Kukla's Korner Hockey
The press conference to introduce Gerard Gallant as the Florida Panthers head coach is scheduled to start at 11:00am ET.
Watch it below...
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Chuck Fletcher has a history of draft-day trades and spent last week working the phones.
“Everyone calls everybody,” the Wild GM said. “You don’t see a whole bunch of trades the week prior to the draft. It’s all about trying to figure out who your likely dance partners can be the week at the draft. It’ll take a move or two to get the ball rolling, and then there’s usually a domino-type effect. We’re not there yet.”
Fletcher has been shopping center Kyle Brodziak, sources say, and may be willing to retain salary and cap space to trade goalie Niklas Backstrom, who is recovering well from season-ending abdominal and hip surgeries.
read on for a look a the Wild schedule...
"I think Marian enjoyed, not just the time here, but everything about the experience. I think to continue that is something he would like and the team would like. So I would hope we could come to a meeting of the minds and get that done."
-Ron Salcer, agent for Marian Gaborik, via Lisa Dillman of the LA Times.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
With Willie Desjardins poised to become the Canucks next head coach, it’s time to step back and look at the first two and a half months of Trevor Linden’s administration.
Linden now has his coach and GM in place and both men are the polar opposites of their predecessors.
Desjardins is a no-BS career coach. Unlike John Tortorella, his press conferences won’t be appointment viewing.
New GM Jim Benning is a career scout who spent 20 years learning his craft. Like Desjardins, he is low-key and hard-working. Like Desjardins, he isn’t exactly a quote machine.
But this is what you like about the Canucks’ new hockey department. The men involved aren’t interested in reinventing the wheel. They are, however, interested in building an organization that encompasses the game’s core principles.
All three are from Western Canada. All view the game the same way. And the Canucks will reflect their philosophy.
There might have been sexier hires out there than Benning and Desjardins, but we’ve seen where sexy got the Canucks.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
If it’s true that Ryan Kesler will only agree to play for two teams in the NHL next year – the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins – then new Vancouver Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning will have his work cut out for him, trying to make that deal work.
Because of his skill, versatility and reasonably cheap salary cap number ($5-million per season for two more years), Kesler would be a good fit on any number of teams willing to gamble on his health.
Chicago has long needed a No. 2 centre to play behind Jonathan Toews and last week, told one of the players who’ve been trying to fill the void, Michal Handzus, he wouldn’t be back. Pittsburgh doesn’t have an obvious need for a centre, not with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brenden Sutter there, but Malkin can play the wing, as can Kesler.
It would be interesting to see if Kesler could develop chemistry with one or the other, or if the new Penguins coach – whomever that may eventually be – would just keep Crosby and Malkin together, which has worked well in the past.
No, the issue is that both the Blackhawks and Penguins are usually maxed out at the cap, and Chicago needs to be mindful of the raises that both Toews and Patrick Kane are going to get in their next deals.
continued plus more hockey topics...
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Right now, it appears as if Rutherford, 2½ weeks into the job, doesn't have a clue what he's doing. Even worse, it looks as if everyone in the team's management has no clue.
It's stunning, the long, hard fall taken by the Penguins front office since it fired highly-regarded general manager Ray Shero May 16, sloppily dismissed coach Dan Bylsma three weeks later, hired Rutherford, a retread from the Carolina Hurricanes, and was turned down by its first choice to be the new coach. We are talking about an organization that had been regarded as the best in hockey, one of the best in sports. People wanted to work for Lemieux and co-owner Ron Burkle because they treated their employees with such class. Crosby took less money to stay here. Other players wanted to come here to play with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin because they believed it gave them their best chance to win a Cup.
Now the Penguins have to settle for Rutherford, who failed late in his long, distinguished career with the Hurricanes and was pushed aside for new general manager Ron Francis?
And Rutherford can't find a coach after reportedly being turned down Friday by Calder Cup-winning coach Willie Desjardins of the American Hockey League's Texas Stars?
