Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The NHL playoffs are over for half the teams and their current rosters could have a different look next season as several players face some crucial contract decisions this summer.
Big changes could be in store for the Wild this summer. Brian Rolston and Pavol Demitra are eligible for UFA status this summer, but it’s expected GM Doug Risebrough will choose to re-sign Rolston, who was a two-way force over the injury-prone Demitra.
The biggest decision facing Risebrough could be that of leading scorer Marian Gaborik, who had a disappointing postseason with only one assist against the Avalanche.
Sportingnews.com NHL reporter Victor Chi, a former San Jose Sharks beat writer for the Mercury News for over 10 years, answered a handful of questions about working in the American half of the orginal six, visiting Columbine High School after the school shooting tragedy, Mike Ricci taking a ceremonial faceoff with Queen Elizabeth, the Sharks-Flames series, the impact of late goaltending coach Warren Strelow, questions and expectations surrounding Joe Thornton and Sharks captain Patrick Marleau, and offered insight into the rigors of covering a team over an 82-game regular season.
Q] After 15 years working at the Mercury News, 10-11 as the beat writer for the San Jose Sharks and time spent in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York, what are your thoughts on the state of the industry?
[VC] Yes, I’ve had the pleasure of working in the American cities of the Original Six plus covering an Original 22 franchise. It’s a unique perspective. The newspaper industry is obviously going through a painful transition phase. It can be depressing with news of layoffs—- I have first-hand experience with that—- and buyouts almost every day. But the public has a tremendous appetite for information so other opportunities are going to develop.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
In the 2000-01 season, the Penguins had just come through their second bout of bankruptcy. They only remained in Pittsburgh because Mario Lemieux found the financing to take over the team and later that season he came out of retirement, in part because the team desperately needed a gate attraction to stay solvent.
By then, however, Jagr was in a long public sulk. He fought with his coaches and teammates and the media.
Now, he says, looking back with the wisdom of 36-year-old eyes, it was all done to keep forwards Alexei Kovalev, Martin Straka and Robert Lang in Penguins uniforms. All three were set to become free agents at the end of the 2000-01 season and Jagr said he knew the team needed them more than him. After Lemieux made his comeback halfway through the season, Jagr said the team could afford to lose him.
via Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.,
Montreal’s Alexei Kovalev tied the score with 29 seconds remaining in the third period and Tom Kostopoulos scored the winner 48 seconds into overtime in the Canadiens’ 4-3 win over the Flyers in Game 1 of their series. It was only the fourth playoff game in NHL history in which a team tied the score in the final minute of regulation and won it in the first minute of overtime.
This is the first time that Mike Modano and Joe Thornton have played against each other in a postseason series. They’ve played in the same regular-season game 28 times, with the Stars winning 16 of them, Thornton’s teams (the Bruins and Sharks) 10, and two games ending in a tie. Thornton (9-18-27) has outscored Modano (10-15-25) by two points in their head-to-head games.
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
I think the Torts-led Lightning are played out.
Leaving this franchise might be the best thing for him, if not the franchise.
Yes, part of me says keep the coach, ditch the GM and hope for wondrous new ownership. Ah, the perfect world. It won’t happen.
Johnny Torts would get another job in about 139 seconds. He’d coach on. It just shouldn’t be here.
Four years ago, the Lightning won one more Stanley Cup than we ever thought they would, and Tortorella was a driving force, pushing, prodding, winning.
He’s a great coach. I like him. I love his honesty. And he cracks me up. But he’s not the man to carry this team forward, with the wiring and patience to retool and rebuild, especially with the ongoing fouled-up sale of the team.
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
Nashville proved that the Wings are vulnerable, and I expect that Colorado will be more invasive than the talent-short Predators. Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny comprise a formidable quartet. They should drive Hasek or Osgood nuts, and either replacement will have migraines.
THE MAVEN PICKS: COLORADO IN FIVE
more picks from Stan…
from the Pioneer Press,
Marian Gaborik has what the Wild are calling a “hip deficiency” and will require further medical tests before the team determines the treatment.
The Wild issued a short statement Thursday saying the injury was “attributable to overuse,” after the Slovak Ice Federation announced the team wouldn’t permit Gaborik to play for Slovakia in the world championships because of the injury.
Wild general manager Doug Risebrough said he doesn’t know how serious the injury is.
“I don’t know either way, so I don’t want to comment on it,” he said.
Risebrough said Gaborik has seen team doctors who are consulting with others to determine a course of treatment. Risebrough said Gaborik didn’t inform the team of any discomfort during the playoffs.
from Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
Between the three of them they scored 94 goals and dished out 138 assists. That’s some pretty decent offense for a trio of forwards being recognized for their defensive prowess.
Than again, in Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and John Madden, the three candidates for this year’s Frank J. Selke Trophy, given to the League’s best defensive forward, you have three of the best two-way players in the game.
KK Poll added at 12:29pm
from Eric Stephens of the LA Times,
Corey Perry’s future is also high on their agenda. Perry, 23, can be a restricted free agent July 1 and he figures to command a salary in excess of $4 million after leading the Ducks with 29 goals this season despite missing time because of a severed tendon in his right leg.
Burke said he’s aware the longer Perry remains unsigned, the more the right wing could be the target of a pricey offer sheet like the one Dustin Penner received from Edmonton last summer, which the Ducks ultimately didn’t match.
“There’s no more pressing issue for this hockey club than to get him re-signed,” Burke said.
more on the Ducks…
from Marty Henwood at Hockey.com,
We’re all for whoever waving whatever over their head if it gets the crowd rattlin’ the rafters. Poutine and the nudie bar feature in Montreal. Sean Avery in New York. Over in Buffalo, fling around wings and blue cheese. Let Craig MacTavish give Harvey the Hound a few spins in Calgary. Smelling salts in Toronto, to wake them up if nothing else. Twirl ‘em, wave ‘em, but, as Elmer Fudd would say, be very wary.
Gary Bettman and the Charlie Tuna Police are watching.
Fishy, I tell ya. It stinks.
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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