Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: minnesota wild
The theory was that very few free agent players were actually going to meet with teams' coaches or general managers during the "wining and dining period"--which ends today--because the draft's location in Philadelphia would yield too much of a hubbub (see: players being chased down by the media as they go from hotel to hotel and meeting room to meeting room)...
But the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that the seemingly inevitable marriage between Thomas Vanek and the Minnesota Wild will get a meet-and-greet kick in the pants on Monday:
With the free-agent market set to open Tuesday at 11 a.m. [Central Daylight Time], pending free agent Thomas Vanek was scheduled to sit down with Wild coach Mike Yeo late Sunday. General Manager Chuck Fletcher was not expected to be at the meeting.
For more than a year, Vanek has seemed destined to sign with the Wild. The 30-year-old former Gophers star turned down lucrative long-term contracts last season with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders in order to become a free agent.
However, the Wild appears set to offer Vanek only a short-term contract, so he likely will have a tough decision to make Tuesday because it’s expected that he’ll have the chance to sign longer-term deals for more money with other teams.
But wait, there's more, especially in the, "WILD WILL SIGN EVERYBODEYZ" category:
TSN's posting double doses of Insider Trading videos due to the massive amount of pre-draft trade talk, and I should've known better than to simply post the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's update on Jason Spezza's situation without looking for a rumor-related column on other Sun newspaper sites (the Ottawa Sun doesn't always post articles on his columnist page in a timely manner).
The Toronto Sun posted Garrioch's wining-and-dining update, and I need to say this out loud: while this summer's class of unrestricted free agents-to-be is particularly thin, I have the sinking feeling that we're going to see more classes like these--where second-line players and second-pair defensemen are the ones who hit the market and make top-player money, serving as the main source of player-value inflation (as yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika suggested).
The wining-and-dining period is great in terms of allowing teams to explain their expectations for players, and vice versa, but the number of offers these players are receiving over the course of consecutive days are driving up their asking prices considerably (of course, there are no numbers being exchanged ), and I really get the feeling that we're going to see Paul Stastny and Matt Niskanen become $7 million players come July 1st.
Anyway, here are Garrioch's updates regarding Stastny...
One really begets the other here, so bear with me:
Via Chris Nichols, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher spoke with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo about the free agent wining and dining period, which is clearly very good in terms of sensing the "fit" for players with various organizations, but isn't necessarily fascinating in terms of the way that it's driving players' "market values" into the stratosphere...
Cue Fletcher: “I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several agents of pending UFAs and try to get a sense of who may have interest in coming to Minnesota and talk about different roles and whether what we have to offer them fits from a role and an ice time standpoint with what they’re looking at. There’s been some ones that may work out, there’s been some ones that clearly won’t work out. But that’s good. I wasn’t really involved in the shopping period last year, but it’s been great. It gives you the sense where instead it used to be July 1 it was such a battle to sign guys. You were competing with other teams to sign players. It wasn’t like you were spending time interviewing players to get their idea of an ideal role. We weren’t having these conversations you might assume we were having. A lot of times you had to make quick decisions and you were throwing money around. So the great thing about the shopping period is you can say, hey this is what we have. This is the type of role. This is the type of fit. Does that interest you?”
And the lack of consensus as to who-goes-where from picks 1 to 4 to the utter mess of players who could be drafted anywhere from 5th to 40th means that we could see a flurry of trades to move up and/or down (and a first round that takes four or five hours starting tonight at 7), as NHL.com's Dan Rosen notes...
Mid-afternoon pre-draft round-up: on Kesler Watch, Vanek Watch, Board of Governors stuff and Stastny
Updated 3x at 4:24 PM: Amongst this afternoon's news from the Board of Governors' meetings and the Trade-and-wine-and-dine-a-palooza...
1. It's time for Kesler watch to kick into an even higher gear?
2. Thomas Vanek is in demand:
3. Sportsnet's Mark Spector reminded us that quite a bit of this draft-day-draft-pick-trade talk is...talk...
When player agent Neil Sheehy's left International Falls, Minnesota prior to the draft, you know the wining and dining period is underway. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that the WIld plan on speaking to the agent who once got a free flight back home (after the Wild and Red Wings made their pitches to Ryan Suter) by owner Craig Leipold on Thursday in Philly, and it sounds like the Wild are aiming for the free agent stars:
It’s not believed the Wild had any formal sit-downs yet, but General Manager Chuck Fletcher contacted at least the agents of defensemen Matt Niskanen and Willie Mitchell, goal scorer Thomas Vanek and center Paul Stastny, NHL sources confirmed. At a minimum, Fletcher is expected to meet with Niskanen’s agent, Neil Sheehy, and Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett, while they’re all in Philadelphia this week for the NHL draft.
