We were reading the Nashville Tennessean and picked up on some Predators news for you. First up, David Poile stated that it's unlikely he'll be able to sign any of the team's unrestricted free agents...including Steve Sullivan and Vern Fiddler. We still think Sully will get a deal done as he's been telling everybody who 'll listen to wants to come back to Nashville. Sounds like Poile just doesn't want to pal a boat load to a veteran with a long injury history.
Sticking with Nashville, Poile also made the following comments on Alex Radulov:
"You have some hope he's going to come back this year,'' Poile said. "But it seems a little — I don't want to say comical — when he's able to get out of our contract, but it seems a lot harder to walk away from a Russian contract. So maybe we should have a look at how their laws work.'
It sounds to us that Rads will be in Russia for another year.
As we anticipated last week it sounds like Brent Sutter is coming to coach in Calgary. TSN is reporting that Brent and his brother GM Darryl are close to a deal. Brent still has a year left on his contract with the Devils so there is still work to be done.
Looks like we're going to be getting some definite answers in the next week or two from Joe Sakic, Scott Niedermayer and Jeremy Roenick on their intentions for next season. If we had to guess we think all three will be back but one thing we are sure of is that we're very glad we won't have any Mats Sundin's this year.
A trade! Nothing to get too excited about...Steve Reinprecht joined the Panthers and Stefan Meyer is now a Coyote. No fantasy value here, but it's getting us excited for some movement around draft day.
Keith Tkachuk signed a 1-year deal with the Blues. No word on the dollars involved but we have a feeling the Blues could pull off a Bruin-esque rise this coming season.
Petr Prucha also re-signed with the Coyotes. He notched nine points in 19 games with the Coyotes after his deadline deal. He scored 30 goals way back in 2005-06 so there is some potential here. He should get a good shot in the desert (he was getting big minutes down the stretch) and he'll make a good late round flyer in very deep leagues.
Not sure when Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero had time between all the wild parties to negotiate a deal... but he did, getting RFA dman Alex Goligoski signed to a three-year extension for $5.5 million. The Goz will be in Pittsburgh full-time next year and with guys like Ryan Whitney and Philippe Boucher out of the way he should see significant PP time. His numbers from last year (20 points in 45 games) project out nicely over a full season so don't underrate.
We've been hearing all this scuttlebutt about how Jay Bouwmeester would like to play in Western Canada but I'm not sure that we've ever heard it directly (maybe I'm mistaken), but apparently his agent is spreading that around saying that he'd prefer to return to Western Canada but he's not limiting his options. Well Calgary doesn't have the cap space and Edmonton needs forwards more than dmen so Vancouver looks like the best bet out of those three and they'd have the cap space regardless if they sign the Sedin's or not.
We never did our Breakouts & Breakdowns from the finals, here you go...
Breakouts (young player who showed some breakout potential):
Max Talbot - Was the hero of game #7 and with 4+2=6 in the finals, he was an offensive force. He was a 100-point guy back in his Q days but has never cracked 26 points in his 3+ NHL seasons so we have to say no to any chance of a breakout. Speaking of which, we'll also give Max our John Druce Award (player who came out of nowhere to score a bunch but has no chance of repeating that during the regular season) as his 8 goals in 24 games in the playoffs almost approached the 12 he had all season... it will be back to reality in the fall for Max.
Breakdowns (complete & utter implosion):
Pretty Much Any Wings Forward - Hossa, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Samuelsson and Hudler combined for no goals in the finals.
Sidney Crosby - have to give Sid some love in this category, he's got the Cup so what does he care, but the kid was pretty invisible in the finals, 1+2=3 and a -3.
We mentioned the rumoured signing of Sergei Shirokov by the Canucks last week but nothing has been made official yet... well, from our friends over at the Canucks Hockey Blog via Mirtle we learned that there is some legal tug-of-war activity going on behind the scenes and so that's holding up the official announcement and may put his arrival in Vancouver in jeopardy... stay tuned.
Jim Balsillie's bid to overpay for the Coyotes and bail the NHL out was rejected by Judge Baum... essentially saying that there wasn't enough time to resolve all the issues by Jimmy Ball's June 29th deadline... we should have known, asking any court to make a ruling in under 3 years is pretty absurd. Doesn't sound like Balsillie is done yet though as the team will still be auctioned off eventually but the Judge ruled that he doesn't think the Coyotes lease with Glendale can be broken... so not sure how Jimmy Balls or any other prospective owner plans to get out of that.
