Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Boston Herald, What transpires during the first few days - perhaps even the first crazy hours - of the unrestricted free agent market will have an enormous impact on the Bruins. If they hope to return to respectability next season, they must make a successful free agent haul. Many believe the B’s, after the chaos and rancor of last season, might have a difficult time drawing quality free agents. But they have plenty of money to spend, maybe as much as $25 million, depending on which players they announce today they have bought out. That list is expected to include Alexei Zhamnov ($4.1 million), Shawn McEachern ($1.1 million) and perhaps Travis Green ($700,000). read on
from the Edmonton Journal,
Just when you thought it was safe to wash your lucky Oilers jersey and go golfing . -Chris Pronger sends a Dear Edmonton dispatch from Mexico, through his agent. -Note to Pronger: Hell hath no fury like an obsessed fan scorned. Make amends, soon. If you need motivation, go to oilfans.com. It's ugly, man. -When Chris Pronger was traded to Edmonton last summer he was one season away from being a free agent. If Edmonton wasn't to his liking -- or even if he was uncertain -- why sign a five-year contract? Oilers fans want to know. -Journal reader Pat Langner wants us to make Pronger lemonade out of Pronger lemons. "Instead of getting all gloomy over the Pronger situation, we should be celebrating the birth of a brand new, Edmonton-owned and operated, verb," Langner writes. The dictionary would list it this way, says Langner: pronger /prong-er/ v. a sudden, unexplained departure.more
from the Vancouver Sun,
Vancouver Canuck Roberto Luongo, who has never played for the team or a playoff game for anyone, became Thursday the highest-paid goalie in the National Hockey League when he signed a four-year, $27 million US deal that equals the pay scale of Chicago Blackhawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin, whose name alone should induce Chief Insp. Dreyfus-type facial twitching among general managers. "Someone said to me: 'You know why Lou Lamoriello sleeps in New Jersey? Because he has Martin Brodeur,' " Nonis said a few days ago and a few days after acquiring Luongo from the Florida Panthers. "Lou calls Marty at night and asks: 'Everything OK? Good.' Then he goes to sleep because he knows his team is going to be in every game. "I'd like to sleep at night. Roberto Luongo will keep us in every game, and even on nights when we're not as good as we'd like to be, he'll get us points."read on
from the Calgary Sun,
The Calgary Flames may be saying hello to a couple more new faces this summer. It's even more likely they've said their last goodbyes to popular veterans Chris Simon and Shean Donovan. Unless new contracts are signed today, both wingers are set to become unrestricted free agents at 10 p.m. tonight when the NHL free-for-all is slated to begin. Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter is working hard to lock up newcomer Alex Tanguay -- a restricted free agent -- for more than just next season but that's where his current negotiation list ends. "I'm not talking contracts with any of our unrestricted free agents," Sutter said over the phone yesterday from his office at the Saddledome.continued
frrom the Tennessean,
When the NHL's free agency market opens tomorrow, the Predators will have two items on their shopping list: a top-quality center and a back-up goaltender. The goalie should be relatively easy to find, but the center might have to go on back order. This season's free-agent crop appears to be heavy at defense, moderate in net and at wing, and light at center. "Our thoughts are more toward center ice than any other position, but when you scan the list there's not a long list of high-quality center icemen,'' Predators General Manager David Poile said. "So a move like that might come after free agency. It might come via trade, if it does come. Sometimes what you need and what you get doesn't match up.''continued
from the Gazette,
...With the NHL's salary cap raised to $44 million earlier this week, Giguere has $5 million more than his predecessor, Pierre Lacroix, had to work with last year. But Giguere still has plenty of tough decisions to make. With the free-agent season opening Saturday, Colorado already has approximately $27.5 million committed to 13 players under contract for the 2006-07 season. And due to a pair of $2.3 million bonuses to Sakic and defenseman Rob Blake that will count against the cap next season, the Avalanche has only about $12 million with which to fill out its roster. Among the decisions facing Giguere: Can he — and should he — re-sign Blake, an unrestricted free agent? How many of the team's other 11 free agents should he sign? What free agents from other teams should he attempt to bring to Denver? And should he attempt to buy out the contracts of under-achieving players?
Mike Lange, longtime voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, has been let go after 30 years of working as the team's play-by-play announcer. He will be replaced by radio play-by-play man Paul Steigerwald. Lange was worked for the Penguins hockey radio and television network since 1975. In 2001, he received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his outstanding work as a broadcaster.added 6:32pm, from Pittsburgh Live,
Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh has decided not to renew the contract of legendary Penguins television play-by-play man Mike Lange. Lange, who recently completed his 30th season on the air with the Penguins, will be replaced by radio play-by-play man Paul Steigerwald. Lange was offered the radio job by Penguins president Ken Sawyer this morning, according to Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan, and he is taking some time before making his decision.
from the AP via the Examiner,
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen had surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat this week, his agent said Thursday. Don Baizley also said Numminen is in negotiations to re-sign with the team. Numminen had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday and is currently traveling to his native Finland after being cleared by doctors the following day, Baizley said.continued
from the CP via Canada.com,
John Brophy is beating the bushes for players. "Anybody who wants to play hockey for me, let me know," he says from his Richmond Renegades office in Virginia. Head coach Brophy, 73, is busy recruiting for the new entry in the eight-team Southern Professional Hockey League. He has returned to the pro ranks after a four-year hiatus, which included a three-month stint in 2004-2005 coaching a junior team in Antigonish in his home province of Nova Scotia. Life is good. "It's treating me great," he says.continued...and regular KK readers may remember this was brought up about 3 months ago...
from the Star-Telegram,
The Bill Guerin era in Dallas is officially over. As expected, the Stars will choose to buy out the $6.7 million contract of their highest-paid player by Friday’s deadline. Guerin said the team placed him on 24-hour waivers early Thursday, setting the buyout in motion. “It’s not a surprise,” Guerin said Thursday afternoon. “It kind of shocks you when you actually hear it. My feelings right now are very mixed — my family’s incredibly happy here, they’re very settled. It’s disappointing that it didn’t work out with the Stars.”continued
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