Vanek, 30, the former Gophers star who lives in Stillwater, might have to consider a one- to three-year deal from the Wild if he wants to play at home in Minnesota.
That’s because it’s clear the Wild has significant interest in Niskanen, who lives in Tower, Minn. The 27-year-old right-shot blue-liner had a career year with the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 10 goals and finishing 13th among defensemen with 46 points. He led all defensemen with a plus-33 rating.
The question is whether Vanek would forgo potential long-term security elsewhere for the opportunity to stay in Minnesota. After all, he turned down a seven-year, $49 million contract offer from the Islanders last season and an even more lucrative offer from the Sabres.
Continued with talk about Willie Mitchell returning to Minnesota, and again, Russo reported that the players represented by top agents probably won't be in Philadelphia (though it would not surprise me if a little man in a top hat calling himself AnDay OyleBay makes an appearance ), it appears to be time for each and every team interested in a free agent to talk contract...Cheesesteak.
The NHL's free agent "wining and dining" period has begun, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that teams interested in some of the top UFA's-to-be will be sorely disappointed if they were hoping to speak with them in Philadelphia:
Last year, when bought-out Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier was seen in a New York hotel, reporters and TV stations camped out in the lobby. That’s why the agents of Vanek and Niskanen both say neither client will come to Philadelphia.
“The whole [interview period] isn’t working, at least from the player side, the way it was intended,” said agent Steve Bartlett, whose top two free agents this cycle are [Thomas] Vanek and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan. “It handcuffs everybody when everybody’s sitting in Philly. The way this was envisioned was players could go into cities and see the schools, the neighborhoods, look at the facilities, go out to dinner. When someone has to make what often they feel is a pressure decision on July 1 or 2, they want to have a sense more than just what they might know from playing on a visiting team.”
It's believed that Callahan's close to re-signing with Tampa Bay...[edit: and while I was thinking out loud, I'm sure that the GM's and team officials know that these players won't be in Philly, and as such, they've probably already booked flights to the major agents' offices in Toronto, which are generally located in nondescript buildings near Lester B. Pearson International Airport]
Bartlett won’t bring any of his pending free agents to Philadelphia. Agent Don Meehan, whose agency, Newport Sports, represents pending free agents such as Jarome Iginla, Brad Richards, David Legwand and the Wild’s Matt Moulson, said he won’t either.
However, one agent who asked not to be named because he doesn’t want to create a distraction, said he might bring a “few of my lesser free agents.”
Russo continues, and while he simply says that Matt Niskanen won't be in Philadephia, either, it's intimated as his agent, Neil Sheehy, didn't comment per se [edit: Sheehy is based in the remote location of International Falls, Minnesota, so it's kind of hard to miss a GM taking a connecting flight to the border of Minnesota and Ontario at Minneapolis-St. Paul]; in his blog, Russo states that Bartlett will sell Vanek to clients based upon his body of regular-season work:
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brad+richards, clayton+stoner, david+legwand, don+meehan, jarome+iginla, minnesota+wild, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning, thomas+vanek, vincent+lecavalier, willie+mitchell
The New York Post's Larry Brooks was very busy on Saturday evening, pondering the fates of Brian Boyle and the Rangers' unrestricted and restricted free agents-to-be, as well as positing a thorough set of NHL notes. The main topic of his latter work may be a well-tread-upon (trodden-upon?) subject, but it bears repeating.
On July 1st, we know that Thomas Vanek will earn a boatload of money. What we don't know is how much he's going to earn, nor do we know whether his spectacularly mediocre playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens has changed NHL general managers' minds as to whether Vanek is in fact a game-breaking player, or whether he's the kind of "specialist" player who needs to be placed amidst both a strong supporting cast and a set of doing-the-hard-work-for-him linemates who must pave the way for someone who might not be the natural goal-scoring machine everyone thought he was prior to his trade to the Islanders last December.
Is Vanek worth the investment that somebody is more likely than not to put into someone who either is a game-breaker or is in fact the modern-day Ray Sheppard? Brooks isn't sure:
[There's no] evidence at all the winger is remotely worth the seven-year, $50 million deal he rejected from the Islanders before being sent to Montreal at the deadline. No evidence he is anyone’s missing piece to a playoff puzzle.
And yet, the rule of the NHL market is — or has been: Players don’t pay a price for having underperformed and teams indeed will pay the manufacturer’s sticker price, regardless.