Carolina gave head coach Paul Maurice the gig on a full time basis and Ron Francis is also staying behind the bench... good news for Caniacs and fantasy hockey GMs with Carolina players as this team was dynamite after Mo & Ronny stepped in. Post All-Star break they were 3rd in the league in goals scored and 2nd in goals against and guys like Eric Staal and Cam Ward really took over. Lets hope for more of the same next year. We should have Maurice ranked pretty highly when we get around to update our NHL Coach Rankings this summer.
M'sota GM Chuck Fletcher hired Todd Richards to be his new head coach. Good hire as Richards was very successful in a two year stint as head coach of the Baby Pens in WB-Scranton from 2006 to 2008. Both years his team's finished top five in the standings and he took them all the way to the Calder Cup finals in 2008. His team's were strong defensively (top 10 in the league in gaa both years) but also had a little pop without a lot of talent. Last season he was an assistant in SJ and ran the PP, which ranked 3rd in the league. So it seems that he'll attempt to ignite an offense in Minny that has been dormant for the entire existence of the Wild (ranked 22nd in goals and 30th in shots last year)... good news if you own Wild-men but we're not sure they have the horses to run like that quite yet so it could be a few years to change old habits.
A few contract rumblings coming out of Detroit...they have to talk about something to distract them away from this. Ville Leino (a restricted free agent) said he will not play in the AHL next season. Mike Babcock, being the smart guy he is, said this won't be a problem as Leino will be with Wing next season. Leino is a guy to watch, especially if he ends up as a top six forward.
Ty Conklin has expressed a desire to re-up with the Wings for another year. Conks was great all season and would be a great fantasy addition if he ends up backing up the sometimes shakey Chris Osgood.
Sidney Crosby's knee should be all better in three weeks according to doctors. No surgery from Sid is good news for fantasy players. He'll be good as new next season. Also Crosby addressed 'snub-gate' and said that the Wings left while he was still celebrating. Does anybody still care about this?
Dany Heatley has pretty much filled our FHS pages the last few days...thanks Heater! Today's no different. Saw this article from the Ottawa Citizen where Chris Neil (yeah the guy who is a UFA on July 1st) spoke out about his teammate and his surprising trade request..."It's definitely shocking any time an elite player wants out of an organization that has bent over backwards for him," Neil said. "He's a guy who was under contract for a long time and he's paid very well . . . but if he doesn't want to be here, let him go and do his own thing." Neil doesn't sound too impressed. Brian Murray has a tough job here... getting full value is going to be tough.
Mike Smith sat out the last three months of the season for Tampa Bay with post-concussion syndrome after a hit to the head originally suffered in December and he still hasn't been back on skates!... yikes. But he and TB say that they're confident that he's making progress and will be ready to go by training camp... and we tend to believe everything that these guys say. [more]
More injury news being de-classified now that the finals are over:
Brian Rafalski and Tomas Holmstrom (of course) were banged up in the finals. Rafalski had a sore back but also had a separated shoulder he suffered against the Hawks. Homer suffered through a left knee injury and is contemplating hanging 'em up for good.
Sergei Gonchar suffered a partially torn MCL in Game 4 in the Pens series against the Caps. Most players would miss months with a torn MCL but Gonchar only missed two games. Don Cherry would be proud... if he was Canadian that is.
Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary were also playing with injuries. You know about Dats' foot injury but turns out he was also playing with a pretty serious charley horse. Cleary was slowed by a pretty bad groin injury. Both players are expected to be back to 100% come next season.
What's distracting us today? Thanks to Puck the Media we got to see Sean Avery's appearance on Jimmy Fallon. We now remember why we don't watch Fallon's attempt at a talk show. Jimmy bumbles his way through the interview before the always entertaining (and by entertaining,we mean embarrassing) host vs. player hockey challenge.
Our favourite part was Avery gritting his teeth through the line: "Pre-coming back to New York I had a little bit of a short fuse and I worked on some things". Oh Avery, so annoying, yet so entertaining.
Second up this week....even though we've poked fun at Versus a few times this past season, we have to admit they are getting a little better. Keith Jones was like nails on the chalkboard for us early in the year but even he is growing on us. After we hear him deliver the killer line "You're the smartest drunk guy I've ever seen" in this clip, we like him just a bit more. Thanks to BMR for the clip.