Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
The Rangers have made their interest clear in Doan, the 6-2, 228-pound right wing who recorded 50 points (22-28) last year before adding nine (5-4) in 16 playoff matches for the Western finalists. Doan, a right-handed shot who could move to the off-wing, has scored 20 or more goals in 11 of his past 12 seasons and has a career 788 points (318-470) in 1,198 career matches.
Doan, whose time with the organization predates by a year the move from Winnipeg to Phoenix in 1996-97, will decide his future next week after the situation regarding a lease between Glendale, Ariz., and prospective ownership comes into clearer focus.
Signatures are due by Monday on a referendum that would refer the recently reached lease agreement between the city council and prospective owner to the November general election. Seven candidates for the Glendale city council, including two contenders for Mayor, recently endorsed the referendum.
“As we’ve stated previously, Shane’s priority is to make a decision based on his loyalty to the club, but he wants to get a clearer idea regarding the franchise’s long-term future in Phoenix,” Bross said of Doan, who is coming off a five-year contract worth $4.75 million per.
The Minnesota Wild were a starless team in need of a big-time jolt to get the franchise back to the point of being worthy of playing in “the State of Hockey.”
The jolts don’t come any bigger than this.
The Wild landed not one but both of the NHL’s top prizes in free agency, signing forward Zach Parise and defenceman Ryan Suter on Wednesday. Each deal is for 13 years and $98 million, according to three people familiar with the contracts who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not release details.
“WE GOT ‘EM!” the Wild announced on their Twitter account early Wednesday afternoon, sending shockwaves across the league and through a devoted fan base that was starting to show signs of apathy after missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Parise, the former New Jersey Devils playmaker, and Suter, who paired with Shea Weber on the Nashville blue line, were regarded the cream of what was a thin free agent crop, and each had spent the past four days poring over numerous offers from several teams before making a decision.
“This is a great day in the history of the Minnesota Wild,” GM Chuck Fletcher said in a conference call.
In the 2005 world junior hockey tournament, Cory Schneider had a long look at how teammate and roommate Al Montoya handled expectation in backstopping the U.S. to within a win of a medal in Grand Forks, N.D.
It could be the other way around next NHL season. But that might be a bit of a stretch, based more on a past link than a pressing present need. Time will tell.
When the Vancouver Canucks finally move Roberto Luongo in an offseason trade scenario, they will need to address various needs and also find more than just a capable backup for Schneider in his new role as the bonafide starter.
They’ll need someone who can step in and play a number of pre-determined games or more if Schneider succumbs to injury or indifferent play. They’ll need someone who can support the starter and who won’t wilt under the glare of the media spotlight.
In time, that goalie will be Eddie Lack. For now, it could be Montoya. Or it could someone else.
The right unrestricted free agent may provide what the Canucks are seeking because of what the Presidents’ Trophy winners and the St. Louis Blues proved last season.
He was never going to fill the needs in the entry draft and the chances were remote that a big, first-line centre and an experienced goalie from the early days of free agency.
But that doesn’t mean Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke plans to head to training camp without acquiring either big ticket or both. Whether realistic or not, Burke vowed on Tuesday that there is plenty to be done over the next two-plus months.
“I would say that’s not a real possibility at all,” Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan radio when asked if the current roster will be the one that reports for camp. “That’s remote. We need to do some more work.
“We believe we can upgrade at those positions, yes.”
Burke acknowledged that the requirements of new coach Randy Carlyle will be different than those of Ron Wilson which is why size will matter in whatever shopping happens. He believes he answered that in part by acquiring big (but not necessarily nasty) winger James van Riemsdyk in the draft-day trade with Philadephia but more needs to be done.
At least Brian Burke used the pronoun “we.”
When describing the perils of spending stupid money on July 1, the Maple Leafs general manager included himself in the group that tends to overpay on hockey’s annual shopping day, whether the shelves are stocked with quality merchandise or not.
Burke, after all, has seen his share of acquisitions blow up in each of his first three summers here. First there was Mike Komisarek who was overpaid and immediately underachieved. Then there was Colby Armstrong who might have been a useful third-liner if he could have stayed healthy. And most recently, the failed first-line centre named Tim Connolly.
In each case Burke was taking a shot and various deficiencies, including injury, conspired against the success of the top three, especially Armstrong, who had his contract bought out on the weekend.
So not doing anything of significance on the first two days of free agency may not have been the worst thing for Burke and Leafs management. Not that they had a choice at landing the big game, mind you.
Not overspending this time around is in part prudence by the team and in part the predicament that the Leafs find themselves in.
With a lean market to begin with, a roster with too many holes and too many questions about which direction the team is headed, Toronto is far from a preferred destination for the top end of any free agent crop.
It may not have always been that way. When Burke first arrived here, it was probably easier to get players and agents around the league to buy into the buzz. One of the sport’s biggest personalities landing in maybe its biggest market was tantalizing. Getting Phil Kessel as a bonafide superstar right out of the hop, plus the declaration that he wasn’t interested in a five-year rebuild made the Leafs at least intriguing.