Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks can start talking contract extension July 1, and it would be in their best interests to start kicking those tires now and then lock up the restricted free agent long-term. Allowing Kesler to build on this career season when the final year of his deal plays out in 2009-10 would only up the ante because he will also have arbitration rights.
If Kesler is willing to agree to a sensible salary—he’s earning a paltry $1.75 million annually—coupled with long-term security, it will be music to the ears of Canucks GM Mike Gillis. Maybe not so much for Kesler’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.
“It’s important that I don’t talk contracts and important that I fly under the radar,” Overhardt said Wednesday. “Ryan has always had the skill and fortitude. It’s about opportunity and maturing.”
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Huet wasn’t very good. Neither was Campbell, who continues to make decisions that leave you scratching your head, especially on the power play.
Campbell is pressing big time and seems to be getting worse instead of better.
Three bad goals by Huet, by my count. Definitely not playoff goaltending. He did make a few huge stops, but the goals were killers. Time to play Khabibulin. A lot.
The Hawks have 13 games to play. Nik should play at least 10 of them.
Jeremy Roenick on being drafted as an 18 year old…
“I was scared to death. I actually just came out of my junior year of high school and I was about 155 pounds, I was really small, so when I came in the league, I came in with these giant men that had hair all over their body, beards.
I can barely grow a couple of hairs on my face.”
Much more on Roenick by Jessica Ayala of the Spartan Daily (San Jose State Univ.).
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
In a few crucial ways, this year’s edition of the Montreal Canadiens remind me of last year’s edition of the New York Rangers.
Not that that’s a good thing.
First and foremost, this year’s Canadiens have 11 players – including forwards Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and defensemen Francis Bouillon and Mike Komisarek – set to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
Similarly, last year’s Rangers had nine players – Sean Avery, Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Marek Malik, Michal Rozsival and Martin Straka chief among them – in the final season of their contracts.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Holland plans to meet with Hossa’s agent, Ritch Winter, during next week’s trip to western Canada. Holland is talking to the camps for Hossa and Johan Franzen, the Wings’ two biggest free agents headed into summer.
“Given the uncertainty of the economy, I’m moving slow,” Holland said Wednesday. “But it’s not only the economy. It’s about team building, it’s about our philosophy. We can keep Franzen and Hossa, but then we’ll have to let a whole lot of other players go. I don’t know if that’s the answer to being competitive. But if I can get a number that I think allows us to have one extra player, you start to think more and more about doing something. Right now, I’m not really close to where I’d like to get to with either side.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
When the offseason arrives, personnel decisions will be based primarily on whether players fit into Tortorella’s vision for how he wants the Rangers to think and to play. The cap is a factor, and the Rangers may lose a player they would prefer to keep, but they are unlikely to sacrifice anyone Tortorella believes can be part of the core.
The number is $41.096M for the nine players under contract next season and there will be another $6.524M committed to Qualifying Offers for five more players. Combined, that’s a total of $47.62M. This will leave the Rangers with $7-10M to sign unrestricted free agents Antropov and Paul Mara and fill in the remainder of the club.
There will be tough calls to make, and it is all but certain that the Blueshirts will attempt at least one of the big-money contracts, but the change to Tortorella has provided management with the best prism through which to make their evaluations.
more Rangers talk…
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
They figured once Ottawa broke a 2-2 tie in the final period Tuesday, a loss was inevitable.
“We haven’t dealt well with some adversity in games. I think guys got scared,” Ruff said Wednesday while replaying the 4-2 defeat to Ottawa. “They saw a loss coming again, and we got on our heels, and it’s tough to pull out of that.”
It’s little surprise the Sabres folded in the third period of a tie game. They are among the NHL’s worst in that situation.
The Sabres have been tied entering the final period 14 times. They have earned points in just six, a percentage of .429. The only teams below them are Colorado (.412) and the New York Islanders (.400), who happen to be dead last in their respective conferences.
Gameshow-type segment on who knows Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild better: former teammate Barry Brust (Houston Aeros goalie) or current teammate Derek Boogaard.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Isn’t this playoff-race stuff great?
“This stuff really affects your sleep pattern,” Hitchcock said. “Because you’re sitting there watching games until midnight and you’re mad that a couple of games are in shootouts, or you want to choke a couple of guys with Colorado because they let a goal in with 1:46 left. You want to phone somebody you know there to blast them for allowing the goal.”
Hitchcock doesn’t stay up until every game is finished, but after he finally hits the sack, it’s the first thing on his mind when he wakes up.
“First thing I do is the Blackberry, 5:30 in the morning, scores,” he said. “You’re brushing your teeth and it’s (bleep!). Those three-point games, (darn) it. First place I go is on that TSN Web site and there’s that (darned) 2-1 score in Edmonton in a shootout, and you’re just cussing both teams. Every night you last as long as you can and then you’re up four or five hours later, watching again.”
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
Evgeni Malkin’s five-point night against the Thrashers Tuesday created a little bit of history. He reached the 100-point plateau for the second time in his career and it was the 29th different time a player for the franchise hit that mark. That nudged the Penguins ahead of the Oilers for the most individual 100-point campaigns by any one franchise:
read on for a chart mentioning every NHL team and their 100-point players.
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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