Monday, August 31, 2009

Brandon Dubinsky Talks About Future

The Rangers had voluntary on-ice workouts this morning at their practice facility. According to Jim Cerny, there were about 30 players on the ice. After the workout, Steve Zipay of Blue Notes caught up with Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky to discuss his future - he has yet to sign a contract for the 2009-10 season.
“I want to be a Ranger,” said Dubinsky, 23, still an unsigned, restricted free agent. “The Rangers want me here; something’s gonna get done real quick and this will all be an afterthought. I’m in here working hard, getting ready for the season, not worrying about that; everything falls into place eventually, so I’m not losing any sleep over it. Obviously there’s been a lot of speculation and stuff, but I know where we’re at and where we’re gonna be…It might be 12 days away from camp, but 12 days is a long time, you can have a lot of conversations in 12 days, it only takes one.”

Dubinsky, who did not accept a qualifying offer of $698,000, said he was not shocked that the process has played out this long.

“You always think it’s going to happen right away, but it’s been an interesting summer for our team, all the changes with trades and some signings,” said Dubinsky. “I knew there was a chance it was going to take a while because heading into the summer we had a lot of free agents---not only restricted but unrestricted, so they had to make some decisions, even some of the restricted free agents had arbitration. So I was able to get the qualifier and hang out.” Asked if he was ready to play for the qualifier, he hedged: “We’ll see. I don’t want to talk about numbers and figures and terms, I’m ready to play, been working hard; leave it to the businessmen, that’s why we pay those guys.”

During the summer, Dubinsky trained in his home state of Alaska and in New York recently and changed his routine a bit. “I shot a lot of pucks; I passed on too many opportunities last season,” he said.
Honestly, he didn't say anything that wasn't expected. Did anyone really expect Dubinsky to say anything different? But, it's still good to hear that he doesn't sound hostile towards the Rangers. Here's hoping that he gets a contract signed in the next week or so.

I think that another reason why so many fans like Brandon Dubinsky other than his obvious potential on the ice, is his down-to-earth personality. While other young NHL stars (like Mike Green, picture on his new website - looks like it could be taken from GuidoFistPump.com) are all about the glamor, Dubinsky comes off as your typical 23-year old. As evidenced by this quote that Jim Cerney had from today's practice:
Dubinsky was also quite happy to show off his new watch. I asked him if he bought it on the streets of New York City, and the proud Dubinsky responded, "Nope. $27....on Amazon!"

Your Hockey Reading To Start The Week

  • Faux Rumors has off-season report cards for both the Eastern Conference and the West. Do you agree that the Detroit Red Wings did the worst and the Kings and Tampa the best this summer?

  • It looks like the Free Agent pool gets even shallower as it's reported that Alex Tanguay has signed with Tampa. Is the next best UFA forward Mike Comrie? Or Petr Sykora?

  • According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: the Sharks, Rangers, Kings, Devils and Oilers are all still interested in acquiring disgruntled Ottawa Senator Dany Heatley. That could be news to Los Angeles GM, Dean Lombari who considers Heatley to be "too risky." At first many thought that the salary cap dumping that the Sharks did on Friday was to make room for Dany Heatley. But, is it really to accommodate Phil Kessel's salary?

  • The Hurricanes are still trying to trade RFA defenseman Anton Babchuk who had 16 goals last season. Babchuk switched agents last week and says that he wants to stay in the NHL. Wonder if Sather is still interested, as it was reported he was earlier this summer. He's a much more offensive minded defenseman than both Bouillon and Seidenberg who were the most recently rumored Ranger defensive targets. However, as an RFA, the Rangers would have to give up more than just money to obtain the Russian blue liner.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Canucks Improve Blue Line Today


The Vancouver Canucks made a couple of moves today that if nothing else adds experience and depth to their blue line for next season.

In two separate deals the Canucks acquired Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich and signed UFA Mathieu Schneider.

The trade for the Canucks to acquire Ehrhoff and Lukowich is a cap clearing move for the San Jose Sharks who in return acquired Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi, neither who have yet played an NHL game.
White was drafted 25th overall in the 2007 NHL Draft and is about to enter his Junior year at the University of Minnesota. Meanwhile, Daniel Rahimi a 2006 3rd Round pick of the Canucks has spent the last two seasons playing in the AHL.

