Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
On the surface, you might ask, “which teams have been the best shoppers?”
Rangers—No matter what you think the Broadway Blueshirts will look like without star wing Jaromir Jagr after he bolted to big money in Russia, Markus Naslund has been ready for a new hockey life, and the Rangers are hoping it will begin in New York where centers Scott Gomez, Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky have a way of making wings perform better. Not to mention the 26 goals by Nikolai Zherdev that should improve in much the same way. What puts the Rangers over the top this offseason, however, is the signing of free-agent defensemen Wade Redden, Dimitri Kalinin along with the re-signing of Michael Rozsival.
from Edward Fraser of the Hockey News,
As I’ve done with the Pacific, Southeast, Northwest and Northeast over the past four weeks, here are my picks for the top three ’09 UFAs from each team in the Central Division. I’ll finish the tour next Friday with the Atlantic.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Henrik Zetterberg ($2.9 million)
He’ll never get close to UFAdom; you can bet each of GM Ken Holland’s Stanley Cup rings on that.
Marian Hossa ($7.45 million)
Even if the Wings don’t repeat as champs and Hossa doesn’t get the Cup he so desires, don’t expect him to take another one-year deal. How does eight years and $68 million sound?
Johan Franzen ($1.15 million)
A shoo-in for the Conn Smythe if he didn’t go down with an injury in the playoffs, the 28-year-old is the heir apparent to an aging Tomas Holmstrom.
from Mike Harrington at Sabres Edge,
Quite an exciting day to get the mail and get my copy of the annual yearbook from The Hockey News….
Be sure to check out their conference predictions on Page 64. They pick Detroit to win the Stanley Cup again. No biggie. But the game’s premier publication has the Sabres 11th—yes, 11th—in the East. At this point in the summer, I’m still on the fence about the Sabres as a playoff team but I doubt they’re going to get worse either.
read on with the complete conference rankings for both conferences…
On a side note, you can purchase the digital version of the Hockey News Yearbook here. When you get to the page just click “Yearbook 2008 Issue $3.99”.
from Ted’s Take,
From time to time, you have heard me rail against media pundits for their lack of criticality; original thinking; creativity; and basic non-understanding of what they are writing about.
Well here is another rant. This time against Ross McKeon and his blog post mentioning contraction of six NHL teams including the Washington Capitals. Read it here.
First, the throw away notion of shuttering six major league teams is just mean-spirited. Those six teams employ thousands and thousands of people and support tens of thousands of families. I guess Ross wants us to lay off all those people in the toughest economy ever. And those teams generate dollars for their cities in taxes and they generate dollars to hundreds and hundreds of small businesses as vendor/ suppliers.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
After keeping mum on the topic in recent weeks, Blues President John Davidson on Thursday voiced heavy interest in returning one of the most popular players in club history to the city where he starred from 1991 to 1995.
“We’ve thrown our hat in the ring,” Davidson said. “When it comes down to it, Brendan has to make a decision that’s right for him and his family. It could be New York. But we hope he explores the Blues as a viable option.”
I think it is fine the way it is now, everything is always the goalies’ fault. It makes me laugh. Whenever there’s something wrong in hockey, it’s always the goalies’ fault. Every player thinks our gear is too big.”
-Pascal Leclaire in the Sporting News Today
Heck, I thought everyone blamed Gary Bettman when something went wrong!
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
Jim Van Stone, the Capitals vice president of ticket sales, said yesterday that 3,800 new full season ticket plans have been sold since late February thanks to a renewed interest in the team and more aggressive sales and marketing strategies. He also said sales of partial plans are similarly brisk, while the renewal rate for existing season ticket holders is about 93 percent, the highest since Ted Leonsis purchased the team in 1999.
“I’d love to say we expected this, or planned this,” Van Stone said. “We’re amazed by the support.”
Mario Lemieux said the Penguins were never serious about leaving Pittsburgh.
“It wasn’t a possibility,” Lemieux said during a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for Pittsburgh’s new $290 million hockey arena.
“We had to do a few things to put pressure on the city and the state, but our goal was to remain here in Pittsburgh all the way. Those trips to Kansas City and Vegas and other cities was just to go, and have a nice dinner and come back.”
-more at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Cliff Fletcher is hopeful the Bryan McCabe situation will be resolved “by early September,” but he brushed aside a report the Toronto Maple Leafs have a deal in place with the Florida Panthers once the defenceman agrees to a trade.
“There is nothing going on right now,” Fletcher, the Leafs interim general manager said on Thursday. “Bryan McCabe is considering what options he has.”
added 5:20pm, via Sportsnet,
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos has learned that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers have a deal in principle to trade defenceman Bryan McCabe.
Sources say that as part of the deal, the Leafs would get Panthers defenceman Mike Van Ryn.
A delay in the announcement is linked to the Leafs willingness to pick up a $2 million bonus McCabe is due on September 1st. After the payment is made only then will the transaction be accepted by the NHL.
added 7:05pm, from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
Florida Panthers general manager Jacques Martin would not comment on various reports coming out of Toronto that Florida was close to acquiring Maple Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe….
‘‘You know I don’t comment on rumors,’’ Martin said from his office in Sunrise. ``If I did, that’s all I would do.’‘
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
The focus on divisions brings up an interesting exercise – namely, ranking them. With that in mind, Screen Shots is pleased to present one schlep’s rankings and explanations of the best and worst divisions (yes, of course I mean on paper) in the league today.
1. Pacific. Let’s see, we’re talking about a division that can boast a one-year removed Cup winner in Anaheim, one of last season’s Western Conference finalists in the Dallas Stars and a San Jose Sharks team that will once again cause a majority of hockey writers to go all 12-year-old-girl-at-a-Jonas-Brothers-concert on their readerships.
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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