Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
They will have to huff and puff to make the playoffs, buying some time for their promising defensemen to gain some minor-league seasoning before likely being ready in two years - or perhaps in the second half of 2014-15.
The good news, from the Flyers' perspective, is that coach Craig Berube, who did a commendable job after replacing Peter Laviolette early last season, will have his first full training camp to reinforce his defense-first system.
And for the first time in ages, the Flyers will go into camp knowing they have a legitimate No. 1 goalie, Steve Mason. Former general manager Paul Holmgren signed some players to long-term deals that left Hextall with no cap flexibility, but Holmgren deserves credit for acquiring Mason in one of his best trades.
Speaking of bad contracts, the Flyers still are trying to trade Vinny Lecavalier, who signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal last season. Nashville and Ottawa are among the teams that have shown interest. Teams want the Flyers to pay a big part of his salary.
There also are reports that teams want the Flyers to include a prospect or a draft pick in any deal including Lecavalier.
Everyone in Philadelphia is watching: Teammates, team chairman Ed Snider, fans, media and, most important of all, Hextall.
The GM really shouldn’t have to say a word. Just call the captain into his office, put a look of disappointment on his face and then show him the door.
If Giroux truly is cut out to be a captain, that should be enough.
-Wayne Fish of the Burlington County Times on how GM Ron Hextall should deal with the latest Claude Giroux incident. More from Fish on this topic...
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
“I regret my actions on Canada Day and sincerely apologize to my fans, teammates and the Philadelphia Flyers organization for my misguided attempt at humor.
Following an investigation, law enforcement determined that charges are not warranted. I have the utmost respect for law enforcement and apologize to the Ottawa Police Department and specifically the individual officer. I will be making no further public comment on this matter.
I will not be distracted from my ongoing preparation for the upcoming season. I remain 100% committed and focused on working with my team to return the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia.”
“We’ve been in contact with Claude and the Ottawa Police Service and have been informed that no charges will be filed. Moving forward, we will deal with this incident internally and we will no longer publicly discuss this matter.”
-- Flyers GM Ron Hextall
from Trevor Greenway of MetroNews,
“In relations to the arrest of Claude Giroux (NHL player), which was not confirmed to media, MRO received calls from ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Comcast Sports, CNN, CSN PhiladelphiaSportsnet, CBC, Sun and Radio Canada, TVA, 104.7fm, Ottawa Citizen, CFRA, Metro Ottawa, 1310 news,” the media log read, which was “mistakenly” sent out to all the major news organizations in the city Wednesday afternoon.
“Also in relations to this file, Cst Soucy reached out to the Philadelphia Flyers and spoke to director of communication Zach Hill and GM Ron Hextall, They were advised that we would keep the same media line ‘we cannot confirm or deny the subject of a police investigation unless charges are laid.’ In this case no charges will be laid. The Flyers were advised of the outcome.”
via the Ottawa Sun,
Philadelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux spent the night in an Ottawa Police cell after an incident involving a police officer, sources tell the Sun.
Although few details were immediately available, a source said Giroux was arrested for repeatedly grabbing the buttocks of a male police officer. Alcohol is believed to have been involved.
The incident occurred at a bar in the Byward Market the source said.
Ottawa Police have refused any comment on the incident. Police said they cannot comment unless charges are laid, but several sources did confirm to the Sun Giroux spent the night in jail.
Sources say he is expected to be released without any criminal charges.
The 26-year-old Giroux was reportedly seen inside a police cruiser in Ottawa sometime around 9 p.m. on July 1. A Twitter post by shaheed09 reads "Claude Giroux in the back of a cop car downtown ottawa". it was posted to Twitter Tuesday at 9:19 p.m.
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
For once, the Flyers felt what it’s like to be the cash-starved Islanders with holes to fill and no money to buy the ingredients to fill them.
“This is the day where a lot of times you do something and you have buyer’s remorse,” Hextall said. “But it’s hard ... you have a lot of holes to fill. Back in L.A. a few years ago, we were in that position where we had a lot of holes to fill, and it’s hard to fill all your holes in a cap world in free agency.
