Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province via the National Post,
The Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to make a play Tuesday for unrestricted free agent centre Brendan Morrison, The Vancouver Province has learned….
The Jackets are rumoured to be offering a three-year deal at about US$8-million and have only US$25-million committed to 2008-09 salaries under the new US$56.7-million cap ceiling.
“Brendan has been one of the more durable and consistent centres in the league and he’s only 32,” said his agent Kurt Overhardt.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
A rise in the NHL salary cap doesn’t mean the Canucks will publicly commit to spending to the new $56.7 million US ceiling.
General manager Mike Gillis, who now has $21.6 million in cap space heading into the free-agency and contract season, said there are too many variables to accurately predict how much the club will spend….
“I don’t want to be held to that standard and it’s our intention to get the best players,” he said. “It [stating a payroll total] is not a policy matter and that’s why I’m reluctant. It’s dependent on things that happen and at this point I don’t know how things will unfold.”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The rest of the NHL, it seems, isn’t keen to have Gillis succeed. More to the point, they’d love to see him fail.
Moving forward, then, the question isn’t so much who the Canucks will bring in as their first-line centre but who will do business with the Gillis administration. That question will also bear repeating in the next little while because the early indications are troubling for Canucks fans.
By now, the circumstances of Gillis’s hiring are common knowledge around the NHL, and let’s just say there are mixed feelings about him. Dave Nonis, for starters, was a popular figure in hockey circles. He’s also a member in good standing of the Pat Quinn-Brian Burke confederacy, and the influence of those two men can be found in several organizations.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Thirteen trades were made involving 15 teams on Friday and among the players moved were Cammalleri, Umberger, Jokinen and Alex Tanguay. Another 14 deals were made Friday, most of which, admittedly, involved draft picks.
And the Canucks weren’t involved in any of them.
“I’ve said from the outset we want to win as quickly as possible but it’s tough to get those players,” said Gillis. “We’re working on a bunch of different things and we’ll have an opportunity on July 1 (when the market opens for unrestricted free agents). If you can’t get it done this way you can get it done another way.”
But a lot of things were done in Ottawa this weekend. They just weren’t done by the Canucks.
Globe & Mail writers Matthew Sekeres, Eric Duhatschek, Allan Maki and Tim Wharnsby have put to together an assessment of the draft situation for all six Canadian teams. They take a look at each team’s available picks, specific needs, salary cap space and the progress of their top picks from last year.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, NHL Talk, NHL Entry Draft, | KK Hockey | Permalink
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
“We’re definitely moving in a direction that is going to be different,” Gillis said yesterday.
On the draft, Gillis said that size doesn’t matter to him, and that he is just as likely to choose a smaller player with more competitiveness than one with ideal height and bulk. He said that Everett Silvertips forward Kyle Beach, considered one of the boom-or-bust prospects this weekend, has been unfairly portrayed as a bad boy and that the Canucks plan to interview him for a second time before Friday’s first round.
Gillis also hinted that players from Russia, who may be difficult to lure to North America, probably won’t figure into Vancouver’s plans.
From Michael Rhode at Nanaimo’s Daily News,
The life of a professional hockey player is pretty routine. Sure, there’s the notoriety of playing at the top level of your sport, and it takes plenty of hard work and determination to get to the level they play at.
But aside from the so-called stardom it’s just a lot of repetition. Their days—from autumn to late spring—usually begin and end at the rink. Their summer months, save for a few weeks away from the rink, are usually spent training, at the gym and on ice, for their next season.
Vancouver Canucks’ forward Trevor Linden’s retirement announcement brings into focus the realization of life after hockey. After going to the rink on a regular basis for more than 20 years of professional and junior hockey, come September he’ll have to try and find something constructive to occupy his time.
continued… with words from a few ex-players
From Iain MacIntyre at the Vancouver Sun via Faceoff.com,
Immediately after his packed, televised press conference at General Motors Place, Linden handed over to the Canucks’ charity the $25,000 he received last month from the National Hockey League as part of a humanitarian award.
It won’t be Linden’s last act of community service even if he never skates another shift in the NHL.
“No, I don’t think that will stop,” Linden’s wife, Cristina, said.
“During my time at Nike ... I got to spend time with Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods,” Canuck president Chris Zimmerman said. “They are extraordinary people. But I have never met another athlete with a bigger heart than Trevor Linden.”
*Video of Linden’s retirement speech was posted here yesterday
From Iain MacIntyre at the Vancouver Sun,
He failed to deliver a Stanley Cup to Vancouver, yet somehow exceeded everything expected of him. This says everything about Trevor Linden, whose legacy far exceeds the narrow boundaries of the Vancouver Canucks’ hockey rink.
Linden was the face of the franchise—and its heart and conscience—for most of the last two decades. There will be better players, but possibly not a better person. And no athlete here will be able to match the enduring strength and personal nature of Linden’s bond to this city and its fans, which is why his retirement announcement today will be as poignant and it was expected.
Twenty years to the day after he was drafted second over-all, Linden is leaving the National Hockey League at age 38. There will not be another like him, at least for the Canucks.
Update 3:17pm ET: Video of Linden’s retirement speech.
From Joe O’Connor at the National Post,
He gave both men [Brian Burke and Ron Wilson] their first big breaks in the NHL back when he was the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. Quinn met Burke well before that, in 1977, when Burke was a player and he was the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Maine Mariners.
“Brian really took a shine to me,” he said. “I think he liked that I was someone who would always give him an honest answer.”
Burke lasted one season with Maine before deciding law school was a better idea. He was reborn afterwards as a hard bargaining players’ agent, just as NHL salaries were rocketing to the moon. And a lot of hockey people didn’t like it when Quinn recruited failed minor league pro to work for him in Vancouver in 1987.
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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