Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
Friday night at the Coliseum draft party, Islanders radio man Chris King interviewed the newly acquired Lubomir Visnovsky via phone from Europe. Visnovsky was at home in Slovakia and there’s now a chance that he may stay in Slovakia to play or even head to the KHL in Russia. The slovak website hokejportal.net snagged an interview with Visnovsky after he was acquired by the Islanders yesterday. (Credit to NYIFC for finding it)
In the interview, Visnovsky says that he is weighing offers from both the KHL and from a team in his home country of Slovakia. He has not come to a decision as to where he will play in 2012-13 yet, but it appears that he is seriously considering the other offers. Here’s the Google Translate version of the pertinent questions:
(Emphasis is mine)
In early May, you said that you expect in the NHL last season. Still this is true?
“Still, but I can say that I get a bid from Russia and I think about them. He and his wife have already talked about the fact that in New York can not not go and I’ll take any offer from the KHL, and because I have such opportunities. We’ll see where I end. KHL has signed a contract for some of the NHL and Europe is the only league where I could play in the NHL despite the contract. ”
An interesting approach. Can you give a percentage, where you play next season?
“While I do not know it really well so I think in the head. NHL is certainly paramount, but we need to discuss this at home. But as I said, the KHL is a possibility. ”
Certainly expect that you will be asked for your interviews with managers of the Slavs.
“We met, but I did not get an offer. Maros knew that I still have a contract in the NHL, so it probably did not address. But I think also the fact that I finished a career at Slovan, because this is my Heart. In the meantime, do not want to end a career, perhaps waiting for me last season in the NHL, but I hope and believe that it will not last season in his career. ”
And when you offer, that official will come, it is possible that the longer you play next season in Slavic?
“It’s possible, this option also exists. But not really in a very theoretical. I do not know if I Slovan wants. ”
If we say that the season 2012/13 occurs in the Islanders, it’s part of our bold claim?
“Would it be so, so you can write it. However, there are other ideas, as I would like to address. ”
The Islanders would probably be disappointed, right?
“Of course. But now I have these things to pass, it’s business and I’ll deal with it according to what is best for me and for my coming. “
It depends how bad the feelings are between Brian Burke and Mike Gillis.
After the weekend, it’s not hard to say they’re sour, with gusts to out-and-out dislike.
That’s okay. GMs who don’t like each other can do hockey deals, and part of the weekend was spent by both men trying to see if they can work out a trade that would move Roberto Luongo and his enormous contract into the Leaf tent.
Nothing happened, and Burke’s comments that he wasn’t going to “strip-mine” his organization to get a goalie without mentioning Luongo specifically suggested Gillis is asking for a lot more than Burke – or anybody – is willing to give. Only Florida is also in the mix, it appears, which works for Luongo since it’s his first choice.
Gillis says he’s in no hurry. Well, he might want to re-think that.
There’s one card Burke could play, one that would turn relations between the two clubs downright ugly.
The Leaf GM could lay down a huge, multi-year, multi-million offer sheet next Monday for the other Vancouver goalie, 26-year-old restricted free agent Cory Schneider, the Canucks goalie every team would rather get if they had a choice.
That wouldn’t get them Schneider; Vancouver would have to match rather than accept multiple first rounders from Toronto.
But it would force Vancouver’s hand in the same way San Jose forced Chicago to let Antti Niemi go a few years ago by signing Niklas Hjalmarsson. Let’s say the Schneider offer was eight years for $40 million. The Canucks would be stuck with more than $10 million in annual goalie costs, with both at lengthy terms. The Leafs could also, if they wanted, load the deal with so-called “lockout” money, say $15 million in the first year that would be Schneider’s even if there’s a lockout next season.
In the wake of the Jordan Staal trade Friday, the Penguins have identified their nucleus as Crosby, reigning league MVP and scoring champ Evgeni Malkin, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, winger James Neal and defenseman Kris Letang.
Fleury, 27, is the oldest of those players. Neal and Crosby, both 24, are the youngest.
Any deals by the Penguins to add Suter, 27, and Parise, 28, would be made with the idea of keeping Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Neal and Letang through at least the expiration of Fleury’s contract in three years.
The Penguins won’t consider signing a player to a salary higher than Crosby’s, and they will not front-load deals to lure free agents.
