Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Spry of BarDown,
San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton's name surfaced in trade rumours this week, so of course the Leafs were mentioned as a possible destination. This according to a Toronto-centric hockey media, who quite often ignore logic and reason, all to the delight of Leafs Nation.
Not a free agent, tradeable asset, or draft eligible player can enter hockey's consciousness without being linked to Toronto. Before long, kids in The Junction were dreaming of Thornton's pure passing skills and Phil Kessel's scoring prowess, Jumbo Joe sweaters under the Christmas tree, and parade routes up Yonge Street.
But would Thornton, who has a full no-trade clause and as such controls his destiny, want to play in Toronto? I would argue no, and here's why: Toronto is the most difficult place in the world to play hockey. It is the NHL's Hell.
SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson today issued the following statement regarding forward Logan Couture.
"Last week, Logan underwent successful surgery to repair a hand injury suffered in a fight in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against Mike Richards. The procedure went as expected and Logan will be ready for the start of training camp."
added 5:41pm, Video of the fight is below...
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
Here's the latest word from the Joe Thornton camp:
One thing might get the Sharks captain to reconsider his stated intent to remain in San Jose despite suggestions from management that it may be time to move on, according to his brother and agent, John Thornton.
"If he felt the fans didn't want him in San Jose, he might re-think things," John Thornton said when asked if his brother would want to play where it was apparent he was not wanted.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet says the Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to trade for Joe Thornton.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The latest scuttlebutt on who's going where and why as another big season of free agency approaches:
It has the potential to be quite the offseason when it comes to high-profile centers changing teams.
We always say top centers don’t grow on trees and are hard to come by, well, there are at least two on the market in Ryan Kesler and Jason Spezza and it remains to be seen how it plays out on the Joe Thornton front.
First, in Vancouver, where the Canucks went fairly down the road in trade talks involving Kesler before the March 5 trade deadline, in particular with the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins, before deciding the offers weren’t good enough and pulling him back.
The question is, what’s the deal with him now given the new management in place in Vancouver?
Sources said new Canucks GM Jim Benning has already taken calls from teams on Kesler, if for no other reason than they’re wondering if he’s still available or not....
Spezza, with a year left on his deal, indicated to Senators management that he would welcome a change if a deal that makes sense comes Ottawa’s way. I suspect talks will heat up on that front closer to the draft later this month.
And, in San Jose, the Sharks have indicated they are entering a rebuilding mode. What does that mean for Joe Thornton, who signed a three-year extension earlier this season? Does he want to be around for a rebuild? Either way, Thornton holds all the cards with a no-movement clause. Same goes for Patrick Marleau, for that matter.
more on Kesler and other topic too...
There's no sure answer to say that the Sharks will be just fine if they keep this core together, but it's harder to see this team as a Cup contender in the next year or two if they move out players like Thornton or Marleau. Value always depends on what the return is, but those won't be easy holes to fill if that is the direction in which the Sharks are headed.
Until that decision becomes clear, this team will be one of the most compelling to watch this offseason. Such is the nature of a contending team that is getting impatient with its inability to get over the hump.
-Scott Cullen of TSN in his Off-Season Game Plan for the San Jose Sharks. Read much more on the Sharks from Cullen.
SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has acquired a conditional fifth-round draft selection in the 2015 NHL Draft from the New York Islanders in exchange for defenseman Dan Boyle. If Boyle re-signs with New York prior to the start of the 2014-15 regular season, the draft pick becomes a fourth-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Boyle, 37, recorded 36 points (12-24=36) and 32 penalty minutes in 75 games played in 2013-14. The Ottawa, Ontario, native tallied 269 points (68-201=269) and 305 penalty minutes in 431 games played with San Jose. He leaves ranking first amongst franchise defensemen in goals, assists and points.
from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News,
It was a 12-word mini-manifesto, offered in a staccato bite for maximum impact.
"I want players that want to play here," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told me, "not just live here."
That was pretty much all Wilson chose to say in our phone conversation last week, and really, it was all Wilson had to communicate.
When he said the words, I actually stopped and asked if he meant to say what I think he just said.
So Wilson repeated: "I want players that want to play here, not just live here."
OK then. That's a very different tone than we've heard from Wilson after past Sharks playoff disappointments, and this time he definitely meant it to be different.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
When he was acquired from Boston, he made a solid team a Stanley Cup contender overnight. If the 34-year-old retired tomorrow, he’s already done enough in his career to merit consideration for the Hockey Hall of Fame, and it’s primarily for his accomplishments during his eight-plus seasons in teal.
The Cup never came, though. And, now it could be time for Thornton and the Sharks to amicably part company.
To be clear, Thornton is far from only player to blame for the Sharks’ historic collapse to the Kings in the first round, or for any of their previous failures in the postseason. Against Los Angeles last month, the team’s core players all failed in spectacular fashion in the final three games of the series loss, the goaltending was unsteady, and the defense missed its most vital cog in Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the final two games.
But at the conclusion of that collapse, no one in the organization argued that San Jose didn’t have the talent to match up with the Kings, and a 111-point regular season backs that up. Instead, general manager Doug Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan pointed to the coaching staff’s message inexplicably not getting through to the players....
Comcast SportsNet Sharks analyst Bret Hedican said: “It does speak to the leadership group, and is saying to me that the leadership either isn’t on board with what he’s trying to do, or strictly isn’t bought in to understanding what it’s going to take to win. … If the leadership has not bought in with the understanding of what it’s going to take to win, then it probably explains why we’re in the predicament that we’re now in, watching the Sharks get beat by the L.A. Kings for the last couple of years.”
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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