It appears that the Sharks may be preparing for a trade because they have effectively cleared over $4.6M off the cap for the coming season (per CapGeek) and it's unlikely that either player that they acquired will see any NHL action this season.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Messier & The Gary Coleman Photo

You know you've seen this photo before. Today, Puck Daddy tried to get to the bottom (Gary Coleman's bottom) of the story.

Mark Messier was on a conference call to discuss his new new anti-concussion hockey equipment. So, it was the perfect time to ask him about the infamous picture.

Check it out over at the Puck Daddy Blog on Yahoo

Latest NHL Trade/UFA Rumors

Check out the latest rumors from around the NHL - including Mats Sundin getting interest from several teams, Patrick Marleau reportedly refusing to waive his "No Trade Clause" and a team that's rumored to be close to signing UFA defenseman Mathieu Schneider [Link]

More later - not much hockey news the past few days



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rangers Salary Cap Situation

Throughout the summer we've been monitoring the Rangers roster and looking at the moves that still need to be made in order to fill the roster and what remaining cap space the team has.

Since the last update there hasn't been much activity in New York, but the Rangers have decided to walk away from Nik Zherdev and the team has since signed Vinnie (or Vinny, or Vaclav) Prospal. Brandon Dubinsky still remains unsigned, which makes it likely that he'll sign the one year qualifying offer that the Rangers made him and he'll make less than $650k this year. As of now the forwards on the roster seem fairly certain (at least 10 of them) and the two goalies are already determined. The biggest mystery is on the blue line where the only names set in stone are Redden, Rozsival, Staal and Girardi.

The image below (which if you click on becomes larger and clearer) is a list of the players that in my opinion will be on the roster on opening night. The roster below has 11 forwards, 4 defensemen and 2 goalies. At the very least the team still needs to add a forward and two defensemen. Of the two or three defensemen that will be added to the roster at least one of them is likely to be a rookie.

The Rangers have over $6.8M in cap space to fill the remaining three spots in their lineup and carry at least one extra roster player. Matt Gilroy is one of the favorites to make the team on defense ($1.75M). Corey Potter, Bobby Sanguinetti, Mike Sauer and Ilkka Heikkinen are all other possible rookies (all less than $1M cap hit). Will Sather also add a veteran to the blue line, like has been rumored over the past couple of weeks?

I guess these questions will all be answered soon (not soon enough if you're a hockey nut like me!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rangers News From Around the Internet

  • The Classic Blog has an excellent breakdown of the Nikolai Zherdev trade. You thought you were mad about the Rangers trading Tyutin for Zherdev and as a result basically ending up with nothing? Well, read this to really get your blood boiling.

  • Need some information about the prospect tournament coming up in a few weeks? The Rangers Tribune takes a look at the roster that the Rangers will be sending to the annual prospect tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.

  • In case you missed it, yesterday NHL.com continued to analyze all 30 NHL teams in 30 days. Yesterday, it just happened to be the Rangers who were in the spotlight.

  • According to Steve Zipay over at Blue Notes, Bobby Sanguinetti has a shot at making the Rangers roster this season and it looks like Upper Deck thinks highly of the New Jersey native. Also, in yesterday's release NHL.com's table showed there were no Rangers scheduled to be on NBC, but that's not the case according to Blue Notes. It looks like there are now two scheduled Rangers games on NBC (which makes more sense) - March 14th against the Flyers and March 21st in Boston.

  • Five keys to the Rangers having a successful 2009-10 season [Part 1 of the article]

  • Remember Mike York, the former stand out rookie for the Rangers, who was runner-up to Scott Gomez for the Calder Trophy all those years ago? In case you care, he's now playing for the Rochester Americans of the AHL after signing a 1 year deal with the team this week. [Link]

  • A look at Rangers defensive prospect Michael Del Zotto has been up to this summer and what his goals are for the upcoming season. Right now, it looks like he's heading back to the OHL for another year of Junior hockey. [Link]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

John Tortorella Discusses Prospal, Gomez & More

A John Tortorella article was in yesterday's NY Times as he was interviewed during the U.S. Olympic team's practice at the U.S. orientation camp.

