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Red Wings’ courtship of Jaromir Jagr continues; more about Lidstrom’s return (Bournie included)

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 3x with more Jagr stuff from LeBrun and Howard joining U of Maine’s sports hall of fame: According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and a “mystery team” are in the running for the services of Jaromir Jagr, who’s no longer considering playing in the KHL for the 2011-2012 season…

Agent Petr Svoboda said Pittsburgh, Detroit “plus another team I can’t name” are the three options for his veteran client.

“We have to make a decision soon,” Svoboda said from the Czech Republic.

Svoboda said Jagr would sign a one-year deal with one of those three NHL teams. He also said a decision should be made within the next few days, perhaps as early as Tuesday. Jagr met all day with Svoboda on Monday and the two were slated to meet again later Tuesday. It appears going back to Russia’s Continental Hockey League, where Jagr has played the last three seasons, is no longer in the mix.

“He’s really decided he wants to play in the NHL and he’s excited about it. He’s ready for the challenge,” said Svoboda. “His mind is pretty much made up but he wants to make sure.”

Per RedWingsFeed on Twitter, LeBrun fired off the following updates...

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Lidstrom Should Have Retired

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Justin Bourne at The Hockey News,

The professional hockey god that is Nicklas Lidstrom, at age 41, has decided to come back for one more year. He’ll once again cash a nice paycheck and have another run at the Cup with the perennially solid Detroit Red Wings. With his career and his legacy, he’s earned the right to come back if he wants to.

I just wish he wouldn’t.

It’s not that he’s going to enter the sad ‘MJ’ or Jeter or Chelios phase - he plays a smart game and he’s hardly shown much decline at this point. After all, he’s the favorite to win the Norris Trophy in a couple days for the seventh time in his career.

It’s just that at some point, everyone gets slightly worse. Not “bad”…just worse.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom

Wings Now Have Signing/Trade Options

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star, Currently,

Detroit lists four defencemen from last year’s team under contract -Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart and Jakub Kindl. Unrestricted free agent Jonathan Ericsson is still talking to the Wings, but the salary numbers he most hopes to hear won’t be delivered via Holland’s lips.

“We’re going to make a decision on him in the next 10 days,” Holland said of Ericsson, who is free to shop his services to the highest bidder come July 1.

Holland talked excitedly of the potential of former first-round pick and AHL all-rookie team member Brendan Smith.

“We’re going to give him every opportunity to make the team in training camp,” he said of Smith….

With Rafalski’s $6 million off the books and a projected salary-cap increase of similar ilk, the Wings will have more than $10 million available to spend. “We’re going to explore ways either on the trade front or through July 1 free agency,” Holland said. “We want to be active, we want to make some additions to our team, and we’re open-minded going in.”...

The Wings’ brass aren’t fans of Joni Pitkanen, and at the risk of starting another car-burning riot in Vancouver, don’t view Kevin Bieksa or Christian Ehrhoff as $5 million men.

“We’re looking to be active, but at the same time, we’re not looking to spend a bunch of money and have press conferences,” Holland said.

“We want to find players that fit our team, fit our system and with salaries we think will help us continue to be competitive in a cap world.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Canes Can Only Watch Other Teams Spend Money

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,

Jussi Jokinen is apparently out of the Carolina Hurricanes’ price range. Joni Pitkanen and Chad LaRose, too. Maybe Erik Cole as well.

Even if the Hurricanes wanted to keep all four players, it wouldn’t be financially feasible. As it is, they seem to think they can get more money elsewhere, more than the Hurricanes are willing or able to offer.

The whole point of shutting down the entire NHL for a season was to get a labor agreement that would enable small-market franchises to retain their best players and compete with the giants in Detroit and New York and Montreal and Toronto on the open market.

This year’s cap, which should be finalized soon, is expected to have a ceiling of $64 million and a floor of $48 million. That floor is $9 million higher than the ceiling in 2005-06, when the Hurricanes played the new cap game better than anyone and walked away with the Stanley Cup.

Now, as they prepare to let their impending free agents walk away, the Hurricanes are back where they were before the lockout - watching good players leave, with no chance of replacing them with free agents.

read on

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Markov Still Talking New Contract With Montreal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

Andrei Markov, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and Josh Gorges, who is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, are still unsigned.

Markov’s agent, Don Meehan, said he and Gauthier are working on a deal for Markov and they will meet this week at the NHL entry draft in Minnesota. The 32-year-old Markov is coming off a long-term deal that paid him an average of $5.75 million. He has been the Canadiens’ best defenceman, but he has been injured in each of the past two seasons and has undergone three major surgeries.