See: Semin, Alex for a prime example. Another: Thornton, Joe.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brad+richards, dan+boyle, marian+gaborik, matt+moulson, matt+niskanen, mike+cammaleri, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, paul+stastny, ryan+callahan, thomas+vanek
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo, the Minnesota Wild will lock up coach Mike Yeo--and the vast majority of the team's front office--in short order:
Final details were being worked out Friday night, but all signs pointed toward an agreement soon, multiple sources said. Yeo, General Manager Chuck Fletcher and other members of the front office are due to leave for owner Craig Leipold’s home in the Bahamas on Saturday for meetings.
The NHL’s youngest coach is 104-82-26 (. 552) in the regular season and coached the Wild past the first round for only the second time in franchise history this spring.
Yeo, 40, is nearing the end of a three-year contract. Fletcher said May 16 that his first offseason priority was to re-sign Yeo, then address the two-dozen others whose contracts also expire June 30.
That includes members of his front office like Andrew Brunette, the scouting staff and the medical and equipment trainers. The trainers have since been re-signed.
So everybody and their brother's uncle's cousin's monkey's hedge-trimmer assumes that the Minnesota Wild are going to sign Thomas Vanek as an unrestricted freeagent, and as we've already gotten several, "Craig Leipold and the Wild Will Not Be Over-spent" spiels regarding Vanek and Suter-and-Parise before them (which are, of course, TOTALLY NOT COLLUSION), here's Eddie Olczyk talking to the Pioneer Press's Charley Walters about Vanek's pluses and minuses:
"I love Thomas Vanek," Ed Olczyk said. "It's hard to find difference makers. He's certainly one of those guys, especially on the power play. There aren't many guys better in the league on the power play than Thomas Vanek."
Olczyk, who played 16 NHL seasons as a center, was an NBCSN-TV analyst for the Wild-Blackhawks playoff series.
"The interesting thing (regarding Vanek) is that the Eastern Conference is a different animal than the West, with the up and down, the skating. The East is a quicker conference, much quicker," Olczyk said. "That would be the only thing (of concern) with me with Vanek. But he's a proven 30-goal scorer. How many 30-goal scorers are there in the NHL? Not a lot. But especially on the power-play -- he's so good in front of the net, has a willingness to go to the front of the net. You need a goal on the power play, the puck finds him."
The Wild have been deficient on the power play.
The Minneapols Star-Tribune's Michael Scoggins argues that hockey players are a little "nuts" for playing through the kind of pain that they play through during the playoffs:
Ryan Suter doesn’t look right, but he refuses to admit anything. Ask him about his left arm and he’ll smile and say everything is A-OK. Suter took a horrible spill in Game 3 after a collision with Chicago’s Marian Hossa and landed awkwardly. He left the game holding his arm in a way that suggested he had suffered a serious injury.
Naturally, Suter returned for the third period.
But the Wild’s star defenseman hasn’t looked the same since. He hasn’t played poorly. He just looks like a guy who might have an arm injury, which prompted another round of health questions a day before Game 6.
He insists his shoulder is not an issue. OK, how about his elbow?
“I’m feeling great,” he said, laughing as he exited the interview room.
That should be the official mantra of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Everyone feels great, or at least well enough to play. The NHL postseason is nothing if not a testament to the willingness of players to ignore their aches and pains and broken bones in pursuit of the Cup.
The Minnesota Wild have pulled two fast ones on the Chicago Blackhawks, utilizing home ice to their advantage (Minnesota's 5-and-0 at home). All of a sudden, the defending Stanley Cup champs have won two consecutive games, as the AP notes:
The Minnesota Wild have turned their home ice into a deafening, discouraging place for opponents to play in the playoffs. For the second straight game, they dominated the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Jason Pominville scored in the second period off the back of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford's skate, and the Wild beat the Blackhawks 4-2 on Friday night to even their Western Conference semifinal at two games apiece.
"It's been fun to play here. I don't know what it is, but we have to find a way to bring that on the road as well," said Jared Spurgeon, whose third-period goal gave the Wild a cushion for the final stretch while the fans cheered and chanted louder and louder.
"They play hard in their building, and they're good in their building, and they check well so it's tough to get momentum in here," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Matt Cooke returned from his seven-game kneeing suspension to give the Wild a jolt, assisting on Justin Fontaine's opening goal, and Nino Niederreiter also scored.
Given that 1. One Craig Leipold's pals in the media penned a set of "feeler" articles stating that he would not be out-bid for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise's services, given that 2. Leipold signed the players to lockout-proof contracts and then complained about player costs hampering his business, while he played one of the pivotal owners' roles during the third owners' lockout, and given that 3. the Pioneer Press's Charley Walters posited what is sure to be the first of several, "Leipold won't be out-bid on Vanek, either" not-quite-collusion "feelers"...