Discussing the hiring of Mark Messier as a special assistant to Glen Sather:
"Him and Glen have gone to war together. Those two guys, they’re tight. That’s what’s great about Glen. He’s a guy who gives people opportunities to grow.”
Talking about Vinny Prospal:
“I know him really well,” Tortorella said of Prospal, whom the Rangers signed on Monday. “We’ve had some battles along the way.”

“He still has talent,” Tortorella said Tuesday of the 34-year-old Prospal. “I think he has something to prove. And Vinny Prospal is a pretty damn good player when he has something to prove. He’s a pain sometimes, which doesn’t matter. It’s a good intensity that he has. I think he can help us. He has some offensive skill. It’s a good signing. It’s a one-year deal, not a bunch of money, and this guy has something to prove. I think he’s a pretty good player when he has that kind of attitude. He’ll help us on the power play.”

Tortorella continued, and there was still a bit of a provocation at Prospal somewhere in there: “Vinny and I had a long conversation prior to our even talking about this … I know, I’ve coached him for so many years — my question was, Does he want to play? Is life too good? Because he’s made a lot of money. He’s been successful. He’s a good person. But I just wanted to make sure that he wanted to play. He’s ticked off. He was bought out. He has something to prove here. I think it’s a good situation on a one-year deal, and show us maybe for when another contract comes around. Some other people in the organization need to understand that too.”
Talking about Marian Gaborik, one of the higher end UFAs that was on the market this summer, who the Rangers signed:
“He’s a dynamic player. If we can keep him healthy — and he’s healthy now — we want to let him play. I know he’s gonna show me that he can play away from the puck and be competitive there. But we’re looking at the other end, and we want him to be that spontaneous, dynamic player. I just don’t think you win consistently in this league unless you have that kind of dynamic player. I am not going to overcoach him. I just want him to be instinctive. If shows me a two-way street the other way, as far as competing away from the puck, he can do his thing.”
Talking about having control of the team before the start of the season:

“The real part of it is when you can have your own camp,” he said. “That’s where we can establish what our mindset is going to be, conditioning, which I think is a weakness of our club. As I’ve said, and I make no bones about it, I don’t think we’re a stiff team mentally. I think we have to be a little bit tougher in that area, in mental parts and preparation.”

And how will it work with the Rangers now that Torts will have control from Game 1?

“It’s a process, it’s accountability, it’s merit,” he said, then outlined a program of eternal Darwinian struggle. “No one’s locked into any positions — people are going to earn their time, they’re always going to have to earn their time. Even if they get some, if they don’t keep on going they may get moved around a little bit. I think that makes it into more of a hard-type situation. This is a hard game. I just think we’re soft mentally, and I think we have to grow in that area.”

Tortorella talking about Matt Gilroy who has a legitimate shot at being a rookie this season on the Rangers' blue line:
He’s a skill player. He needs some work as far as understanding the defensive part of the game in his own end zone. But the thing that I love about him is he’s trying to get up the ice all the time. He’s got a fair whack at it this year. There are a couple of wide-open spots on D, and it’s important that we develop some young defenecmen.
And finally, when asked about former Ranger Scott Gomez:

“A lot of people think that Scotty and I are at odds. We have never been at odds. With us moving Scotty, I don’t think he played that well — I think Scott Gomez is honest about that too, I don’t think he thought he played that well — and we had an opportunity to get out of a contract there that was jamming us a little bit with the cap. I thought that Glen did a terrific job in taking care of that part of it. But I don’t begrudge Scotty anything as a hockey player, and he’s a good guy. Some of the onus belongs on our organization: we didn’t have a whole bunch of wingers that could help him. He’s playing in a pretty good city, too. So I wish him the best of luck.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rangers National TV Schedule for 2009-10

The NHL today released the television schedule for the entire 2009-10 regular season.

