Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
The Toronto Maple Leafs remain interested in acquiring the services of Roberto Luongo.
According to TVA Sports hockey analyst Enrico Ciccone, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke contacted his Vancouver Canucks counterpart, Mike Gillis, about the 33-year-old goaltender last weekend.
This is not the first time Luongo has been linked to trade talks with Toronto. In April, the Leafs were among a group of teams that showed interest in the veteran netminder.
Luongo has played 727 games in the NHL and has spent the past six seasons in Vancouver.
Last season, the emergence of Canucks backup Cory Schneider has put Luongo’s status as the club’s No. 1 goalie in doubt.
The Canucks signed Schneider to a three-year, $12-million contract this off-season, leading to speculation that Luongo, who has 10 years left on a 12-year, $64-million contract, would be traded over the summer
There are a few different things that the NHL owners have always preyed on while handing out work stoppages like Halloween candy over the last 20 years under the leadership of Commissioner Gary Bettman.
They’ve always been able to break the backs of the players’ association at a critical juncture of the negotiations, and then take advantage of an NHLPA that couldn’t scramble to remain unified. They’ve always been able to count on the hockey diehards forgiving, forgetting and returning as ticket-buying consumers no matter how much the NHL plays the role of the abusive spouse.
In the end the NHL has also always taken full advantage of the individual hockey players, and their deep-rooted concern for the health and well-being of the league that they love so profoundly. That aforementioned concern with damaging the game was front-and-center while chatting with the players after their second lockout practice at Harvard’s Bright Hockey Center on Tuesday afternoon.
“We hoped it wouldn’t be as confrontational as the last time around, but obviously that wasn’t the same sentiment on the other side,” said B’s Andrew Ference, a former NHLPA players rep that takes a keen interest in CBA negotiations. “We’re getting into this rut where we’re almost a joke. Every few years we’ve got to revisit the same thing. One year it’s explained one way, and one year it’s explained another way.
The ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association are starting to stir up familiar feelings for Mathieu Schneider.
Schneider – who was active through both the 1994-95 and 2004-05 NHL lockouts as a player – says the players are frustrated by the prospect of the current work stoppage resulting in game cancellations. This time around, he is representing the players as Special Assistant to NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr.
“The fact that we’re sitting here in this position once again, of course, it’s frustrating for the players,” Schneider told TSN on Monday.
The Players’ Association has yet to table a counter-proposal to the league’s latest CBA offer, which the NHL filed on Sept. 12. The league voted unanimously to lock out the players the next day while both sides continued discussions.
“In each proposal that we’ve brought forward, we have moved,” Schneider said. “We’re the only ones that have been giving in this entire negotiation. Everything that they have put forward takes more from the players; on the contracting issues, on the straight share of the revenue and that’s the frustrating part for the players. Our next offer will be giving more back to the owners, they’re next offer will be taking more from the players.”
This morning began, minute one, with the NHL again officially in lockout. Death. Taxes. NHL gone dark. Until further notice, there will not be an NHL training camp near you this September. Again.
If you’re keeping score at home, this is lockout No. 3, which makes the NHL the worldwide leader in pro sports RLSS (repetitive labor stress syndrome). Most acute symptom: a stabbing, chronic pain in the neck.
Good news is, regular-season games are not scheduled to begin until the second week of October, which allows time for owners and players to look in the mirror and figure out just how ridiculous they look to the general public (read: ticket buyers and cable/DirecTV subscribers).
The two sides combined to amass $3.3 billion in revenue during the 2011-12 season, and great minds and leaders on both sides once more cannot figure out how to divvy up such a humongous wad of cash to their mutual satisfaction and, of course, benefit and delight.
I’d like to believe that eventually fan interest will take such a sizable dip amid one of these dunderheaded job actions that the industry, owners and players alike, will learn once and for all not to be the Richard Burton- Elizabeth Taylor of sports marriages. But the fans always come back, no matter what, ever willing to pay for ever-pricier tickets, pennants, and hot dogs.
There may be NHL hockey this fall after all…at least in Quebec.
