Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings, the transcript from Dean Lombardi’s press conference yesterday, plus a series of posts where Hammond asks Lombardi his own questions.
Here’s more from Lombardi, talking about the natural assumption that the Kings might already have a new coach in mind…
“People can think whatever they’re thinking, but we haven’t done any research or anything like that. I think we were solely focused on the right fit here, but I think it’s safe to say we realize the importance of this hire and I’m not going to hurry it. I guess one indication that we don’t really have anybody in mind is that I don’t see myself rushing to get someone here this week. I guess if I had somebody in mind, I’d be on the phone signing him right now, but I’m not anywhere near something like that. I mean, whenever you fire someone, a coach or whatever, the thought is always in the back of your mind. `OK, who are we going to get to replace him?’ But in terms of us already finding someone and saying, `This is the guy who would fit,’ no. We’re not even near that.”
Also, Helene Elliott at the LA Times takes a look back at Crawford and the Kings organization.
From Damien Cox in the Toronto Star,
Look, Cliff Fletcher stated categorically on April 7 he wouldn’t be the one to fire Paul Maurice. A month after that, he contradicted himself and fired Maurice, saying it was his job to “clear the decks” so the next GM could make his own choice.
And yesterday? Why Fletcher contradicted himself again and hired a coach to a huge, long-term deal, thus clogging up the decks again. Best to write down things the man says in pencil, methinks.
Wilson’s a good coach, but Maurice was a good coach, too, and good coaches can’t overcome lousy, overpaid players, misguided and/or short-sighted management and clueless, fixated-on-23-per-cent-return owners who think tradition is celebrating Tie Domi’s 1,000th game.
From the AP via KDKA.com:
A person in the NHL tells The Associated Press that Mike Babcock and the Detroit Red Wings have agreed to a 3-year contract for the Stanley Cup winning coach.
The person spoke Tuesday night on the condition of anonymity because the team planned an 11 a.m. Wednesday news conference to announce the deal.
The Wings said Tuesday night they would hold a news conference, but didn’t release details.
From Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers in the Columbus Dispatch,
The Pittsburgh Penguins won’t be able to keep their Stanley Cup runner-up club together because of salary cap issues. It looks like the Blue Jackets are prepared to offer a helping hand.
The two clubs have had preliminary trade talks, the Dispatch has learned. The discussions have involved Pittsburgh trading the rights to one or two of their pending unrestricted free agents—players the Penguins have decided they can’t keep because of the salary cap—to the Blue Jackets for draft pick or player compensation.
It’s unclear who the players are, but Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik seem like logical choices.
From Ken Warren at Canwest News via the National Post,
The club already has $32.3 million US locked up in the ‘08-09 salaries of Heatley, Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher, Martin Gerber and Chris Phillips.
The Senators must re-sign restricted free agents Antoine Vermette and Andrej Meszaros, while also contemplating whether to re-sign unrestricted-free-agent centre Cory Stillman, winger Shean Donovan and defenceman Mike Commodore, or any other player who may become available on July 1.
Commodore, for one, wants to know who the club’s new coach is before weighing his options on whether to return.
read on… *negotiations with Chris Kelley not going well, either
The Los Angeles Kings have fired head coach Marc Crawford.
Kings president and general manager Dean Lombardi made the announcement Tuesday that Crawford will not return next season as the team’s head coach despite having one year left on his contract.
Note: Kings press release
John Buccigross’ final column of the season. From ESPN:
As fans of the game who give our money and time to the sport, this should make us proud. Nothing comes easy or cheap on the road to the Stanley Cup. Our champion is 100 percent deserving. This is also true for NCAA hockey, Canadian Junior, Minnesota high schools and every hockey trophy from mite to beer leagues.
Staying away from “boom thinking” has kept the Red Wings consistently excellent from top to bottom. Their portfolio has netted four Stanley Cups since 1997. They live in an old, rundown ranch, but they have no mortgage payments and, thus, live below their means.
From the Buffalo Sabres:
The Portland Pirates announced today a new, long-term affiliation agreement with the Buffalo Sabres effective with the 2008-2009 AHL season. The announcement was made by Pirates Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek, Pirates Chairman/Governor Lyman Bullard, Sabres’ Managing Partner Larry Quinn, and Sabres’ General Manager Darcy Regier.
The Anaheim Ducks made the decision to sever its ties with the Pirates earlier this month for reasons of wanting their AHL team in closer proximity.
Looking at the map, I’d have to say Buffalo didn’t share the same concern.
Update 2:47pm ET: And as a commenter just pointed out… the Portland Pirates play in Maine. More coffee for me! Let me kill that map…
Not that it was exactly a secret before this moment, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have formally announced their contract agreement with Ron Wilson. Press conference is being carried live now and can be seen at this link.
More on Wilson at Mike Ulmer’s blog at TorontoMapleLeafs.com, who shares his thoughts on the new coach.
At THN, Adam Proteau provides some analysis on the links between this and Brian Burke rumors:
Really, there can be no more doubt as to who Toronto’s targeting for the GM position. If the team wanted a “proven winner,” it would’ve/should’ve hired Craig Patrick or Neil Smith by now.
The fact they haven’t, combined with Burke’s unwillingness to sign a contract extension after the Ducks prevented him from even talking to the Leafs’ GM search committee –which I believe is currently being jointly sponsored by O.J. Simpson and Iraqis For Finding Weapons of Mass Destruction – tells you all you need to know.
Note: David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail also had thoughts on this yesterday
Update 4:01pm ET: Sharkspage provides a partial transcript of Wilson’s remarks today.
From the AP via the IHT,
Dallas Stars defenseman Mattias Norstrom is retiring with immediate effect, Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet said Tuesday.
“Dallas wanted to keep me, but it is over now,” the 36-year old Swede was quoted as saying on the newspaper’s Web site. “I promised myself 10 years ago that I would quit while I still had a strong position in the team. And now it is over.”
*more details sure to be added at the Stars blog at the Dallas Morning News
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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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