Archive for August, 2012

Gernander Back in CT

August 27, 2012

Saw Kenny Gernander today for the first time since his return to town, and the Whale head coach reported that summer at Shallow Lake, his offseason hideaway on Minnesota’s Iron Range, was idyllic.  He had the dark tan to prove it too.

Under ordinary circumstances, Gernander and his staff would be on the cusp of departing for the opening of business, which would be the pre-training camp NHL rookie tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.  This is hardly a normal year, however, and the NHL labor situation has already prompted the cancellation of the Traverse City tournament and imperils the start of NHL training camps, which would follow immediately on the heels of Traverse City.

More negotiations are scheduled for Tuesday, but positive indications have been almost nonexistent.  And the official date on which the current CBA expires is September 15, right around the time training camps are supposed to open, after which there would be a lockout if no agreement has been reached.

So the Whale coaches know they aren’t going to Michigan, and aren’t sure whether they will be taking the ice for the scheduled start of Ranger camp or will be holding off until closer to the end of the month for an AHL-only camp.

One thing seems certain, and that is that the AHL will play as scheduled whether or not the NHL is locked out.  League president Dave Andrews reiterated that in an interview Friday on “Hockey Today”, an NHL Home Ice Sirius 207 Xm 92 hockey talk show.  To hear the entire interview, in which Andrews discusses a wide range of topics, click here.

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One Positive NHL Labor Take

August 24, 2012

Came across some interesting tweets from Doug MacLean, the former Columbus Blue Jackets general manager and current hockey analyst for Canada’s SportsNet, about the NHL labor situation.

For those who get an intense headache at the mere mention of CBA negotiations, and I am rapidly becoming a member of that segment, and have not heard the latest, a scheduled meeting Wednesday between the full negotiating teams from both sides was basically scrapped in favor of a small session among the key leaders from both sides.  The two sides then met for about an hour Thursday morning, and reported no discernible progress.

These developments led to widespread pessimism throughout the hockey media world, with the assumption being that a lockout was now inevitable, with the owners and the Players Association failing to get any closer together and the scheduled start of training camps less than a month away.

The lone voice seeing any sort of a bright side, at least that I could find, was MacLean.  After Wednesday’s twist, he tweeted the following, “That’s a positive…cancelling a meeting…Gary (NHL Commissioner Bettman) and Donnie (NHLPA chief Donald Fehr) getting serious…Good news for hockey fans….”  A short time later, he added in another tweet, “For all you negative people!!!!  I’m serious.  It’s good that they are cancelling meeting.  The BS is almost over.”

This piqued my interest, partly because I know Doug, having worked for him in the Red Wing organization when he was Detroit’s assistant GM, and he is a no-BS guy who is not prone to misty-eyed outbursts of positivism.  Also, although he is no longer on the inside of the highest levels of hockey management, he was for a long time, heading up the Blue Jackets for seven seasons after a long tenure assisting Bryan Murray in Detroit.  He knows Bettman well and he is familiar with how these kinds of things get done, so I’m personally hoping that he can see something happening that the rest of us cannot, and that the situation is not as negative as it seems.

Summer Update

August 1, 2012

In the midst of a summer of business-side change and some fairly significant player movement in the organization, here’s an update on what’s new with the players who spent time with the Whale last year whose statuses with the organization were uncertain, due to expiring contracts or other circumstances.  My sources for the salary and most of the transaction information are capgeek.com and eliteprospects.com:

Jon Audy-Marchessault– signed three-year Entry Level contract with Columbus for Entry Level maximum of $925,000 per

Lee Baldwin – did not receive qualifying offer, unrestricted free agent

Brendan Bell – unrestricted free agent, still unsigned

Stu Bickel – re-signed, to two-year, one-way contract

Francois Bouchard – did not receive qualifying offer, unrestricted free agent

Andre Deveaux – signed one-year, two-way contract with Florida

Tim Erixon – traded to Columbus in Rick Nash deal

Marek Hrivik – signed three-year Entry Level contract with Rangers

Chad Johnson – signed one-year, two-way contract with Phoenix

Sam Klassen – did not receive qualifying offer, unrestricted free agent

Randy McNaught – unrestricted free agent, still unsigned

John Mitchell – signed two-year, one-way contract with Colorado for $1.1 million per

Steve Moses – signed with Jokerit of Finland’s SM-Liiga

Kris Newbury – re-signed, to two-year, two-way conract

Jared Nightingale – signed AHL contract with Syracuse

Jordan Owens – signed with SoenderjyskE club of Denmark

Jeff Prough – unrestricted free agent, still unsigned

Cam Talbot– re-signed, to one-year, two-way contract

Cam Talbot

Scott Tanski – unrestricted free agent, still unsigned

Kelsey Tessier – unrestricted free agent, still unsigned

Andreas Thuresson – signed with Brynas of Swedish Elite League

Pavel Valentenko – signed with Avangard Omsk of Russia’s KHL

Mike Vernace – re-signed, to one-year, two-way contract

Casey Wellman – traded to Florida for a 2014 fifth-round draft pick

Mats Zuccarello – received qualifying offer from Rangers, who retain his NHL rights, but signed with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia’s KHL.

And here are some significant organizational additions who may see some, or a lot, of time with the Whale this coming season:

Sean Collins (D) – free agent signed to one-year, two-way contract…sixth-year pro was a Calder Cup champ with Hershey in 2010 and led the AHL in +/- in 2010-11, with a +29.

Steven Delisle (D) – 6-6, 209-pounder was acquired from Columbus in Rick Nash deal…spent most of rookie year in ECHL last season.

Jesper Fast (F) – sixth-round 2010 Ranger pick, signed to three-year Entry Level contract after two years in Swedish Elite League.

Micheal Haley (Chris Rutsch)

Micheal Haley (F) – free agent signed to a two-year contract, which is a two-way in the first year and a one-way in the second…pound-for-pound, for my money, one of the tougher guys in the league, and made himself into a pretty effective offensive player in four years with Bridgeport, earning 43 total games with the Islanders.

Kyle Jean (F) – 6-4, 203 pounds, signed to a two-year Entry Level deal out of Lake Superior State, where he played two seasons.

Oscar Lindberg (F) – 20-year-old Swede, a second-round pick by Phoenix in 2010, was acquired from the Coyotes for Ethan Werek in May 2011…signed a three-year Entry Level contract in June.

Logan Pyett (D) – free agent signed to one-year, two-way contract…led Grand Rapids D-men in assists last year with 25.

Brandon Segal (F) – free agent signed to one-year, two-way contract…tenth-year pro, just won his second career Calder Cup with Norfolk.

Scott Stajcer (G) – 2009 Ranger fifth-rounder is out of Junior eligibility after an overage year with Owen Sound of the OHL…signed to a two-year Entry Level contract