Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Mike Richards is exactly what the Winnipeg Jets need.
If he hits the market, the Jets will have as strong an opportunity to sign him as any team in the NHL. It’ll be a deal they’ll have to get done.
Richards is a driver, not a follower. He’s a competitor of a different stripe and there are only a handful of players in the NHL with the kind of will he brings to the game.
Put it this way: The Jets have a list of players that opponents look at and say, "we can push him and him and him out of the game." It’s a big factor in the games they lose.
Richards doesn’t get pushed out of games. He does the pushing. He’s smart, he’s a little dirty and he’s been around. He’s no longer a top-six player, but a third-line centre who can draw some growl from a team’s engine.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
So we ask the question: Has the time come for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to change his M.O., with the real National Hockey League trading deadline — i.e., the NHL Draft — just around the corner? He’s got trading chips in his top-10 draft pick; Dustin Byfuglien, who prefers to play defence, while head coach Paul Maurice sees him as a forward; and Evander Kane, who always has us wondering if any position will make him happy, so long as it is in Winnipeg.
Has the time come for some actual wheeling and dealing, to go along with all of that patient development in Manitoba?
“Maybe we’re the team that makes that blockbuster,” Cheveldayoff told Sportsnet this week. “You always have that zest, that desire to see if there’s that elusive deal that can help you. But when you do get on the phone, you quickly find out your counterparts are trying to find that same deal. It is a difficult thing.”
The free agent market used to be building tool.
Today, the July 1 market isn’t nearly as thick with talent as it once was, with everyone signing even their remotely valuable players to longer-termed deals.
from Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Thursday at the league's draft and scouting combine, Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff sounded like he's very interested in those discussions.
Now that's not to say the Jets GM is sure he'll soon make a trade but we can tell you at no time did he raise the idea standing pat was a good way to the future.
"After all the review since the season ended, are you in a dealing mood?" was the question Cheveldayoff was asked.
"For all the changes happening in the league, I think there's a strong appetite among teams to want to talk about making changes," he said, noting there are seven new GMs in place. "We are certainly in that mix of talking, to find out if there's a way to trade, whether it's a big asset, a middle asset, whatever asset. You sit and talk to see if there's a chance that something can fit with something you're looking for.
"I think with this year's crop of free agents, you're really starting to see where the trend of locking up players for long term has lessened the number of players that would have otherwise entered free agency.
"And that's leading a lot of teams to think they might have to make a trade to do something, as opposed to simply relying on free agency. Not that we've been huge players in free agency in the past, but I can say it hasn't been for lack of wanting to be."
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
As the Winnipeg Jets’ season wound down, a controversy involving one of their players flared up. Interim coach Paul Maurice made star winger Evander Kane a healthy scratch for a game in Toronto – and just like that, harsh words were hauled out to criticize the 22-year-old: he had an attitude; he was arrogant; he wasn’t a good fit with the Jets; he needed to be traded post-haste. If it sounded familiar, that’s because it was. Ever since the franchise relocated to Manitoba from Atlanta, Kane has been a target for critics.
Some of that, he’s earned. When he posed during the 2012-13 lockout in front of the lights of Las Vegas pretending a giant stack of money was his cell phone, fans and media rightfully ripped him for not understanding how it would be perceived.
But put aside the specifics of that situation for a second and answer these questions: Were you ever 21? Did you ever make a mistake at that age? Do you think that, if you were making millions of dollars and existed in a massive public fishbowl at that age, you might make the odd error in judgment?
The answer should be “yes.” That’s why there’s something about the relentless negativity surrounding Kane that doesn’t sit right. I’m not pointing to anyone specific when I say this, but I have to say it: some of the criticism hurled at Kane – as well as teammate Dustin Byfuglien and Canadiens star P.K. Subban – is about his race more than his character. It’s what Kane referred to last year when he told THN’s Ken Campbell “a good portion” of the criticism is racially motivated.
Paul Maurice has agreed to a four-year contract extension to remain head coach of the Winnipeg Jets.
Maurice became the Jets' interim coach on Jan. 12 when he replaced the fired Claude Noel.
Maurice, 47, is coaching his third NHL franchise. He had two stints with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes and also coached the Toronto Maple Leafs for two seasons.
"I'm glad they went somewhere instead of folding. Watching them now, they're exactly the same team. I feel bad for Winnipeg. They thought it was going to be awesome, but they're the same team."
-Lauren Godinez, a fan of the Atlanta Thrashers on the Winnipeg Jets. More from a feature by Geoff Kirbyson of the Winnipeg Free Press on fans in Atlanta still following 'their' team.
Kane was a healthy scratch Saturday night in Toronto but will play tonight against the Wild.
Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane is being sued by a Vancouver man who claims he was assaulted last year, CBC News has confirmed.
In a notice of civil claim filed on March 28 with the B.C. Supreme Court, the man alleges that he was attacked by Kane while heading home from work on Aug. 10, 2013 near the corner of Burrard Street and Barclay Street in Vancouver.
The man claims he suffered a concussion and various injuries to the head, neck, shoulders, back, chest, ribs, left leg and heel as a result of the alleged incident.
The man is seeking unspecified damages as well as compensation for past and future health-care costs and legal costs.
Note, changed the headline from Charges to Lawsuit. I don't claim to be a lawyer and was advised of the proper term.
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has done strong work with his draft-and-develop plan and there is potential as well as burgeoning depth in his organization.
But it’s clear his NHL group isn’t ready and you can argue they may never be. It’s time to push the whole package along a bit and make tomorrow come quicker.
Blake Wheeler is hitting his prime and playing the best hockey of his career.
Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom and Mark Stuart are all in the thick of their careers and at their peak. Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Ondrej Pavelec have been in the league for a number of seasons and are approaching their primes.
Only three members of the current Jets should be considered untouchables and they are Wheeler and rookies Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
If GM Dave Nonis decides to fire Carlyle (perhaps with a little pressure from Tim Leiweke), and he hasn’t played his fire-a-coach card yet, that might give James Reimer a second (third?) life as a Maple Leaf. A new coach coming in could wipe the slate clean. If Carlyle stays, well, then Reimer and his agent will no doubt be looking for a trade out of town.
The irony here is the same landing spot is a possible destination for either Carlyle or Reimer: The ‘Peg.
After a hot start, the Jets under interim coach Paul Maurice have cooled off faster than that one beer you put directly in the freezer. Maurice has won just three of his past 14 games, including Monday’s five-goal collapse in Anaheim. Ted Nolan is looking more and more like the the only guy who’ll get his NHL interim tag lifted this season. The Jets, 22nd in goals allowed, can’t be thrilled with Ondrej Pavelec (.901 save percentage).
more plus additional NHL topics...
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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