professional season and third full NHL campaign this year. A 6’5”, 217-pound native of West Bend, Wisc., Steckel leads the NHL with a 61.9% faceoff percentage. He also all Caps players in time on ice on the penalty kill (124:14) and is ninth among NHL forwards in that category. He has registered five points (two goals, three assists) on the season
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Had Kevin Bieksa been wearing a protective Kevlar sock, the Vancouver Canucks defenceman may not have been sidelined three months after two tendons in his left ankle were severed Dec. 29 at Phoenix from a skate cut. Products are being marketed that feature a Kevlar lining knit inside a sports-mesh polyester outer shell to make socks cut-resistant, but something seems lost in translation as to how it can be adopted as regular equipment sooner rather than later.
Reebok is the official equipment supplier to the NHL and players must wear its items as part of the agreement. But what’s to stop a player from donning a Kevlar sock under mandated equipment — and not exposing a competing company’s logo — until the league and the Players’ Association make Kevlar socks mandatory?
from Daryl Reaugh of Razor With An Edge,
The Devs have their games broadcast by the best American play by play man of his era, and maybe ever.
They have a team identity that is etched-in and backlit.
And yet…they draw only when the opponent is the draw - which apparently is rare. Most nights, in the shiney new Pridential Cemter, they draw flies.
This isn’t some sunbelt expansion club we’re talking about. This is the team doing all that winning, with the iconic legend in net, just across the river from New York, NY with it’s Madison Avenue, media headquarters, and massive population. And after all, isn’t winning supposed to be your best marketing tool?
So why did only 9,500 people decide to take in the Eastern Conference leaders’ 4-0 dismantling of the Stars last night?
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
Our all first-half team
Vacouver’s Henrik Sedin has hit his stride as a goal scorer. So we’ll put him at centre between Marian Gaborik and Alex Ovechkin. Miller is our goalie with (Duncan) Keith and (Mike) Green on the blue-line. There isn’t much grit with this unit, so Ovechkin will have to get busy in the physical department, too.
more first-half awards…
Or if you prefer Taxman with your hockey…
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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