Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Simmons talks free agent untouchables and a tender tribute to an hockey lifer

06/29/2014 at 1:36am EDT

The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons can be equally acerbic and surprisingly sincere, so let's cover both areas of his writing in a short survey of his Sunday column.

Regarding the acerbic part, I hate to say it, but I most certainly agree with him here....

Free agents I wouldn’t touch: Vanek, Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner, Brad Richards, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, Lee Stempniak, David Booth ... So we’re wondering: Does Tim Thomas get a job this summer?

(Did Tim Thomas hear David Poile explain that Nashville has no state taxes on income? Red State Tour, woo!)

And here...

I understand why Jason Spezza turned down a deal to Nashville. Would hate to be a lone wolf in the Western Conference at centre and be overmanned nightly against the Kings, Ducks, Blackhawks, Sharks and Avalanche.

But I will be a little acerbic in suggesting that the damn 2nd-through-7th round NHL Draft on the NHL Network involves far too much talking over everything, and in the talking heads blathering on, they missed what was an absolutely wonderfully touching moment:

As a 21-year-old rookie, Tom Webster led the Detroit Red Wings in scoring, with more goals or points that year than the aging pair of Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio, who finished right behind him.

Webster went on to star in the WHA — he once scored 50 goals for the New England Whalers — and played for Harry Neale and with Dave Keon and the Howes, Gordie, Mark and Marty.

Then Webster coached in both junior hockey and the NHL, and for the past 11 seasons and has been seen around NHL arenas, scouting the pro game. In all, a 45-year career in pro hockey came to an end Saturday at the NHL draft in Philadelphia. And when his retirement was announced at the arena, every hockey man at his NHL table stood and applauded a lifer in their game.

Webster smiled and waved and when nobody sat down seemed embarrassed by all the attention. The Tom Websters of the hockey world don’t get recognized often enough. This was nice and right and deserving.

Simmons continues with the usual mix of hockey and other-sport talk...

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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.

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