Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports,
Think of what the Philadelphia Flyers did this week as getting in on the ground floor of a hot IPO.
With cap room and draft picks to spare after the worst season in franchise history, the Flyers were able to parlay their situation into a major trade, getting two desirable pending free agents and then signing them to long-term contracts before they hit what is expected to be a busy open market.
From CBC, an interruption from the usual…
Rankin Inlet has been abuzz this week with sightings of a celebrity couple — hometown hockey hero Jordin Tootoo and his girlfriend, American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler.
The NHL player has been dating the country singer since January and has brought her home to Nunavut to meet his family.
Most of Pickler’s northern time has been spent at the Tootoo cabin, far from noisy gadgets and her condo in Nashville.
“[There’s] no cellphone service here, so that’s a big plus. No one probably knows what a cellphone is here, do they?” she joked in a CBC interview.
continued… (Alas, young love. Why must it annoy me so?!)
E.J. Hradek at ESPN The Magazine,
In the days leading up to the July 1 opening of the NHL’s free-agent market, clubs will be working frantically to re-sign key personnel.
The Stanley Cup champion Ducks, for one, will do whatever it takes to keep franchise stopper Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the Pond. While nothing is certain, figure Anaheim GM Brian Burke to get his man.
But while Giguere might not hit the market, more than 100 players will. Here are five guys who will get, and deserve, a lot of attention:
And you just know that one or two of these boys is about to get seriously overpaid…
Sources tell TSN that the Florida Panthers and Nathan Horton have agreed to terms on a six-year, $24-million contract.
The 22-year old Horton enjoyed a breakout season last year with 31 goals, 31 assists and a +15 rating while playing in all 82 games.
From Ben Kuzma at The Province,
Patrick Kane is the top-rated prospect for the NHL entry draft, but Vancouver Canucks chief amateur scout Ron Delorme doesn’t see the diminutive OHL sniper as a slam-dunk selection.
“This year’s draft for sure lacks a consensus top pick,” said Delorme. “There’s nobody close to playing in the NHL and James VanRiemsdyk might be the only one because he’s a big kid. But he’s not pro ready and needs a couple of years.
“But I still believe there’s enough depth in this draft to find some quality prospects.”
continued… *Issues being faced in Canuck-land
Update 1:10pm EDT
Jim Matheson at CanWest presents another point of view:
COLUMBUS - So many have said this is a bad draft crop it makes you wonder why NHL teams are bothering to show up for this weekend’s name-calling.
Damien Cox in The Spin,
Tomorrow night in Columbus, the Maple Leafs will acquire a player who will, possibly, join their roster by the 2009-2010 season.
In 10-12 days, however, Leaf fans are sure hoping the club will announce the acquisition of a significant player – or maybe two – that will have a defining impact on the team starting in October.
There’s no question this is John Ferguson’s biggest off-season as GM, one in which he doesn’t have to sign a bagful of unrestricted free agents on July 1st, but one in which he must, through his decisions and player moves, articulate a bold vision for this team beyond waiting for Jiri Tlusty and Justin Pogge to develop.
continued… *the challenges for Toronto, plus this week’s mailbag
From Brian Biggane in the Palm Beach Post,
This weekend could go a long way toward determining the Panthers’ future, particularly in goal, where coach and GM Jacques Martin is expected to pursue a handful of options. One that hasn’t gotten on the radar as yet deserves mention.
Anaheim figures to be in excellent position to defend its first Stanley Cup next season, as long as it can retain its key players. But recent rumors have had Scott Niedermayer mulling retirement; if that happens, it would leave a significant hole in the Ducks’ defense.
Anaheim GM Brian Burke has likely asked Niedermayer for a decision by this weekend so he can address that potential need. And he may find a trading partner in Martin.
continued… (*Salei for Bryzgalov is considered…)
Yesterday, the UHL announced their name change from United Hockey League to the International Hockey League, at the league’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. But what might be even more interesting is some rules changes they’ve made for the coming season, including these on matters of penalties:
- The instigator penalty has been eliminated except during the final five minutes of a game.
- In regards to secondary altercations, players will receive a 10-minute misconduct as opposed to a game misconduct.
- If a dive and hook occur on the same play, only one penalty is to be called. Diving takes precedence over hooking in that situation.
The UHL (IHL) has always been known as a rough and tumble league with teams that focused on entertainment as much as winning and it’s interesting to note that their attendance numbers have suffered as fighting was reduced in recent seasons, having adopted the NHL’s new standards. So do these rules changes indicate an interest in turning back the clock? It would seem so.
But while the NHL might not be in a hurry to return to the same standards, they might consider that adjustment to the hook/dive penalty call. I’m guessing a whole LOT of hockey fans would like to see that standard in the NHL.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that he has named Claude Julien the 28th Head Coach in Boston Bruins history.
Julien, a 47 year-old native of Kanata, Ontario, will be formally introduced to the Boston media today at a 10:30 a.m. ET press conference to be held at the TD Banknorth Garden.
Julien has four years of National Hockey League (NHL) head coaching experience and most recently served as the Head Coach of the New Jersey Devils.
Seems almost anti-climactic. The Worst. Kept. Secret. Ever!
From Scott Morrison via Welland Tribune,
So this is the so-called off season?
Hardly. In the past week ...
- A general manager who got his team three wins away from winning the Stanley Cup gets fired.
- A coach who was told two months ago he would be back next season gets fired.
- Deposits on tickets for a franchise that doesn’t exist go through the roof.
- The future of a franchise remains in limbo while a quiet cold war between the prospective owner and the NHL builds and the team loses two of its best young players.
- A coach who had 43 wins last season gets demoted to assistant coach, his replacement a surprise but quality choice.
And so it goes ... where to begin?
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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