Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
The perpetually on-again, off-again saga regarding the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team is on again.
Prospective Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison has brought investment money and partners back into the fold and could soon close on the purchase of the team from the National Hockey League. The sale would keep the team in Glendale at Jobing.com Arena.
Jamison’s group has been trying to buy the Coyotes since last year.
Two sources with knowledge of the three-year-old Coyotes ownership saga say Jamison now has the investors and partners in place to finally buy the Coyotes and a deal could close very soon.
All that comes as free agent Coyotes captain Shane Doan puts off signing with a new team while Jamison tries to close the deal. The fact that Doan has held off signing with a new team could be an indicator that he is waiting on the Coyotes sale to close.
Doan could re-sign with the Coyotes if Jamison can buy the team. He’s also considering the Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers. The Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings could also be in the mix if Doan leaves Phoenix.
If the Pens have any interest in Bobby Ryan, now might be the time to strike. Philly wants him but has to concentrate on D, I’d think.
After failing to land a top defenseman through free agency, the Detroit Red Wings are looking to bolster their back end via trade.
A team source confirmed the Red Wings are talking with the Calgary Flames about making a deal for veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who has been the subject of trade rumors for more than a month.
The Red Wings are attempting to solidify their defensive corps with a trade because no top defensemen remain available through free agency.
Bouwmeester became expendable in Calgary when the Flames signed Dennis Wideman to a five-year, $26.25 million deal and the Red Wings need help on defense after captain Nicklas Lidstrom retired and Brad Stuart was traded to San Jose before he could sign with the Sharks as a free agent.
Wideman’s contract hiked Calgary’s payroll to $66.6 million, which is under the $70.2 million salary cap. But if the cap is reduced as expected when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, that could force the Flames to dump salary and the possibility might reduce their asking price for Bouwmeester.
The San Jose Sharks are among the favorites to land the services of free agent forward Shane Doan, a source has told CSNCalifornia.com.
Doan, who will turn 36 in October, is the top unrestricted NHL free agent still available.
According to the source, the Sharks, who are generally very tight-lipped about personnel decisions, have flown “under the radar” in their pursuit of Doan.
Doan reportedly met with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, and has also drawn interest from the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. His preference is to remain in Phoenix, but the uncertain ownership situation there has led to him exploring other options.
There are reports that Doan is seeking a four-year contract worth $30 million, averaging out to a $7.5 million cap hit. According to CapGeek.com, San Jose has approximately $5.57 million in cap space.
Mark Messier has been awarded a $6-million settlement in the Hall of Famer’s long-standing grievance over money he claimed he was owed by the Vancouver Canucks.
George Nicolau, an 87-year-old New York-based arbitrator with a long history of handling high-profile sports arbitration cases, rendered his decision recently after meeting with both sides earlier this year.
The Canucks made only a brief comment on the decision.
“Canucks Sports & Entertainment is aware of the arbitrator’s decision and will have no further comment on the matter,” the team said in a statement to The Vancouver Sun Thursday.
Messier did not return a message left for him with the New York Rangers, for whom he serves as special assistant to the president.
Messier signed a five-year, free-agent contract with the Canucks in 1997 for $6 million a season. The dispute between Messier and the team is believed to centre on deferred money the hockey player felt was owed to him.
It has been reported that Messier had a clause in his contract that would compensate him if the value of the Canuck franchise increased over the life of his contract, which expired in 2002.
Messier ended up playing only three seasons with the Canucks, who exercised an option in the contract to buy him out for $2 million after the 1999-2000 season. Messier, now 51, returned to New York and played four more seasons for the Rangers before retiring after the 2003-04 season.
When Jonathan Bernier, the Los Angeles Kings‘ well-regarded backup, announced his desire to be traded, rumours swirled that Toronto would be an appropriate landing spot. Here are five reasons why a Bernier-to-Leafs deal should not be struck.
1. They already have him.
More or less: Canadian goaltender chosen in the 2006 draft; will enter the 2012-13 season at 24 years of age; never played a playoff game; save percentage just on the friendly side of .900.
Take away the Mennonite background and last season’s rash of injuries — not a small deal, we know — and James Reimer is Jonathan Bernier. Neither is quite ready to carry a team into the postseason, but both have shown hints of brilliance that, with patience, health and some strong coaching, could get them to that proverbial next level.
