Hockey Rumors and News – October 18, 2009

Kovalchuk decision looming: analysts

CBC Sports

A decision by Atlanta forward Ilya Kovalchuk on his future is coming soon.

Watch for a full-fledged goaltending controversy in Montreal
Kovalchuk decision looming: analysts

CBC Sports

A decision by Atlanta forward Ilya Kovalchuk on his future is coming soon.

The impending Thrashers free agent will decide in the next few weeks whether he will re-sign with the club or choose to test free-agency, according to analysts Pierre LeBrun and Elliotte Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada’s Hotstove segment on Saturday.

“That could happen in the next couple of weeks. [There are] a lot of positive feelings coming out of Atlanta,” LeBrun said. “But there’s a team in the [Kontinental Hockey League] … that I think would love to get its hands on him.”

That team is Russia SKA Saint Petersburg, operated by KHL president Alexander Medvedev. If Kovalchuk moves back to Russia, it would be the biggest coup so far for the fledging super-league.

Kovalchuk has spent all of his eight NHL seasons with the Thrashers, who drafted him first overall in 2001.

But he’s only had limited playoff success with the team. Atlanta only reached the post-season once with the Russian in the lineup, in 2006-07 when the Thrashers were swept in the first round.

If Kovalchuk chooses not to sign with Atlanta, Friedman said he might make the move to Russia.

“A number of Russian players around the league believe that if he’s not in Atlanta next year, he will go back to Russia,” he said. “And the question is: Does he want the money [that will be offered in the KHL], or does he want to stay in the NHL?”

Leafs’ Slump Could Have Olympic Fallout


Under different cir*****stances, Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke would probably be facing a quandary. With his team equaling its worst start in 92 years after Saturday night’s 4-1 loss to the Rangers, it would not be surprising if Coach Ron Wilson’s job was in jeopardy.

But Burke is also the general manager of the United States Olympic team, and Wilson is that team’s coach. It would be awkward for him to dismiss Wilson from the Leafs but retain him for the Olympic tournament that begins Feb. 15 in Vancouver.

The question arises just two weeks into the season because Toronto is 0-6-1, and its fans and the voracious press that covers the Leafs in this hockey-obsessed city have begun asking whether Wilson should be fired. Wilson has been prickly in exchanges with members of the news media after a few of the Leafs’ six losses. Despite an off-season revamping of the roster by Burke and the promise of a turnaround from last season’s 12th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, the Leafs have fallen flat.

“It’s intense here,” said defenseman Mike Komisarek, one of Burke’s expensive free-agent signings. “It can be a real pressure cooker.”

NHL brass pleased with Quebec City’s move


It would appear that the NHL’s top two in command are at least taking notice of Quebec City’s drive to get a new franchise.

“It is apparent that the overall reaction in Quebec City to Mayor Labeaume’s plan for a new arena is very positive,” said Commissioner Gary Bettman in an e-mail with the Journal de Quebec. “We will watch the process with interest.”

Bill Daly echoed those statements and added that a new arena built in Quebec City would go a long way in helping the city secure a team.

“We are encouraged by the Mayor’s announcement on the new arena and we believe it will be a very good thing for the City of Quebec,” he said. “While there are no guarantees that an NHL franchise can return, certainly a new arena will enhance those prospects significantly.”

The question of what the city has to do to get a team -– building a new amphitheatre seems to be the key here -– remains, as does Quebec City’s position in relation to other cities vying for a franchise.

Will Quebec City be put ahead of Kansas City, Las Vegas and other American cities looking to land a hockey club?

Neither Daly nor Bettman will comment on a possible ranking as far as Quebec is concerned. Daly, however, told the Toronto Star on Oct. 11 that the league favours Canadian cities that have supported NHL franchises in the past.

