Kukla's Korner Hockey
Matheson discusses Ray Whitney’s future, Lecavalier as a buyout candidate and shares Bowman thoughts
by George Malik on 05/05/14 at 02:02 AM ET
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson discusses a wide range of topics over the course of three Hockey World articles, pondering the fate of 42-year-old Ray Whitney, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer...
“I’ll be 42 years old and there won’t be a lot of people banging down the doors,” he said.
If it’s not the right location, like a Western Conference team — his family plans on staying in the desert this winter, Whitney might retire. He’ll be in management someday, if he wants to dive it into as Todd Marchant has done in Anaheim, Calif., where he’s head of player development for the Ducks.
“It was not a great year … I’m not sure there are a whole lot of options out there,” Whitney admitted. “The legs are still there, but it’s nearly impossible to get the legs moving when you’re over 40 and playing eight to 10 minutes and only on the power play. After the first 10 games, I was on the second line, but the last three or four months, it was the fourth. They went with youth and they do have some good kids. I can’t deny that.”
Wondering whether the Flyers will buy out Vincent Lecavalier after signing him to a 5-year deal that's become a millstone...
Can Vincent Lecavalier be a buyout victim in Philadelphia? The Tampa Bay Lightning used a compensatory buyout (which doesn’t count against the salary cap). Now, one year into a five-year, $22.5-million package with the Flyers, he’s reduced to playing eight minutes and 45 seconds (10 shifts, only four minutes and change over the last 40 minutes) in the biggest game of the season for Philadelphia — Game 7 vs. the New York Rangers. A fourth-line centre making $6 million this season and next? The Flyers used their two allowed “get-of-jail cards” on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and forward Danny Briere last year.
And, among many other topics, Matheson lets Scotty Bowman do a little of the talking:
Scotty Bowman likes what he sees in slam-dunk Calder Trophy winner as top rookie, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanhce. “He’s fast, but he’s fast with the puck. I don’t see a lot of guys who can control the puck skating that fast,” said Bowman, applauding Patrick Roy for steadfastly saying they had to take MacKinnon, not defenceman Seth Jones in the NHL draft.
Bowman says the best NHL teams have the perfect complement of defencemen. “Three rights and three lefts, like Mike Babcock had at the Olympics. That’s why (Brent) Seabrook and (Duncan) Keith are so good together, a rightie and a leftie. When the Kings won the Stanley Cup, they had three rights and three lefts. It really helps making passes,” said Bowman.
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