Kukla's Korner Hockey
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free-agent defenseman Anton Volchenkov to a one-year, $1 million contract.
“Anton provides a strong veteran presence that will complement our young, talented defensive corps nicely,” Poile said. “He is a physical, left-handed shooting defenseman who can match up with top-line forwards and effectively kill penalties.”
Volchenkov, 32 (2/25/82), has suited up for 650 games for New Jersey and Ottawa (where he played with both Matt Cullen and Mike Fisher) since the 2002-03 campaign, posting 126 points (19g-107a) and 424 penalty minutes. Since 2005-06, the 6-1, 225-pound blueliner has the second-most blocked shots among all skaters (1,395) and the 10th-most hits among defensemen (1,313).
Jim Nill talked first about the Dallas Stars then turned it over to Jason Spezza.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It is fair to conclude therefore that Iginla’s No. 1 priority in selecting the Avalanche over a handful of other suitors - including of all teams, the Vancouver Canucks - was not the money. Iginla was always like that, come contract time. In his years with the Calgary Flames, he wanted a fair deal, but he wasn’t trying to squeeze maximum dollars out of them either. For eight years in a row, he made $7-million per season – the going rate for players of his stature (two Rocket Richard trophies, three first-team all-star berths).
No, the lure of Colorado was the chance to finally win a Stanley Cup on what is likely to be the final contract of his NHL career (and which will leave him just shy of $100-million in lifetime compensation). You can buy a lot of waterfront property in Belize for that kind of dough.
Iginla took a long hard look at where the best opportunities to win might be and based on conversations with both long-time teammate Alex Tanguay and the Avalanche’s president of hockey operations, Joe Sakic, came away convinced Colorado was that team. Iginla made the point to the Denver Post on the weekend that Colorado’s raw youth was not a hindrance in his mind – that the Pittsburgh Penguins won their one-and-only championship of the Sidney Crosby era when Crosby was 21 and Evgeni Malkin 22; and that the Chicago Blackhawks won the first of two with the current core group when Jonathan Toews was 22 and Patrick Kane 21. The point is, if the talent is precocious enough, then the age on the birth certificate is not necessarily an impediment to winning. On the contrary, it might be an asset.
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OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators announced today that General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Bryan Murray has been recently diagnosed with cancer. The Senators organization issued the following statement:
“Mr. Murray is undergoing further testing and will begin treatment immediately for this condition as prescribed by the team’s doctors in collaboration with specialists.
Mr. Murray’s treatment schedule may require him to be away from the Senators office periodically. During his periodic absence, assistant general managers Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee will be responsible for managing the Ottawa Senators hockey operations department.
On behalf of the entire Senators family, the team is asking that the thoughts, prayers and support of the entire hockey community are with Bryan and his family.
The Senators and Mr. Murray ask that you please respect his family’s privacy during this time.
There will be no further comment from the Senators organization.”
via a press release from the Edmonton Oilers...
The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have agreed to terms with defenceman Jeff Petry on a one-year contract.
Petry, 26, recorded 17 points (7G, 10A) and 42 penalty minutes in 80 games last season. He also led the Oilers in blocked shots (132) and hits (181), marking the third straight year he has ranked in the top two on the team in hits.
The 6'3", 195 pound blueliner has spent his entire NHL career with the Oilers, accumulating 59 points (13G, 46A) and 107 penalty minutes in 236 career games.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan native has represented his country several times internationally, most recently at the 2014 World Hockey Championship, posting four assists in eight games. He also participated in the World Hockey Championship in 2012 and 2013.
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
Mincing Gorges apart, the two most dramatic re-lo announcements in the hockey universe last week — Kesler and Spezza — had nothing to do with the cracking open of free agency season.
Leafs were a spectator to the trade events involving these rather whiny me-first players, starry as they may be. In any event, top line centres are not what they covet or need, though some might argue a more coach-able second-line pivot than Nazem Kadri wouldn’t be a bad idea. And perhaps Joffrey Lupul, whose numbers last year reflected the drag of laboring alongside poor-fit linemates, would say so most vocally, if spilling his guts.
The trade winds will likely now settle down into summer doldrums.
“The big money moves either early or late,” said Nonis. “I don’t think we’ll see those types of trades again until maybe closer to training camp.”
So, for those anxiously awaiting some significant announcement on the Dion Phaneuf front, take the rest of the summer to chill out. The interest expressed by a few teams earlier in the year, from trade deadline through mid-June, has waned, if primarily because Nonis was unimpressed with what was being offered in exchange.
The heated rivalry that developed between the Avalanche and Blues last season, involving coaches Ken Hitchcock and Patrick Roy and leaking out onto the ice, was an element in the St. Louis signing of Stastny. I’m convinced of that. These are Central Division rivals, the Blues blew the division title last season by losing six straight to finish the regular season, and lost to the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong wasn’t publicly drawn into the bitterness that developed between the two franchises, but it all adds up to a perfect storm — Stastny’s St. Louis roots; the Blues not only adding Stastny, but taking him away from a division rival; and perhaps a one-finger salute from Hitchcock to Roy in the wake of their bitter and even profane exchanges last season.
-Terry Frei of the Denver Post where you can read more on the Avalanche losing Paul Stastny to the Blues in free agency.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
With so many of the league’s significant free agents scooped up on July 1, the opening day of 2014′s free agency, unattached impact players are suddenly scarce. Still, more than a few useful talents are out there and could fill important roles on teams with some salary cap space.
2013-14 team: Colorado Avalanche
2013-14 cap hit: $900,000-
Why he’s worth a shot: The most productive blue-liner left on the board, Benoit led all remaining UFA defencemen in goals (seven) and assists (21) in 2013-14 and ranked second (behind Calgary’s Chris Butler) in ice time, averaging 20:21 per game. A professional who has bounced around the AHL, KHL, and elite league’s in Sweden and Finland, Benoit should be fuelled by his breakout season and could work on the second power-play unit. A nice left-handed shot on the second or third pairing.
Latest dirt: Don’t rule out a return to Colorado for Benoit yet. The Avs were keen to keep him before July 1 and need some defence to go along with all that firepower.
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
“I’d watch these kids, all knock-kneed — they couldn’t get over their skates properly,” says Crowder. “So I’d grind up some plastic, get some Velcro, hook something onto their skates . . . and get these little improvements.”
Over a span of five years, he customized the gear of countless skaters.
“My brain’s always trying to figure out puzzles . . . it was kind of a game in my head, you know?” Crowder says. “People who know me — people back home — they always knew I was that kind of guy. Thinking outside the box. Looking at things differently.
“The average Joe would just think that I was a tough-guy goon, dragging my knuckles on the ground, right?”
Crowder, though, discovered a niche.
Not all players are created equally — “Someone’s got a thick shin, someone’s got a skinny ankle, someone’s got big bones, someone’s got big heels” — but a boot’s eyelets? Always in the same place.
Crowder’s solution was a skate attachment that permits a customized bend point. Patented as 55 Flex, skate companies and NHL teams quietly took note.
Last winter, he alleviated the lace-bite issues of a certain chap. Aaron Ekblad.
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.
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.
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