Friday, August 31, 2007

Give Me Marleau and Two for $12.6 Million Please

The Sharks announced today the 2 year extension for the teams most senior player. Patrick Marleau has been with the franchise for over 10 years ... he has set the clubs records in Goals, Points, Assists and Games played. Patty was 18 years old when he was drafted as a rookie in 97/98 and has been with the team since. After months of negotiations and public speculation on his future, he finalized a deal two weeks before training camp opens to stay with the club. Patrick has played more games in teal than anyone, and he was relieved to head into camp with his future resolved.

"I put a lot of thought into it, but what it came down to is I've been here the longest, I'm the last guy standing. I've come up with the team, and now that we've got what I think is a Stanley Cup-calibre team, I thought it wouldn't be the best time to leave. It was important to me to stay with the team, to stay in the Bay Area." Marleau said in a phone interview

Marleau's new deal will pay him $6.3 million each season, a healthy raise for the Sharks' second-line centre. Thornton, the Sharks' top-line centre and the league's second-leading scorer, will average $7.2 million per year in his three-year extension, which also begins in 2008.
This looks like the final move from Doug Wilson who has been busy courting Thornton, Michalek and Rivet this off season ...
"A group of our guys understand we're coming in to the prime of where our team is at, it's an exciting time for us, for this number of players to step up and want to be a part of it. I think they sense there's something good in place. He's got that balance. He understands that there's nobody bigger than the game, and nobody bigger than the team. The relationships that players have with fans are based on that premise. He gives back, and he's very involved in the community.”

When asked about the rumors that have surrounded Patrick for the past couple months Doug said “You learn from listening and taking all these calls, but there really was only one priority, and that was to re-sign Patrick. Did teams call as recently as the last couple of days? Yes, they did, but the response was always that we're trying to re-sign Patty.”

We will have to wait all season to see if Patrick will show up to next years playoff games - just a short 3 months ago Doug Wilson was singing a different tune criticizing Patrick for his weak showing in the playoffs leading up to their enormous choke against Detroit.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Taking It Outdoors

According to the Canadian Press the NHL could be going outdoors this season in Buffalo. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sabres will play at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, on Jan. 1, 2008. The made-for-television event would air across the U.S. on NBC, in what the league hopes will attract the largest audience ever to watch an NHL game in the United States. Neither the league nor NBC would officially confirm the tentatively titled "Ice Bowl," which is scheduled to be played at 1 p.m. An official announcement is expected on Sept. 10, prior to the start of training camp.

This would b the NHL's second attempt an outdoor game. The Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers played in "The Heritage Classic" at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 22, 2003. That contest was played in sub-freezing temperatures before a crowd of more than 52,000 people. The game marked the first time two NHL clubs met outdoors for an official game. In 2001, the University of Michigan played outdoors at arch-rival Michigan State in a game dubbed the "Cold Wars" before 74,554 fans.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Found - One Stanley Cup Ring!

This is a straight cut and paste from TSN ... I was so touched by this story.

Stanley Cup ring found in Gulf of Mexico

A treasure hunter searching in Florida waters came across a true Canadian find - a Stanley Cup ring marking the last time Toronto's Maple Leafs were able to clinch the hockey championship. The ring has been missing for some thirty years. It belonged to former Maple Leaf right-winger Jim Pappin, the player who led his team during the 1967-68 season playoffs with seven goals and 15 points.

Pappin was so disillusioned with the Leafs after they traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks, he gave his ring to his father-in-law. "I didn't want anything to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs," he told CTV's Naomi Parness. His father in law, Peter Kyrzakos, wore the ring faithfully until he lost it sometime in the 1970s during a stay at his vacation home in Vero Beach, Fla.

Kyrzakos was so distressed, he hired people and divers to look for the ring, but to no avail. Too upset to tell Pappin, he asked former teammate Eddie Shack for his ring so that he could have it replicated. Kyrzakos only told Pappin about the lost ring in 1982 when his daughter and the hockey player divorced. He gave Pappin the replica and the two remained close until Kyrzakos died in 2004.

Pappin never thought about the ring again until the treasure hunter gave him a call from Florida. Early in August, Mark DesErmia was in the Gulf of Mexico, off the shores of Clearwater Pass, Fla. with an underwater metal detector when it detected the missing treasure with Pappin's name inscribed on the inside. DesErmia said he's been offered $20,000 for the ring but that he would gladly give it back to Pappin for a reward.

"What's amazing is that the guy wants to give it back to me," he said. Pappin said he hopes to sell the replica and give DesErmia that money as his reward. The ring also has special meaning for Pappin's daughter, who is getting married next week. She was very close to her grandfather and having the possession he treasured would be just like having him there with her, Pappin said.

