Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Damien Cox at The Star,
So while the headlines today will note the fact that Cliff Fletcher will be GM of the Leafs through the 2008-09 season – oh gosh, aren’t we all shocked? – the truly important news is that Peddie will remain as team president.
Like a bad odour, you just can’t make this guy go away.
From the day Peddie ascended to the power position of having both the Raptors and Leafs report to him in 2003, the hockey club has gone straight downhill. You’d think his bosses might wonder why there hasn’t been a Stanley Cup playoff game at the ACC since 2004.
Instead, he’s managed to survive. Again.
From Bob Wojnowski at the Detroit News,
The Stanley Cup does strange and wonderful things. It causes players to throw their battered bodies in front of whizzing pucks. It causes them to grow crazy beards and ignore painful injuries and continue battling for nearly two months.
It causes upward of a million people to line a storied street in downtown Detroit, in searing heat and brutal times, and cheer for the athletes who earned the right to lift it. It causes grown men—players and fans alike—to weep at the sight of it.
The Cup can stir and bind and wow. And perhaps, when necessary, it even can heal.
A KK reader kindly passed this article onto me, correctly noting that I might have missed it when it first came out Tuesday. Even a couple days late, it’s well worth a read.
From Jeff Z. Klein at the NYT Slap Shot,
Can you name the last time a defenseman was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy, the honor for the league’s most gentlemanly player?
As you think about that — and about the NHL Award ceremonies Thursday night — bear in mind that according to league criteria, the Byng is to go to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Nothing in there says “forwards only.”
Give up? The last time the Lady Byng was awarded to a defenceman: 1954. Red Kelly was the winner.
From Michael Traikos at the National Post,
A day after disparaging remarks were made about his client, Darcy Tucker’s agent said the Toronto Maple Leafs forward has prepared for the possibility of playing in another city next season.
“This is a business,” Carlos Sosa said in a phone interview from his law office in Seattle. “And if the Maple Leafs want to make a business move between June 15 and 30 when they can buy out contracts, that’s their right to do that. We can’t control that.
“Is he going to retire? No, that’s out of the question. He’s got lots of years left. He wants to win a Stanley Cup. But if a buyout comes, we will pursue the other markets that come available.”
From Helene St. James at the Free Press:
Todd McLellan will be announced as the Sharks’ new head coach tomorrow, having agreed to a three-year deal. McLellan was assistant to Babcock the past three years.
McLellan flew to San Jose this weekend, and two days worth of interviews with general manager Doug Wilson went so well McLellan cancelled a meeting he had scheduled for later this week for the job in Atlanta.
Update 7:17pm ET: More from David Pollak at the Mercury News, who states that a press conference is scheduled tomorrow at 11am PT.
*hat-tip to Bill
From Wayne Scanlan at Canwest via the National Post,
Has Eugene invited me to Barbados lately?
That’s what head coaching candidates for the Ottawa Senators had to be asking themselves Wednesday upon hearing that Peter DeBoer of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers was in Barbados meeting with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.
Until then, Craig Hartsburg of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and former Atlanta Thrashers coach Bob Hartley were rated as having at least as good a chance as DeBoer.
A great overview of the Senators’ management and coaching issues this year.
From the AP via NHL.com,
The Washington Capitals are so confident that Alex Ovechkin will win the NHL’s MVP award that they’ve already scheduled a celebration party.
The Capitals, in fact, are in the hunt for a shelf-load of hardware at the league’s annual awards dinner Thursday night in Toronto. The team has a chance to become the first in NHL history to take home MVP, rookie and coach honors in the same year.
“I’m hoping to make history,” owner Ted Leonsis said Wednesday.
In more ways than one.
Update7:34pm ET: From Tarik El-Bashir at the Capitals Insider,
If Alex Ovechkin wins the Hart Trophy tomorrow in Toronto, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty will present the all-star with a key to the city during a fan celebration in Washington on Friday.
More on Hiller from Dan Wood at Ducks Blog:
The Ducks on Wednesday announced the signing of backup goaltender Jonas Hiller to a two-year contract that will pay him $1.3 million each season.
Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings managed to talk to Marc Crawford today. A sample:
(on his future…) “I have talked a little bit with my wife and my family. The good thing is, I have two years left (on my contract) with the Kings. That gives me time to think. Having two years to do that is pretty good. You don’t have to rush in if the situation isn’t right. Quite truthfully, I want to be passionate about the next opportunity. I want to use my passion and give the team everything I have. A big reason that people are attracted to me is that I am passionate and I want to win. I want to make the right decision. If the right opportunity comes quickly, great, or if it takes a while, that’s OK too.”
read on for more
*Hammond’s interview with GM Dean Lombardi was linked—in all its parts—earlier today on KK.
From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail,
The Leafs do not expect to hire a new GM until the summer of 2009 because that is when the contracts of several of the top NHL general managers expire. Toronto sports lawyer Gord Kirke, who is one half of the search committee along with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie, said this will give the Leafs the best possible field from which to make a selection. In the meantime, Fletcher will run the hockey team.
“Most of the [GMs] at the top of our list are under contract,” Kirke said Wednesday of the Leafs’ list of candidates. “Our information is there are several, you might even say many, who are possibly coming off their contracts at the end of the coming season. There’s a pretty good free-agent market coming up.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org