Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
Some might call it a bold move for Evander Kane.
As it stands right now, the Winnipeg Jets winger is planning to wear the No. 9 made famous by The Golden Jet, Bobby Hull — provided he can get his permission.
“It’s almost like asking a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage,” Kane told The Vancouver Province. “I’ve read somewhere on Twitter that he had done an interview and said that he wanted me to wear it proudly. I don’t know if that’s true or not. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to speak to him soon. If he doesn’t have an issue with me wearing it, I’ll do my best on and off to live up to wearing that number. If I have to change, I’ll change.”
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
In the 1980s we had Dale Hawerchuk.
The 1990s gave us Teemu Selanne.
Even back in the ’70s, Winnipeg had one of the biggest stars in all of hockey, Bobby Hull.
Household names, all of them, known not just here, but around the NHL.
It appears the new, reborn Winnipeg Jets, though, will have no such superstar, nobody to challenge the league’s top scorers, as Ducky, the Finnish Flash and the Golden Jet did in their time.
Give or take a soft pair of hands here, a deft touch with the puck there, the 2011-12 edition figures to be more blue-collar than big-name. Starting with its captain, Andrew Ladd, whose team-leading 59 points ranked just 50th in NHL scoring last season.
The Winnipeg Jets were busy on Monday signing seven players including right-winger Blake Wheeler to new contract. Wheeler signed a two-year deal worth $5.1 million total.
TSN also notes six other players were signed by the Jets today.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
Could the Winnipeg Jets be turning to Mike Keane to round out their coaching staff?
With news that Ray Edwards has declined the opportunity to be an assistant under Claude Noel, there’s still at least one opening on the staff and multiple sources told The Sun on Wednesday that Keane is interested in getting behind the bench for his hometown team.
Prior to having his jersey retired by the Manitoba Moose in February, Keane hinted he was open to getting into coaching should the right opportunity arise and former Montreal Canadiens bench boss Jacques Demers believes Keane would be a natural.
From Scott Burnside at ESPN:
Despite Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold’s assertions to a local radio station earlier this week that the realignment question has been all squared away and the Winnipeg Jets would join the Minnesota Wild in a new Central Division, the relocation issue is far from being resolved.
An NHL source told ESPN.com on Wednesday it was premature to suggest any decisions have been made on how the NHL will look a year from now. Multiple sources have also told us the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg will give the NHL an opportunity to rethink its entire structure, so the realignment question will not be resolved until all parties have had their say.
continued… plus discussion on various other topics
More discussion on the issue of NHL divisions was also posted earlier today.
From Dan Steinberg at DC Sports Blog:
“It was actually a shock to me,” he told Toronto’s 590 The Fan on Tuesday. “I didn’t really know I was really being shopped around or anything like that. I just got a call from the Caps GM George McPhee, one day, and he told me I had been dealt, and he told me I’d been dealt to Winnipeg.
“Obviously I was sad when I heard I was being traded — I have a lot of friends in Washington and I’ve been there a lot of years and I really enjoyed my time there. But when he said Winnipeg ,that made it feel better pretty quick. This was just something that I think they ran out of room under the salary cap in Washington, and then some players were gonna get squeezed out and I was one of them. It’s not like I was specifically saying I wanted to come to Winnipeg or whether I wanted to be moved at all. It was just something that they felt needed to be done, and it ended up working out for me.”
Eric Fehr, who scored 43 goals over the past three seasons for the Washington Capitals despite playing mostly on the third and fourth lines, was traded to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday for minor-league forward Danick Paquette and a fourth-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft.
The trade is conditional on Fehr—who was born in Manitoba and continues to make a home there during the offseason—passing a physical with Winnipeg by 5 p.m. ET on Monday.
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News:
I wonder if in all the excitement of a “clean slate” and “starting over,” the folks at True North Sports threw out too many Thrashers with the bath water. The franchise had a respected veteran NHL GM in Rick Dudley and a coach to match in Craig Ramsay. They were replaced by a team with far less elite experience. Save for two years as the assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s resume is all AHL, as is his assistant GM’s, Craig Heisinger. Their choice for the Jets’ first bench boss was Claude Noel, whose only NHL head coaching experience came in 2009-10 as the interim bench boss in Columbus for 24 games.
Now it is true that simply recycling old talent is no guarantee of success, but it’s a bold move handing an NHL team over to an entirely AHL crew.
With all the best free agents already picked off, Winnipeg has yet to sign a signature player. The team has approximately $43 million committed to 20 players next year, meaning the Jets must spend $5 million more just to get to the salary cap floor. Re-signing restricted free agents Blake Wheeler and Zach Bogosian will get them there, but was this team moved across the continent to be a cap floor franchise?
from Leon Stafford and Dan Chapman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Kennesaw State University associate professor and sports economist J.C. Bradbury said the decision wasn’t a shock, given the circumstances.
“Hockey is a northern sport,” he said. “It’s hot down there. I don’t think anyone is surprised hockey had trouble, especially because the team has not been great and the ownership situation is not popular with fans.”
City hospitality and business leaders tried to keep a stiff upper lip over the loss….
Greg Rancone, director of marketing for Legacy Property Group, said fans packed the company’s restaurants—Stats, Der Biergarten and Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria.
“Hockey fans are very loyal and very consistent,” he said. “We would see the same faces over and over again. And that was over 40 [home] games. That’s pretty formidable.”
Atlanta is losing the Thrashers to a Canadian province that is home to 1.2 million people, or just one-fourth the population of metro Atlanta. Winnipeg, the Cree Indian word for “muddy waters,” boasted an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent in 2010.
“I never got a phone call from the Winnipeg people when they apparently bought the team. None of us did. There are always three choices: ‘We want you; we don’t want you or we really don’t know at this point because we don’t have a general manager in place.’ At least then the communication is open and you’ve spoken to the (new owners) and that didn’t happen. It’s disappointing. I think with 40 years in the business you deserve a call from them to let you know where things stand and where they think they are headed.
“The fact that they dragged it out meant there were jobs that were going by the wayside while we were under the assumption that perhaps Winnipeg was interested in bringing our group along. It was a month or more just sitting by the phone waiting for things to happen while you are under obligation not to talk to other teams because of tampering charges….”
Craig Ramsay on the new ownership in Winnipeg. More from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet.
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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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