“Again, it’s one of those days where sometimes you look back and you did something good -- I think there’s some good buys in the market -- but there’s some other ones that are inflated.”
The Flyers are boxed in by not being able to move Vinny Lecavalier’s contract. His $4.5 million cap hit over the next four years prevented them from getting involved with any quality forward or defenseman on the market.
“We’ve got nothing imminent on Vinny,” Hextall said. “We’ll keep looking at the situation, and like I said, deal with it internally, and if there’s something to report we’ll get it back to you guys, but as far as I’m concerned right now, Vinny Lecavalier could be in a Flyer uniform in September.”
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
With the free-agency period starting Tuesday, new Flyers general manager Ron Hextall will not be able to make a big splash unless he unloads some salary.
Hextall is caught between a rock and a hard cap. As a result, do not expect the Flyers to be big players in free agency.
For the time being, the Flyers are about $236,000 over the salary-cap maximum of $69 million - and they still need to sign another defenseman or forward, and a backup goalie.
So unless they are able to deal Vinny Lecavalier - who is expected to land elsewhere after he picks up a $2 million bonus on Tuesday - or another high-priced veteran such as Braydon Coburn, the Flyers have no cap flexibility.
from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
With so much attention focused on Lecavalier, the Flyers' better option to clear cap space is staring them in the face. Newly reacquired forward R.J. Umberger is second only to Giroux in salary-cap hit among forwards.
Umberger is a prime buyout candidate.
The Flyers do not have any compliance buyouts remaining (executed on Ilya Bryzgalov and Danny Briere in 2013), but they can still use a "regular-course" buyout.
It would cost them $9 million in cash over the next three seasons to buy out Umberger. His current $4.6 million salary-cap hit would become $1.6 million for the next 3 years, then $1.5 million for the next 3 years after that. It's an immediate cap savings of $3 million.
With that Canadian television deal kicking in, the salary cap is expected to rocket to $75 million in 2015-16. Meaning that $1.6 million in dead space due to Umberger would be an increasingly smaller drop in the bucket each year the cap grows, which it will with continuously record-setting revenues.
So, why would the Flyers buy out Umberger after just trading for him? He's a lot cheaper to buy out than Scott Hartnell, who had 2 years more left on his deal. That's a savings of $10 million in cash for a team that is now internally pulling on the purse strings. The fourth-round pick in last week's trade would just be a bonus.
more on the Flyers' cap issues...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The move will make the Flyers worse in 2014-15. The 32-year-old Hartnell, once the top-line running mate for Claude Giroux, could fill the same role for franchise center Ryan Johansen. If ex-Bruin Nathan Horton gets healthy, the three strongmen could join forces to create a mammoth No. 1 line for the Blue Jackets.
“I think he plays exactly the way we want the Blue Jackets to play,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a news conference following the trade. “He’s hard to play against. When you talk about him as an opponent — you talk to a lot of different sources around the league, people that I know and people he’s been associated with — they all say the same thing: You hate to play against him, but you’d love to have him on your team. That’s the way we feel about him. He was a tough opponent. Somebody you always noticed and somebody you hated from the press box, but you always thought you’d like to have him on your team.”
When power forwards such as Hartnell are in their groove, they are game-changers. They strike fear in defensemen who panic about black eyes and broken noses when they retreat for a puck. Their brawn allows their team to cycle the puck low, tire opponents, and rack up scoring chances. They make their linemates braver.
There is a reason Milan Lucic scored a $6 million annual payday when his previous contract expired. It’s the same reason Horton, Lucic’s former partner in crime, landed a seven-year, $37.1 million blockbuster last summer. And it’s the same reason David Clarkson swiped a seven-year, $36.75 million bonanza from the Maple Leafs.
It’s a case of supply and demand. There are very few players who can skate, score, hit, and fight. There are even fewer who can fulfill those tasks as the odometer reaches higher numbers.
read on plus other hockey topics...
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