Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The question posed to Dustin Byfuglien at Friday’s All-Star media availability was a simple one, if not obvious.
Assuming that the dollars and term are equal around the NHL, is his preference to remain in Winnipeg?
Byfuglien’s answer did not exactly sound like a ringing endorsement.
“I just want to put on a jersey, to be honest with you,” Byfuglien said. “I don’t mind Winnipeg at all. It’s close to home for me - it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to play by home. There’s so many good things that I like about Winnipeg. I can do my outdoor stuff that I love to do.
“I have no problem being up there.”
Byfuglien’s laid-back style can sometimes cloud his intended impact, and it’s dangerous to read too much into one quote. But saying “I have no problem being up there” is different than “I want to be there.”
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The trade deadline is 35 days away. Crunch time is coming for a bunch of teams but here's a look at five GMs with big decisions to make over the next few weeks.
1. Kevin Cheveldayoff, Winnipeg Jets
It's not entirely surprising that the Jets, who made the playoffs last season, regressed this season given that they play in the loaded Central Division. Try explaining that to the passionate fans in Winnipeg, a fan base that's not happy. Which only adds to the pressure in that fishbowl of a market when it comes to the looming decisions on captain Andrew Ladd and top defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, both pending unrestricted free agents with limited no-trade clauses.
Trade them or sign them before Feb. 29? Or keep them for a playoff push and let them walk? The latter seems like a no-go for a budget team that can't easily attract July 1 UFAs to Winnipeg. You need to turn assets into more assets if you're the Jets, unless of course you can sign the player(s). Seems to me the most prudent course of action here is to sign one of them and trade the other. Again, easier said than done on the signing side of things.
2. Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay Lightning
from Gary Lawless of TSN,
Talks with Ladd’s agents have broken off. In the meantime, Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was recently seen huddling with defenceman Dustin Byfuglien’s representative.
Winnipeg has chosen Buff ahead of Ladd. It’s a reversal in direction that must have surprised the captain and his teammates.
This dressing room responds to its leader. When Ladd is right and pushing, the team has pace and a pulse. Now that he’s left hanging, the situation has become intolerable and needs to be solved.
Keeping Ladd is an unlikely proposition unless the player’s demands change dramatically. Ladd is after a six-year contract with an average annual value north of $6 million. That’s not going to happen in Winnipeg.
So it’s time to trade Ladd and make the most of what has disintegrated into a mess.
Emily Sadler of Sportsnet in the nightly NHL recap put up a poll asking if Tyler Myers should be suspended for this cross-check on Tommy Wingels.
At this point, 76% believe he should be.
What do you think?
Blake Wheeler vented his frustrations after a crushing loss to the Sharks, calling out Alex Stalock for a bad play outside of the crease.
Wheeler received two for tripping and the Jets lost to the Sharks 4-1.
Now watch the play below...
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
... the lingering uncertainty of soon-to-be-free-agents Dustin Byfuglien and captain Andrew Ladd certainly hangs over this team, along with the larger question of whether the Jets are ever going to try and compete more aggressively by becoming a cap team and thus rewarding those who pack their rink every game.
We can talk about how the Jets take more penalties than most teams, and give up more power plays than anyone else. They give up more goals per game than they score and have anemic special teams and are, generally, much better at home than on the road.
Blake Wheeler plays like an elite forward most nights, and Drew Stafford has been very good after giving the Jets organization a shot in the arm by choosing to re-sign in Winnipeg last summer after coming over as part of the Evander Kane trade.
But at the end of the day, you have to ask: Do the Jets, with $11.5 million of unused cap space, have the talent to match up with the real contenders in the NHL?
The answer is no, at least not right now. And if Ladd and Byfuglien both leave, it’s hard to see any time soon when the Jets will be able to say they’ve got the talent to really challenge.
more plus other topics of interest...
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Kane wanted out of Winnipeg last season and got his wish, leaving lots of bad feelings behind even though the pieces acquired for Kane and rearguard Zach Bogosian in the Feb. 11 trade by Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff – notably winger Drew Stafford and defenceman Tyler Myers – helped fuel Winnipeg’s charge to the post-season.
Kane scored 30 goals one season in a Jets uniform, but eventually he didn’t see Winnipeg as the place he wanted to be around the same time the hockey club decided it needed to move on. So what does he expect when he returns to play in a Buffalo Sabres uniform on Sunday?
“It was my first time being traded, so it will be a new experience for me going back and playing against a team I used to play for. It will be interesting and, uh, entertaining,” he said with a smile.
“I’ll probably be just as entertained as everyone else. I just have to wait to see what the entertainment is going to be. But I know there’s going to be a hockey game and I’ll be participating in that.”
True enough, and one between a Jets team that expected to be much further ahead of Buffalo in the standings than it is right now.
But there could well be a cringe factor, too, depending on how upset Winnipeg fans remain from Kane’s exit, how personally these Manitobans took this episode in their beloved team’s history.
NEW YORK (Jan. 7, 2016) – New Jersey Devils forward Bobby Farnham has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.
Farnham was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 307 at Vancouver on Nov. 22. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident at 14:13 of the second period during NHL Game No. 553 at Ottawa on Dec. 30. Farnham was assessed a minor penalty for embellishment on the play.
NEW YORK (Jan. 7, 2016) – Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.
Ehlers was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 299 against Arizona on Nov. 21. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident at 5:53 of the second period during NHL Game No. 547 against Detroit on Dec. 29.
added 1:10pm, Watch both plays below...
Dan Rosen of NHL.com answers some questions from the fans....
What is the expected return for Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd, and would any teams want both if the Jets take back or retain salary?
Venturing a guess here that the return for those players is more in the form of draft picks and prospects than it is in actual NHL players. I guess it's possible that the Jets would be able to make a player-for-player trade, but that's unlikely when it comes to players who would essentially be rentals for the team they go to. They are playing on contracts that expire at the end of the season, making them unrestricted free agents on July 1. I would think that the Jets would want to continue to try to negotiate with one or both, exhaust all options before looking at the trade market. That's what they should be doing, at least.
As for a team wanting both, why wouldn't they? Ladd is an experienced leader, a 200-foot player who can score and play in all situations. Byfuglien is a weapon on the back end who can play forward too. His versatility, size and shot makes him a prize for any team that gets him. The Jets would be silly not to retain some salary on them if it means their return is better. These are expiring contracts. The cap hit won't matter beyond the end of this season. But I'm also not sure that would ever happen.
more Q & A...
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
Don't look now, but that mole hill is slowly morphing into a mountain for the Winnipeg Jets.
By dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, the Jets fell two games below the .500 mark for the first time this season.
And their timing couldn't be worse.
With a record of 15-17-2 going into a three-day Christmas break, it's still too early to suggest that the Jets are on life support.
But they better start looking for the paddles, because they're currently trailing the Nashville Predators by eight points in the chase for the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference standings.
Watch the game highlights below...
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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