I'm not exactly a fan of the warm fuzzies written about a man who spent $196 million on two players and then decided to lament the spending practices of the other guys...
But the "warm fuzzies" continue to flow, and the Star-Tribune's Patrick Reusse spoke with Leipold about the concept that signing Suter and Parise was a community as well as a business decision:
Based upon the Twitter reactions of those who were watching the Minnesota Wild defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Tuesday night (climbing back into a series they trail 2 games to 1), the fact that the Wild nursed a 0-0 tie into the third period and happened to pounce on the Blackhawks seemed eerily reminiscent of the kinds of efforts Jacques Lemaire's trap-tastic, "lull 'em to sleep" machines of the mid-"naughties."
Not surprisingly, ESPN's Scott Burnside reports that the Wild do indeed believe that dilligent checking's the only way to stifle the Blackhawks' offensive machine:
After meandering their way through more than two periods of some of the most lackluster hockey produced by any two teams anywhere this spring, the Wild struck for two picture-perfect goals in a span of 2 minutes, 37 seconds early in the third period to break open a scoreless game and go on to a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
"We know it's going to be a really checking game. You don't have a lot of room there, you don't have a lot of time to skate with the puck. Both teams are in their face all the time. Sometimes the games are like that and you need to find a way to get a win. Tonight we were able to do that," offered Mikael Granlund, who scored the Wild's second goal and added an empty-netter to round out the scoring.
The victory, regardless of its pedigree, was significant on a number of fronts.
First, it allowed the Wild to narrow the Blackhawks' lead in this Western Conference semifinal series to 2-1. It was, not to overstate the obvious, a victory the Wild absolutely had to have.
It also marked the team's fourth straight home victory in this playoff season, which is critical given they are 1-5 on the road.
From the NHL:
NEW YORK (April 29, 2014) – The National Hockey League today announced updated start time information for the First Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- The starting time for a potential Game 7 of the series between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, if necessary, has been set for 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 30, in New York. In the U.S., the game would be seen on NBCSN, MSG and CSN Philadelphia. In Canada, the game would be televised on TSN and RDSI.
- The starting time for Game 7 of the series between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild has been set for 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. MT on Wednesday, April 30, in Colorado. In the U.S. outside of the Colorado and Minnesota markets, the game will be seen on CNBC. In Canada, the game will be on TSN and RDS2.
- The starting time for Game 7 of the series between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings has been set for 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Wednesday, April 30, in San Jose. In the U.S., the game will be televised on NBCSN outside of the San Jose and Los Angeles markets. In Canada, the game will be televised on CBC and RDS.
Multiple reports from the Avs and Sportsnet's John Shannon confirm that Barrie's out for 4-6 weeks (i.e. for the season) with a sprained MCL. And Stephane Robidas went to the hospital after Ryan Garbutt's knee broke Robidas' leg...Garbutt stayed in the game and scored a goal.
It took Mikael Granlund a little time to warm up to the smaller ice in North America but the kid is up to familiar goal scoring tricks.
That was the only goal of the game and it came in overtime. The Avalanche the series 2-1 Game Four is Thursday.
Updating Monica's post:
I guess we can only hope for so long before Matt Cooke does what Matt Cooke does, per USA Today's Kevin Allen:
Key Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie left Monday's game after absorbing a knee-on-knee hit from the Minnesota Wild's Matt Cooke.
Barrie grabbed his knee after spilling to the ice and was unable to put any pressure on his left leg as he went straight to the dressing room.
The Avalanche announced that he wouldn't return to the game.
Cooke received a two-minute penalty for kneeing.
From SomeHockeyVideos, Ray Ferraro, on the TSN broadcast, told Gord Miller that Barrie said, "I'm done" as he skated by the bench:
Via the Hockey News's Rory Boylen and Some Hockey Videos on YouTube, Minnesota Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov shut out the Winnipeg Jets on Monday evening (Minnesota won 1-0), and he did so while giving Jets fans' jeers a playful response:
Via Chris Nichols on Twitter, the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti reports that, should Martin Brodeur consider being traded, he could find himself in Minnesota:
Brodeur, 41, is in the final season of a contract that includes a no-trade clause, so he’d have to approve any trade general manager Lou Lamoriello might be offered. According to two sources, the Minnesota Wild have contacted Lamoriello about acquiring Brodeur as insurance for and possibly an alternative to rookie Darcy Kuemper.