The Penguins are aggressively shopping defenseman Paul Martin. His contract, which has three years and $15 million remaining, must be shed to make a serious run for Suter and Parise.
Trades of Staal (to Carolina) and defenseman Zbynek Michalek (to Phoenix) on Day 1 of the draft opened $6 million in annual salary-cap space for the Penguins. They are nearly $15 million under the projected $70 million upper limit for next season, pending terms of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Though defense is the organizational strength at the prospect level, including four defensemen selected in the first two rounds of the most recent drafts, the Penguins crave a top-pairing partner for Letang.
Suter is the target, though there are contingencies to add a defenseman this offseason — most likely via trade — if the Penguins fail. They are open to including defensive prospect Simon Despres in a potential deal to land a top-shelf defenseman.
Roberto Luongo remained Vancouver Canucks property as the NHL draft weekend wrapped up. Same went for Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Really, no surprise on either end.
Neither blockbuster trade was ever much dependent on the timeline related to the draft — the Canucks certainly are not that interested in a first-round pick as the chief asset in return for Luongo. They want players who can help them now while their window to win the Stanley Cup remains open.
Although you could argue the Blue Jackets, meanwhile, should have been trying to garner as many first-round picks as they could, the reality is that the first-round picks who would have been in play from the front-runners — the Rangers, Flyers or Sharks — weren’t high enough in Friday’s first round to compel the Jackets to make a move.
Instead, much to the chagrin of the Nash camp, the Jackets almost certainly will wait until July 1 unfolds and try to recoup interest from teams that strike out on UFA star winger Zach Parise.
But what might frustrate the Rangers to a degree is that Parise has said he won’t sign with them. He wouldn’t do that to the Devils. Thus, New York isn’t terribly thrilled this Nash thing is dragging out, although not nearly as annoyed as the Nash camp itself. In a smart move, the Rangers opened a dialogue with Anaheim on winger Bobby Ryan.
A Plan B is a necessity.
Other clubs also interested in Nash include Ottawa and Carolina. The Senators want to stay in the mix even though their best hook is now gone. With the Jackets drafting two goalies Saturday, plus trading for Sergei Bobrovsky on Friday, I doubt the Jackets would have interest in either Robin Lehner or Ben Bishop at this point. Still, the Senators can stay in by changing their possible offer. It might surprise some that the Hurricanes are in the mix, especially after picking up Jordan Staal Friday. But a source confirmed that Carolina is intent on staying in the race for Nash.
In essence, both teams are hoping a change of scenery helps the players blossom into game-changers.
And when you draft a player second overall (van Riemsdyk in 2007) and fifth overall (Schenn in 2008), that’s what you expect: a game-changer.
The deal saves the Flyers some money – Schenn has a $3.6 million cap hit for four years, JVR has a $4.25 cap hit for the next six years – and it appears to shut the door on the Flyers’ pursuit of Ryan Suter and Justin Schultz, a pair of soon-to-be free-agent defensemen.
Assuming captain Chris Pronger is unable to return and that the Flyers re-sign Matt Carle, their defense for next season might look like this: Braydon Coburn and Nick Grossmann; Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros; and Carle and Schenn, a stay-at-home, 6-foot-2, 229-pound defender.
That would give the Flyers a formidable (and beefy) unit, with Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson providing solid depth if needed.
But, suddenly, there is a hole in the offense. General manager Paul Holmgren said it is 50/50 that the club will be able to re-sign Jaromir Jagr, who can become a free agent next Sunday. Even if Jagr is re-signed, the Flyers appear to have enough cap space to go after winger Zach Parise, the jewel of this free-agent class.
Problem is, Pittsburgh – whose fans booed so loudly when the Flyers made a draft pick here this weekend that they drowned out the announced selections – have cleared lots of cap room and seem primed to make a strong run at Parise, who will have a long list of suitors.
Landing Parise, then, would be a double-win for the Penguins, who lost out to the Flyers in the Jagr sweepstakes last summer. (Side note: Late-blooming P.A. Parenteau of the Islanders is an intriguing free-agent winger.)
For Pittsburgh, getting Parise in his prime would trump the Flyers’ getting the still-effective Jagr late in his Hall of Fame career.