Questions about his health will effect the talks, particularly when the discussion turns to the length of the contract….

Gauthier does have some money to play with as the salary cap goes up to $64 million. Monday’s signings raise the current commitment to $43.7 million, which leaves Gauthier with $20.3 million. Take away $5 million for three minimum-wage forwards, a seventh defenceman - Yannick Weber’s signing will be announced shortly - and a backup goalie and that leaves $15 million. That’s enough to satisfy Markov and Gorges with more than enough left over for a top-six forward.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrei+markov

Burke Not A Fan Of The Four-Letter Network

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sean Fitz-Gerald,

Fielding the same question three or four times in a span of 30 minutes distilled Brian Burke’s reaction down to its essence, as the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs defended the franchise from an ESPN study listing it among the least-rewarding in North America.

The Leafs ranked 120th of 122 professional sports teams judged in ESPN The Magazine’s annual Ultimate Standings, based on categories such as “Bang For The Buck,” as well as fan relations, affordability and championship titles. Teams in the NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball were mixed into the results.

“I don’t think ESPN knows squat about Canada,” Burke said. “I don’t think they know squat about hockey.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke

Negotiations Between Tanguay And Calgary Not Progressing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

Negotiations are ongoing, but there apparently are large differences in opinions when it comes to terms between the club and the player who posted 69 points in his return to the Flames last season.

“It’s money,” Feaster said Monday in a prelude to a hectic week that will involve discussions with and about his own pending restricted and unrestricted free agents, interviews for a head coach for the farm team, the expected hiring of an assistant GM and, of course, the weekend’s draft proceedings in St. Paul, Minn.

But the rest of the tasks at hand take a brief backseat when the name Tanguay is mentioned in a scrum with reporters.

They all chuckled at the moment of honesty from Feaster when addressing the disagreement with the left-winger who will no doubt earn a massive raise over the US$1.7 million he earned with the Flames last season after returning to form following a tough campaign with the Tampa Bay Lightning the previous campaign.

But the Flames don’t seem willing to cave on demands that may be too high for a team desperate to shed salary.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+tanguay

Flyers Seem To Have A Plan In Place

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chuck Gormley of the CourierPost,

Maybe Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren knows something the rest of the NHL doesn’t. Or maybe he’s orchestrated a series of moves that will topple like perfectly aligned dominoes at the start of the NHL draft Friday night in Minneapolis.

In a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon, Holmgren said he would like to sign goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and re-sign right wing Ville Leino while also acquiring a pick in the first or second round of the draft, something the Flyers have not had since 2008.

As of today, Bryzgalov and Leino remained unsigned and the Flyers do not own a draft pick until the third round at No. 84 overall.

To check off any of the items on their To Do list, the Flyers almost will need to shed significant salary from their current payroll, which is a mere $450,000 under the current salary cap of $59.4 million. That cap reportedly will inflate to about $64 million when the NHL officially announces its salary ceiling and floor later this week.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

How Much Will An NHL Team Pay Jagr?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Jaromir Jagr appears NHL-bound and it’s only a question of which team he’ll sign with, his agent told ESPN.com on Tuesday morning.

Agent Petr Svoboda said Pittsburgh, Detroit “plus another team I can’t name” are the three options for his veteran client.

“We have to make a decision soon,” Svoboda said from the Czech Republic.

Svoboda said Jagr would sign a one-year deal with one of those three NHL teams. He also said a decision should be made within the next few days, perhaps as early as Tuesday. Jagr met all day with Svoboda on Monday and the two were slated to meet again later Tuesday.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jaromir+jagr

Red Wings overnight report: More on Lidstrom’s return and the Wings’ roster moves to come

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Early on Monday morning, the Red Wings officially announced that Nicklas Lidstrom would return for his 20th NHL season, signing a one-year, $6.2 million contract. I had asked Paul to text message me and/or call when the Nick news came about ten days ago, and while Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom tipped Lidstrom’s hand for him, I popped up with a start when my cell phone’s text message alert jingled me from a restless night’s worth of sleep and got to work.

Relieved. Unbelievably relieved. As Ken Holland suggested and columnists pointed out during the mid-day and evening crops of columns, the Red Wings’ off-season renovations hinged upon the fulcrum that was Lidstrom’s future, and as Ken Holland suggested to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, the Wings can weather the storm that is Brian Rafalski’s sudden retirement, but losing both Rafalski and Lidstrom, well…

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