Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Iain MacIntyre at the Vancouver Sun,
He failed to deliver a Stanley Cup to Vancouver, yet somehow exceeded everything expected of him. This says everything about Trevor Linden, whose legacy far exceeds the narrow boundaries of the Vancouver Canucks’ hockey rink.
Linden was the face of the franchise—and its heart and conscience—for most of the last two decades. There will be better players, but possibly not a better person. And no athlete here will be able to match the enduring strength and personal nature of Linden’s bond to this city and its fans, which is why his retirement announcement today will be as poignant and it was expected.
Twenty years to the day after he was drafted second over-all, Linden is leaving the National Hockey League at age 38. There will not be another like him, at least for the Canucks.
Update 3:17pm ET: Video of Linden’s retirement speech.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
The decision, though, is up to Roberts. He said he would have to take the summer to reassess his situation and his drive only because of the arduous season he has just gone through.
Roberts, as we mentioned before, is the king of fitness, but he has battled a respiratory infection, a broken leg, a high ankle sprain, a groin strain and a mild case of pneumonia this year.
“Well, I mean obviously I’d be lying to you if I didn’t think about (retirement),” Roberts said. “For sure it’s a thought of mine, but it’s nice to have my legs finally. It’s been since Christmas. I’m excited about the way I feel.”
The way he played in the Stanley Cup Final, too.
From Steve Schrader at the Free Press:
[Jay] Leno also asked if Timberlake taught them anything in return for the hockey lessons.
And the Wings launched into Timberlake’s tune “SexyBack,” singing “we’re bringing sexy back” once and then switching to “we’re bringing Stanley back.”
From Robin Collum in the Edmonton Journal, the words of John Osgood:
“I’m a hockey dad, so I know it’s a 60-minute game, and I knew that in Detroit in Game 5 when they scored in the last minute to extend the series.
“So in the last minute in Pittsburgh when it was 3-2 and everybody was up cheering, I was sitting. I was watching the screen, and it was 5.2 seconds left, and the puck was at centre ice, so I risked standing up and starting to celebrate,” he said. “Then, all of a sudden, it’s a two-one-one down low, Crosby’s got the backhand, Hossa’s got the puck and throws it through the crease.
“But it worked out and it was so emotional, but a sense of relief, too, that it was over. I think I was more nervous than Chris was.”
From Michael Russo at Russo’s Rants,
As for the big-shot Bergeron, I talked to Risebrough twice Tuesday, once before his flight to Toronto for the goalie equipment trimming meetings and once after. He believes Bergeron will be a guy who can play regular minutes, not just a bunch of power-play minutes. He says part of the motivation was to be a fill-in for Foster while he’s out, but “that doesn’t mean it’s one or the other. It will be an improvement to have both when Foster’s back.”
Bergeron has a club option for next year at $1.653 million. The Ducks almost certainly wouldn’t have exercised that. So why didn’t the Wild wait for free agency? Risebrough says other teams were interested in Bergeron, and Brian Burke was definitely going to trade him. In other words, he wouldn’t make free agency, according to Risebrough.
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
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 email@example.com