Hockey Rumors and News – October 15, 2009

Pens defenseman kicks cold, talks contract

Burke won’t wait forever for shake-up

Can’t give up on Huet just yet

Pens defenseman kicks cold, talks contract


Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar said Wednesday he is finally over a nasty cold that afflicted him from the final week of training camp through the opening weeks of the regular season.

“Mostly it just kept me tired all the time,” he said.

Gonchar added “it only makes sense” that his agent, JP Barry, and the Penguins have agreed to put off negotiations on a contract extension until after Jan. 1, when GM Ray Shero will have a better grasp on the 2010-11 salary cap.

Gonchar, 35, is in the final season of a five-year deal at a $5 million annual cap hit. He reiterated his desire to finish his NHL career with the Penguins

• Hurricanes goaltending coach Tom Barrasso is slated to become the third member of the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup champion Penguins teams inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame. Barrasso, the all-time wins leader in Penguins history, will join previous GM Craig Patrick and former RW Joe Mullen, who were inducted in 1996 and 1998, respectively. The Penguins plan to induct Barrasso and former center Ron Francis into their Hall of Fame at some point this season.

Burke won’t wait forever for shake-up

Kevin Mcgran

Six games is too soon, but GM warns his patience has a limit

It’s going to take more than this six-game slide for GM Brian Burke to worry about his Maple Leafs, but he’s not going to wait forever.

“In my mind I see some evolution occurring, some improvement, despite our results,” Burke said Wednesday. “I think the players know how serious I am about winning. I think they know from the moves that have been made that we don’t intend to wait forever.

“I don’t think that needs to be restated. If you’re a player in the dressing room and you haven’t figured that out in Toronto, you’re not paying attention.”

Burke said coach Ron Wilson’s job is safe, calling it “absurd” the notion that Wilson might be fired. He said he’d make the Phil Kessel trade – which seems to get more controversial the more the team loses – again. It cost him two first-round picks and a second-rounder for the injured sniper.

But Burke acknowledged problems throughout the lineup.–burke-won-t-wait-forever-for-shake-up

Can’t give up on Huet just yet

Tim Sassone

It’s way too early to give up on Cristobal Huet less than two weeks into the season.
But the clock is ticking.

Huet has made four starts and been shaky in all of them. His exit seven minutes into Monday’s game against Calgary after he allowed 3 goals on 5 shots was the right move by Hawks coach Joel Quenneville even if the defensive play in front of the goalie was shoddy.

It’s a goalie’s job to come up with big saves after defensive breakdowns, especially the goalie on a team that’s supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Huet has been beaten up high (David Booth’s tying goal in the season opener), to the short side (Kris Draper in Detroit), and through his body (Colorado’s Milan Hejduk on a 5-on-3 power plat last Saturday).
Big saves at big times. Sorry, you’ve just got to have them.
Quenneville has a history of being impatient with his goalies so it’ll be interesting to see how long Huet continues to be supported by his coach.

The Hawks really don’t have much choice than to let Huet play through his early-season problems, at least right now with Antti Niemi still unproven.

Huet has two years left on his contract after this one for $5.625 million a season, which makes him almost impossible to trade.