Kukla's Korner Hockey
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via Mike Boone at Habs Inside/Out,
Pierre McGuire, on Mitch Melnick’s show this afternoon, says if the Canadiens have not signed Mats Sundin by July 1, he’s going to the Rangers.
The Montreal offer is attractive, McGuire says: two seasons, $7 million per. The fact Sundin has not jumped on it is significant.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Sundin, the 37-year-old long-time Maple Leafs captain who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has made it clear New York is his desired destination. Indeed, we’re told that the Rangers New York Rangers have held conversations with both the centerman and his representative, J.P. Barry, after having received permission to do so by Toronto.
added 6:27am, from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The Canadiens maintain exclusive rights to sign the Maple Leafs captain prior to free agency on July 1, but there is a growing feeling Sundin will let next Tuesday’s deadline pass and examine offers from the NHL at large.
In that case, count the Rangers in the hunt, as well as the Red Wings, who have about $12-million US in cap space to play with, but likely won’t pay Sundin more than their long-serving star Nicklas Lidstrom ($7.45 million).
A dark horse could be the Florida Panthers, who have an opening for a No. 1 centre and captain after Olli Jokinen was traded and an enthusiastic welcoming committee in ex-Leaf Wade Belak.
added 11:09am, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
There has been much confusion over who has been permitted to speak and/or negotiate with Sundin and when that happened.
Sources tell TSN the timeline is as follows:
- The Maple Leafs met with Sundin and his agent J.P. Barry to indicate the club has interest in bringing Sundin back to Toronto. While no formal contract offer was made, Leafs’ GM Cliff Fletcher conveyed to Sundin that the team was prepared to pay him around $7 million on a one-year deal and that they wanted him back.
The New York Rangers were granted permission by Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher to talk to free-agent-to-be Mats Sundin before the Montreal Canadiens were last week, Sportsnet has learned.
My opinion on this, which is only going to get bigger the next ten days, Mats doesn’t sign with anyone until after July 1st.
update 8:14pm, from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
There are other teams interested in Sundin - the New York Rangers and Detroit are believed to be among them - but Fletcher dismissed a Sportsnet report Monday that the Leafs had given the Rangers permission to talk to Sundin before giving the same opportunity to the Canadiens.
“That is absolutely untrue,” Fletcher said yesterday. “We gave exclusive negotiating rights to the Montreal Canadiens and nobody else.”
more on Sundin…
added 8:33pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The truth is, this is all happening too fast for Sundin, who doesn’t feel comfortable being pressured into deciding right now which NHL team he wants to play for because he hasn’t gone through his annual introspection of whether he is even going to play another season.
“There’s nothing new about my situation. That’s OK. I understand that Glen and my agent had other issues to take care of before and at the draft.
“I was at our practice rink last week. I missed Glennie by a couple of hours, or we would have talked then. I’m sure we’ll be talking sometime soon. I don’t think there’s a rush. Nothing has changed.”
Read more from Larry Brooks of the NY Post.
Question for Wings fans, would you want Jagr? Holland won’t commit to any long term contracts for high priced UFAs, but offering Jagr a two year contract would fit. What do you think?
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
This threat to take the Rangers New York Rangers away from Jim Dolan isn’t about legalities. This isn’t even about the Garden suing the NHL. Not really. Rather, this is about Dolan and the Garden challenging the despotic reign of Gary Bettman just the way Bob Goodenow had the temerity to do so.
And we all know what ultimately happened to Goodenow.
continued and some UFA/trade talk too…
from John Dellapina of the NY Daily News,
Glen Sather yet again pledged his affection for Jaromir Jagr Saturday. And with just 10 days remaining until Jagr can hit the NHL’s open market, the Rangers’ general manager is at least exploring ways to keep him from getting there.
“I know that Jaromir would like to come back,” Sather said. “I’ve met with his agent two or three times now. I met with him here the other day. He told me he wants to come back. I’ve said that I want to have him back. And that’s where it is.”
Also from Dellapina at the NY Daily News,
Rangers GM Glen Sather spent the entire, 30-minute seventh round of the NHL draft sitting with Avery’s agent Pat Morris Saturday. And after Morris made his pitch, complete with a folder full of statistical evidence, he emerged all but convinced that Avery won’t be re-signed before becoming an unrestricted free agent at noon on July 1.
“We had an interesting dialogue, and there appears to be disagreement over what Sean’s value is to the New York Rangers,” Morris said.
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
Have the Rangers found the second coming of Marc Staal? Did the Devils pull in another Paul Kariya? And with a relatively high seventh selection, do the Islanders have a third-line forward ready to skate with potential sensation Kyle Okposo?
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Thus, barring an unexpected preemptive strike via a trade, the Blueshirts will enter the free agency market with a skeleton roster, absent first- and second-line wingers and a No. 1, first-pair defenseman, and with Jaromir Jagr Jaromir Jagr , Sean Avery, Martin Straka, Brendan Shanahan and Michal Rozsival all free to solicit offers.
The GM has not made a post-season offer to any of the aforementioned athletes. And while Sather most certainly will check in with Jagr - who has heard sounds of silence loudly and clearly - and with Shanahan, it appears increasingly likely Avery will not be invited to return and that the team will seek to replace Rozsival.
From Neil Best at Newsday.com:
The Sports Business Journal reported this morning that the NHL is taking legal action against the Rangers that could result in an attempt to take ownership of the franchise away from MSG.
No, really. Or so it says here:
“The NHL has proposed disciplinary proceedings against MSG that could result in the suspension or termination of their ownership of the NHL Rangers, according to a draft letter written by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that was filed in New York district court late yesterday. The letter, part of the league’s ongoing legal fight against MSG, alleges that MSG – by suing the NHL – has violated the league constitution.”
Update 12:29pm ET: The complete text of the SBJ story has been reprinted at the Sporting News today.
Update 2:22pm ET: Press release from the NHL (below)
Update 2:39pm ET: Eric Duhatschek in the Globe & Mail’s hockey blog:
The war between the Rangers and the NHL started over who controls the rights to new media and the potentially lucrative revenue streams that it produces now and down the road. Three times, the Rangers’ lawsuits have gone to court; three times the NHL won its case. Instead of understanding the old maxim that three strikes and you’re out, the Rangers have challenged the NHL on an anti-trust basis – essentially arguing that everything the league does is unlawful.
In effect, Wednesday’s filing by the NHL is a counter-attack – what a source with knowledge of the situation described as “trying to put the Rangers at risk” after failing to abide by previous court rulings. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, passing through the lobby of a downtown hotel, declined comment. However, sources said the league was asking the court for permission to fine, suspend or in a worst-case scenario, forfeit the franchise, if it MSG persists in its action.
Update 3:45pm ET: NYR respond to the lawsuit. (noted below)
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