Answering a question about Hamilton’s hope of getting a team, Daly said: “Both Winnipeg and Quebec have already done that (supported an NHL team). We`ll see how things evolve. That doesn`t mean that Hamilton won`t be considered. It will be.“ So is it possible that Quebec, Winnipeg and Hamilton could all land franchises at the same time? Sources close to the NHL have said that the six Canadian teams have become important for the NHL since the economic crisis hit the US will full force. That has resulted in teams like the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lighting, Atlanta Thrashers, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes all facing serious financial troubles.

Watch for a full-fledged goaltending controversy in Montreal


Watch for a full-fledged goaltending controversy in Montreal. Carey Price’s poor play has carried over from last season and there’s a strong belief that Jaroslav Halak should be the Habs’ No. 1 goalie. Some NHL insiders think Halak should already have the job. That’s why GM Bob Gainey has been fielding calls from several teams who are interested in Halak, because if the Habs don’t think he’s a No. 1, there are lot teams that do. Chicago, Washington, Detroit and Tampa might look for goaltending help later on in the season … The Blackhawks are going to have a tough time keeping young players like C Jonathan Toews, RW Patrick Kane and D Duncan Keith in the fold when they become restricted free agents next summer. The belief is the ’Hawks will shop D Brian Campbell and his $7.14-million US salary in the off-season to see if they can free up some cap space in hopes they can re-sign the trio … Top two candidates to be the next GMs hired in the NHL: Steve Yzerman and TSN’s Pierre McGuire. Nobody will go after Yzerman until after the Olympics. McGuire was a finalist for the Wild job that went to Chuck Fletcher.

32 Responses to Hockey Rumors and News – October 18, 2009

  1. mtlman2005 says:

    Carey Price's poor play?? On what planet have you been watching hockey?? He is the only reason the habs aren't getting blown out every night… The first 2 games of the season was ALL him. In Vancouver, yes they scored 7 goals on him, but only 1 was his fault. All the rest was horrible defense and retarded turnovers… He played well in Edmonton, and got unlucky TWICE vs colorado…
    So I don't know where you are coming from, but Montreal is far from having goaltender problems right now… We need D, we need scoring, we need consistency, we need effort, but Price is pretty much the only thing going well for the team…

  2. billypilgrim says:

    Hi. I'm a habs fan. Does anyone out there know what prospects might be available for next summer's draft? I'm wondering if anyone has any info on who might go in the top 5.

    And Halak would not have won more games than Price so far this season. The team pretty much sucks. Patrick Roy could come out of retirement and they still wouldn't win more games. I'm not sure that a healthy Markov could help them win much more.

    I give them until Christmas to get it together. Otherwise Gainey should resign.

  3. mon167 says:

    I agree with the poster  above! Montreal's problem isn't goaltending! they have had a couple bad breaks…some goals were just great plays by the other team like Neil's goal and kovalev's shot is as precise as it gets. A team like montreal should try and cut down maybe a goal or two against per game (so thats a D problem, but i will admit it doesn't help missing Markov) but mainly, with high paid players and lots of potential in plekanec and kostitsyn, montreal should be getting more than 1 or 2 goals a game.

    Price and Halak are both good, both young and perhaps inconsistant…but to say that they are they problem…ridiculous. That position is the last to blame in all of this.
  4. reinjosh says:

    and so begins the cap clearing moves by boston
    Kobasew is now a member of the Wild
    good move by both teams
    The Wild get a top 9 forward (and no, he isnt anything more bbruins)
    and the Bruins clear 2.333 million dollars in cap space for this and next season as well as add yet another pick to their madly growing stock of picks
    although this trade helps a little it far from clears the bruins from their cap problems next year

  5. reinjosh says:

    although they hardly got anything for him
    a second rounder in what still seems to be shaking up as the weakest draft in more than a decade
    and a prospect who is ok all around but is nothing special and needs to get bigger and faster just be able to keep up in the NCAA (meaning he likely will never see time in the NHL)

  6. bbruins37 says:

    i always liked kobasew, even if he did get off to a slow start this year. 9 picks in the first two rounds the next two years though. you gotta love that.