Kuemper, 23, has played in only 23 NHL games, but has excelled in taking over as the Wild’s No. 1 with Niklas Backstrom trying to play through an abdominal injury and Josh Harding out indefinitely. Still, the Wild would like to add an experienced second goaltender to share some of the load and be there to take over if Kuemper falters.
A three-time Stanley Cup-winner such as Brodeur, who backstopped the Devils to the Cup Finals just two seasons ago, would definitely fit that bill. The Wild are reportedly also interested in Jaroslav Halak, who was shipped to Buffalo in Friday’s blockbuster trade that sent Ryan Miller to St. Louis, but are apparently not completely convinced Halak would be the right goalie for them.
Gulitti continues at length and in detail...
Update: And Gulitti took some umbrage with comments made by Hockey Night in Canada's Kevin Weekes:
While the Canucks and Flames were stealing the show, as it were, it turns out that one Matt Cooke received a possibly suspension-worthy elbow in the face from Jamie Benn, as noted by the QMI News Agency's Anthony Vasquez-Peddie:
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn could be looking forward to some quality time in the press box after this nasty check to Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke’s head Saturday.
Just seconds into overtime with the score tied 2-2, Benn carried the puck across centre ice and bowled over Cooke with his elbow extended.
It’s safe to say NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will have a good look at this one. Benn would be considered a repeat offender after having been fined $10,000 for a cross-check on Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Jones last March.
As if the hit wasn’t mind-boggling enough, Benn was not penalized on the play.
Here's a clip of the hit, and Cooke is OK:
Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.
In Case You Missed It
Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres
Good night for the home team in Buffalo as the last place team took on the Atlantic Division leader and beat them 4-2.
Penalties would be the mainstay in the first period as Sabres Marcus Foligno and Bruins Matt Fraser would drop the gloves less than four minutes into the game. Both teams trying to claim the momentum swing from the early fight saw Boston take a rash of penalties.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: cooke+returns+to+pittsburgh, kings+brown+ejected, linus+omark+traded, minnesota+wild, pittsburgh+penguins, red+wings+finally+win+a+game, sabres+beat+bruins, st.+louis+blues, ville+leino+dive
Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin took a nasty puck to the face in the Wild's 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators, absorbing Gabriel Bourque's clearing attempt with his teeth, and Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien posted a video of the incident from an NBC-telecast game...
As Paul noted, Tim Thomas appeared to tweak his groin or some othe part of his "lower body" in the Florida Panthers' 2-1 loss to Philly on Tuesday, and while I was preparing to have my beard trimmed for the first time in six years, Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun notes that Niklas Backstrom got dinged in the Wild's 3-2 loss to Nashville...
[T]he Minnesota Wild are reporting that netminder Niklas Backstrom is done for the night due to a similar problem.
Backstrom lasted just 11:14 minutes against the Nashville Predators and surrendered two goals on five shots. He sustained the injury when Nashville forward Eric Nystrom crashed into him and seemed to accidentally jam Backstrom’s leg against the post.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brad+stuart, eric+nystrom, erik+gudbranson, florida+panthers, minnesota+wild, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, niklas+backstrom, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, san+jose+sharks, scott+hartnell, tim+thomas
Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.
In Case You Missed
It Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Puck dropped in Boston to start the season for the two Atlantic teams’ first game of the 2013-14 season. Neither team wasted much time getting on the box score; however, to start it was on the penalty side. A hooking call to Bruins Reilly Smith would lead to a shorthanded goal by teammate Chris Kelly.
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Tags: boston+bruins, calgary+flames, ilya+bryzgalov+to+the+echl, los+angeles+kings, minnesota+wild, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, tampa+bay+lightning, tim+thomas+returns, vancouver+canucks, vlasic+skate+to+face, washington+capitals
Now that it is official that the Washington Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic more questions have risen:
Where is the game going to take place?
Who will the Capitals play?
What are the events for their Fan Festival?
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: boston+bruins, chicago+blackhaawks, chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, flyers, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, nationals+park, nhl, washington+capitals, winter+classic, winter+classic+2015
Chris from IceThetics.info scours the net for news about hockey jerseys, and he's followed the Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks' jersey tweaks, the Dallas Stars' rebranding and now the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild's teasers regarding a third jersey and new road jersey, respectively.
The Wild were supposed to unveil their road jerseys at the Minnesota State Fair today, but two astute folks on Twitter, Andrew Heil and Dan Stefaniak, let both IceThetics and Chris Creamer's SportsLogos.net know that the Wild posted a photo gallery of their new road jerseys (worn by Zach Parise and Josh Harding) a few hours early.
