Puck Sight (Aug.28)

“Puck Sight” is going to be the title for an ongoing series of articles I write to reflect my opinions on stories, and non-stories, around the sport we love. Signings, trades, predictions and rumours will be touched on but so will off ice stories as well. Mostly, it’s an attempt to bring to light smaller, but noteworthy stories and to generate some discussion amongst HTR readers.Geoff Sanderson was able to restart his career in Columbus last year and hopes to improve his numbers even more this season. With a healthy Espen Knutsen, Ray Whitney and the newly aquired Mike Sillinger to help him out don’t bet against him.

The Vancouver Province reported that the Canucks were expressing interest in Nashville’s Tomas Vokoun. Why Vokoun when there are arguably better goalies who are likely available? Vokoun earned a paltry $600 000 last year. In comparison, Stephane Fiset pulled in $2.35 Million, Jeff Hackett got $3.5 Million and Osgood earned $3.5 Million. It would appear that Vancouver is another team caught between a buck and a hard place.

Bobby Holik made clear what his intentions are following this season when his contract is up. “Before arbitraition I was leaning towards UFAgency, now I’m heading for it.” Holik’s comments came after an apparently nasty hearing between the Devils and himself. One report had a New Jersey negotiator commenting that Holik “isn’t as important to this team as he thinks he is”. Ouch!

Another candidate for UFA next season is Tony Amonte who was less than thrilled with Chicago’s opening offer for a contract extension. Amonte has stated that if a new deal isn’t worked out by October 4th he will not negotiate during the regular season.

It would appear that the afterlife of a NHL goalie lies in the broadcast booth. Following the examples of Darren Pang (ESPN), Darryl Reigh (FOX Sports), Kelly Hrudey (Hockey Night in Canada) and John Davidson (ABC), newly retired Maple Leaf Glen Healy is also turning to TV. Glen will join Hockey Night in Canada this upcoming season.

With the major rebuilding going on in Phoenix and Robert Esche’s new 3 year deal, I have to wonder about Sean Burke’s future. If Esche’s play continues to improve this year wouldn’t it seem natural that Burke also be dealt in order to continue the rebuilding?

Speaking of goalies, does anybody else see the potential for a “Brian Boucher” type of disaster for the hot rookies of last year? This year’s candidates include Evgeny Nabokov and Johan Hedberg.

Is size worth more than talent? Passed over in his first year of eligibility, and drafted 4th from dead last by Atlanta, Simon Gamache quietly put up HUGE numbers last year in junior. The 20 year old who just signed on with the Thrashers amassed 184 points in 72 games with Val d’Or of the Quebec Major Junior League last season. In the playoffs he smashed Mario Lemieux’s point record by totalling 57 points in just 21 games. So why is he not getting any recognition? He’s 5′ 9″. Let’s hope he’s another Fleury, Kariya or Comrie and lights the lamp up a lot before he’s done playing in the bigs.

Is it too much to ask that we don’t have to witness another embarrassing incident like McSorley’s slash, Domi’s elbow or Nolan’s forearm shiver this year? Please?

Lastly, like’m or hate’m, you have to hope that the return of #88 doesn’t end before the Ranger’s season does. A healthy Lindros is better for the sport than a drooling one. Hockey can only benefit from having less off ice distractions like the past season had (Lindros, Peca, Yashin, McSorley). I won’t be cheering for him, but I certainly wish him the best of health.

Please feel free to make your comments, any suggestions you have for me to mention next time, feel welcome to email the address below.

Puckboy puckboy@hockeytraderumors.com
writer for the Oilers, the 2002 Olympics and “Puck Sight”