Kukla's Korner Hockey
TSN UFA Tracker has him with the Rangers and I understand they will soon announce the deal.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
More often than not, Glen Sather’s attempts to make a splash in free agency have wound up as belly flops. For that reason, it’s just as well the Rangers’ general manager has limited funds with which to work when the market opens at noon.
Nevertheless, the Blueshirts will be shopping today, with their primary focus on obtaining a substantial backup goaltender for Henrik Lundqvist who John Tortorella will entrust with between 16-to-20 starts, because the head coach is convinced that The King’s annual workload of 70 starts yields diminishing returns.
The primary target is Atlanta’s 37-year-old Johan Hedberg, clearly the most capable understudy on the market. The question regarding Hedberg, known as one of the league’s hardest workers and best teammates, is whether he would and could embrace a role that might see him play once every 10 days after having started 42 last season.
Sather said on Saturday that he’s seeking, “a Cadillac at the price of a Honda.” Memo to the GM: Hedberg, who earned $1.087.5 million last year, is not going to come with a discount sticker price.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Does Olli Jokinen get a bad rap? He’s only 31, and since 2001-02, he’s scored 36, 26, 38, 39, 34 and 29 goals.
Last year was the first year since 2001-02 that he scored fewer than 26 goals—15 with Calgary and the Rangers.
I talked with Jokinen this morning from his home in Parkland, Florida. The former Panthers captain said he simply had one bad year, is training hard and is determined to once again prove himself to the NHL. He also maintains he’s not the cancer he’s sometimes portrayed to be.
from Michael Obernauer of the NY Daily News,
Glen Sather sounded as if he and Marc Staal’s camp were nowhere close to one another in their talks of a new contract for the Ranger blueliner, so he was asked if, really, there was a wide gap between the sides.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a wide gap,” Sather said. “It’s more like a chasm.”
Does that clear it up? As free agency season approaches, it could be laying the groundwork for the sides to dig in through the summer, as happened with Brandon Dubinsky before last season (a battle that John Tortorella thought was pretty “stupid”). Staal is not eligible for arbitration and Sather is planning to use the leverage the CBA affords him, saying today that “sometimes agents don’t recognize that - leverage works both ways.” (Staal’s agent is Bobby Orr. You may have heard of him.)
“I’m not ripping anybody, I’m saying what the reality is: that’s why the CBA’s in place,” Sather said. “If a guy’s a free agent, and if doesn’t agree to a contract he can sit out until December, and then he can’t come back at all for the whole year.”
From the New York Post’s Larry Brooks:
The window of opportunity is closing on Glen Sather as the general manager looks for a team to take Donald Brashear and his over-35, $1.4 million albatross of a cap charge off the Rangers’ books.
For if Sather, who told Slap Shots two weeks ago that Brashear never again would play for the Blueshirts following last year’s debacle, is going to be able to move the faded 38-year-old enforcer, his best chance is to do it this week, so the acquiring team has time to buy out Brashear by the June 30 deadline.
Look, the only conceivable way Sather will be able to move Brashear is by taking back a bad contract of greater value from a low-revenue team hovering around the cap floor. The Rangers could then bury that contract in the AHL, if necessary, while gaining $1.4M in critical cap space.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“We just weren’t quite good enough over the course of the season. But if we had won that final game, would we have been tough enough to compete in the playoffs the way the Flyers have? Could we be where they are now?
“I think so.”
But the Rangers aren’t in Chicago today, preparing for Game 5 of the Final, two victories away from the Stanley Cup. They’ve been done for weeks, one of 14 teams that didn’t make it to the postseason.
“We have to get better,” Sather acknowledged. “And the way we’re going to get better is by staying within our organization and giving our prospects the time to grow and the opportunity to play in New York.
“This has been a long process, and it’s ongoing, but as we go into this summer, our plan is to keep our own players. I can tell you one thing — we are certainly not going to overpay for free agents. If we can improve with a signing that makes sense, we’ll look into it, but we want to give our guys the first shot.”
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with free agent forward Mats Zuccarello Aasen.
“Mats is a highly skilled player with excellent hockey sense,” stated Sather. “He has produced at every level he has played, and we think his offensive abilities, both as a scorer and play maker, make him a valuable asset to the organization.”
from Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star,
Apparently, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has to wait until the off-season to score.
Swedish tabloids are linking Lundqvist, a Swede, with his home country’s fetching young royal, Princess Madeleine. Or, as her friends know her, the Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland.
The 27-year-old princess is embroiled in a tabloid disaster, after her long-time fiancé, lawyer Jonas Bergstrom, was outed after a one-nighter with a college student.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
I regret that I have become so personally entwined with this coach that I’m compelled to stipulate that I am not engaged in a vendetta against him. I have neither written about nor spoken of the breakdown in our relationship and have no interest in doing so.
But I must state that my relentless criticism of Tortorella—whom, by the way, I enthusiastically endorsed for the job a week before he replaced Tom Renney—is the cause of the rift and not its effect.
I do not believe a coach can win in this league by creating an environment of underlying tension, or by constantly screaming at players, or by changing line combinations every five minutes, or by obsessing over players staying out of the penalty box at the expense of protecting teammates, or by trying to win with two forward lines.
It does not, though, on the day after the Rangers’ playoff dream died, appear that either Sather or Tortorella is going anywhere, unless the GM decides on his own to step away from the operation.
So what should the Rangers do, assuming that Sather and Tortorella remain?
from Jay Greenberg of the NY Post,
For a team that had lost most of the races and one-on-one battles, that had been hanging onto a cliff by practically the last ounce of strength in Henrik Lundqvist’s grip, the Rangers yesterday still, at the end of 65 minutes, had the Flyers where they wanted them.
“[Coach] John [Tortorella] even said [before the overtime], ‘Don’t totally sit back, but don’t let it end here, because we have a big advantage in goal in the shootout,’ ” said Erik Christensen.
The Rangers, 7-1-1 just to get to one game for eighth place, had kept borrowing time, and Lundqvist was stealing them another two weeks. Apprehension filled the house down to the Flyers’ bench.
“It’s a little bit ironic, how this happens, Lundqvist being probably the best shootout goalie in the league, along with Ryan Miller,” Danny Briere would say later. “The Rangers have been pretty successful and the Flyers haven’t in shootouts.”
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