And then there were three. Saturday evening, the Sharks acquired a third player from the Minnesota Wild, James Sheppard, in exchange for a 2013 third round pick. That’s a lot of threes. He was the 9th pick, in the ‘06 draft, age 23… Still more threes.
Let’s start with some headlines that have nothing to do with three:
From David Pollak: “Summer rerun: Sharks
another deal with Wild, acquire F James Sheppard for 2013 third-round pick.”
From Fear the Fin: “Sharks deal with Wild again,
James Sheppard to the Sharks”
This week I will take a look at some former NHL players now playing in various European leagues. With the implementation of the salary cap, the average NHL players’ career is now ending when they hit their mid-thirties, as GM’s round out their roster with younger, less expensive options. This recent trend has led to an influx of big name players, such as Pavol Demitra and Evgeni Nabokov, heading overseas for better contracts and a chance to lengthen their career. Do most of these players repeat their NHL success overseas or are they clearly at the twilight of their careers?
Hasek was signed last summer after leading HC Pardubice to the Czech Extraliga championship. However, Hasek has struggled this year with a 4-10 record, a 2.80 GAA and a .898 save percentage as Spartak currently sit 18th out of 23 KHL teams.
Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: detroit+red+wings, dominik+hasek, evgeni+nabokov, glen+metropolit, martin+straka, minnesota+wild, pavol+demitra, sandis+ozolins, stacy+roest
Per various sources, the Minnesota Wild have obtained enforcer Brad Staubitz from the San Jose Sharks for a 2010 5th-round draft pick.
From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo:
Brent Flahr seems like a quiet, innocent, unsuspecting guy, but when you work with him, you learn awfully fast to never turn your back.
Take Shep Harder, the Wild’s director of hockey administration. He’s allergic to mayonnaise, so during a recent meeting, when Harder asked for “no mayo” on a sandwich, Flahr made sure it had extra mayo.
Luckily, Flahr didn’t kill Harder. But it made for a lot of laughs when Harder ran out minutes later with indigestion.
From the Associated Press:
The Minnesota Wild have a lot of work to do this summer. They need to add promising young players, but also must improve the depth and quality of their roster. It’s a difficult place to be in the NHL, not quite good enough to contend for the Stanley Cup but also lacking the top draft picks to add elite talent and get better in a hurry the way the champion Chicago Blackhawks did with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
After missing the playoffs for the second straight year, the Wild have the ninth selection in the first round of next week’s draft. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said Friday he’s pleased with the amount of salary-cap space he has to make moves, more than most teams, but he insisted that’s not a blank check for free agency.
“You can’t buy your way out of the basement,” Fletcher said. “We don’t have the ability to sign five guys on July 1 at $5 million apiece, but looking at the talent pool on July 1, I would suggest that shouldn’t be our goal, too. We will patiently and methodically build this team.”
From Kent Youngblood at the Star-Tribune,
So when the NHL returned, so did Lemaire—for the long term. And tonight he’ll become the 14th man to coach 1,000 games.
And that begs the question: Has Lemaire had more impact as a player or as a coach? Lemaire played 12 seasons with Montreal. Including playoffs, he played in 998 games, totaling 974 points.
“I’m probably the wrong guy to ask, because I can see it in both cases,” said Wild GM Doug Risebrough, who was Lemaire’s teammate in Montreal for five seasons. “I guess it depends on your time frame. Your younger players probably don’t realize how good a player he was. ... He was the best two-way player I’ve ever seen play. Not of my time, but ever. He was the centerman who could pass, he had a great shot, he was smart. He played with two good players [Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur] because he was so good defensively.”
from Russo’s Rants,
The Wild has called a 10:30 news conference for this morning at Xcel Energy Center where 37-year-old center Wes Walz, the Wild’s all-time leader with 438 games played, will announce his retirement from the NHL, two NHL sources confirmed Friday night.
Walz, one of two last Original Wild players along with Marian Gaborik, has been on indefinite leave from the team since Nov. 1. Walz’s 82 goals and 182 points rank second in franchise history behind Gaborik
Update 12:27pm ET— Press Release from the Minnesota Wild:
SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Minnesota Wild veteran center Wes Walz, the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, announced his retirement Saturday morning at an Xcel Energy Center press conference.
via the Arizona Republic,
Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski was suspended for one game by the NHL for his hit on Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild during their game Wednesday night.
The suspension was announced Thursday afternoon, and Jovanovski, who has two goals and 13 assists, will sit out tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
From Russo’s Rants at the Star Tribune,
Pavol Demitra is definitely playing. Matt Foy is coming out for him. Second straight time he’s been scratched after a two-point game. Foster skated today and hopes to practice tomorrow. Nummelin and Harding skated but won’t play.