One Less RFA ... Next Year!

Ron Wilson secured Milan Michalek for $26 Million over 6 years ... starting NEXT year! After making $471,000 last season - Milan has done quite nicely almost doubling his salary for this season bringing in $942,000. After that though, look out ... he will be averaging $4.3 Million a year! Michalek was the 6th overall draft pick in 2003, and according to Ron Wilson, is on track to becoming one of the elite forwards in the NHL, which will solidify his spot on the Thornton / Cheechoo line.

According to TSN

''I think we knew this was an element of the new CBA the day it was signed,'' said Wilson. ''When you drop down the age of eligibility of UFA and the accrued seasons, you have to make decisions on players obviously much younger. For us, Milan falls into that age group. He's certainly a multi-situational player who is very mature in his game with certainly a great upside. We think he's going to be a dominant player for many years. You have to understand how this CBA works on a daily basis, you have to make decisions much earlier and much quicker than you did in the past. It's also one of the reasons why we feel that the players we know the best are the ones we've drafted, developed and had a lot of time with.''
Keep in mind that another factor is players hit unrestricted free agency sooner under the current CBA, at age 28 this summer or after seven years of NHL service. With the salary cap to consider as well, teams seem inclined to lock-in their young players earlier to gain cost-certainty.

''I think it gives me more security and I don't have to worry about anything else than just hockey, that's good for me,'' said Michalek. ''I think nothing is going to change in my play, I'm still going to play the same game like I played. It was great to play with those two great players (Thornton and Cheechoo), they're (among) the best players in the NHL and I'm sure it helped me a lot in my career. I'm very happy to stay in San Jose, I think we have a great team for many years to come and I think we can win many Stanley Cups.''
That would be fine with the Sharks, who watched Michalek record 66 points (26-40) with a plus-17 rating in 78 games in 2006-07, his second full NHL campaign. He tied for fourth in the NHL with nine game-winning goals. The Czech native picked up 35 points (17-18) in 81 games as a rookie. Michalek finished the year skating alongside Thornton and Cheechoo, forming a talented and physically imposing first line. Not surprisingly, that helped the six-foot-two, 225-pound winger step his game up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ricci - Back In Teal

Today the San Jose Sharks announced that Mike Ricci is coming back to The Shark Tank - this time in a suit and tie. Ricci will serve as Advisor to Hockey Operations. Bryan Marchment was also brought into the Sharks organization working on scouting and player development.

According to -
Ricci, in his new role, will serve as a consultant to the club's hockey
operations department and assist in player development. He will also serve
various roles within the organization, including marketing, promotions and
community relations.
He notched 605 points (243 goals, 362 assists) and 979
penalty minutes in 1,099 NHL games with Philadelphia, Quebec/Colorado, San Jose
and Phoenix. He also added 66 points (23 goals, 43 assists) in 110 playoff

I love this announcement and to have Ricci's passion and leadership back in the locker room at the Tank will show next season. Anyone care to wager if he grows his hair out again?

Bryan Marchment's duties will include working with players in San Jose and Worcester, as well as scouting Sharks prospects at the college and Canadian major junior levels. He will also serve as an advisor to the hockey operations department. Bryan played in 926 NHL games over 17 seasons with Winnipeg, Chicago, Hartford, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Colorado, Toronto and Calgary and posted 182 points (40 goals, 142 assists) and 2,307 penalty minutes.

I will give Clint a few moments to gather his thoughts regarding this announcement ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Buffalo And Ticket Prices

According to Phil Mushnick @ the NY Post - his article yesterday says it all.

"The Buffalo Sabres this season will switch to variable ticket pricing based on the date and opponent, similar to what the Mets do with their gold, silver and bronze designations.

Thus, the same cheapest Sabres seat that costs $20 for some games will cost $68 for others; the better seats that cost $90 for certain games will cost $203 for others. Because it's impossible to predetermine the value of games, the plan is a cosmetically beautified exercise in price gouging.

Whatever became of the NHL's on-ice "Thank You, Fans" campaign? Must've melted away."

Relly nothing more to say to that ... I am not going to cast stones quite yet seeing how the season has not started quite yet, but seriously, Buffalo ... Now that you have gone and canibalized your roster, dont get all greedy with ticket pricing!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How Do You Say Goaltender In Swedish?

Ed Belfour is about to find out - The 17 year NHL veteran appears to be heading across the pond to Sweden. Word on the street has him close to signing with Leksand of the Swedish League. Evidently Ed has not been able to land a job with an NHL team since becomeing an Unrestricted Free Agent, however, the veteran goaltender is looking to continue his career overseas.