Sources confirm several high profile French Canadian NHL players and agents are considering forming two teams to play games while NHL players and owners battle it out at the bargaining table.
Some of these players includes stars Daniel Briere, Claude Giroux, Patrice Bergeron, David Perron, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
The initial idea is to have two teams, one representing Montreal and the other representing Quebec City, to travel throughout Quebec playing at least one game per week. There’s talk of all the proceeds going to charity.
The idea of adding other Canadian markets such as Ottawa and Toronto has also been tossed around.
Over the next two or three weeks you will hear of more NHL players signing contracts to play over in Europe. Jussi Jokinen (Car) and D-man Jason Demers (San) recently inked contracts to play in the Finnish Elite League.
Others such as Valtteri Filppula and Teemu Selanne could join Jokerit in the Finnish league sometime in the near future.
The addition of defenseman Michal Rozsival to the Chicago Blackhawks blue-line on Tuesday only comes as a surprise in relation to timing. With all eyes focused on the final week before a lockout occurs the Hawks are still “minding the store” by picking up their second player this offseason, and it just also happens to be their second defenseman.
He better provide something more, because at a reported $2 million for the his one-year deal, he’s not just a minor, depth type of pick-up. League sources say the New York Rangers were interested, but the Hawks outbid them by a wide margin.
Rozsival will play, which makes the deal worth analyzing that much more. Though he’s not the most self-motivated individual and it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy, he’s got some talent left if he applies himself. Either way, he more than likely starts as a No. 5 defenseman who will see penalty-killing time as a good shot blocker and perhaps a few minutes on the power play if there are injuries.
He has a decent shot, and that’s not exactly a strength of Hawks defensemen.
But this move adds to a crowded blue-line which means a veteran or even a younger player will probably be on the move, either to the minors or out of town completely. Rozsival joins holdovers Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Leddy, Johnny Oduya, Montador and Dylan Olsen on a team that also signed Brookbank in July. That’s nine players for six spots while, at most, two would be watching from the stands. So who goes?
The easy answer would be Olsen. He’s on a two-way contract and with the Hawks in an urgent situation to win, bringing along a young defenseman might not be a luxury they want to deal with. It’s known that Joel Quenneville likes Olsen but that might not matter. More on that in a moment.
Last week, Shane Doan made a solemn vow that he would sign somewhere by midnight on September 15th, although his recent history of extended deadlines made us wonder if this was an empty threat.
Turns out it was. According to a recent report by John Gambadoro, a radio host on Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix, Doan has once again spurned his own deadline. But here’s the twist: the winger has actually moved it ahead for once. Gambadoro says that Doan will sign somewhere by 2pm on September 14th, because all contracts have to be signed by then.
What’s more, “somewhere” is one of only two places: Phoenix… or Vancouver. (Hey! that’s where we live!)
We’ve been real Debbie Downers about the Canucks’ chances thus far, but if Gambadoro’s report is to be believed, you sort of have to like them now. After all, Doan has said that he needs Greg Jamison’s deal with the city of Glendale to go through before he signs that four-year deal with the Coyotes, but what are the odds of that deal getting completed tomorrow? Heck, the last time someone successfully completed a deal to purchase the Coyotes was in 2005.
But don’t get too excited. (Like, you can get kind of excited. But don’t get excited to excess.) If Doan does join the Canucks, it could mean that the Canucks’ other ongoing saga likely won’t wrap up as neatly.
The addition of Doan is likely to hurt Mike Gillis’s attempts to get market value for Roberto Luongo.
The Detroit Red Wings could be close to signing defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to a two-year, $5 million contract.
General manager Ken Holland told M-Live.com Wednesday that they’re still talking, but that he is not signed.
M-Live reported on Aug. 24 that the Red Wings had made a two-year, $5 million offer to the 29-year-old who played the past four seasons with the St. Louis Blues.
Colaiacovo isn’t the top-pair defenseman the Red Wings were seeking after losing Nicklas Lidstrom (retirement) and Brad Stuart (signed with San Jose), but he is one of the few viable options remaining in what was a weak free-agent market.
