Archive for July, 2009

Marion Hossa’s Contract Under Investigation

The NHL contract police are after Marion Hossa and the Chicago Blackhawks. They apparently aren’t thrilled with the 12 year term a and how the final years of the contract are at a greatly reduced rate; 1st 7 years at $7.9 million, and down to $750,000 in the last 2 years. Hossa’s salary cap number is $5.23 million. The NHL is looking to see if either side had talked about retirement during the negotiations.

If the Hossa and the Hawks had discussed when Hossa might retire (before the his 12 years are up), the Hawks could face a up to a $5 million fine and loss of draft picks.

“The NHL is looking to put a damper on these 10-plus-year contracts with throwaway years tacked on at the end,” a league executive told the paper. “They are building a strong case against Chicago to make an example of them. This issue won’t just go away. Lots of other GMs are supporting the league here.”

I’m pretty sure that Hossa’s retirement had been discussed at some point, and the same with all the other long contracts that have been given out lately, most of them have reduced rates in the final years. Did the NHL just make up this rule about talking about retirement during contract talks for this situation? If it’s not in any previous rules, how are they breaking them, and subject to the fine and loss of picks? Looks like another hair brained idea from the NHL to go along with successful hockey markets like Phoenix.



Canucks re-sign Wellwood

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed centre Kyle Wellwood to a US$1.2-million, one-year contract following an arbitrator’s decision Thursday.

“It’s very good to have Kyle playing for the franchise,” said Laurence Gilman, the Canucks’ assistant general manager.”He came in, worked very hard, and contributed to our team, both in the regular season and the playoffs.”(source-Slam! sports)

I’m no genius but you have to think that after spending time on waivers last season and going to arbitration for a raise, Wellwood might not be all that welcome in Vancouver next season. After constant criticization about his conditioning, why not accept the qualifying offer of 1 million, get in top shape over the summer, and live up to potential? Guess that sounds like too much work. My prediction is a strained groin in the future…

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The Coyotes Go To Reinsdorf

After being rejected by the NHL once again, Jim Balsillie vows to continue his quest of owning a NHL team in Hamilton. Apparently there is no 3rd time charm good ole Jimbo, as his offer to buy the Coyotes was unanimously rejected. I wonder if he learned anything from this whole process. I doubt it.

The NHL governors unanimously accepted Jerry Reinsdorf’s bid to buy the Coyotes, as they felt he was the best qualified potential owner.

From the Globe and Mail:

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail message that Mr. Balsillie was rejected under bylaw 35 of the league’s constitution. That section says the league can reject potential owners if it does not believe they are of “good character and integrity,” as well as for financial reasons. Daly declined to comment when asked to be more specific.

I think it’s going to take some major ass kissing for Balsillie to get into the NHL. He needs to take a more business-like approach and stop challenging the league. It’s an ‘old boys’ network, and I don’t think the board of governors (the guys who ultimately decide his fate) like the way he has conducted his approaches to buying the Predators and Coyotes.

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NHL Free Agents Still Waiting

A high-profile agent told Sun Media yesterday that the current environment for free agents is “all being orchestrated” by the NHL and the plan all along was to make these players sit to see if they’re willing to sign for less money.

Four weeks into free agency, players like Alex Tanguay, Petr Sykora, Manny Fernandez, Marcus Nilson, Dennis Seidenberg, Dominic Moore, Rhett Warrener, Miroslav Satan, Mathieu Schneider, Robert Lang and Brendan Shanahan have yet to sign.(Source-SunMedia)

The article indicates that role players will have to accept new standards of income far less than they previously enjoyed. The salary cap has made teams hesitate to over-pay like they used to.

Look at a guy like Tanguay, for example. The 28-year-old winger made $5.375 million last season with the Canadiens.

Tanguay, who has had interest from the Oilers, Panthers, Islanders and Lightning, knew he wasn’t going to make that kind of coin on the open market, but the indications are the best offer he’s received has been for $1.2 million a season.

That’s almost an 80% paycut on a deal that would probably only be for a year.

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A 5 Year Rumor?

We’ll here’s a video with a rumor that could be a topic for the next 5 years. Well, it’s not really a rumor considering it’s coming from source himself, Alex Ovechkin. The NHL is unsure if it will be taking part in the 2014 Winter Olympics that will be held in Russia. If NHL players are not taking part, Ovechkin says he will leave the NHL so that he can take part.

If the Olympics were being held in North America, there is no doubt that NHL players would be playing in it. The NHL has stated many times that it wants to grow the sport internationally, and there is no bigger stage than the Olympics.


