Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How much action will Halak see behind Price?

After today's announcement of the resigning of Jaroslav Halak to a 2 year deal worth a reported 1.55 million, the questions and rumors will no doubt begin again. How many games will he play? Will he be traded? Is he happy in his role as number 2? Personally i am a big Halak admirer. You have to respect a player who came in in the last stretch of the 2006-2007 season, in what was in all honesty a sinking ship, and stepped up to the point of almost leading the Habs into the playoffs in a very close playoff race. To have been able to cope with the pressure in what is arguably the most media-scrutinized hockey market at such a young age (he was 21 at the time) in the midst of the Huet injury, is admirable and goes a long way in showing his character.

He is now the confirmed number 2 and will probably play 20-25 games at the most, unless Carey Price gets injured or plays horribly, which i don't see happening. If he is to be traded i would not like to see it this season. Can you imagine the Habs 2 netminders being Marc Denis and C├ędric Desjardins in the event of a Price injury? The idea of Denis being the Canadiens starting netminder would be downright scary to me if i was Gainey or Carbonneau, considering his horrible play in Tampa Bay. Obviously Halak will eventually want a shot at being a number 1 goalie somewhere in the NHL, an opportunity he will most probably never see in Montreal due to the presence of Price. Halak will have control over his own destiny, if he performs well when given the chance, Bob Gainey will undoubtedly receive offers from his fellow GM's approaching next season's trade deadline or during the summer.

Tough guy Boulton back with the Thrashers


Eric Boulton signed a 2-year deal with the Thrashers earlier today. The 31 year-old winger recorded 127 penalty minutes last year with Atlanta. In 342 games, Boulton scored only 16 goals to go with 774 PM. The terms of the deal are still unknown.

Brenden Witt resigned.


According to tsn.ca the islanders resigned Brenden Witt! There was no contract information. Witt is a tough sacrificing d-man, and a great veteran presence. I'm glad they got him locked up.




Go Islanders!

Canucks Match Bernier Offersheet


Just about over an hour after the St. Louis Blues gave a 2.5 million dollar offersheet to Vancouver Canucks RFA Steve Bernier the Canucks have matched the offer which means they will not receive the 2nd round pick in 09 as compensation.

My Take on the Blues Signing Bernier


The Blues signed RFA forward Steve Bernier to a one-year, $2.5 million contract today. The Vancouver Canucks have seven days to match the offer, or they will receive the Blues' second round draft pick in next year's draft as compensation.

If the Canucks don't match the offer, I think it's a huge boost in the youth movement for the Blues. Bernier has a ton of potential, and was given up on way too early by San Jose before he could fully develop. He has the potential to be a 20-goal scorer, and is very aggressive and physical. Overall, a great move by the Blues to force the Canucks' hand and see if they can pry Bernier away.


UPDATE:
So much for that. The Canucks matched the offer sheet.

Hawks and Wings throwin' it back (maybe)

The Chicago Tribune has reported that the Chicago Blackhawks will faceoff against the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL's next outdoor game. The game is said to be set at the hallowed Wrigley Field. One of professional sports' gems when speaking of ball parks.

While yes this has probably been one of the NHL's worst kept secrets over the past few months. It really has something special to it. I'm not in any way criticizing last years game because it really was an amazing spectacle to watch even through all the delays to fix the ice, I enjoyed just watching how good of a time the fans there were having. But with that said, I really pondered the choice of teams. I know Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby and Buffalo is a really great American hockey city, I just feel they could have chosen a better match-up then the two that participated, something with more of a rivalry maybe. I have to add that I absolutely loved backup goalie Danny Sabourin's Pads. For those of you that don't remember or didn't notice since he was on the bench, he fashioned the old school brown, cooper style pads straight out of the 80's. Classic!

So let's get to this years supposed match-up. While the Blackhawks and Red Wings have had a very storied rivalry and with both being original six teams I really do think this years will be very good. Last season we all seen the beginning of what most hockey folk think is the new age of the Hawks. They did very well against the Wings last year, arguably better then any other team did even in the playoffs. I also expect to see the two teams wearing throwback jersey's. I know neither of these teams jersey's have really changed all the much over the years, but there has been some rumors from various sites and even retail stores getting order sheets for new third jerseys and throwbacks for next season, so i expect both the Hawks and Wings will be in on this. Not to mention that both Pittsburgh and Buffalo sported them in last seasons contest.

There is also always going to be an argument about whether or not the NHL is making the right decision about having an outdoor game every season. It still has never been confirmed they will indeed have one every year, but when you have a chance at doing something different like this why not do it. Personally, I can't see a fan tiring of them if they never get tired of watching regular indoor games. No other professional sporting leagues do anything like this at all, mind you Basketball may be the only other league that may be able to switch it up with an outdoor game, the NHL is the best fit for this type of thing.