Thing is, on paper, the Leafs goalie looks equal to or better than Bernier, who carries with him the perception of a potential star netminder being selected 11th overall (to Reimer’s 99th) and having won gold with Canada at the 2008 World Junior Hockey Championships. (Bernier went 1-1 in the tournament, splitting post duties with Steve Mason.)
Sure, there are hockey minds out there that believe Bernier’s hybrid stand-up/butterfly style and quick reflexes make him a prime candidate to improve with experience, but who’s to say a healthy Reimer (or even the untested Ben Scrivens, for that matter) won’t appreciate at the same rate?
Reimer has played 71 games to Bernier’s 48, has actually won more games than he’s lost (34-24-9 to Bernier’s 20-17-5), and has posted comparable stats — despite playing behind an appreciably worse defence. Reimer has six shutouts, Bernier five. Bernier has a .910 save percentage, Reimer’s is .914.
2. Bernier wants to be a starter now, but might not deserve it.
Bernier told TVA that he wants to be a starter in this league, but his impatience could be his undoing. Yes, it was only one interview, but Bernier and his Stanley Cup ring could have chosen to play things cool. There are worse jobs than getting paid millions to platoon in for a quarter of a season in a gorgeous city on a young, excitable winning team, allowing your skills to improve under limited scrutiny behind the second-best defence in the entire NHL.
A person with knowledge of the decision says the Philadelphia Flyers have signed Nashville star defenceman Shea Weber to a 14-year offer sheet worth more than $100 million.
The Sports Network in Canada first reported the offer.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the Flyers hadn’t announced the offer.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed early Thursday that the Flyers did sign Weber to an offer sheet. He gave no further details. The Predators issued a statement late Thursday morning confirming they had received the Flyers’ offer sheet, which gives the team seven days to make a decision on matching the deal or letting the defenceman go.
“We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention would be to match and retain Shea,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it, and all of its ramifications, in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term.”
It may not have been the big fish Canucks fans were hoping for, but you can bet pumping a 140-pound tuna to the surface in Panama was memorable for a vacationing GM Mike Gillis.
Those tuna are renowned fighters and that was a huge fish. It’s not easy.
Much like trying to land Shane Doan.
The Canucks are in on the Doan sweepstakes, having offered the power forward a competitive multi-year contract that is at least three years in length.
How competitive? Well, it’s relative, but teams aren’t in on Doan if they’re offering one- and two-year deals.
The Canucks offer probably is not near the four-year, $30 million monster an Eastern Conference team reportedly tabled.
But that offer did have a ring of absurdity to it. You could see it coming from the Magical Man who lives in Happy-Land on Lollipop Lane.
Whether it’d be enough to sway Doan remains to be seen. But, remember, this is a player who has dedicated his entire career to the Phoenix Coyotes organization. Could that same player be lured to a situation that doesn’t fit his criteria just because it’s the largest financial windfall?
First and foremost among Doan’s criteria is to stay in Phoenix.
He wouldn’t be rounding into late July without a contract otherwise. And his return to Phoenix became more likely Monday when Glendale formally rejected the petition which was seeking a referendum on the Coyotes lease agreement.
Sure, it goes against what Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has previously said.
Then again, what hasn’t.
Regardless, the Leafs are reportedly going after young Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, not the veteran netminder Burke told a Toronto radio station he was interested in acquiring.
According to Hockey Night in Canada’s Andi Petrillo, the Leafs have made an offer to the Kings for Bernier, who was the backup to Jonathan Quick last season. Quick signed a 10-year, $58 million contract extension last month, leading Bernier to ask for a trade.
Earlier this month, Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan the Leafs wanted a proven puck-stopper as an upgrade in net. Now it looks like he’s focused on 23-year-old Bernier, who fits more into the might-be-great category.
“We’re not looking at that avenue,” Burke told The Fan. “A couple goalies that moved are young, unproven guys. That’s an avenue were not interested in. We’ve kicked the tires, looked at all the prices, but that’s not an avenue we’re looking at.”
Detroit, to nobody’s surprise, is on Rick Nash’s short list of approved destinations. And the Red Wings, naturally, would love to land the high-scoring forward.
The Red Wings made “a hell of an offer” to Columbus for Nash, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. But the offer generated no conversation.
No counteroffer, no back and forth negotiation, nothing.
It is clear Columbus has no intention of trading the face of its franchise to the team it considers to be its top rival, a Detroit club that has dominated the Blue Jackets since they entered the NHL in 2000-01.
