Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is spearheading an international movement to boycott the products of major sponsors, including Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch InBev, until the 2018 World Cup is moved away from Russia.
Melnyk, always outspoken about Russia’s invasion into Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, is livid at the hypocrisy of FIFA — soccer’s governing body — for allowing the country to stage the tournament while Russian president Vladimir Putin is waging war.
“(Putin) has no right to have that,” Melnyk, chairman of the Advisory Committee for United with Ukraine, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Melnyk suggests Putin is trampling on the tournament ideals of global unity and peace.
“It goes against every possible theme of soccer and the World Cup and what it’s supposed to stand for,” he said....
Melnyk’s parents escaped Ukraine and met in Toronto in the early 1950′s and he grew up hearing countless stories about the Soviet invasion of their homeland. His paternal grandmother was thrown out of her home by Soviet officials. Melnyk has supported a variety of causes and charities in Ukraine. He distrusts Putin and worries about the country’s future.
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
While it makes some sense that the Toronto Maple Leafs might have an interest in bringing Spezza home — the Maple Leafs have never found a true number one centre — there’s little chance Murray would trade him to the Senators’ arch rivals. The Senators GM would also be relunctant to trade within the division, for fear of Spezza coming back to burn the Senators. (For reference purposes, see Ben Bishop and Tampa Bay Lightning)
Keep all that in mind while considering these potential homes for the captain.
St. Louis Blues- Why would this make sense? In their disappointing first round playoff exit, the Blues scored only 2.3 goals per game (14th of 16 teams) and their power play operated at a dreadful 6.9 per cent success rate. Spezza, meanwhile, has scored at a point per game pace throughout his career and is one of the NHL’s best power play players....
Nashville Predators- Why would this make sense? After years and years of plodding, deliberate, defensive-oriented hockey, Nashville finally fired Barry Trotz, who had been the only coach in franchise history. Nashville finished 19th in goals scored last season and they were dead last in 2013 and All-Star defenceman Shea Weber has been the club’s leading scorer for the past two seasons....
Anaheim Ducks- Why would this make sense? The Ducks already have one of the top centres in the NHL — Ryan Getzlaf is a Hart Trophy finalist — and the addition of Spezza would give them a 1-2 punch that could come close to rivalling the Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin combination in Pittsburgh....
Florida Panthers- Why would this make sense? There’s no such thing as status quo in Florida and the new ownership will be looking to put a fresh stamp on the franchise. The addition of a veteran centre such as Spezza could take some pressure off Jonathan Huberdeau. The Panthers, always in a fight for attention in a busy sports market, could make a splash by adding a marquee name....
more on each team...
from James Gordon of Senators Extra,
Suppose I walk into a Honda dealership looking for a new car, and my friend asks me, “Why don’t you drive a Maserati?”
The response would be pretty simple: “I can’t afford it.”
It certainly wouldn’t be, “just because you have money, doesn’t mean you spend it. I mean, look at what this clown is spending on his car!”
Setting aside the fact that would be kind of a cheap shot to level within earshot of the guy putting a racing transmission in his S2000, it doesn’t really answer the question.
Which is sort of the problem with Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s response every time he’s asked whether or not he’ll sink some of the money the team will draw next year from massive new broadcast rights deals (not to mention a bigger slice of league revenue thanks to the last CBA) into player payroll.
As time passes, more and more fans are coming to realize what the new reality first signalled by the departure of Daniel Alfredsson over money last summer means over the long term: the Ottawa Senators may never be willing, or able, to compete on a level financial playing field with the National Hockey League’s elite teams again.
from Ken Warren of Senators Extra,
In Tuesday’s post-mortem on what went so wrong with his team this season, he was an open book about a club that started slowly and only found a degree of consistency when the season was already lost.
He had some harsh words for the work of coach Paul MacLean, saying his approach to players must change. He said captain Jason Spezza’s future with the team is undecided. He acknowledged the loss of former captain Daniel Alfredsson last summer was pivotal.
He recognized that young defencemen Jared Cowen, Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba didn’t meet expectations, and he was disturbed by the “careless” and “confused” moments inside the Senators’ blueline.
He steadfastly defended some of his own controversial trades. He also said it’s paramount for the organization to find a “harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for teammates if necessary,” and says there will be other changes.
from Ken Warren of Senators Extra,
“Paul is our coach, he’s going to be our coach going into next year,” said Melnyk, who suggested that there could be other changes within the coaching staff and hockey operations department.
While he cleared up MacLean’s status, the water is still muddy as far as Spezza is concerned.
“Jason understands what his role was and is,” said Melnyk. “He’s a professional and understands that he could be here today and gone tomorrow, or he could stay long term and be with the team for many years. (His future) is dependent on on what other pieces we need to put together.
“He’s one of 20 plus players. You can’t put all on his shoulder.”...
At the same time, however, Melnyk says that doesn’t mean he’s going to spend to the NHL salary cap. He insists the best avenue to success is spending money “behind the scenes”, scouting properly and on developing players from within.
