Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers in the Columbus Dispatch:
David Poile is the NHL’s quiet genius.
Last summer, when the Nashville Predators were being purged in advance of a franchise sale and possible relocation, Poile, the general manager, was forced to orchestrate nothing short of a fire sale.
It was the most painful time in his professional career, parting with lots of players he either drafted (Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent) or signed as little-known free agents (Tomas Vokoun, Kimmo Timonen, etc.).
Poile, though, emerged with enough building blocks in place to carry on. He made smart trades and got commodities in return. He signed bargain-basement free agents to fill out the roster, and he continued to stress drafting and development.
Note: For more of Portzline’s off-season team breakdowns, check this KK post for numerous links
Update 7:45pm ET: More on Nashville and payroll issues at the Tennessean.
I just want to reassure everyone who’s written and wondered where Paul Kukla is that he will be back soon but can’t promise exactly when.
Most likely his presence will be on-and-off over the coming days, as he’s recovering slowly from some health problems. Nothing to worry about, but the symptoms make it impossible to work most of the time. (And if you’ve sent him an email and are awaiting a reply, please have patience—he’s limited in that regard for the moment as well.)
From Ansar Khan at MLive:
Wings general manager Ken Holland revealed that Johan Franzen had a subdural hematoma. It’s a form of brain injury in which blood gathers between the dura (the outer protective covering of the brain) and the arachnoid (the middle layer of the meninges). It usually results from tears in a vein. They had to wait for the blood to dissipate before clearing Franzen to play again. There is no long-term concerns. He should be fine, Holland said.
and more including updates on Chelios and McCarty
Note: Wiki’s contribution on the subject of subdural hematomas
Update 11:23am ET, June 8th: From the AP via MLive:
The Detroit Red Wings’ Johan Franzen says it was “a little bit scary” when he sustained a subdural hematoma that kept him out of six games of the NHL playoffs. He says blood pooled between his skull and brain and took two to three weeks to be absorbed.
General manager Ken Holland tells the Detroit Free Press he thinks Franzen was injured during the second-round series against Colorado.
*with thanks to a KK reader for the pointer.
Note: original post-time was 7:49pm ET, June 7th.
From Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Hockey News projects that four of the first six picks will be defensemen, which hasn’t happened since the 1982 entry draft.
In fact, no more than three defensemen have been taken among the top 10 picks in the last 10 drafts.
“This is the finest crop in the history of the draft,” said Grant McCagg, who covers the draft year-round for McKeen’s Hockey, an online news service.
“And it comes at the right time for a lot of clubs, too. There is a real shortage in the league right now when it comes to defensemen who can carry the puck. Lots of teams are looking for one or two of those guys. That makes this even more attractive.”
*Related article previously on KK
From Terry Frei at the Denver Post,
It’s impossible to dispute [Gary Bettman’s] “new” point — that with teams chartering and with fuel costs so high, anything that lessens travel makes economic sense. That still comes off like reaching for a rationalization after the fact, rather than considering all the evidence and making a decision.
But if that’s the way it’s going to be, then the NHL should consider altering its playoff system, not just copying the NBA’s 2-3-2 Finals format, but using it in every round.
It was less important this season because of the proximity of Pittsburgh and Detroit, but the 2-2-1-1-1 format in the Finals, and the inability to do much advance planning, has provided excuses for many newspapers to skip sending writers to the league’s championship series.
and more NHL talk
From Brian Biggane at the Palm Beach Post,
Chicago Assistant General Manager Rick Dudley, who served as Panthers GM from 2002-04, said the rules changes adopted after the lockout have made it easier for young players to succeed in the NHL.
“They don’t have to learn how to deal with the clutching and grabbing, the things wily older players developed over the course of time,” Dudley said. “Today’s game is more about speed and skill as opposed to that.”
Dudley is familiar with the group of youngsters in the Florida system and feels they might also put up significant numbers if given the chance.
“Would I be surprised if Matthias and Frolik played significant roles this year in Florida?” he asked. “I would not. We almost made the playoffs with an incredibly young group. Look at what Pittsburgh did with young guys like (Sidney) Crosby, (Evgeni) Malkin and (Marc-Andre) Fleury. Had Pittsburgh run into a clutch-and-grab team they may have had more problems.”
From Larry Brooks at the NY Post,
So, tell me: How can the New York Rangers spend the $4.5-5M it will surely take to land Pittsburgh’s heavy-hitting impending free agent defenseman Brooks Orpik following his breakout tournament, when it likely will cost around the same $5M per to re-sign Michal Rozsival ?
Yes, Rozsival had a disappointing season. But factor in mitigating circumstances - not excuses - that featured a wonky knee, an insecure response to playing out his contract and collateral concern over partner and friend Marek Malik’s downward spiral out of the lineup. Now weigh those against the upside Rozsival displayed the previous two seasons, and most notably in the 2007 playoffs. Is Glen Sather not wiser to pony up for No. 3 rather than get into a bidding war for Orpik . . . if he even hits the market, that is?
Update 1:13pm ET: Patrick Hoffman at The Hockey News has more on Rangers off-season issues, with a focus on Sean Avery.
From George Sipple at the Free Press,
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland will be on the golf links soon, but he has some business to take care of the next few days. Holland hopes to meet with goaltender Dominik Hasek and forward Dallas Drake to gauge their interest in returning next season before he leaves for Thursday’s NHL awards show in Toronto.
Holland also will talk with defenseman Chris Chelios, who needs to have his injured knee scoped in the off-season.
“I have every intention of coming back,” Chelios said. “It’s never been a money issue, so we’ll figure it out and hopefully we’ll be back in this stall again.”
From Kent Youngblood at the Star-Tribune,
Winger Branko Radivojevic, who spent the past two seasons with the Wild, has signed a two-year deal to play with Spartak in the Russian Premiere League.
Radivojevic came to the Wild from Philadelphia as a free agent before the 2006-07 season. In two seasons in Minnesota he totaled 18 goals and 41 points, becoming one of the team’s most reliable checking forwards.
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Tribune-Review Penguins beat reporter Rob Rossi offers his Top 10 moments from a memorable 2007-08 Penguins season:
Nov. 22, 2007: Their season possibly on the brink of disarray, the Penguins rallied from 2-0 deficit in Ottawa to defeat the Senators, 6-5, in a shootout. It was a most pleasant Thanksgiving, even though they spent it in Canada, where the holiday is celebrated a month earlier. The Penguins, hyped as Stanley Cup contenders in the preseason, entered this game with an 8-11-2 record. They went 39-16-5 after this win in Ottawa, which players credited as a turning point.
read on for the rest of top-10
And more from Rob Rossi, assessing the impact of this post-season on next year.
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