Demitra has officially been activated for tonight’s game. Harding has been placed on injured reserve to make room for him. This is becoming a shuffling game.
Leading my notebook with the bad luck the Wild has had with facial injuries. Three guys wore full cages today. I said to Jacques it looks like college, and he said, “like a kennel.”
From the Minnesota Wild,
Fans of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild are encouraged to tune into ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” this Sunday, Nov. 25, at 6 p.m. CST. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” can be found locally on Eyewitness News Channel 5 (KSTP). The special will air for two hours.
The episode will feature the Swenson-Lee Family of suburban Minneapolis. The Wild played an important part in the makeover.
The show airs tonight, November 25th, on ABC.
From the Dallas Stars,
The Dallas Stars announced today that left wing Todd Fedoruk has been claimed off re-entry waivers by the Minnesota Wild. The Stars and Wild will split Fedoruk’s salary (signed one-year deal for $875,000 in off-season) for the remainder of the 2007-08 season.
added 5:10pm, Tom Lynn, Asst. GM for the Wild on the Fedoruk pick-up via Russo’s Rants,
“The general manager is not happy where we are right now, so he’s made this move (Fedoruk). Some guys will have to step up or there will be other moves.”
He added, “In order to compete against some of the teams in our conference that we need to get ahead of, we need a grittier, more committed physical team. Fedoruk, we didn’t get just to come and fight. He makes us a tougher team.”
from Russo’s Rants,
I watched Canucks color guy John Garrett last night between periods of the Canucks-Oil game making it like Boogaard threatened everybody on the Canucks and their significant others.
Besides continually trying to put words in Ray Ferraro’s mouth, Garrett said the league should have an IQ test for players and that Boogaard is not the “sharpest tool in the drawer.” I guarantee you Garrett has never had a conversation with Boogaard in his life.
added 1:22pm, Alanah chimes in at Canucks and Beyond. Be prepared…
“Any time a guy takes a two-hander and breaks another guy’s leg, things are bound to get heated,” Wild left winger Brian Rolston said.
Monday, the Canucks recalled minor league tough guy Mike Brown (24 fights in the past 13 months), who last season was suspended two games for a blindside hit that left the Wild’s Matt Foy with a broken nose and concussion. Wild minor league callup Aaron Voros, who has two goals, one fight and 10 hits in five games, spent Monday night on the Internet studying Brown’s fighting tendencies.
It might only be a November regular-season game, but the NHL is also prepared. It’s sent animated, take-control veteran ref Mick McGeough in for the game, and the league headquarters will have multiple sets of eyes on this fiery divisional showdown.
Many of these types of games have not lived up to the pre-game hype, wondering if this one will be different?
from the Vancouver Province,
The Vancouver Canucks may start a three-game road trip in Edmonton tonight, but the focus is already on what’s shaping up as a grudge match Wednesday in Minnesota.
That would be the second half of a home-and-home series with the Wild, whom the Canucks drubbed 6-2 Friday at GM Place in a game that got very ugly. After a variety of elbows and chops, Canucks defenceman Mattias Ohlund two-handed Wild centre Mikko Koivu on the ankle, cracking a bone and earning himself a four-game suspension.
from the Star Tribune (Sunday edition),
Hill is ready to play and finally eligible to do so. Perhaps that will come today against the Colorado Avalanche because he’s formally served the final 19 games of his 20-game suspension for becoming the first NHL player to test positive for steroids.
“I’m as ready as I can be,” said Hill, a Duluth native who denies he used steroids last season while playing for the Islanders. “Obviously there are times when I’m a bit rusty, and maybe my timing won’t be where it should be, but I think we’ve done everything we can as far as preparing, and the rest of the stuff’s going to come the more I play.”
From Michael Russo at the Star-Tribune,
If Mattias Ohlund is suspended, it would happen before tomorrow because Vancouver has a game.
It’ll be an interesting decision. After seeing the replay again more closely well after game, one wonders if league disciplinarian Colin Campbell will take into account Ohlund was reacting to Koivu’s attempted elbow.
I would think he would want to suspend him to perhaps keep Wednesdays rematch more civil and to also keep Ohlund safe.
Also, ill tell you what, after looking at Marian Gaborik’s elbow on Ryan Kesler again, he’s lucky he didn’t get a major. It was a leap at Kesler’s head.
*More on this situation written by myself earlier today.
*Additional info on possible suspension time for Ohlund on Jason Botchford’s blog at The Province
In an unprecedented move, Minnesota Wild forward Marian Gaborik has apologized to fantasy hockey owners for playing in a defensive system.
