Kukla's Korner Hockey
by pcoffey on 06/13/11 at 11:54 AM ET
So what happens when a player makes an interesting analysis like Roberto Luongo did the other day? He gets ripped in the media. Talk about biting the hand that is attempting to feed you! When Luongo said the lone goal in Game 5 “would have been an easy save for me,” he was talking about the difference in goaltending styles between he and the Bruins’ Tim Thomas. He wasn’t criticizing the Boston goalie.
Luongo plays close to his net. Thomas isn’t afraid to come out of the net to make a play. In Game 5, being out of the net hurt Thomas on Max Lapierre’s goal. That was pretty evident, right?
“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,” Luongo said. “It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does that’s going to happen.”
But forget analysis, the media onus was on making a mountain out of a mole hill, creating bad blood in a series that already has had plenty.
Keep playing it that way and the media won’t be able to complain if notebooks once again are filled with “just trying to work hard.”
And by the way, the whole “Thelma and Louise” thing that Mike Milbury has hung on Daniel and Henrik Sedin is dopey too.
Bet on Bryz—Chuck Gormley of the Camden Courier-Post has done a great job breaking down the off-season scenarios for the Philadelphia Flyers and who might be on the move this summer.
From this corner, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Ilya Bryzgalov doesn’t end up as the Flyers’ top goalie in 2011-12. Clearly, the Flyers need to stabilize their goaltending and have figured, correctly in my opinion, that Bryzgalov is the answer.
Credit GM Paul Holmgren with stepping up to get a true No. 1 goalie in place for a team that already possesses a lot of attractive pieces. No matter what politically correct comments were made after the season, Holmgren knows only too well that his team cannot have questions in goal next season and simply could not withstand the case of musical goalies we saw in the playoffs. Bryzgalov is the best goalie on the open market this summer and you get the felling that swapping a pick and a player for Bryzgalov’s rights sends a clear signal that Holmgren is going to make this work.
Remember, Bryzgalov is only 30 and should give the Flyers five solid season in net. If he can mentor a young goalie along the way, all the better.
Of course that pesky salary cap will mean other changes in Philadelphia in order to accommodate the contract Bryzgalov would sign. But again, Holmgren has proven to be a GM who isn’t afraid to make moves. He took the same tact a couple years back in buying time to talk to Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell before they hit the free-agent market and it worked. Dealing for Dan Hamhuis’ rights last summer didn’t work, but Holmgren still made the move.
And keep in mind another factor, the Flyers are a team built to win now. Chris Pronger isn’t going to be around forever, and Philadelphia needs to maximize its roster to take advantage of his presence.
Buyout fever?—Veteran Chris Drury is going to be on the market according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post as the Rangers plan to buy out the last year of his contract. Not a real surprise here, since injuries have significantly limited Drury’s effectiveness. Still, sad to see since Drury had rightly earned a reputation as a clutch player during a distinguished career.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see another team take a chance on Drury, but his best days are behind him.
Keep an eye on the buy-out news this summer as teams may look to shed some “bad” contracts. Wow, sounds like we’re talking about the NBA.
Dance partners?—Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch figures the Blue Jackets and Flyers could help solve one another’s problems and he makes a compelling case for a trade that would bring Jeff Carter to Columbus for Jakobv Voracek and the eighth pick in the 2011 draft.
All things being equal, the Flyers don’t want to deal Carter, but there is that damn salary cap again. Add Bryzgalov and changes are coming. Carter’s rich, long-term deal would open up a fair chunk of change to get the goalie signed. Losing Carter’s contract wouldn’t likely be the only move Philly would need to add Bryzgalov, but it’s a start. And the return is decent in Voracek, a young, still inconsistent forward, and a top pick.
Let’s face it, the Blue Jackets need to make a splash. Off-season changes to the scouting staff and front office aren’t going to put any more fannies in the seats and the news that vets Ethan Moreau, Chris Clark and Craig Rivet aren’t coming back isn’t going to excite the fan base.
Adding Carter would be a concrete move that Columbus is looking to get better in a hurry. The Blue Jackets can’t keep selling the idea of Rick Nash and these other guys anymore. Columbus has to make some noise in 2011-12 and adding Carter, despite a hefty, long-term deal, is a chance to create some badly needed buzz.
Arbitration for Parise?—My old pal Tom Gulitti at the Bergen Record had an interesting take on the lack of contract talks between the New Jersey Devils and Zach Parise.
Gulitti reports it is looking increasingly likely that the Devils will opt for team-elected arbitration with Parise, an impending restricted free agent. Despite missing most of last season with a knee injury, Parise remains one of the NHL’s top players and a big target for an offer sheet. By opting for arbitration, the Devils would prevent Parise from receiving offer sheets if he remains unsigned on July 1.
That’s all well and good. Devils fans would be irate to see Parise poached by another team, but what’s curious is there hasn’t been much talk, if any, between the parties on a long-term deal. New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello would never discuss contract talks in the media, but Parise has told reporters that nothing is going on. Perhaps Lamoriello is waiting to see what the official salary cap numbers will be for next season before moving ahead. Or the lack of progress could be a byproduct of two minority owners looking to sell their stake in the club. But any way you slice it, the lack of movement on a player like Parise is curious.
“We talked about that with my agents,” Parise told Gulitti. “I guess you kind of have to look at it as a player has rights, the team has rights. If that’s what they want to do, that’s what they want to do. Is it a big deal? No. I guess we’ll see if it happens.”
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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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