People around hockey are laughing at the Penguins. It's as if the organization has become a joke.
added 8:32am, from Mark Madden of the Times Online,
When the NHL comes to Las Vegas for its annual awards show, Gary Bettman always fields the, "When are you going to expand to Las Vegas?" question.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Steve Carp at least asks the question while coining it in realistic terms, pointing out that some 15 years after the mayor of Las Vegas attempted to lobby Bettman to expand to Nevada, the region sustained massive losses in the most recent recession, and as of yet, there's "no barn" (though Carp reports that the Anschutz Entertainment Group's about to break ground on a facility on "the Strip" shortly):
“Fifteen years is a long time,” Bettman said. “We’ve been through a recession and economic difficulty. But things are changing, and we’re aware of that. Right now, we’re not looking to expand. I know Las Vegas is an important city. Whether or not it’s a city for the NHL to put a team in is still to be determined. We have not done any investigating as to whether or not the city could support the NHL or looked at potential ownership groups. If the owners were to approve expansion, we would certainly begin looking more closely at Las Vegas and other potential markets.”
The NHL last expanded in 2000 with franchises in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Paul, Minn., to get to its current 30-team alignment. Expansion fees then were $80 million per team. It probably will take someone with far deeper pockets to join the NHL if expansion were to take place in the next few years.
When [Mayor Oscar] Goodman visited Bettman in 1999, the population of Clark County was 1,321,317, and Las Vegas was outside the top 50 media markets in the U.S. In 2013, there were 2,062,253 residents, and Las Vegas was the No. 40 media market.
And while the city slowly has rebounded from the recession and the population almost has doubled since 1999, there are still questions as to whether there’s a sufficient fan base to support the NHL.
The NHL's 22nd-ranked North American skater is a 5'11," 175-pound winger who posted 32 goals, 53 assists and 85 points for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires this past season, and NHL.com's draft profile for said player offers the following scouting report:
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards: "He handles the puck very well at top speed and sees the ice well. His skating is excellent and his first step is explosive. He cuts to the middle often and can split the defense with surprising speed.”
As the Windsor Star's Bob Duff notes, there's a reason that this player isn't seen as a "top prospect" per se:
Red Line Report, a prominent professional scouting service, had this to say about [Josh] Ho-Sang in their 2014 mock draft, in which they predicted he would go 22nd overall when selections begin Friday in Philadelphia: “Super skills, but can be erratic as Toronto’s mayor.”
They just compared Ho-Sang to Rob Ford, the foul-mouthed, crack-smoking boss of the GTA. That’s gotta sting.
Well, maybe it would, if Ho-Sang paid attention to such talk.
“Everybody has their opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion,” Ho-Sang said. “Every NHL team is entitled to their opinion and if a team thinks they should take me 10th overall, or if a team thinks that they shouldn’t, then that’s up to them.”
The Toronto Star's Kevin McGran penned a fine summary of today's events surrounding the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2014 induction class...
When the 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees are announced on Monday afternoon (TSN, 3 p.m.), it could be the first time in history that no Canadian player is on the list.
There are some obvious first-time candidates — stars who haven’t played pro in three seasons — who should be shoo-ins: American forward Mike Modano, Czech goalie Dominik Hasek and Swedish centre Peter Forsberg.
There are Canadians worthy of consideration for the first time — defenceman Adam Foote and winger Mark Recchi — and many who have been eligible before but didn’t make it: Eric Lindros, Paul Henderson, Rob Blake, Theoren Fleury, Paul Kariya and Dave Andreychuk.
At most, the hall can induct four retired male players and two females. Coaches, general managers and owners can also enter as builders. There is no limit, but it’s typically one a year.
And while McGran continues with a, "What shall we do if there are no Canadians are inducted? Is that bad for Canada" theory, the Glibe and Mail's James Mirtle suggests that the Hall's Selection Committee (whose machinations remain secret) should induct Forsberg's long-time competitor for the "most dominant forward of the late 90's" award in Eric Lindros:
In a bit of a departure from his Monday "Hockey World" entries, the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson penned two very lengthy Monday-morning columns. The first focuses on the "conensus" top 4 prospects for Friday and Saturday's NHL draft in Aaron Ekblad, Leon Draisaitl, Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett; the second column focuses on the state of the Edmonton Oilers, via a Q and A with Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish.
Matheson asks some incredibly pointed questions over the course of the lengthy Q and A:
Q: What about [Sam] Gagner? He’s been an Oiler since 2007 and a solid No. 2 centre for most of his time here. Are you trading him? He has two years left at a $4.8-million salary-cap hit ($5-million salary each of the next two seasons) and his no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until July 1.
A: He’s in the same category as everybody else. We’re all trying to improve our teams and our performance.
Q: Sam hasn’t asked for a trade like Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza, has he? Spezza wants a change of scenery with one year left on his contract.
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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