Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
It hurts to say it, but the Blue Jackets could have been the Rangers. Expletive deleted. This is getting tough to watch.
Locally, there is a hue and cry over Los Angeles Kings right wing Marian Gaborik, who has more playoff goals (11) than anyone this spring. Some fans think Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen gave up too much to get Gaborik (Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a sixth-round draft pick) from the Rangers.
And they think he got too little (Matt Frattin, a second-round pick and a third-round pick) when he dumped Gaborik on the Kings.
Is this Jeff Carter all over again? Are the Jackets consistently building champions — for other markets?
I don’t get too bent over Gaborik. Yes, Kekalainen gave up much to get him, but it was a noble experiment and he paid market price. No, Kekalainen did not seem to extract a large return for him, but that was the market. It was not the general manager’s most brilliant work, but Gaborik is not sticking in my craw.
Ask yourself: Are the Jackets better without Rick Nash? Would you redo that trade and give back Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and Kerby Rychel?
The New York Post's Larry Brooks was very busy on Saturday evening, pondering the fates of Brian Boyle and the Rangers' unrestricted and restricted free agents-to-be, as well as positing a thorough set of NHL notes. The main topic of his latter work may be a well-tread-upon (trodden-upon?) subject, but it bears repeating.
On July 1st, we know that Thomas Vanek will earn a boatload of money. What we don't know is how much he's going to earn, nor do we know whether his spectacularly mediocre playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens has changed NHL general managers' minds as to whether Vanek is in fact a game-breaking player, or whether he's the kind of "specialist" player who needs to be placed amidst both a strong supporting cast and a set of doing-the-hard-work-for-him linemates who must pave the way for someone who might not be the natural goal-scoring machine everyone thought he was prior to his trade to the Islanders last December.
Is Vanek worth the investment that somebody is more likely than not to put into someone who either is a game-breaker or is in fact the modern-day Ray Sheppard? Brooks isn't sure:
[There's no] evidence at all the winger is remotely worth the seven-year, $50 million deal he rejected from the Islanders before being sent to Montreal at the deadline. No evidence he is anyone’s missing piece to a playoff puzzle.
And yet, the rule of the NHL market is — or has been: Players don’t pay a price for having underperformed and teams indeed will pay the manufacturer’s sticker price, regardless.
See: Semin, Alex for a prime example. Another: Thornton, Joe.
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Tags: brad+richards, dan+boyle, marian+gaborik, matt+moulson, matt+niskanen, mike+cammaleri, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, paul+stastny, ryan+callahan, thomas+vanek
On June 24th, the Hockey Hall of Fame's selection committee will name its inductees for 2014, and as the process is a secretive one, we know its parameters and the men who represent the Hockey Hall of Fame, but we don't know how exactly one player of builder makes the cut and another does not in any particular year.
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons believes that the selection committee needs to make amends for a long-standing omission amongst this year's shoo-ins:
At one time, in the early 1980s, they were considered the two most gifted and offensive explosive players in hockey. Wayne Gretzky won 10 scoring titles in the National Hockey League. Sergei Makarov won nine scoring titles in Russia, before he arrived in the NHL.
Gretzky had his Hall of Fame induction fast-tracked. Makarov is still waiting to hear his name called.
On June 23, the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2014 will be announced and the slam dunk this year is Dominik Hasek, as he should be. Joining him likely will be Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano and there’s really no argument with either of those. But somehow, Makarov’s candidacy appears to have been lost in time.
He was twice a world junior champion, 10 times a world champion, a winner of two Olympic gold medals and one silver. At the largest events, the Olympics and Canada Cups, he scored 59 points in 44 games:
Makarov came to the NHL late, won the rookie of the year award at 31, scored 292 points in 297 games in Calgary, ended his career quietly in San Jose and Dallas. Those who rule him out as Hall of Fame material because of his final NHL seasons, haven’t made enough attention to the final seasons of many already enshrined.
Makarov’s centre, Igor Larionov is already in the Hall, which is as much about NHL politics as it about truth. Makarov was the better player. It is overdue for him to be acknowledged for his wonderful career.
Simmons continues with his usual collection of hockey and sports-related observations--and Igor Larionov is now on the selection committe, for what it's worth..
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
About 60 former players, some of whom hadn’t taken part in any alumni meetings, gathered Saturday to air their grievances and concerns and hear how their leadership was handling their problems.
None came away disappointed.
“It was very productive,” said Steve Ludzik, the long-time Chicago Blackhawk who has Parkinson’s and runs a Parkinson’s clinic. “There was no candy-coating. It was like a hockey room, a closed-door meeting. It was good.
“We can do a lot more for each other. Better communication. Different ways we can help guys that are in trouble. I would like to build a retirement home for hockey players.”