The last thing Columbus general manager Scott Howson wants to see is Nash being paired with Pavel Datsyuk and his Blue Jackets having to deal with that scenario six times a season.
It is not certain what the Red Wings offered. Howson recently told TSN’s Geno Reda that he is seeking at least two NHL-ready forwards in return for Nash because he likes his defense.
The Red Wings, in need of a top-pair defenseman, would be more inclined to relinquish a couple of NHL forwards in addition to prospects and draft picks.
Which forwards might the Red Wings move to get a franchise player like Nash? The two that come to mind are Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula, though it’s unlikely Detroit would deal both.
Once again the idea of the Chicago Blackhawks trading for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has reared its ugly head. Over the weekend, a story in the Vancouver Province said the teams have been talking and “reportedly” the Hawks have dangled Dave Bolland for the embattled netminder.
There are so many reasons this would be a bad idea it’s hard to pick the best one. In fact, trading anyone for Luongo remains a poor notion. Talk about creating a bigger headache than you already have …
Bolland is a valuable player. For what the Hawks need out of Luongo he simply may not be. At least not for what his contract dictates him to be. If he still was, the Canucks would not be trading him. And the Hawks are short on centers as it is. Potentially upgrading themselves in goal will only come back to haunt them up the middle. Most important is the idea that the Canucks believe they can get full value — which Bolland would be — for Luongo. The whole league knows he’s being moved. If the Hawks trade a quasi top-6 forward for Luongo, Vancouver would be committing highway robbery.
And no matter his public proclamations, Luongo doesn’t want any part of leaving one pressure cooker for another. Not a chance. His leash with fans in Chicago wouldn’t last through the fan convention this weekend let alone his first soft goal. The Hawks know this. There has been no indication from them — publicly or privately — throughout the offseason that they are interested in Luongo other than perhaps the usual perfunctory phone calls that can be chalked up to due diligence.
The Stars announced Roy would likely be out until November. Dallas General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk later said they did not receive damaged goods from the Sabres because Roy had already undergone a physical, but it was simply a case of just putting him through a deeper medical evaluation and determining the surgery was necessary.
“It was an elective [surgery], a choice,” Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said Thursday night during the team’s development camp scrimmage in First Niagara Center. “He could have played. He did play with it. It was a decision made by that organization. I spoke to Joe before when we went through all the medical records prior to when we made the trade. [Roy] was rehabbing, he played with the shoulder last year and he would have played going forward.”
So while it doesn’t appear the Stars are going to make an issue of the trade, the surprising news of Roy’s situation certainly opens a key question regarding the Sabres: Was Roy hiding the severity of his injury or were the Sabres pressing him to get on the ice when they should have been exercising more caution?
“I’m very confident in the decision by our medical staff,” Regier said. “He played with it last year and he could have played with it again this year. It was a decision by the Dallas Stars. It’s as simple as that. We were very comfortable with his situation.”
Regier bristled when asked if Roy’s surgery is a sign the Sabres have a pattern of pushing injured players to keep playing. It’s widely agreed that Ryan Miller came back too early from his concussion last year and that Thomas Vanek pushed through injuries to his shoulder and chest – and then admitted on his personal blog in mid-April that he also had a bad ankle sprain.
Goal scoring in the NHL is down, the thin free agent market is depleted of top offensive talent, and the trade market seems frozen, so one name in particular stands out: unrestricted free agent Alexander Semin. Theoretically at least, he could be the solution to some team’s scoring woes, but there he sits by the phone, waiting for his agent Marc Gandler to tell him which club wants to sign a supremely talented 28-year-old who has put up seasons of 38, 34 and 40 goals during his NHL career. His numbers are comparable to Zach Parise’s, but no one is throwing a 13-year contract worth $98 million at Semin. Not even close.
Semin is coming off a $6.7 million one-year deal after another one-year contract worth $6 million. You’d think he’s set up for something with a longer term, but no NHL team, apparently, wants to give that to him. And it’s quite doubtful that anyone wants to pay him close to what he had been making with the Washington Capitals.
Oh, there have been reports that CSKA, the legendary Red Army team of the KHL, has offered Semin $10 million a year for three years. But not everyone believes it, even in Russia where Andrew Matsegora wrote on Thursday for AllHockey.ru that, “Frankly, the truth of this assertion is doubtful.” Semin/Gandler and teams in the KHL may be talking, Matsegora contends, but not about that kind of money. Their discussions may help create a better marketplace for Semin, but won’t bring him those sorts of riches.