Colaiacovo (6-foot-1, 200) is a good skater and puck-mover with some offensive ability. He averaged 27 points a season with the Blues. He shoots left and can play the point on the power play.
His biggest issue has been his health. He hasn’t played more than 67 games in any season.
The Red Wings have been pursuing Colaiacovo since the start of free agency. They initially offered a one-year deal, but he was seeking three years. The sides apparently will compromise at two years.
The Philadelphia Flyers have reportedly asked the Montreal Canadiens about the availability of restricted free agent defenceman P.K. Subban.
The Flyers are interested in adding Subban, who has been unable to come to terms on a new contract with the Canadiens. Philly will probably start the season with three blueliners — Chris Pronger, Andrej Meszaros and Andreas Lilja — out with injuries.
Sportsnet reported earlier this week that he was close to signing a three-year, $12 million deal but so far that hasn’t happened. Last month, TSN said Subban had rejected a two-year, $5.5 million offer.
With his large Vancouver Canucks hockey bag slung over one shoulder, goalie Roberto Luongo walked out of the Panthers facility Monday morning.
“See you next week,” Luongo told a member of the Coral Springs Iceplex’s staff before heading out the door.
Luongo flew to Vancouver on Tuesday to participate in the Canucks’ charity golf tournament and continue his informal offseason workouts with his teammates.
If the NHL owners lockout their players as expected come Saturday night, Luongo plans to continue his workouts in South Florida.
So, once Luongo leaves Vancouver, will he return?
“I have no idea what is going to happen,” he said.
Luongo, who played with Florida from 2000-05, wants to return to the Panthers.
It appears there is mutual interest, too. Panthers general manager Dale Tallon spoke to the Canucks about a potential trade in June, but talks have cooled.
The Canucks are said to want a number of Florida’s top young players in return for Luongo. However, the Panthers aren’t interested in parting with any of their future building blocks. Nothing will happen on the trade front until labor issues are settled.
For Luongo, it appears his time in Vancouver is over.
If the entirety of the NHLPA is looking for work in a few days, the KHL can afford to be picky—and that’s just what the Russian league will do.
Only “top-rated talent” is welcome, according to Sport-Express’ Slava Malamud, and that’s according to the league’s stated guidelines.
That means that if clubs are looking to sign non-Russian NHL players, they must have played in either 150 NHL games, on national teams, in the KHL previously or won a Stanley Cup or individual trophy.
The rules will go into effect the day the NHL announces the lockout and be enforced until the situation is resolved. Owners maintain that they’ll lock out the NHLPA on Sept. 15.
“Our clubs are getting an opportunity to enter into contracts and to put on their rosters no more than three NHL players, and these players can be included above the established limit of 25 players,” vice president Vladimir Shalaev said, according to a translation by Yahoo! Sports.
On Monday, the Boston Bruins held their 9th annual golf tournament in Bolton, Mass. — the perfect place for reporters to ask players about the looming lockout.
One of the players queried was Tyler Seguin, who led the Bruins in scoring last season and will become a restricted free agent at the end of 2012-13.
Unsurprisingly, Seguin wants a new deal before the CBA expires on Sept. 15.
Seguin didn’t seem worried about the contract at all. Don’t be surprised if that happens soon
Seguin, 20, is set to make $3.55 million in the final year of his entry-level contract and, in terms of an extension, is likely eying the seven-year, $42 million extension fellow 2010 draftee Taylor Hall recently signed in Edmonton.
Looking beyond Seguin, the Bruins could face a similar circumstance with Milan Lucic, another young forward that’s set to become a RFA after next season.
Lucic is in the final year of a deal that pays $4.08 million annually, and his situation is compounded by the fact Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli just gave Brad Marchand a four-year, $18 million extension (like Lucic and Seguin, Marchand was set to become a RFA in 2013).
Per #MTL Canadiens player,they expect ruling by Quebec Labor Board this week on teams ability to lockout.If court rules in their favor,and
— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) September 10, 2012