And now we wait…

United they stand. Unfortunately not together with the players on one side and the NHL on the other side. Now if only they could be united together. The NHL and NHLPA wrapped two days of CBA talks yesterday in NYC. 283 players were present for the meetings.
According to the Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul “the players are unified in this round of CBA talks and that he worries about the fans. There is a time when the fans will get fed up and both sides should probably apologize to them.” As with any war of words there is a difference of opinion between the two sides. One is adamant that there is a way for a solution and one is adamant that in order for change to occur is means putting the season on hold.  Fehr  says that the the players stand united. My favourite Fehr statement of the day “a lockout is a choice, not a requirement.” Bettman says that the owners also stand united. They all apparently have voted unanimously to lockout the players September 15th if indeed there is no new CBA in place. Question: did they really vote unanimously or did Bettman do a little leaning to force his preference? Did you also hear Bettman’s claim that the players solidarity is WHY the league lost an entire season in the last lockout? So question for Bettman….who’s solidarity will he blame this lockout on…the players or the owners? Well there is rumor of limited talks happening at some point today between the NHL and the NHLPA….but will they be able to gain any middle ground? We will have to wait…

In the mad dash scramble to the ever closer impending lockout many teams will be looking to lock in players to extensions before the expiration of the current CBA. Many teams have taken part in the last minute dash…everyone wants their intangibles locked in beyond next season while the current CBA still exists.

Speaking of intangibles. One of my very favourite #Canucks….ALEX “Mr.clutch” BURROWS has signed a 4-year  $18 million extension[an annual cap hit of $4.5 million] with the Vancouver Canucks. Remember how this guy was never supposed to make it to the ECHL let alone the AHL? Or when this guy was had his first 28 goal campaign and he was making $500,000? One day someone is going to write his biography…and hopefully it includes another run at the cup or two. Congratulations Alex Burrows! You have more than earned the new contract!!!

Will you believe that Shane Doan and the never ending off-season drama continues with a contract today?! He WILL sign a new contract and announce his FINAL decision today. Rumor has that it will be Phoenix[most likely]. UPDATE: SHANE DOAN has [surprise, surprise] signed a 4-year $21.2 million deal to stay in Phoenix. Wow. He took the entire summer down to the 11th hour to make a decision that EVERYONE knew was most likely to happen. Congratulations to Phoenix for allowing Doan to play his entire career for the ONE franchise…that does not happen for every player. So…now that Doan’s staying in the desert…does this mean the Canucks go after Jason Arnott [short-term…1-2 years]?

In the land of things that are so predictable, we are down to 1 day. 1 day before Bettman and the owners make the announcement of the looming lockout official. And now all we can do is wait. Wait for what we all know is coming when the gavel is thrown down tomorrow.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Buffalo responsible for BIG offer on the table + CBA meetings resume today + Edmonton in for the long HALL

Rumor has it that it was the BUFFALO SABRES who offered Shane Doan that 4-year $30 million deal but the question remains…if it’s money he’s after why has he not signed on the dotted line? Perhaps it is not the money he is after or maybe it’s as simple as he does not wish to go to Buffalo. His first choice remains returning to the Coyotes unless they cannot assure that the franchise stays in Phoenix. We all kno w that Buffalo is not one to afraid to spend the big bucks…Ville Leino & Christian Ehrhoff[remember that contract that will see him having earned nearly $18 million by the end of next year!] last season and now with the hopes of landing Doan they are at it again. It would appear that while Buffalo has made this lofty offer…there is still no clear answer from Doan aside from he wishes to remain in Phoenix if possible. Once again, only time will tell.

CBA meetings were set to resume yesterday in Toronto between the NHL and the NHLPA following a somewhat shocking development…meetings were canceled for the afternoon yesterday and rescheduled to resume today[Thursday]. It is unclear as to why the meeting was canceled but the move follows a separate meeting the NHL & NHLPA executives[Bettman & Daly vs. Donald Fehr & his brother] had yesterday morning. The canceling and rescheduling of the meetings suggest that both sides have much to consider during this ‘make or break’ session as the ever near deadline looms. Some think this is the CBA session that will determine the future of the pending upcoming season…but no one can really know until the Sept.15th deadline comes & goes. Yesterday also marked some NHL executives, NHL GM’s and NHL players meeting to discuss officiating standards and new rules. Can we just hear the news we are all waiting to here instead of gossip about the latest meeting?! Hopefully some positive steps are taken by both sides to shorten the gap that separates them & moves them towards starting the season on time…wouldn’t that be nice instead of all the negatives?

In other news the Edmonton Oilers shall indeed continue to be ‘taylor-made’ as they announced signing Taylor Hall to a 7-year contract extension worth $42 million [an annual cap hit of $6 million…that is some precedent that the Oilers have set with signing one of their young core!]. With this contract the Oilers have insured that Hall remains with them through the prime of his career [w/ one year left on his current contract..and the 7 that will follow, he will 28 by the end of the contract] making him an integral part of their franchise. One would think that the Eberle extension of near identical money will be announced any way now. The Oilers newest young gun Nail Yakupov is suffering an apparent leg infection.