The Rangers will be on Versus eight times during the regular season, with only the game against New Jersey being on the road:

Mon Oct 5, 2009 @ Devils
Mon Oct 19, 2009 vs Sharks
Tue Nov 17, 2009 vs Washington
Mon Jan 4, 2010 vs Boston
Tue Jan 12, 2010 vs Devils
Tue Jan 19, 2010 vs Tampa
Mon Jan 25, 2010 vs Penguins
Tue Mar 16, 2010 vs Montreal

There are no scheduled Rangers games on NBC, which is very unusual, but the NBC schedule often changes as the season winds down and playoff races become clearer. So, despite the fact the Rangers aren't scheduled to be on NBC, doesn't mean they won't be on NBC.

Check out the Full 2009-10 NHL regular season schedule here, which allows you to sort the chart by team, network, etc.

I also recommend checking out Puck The Media - which has excellent coverage as usual and has all of the major network's press releases (Versus, NBC, CBC).

Latest on Blair Betts


Not much has been heard about Blair Betts over the past few months. Betts who has been a reliable 4th line center for the New York Rangers since the 2005-06 season and one of the best penalty-killing forwards in the game is an unrestricted free agent. At the beginning of the summer it was assumed that Betts would be back with the Rangers, since he and Freddie Sjostrom were one of the main reasons why the Rangers penalty-killing was so good last season. But, soon there were rumblings that the Rangers weren't interested in re-signing Betts and not long after that, the Flames signed Freddie Sjostrom.

There was an article today in the Calgary Sun discussing Betts' offseason and what the latest news is around the soon to be ex-Ranger.

Blair Betts has never been in this position.

The gritty centre, who spent the last four campaigns with the New York Rangers, has always known in the summer where he'd be plying his trade in the upcoming season.

This year, however, he is still looking for a job.

Surprising really, considering the relatively low price tag for Betts' solid penalty-killing and faceoff abilities.

"Things have been pretty quiet for about a month now," Betts said yesterday. "I'm not sure what's going to happen. We'll just have to continue to wait for a couple of weeks and see what happens."

Betts, 29, is one of a number of pros skating at a camp in Edmonton in preparation for the upcoming season.

He's also one of a handful of free agents yet to sign with a team. Mike Comrie, who is also attending the camp, is another.

"It'll be interesting to talk to some of the other guys who haven't signed either, and kind of hear what's been going on with them," Betts said.

"Right now, there are a lot of teams that are pretty close to the salary cap and are dealing with some tough numbers right now. It's a tough time for a lot of people right now, but what can you do? You just have to be patient."

A former second-round pick of the Calgary Flames, Betts scored six goals and added four assists in 81 games last season with the Blueshits.


Betts' career stats


Discuss this story & more over at the Forum

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bertuzzi Back in Detroit


The rumor that Detroit was bringing Todd Bertuzzi back for another stint as a Red Wing started over the weekend [follow progress here].

Today the Detroit Red Wings announced that they had signed Bertuzzi to a one year deal (which CapGeek reports is worth $1.5M)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Prospal Signing Official

As we mentioned yesterday, it was reported in the NY Post that Vinnie Prospal had signed a one year contract to play this season for the Rangers.

The New York Rangers today made the signing official with this press release.


Discuss this signing & more over at the Forum

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mark Messier Given Front Office Position With Rangers

It looks like Larry Brooks is full of Rangers news today. As we posted earlier, Brooks has the details of the Rangers signing Vinnie Prospal. He also has some more interesting news, Mark Messier is back in the New York Rangers organization.

Mark Messier is rejoining the Rangers' organization as special assistant to club president Glen Sather, The Post has learned. It will mark Messier's first job in hockey -- and first full-time job, period -- since he ended his playing career following the 2003-04 season.
Immediately people are probably assuming that this is preparing Messier for the General Manager's position once Glen Sather eventually retires. But, according to Brooks:
This move should not be interpreted as Sather hiring his successor. Messier is not the heir apparent. Rather, he is assuming the same type of apprentice position that contemporaries such as Steve Yzerman (Detroit), Cam Neely (Boston) and Al MacInnis (St. Louis) have assumed with their respective franchises.
I have trouble believing that if Messier wants the job when Sather eventually steps down, that Messier won't be given much higher priority over the other possible candidates. It's been rumored for some time now that Messier wants to get back into hockey and it was assumed that it would either be with the Rangers or the Edmonton Oilers.
The Post has learned that coach Tom Renney approached Messier last season about the possibility of working with the coaching staff this season. It also has been learned that Messier interviewed this summer for the vacant coaching position in Edmonton that ultimately went to Pat Quinn (with Renney as his associate).
Time will tell what this means for both the Rangers and Mark Messier.

