Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune at the PioneerPress,
Consider the $168 million the Hawks committed to Kane and Toews a down payment on a dynasty. The question now shifts to how close the Kane-Toews era will come to producing the six championships Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won for the Bulls in the '90s. Nobody seriously questioned either player would leave after next season but, to the delight of Hawks fans, general manager Stan Bowman removed any doubt by fulfilling his pledge to make Kane and Toews Hawks for life. Bowman never will make a smarter move.
The deals run so long nobody can be sure Kane will have enough hair to grow a playoff mullet by the time they expire. By 2023, Toews might even learn to smile without being coaxed. How fortunate for Chicagoans that they get to see Nos. 88 and 19 grow older together, as it should be.
Think of the salary-cap casualties to come as a result of Kane and Toews occupying $21 million annually on the payroll as collateral damage, the price for the privilege of employing two of the world's greatest hockey players. The new salaries don't kick in until 2015-16, which frames next season as a go-for-broke proposition before Bowman inevitably starts dismantling an expensive core.
added 9:15am, from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Heatley, 33, represents a low-cost gamble — a bargain-basement one-year contract worth $1 million. A two-time 50-goal scorer — both times with the Ottawa Senators — Heatley is a reclamation project in the truest sense of the term. As recently as 2010, he played for the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal in Vancouver.
"He's a guy, over the years, I've always liked," Ducks General Manager Bob Murray said. "He's been intriguing because he is a pure goal-scorer. He's much better away from the puck than people think he is.
"He's struggled the last couple of years for different reasons. A great opportunity presented itself. We're a good match for each other at this moment.… I think he's a very proud athlete. It hasn't gone quite right and I think he knows that somewhere down the line the end is coming. And I don't think he wants it to end like this."...
"I feel good," Heatley said. "I feel leaner. I know the knock on me is that I'm not quick enough anymore. I disagree with that. I can still play this game. I'm still quick enough, fast enough, and I can score goals.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When you look at what Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks got in their new eight-year contracts Wednesday and compare this to what the top players were getting back in 2004 before the salary cap, it just might be that the NHL Player’s Association has outlived it’s usefulness.
While it may sound to many in Canada like these two guys are making a wage that nobody should get for playing professional sports, it is also quite clear that if the normal market basics were to play out and these two could sell their services to any team the way a person can work for any firm he or she chooses, they are tremendously underpaid.
The collective bargaining agreement between the NHLPA and the NHL is clearly holding many players back and not just the top earners. What it does is create a minimum wage which may, repeat may, help quite a few players, but for the most part it serves to put the players into a straight-jacket so they can be beaten up by the NHL owners who have seen the asset value of their franchises skyrocket since the players rolled over when locked out back in 2005.
The argument that it is holding back the top players is absolutely beyond discussion.
Brendan Shanahan, President of the Toronto Maple Leafs, talked with the media today from the Leafs' prospect camp.
Some of the topics discussed were the prospects and the Leafs' UFA signings.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Dale Hawerchuk doesn’t understand why Evander Kane or any young players wouldn’t want to play for the Winnipeg Jets.
In Winnipeg as a guest coach at the Jets development camp, Hawerchuk, the former Jet and current head coach of the OHL's Barrie Colts says the place he made home for the first nine years of his NHL career remains an attractive destination, from what he can tell.
“As an organization you do your best to get your players to love it,” Hawerchuk said. “My short time being around here, they do everything first-class. So I do’t know why players wouldn’t love it.”
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
We looked at the presumptive top-four centers on each team—with the understanding that some players will move in and out of the position—to see which club will dress the most impactful group of pivots in the coming season.
30- FLORIDA PANTHERS
ALEKSANDER BARKOV-NICK BJUGSTAD-DAVE BOLLAND-DEREK MACKENZIE
There's no 1-2 punch with less experience than Barkov and Bjugstad, and while on-the-job training is critical to the process of developing, it's going to make for some long nights. Putting his contact aside, Bolland's experience and leadership make him a valuable presence in a depth role, especially with those two kids looking for guidance along the way.
15- COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
RYAN JOHANSEN-BRANDON DUBINSKY-ARTEM ANISIMOV-MARK LETESTU
That breakthrough season (33-30-63) was nice, but more will be expected of Johansen in 2014-15. His physical tools and supporting cast should help him approach a point-per-game. The Jackets were a top-10 face-off team with this current group, so possession won't be an issue. Dubinsky, Anisimov and Letestu combined for a solid 50 goals and 123 points. Not bad, but there's room for improvement.
28 more teams...
added 5:56pm, Ducks release is below...
Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils today re-signed goaltender Cory Schneider to a new multi-year contract. The announcement was made by Devils’ President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello. As per club policy, no further terms were disclosed.
“With today’s signing, we have solidified our goaltending for the present and the future,” said Lamoriello. “Cory demonstrated throughout the year what he could bring to our organization, both on and off the ice.“
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
The only way a union for major junior hockey players can work is with the help of the NHL Players’ Association.
That’s the view of Gilles Lupien, a former defenceman with the Montreal Canadiens who is now an agent for professional and amateur hockey players.
Lupien said a mainstream union will struggle to win over the public and the families of some players, who would see the move as a cash-grab.
But the NHLPA, Lupien said, is better positioned to act as an umbrella organization protecting the rights of hockey’s budding stars before they graduate to the NHL.
The Star reported this week that Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, is trying to organize players in Quebec’s major junior hockey league and then take its efforts west across Canada, eventually organizing all 60 of the Canadian Hockey League’s franchises.
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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