It appears that the former San Jose Shark backup goalie Antero Nittymaki is going back home regardless of a pending lockout..he has secured a one-year deal to play in his native country of Finland.

Still waiting to hear an official announcement on Burrows being signed to an extension…but I have a feeling that we’ll be hearing about #14 staying in Vancouver long-term any day now…

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

NHL meets w/ the NHLPA, Doan still running in circles & The Canucks sign Gaunce!

Rumor has it that should the ever horrid reality of yet another lockout(ahem I mean a ‘work stoppage’ as they are now referring to it) with Bettman at the helm take place, that the NHLPA is working to organize at least a few exhibition games for the fans that would involve not just NHL players, but also KHL player(Kontinental Hockey League…aka the Russian league). Negotiations begin today between the NHL & the NHLPA and go through Thursday, the NHLPA will present their counter-proposal[alternative view] tomorrow. New Year’s hope? Will the Winter Classic save this year’s NHL season from complete demise? The league has until the January 1st date to cancel the fan favourite event(not to mention canceling the game last minute…would be a low blow). Could the Winter Classic act as the brake that will save the season from being axed completely? The Winter Classic brings with it great economic benefits for the NHL(the merchandising alone for this event…special jerseys, hats, flags, t-shirts,  sweaters, etc…its endless!) and some people have already committed financially to this event. There is still time to make a deal before the Bettman imposed deadline and hopefully these next 4 days of meetings go well. Do I want there to be a full 82 game schedule next season? YES, but I don’t know about you, I would rather have a shortened season than NO season at all.

Cristobal Huet has officially ended his waiting for a goal-tending job to open up in the NHL by signing a 4-year deal in Switzerland. He’s not the only one the leave the NHL behind, Gilbert Brule has signed a one-year deal with a team in Switzerland deciding to chance a return to the NHL in a year. A one-year deal with the European league gives Brule certainty for a job next season(with the CBA in limbo at the moment) and keeps him viable when the year is over to return to the league.

The Colorado Avalanche announced the re-signing of J.S.Giguere to a one-year extension worth $1.5 million.

Rumor has it that when the Shane Doan saga finally comes to a close, teams will make take a shot at landing Brenden Morrow from the Stars…via some sort of trade, not too sure that Dallas would willing to part with him though. Rumor has it that the Detroit Red Wings are also still actively interested in acquiring Doan but is he interested in Detroit? Reality suggests that Doan does not want to leave Phoenix, but it might be in his best interest to move forward if ownership cannot guarantee that the Coyotes will remain in Phoenix.

In other news my Vancouver Canucks have signed 2012 1s round pick Brendan Gaunce to entry level NHL contract. I look forward to seeing this kid unleash his potential at training camp, pre-season & potentially playing the line-up if he gets the call from the Canucks AHL affiliation the Wolves.

As always, until next time or [later today should more drama unfold], nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Bettman+Fehr=both sides optimistic & other thoughts before the new week begins

According the Bettman & the NHLPA  director Fehr, a first counter proposal is expected to be presented next week. Both sides remain optimistic that an agreement can reached before or by the ‘deadline’ enforced by Bettman. Fingers crossed that that optimism turns into a brand new CBA by/before September 15th. I might be the only one who’s choosing to be optimistic about this scenario as it is Bettman at the helm of the ship…but I REFUSE the thought of no hockey next season, it is just unfathomable to me. I cannot think one other NHL Commissioner who had 2 lockouts(&potentially a 3rd) in their tenure[and he’s only been it since ’93!]. I might be the only one…but I will shout my optimism loud enough for all hockey fans! I demand that we get to see some #Tripletmagic & #Sedinery +#AllAmericanExpress not mention the other great moments for other great players in this league.The madness will be starting in October!

Word is that Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick has had surgery to repair disc fragments and a cyst. Rehab is expected to begin next week and the estimated minimum amount of time for a full recovery is projected to be 6 weeks(aka just in time for pre-season).

If Doan is looking for money and it is indeed around $7 million…then it will more than likely be with Phoenix or another team that he signs, not Vancouver. I do not think the Canucks should take on a $7 million annual cap hit. However, if it is not about the money and indeed where he would fit best & have a chance at winning that elusive Cup…then he could end up in Van City, Pittsburgh or New York. It seems today that the supposedly signed & sealed offer by Jamison(*apparently he got the funds he was short on just a mere few weeks ago…but questions have arise where did it come from?) is not all it seems and the Phoenix ownership is once again basking in uncertainty. The favourites in the Doan sweepstakes seem to change daily 2 days it was New York, yesterday it was Phoenix…today there have been whispers of Pittsburgh. There will continue to be rumors and whispers until there is an official announcement. Should the Phoenix sale & ownership go through officially ensuring that the franchise remains in Phoenix, it is almost certain that Doan would no doubt sign to finish his career with the Coyotes.