    obviously a cap move. if weller couldnt make the wild, im highly going to doubt he'll make the bruins. i think the b's should go with this lineup once lucic gets back:


    marchand or sobotka should be able to fill in pretty nicely for kobasew. if lucic is out for a while id say keep sturm up there and bring up hamill. if recchi keeps playing like hes playing id say move bitz up to the second line, although id hate to break the 4th line up. theyve been awesome this season.

    i still believe kobasew is a top 6 forward. hes got a pretty complete package and has the ability to get 2 points every 3 games or so.

    and great analysis on a prospect that you just heard of for the first time today…

  7. cam7777 says:

    go to

  8. mojo19 says:

    love the excuses. Only 1 of the 7 goals was his fault… lol okay, if you wanna lie to yourself thats fine

    then i love that he got "unlucky twice"… thats a classic excuse.

  9. reinjosh says:

    no actually i had heard of Fallstrom before and while there is a chance he could make the NHL (he has talent and skill) its not likely being a 4th round pick. though i could be wrong 3 or 4 years down the road. Ive heard comparisons to Stalberg. If he can get bigger and faster he could be a decent depth prospect.
    And you could be right about him becoming a top 6 player on a defensive team like the wild but a player who has never scored more than 42 points is not a top 6 forward.
    but how are the bruins going to cope with losing so much scoring in so little time.
    Whats that now, like 57 goals from last season from two players put down to 217 goals putting you 21st last season.
    Thats a huge hit.

  10. bbruins37 says:

    the consensus top three are LW taylor hall, D cam fowler (both on windsor in the OHL), and tyler seguin (on Plymouth in the OHL). RW Kiril Kabanov on Moncton in the QMJHL could easily break that group up though. he started a bit late and has played great so far. the 5th on is a little more wide open. id say D Brandon Gormley (moncton), LW John Mcfarland (Sudbury), and C Brett Connolly (Prince George, WHL) are the best bets

    taylor hall is a cant miss prospect and has been projected as #1 for a long time now. dynamic offensive player.

    fowler is an overall d-man but shows huge offensive potential in my opinion

    seguin is a slick playmaker who's lighting up the OHL even moreso than hall this year. he's supposed to be more of a passer but is leading the league in goals i think.

  11. bbruins37 says:

    yeah its not like sturm's 25+ goals, and bergie's obvious rebound from 8 goals is going to replace anything like that…plus marchand or sobotka coming up. nice try though

  12. reinjosh says:

    you always sound as if im trying to prove the bruins are a terrible team
    which im not
    and yah i didnt know sturm scored 20 plus in three straight seasons
    but the Bruins are kinda struggling without Kessel
    and they just lost 20 more goals
    its not too much to assume that with Lucic out too they will suffer from goal lose
    its quite logical actually
    and just for you sake, because you just love to point out everything about the leafs
    Boston will finish no higher than 3rd in the conference
    waste assets getting a player at the deadline
    make it no further than the second round (proving they wasted assets)
    pick no higher than pick number 13 in the draft
    lose Savard due to lack of cap space
    suffer from the lack of Savard, and realize that he was the key to your entire offense
    suffer from the continuation of Thomas's fall from stardom and watch as Rask does nothing but sit in the minors because you cant afford him
    and then watch Kadri and Kessel lighting up your team every time they play you

  13. bbruins37 says:

    come on man, all thats only got like a 99% chance of happening. you cant say it WILL happen…

  14. bbruins37 says:

    id also like to point out the progression of leafs fans' views on kessel.

    its gone from "oh man kessel sucks. hes only good because of savard"


    "oh well we have kessel now, but i still dont really like this deal"


    "kessel will light up the bruins every time they play"

    all this despite him not playing one game in all this time.

    youve doneit pretty gradually though, so i have to commend you for that

  15. cam7777 says:

    ha, this is true, but you can hardly blame us.  the team has been horrible.  we've been forced to turn to kessel as something to fall back on.  that said, my expectations for kessel are not unrealistic.  i expect him to make our powerplay lethal.  with him and kaberle making the playmaking magic, and Beauchemin with the bomb from the point, there is no reason we shoudln't have a deadly powerply.  if he can do this, the leafs wil claw their way to their usual middle of the pack standing again.  i don't think that's an unrealistic expectation of him.