“When developing this team it is obvious that management paid no attention to fantasy owners, but instead selfishly decided that winning games was more important,” Gaborik said in a “prepared statement.”
The Slovak scorer has 13 points in 12 games this season, including a game-winning goal against the Calgary Flames. For his efforts the Wild are off to a 9-6-2 start, but fantasy owners are frustrated that Gaborik is not a Top 5 in every offensive category.
“I will continue to help you out when I can,” Gaborik explained. “But I am afraid management is obsessed with giving Minnesota fans a Stanley Cup.”
From Michael Russo at the Star-Tribune,
This is a guy who begged to play one game after having his nose turned sideways last season. So Veilleux was taken aback Sunday when asked whether he expected to be out awhile with a broken left cheekbone.
“I mean, I’m not dead,” said Veilleux, whose face looks like he went 12 rounds with Derek Boogaard. “It’s just a broken cheekbone. I’ll be fine.”
Veilleux was nailed by a deflected shot during Saturday’s practice. Officially, the Wild can’t provide a timetable for Veilleux until the swelling subsides.
*Or as the boys from Monty Python would say: “It’s only a flesh wound!”
via the Minnesota Wild,
“Wes Walz has requested and been granted an indefinite leave of absence from the team. We have no further details at this time.”
Tapeleg at Jerseys and Hockey Love has proven, yet again, that his life is endlessly cooler than mine:
I had Monday night off, and so I was able to attend another game at the Xcel Energy Center here in Minnesota. The thing that made this special was that I went as a guest of Branko Radivojevic. Trust me, I know. What the hell? Who the heck am I that I get to be a guest of a player? Well, the truth is, I had never met the man until last night.
Check out the whole post. Tapeleg and friends got a tour of the Wild locker rooms as Radivojevic’s guest, and there’s a pile of photos from the experience.
via the Pioneer Press,
The Minnesota Wild will throw another depleted lineup on the ice tonight when they play host to the Edmonton Oilers. Marian Gaborik is out, Pavol Demitra is out and Wes Walz hasn’t come back.
Gaborik and Demitra have groin injuries; Walz hasn’t returned from an excused, and unexplained, absence and will miss his third game.
Gaborik played the past two games and played well, scoring five points, including a two-goal game in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Calgary. He sat out practice Sunday, but reporters were told he was simply given the day off.
Asked if something changed between Sunday and this morning, when Gaborik was pulled from practice, coach Jacques Lemaire said, “Something changed a bit.”
from the Star Tribune,
Thursday morning, the Wild front office said Walz, one of the most popular players in team history, would be away for “two or three days.” Saturday night, General Manager Doug Risebrough referred questions regarding Walz to his agent, Jay Grossman.
Via e-mail Sunday, Grossman said that he understands the concern and the need to address Walz’s absence, but “the matter is personal and he is going to need additional time.”
Update 12:23pm ET: More from Michael Russo
...I think we’ll hear from Walz soon — whether he announces his retirement or says he’s thoroughly refreshed and ready to return. He’s an emotional player who has contemplated retirement before. After taking some days away from the game to clear his head, he’s always decided to stay.
This might be different though. He’s never left the team in the middle of the season, and from talking to people that know him, if he doesn’t feel he can play at the highest level, he’d walk away at peace.
from Ross McKeon at Yahoo,
But back to the task at hand: Choosing a new destination we can call Hockeytown, USA. Taking into consideration attendance, fan loyalty, a cozy relationship between the team and its region, a city that’s just right for the NHL, and our choice is pretty clear. Saint Paul, Minn., home of the Minnesota Wild, fits the bill.
Buffalo, Long Island, Denver, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have all had their moments both recently and long ago, but the rejuvenated market in Minnesota gets our vote.
From Jim Souhan at the Star-Tribune,
With a French-Canadian lilt that transforms Marian Gaborik into “Mary-Ann,” and the ability to invert sentences like Yoda, Lemaire offers insights and hockey philosophy in a soft-spoken tone that makes listeners lean forward in anticipation.
Tuesday morning, Lemaire raved about Penguins phenom and Shattuck-St. Mary’s product Sidney Crosby. Tuesday night, Lemaire watched Crosby become the third opponent ever to score four points at Xcel Energy Center, in Pittsburgh’s 4-2 victory.
Lemaire praised Wes Walz’s checking line for its defense on Crosby—even though Crosby’s line produced nine points.
The performance left Lemaire feeling covetous. “I’d love to have one on our club,” he said of Crosby, “if they make any more.”