As for Wrigley itself, well what can one say about one of the most popular sports venues in North America other then it being the perfect choice. Some may say the Soldier Field would have been better but I do believe that Wrigley is the perfect fit mostly since the winds don't hit it as hard as they do over Soldier Field, Which will obviously help the ice conditions tremendously. The "friendly confines" was built in 1914 and became the home for the cubs in 1916, Wrigley also housed the Bears from 1920-1970. Hall of Famer Ernie Banks gave Wrigley it's nickname "the Friendly Confines" and although it is the fourth smallest ball park in the MLB it is the second oldest active park sitting second to only Fenway park. Currently it has a capacity of 41,118, that number may be higher for this game since there will most likely be some seating at ground level.

All in all this is going to be another great NHL product in an amazing town that is known as a great sports city. Hockey once again is on the rise in Chicago and this could very well mark the official return of the Blackhawks-Red Wings rivalry, as it seems the hawks are determined to be the new team to beat in a division that has long been ruled by the mighty Red Wings.

Blues Sign Bernier To Offersheet


TSN reports that the St. Louis Blues have signed newly acquired RFA from the Vancouver Canucks, Steve Bernier to an offersheet worth 2.5 million per year. The Canucks have 7 days to match or they will receive the Blues 2nd round pick for 09.


My Take: They should let the Blues take him that 2nd round pick in 09 could be an early 2nd round pick and the 2009 draft is very deep in player quality.

Sydor To Bolts?


The Insider On Pittsburgh Sports is reporting that Gary Roberts Is Pushing The Lightning Hard To trade For D-man Darryl Sydor from the Pittsburgh Penguins. This is possible as the Pens are pushing hard to rid themselves of the rather expensive d-man.

Lightning add one more forward


The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed unrestricted free agent Brandon Bochenski to a two-year contract. The 26 year-old forward played for 3 teams last year (Nashville, Anaheim and Boston), recording 13 points in 40 games. The terms of the deal were not announced.

Christian Ehrhoff extended by the Sharks


The 26-yeard-old German defenseman signed a 3-year extension with the Sharks worth $9.3M. Ehrhoff, who will make $2.75M in 2008-09, recorded 22 points in 77 games last year with the Sharks.

Smith Picks Sens


The Ottawa Senators have signed free agent Defenseman Jason Smith to a contract. The Deal is for 2 years at 2.6 million dollars per year.

My Take:Smith is a great leader and will help The Senators blueline. He is certainly not the fastest skater in the world but he will come through in key moments. He is just a true leader.

Demitra Signs With Vancouver

Pavol Demitra has just inked a 2-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks. The deal is worth $4M per year. The 33 year-old veteran played 64 games last year with the Wild, getting 54 points. The Canucks will be Demitra's 4th team in the NHL. He suited up with Ottawa, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Minnesota.

Halak Chooses To Stay With Canadiens


As per The Team 990, the Montreal Canadiens resigned young goalie Jaroslav Halak. He is suppose to be Carey Price's backup. Halak agreed to a two year contract. The deal will be worth 750,000 dollars in 08-09 and 800,000 dollars in the 09-10 season.(Thats a total of 1.55 million)

Patrick Thoresen likely heading to Europe


According to a Norwegian paper, the 24 year-old restricted free agent winger could not come to an agreement with the Flyers. Thoresen was seeking a one-way contract, which the Flyers would not give him. They only offered him a two-way deal. The Hamar native, who recorded 8 points in 38 games with Philadelphia and Edmonton last season, is likely to play in Switzerland or Sweden.

Habs Sign Goalie

According to TEAM 990 the Montreal Canadiens have signed a goalie. Word is that its probably Halak being re-signed but theres no information until they get word they are aloud to announce the signing to the Team 990's audience.

Fedorov To Re-up With Caps


A Russian Hockey Website is reporting that the Washington Capitals will re-sign Forward Sergei Fedorov to a new contract. Fedorov was acquired by the Caps last year at last years NHL trade deadline and helped the team to make it to the playoffs.

Hutchinson with Tampa


The Tampa Bay Lightning want to improve their defensive quad, it is believe they signed defenseman Andrew Hutchinson. Nothing is official yet, but we expect the Lightning organization to announce the deal in the few next days. Hutchinson played with Hartford in the AHL this season, scoring 18 goals and adding 46 assists for a total of 64 points, in 67 games. In his NHL career, he notched 10 goals and had a total of 33points in 95 games. He have a +/- rating of -1. Hutchinson played with the Nashville Predators and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Pesonen signed by Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed the leading scorer from the Finnish Elite league this past season, Janne Pesonen. The 26 year old will receive the normal transfer agreement type contract from the Eastern Conference Champs.

Pesonen led the league in goals and points, and lost the MVP race to Ville Leino, a 24 year old signed by the Detroit Red Wings a couple of months ago.
More on this and how the Detroit Red Wings are influencing the NHL to come in the next couple of days

Stu Barnes nearing retirement

According to the Dallas Morning News, Barnes is pondering retirement after a successful 16-year career in the NHL. The 37-year-old recorded 12 goals and 23 points last season in a limited-role with the Stars. He also played with Buffalo, Florida, Pittsburgh and Winnipeg (the team that drafted him 4th overall in 1989). The Spruce Grove native should make an announcement soon.

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