For now, the Captain is Back!

NY Post Says Rangers Have Signed Prospal

According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post:
As contract negotiations with Brandon Dubinsky have hit a speed bump, the Rangers have signed 34-year-old free agent forward Vinnie Prospal to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.

Prospal, who became unrestricted when the Lightning bought him out of the final three seasons of the four-year, $14 million contract he had signed with Tampa Bay last summer, is most effective on the wing but also can play center.

The plan at the moment is to give Dubinsky the opportunity to claim the center position on the first line that will feature Marian Gaborik on the right and either Sean Avery or Christopher Higgins on the left. But if Dubinsky cannot handle the assignment, Prospal, who is strong on the puck, probably would get the call.

Obviously this is not yet confirmed by the teams or the NHL so it can't be considered anything more than a rumor at this point.

Prospal, who is now known as Vinnie was once Vaclav Prospal. His best years, career wise, were spent in Tampa [Career Stats] He has also played for the Flyers, Panthers, Ducks and Senators. Most of his career he has played on the left wing (the majority of his time in Tampa he played shotgun to Lecavalier) but he can also play center.

Discuss these rumors & more over at the Forum

Friday, August 14, 2009

Latest NY Ranger Trade Rumors

According to a Pittsburgh Sports website today, these are the latest rumors in Ranger world. Considering the source, read this with as much skepticism as you like. I'm not one for posting stuff like this usually, but it's a Friday in August and frankly I'm sick of the lack of hockey talk and news.
The New York Rangers continue to show a strong interest in Stars center Brad Richards but the two sides are not close on a deal.

The two sides have agreed on Brandon Dubinsky being involved but there's a major snag in the trade talks.

The Rangers are trying to move Michal Rozsival in any deal for Richards. The Stars have no interest in Rozsival.

While Richards is at the top of the Rangers wishlist, the Rangers have reached out to free agent forwards Vinny Prospal and Todd Bertuzzi.

I still don't buy the whole Rangers are interested in Brad Richards rumor.

I'm sure that most of these rumors are being generated because Dubinsky has yet to sign a new contract. When he gets that done (that's right, it's not an if, but a when) these rumors will finally go away. If Sather refused to include Dubinsky in a trade for Heatley what makes you think he'll trade him for Richards?

As for the other two names mentioned, neither surprise me and especially at the numbers that Bertuzzi should be getting ($1.2M - $1.7M) I wouldn't be horrified if they brought him in. Prospal on the other hand is going to cost a lot more and is more of the same type of player that's already on the roster.




Discuss these rumors & more over at the Forum

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ducks Acquire Artyukhin From Tampa

It's Official, according to the Lightning Twitter feed:
The Lightning have acquired LW Drew Miller and a 3rd rd pick in 2010 from Anaheim in exchange for Evgeny Artyukhin.

Discuss this trade over at the Forums

Update on Francis Bouillon Rumor

Update: 1:45pm ET

According to Jeff, who we already mentioned before, a new article, which once again is inconveniently in French, states that the teams still interested in Bouillon are the Rangers, Penguins and Chicago.

----------------------

According to this French speaking website it looks like once again there could be an erroneous report floating around.

It's strange that this rumor was circulated on Monday, then it went away until Wednesday afternoon. Both times the rumor was that a French Canadian radio station had confirmed that Bouillon was a NYR.

Jeff (a member of the PuckCentral Forums), noticed that the Google translation which I originally had posted below had an error. So Jeff has roughly translated the first paragraph as saying:

"Francis Bouillon is not only discussing his future with the New York Rangers. The former defenceman of the Canadiens, who's still whitout a contract one month away from the beginning of training camps, confessed he's been in contact with 5 or 6 teams."

