Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 09/30/13 at 04:04 PM ET
ESPN's Scott Burnside's relieving Pierre LeBrun in the "rumblings" department today, offering "ramblings" instead. Among them:
Like most people, we’re fascinated to see how the Daniel Alfredsson experiment turns out in Detroit. But the one thing that we still can’t get over is that the NHL decided not to act on Alfredsson’s blunt acknowledgement that his previous contract with the Ottawa Senators was, in fact, a blatant attempt to circumvent the salary cap under the previous collective bargaining agreement. Alfredsson told reporters before training camp that when the four-year deal was signed neither side expected Alfredsson would play in the contract’s final year -- worth only $1 million in real money even though the cap hit was $4.875 million annually. It was exactly that kind of wink, wink, nudge, nudge deal that the league had been warning teams about for years -- Alfredsson made $7 million in each of the first two years of the pact -- and which ultimately cost the New Jersey Devils mightily in their first attempt at a contract for the erstwhile Ilya Kovalchuk. The so-called cheat deals were, in theory, eliminated by new parameters put on contracts in the new collective bargaining agreement and the league’s position is that they are going to look forward instead of back. Good news for the Senators, but maybe in the spirit of CBA détente, the league should forgive the Devils the first round draft pick they must forfeit next spring for having done no worse than what Alfredsson admitted the Senators did in his case.
I'm curious as to why the Flames aren't being dinged for allowing Miikka Kiprusoff to retire early, too, but that's just me...
Love the idea of Andrew Ference wearing the captain’s ‘C’ in Edmonton. Lots of options for head coach Dallas Eakins, but Ference has the right temperament for what promises to be a demanding job. Yes, Taylor Hall may yet be the Oilers’ captain of the future, but Ference comes from a culture of winning in Boston and before that in Calgary when winning was something the Flames actually did. He’s won a Cup and been to two Stanley Cup finals. He’s smart, thinks the game well and interacts well with the public and the media. When we spoke to Eakins during training camp, he talked about the variety of skill sets that Ference brings to an Oilers' table that has not seen a taste of the playoffs since 2006, and he was speaking as much about the off-ice skill set as the on-ice toughness and ability to move the puck.
Is it just us or does this year’s version of the Florida Panthers bear a striking resemblance to the one that two years ago went from a rag-tag bunch of summer signings to an unexpected Southeast Division title? We didn’t have the gumption to pick the Panthers to be that kind of team this season, but with new ownership taking control last week, GM Dale Tallon has locked up former Vezina Trophy winner and playoff MVP Tim Thomas to a one-year deal, while adding useful players Brad Boyes and Tom Gilbert -- both of whom were on tryouts -- to one-year deals. Boyes played top-line minutes with the New York Islanders last year, and Gilbert will add some depth to a blue line that is still very much in transition with Erik Gudbranson hoping to evolve into a franchise blueliner. Now, lots can go wrong, but it’s interesting that two summers ago when Tallon brought in a bevy of newcomers, including Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Fleischmann and Sean Bergenheim, few people gave head coach Kevin Dineen a chance to make it work then. With an emerging Erik Gudbranson, defending rookie of the year Jonathan Huberdeau and Barkov, there is an intriguing blend of the young and the discarded.
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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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