    oh, and just as the leafs fans opinions on kessel have changed, it was that way with the bruins fans as well.  first he was untouchable, then a must sign, one of the best snipers in the league, future 50 goal man, and then he was suddenly a locker room cancer, easily replaced by sturm's return, blah blah, it works both ways, so let's not be too quick to throw stones…

  16. bbruins37 says:

    my view on kessel has never changed. you made the cancer comment actually. and yes, sturm and bergie should definitely make up for lost production, plus whoever becomes savards linemate fulltime.

  17. bbruins37 says:

    i wonder what it would take to get kovalchuk in boston. i honestly dont even know where to start for that kind of offer

  18. pezzz123 says:

    Wheeler, Colbourne, 1rst round pick, 2nd round pick. Probably something among those lines.

  19. bbruins37 says:

    yeah probably. id definitely push for a conditional pick though based on if kovalchuk signs with the bruins. but i cant remember a conditional pick going back for a player of that profile.

    that would leave our lineup something like:

    kovalchuk-savard-lucic (if he can play his off-wing well)
    recchi- krejci-ryder

    lucic clearing room for those two would be huuuuuge.

    and we'd still be left with 3 1sts, and 4 2nds over the next two years…

  20. cam7777 says:

    CBC seems to think that Kovalchuk will sign in Atlanta or return to Russia and take basically the biggest contract ever.  Personally, I think he will wait it out.  If he wants to play in Atlanta, why not let the season play out, and let them ship him anywhere they want at the deadline.  They'll get back a massive return, end up drafting super high, and their rebuild is over.  Someone like Boston can't afford to resign him anyways (it's him or Savard reaslistically, and picking Kovalchuk complicates everything else).  Then he can just return to Atlanta with an even more stocked team.  Imagine the depth after that draft and subsequent resigning:

    Ilya Kovalchuk
    Nikolai Antropov
    Bryan Little
    Evander Kane
    Colby Armstrong
    Blake Wheeler
    Max Afinogenov
    Marty Reasoner
    Todd White
    Rich Peverley

    and on defense:

    Pavel Kubina
    Tobias Enstrom
    Ron Hainsey
    Zach Bogozian
    Cam Fowler (the guy they should draft if they fall after trading Kovy)
    Boris Valabik

    not to mention:

    Kari Lehtonen
    Ondrej Pavelec

    If I were Kovalchuk, and I really wanted to jumpstart the rebuild, I'd do this/

  21. mtl_prince says:

    I take it your a leafs fan mojo? cause if you were a habs fan you would have seen the first 7 games of the season and seen how poorly the habs are playing in front of price. but i guess some people will be negative no matter what the outcome. there are alot of negatives on the habs roster, fortunatly goltending isnt one of them. its kinda like fox news, there against you no matter what ahahaha

  22. HABSSTAR says:

    While Price's play hasn't been crazy good, neither has it been the reason for the loses. 

    The scorers aren't scoring (yet) and the D is reeeeeaaallly missing Markov.

    Such is life.  What's nice is at least this yearly swoon that the Habs are pulling is happening right now.  It either goes up from here, or it gets worse, in which case is there a BIG center available in this draft????  lol

  23. mtlman2005 says:

    mojo, or you're a retard that knows nothing about hockey, or you just didn't watch the games…
    Against vancouver, it was turnover, after turnover, with the occasional breakaway…
    And the 2 goals against Colorado we're tipped by his own defensemen, right in front of him…

    So how about you keep watching your leafs lose, and hope they get a win before the end of the year! I'll stick with my goalie, that is doing a lot better then both of yours I should add!!!

