Kukla's Korner Hockey
My NHL.com blog today…
Why do I stay awake until 1:00am to watch NHL games that don’t even involve the team I follow?
Why do I get up at 6:00am to catch up on all the hockey news I may have missed during the few hours I was asleep?
via Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
The Wild fans got Cal Clutterbuck’s back by booing Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar the rest of Monday’s game, but Clutterbuck was steaming after the Wild’s 4-3 victory because Gonchar took a flying elbow at his head in the third period.
Gonchar received a five-minute major for elbowing, although the Wild didn’t score on the power play.
“He better hope he retires at the end of the year, I’ll tell you that,” Clutterbuck said, a cut on the bridge of his nose. “Somebody’s going to hurt him before the end of the year. Someone will. It’s not going to be me, but someone will.”
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
After deploying our rudimentary accounting skills, it’s hard to see how the pieces fit together for Bob Gainey under the cap next season, what with Carey Price attaining RFA status (to say nothing of the Halaks, Pouliots, D’Agostinis, S. Kostitsyns, Lapierres, etc.) The Habs have $44.8-million committed in salaries for 2010-11 (per capgeek.com), and have 13 players under one-way NHL contracts. Assuming a slight increase in the cap next year, as seems likely, that leaves something in the order of $13-14 million for the remaining 10 guys on the roster.
Although that might be a slight overestimation, as the Habs have dressed 20 players on several occasions this year - perhaps a sign of a Molson austerity regime?
Assuming $4.5-million per year for Plekanec, and that Price and Jaro Halak (also an RFA) average out at something near $3-million each (which sounds optimistic), that leaves, er, nothing for the remaining players.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
For more than half a season, (Kevin) Weekes has watched his former coach with his new team and seen Sutter try to implement his way of doing things on a Flames team that has battled through its ups and downs, yet still went into last night’s clash with the Colorado Avalanche atop the NHL’s Northwest Division.
Weekes, who retired after a 13-year pro career, says nothing he’s seen from Sutter has come as a surprise to him.
“He has his system, in terms of the way he wants to do things, what he believes in, why he believes in them and how he wants them executed. He’s very steadfast in those things.
“I know those four things are big for him,” Weekes said.
He understands making things interesting for the coach in Calgary is that New Jersey has had a way of doing things for a generation, compared to a Flames team that had little structure the past couple of years.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Imagine this scenario: Kovalchuk signs a 10-year contract with Atlanta for $10 million a year. Then, starting next year, outside economic forces push the league’s escrow up from 13 per cent per paycheque to say, 20 per cent.
So now he’s getting $8 million a year.
Then, in 2012, a new collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players includes another 24 per cent salary rollback and new limits on term for individual player contracts.
Finally, the Thrashers sell to new ownership, who sensibly give up on Atlanta, moving the team to Kansas City.
So Kovalchuk might end up playing for a sharply devalued, shortened contract in a city in which he doesn’t want to live for owners he doesn’t trust or like.
Now, it’s unlikely all these dynamics would come into play, but they might.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
As the Senators continue their five-game road trip tonight against the Thrashers and struggle to hang onto a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, two league executives told the Sun yesterday that Murray is trying to deal for a centre.
With top centre Jason Spezza sidelined the past three weeks, Mike Fisher struggling and Peter Regin miscast as the No. 1 pivot at the moment, the indications are Murray would like somebody who can play in a top-six role and possibly move to the wing once the team is healthy.
The most consistent centre for the Senators this season has been Chris Kelly, who has looked quite comfortable in his third-line role.
Making a deal is tough with the salary cap, but talk has started to heat up.
“That’s easier said than done,” said one NHL executive. “There’s just not a lot out there right now. Not enough teams are eliminated.”
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
For most of the season, the story around the Detroit Red Wings has been who is leaving the lineup with injuries. The Wings finally have some good news with Dan Cleary retuning from a separated shoulder that placed him on the club’s long injury list for a dozen games.
And so far, so good. Cleary has goals in two straight games, netting one against the Kings on Jan. 7 and another against the Sharks on Jan. 9 with the opportunity for more Tuesday night on Long Island.
“It doesn’t even look like he’s lost anything,” goalie Jimmy Howard told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. “He was flying out there again. He really picked that top corner there. He’s got a heck of a shot, and he definitely used it to his advantage.”
continued and more Central Division notes…
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
If I can apply some of the same critical thought to the Flames for a second here, like I always do with the Avs, I would say that Jay Bouwmeester too often looks like just another guy out there. He doesn’t seem to play with a lot of passion somehow. He skates fast, but it seems like he’s always got somewhere better to get -instead of place like the front of the net or dangerously cutting into the slot areas.
Dion Phaneuf is another guy I’d want to carve a little. Some bad decisions with the puck, a slap shot that too often sails wide of the net. Olli Jokinen too often looks like a bigger version of Wolski.
more on the Avs victory over the Flames last night…
Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows did not hold back about what he felt were unjust penalty calls, ripping into NHL referee Stephane Auger after Vancouver’s 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday night.
Burrows, who was called for diving in the second period and interference in the third, also received a 10-minute misconduct with seconds left in the game, and he was not shy his post-game interview.
“It was personal. It started in warmup, before the anthem,” Burrows said of Auger’s penalty calling. “(Augers) came over to me and he said I made him look bad in Nashville on the (Jerred) Smithson hit and he said he was going to get me back tonight.”
added 7:18am, You can judge the calls against Burrows last night…
added 8:31am, Watch below the post game comments from Burrows and others….
from Helene Elliott at the Fabulous Forum,
I couldn’t fit my entire conversation with Ducks General Manager Bob Murray into my weekly NHL column, so here are a few tidbits that didn’t get into print but are worth sharing:
—He will not trade defenseman Scott Niedermayer, even if the Ducks drop out of playoff contention.
“That’s another one that seems to circulate,” Murray said when asked about the rumors that crop up frequently and send Niedermayer to Vancouver, New Jersey and all points in between. “No. Scotty and I have been talking and he’s going to retire an Anaheim Duck. And that’s the way it’s going to be unless he tells me different. I have an agreement with Scotty and it’s my word.
“We’ve talked about this. I see him staying here. Who knows, he might play next year.”
continue for more on the Ducks…
...and don’t use the lame excuse that GMs lie.
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.
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