The rest of the article translated via Google, says:

Bouillon is back on his return to the game too early in the second match of the series against the Boston Bruins.

"It was a rash decision, but it was mine," he said, outside the golf tournament Maxim Lapierre.

Bouillon had not played for two months because of injuries to the abdomen and groin. DG Bob Gainey has called to ask him to take part in the warm, Bouillon then made the mistake of agreeing to return to the game

On April 18 against the Bruins, Bouillon has jumped on the ice four times, before aggravating his disease.

Since then, the Montreal Canadiens did not offer. Moreover, Bouillon is on the market with independent label player "injured". He describes his state of health must be scary to the Directors-General and this probably explains why this is so long.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rumor: NYR Sign UFA Francis Bouillon

This is a rumor, so don't take this as set in stone yet.

A couple of days ago another radio station in Montreal had said that it was a done deal. But, according to a Twitter post a short while ago:

La Presse and Team 990 reporting Francis Bouillon to Rangers - deal is for 1yr @ $1M
Voice your opinion about this in the new Forum

When/if this is confirmed I will update

PuckCentral Launches New Forums

We are announcing the launch of the new PuckCentral Forums

The Forums will allow members to talk about all aspects of the NHL, discuss trade rumors and get information from each other. The Forums will have a board for General NHL Discussions as well as individualized sections for each of the 30 NHL teams. The Forums will also include messageboards to discuss other leagues besides the NHL such as the KHL, AHL, College and International tournaments.

You can either visit the new forums by clicking the link above or by using the new button on the upper right side of this page, which looks like this:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Zherdev Leaves NHL For KHL {or Maybe Not - Updated}

Update (7pm ET): Zherdev's agent (Rollie Hedges) is now saying that he hasn't signed in the KHL and is still talking with several NHL teams, including Nashville. According to John Glennon of the Tennessean.

Rollie, I wonder where everyone got the idea that Zherdev had in fact signed to play in the KHL next season?
Wouldn't be a part of your tactics to get Zherdev more money now would it?

Update (5pm ET): Check out Beyond the Blueshirts for more information as the club that was reported to have signed Zherdev is now denying that they ever spoke with Zherdev or his agent. Nothing comes easy with Zherdev I guess!

-----------

It looks like the well documented summer fiasco of Nik Zherdev has come to an end. The fact that he has ended up back in Russia really should be of no surprise to anybody. Based on the interviews that Zherdev had done earlier this summer, it was obvious that he was playing hockey because it was a "job" and he was going to play wherever he got paid the most money.

Thanks to Kukla's Korner for this translation from RDS.ca
Nikolai Zherdev crossed the Atlantic in his turn. The former Rangers player would accept a new contract with the team Yulaev Salavat Ufa in the KHL.



NHL.com Special Offer of 20% Off Away Jerseys


NHL Interactive

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Patrick Kane Arrested!

According to the Buffalo News:

Chicago Blackhawk right winger and South Buffalo native Patrick Kane and a relative face robbery and other charges after allegedly assaulting a cab driver and failing to pay their fare after getting a ride from Chippewa Street early this morning.

Kane, 20, and James M. Kane, 21, were arrested about 5 a.m. on Eastwood Place, according to Buffalo police reports.

The pair allegedly punched the cab driver and grabbed money they had handed him after he told them he didn't have twenty cents in coins to give them their change, the report said.

Their fare was $13.80 and they handed the driver $15, according to a report.

The cab driver told police he was punched in the face and head, grabbed by the throat and had his glasses broken during the incident.

A torn $5 bill was found in James Kane's pocket while in the Erie County Holding Center, the report said.

Buffalo Police Department spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge confirmed Patrick Kane and a relative were arrested after an incident involving a cab driver.

Both men were charged with second-degree robbery, a Class C felony, as well as fourth-degree criminal mischief and theft of services, both Class A misdemeanors.

On Thursday, Kane was at Timothy J. Burvid Ice Rink in Cazenovia Park to help Mayor Byron W. Brown announce funding to improve the rink and other park facilities.

"Today is special for me," Kane said at the ceremony. "This is where I grew up playing hockey. This is the first rink I probably skated in when I was 6 years old."