From Yahoo Sports - "According to a report in Swedish sports publication Expressen, Belfour is "very close" to signing a contract with second-division Leksand of the Swedish League. Belfour became an unrestricted free agent in July after spending last season with the Florida Panthers.

Belfour, 42, went 27-17-10 with a 2.77 goals-against average for the Panthers last season. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner has 484 career wins in 17 seasons with Chicago, San Jose, Dallas, Toronto and Florida."

On the list of All Time Wins - Ed holds the third spot behind Brodeur and Roy. He is also a 5 time All Star. Belfour and Auld were allowed to hit the UFA market after the Panthers acquired Vokoun from Nashville.

Just to help Ed out a bit ... Goalkeeper is spelled - mål|vakt in swedish. Just please dont ask me to pronounce that!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Is It Really The Jersey?

I ran across a snippet on Tom Benjamin's blog "Sad But True" - Here is a story that has probably the most rediculous quote I have ever read. This story reports on the new jersey that will debut in the NHL next season. Granted - new jerseys happen, Koho use to make them and now Reebock does - there is always some type of change year after year. According to this article they are revamping the entire look, fit and feel of the sweaters worn by these ice warriors.

Here is a link to the story on

So - the quote I am refering to was made by Keith Leach, director of NHL Uniforms for Reebok (the company responsible for the overhaul) ...

"The League sat down and brainstormed about what would be the biggest improvement for the game and the uniform was first and foremost"

When I read this at first I laughed thinking this guy has to be kidding ... I honestly continued reading waiting patiently for the punchline. Then I began thinking - If I were the NHL and I sat down with the Director of NHL Uniforms for Reebock ... am I going to talk to him about my consessions margin, my ticket sales or fan penetration in specific markets, my very pitiful and weak marketing program and branding issues ... probably not. I am going to talk to him about ..... *drum roll please* ... The uniforms Reebock manufactures for me! I think the reason the uniforms were "First and Foremost" the biggest improvement in Keith's eyes is because the ONLY piece of the NHL that he controls is the uniform - and he really doesnt control that ... he is basically the Admin Assistant for the NHL at Reebock headquarters. The NHL says "We are changing our uniforms" ... are we to believe that Keith is going to turn around and say WHOAAAH NHL ... are you sure you want to do that ... think about tradition, the fan reactions, the players reactions ... Absolutely not! Keith turns around runs to his boss and says "The NHL wants to change their uniforms!" - Let the negotiations and presentations begin!

"Reportedly, the result of two years of Reebok research it incorporates the company's "Edge" system, which offers lighter, more breathable fabric that allows for a greater range of movement, and two new technologies -- Bead Away and Playdry -- which wick away moisture, providing for a significantly drier jersey over 60 sweaty minutes."

This I can understand - this quote from the article makes perfect sense, and I think this is a GREAT step forward for the NHL. One that will afford the players a more comfortable experience on the ice - which, in turn, will allow them to focus on other areas of their game and improve the overall play on the ice. I think the tighter fit will help in offensive attacks also - since the players wont have the loose sweaters which hides holds and hooks ... as with all changes in anything there is the adjustment period.

Lastly - the best part of the article is at the end where they actually ask the fasion industry their thoughts ... excuse me, arnt we talking about Hockey???

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Follow Up - Retiring By Text Message!

Jeremy Roenick sent a text message to a reporter earlier this off season announcing his retirement. I am now wondering if he either A. Lost a bet or B. Had a little to much to drink ... seeing how he is now returning from his retirement (all 2 months of it) and is shopping around. According to Eklund today -

"JR is looking likely to return to a team...As many as three teams, Toronto,
Calgary, and Columbus and Boston have some interest. And don't count out the
Islanders as well. JR will come in and play for the league min with
I am sure Clint will have 2 cents worth of comments to make regarding Mr Roenick. I just find it amusing when mediocre (at best) players make so much noise making bad decisions, and then wonder why they are so criticized.

Back to you Clint ...

Mike Ricci - Hanging Up The Skates!

Mike Ricci - The man Lindley named his cat after has called it quits. I remember watching Ricci play in San Jose and how he made the game look easy. The 16-year NHL veteran announced his retirement during the Peterborough Professional Hockey Alumni charity golf tournament at the Kawartha Golf and Country Club. Ricci underwent neck surgery last year and told the Peterborough Examiner that he has not recovered like he had hoped. He missed all but seven games last season due to his injured neck. In 1099 NHL games with the Coyotes, Sharks, Avalanche, Nordiques and Flyers, Ricci's record is 243 goals, 362 assists and 974 penalty minutes.