As the room emptied, former players thanked NHLA executive director Mark Napier one-by-one, including ex-Leaf Walt McKechnie, who declined an interview request. It was McKechnie who, by and large, brokered this meeting as a peace deal between the warring factions.
from the CP at Sportsnet,
Since signing a two-year "bridge" deal that paid him US$3.75 million this season, the 25-year-old, who has become one of the NHL’s best and most entertaining defencemen, is a potential restricted free agent in position to ink a multi-year contract for a king’s ransom with the Montreal Canadiens.
Or he could take a shorter contract and then become an unrestricted free agent.
Subban said he hopes to sign a long-term deal and to stay in Montreal his entire career.
"I’m sure everybody in hockey wants a long-term contract, but for me, it’s not just about that," he said. "It’s about being part of a team that can win a championship, and I believe we have that in this dressing room.
"When it comes to contract stuff, that’s why I hire my agent (Don Meehan). That’s why we pay him. That’s his job and I’ll let him do his job. I’ve done mine, and he’ll do his."
from Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News,
The only drawback to the play-by-play stylings of Mike (Doc) Emrick is he works with two analysts.
This is like spray painting over the Mona Lisa.
When you have a virtuoso performer (in the current world of sports broadcasting you can count them on one hand), he should fly solo, especially in a frenetic-paced sport such as hockey where radio-like play-by-play on TV is a necessity.
Emrick’s wingmen on NBC, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire, apparently are aware of this. Neither is prone to jaw-jacking. They are valuable informants who figured out hockey is one televised sport in which the play-by-play man is as much a star as the analyst.
That’s why, once the Stanley Cup Final starts rolling Wednesday night, there won’t be the usual fan backlash in both cities about the “national” announcers favoring one team. Over many moons Emrick, 67, has provided an abundance of that he calls what he sees — without embellishing.
from Mike Doyle of the Minnesota Wild website,
For Mike Yeo, the first three years as the Minnesota Wild’s head coach has been a process. In his second season, Yeo guided the team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five years. This season, the bench boss led Minnesota to its first playoff series win since 2003.
Yeo and the Wild will continue the process, as General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced the club has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Head Coach Mike Yeo.
”I am very excited to continue to coach the Minnesota Wild and pursue a Stanley Cup for the State of Hockey,” said Yeo. “Our fan support has been amazing and it went to a new level during the playoffs this season. We are all motivated to reward them.”
added 5:05pm, Wild press release is below...
Disclosure: I received a complimentary device and data service from Verizon Wireless. No additional compensation was received, and there is no promise of a positive review. All opinions are my own.
I had breakfast with my 89 year-old uncle this morning and he started asking me about my smartphone.
He told me about his golfing buddy asking him for his street address, which was inputted into Google maps and a few seconds later my uncle's house appeared on the guy's smartphone.
My uncle was impressed and now wants to upgrade his flip phone to a smartphone.
No doubt in my mind my uncle can comprehend how to use the new phone but I have a feeling I may have to give him a lesson or two on how to get started.
This brings all of this back to me, you see at one time I felt I had no need for a phone which acts just like a computer, my desktop was just fine for me.
But reflecting back, the world might have just passed me by if I did not come to the realization of how important staying in touch, 24/7, was to me.
“I don’t think there’s a player in the league that has the puck on his stick, time of possession over the course of a game, more. He sees plays, makes plays. The bigger the stage, the more he likes that challenge.”
-Joel Quenneville, head coach of the Chicago Blackhaws on Patrick Kane. More on Kane from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Where did six weeks go?
I remember flying into San Jose on April 15 for the start of my annual playoff trek like it was yesterday.
I spent exactly 32 days among San Jose, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver and Anaheim over the first two rounds. Then, between the second round and the conference finals, I spent three days at home to reintroduce myself to my three young kids. And then right back on the road, to New York and Montreal for the final four games of the wacky Eastern Conference finals.
That's 41 of 44 days working on the road, seeing the highs and lows of what once again has been a story-filled Stanley Cup playoffs.
Here are my top five memories from the moments I covered:
1. April 30, Game 7, Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks. Outscored 17-8 in losing the opening three games of the series, the Los Angeles Kings stunningly turned the tables on the Sharks by outscoring them 19-5 over the final four games and becoming just the fourth team in NHL history to erase the almighty 3-donut hole. "We just have a lot of heart on this team," Kings stud blueliner Drew Doughty said that night. "We have guys who are so competitive, guys who want to win. That's how [GM] Dean [Lombardi] built this team -- with guys who will do anything to win. I think that showed. We never gave up and came back hard.'' I'll never forget walking into the home dressing room and seeing the look of soul-crushing hurt on the faces of those San Jose Sharks players.
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.
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