Kane, who was the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft, continued:

"It's special for me; it's the place I grew up," Kane said. "The best part is coming back and hanging out with your buddies and your family.

Brown declared Kane and fellow NHL star and Buffalo native Tim Kennedy "hometown heroes" and one parent at the park with her son that day called them "role models."

"I'll tell you one thing: It's a lot of fun playing in the NHL and playing on the ice and playoffs and certain things, and being part of an Original Six organization with the Blackhawks," Kane told the crowd. "But to come back home and drive in the driveway for the first time for summer, and realize that you have a long time to hang out back home in Buffalo [is a great feeling].

"The best thing about it is my friends treat me like I'm a regular kid. They don't treat me like a celebrity or whatever they might treat me like in Chicago."

Despite the humor in the above picture, I can't help but wonder what's the full story here. It just doesn't make sense that an NHL superstar would flip out over $1.20


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Martin Brodeur's Worst Nightmare

As reported yesterday, Theo Fleury is attempting a comeback to the NHL. Could this be Martin Brodeur's worst nightmare?


Friday, August 7, 2009

Theo Fleury Attempting NHL Comeback

According to TSN:
Theoren Fleury is attempting a comeback and wants to play in the NHL again.
After playing senior hockey last season, Fleury decided in February he was fit enough to give the NHL another try, so he hired a personal trainer and has been working diligently since.
Those close to him say he didn't leave the National Hockey League the way he wanted, which is fueling his desire to return.
The 41-year-old has been sober for almost four years and has been skating daily in Calgary in the hope that an NHL team is willing to invite him to training camp.
Interest in the former Stanley Cup champion won't be enough to clear the way for Fleury's return. He remains under indefinite suspension and would first have to be approved by the NHL and the NHLPA's Substance Abuse programs doctors before reinstatement would be considered.
Sources say Fleury recently sent NHL commissioner Gary Bettman a letter acknowledging his comeback bid and has also discussed the possibility with the leagues doctors.
At 5' 6'', Fleury was one of the smallest players in hockey. Intense and fearless, Fleury made a name for himself for more than his stature. He could score, play defensively and lead teams to championships in junior hockey, in the NHL and on the international stage.

Jeremy Roenick Retires & Special on NHL Network

After 20 seasons in the NHL, Jeremy Roenick has decided to hang up the skates. Roenick is one of 24 players with at least 500 goals and 700 assists, and 17 of those players are now in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

According to NHL.com:
In celebration of Jeremy Roenick's 20-year hockey career, NHL Network in the U.S. and Canada will air nine hours of Roenick-themed programming this Sunday beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET.

The nine-hour block of programming, affectionately entitled JR - An American Original, will take a look back Roenick's performances in past Stanley Cup Playoffs and will re-air today's press conference announcing his retirement. Classic Roenick Playoff performances to air include a look at the Chicago Blackhawks' run to the Final in 1992, during which Roenick recorded 22 points in 18 Playoff games; Game 6 of the 2004 series between the Flyers and Maple Leafs, during which he scored the series-clinching goal in overtime, propelling Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference Final; and Game 7 of San Jose's thrilling 2008 series against Calgary.

Roenick's NHL career began when was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks as the eighth pick in the 1988 Entry Draft. He made his League debut on Oct. 6, 1988 and remained with the Blackhawks through eight seasons. He went on to play with the Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and finally the San Jose Sharks. Roenick, a nine-time All-Star, is the third leading U.S.-born player in goal and points.

The full schedule of NHL Network Presents: JR - An American Original is as follows, all times Eastern and subject to change.

Sunday, August 9
9:00 a.m. ET Classic Series: 1992 Blackhawks vs. Blues
10:00 a.m. ET Classic Series: 1992 Division Finals (features Chicago's win over Detroit)
11:00 a.m. ET Classic Series: 1992 Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Noon ET Classic Series: 1992 Blackhawks vs. Penguins
1:00 p.m. ET 2004 NHL Playoffs: Philadelphia at Toronto, Game 6
3:00 p.m. ET 2008 NHL Playoffs: Calgary at San Jose, Game 7
5:00 p.m. ET Jeremy Roenick Retirement Press Conference

This programming will re-air beginning at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 9.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Sean Avery Video Interview

Rangers Don't Sign Zherdev

According to Steve Zipay of Blue Notes the Rangers have walked away from Nik Zherdev, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Update - Official Team Release:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has exercised its right to walk away from the arbitrator’s award to Nikolai Zherdev, thereby allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.

