Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
If Jason Spezza ends up as a RFA come July 1, Kevin Lowe will no longer be the lone rogue GM filing offer sheets on hot commodities.
With Dany Heatley taken care of, the focus for the Ottawa Senators shifts to linemate Jason Spezza, a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
A deal won’t get done soon. Spezza’s agent Rick Curran will probably wait until the New Year to get serious talks going, giving his client time to build up yet another monster season. That’ll give him just a tad more leverage in talks.
Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail has some advice for the coaches of the six Canadian teams…
I know you are new to Calgary. So I thought I might give you some insight into your Flames. You inherit a pretty good team, a playoff team. But the West is a tough conference, the Northwest is a tough division and it is important to get the most out of your guys to even ensure a playoff spot.
Something went wrong with the back end of the team last year. Goaltending is a fragile thing. Miikka Kiprusoff was not the same goalie as in prior seasons. I know this is a sensitive point, but he is no Roberto Luongo (who was the most valuable goalie in the NHL last season).
from Darren Dreger at TSN,
Dany Heatley has agreed to a 6-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators. Sources tell TSN that the salary averages $7.5 million per year.
Although details of the structure remain confidential, sources say it’s similar to the contract Daniel Briere signed in Philadelphia in terms of a heavily weighted salary at the front of the contract that ratchets downward, making the cap hit the team will absorb more attractive.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Dany Heatley is closing on a new deal.
Sources tell TSN the Ottawa Senators are taking another hard run at signing their star forward to a contract extension.
The Sens re-opened discussions with Heatley’s agent, J.P. Barry today and its believed the gap in salary between the two sides, roughly 1 million dollars has narrowed.
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Scenarios change so quickly, the starting job sometimes falls from the sky.
“You never know what the situation is,” Gerber says. “All I can do is put everything out there, try to work hard and everything else takes care of itself usually. You have to stay healthy. A lot of things play into it.”
The 34-year-old from Burgdorf, Switzerland, is more comfortable in his Canadian environment now, and more comfortable in the same old net. Known as a goaltending technician, Gerber has been working on the athletic side of his game - in particular, quickness and mobility.
from the Ottawa Sun,
Senators coach John Paddock will have captain Daniel Alfredsson back on the right side with centre Jason Spezza and winger Dany Heatley when the Senators open the season tomorrow in Toronto.
With the Senators playing seven games in the first 11 days of the season, Paddock believes it’s crucial the team begin the year on the right foot.
“The last two or three days I’ve looked at the schedule and, obviously, you want to get off to a good start because then the schedule becomes extremely light (for the rest of October),” said Paddock. “We go from one extreme to the other.
From Don Brennan at the Ottawa Sun,
Earlier this week, Jason Spezza shook his head in bewilderment as he told teammates of a meeting he had just finished up with an equipment rep.
“He’s telling me I’d be 15% better (of a player) with a different mouth guard,” the Senators centre said, chuckling.
Now, we’re not exactly sure how that works, either, but if that’s truly the case, Sidney Crosby should hope Spezza sticks with what he’s wearing. Fifteen percent more of him would cost the Pittsburgh star the scoring race.
From Darren Dreger at TSN,
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk along with general manager Bryan Murray spent the better part of five hours on Thursday in discussion with Dany Heatley’s representatives, J.P. Barry and Stacey McAlpline in Ottawa.
The two groups decided it would be best to walk away from the negotiating table, challenged with the task of re-establishing their positions.
“We had lengthy and detailed discussions regarding Dany’s free agency and we will take some time over the next week to consider each other’s position,” Barry said.
from 640am in Toronto,
The NHL has suspended Flyers rookie Steve Downie following a vicious hit on Senators forward Dean McAmmond last night.
Downie was handed a match penalty for attempt to injure. He is now indefinitely suspended by the NHL, pending a review of the hit by the league. Downie was the victim of a clean hit from Christoph Schubert before he immediately got up and sought revenge on McAmmond in the Flyers zone.
See the hit in this post...
added 6:54am, from the Ottawa Sun,
“There’s no place in the game for that stuff,” a seething McGrattan said after the game. “That was a dirty hit and he’s a dirty player. He’s known for that and he’ll get what’s coming to him next time we play him, for sure.
“You don’t want to see stuff like that. We’re not out there to kill each other. At this level, he’ll get what’s coming to him.”
Update September 27, 7:40pm ET:
Just a note that Downie contacted McAmmond to offer an apology. From The Star,
A phone call of apology from Steve Downie has earned the Philadelphia Flyers prospect some understanding from Dean McAmmond but not from the rest of the Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond left the pre-season game against the Philadelphia Flyers on a stretcher in the second period after a vicious hit to the head by Flyers forward Steve Downie.
McAmmond had just passed the puck and was skating behind the Flyers net when Downie leveled him with a shoulder to the head. Downie, who was hit into the boards earlier in the shift by Christoph Schubert was given a match penalty - which means he is suspended indefinitely pending a review.
McAmmond has been diagnosed with a concussion, but he is moving his extremities and has been sent to a hospital for further examination.
Update 12:35am ET:
From Allan Maki at the Globe & Mail,
Dirty. Cheap. Needless. Despicable. Those words don’t just describe Tuesday night’s hit on Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond. They describe the man who delivered it – Steve Downie of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Update 1:08am ET:
Thanks to a reader in the comments of this post, here is the video of the hit on McAmmond:
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