Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette via the National Post,
It has been 15 long years since the Montreal Canadiens last won the Stanley Cup, but there is a small group of Montrealers who can boast that they drank from Lord Stanley’s mug this summer.
John Harris, Dr. Jay McMullan, Mike Nelson and Earl Zukerman were among the invited guests when Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had his opportunity to spend 48 hours with the Cup last month in his home province of Saskatchewan….
Zukerman says that Babcock, despite his fame, has remained the same fun-loving guy he was during his university days.
“He’s a little more self-conscious maybe when people are around,” Zukerman said. “But when he’s with his old gang, he hasn’t changed a bit. It’s just like it was 25 years ago.
“I thought he might send someone to pick me up at the airport, but he showed up himself in shorts, just like any ordinary Joe. The same old ‘Babs’.”
from Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun,
We come to you today to express concern for an endangered species.
We are talking about the Winnipeg Jet, a creature once beloved and abundant in these parts.
Now, 12 years after the local NHL team became extinct (or at least packed up and flew south to Phoenix) they are truly a dying breed.
With the retirement of former Jet Stu Barnes Thursday, a month after Dallas Drake did the same thing, there are now only seven ex-Jets with the potential of playing in the NHL this coming season.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
“It got to the point where the dollars were just too much for us,” Murray said in a conference call last night. “We thought it was at a point where we weren’t going to be able to do it. I wasn’t able to make the adjustment with my salary structure.
“The last two years, (Meszaros’ play) has left a lot to be desired. I know Filip Kuba well and he’s really going to help us. I know he’s excited about this change. As for Picard, he’s local guy with a lot of potential. We feel good and the first-round pick is also going to help us.”
Murray said Kuba, Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov and Jason Smith will be club’s top four blueliners this season.
added 2:25pm, from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Andrej Meszaros to a six-year contract today, executive vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton announced. Meszaros was acquired from the Ottawa Senators yesterday in exchange for defensmen Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard as well as a first-round draft pick in 2009 (previously acquired).
“The acquisition and signing of Andrej is a strong statement to our players and our fans that the Lightning ownership group is committed to putting the best product on the ice now and for years to come,” Lawton said.
from Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette,
The city of Tampa, Fla., is scheduled to host the 2012 NCAA men’s hockey Frozen Four at the St. Pete Times Forum.
But the NCAA better rethink that in the wake of what the new ownership group of the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled on Notre Dame and the Lightning College Hockey Classic.
The NCAA should rescind Tampa’s right to host the Frozen Four after the Lightning told the Notre Dame just last Thursday that it wasn’t welcomed to have its tournament Jan. 2-3 in the St. Pete Times Forum….
Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson didn’t mince words in criticizing the Lightning’s new ownership group, which is headed by Oren Koules and former NHL player Len Barrie.
“I am extremely disappointed in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s decision to not continue the tournament,” Jackson said in a statement. “We had a verbal agreement to continue this for two more years, and as hosts of the Frozen Four in 2012, I’m not sure it’s the best message to send to the college hockey community by cancelling the tournament at such a late date.”
The Ottawa Senators have traded defenceman Andrej Meszaros to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defencemen Filip Kuba, Alexandre Picard and a first round pick (previously acquired from San Jose).
Update 8:39pm ET (alanah): Also noted at the TSN link is this contract info—
Sources add that Meszaros is expected to sign a six-year contract with the Lightning averaging $4 million a season.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
NHL training camps were reduced from 27 days to 20 days as part of the last collective bargaining agreement. For another, the official opening of the regular season has been pushed back by six days, year over year, to appease the growing number of U.S.-based franchises, many of which draw poorly in the opening month of the season and would just as soon start near the beginning of November.
It’s also why Mats Sundin’s indecision — or Teemu Selanne’s or Brendan Shanahan’s — about their plans for the upcoming season do not have the same urgency as years past. It’s not as if training camps are even around the corner. They have the better part of three weeks to decide if they’re in or out…
read on and many other topics discussed like McCabe, Selanne and Sundin.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Two high-ranking NHL sources confirmed to THN.com Friday that the Lightning are extremely interested in bringing the restricted free agent defenseman to Tampa Bay, but because they currently do not have their own 2009 third round draft pick that would allow them to sign Meszaros to an offer sheet, Tampa’s attempts at acquiring him may have hit a roadblock.
From there, the picture gets a little less clear….
Lightning management has been completely rebuffed by Pens GM Ray Shero, who does not wish to be even remotely associated with an RFA offer sheet.
Because of Shero’s reticence, the source said, Tampa Bay has been attempting to finalize a trade for Meszaros with Senators GM Bryan Murray that would not include the first, second and third round picks necessary for an offer sheet to work. But, according the source, Murray currently has “no impetus” to work out a trade for the 23-year-old blueliner.
but wait, there is more...
from Michael Caples of DetroitRedWings.com,
(Ty) Conklin joined Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, and Brian Rafalski as the only Wings who participated in the first optional skate before training camp.
Conklin, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, said that he thought it was important to get onto the ice as soon as possible to start meeting his new teammates.
“Anytime you can get in here and get familiar, I needed to make sure I can get in here and get prepared for camp,” he said. “That’s what I do every year; you come to camp with the idea that you’re going to play your best from day one.”
more from Conklin and also joining the Wings in their skate was the Oilers Shawn Horcoff who lives in Michigan.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
My look at the best players in each franchise’s history takes me to the Central Division…
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Best forward: Brett Hull. You can make a case for Bernie Federko, but I’m not buying. Hull was just too good.
Best defenseman: Al MacInnis. He was just as good in St. Louis as he was in Calgary. Yes, he gets my nod over Chris Pronger.
from Craig Custance’s Blog,
Since the Andrej Meszaros camp isn’t being real helpful in identifying the team that has made a reported offer sheet to the young defenseman, I’m trying to figure it out the old-fashioned way: The process of elimination. Sure, it’s not real efficient but on a Friday afternoon when there’s not a ton of hockey news to chase down it’s entertaining….
I’ve got a confirmed no on a signed offer sheet from the GM’s of three teams I thought might be possibilities: Atlanta, Phoenix and Columbus.
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 email@example.com