  24. mon167 says:

    Ya there are some pretty good prospects available in this year's draft. Of course all the prospects outside of the top 5 are usually not guaranteeing you anything but there are some good prospects the Habs could use. There are a few big dmen and some big RW…which would be perfect for the habs. The only question is how will these prospects turn out, and can the habs make a trade this year for some scoring/D help, if they do they might have to part with their pick

  25. mon167 says:

    haaha seriously mojo, the habs may be sucking but its not the goalie's faults. Of course Price could have been better but he definitely is not playing badly.

    The way things are going the habs are on pace for 48 points….lol the leafs tho…12! ahahaha oh oh oh and they don't even have a pick in the first round so imagine they finish last…they get nothing for it! hahaha

  26. reinjosh says:

    i have never once said kessel was bad
    not once
    not when he was a bruin
    not when he has become a leaf
    my stance has always been he has a good amount of talent and prospered on savards wing
    he may struggle at first without savard and then figure out how to play without a center
    then when (or if) kadri makes the team next year, he could develop good chemistry with him and play well together
    much like the relationship between savard and kessel (no im not comparing kessel to kadri)
    that has been my view the whole time
    it hasnt changed
    other peoples views have

  27. reinjosh says:

    Well we can be sure that Kovy will command a big package
    and although i do not support CHiarellis godlike status from on face that will go unnamed
    I think he has proven to be a very good GM (at least top 5) and I think if things get to expensive he wont pursue it further
    I could see Atlanta wanting
    Wheeler, Colborne, Rask (though this would likely be for a trade to another team as Atlanta has Lehtonen and Pavelec), Marchand and at least one of your two 1st this year (not all but at least two of those players would have to be pieces)
    It would also make sense to have a guaranteed 1st going to Atlanta but with conditions, say depending on how far they get its a 2010 first rounder if the bruins make it to the second round and only a 2011 first rounder if they only make it to the first round
    I know that you would not want to trade Rask (he is good) but with Thomas the obvious starter, Rask is just going to sit there getting unused and it would make sense to use him as trade bait because he would have huge value.

  28. HABSSTAR says:

    and maybe top five protect those picks? lol

  29. THENOTORIOUS says:

     The problem in Montreal isn't the goalies, it's the defense, Hamrlik and Mara have been very good for what they're worth, Georges has been Ok but Spacek isn't what he was in Buffalo and Shawn Belle isn't NHL caliber as for Hal Gill don't get me started, every time a team scores against the Habs, Gill's on the ice, I didn't undestood when they sign him and I don't understand why they give him so much ice time?

     As for the offense, it's pretty hard to score goals when you have no transition game, besides Mara and Hamrlik nobody can pass the puck to the forewards, I doubt the habs will make the playoffs with Markov out of the line-up for that long. Spacek really need to pick up the pace or it will be a long year for the Habs.

     BTW it looks like Plekanec is back to his old form like I predicted and I would not be surprise if he ends-up being Montreal top scoring foreward this year.

     To narrow it down Montreal defense has had way too many turnovers this year and I don't see it getting any better without Markov and Gill getting all that ice-time.

     The 2 biggest hockey markets(Montreal and Toronto) are having a really hard time and I doubt that either teams will make the Playoffs.


  30. THENOTORIOUS says:

     If we lose thats fine cause the Habs are young and learning and we always have the draft to look up to but for you Leafs fans it's a lose lose situation as you don't get a 1st rounder this year or the year after.

     Hopefully you guys can win 1 game before Kessell comes back.

  31. TimTheBone says:

    Yeah Mojo i have to agree with the consensus here…. you must not have actually been watching the habs games…. being a leafs fan i dont blame you. But Price, although not playing at his absolute best, hasnt been the reason for our poor showing at the start of the season. Price has been the most consistant player on our roster. Our defense has been attrocious, even despite not looking too bad on paper!…. Spacek has not shown much, Mara is decent, hamrlik could be better, Gorges is in my opinion the best defender all around right now, and Gill…. well What do you really expect from him.

    Bottom line im getting at is Price is HARDLY the problem right now in Montreal.

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