Mike's toothless smile and energetic personality will be missed. Whenever I saw Mike he was always either smiling or laughing. On the ice Mike is known for being a premier face-off man, very responsible in the defensive zone and one of the best back-checking forwards in the NHL.

Mike's name is on the Stanley Cup for the 95-96 Colorado Avalanche.

Here is Lindley with Ricci - (The Cat)

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Islanders Add Another One

Big six-foot-six 245 lb defenseman Andy Sutton was signed by the Islanders to a three year contract late last week as the Islanders continue to add talent from the second-rung of the free agent pool. Sutton, 32, spent last season in Atlanta where he put up 16 points with a +6 rating in 55 games. These numbers don't give you the full picture of Sutton's contributions though as he is a big, stay at home defenseman with a strong point shot who is flat out nasty to play against. Last year, also in Atlanta, he scored 25 points with a +13 rating and added an impressive 144 penalty minutes. Sutton adds grit and size to a developing team that was looking to replace the minutes previously occupied by the recently departed, and suspended, Sean Hill.

Youthful Potential for Aging Experience?

The Chicago Blackhawks made a strange trade over the weekend when they sent Radim Vrbata to the Coyotes for Kevyn Adams. Vrbata, the number two scorer on the team, is 26 years old and posted 41 points (14 goals and 27 assists) in 77 games last season. It was the best season of his underachieving, yet young, career. Kevyn Adams, at the ripe age of 32, put up a whopping 3 goals and 9 assists in 68 games last season evenly splitting his time between Phoenix and Carolina.

While I'm the first one to point out that hockey is about more than putting up points and one should never overlook the value of experience and leadership, I do wonder why a young team would trade away their second leading scorer for a checking line center. While Adams is a solid face-off man with a Stanley Cup to his name, won with Carolina two seasons ago, his plus/minus leaves much to be desired (-20 last season and only an even rating on the run to the Stanley Cup the previous year) and he's prone to injuries. It saves Chicago money since Vrbata stood to make $1.255 million while Adams is only going to make $650k, but it still looks to be a typical Chicago move of sending away talent and getting very little in return.

While many may see Patrick Kane, the first overall pick in this year's draft, as the justification for Vrbata's departure, I see it as the opposite. I think we may have seen Vrbata continue to increase his production if he were given the chance to play with another talented, speedy forward. Instead, he'll be out in the desert, most likely playing with Shane Doan, putting up a career best 50+ points and playing in a place where at least people will come to watch him play.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What a Steal

So the ruling on Mike Cammalleri finally came down and it's actually a bit shocking. After all of the bloated contracts handed out this year a young player who leads his team with 80 points gets a two year deal worth only $3.1 the first season and $3.6 the second. To put that into perspective Cammalleri was reportedly looking for around $6 million PER YEAR. TSN reports that the team was only looking to pay him $2.6 million, only a $900,000 increase over his contract from last season, which is completely asinine. This is going to be a situation to watch, Mike can not be happy about this.

Absolute Hockey - WHO?

Link to the story - Former Coach Buys Lightning
Did anyone know the Tampa Bay Lightning were up for sale? Evidently Absolute Hockey did ... 'cause they just purchased the franchise, leasing rights to the St Pete Times Forum and "ajacent properties." Here is a short on the topic -
"The NHL team says a group called Absolute Hockey Enterprises has signed a
purchase agreement with current owner Palace Sports and Entertainment."
Sources tell TSN Doug MacLean will be the Chairman and CEO of the Lightning while Jay Feaster will stay on as GM and John Tortorella will remain as head coach. Absolute Hockey also includes Jeff Sherrin and Oren Koules. Team spokesman Jay Preble said Jeff Sherrin is a Coral Springs real estate developer and Koules a TV and movie producer mostly knows for the Saw trilogy and the sitcom 2 and a half men. Doug MacLean coached the Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup final in 1996. He was fired in April as the Columbus Blue Jackets president and GM.

The Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Are We There Yet?