“It’s very, very easy to increase payroll,” he said. “Any idiot can do it. Lots of idiots do.”
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Playing for pride.
They are the three little words a true hockey fan dreads hearing from players on his or her team. They mean the season is over earlier than it was supposed to be but hey, at least the boys are vowing to go down with a swing in their remaining, meaningless games.
How comforting. You go, boys.
The Senators have been talking openly about playing for pride since the start of the month, when back-to-back home losses to the New York Islanders and the Montreal Canadiens effectively rendered useless all but prayer for a miracle allowing them to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, the realists among them had to know that's all they've had left for weeks, maybe even months.
Now, customers of their business get to shell out hard earned bucks for the opportunity to see the Senators play for pride against the New Jersey Devils at Canadian Tire Centre Thursday in what's being billed as Fan Appreciation Night.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
- Derick Brassard, a Gatineau native, picked up by the Rangers last year in a big deal with Columbus suited up for his 400th career game Saturday. Brassard, 26, who spends his off-season in Ottawa, has made his presence felt by the Rangers. Heading into the visit by the Senators, New York had a 23-8-1 record this season when he registers a point. With a cap hit of $3.2 million, Brassard will be an RFA on July 1.
- An interesting negotiation to watch in the off-season will be LW Milan Michalek. He has a cap hit of $6 million and has picked up his scoring pace dramatically down the stretch. The Senators have no issue with the way Michalek works and anybody will tell you he's highly-regarded by his teammates. The club will most certainly try to sign the UFA.
Some talk on P.K. Subban, who played :37 seconds in the 1st period and was -2. For the game, Subban played 13:39 and 3:42 was on the PP. He finished -3.
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
To my rheumy old eyes, P.K. hasn’t been himself since the Olympics. But I can’t see why a slightly sub-par P.K. should have less ToI than Francis Bouillon, Mike Weaver and Tinordi – not to mention the stiffs patrolling that porous Ottawa blueline.
In an interview on RDS, Pierre LeBrun said he’d spoken on Friday to P.K.’s agent. Don Meehan told LeBrun negotiations on a new contract for Subban will not get down to brass tacks until after the Canadiens have played their last game of the season.
Fearless prediction: There’s going to be some tough talk between Meehan and Canadiens’ general manager Marc Bergevin. And if another team comes in with an offer sheet for the restricted free agent, things could get really interesting.
P.K.’s contract is not the only dossier on the GM’s desk, which has more hot potatoes than a poutine stand.
more on the game plus some Vanek talk...
from Ian Mendes of TSN,
Speaking to TSN 1200 on Friday evening, Bryan Murray said he has not made any final decisions on his team for next season – and that includes giving a formal vote of confidence to head coach Paul MacLean.
When asked directly about MacLean's job security moving forward, Murray did not make any guarantees for his head coach or any of his players.
“I don't have a definite answer to that, but Paul's got a contract going forward. He was Coach of the Year last year and I don't know what happened this year necessarily as far as performance is concerned,” Murray said.
“I think he's a very good coach and I think he has the ear of the players in the room. We had some really tough outings and it's shared amongst a lot of people – myself included. We thought this team was better. We thought we had enough skill here to offset a couple of little things we were missing last year – and it didn't work out. Was that because of the departure of Daniel Alfredsson? Was it because we overestimated a couple our young guys? I think all of those evaluations will take place and will continue. With 10 games to go, we'll be watching very closely with the effort that is put forward here. I'm certainly not planning to make any decisions until the 82 games have gone by and we'll make a decision based on the whole year.”
read on for more about the Senators...
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Clear as ever is the NHL's need to come up with a Bobby Orr Award.
Erik Karlsson does not deserve the Norris Trophy presented to the best "all-round" defenceman in the league. His focus in his own end is not the same as it was when he won the plaque two years ago. He cheats his defensive duties, looking to go on the attack before it's safe to do so.
As the same time, what Karlsson is doing offensively this season is certainly worthy of year-end recognition.
Heading into Friday's game against the Blackhawks, the slick Swede had scored 20 goals, 49 assists and a dozen more points than the next highest scoring D-man in the league.
That would be Chicago's Duncan Keith, whose plus-23 rating was also plus-40 better than the one Karlsson was toting.
Forget about his giveaway on the Senators first goal Friday -- for his all round play this season, Keith should get the Norris. Shea Weber (20 goals, 48 points, minus-6) will also get some votes, if anyone is looking past the numbers. Karlsson should still be the third finalist.
What's next, and award for the power forward who scores 30 goals, 100+ in penalty minutes and plays an all around game but will never win any major hardware?
An absolute joke you would want to create an award to meet what the home town player brings. Maybe they should just create the HomeTown Trophy, given to one player on every NHL team, voted on by the home team writers/beat writers.
For example, Helene, who would you vote for? Oh Zetterberg, has a great beard and those snowballs taste real good.
Damien? Forget the players, give it to the coach for putting up with the players.
Adrian? Peter Forsberg.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org