Kukla's Korner Hockey
Andreas Lilja must feel pretty good about himself today. Between Danny Markov’s inevitable departure and the fact that there’s no real serviceable “defensive defenceman” who fits the Wings’ M.O. not named Vitaly Vishnevski, and his superb playoff performance in the absence of his now-departed teammate Mathieu Schneider, the Red Wings’ lone “big man” on defence is much more likely to take a regular shift each and every night this fall. His struggle to accept playing on an occasional basis last season paid off.
By the time he skidaddled from his exit meetings, Jiri Hudler at least partially understood that the crazy man who made him pay his “playoff dues” wasn’t doing so personally, and that same crazy man who rides his performances actually wants Huds to become a full-time NHL’er, and a good one at that.
Chris Chelios still can’t stand the man at times, but the old warhorse has made his peace with the way things work in Detroit now, and he, too, knows that his playoff performance means more minutes during the regular season, and another year of mentoring Brett Lebda, Nik Kronwall, Derek Meech, and Kyle Quincey.
from Philly Burbs,
Completing a whirlwind of action in roster realignment yesterday, the Flyers managed to land free-agent center Daniel Briere, late of the Buffalo Sabres, with an eight-year, $52 million contract that will pay a whopping $10 million next season.
Just a few months removed from finishing dead last in the NHL for the first time in franchise history, the Flyers have now secured arguably the top defenseman — Kimmo Timonen (in a June 18 trade) — and the most heralded forward on the open market.
There wasn’t confetti and champagne at the Skate Zone last night but there were plenty of smiles.
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Few people expected the Penguins to give a $24 million contract to a defenseman on the first day of free agency.
They were wrong.
“Obviously for me, it’s unbelievable,” Whitney said. “For six years, it’s fair to them, too. With the other guys they’ll have to sign [in coming years], I don’t think I screwed them over.”
At the very least, Whitney left management enough money to sign free-agent goalie Dany Sabourin to a two-year deal worth $1.025 million.
more on the Pens…
from the Rocky Mountain News,
Acquiring Smyth, 31, is another huge catch for the Avalanche, which has the option of putting him on what could be a potent line with captain Joe Sakic and Andrew Brunette.
“We feel we’ve really upgraded the team,” Giguere said. “We finished the year with two (regulation) losses in the last 19 games, so we felt that when the season ended, we were one of the top teams. With these two guys, we feel we’re a team that’s going to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
All of a sudden, it seems just like old times for the Avalanche, which made a habit of bringing in marquee names through trades before the post-lockout collective bargaining agreement and salary-cap system came into play.
A less than expected decline in June.
On a sidenote, KK received over 825,000 page views yesterday, so July is off to a very good start.
We also achieved a new record yesterday when 1276 people were visiting KK at one time.
To see previous month stats, start here.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Now that the Bruins have acquired G Manny Fernandez from the Wild, it’s doubtful Emery will get a Group II offer sheet. However, Emery’s agent, J.P. Barry, said yesterday he will file for arbitration by the July 5 deadline. “I know that (Murray) wanted to get through free agency and then he said we’d sit down to discuss a new deal. I look forward to having those discussions,” said Barry.
more on the Sens including UFAs they are targeting…
from the Tennessean,
The question now for the Predators — as the unrestricted free-agency period enters its second day — is whether players outside the organization will be willing to take a leap of faith as well.
Predators Coach Barry Trotz said he doesn’t think it’s so far-fetched to think some free agents would sign a multi-year deal here despite the uncertainty of the future.
“If you look at not the business part, but the hockey part, we are very appealing to a lot of free agents,’’ Trotz said. “We have a great city in terms of where to live; we have a great hockey team; and there are a lot of things we do right here.’‘
NHL.com lists the RFAs and UFAs that are still available as of this morning.
Although it seemed like just about everyone was signed yesterday, that is not the case.
Note the list- you will see the RFAs first, then the UFAs…
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
The buzzwords at the start of the annual free-agent rodeo weren’t necessarily “how much” but “how long.”
Although it’s true GMs continue to spend in a fashion very reminiscent of drunken pre-lockout spending orgies, the real twist on the free-agent game this summer is the term top-end players are commanding before they’ll sign on the dotted line.
In recent days, Philadelphia signed Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell to six-year deals, but that was just a precursor to the big deals of the free-agent season that began at noon ET on Sunday as the Flyers signed Daniel
“Nuts,” one agent said of the term. “That’s why the CBA is so good for top-end players.”
from E.J Hradek at ESPN,
If you hockey fans were looking for some wild spending, reminiscent of the good ol’ pre-lockout days, the opening day of free agency didn’t disappoint.
The big market teams, flush with an extra $6 million in cap space due to the new upper limit, were rockin’ and rollin’ on the first day of July. The Rangers, Flyers, Avalanche, Wings and Maple Leafs, as well as the champion Ducks, all made big-money pickups.
On the first day of free agency, fans around the league were either very happy (Rangers fans) or very sad (Sabres fans). It all depended on who you signed or who you lost. Happy or sad, fans should remember they don’t award the Cup in July. Or, at least, they don’t do that just yet.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org