The award for the longest delay in the history of arbitration goes to Mike Cammalleri. Mike, the Kings and the NHL all wait patiently for the ruling on his case and the longer it goes, the more it looks like the ruling will be significant. Apparently the Kings requested a two-year ruling, which seems rare but well within their rights, so we'll have to see how it all plays out. In doing so, the Kings removed their ability to "walk away" from Mike after the ruling. They can walk away from the second year of the contract, something they will need to decide within 48 hours of the announcement, but he is guaranteed to be a King at least for a little longer. The ruling should come down tomorrow, it should have come down days ago in fact, but who knows at this point. Regardless, I still think that Cammalleri won't be King next year.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Working Overtime At The Rumor Mill

Accroding to Eklund @ Hockey Buzz

1. Oilers are NOT being sold - as said from one of the Oilers owners "It is just too much fun to own this team. The Cup run was worth every penny."
2. Patrice Brisebois went from Colorado to Montreal - according to the Mill in Montreal the player who is in the line of fire for the Habs is Patrick Marleau from San Jose! *I'll get back to this later*
3. The Caps will be the surprise team in the East this season ... there are some behind the scene's talk going on regarding Ovechkin. I'll keep my ear on this line of interest! I am excited to watch the Caps play the Bolts (Tampa Bay Lightning) here this coming season. Ovechkin is a solid player who last year was the ONLY Cap to appear in all 81 games. Third in the league in goals (46) and 12th in points (92), tied for eighth in power-play goals (16), tied for seventh in game-winning goals (8) and first in shots (384). He is only the second Cap to post back-to-back 90-point seasons (Dennis Maruk in '80-81 and '81-82) He had a point in the first 13 games of 2007, his career-best point streak, all that added up to him ticking the points column in 57 of 81 games, including 27 multiple-point games. AO leads the team with 179 hits. He was voted in as a starter in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game in Dallas, which makes him the first Cap in the starting lineup since Rod Langway in 1986. There are a few teams that I am excited about seeing this season in Tampa (I dont really have MUCH to choose from, but I am sure Clint and I will catch one or two of the GOOD ones!)
4. Keep an eye on the Penguins ... watch for Jovo or Morris to come into view. Either one will make the team that much stronger!

Now - regarding Marleau ... It appears that San Jose might (remember, these are just rumors) lose their captain. I think Patrick is an amazing player and a solid leader for the team. If he leaves, there will be good and bad in it, however - there is a pool full of leaders on the Sharks team, leaders who need the opportunity to step up and show their worth. The young players will still have the solid veterans to lead them out onto the ice with the orders to wreak havoc on whoever is standing across the blue line from them (hopefully this will happen often)! With this said - I feel that it is time for Patrick to move on. His calm demeanor and his maturity has reinforced the foundation of the Sharks organization and his legacy will not leave if he is to go to another team. Along with Montreal, Boston also has an interest in Patrick ... if I were the one making the decision, watching Boston last year I would say they need him more than Montreal! *My 2 cents!*

So if you like the Hockey rumors I suggest to check out Ecklund's site. He is very close to the NHL knowledge base and he has connections EVERYWHERE! His rumors are pretty much spot on when he says they are ... his latest juicy one ... Neidermayer is indeed retiring! We will see how that plays out ... looks like the MIGHTY Ducks are going to need a little Pixie Dust to help them this season, however, with Bertuzzi skating for them - they just might fight their way to the playoffs!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Mike Cammalleri and Arbitration

Mike Cammalleri and the Los Angeles Kings had their arbitration hearing yesterday. Cammalleri is an excellent skater and playmaker. He scored 34 goals and 46 assists last season with a +5 rating on an otherwise lackluster team. At 5'9 180 lbs he's not the biggest forward but he is fast, agile and has great vision, all valuable attributes in today's NHL. Cammalleri also scored 55 points, including 26 goals, last season, his first as a full-time NHL player. The Kings apparently have made him a few offers but they were nowhere near what he was wanting. Considering his performance over the last two seasons, I expect the ruling to be high with a possible salary somewhere in the $4.5-5 million range. That kind of ruling could have him leaving the town I like to call HeLL-A and even at that price there will be no shortage of interested parties willing to take him.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Oilers Get Their Man

While they certainly overpaid for him at $21.25 million for 5 years, the Oilers have taken Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks today as Brian Burke, Anaheim's GM, decided not to match the inflated offer sheet. I'm sure Burke isn't happy about it, but he had little choice in the matter considering the players he needs to resign next year.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rangers are Now On the Clock (UPDATED 3:03 PM EST)

The arbitrator has made his ruling on the Sean Avery case and has awarded him a one-year deal worth $1.9 million. It's not quite the $2.6 million that he wanted, but it's more than the $1.3 million that the Rangers were offering. The Rangers have 48 hours to decide whether or not to accept the deal and will most likely have to move around some salary in the near future if they choose to keep him. Teams can be 10% over the salary cap up until the first game of the season. At that point, if they are above the cap they forfeit the game.


The Rangers have accepted the ruling and signed Avery to the one-year deal. However, they will now most likely need to move some salary around to be under the cap. Could this be a sign and trade situation? I certainly hope so.