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Morning Hits

Morning NHL news and notes for Friday July 28th.

  • The Maple Leafs have traded Anton Stralman, Colin Stuart, and a 2012 7th Round Pick to the Calgary Flames for Wayne Primeau and a 2011 2nd Round Pick. The Leafs had 10 NHL calliber defenceman under contract, Stralman was the 10th. I’m thinking the 2012 7th round pick was the deal breaker. Sutter must of said, “we’re not doing this deal unless you throw in a 7th round pick, 2 years from now”.
  • If Jerry Reinsdorf is the winning bid for the Phoenix Coyotes, he doesn’t plan to keep Wayne Gretzky around. Gretzky is scheduled to make $8 million per season.
  • P.J. Axelsson is leaving the Boston Bruins and the NHL, signing a 4 year deal with Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League. The Bruins will be tight against the cap and didn’t have room for the defensive minded Axelsson.
  • Not only do the Pittsburgh Penguins get helpful information from Mario Lemieux, they also get help from a ‘homeless’ guy. Starting February, James Hoop has been tossing items and notes into Mario’s yard.
  • The Phildalephia Flyers are bringing in Ole-Kristian Tollefson for a physical. If they sign him, he’ll compete with Randy Jones, Matt Carle and Ryan Parent for the 6/7th spot on the blueline. He would give the organization some depth on defense.

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Coyotes Bid Includes Games In Canada

“A group intending to bid $150-million (all currency U.S.) for the Phoenix Coyotes wants to bring five of the franchise’s regular-season games to Saskatoon or Halifax”…(Source-Globe and Mail)

“The group, officially known as Ice Edge Holdings, has been in discussions with officials from Saskatoon and Halifax about playing five Coyotes’ regular seasons games in either community. Ice Edge is leaning toward Saskatoon, although no firm deal is in place. If the National Hockey League approves the plan, the Coyotes would play “home games” in Saskatoon’s 11,300- seat Credit Union Centre against the Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks”…

What? a 11,300 seat arena for an NHL team? This is ridiculous to even consider as an option. All you have to do is look at the “Bills In Toronto” fiascal to know that not alot of true fans will accept a franchise as “their team” after only a couple home games. (not to mention that it’s 60 + million less than previously offered by the Balsillie group)



Bruins Sign Morris

The Boston Bruins have signed defenceman Derek Morris to a 1 year deal worth 3.3 million. After trading Aaron Ward to Carolina to free up some cap space, the speculation was that the Bruins were making room to sign RFA Phil Kessel. This signing comes as a surprise and you have to figure there will be more movement in Boston to accommodate Kessel’s contract, or trading Kessel himself is becoming more of an option by the day.

In 75 games last season split between New York and Phoenix, the 30-year old Morris had five goals and 15 assists.

Morris was originally a first round pick, 13th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.(source-TSN)

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Another Interested Buyer for the Phoenix Coyotes

It is now being reported that the Phoenix Coyotes lost more than $60 million last season. And there are people still interested in keeping the team in Phoenix. Are you kidding me? $67.1 million in net loss, including operating costs, interest and other costs.

Yesterday was the cut off date for the bids to be submitted for the auction. Jerry Reinsdorf has already submitted his bid at $148 million with concessions set up with the city of Glendale.

In a move that probably won’t sit well with Jim Balsillie, former RIM executive, Anthony LeBlanc, along with fellow Canadians Keith McCullough and Daryl Jones, submitted a letter of intent at $150 million. They also think the team could thrive in Phoenix, and plan to utilize Wayne Gretzky more effectively.

Have these people looked at the financial records? Maybe check out how many people actually paid for tickets, and at what price they paying for them?

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The Boston Bruins Free Up Some Cap Space

In a move to free up some cap space, the Boston Bruins have sent defenceman Aaron Ward to the Carolina Hurricanes for Patrick Eaves and a 2010 4th round pick. Ward returns to Carolina where he helped them win the cup in 2006. Eaves has already been waived by the Bruins and will be bought out.

This move was done by the Bruins to shed some cap space so they can try to re-sign Phil Kessel. Even with the trading of Ward, the buying out of Eaves, and the potential adding Kessel’s contract, the Bruins will be really close the cap. Ward has a cap hit of $2.5. Eaves was scheduled to make $1.4 million this year and $1.7 million next year.  Eaves cap number after being bought out will now be just over $500,000 ($3.1 million times 2/3, divided by 4 years).

The Bruins still might have to move another player, and Chuck Kobasew might be the guy if someone would take the $2.333 cap hit ($2.5 million in each of  the next to seasons).

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