Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/19/13 at 07:57 PM ET
Yesterday evening, TSN's Insider Trading segment revealed scoops about Kris Letang's future, the goaltending rumor mill, the Flyers' buy-outs, Rangers contract issues, Valtteri Filppula's contract demands and other juicy tidbits.
This evening's Insider Trading segement, which included James Duthie, Pierre LeBrun, Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie, discussed the following topics:
- McKenzie says that either Joe Sakic's being honest about the Avalanche not wanting to bring partially Denver-raised Seth Jones to Denver, and as such, they're trying to cushion the blow that is bringing Nathan McKinnon or Jonathan Drouin to Denver...Or he's posturing in an attempt to convince the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay Lightning to swap picks. McKenzie doesn't believe that the teams will bite;
- Regarding Kris Letang, LeBrun says that his agent met with Penguins GM Ray Shero, and that the parties will repeatedly meet until common ground is met. Shero doesn't feel that the team needs to trade Letang this summer, should he not be signed to a contract extension, but at the same time, his agent is asking for $7+ million...And LeBrun says that Shero spoke with Predators GM David Poile about the return he was offered for Shea Weber. Dreger believes that a $6.5 million x 8 year contract would keep Letang in Pittsburgh;
- Regarding the shootout, Dreger says that the GM's discussed banning the shootout at length during their meetings because it's hard to determine the direction of the puck and it's hard to determine whether goalies are bumped. The NHLPA may bite on it, but the NHL doesn't like it at all;
- LeBrun would rather see the shootout nixed in favor of 3-on-3 overtime, and McKenzie believes that referees should do a better job of determining whether goalies are interfered with;
- Regarding Jonathan Bernier, LeBrun says that Toronto, NYI, Philadephia, Minnesota and the Florida Panthers are all interested in Bernier, and Bernier stated that Kings GM Dean Lombardi stated that he would do all in his power to make Bernier a starter somewhere during his exit interview;
- Dreger also says that the Vancouver Canucks will neither waive nor buy out Roberto Luongo, and will find a trade partner at the draft;
- Regarding the World Junior Championships being held in Toronto and Montreal in 2015 and 2017--with Toronto holding the medal round in '15 and Montreal holding the medal round in '17--means money, money and more money for Hockey Canada as the event is now awarded to a Canadian team every other season, with Europe getting the "second" year.
Update: LeBrun added his "rumblings" to the mix. Among his tidbits:
These are anxious times for young goalie Jonathan Bernier, who awaits by this phone to find out where possibly he’ll be continuing his NHL career. It’s time for him to go elsewhere and become a No. 1 goalie, something he can’t do with the Los Angeles Kings with star goalie Jonathan Quick in place.
“I’m still part of the L.A. Kings and it’s been a great ride, but I feel really confident and I want to get to the next level to get a real chance to hopefully be a No. 1 somewhere,” Bernier told ESPN.com over the phone Wednesday. “I’m sure the Kings will make the right decision. If I’m staying there, I’m staying there. If not, I’m ready for the challenge.”
GM Chuck Fletcher said Backstrom, 35, has fully recovered from sports hernia surgery. Backstrom was injured minutes before the start of Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks and did not play in the five-game loss.
“We’ve had some conversations with his representation, and had a good meeting with Niklas before he went back to Finland," Fletcher told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "I think clearly he would like to come to back to Minnesota. We certainly would like to have him back. So the will is there from both parties. Now we just have to find a way, with respect to term and the cap and how do we manage all of that."
The agent for Kris Letang and Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero met Wednesday before the NHL’s GMs meeting, but a resolution is far from certain at this point.
“We’ve agreed to have further talks,” agent Kent Hughes told ESPN.com after the meeting. “Not going to say more at this time.”
Colorado Avalanche might not pick Seth Jones with the first overall pick, one wonders what kind of impact that may have on other teams drafting behind the Avs. The Tampa Bay Lightning, for example, are drafting third overall, and clearly their No. 1 need is a defenseman. However, GM Steve Yzerman says he doesn’t believe drafting on need only.
“We believe in taking the best player available,” Yzerman said after the GMs meeting. “That’s been our philosophy. Your needs change from year to year. When these kids are available to play, your needs may be entirely different for various reasons. So that’s a rule of thumb we’ve had.”
NHL executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell says GMs also agree to implement a two-minute penalty for fighters who remove their helmets before a fight. So it would be a five-minute penalty for fighting, plus two more minutes for the helmet violation. The new penalty is pending Board of Governors approval.
LeBrun continues at length.
Update #2: TSN finally posted a transcript. Amongst the comments:
Is the NHL actually close to banning the spin-o-rama in the shootout?
Dreger: They talked about it at length on Wednesday. The reasoning behind it is that it's hard on the officials to truly determine the direction of the puck and if it's moving forward and is there contact with the goaltender. It is going to require ongoing dialog over the course of the summer and there is some expectation that there'll be pushback from the players. To quote Bill Daily, "this may not be the hill that the NHL is willing to die on."
LeBrun: It drives me crazy. The shootout as it is is a bit of a joke. I mean, it's a skill event and it's not part of a real hockey game. If you're going to have a shootout, the players can do what they want as far as I'm concerned. My own preference; cancel the whole thing and go to three-on-three overtime. And I know I have a bunch of general managers on my side on that one.
McKenzie: They shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. Spin-o-rama moves are okay as long as the goaltender is not interfered with. I would put the onus on the referees; there are two refs and two linemen on the ice to be able to determine if a goaltender is being interfered with. As for whether or not the puck moves forward, I think they can figure that out.
Which teams are serious about LA Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier, and what are you hearing about Roberto Luongo?
LeBrun: Five teams we believe are in the mix. Bob alluding to three of them on Tuesday; the Maple Leafs, Islanders and Flyers, but today we also learned that the Stars and Panthers are also in the mix. I spoke with Bernier today and he didn't know a whole lot about what's going on on the trade front but he said he's excited. General manager Dean Lombardi promised him at his exit meeting that he would do everything that he can to give him a shot to go and be a number one goalie elsewhere and that's what Bernier wants.
Dreger: The sense is that the Vancouver Canucks are not going to buy out or waive Roberto Luongo. They're confident that they'll have a trade partner for Luongo at the draft.
Why are the World Juniors going to Toronto and Montreal in back-to-back years?
McKenzie: They obviously want to go to big markets, but what's most interesting is that they're going to share it. In 2015, in will be Toronto at the Air Canada Centre that gets the medal games while the Bell Centre in Montreal will have the preliminary games. In 2017 it will flip around and Montreal will be home to the medal rounds. Obviously, the two biggest cities in Canada and two arenas that they can charge a lot of money and generate a lot of interest.
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