“With the additions we've been able to make this summer, we feel we've been able to add scoring and offense from the wing position,” stated Sather. “Following the arbitration process and subsequent award given, we feel it is in our best interest to walk away and continue to explore all available options to improve our roster.”



Moves Rangers Still Need to Make

Back on July 10th here at PuckCentral we took a look at the Rangers salary cap situation and how the team looked after making moves to hopefully improve the team. Since then not much has changed; Brandon Dubinksy still remains unsigned, the Nike Zherdev dilemma goes on (for at least a little longer) and the team still needs to fill a few forward and defensive spots on the roster.

At this point, it has to be assumed that Nik Zherdev will not be a Ranger much longer. Whether or not the Rangers can get something in return is the question left to be answered. If the Rangers walk away from Zherdev then he becomes a UFA and can sign anywhere in the world. However, if the Rangers sign Zherdev to the one year $3.9M contract that he was awarded in arbitration they could still attempt to trade him and get something of value in return.

As soon as the dust settles on the Zherdev fiasco, the next agenda for Glen Sather has to be to re-sign RFA Brandon Dubinsky. I actually thought that Dubinsky had a strong case to make in asking for a contract similar to the one that Ryan Callahan just signed (a 2 yr deal w/ a cap hit of $2.3M). But, since Callahan was eligible for arbitration he had more leverage working for him than Dubinsky does. Many think that Dubinksy will sign a two year deal for under $2M per year, s0 that's what I am factoring him in at in to calculate how much cap room the Rangers have left to complete their roster.


Now, with the roster that I have generated the Rangers have about $4M in cap room to add at least one more defenseman and forward to dress six defensemen and twelve forwards. This doesn't mean that the Rangers have to go out and sign another player or make a trade. In generating this roster I included Enver Lisin, Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov who are all expected to make the roster. If the roster remains the same as it is currently, this leaves Tyler Arnason, Dane Byers, Evgeny Grachev and Aaron Voros battling it out for the remaining forward position(s).

I also have penciled Matt Gilroy in on the roster above, so this leaves Corey Potter, Mike Sauer, Bobby Sanguinetti, Ilkka Heikkinen and Michael Del Zotto battling it out for the sixth and seventh (if the Rangers decide to carry seven) defensemen roles.

All of this could change within a matter of minutes if the Rangers decide to sign/trade Nik Zherdev.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Arbitrator Awards Zherdev $3.9M

Nik Zherdev, who rejected the Rangers qualifying offer of $3.25 million for one year and went to arbitration, has been awarded $3.9M by the arbitrator.

According to Blue Notes:
Arbitrator Elliot Shiftman who heard the arguments from each side at a hearing on Friday in Toronto, decided on the award today. Zherdev had sought upwards of $4 million.

The Rangers had no immediate comment, and will have 48 hours to decide to accept the contract. If they reject the award, Zhederv, 24, who scored 58 points last season, can declare himself a free agent.
Although I do not think that Zherdev is worth the almost $4M contract that he has been awarded, I am not in the least bit surprised that is what the arbitrator decided. On Friday, before the hearing we had listed the salaries of comparable players to Zherdev and I felt that the arbitrator would decide somewhere in the middle between what Zherdev was asking for and what the Rangers were offering him. It's been rumored that Zherdev was seeking $4.5M/yr and if that's true then this arbitration award would be right in the middle between that amount and the $3.25M that the Rangers had offered.

We'll just have to wait and see what the Rangers decide to do - let Zherdev become a UFA, sign him and keep him or sign him and trade him. At this point keeping Zherdev seems unlikely, with not much cap room, the need to complete their defensive core for next season and the need to re-sign RFA Brandon Dubinsky.

Read more at Ranger Rants

Saturday, August 1, 2009