P.S. When I refer to the #triplets that refers to Henrik & Daniel Sedin + Alex Burrows… or my other favourite when referring to the twins #sedinery = their unreal chemistry..its magical…just you wait until October & they dazzle us with their seamless no look passes.  When I refer to the #allamericanexpress that refers to Ryan Kesler, David Booth, & Chris Higgins. In the future I will probably make many more references to these combos & state some new ones…just a little preview of what comes once hockey finally begins again!!!

As always, until next time[& I know there is still dramatics still to come before all is said & done this off-season], nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Strike 3, Bettman’s at it again!+ Detroit looking to the Flames?+ a few other thoughts

In the news today everyone’s favourite(as in the one we love to despise!) NHL commissioner was at it again! Gary Bettman officially made the statement that should there be no new CBA in place by September 15th there will indeed be a lockout(yes I know we are ALL shocked…but WAIT we already knew that!) Don’t you just love how Bettman thinks he’s alerting the hockey world to brand new information? Although following his statement today, he also stated that there is still ample time until then for both parties to come to an agreement. Once again tell us, something we didn’t already know Bettman! It is yet to be decided how drastic this lockout could be(delayed shortened season or the entire year with no hockey), but since Bettman became NHL commissioner in 1993 there have been 2 lockouts….one in 1994 which cut the 1994-1995 season to just a 48 game schedule and then the entire 2004-2005 was canceled, and he potentially could force a 3rd one! Anyone else just as frustrated with the way Bettman ‘controls’ the league?

Rumor has it that Detroit is actively looking into Calgary Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester in what could be an interesting trade. Rumor has it that Calgary has been looking to trade Bouwmeester(who has a cap hit of $6.68 million after signing defenseman Dennis Wideman to a 5 year contract worth $26.25 million(or an annual cap hit of $5.25 million) earlier this off-season. Apparently Detroit feels they need to fill the void left by Lidstrom’s retirement & losing Brad Stuart to San Jose. Detroit also lost the race in free agency when they lost the Suter/Parise lottery and had no chance in signing Weber after Philly upped the stakes that only Nashville could match. All in all, Detroit needs a defenseman to help stabilize the back end, and it will more than likely cost them a trade as the free agent market has not produced them the player(s) that they hoped to nab. It will interesting to see what both sides give&take if this trade does go through. Rumor has it that Calgary is attempting to rebuild & make a run for the cup, but I wasn’t aware that you could do both at the same time? Colour me confused.

Rumor has it that maybe just maybe Doan could remain in Phoenix, that is if this whole ownership ordeal with Jamison has stabilized itself. Then again, until he officially puts ink to paper the eyes of the NHL will remain on him, before moving on. If he remains in Phoenix, I like the idea of the Canucks signing centre Jason Arnott(it has been rumored that he likes the potential of signing in Vancity!) to help fill the void in centre with Kesler down, and provide a leadership role as well. Time will tell with both these players. If Doan leaves Phoenix when all is said and done…it could have an adverse effect on Phoenix…as he is their franchise player and may affect ticket sales for a franchise that already struggles filling the arena on a regular basis.

Are you kidding me?! The city of Markham, Ontario has submitted a proposal  for an NHL sized arena! If it were to go through, that leaves the potential for a 3RD hockey team in Ontario(they already have the Leafs & the Senators). Would another Canadian team be exciting? YES! But 3 teams in ONE province…is a bit much….yes Ontario is large….but three teams is too many….do they want to be New York(they’ve got the Rangers, Islanders, & the Sabres!) but then again who knows it could work. Maybe Quebec will get another team too if that proposal goes through…! Another team or two would add some excitement to the league…and Canada does love hockey and will fill those arenas! Until approval is given to Markham, it is just a dream for the moment.

#isitOctoberyet?!!! #63moredays!

Until next time, as always, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Skinner determines his future w/ Carolina & 3+1=4 for Doan

Future consideration. That is what Carolina inked today in the re-signing of forward Jeff Skinner to a six year contract extension worth $34.35 million (that’s $4.35 million for the 2013-2014 season, and $6 million for the next 5 years). This kid has so much upside and playing in Carolina’s upgraded lineup next season(& the 6 season that will follow!) is only going to make him a better player. This signing comes after a line great signings by Carolina’s GM Rutherford (Staal, Semin to name a few) as he prepares his team for the upcoming season,hoping that this new lineup will break the playoff drought of the last 3 years(I think there’s a good chance with the Staal’s united and the group of forwards that make a solid top 6 overall).

Philadelphia re-signed defense-man Marc-Andre Bourdon to a multi-year contract today, hoping he can help fill in the void on their patchy defensive blue-line. Bourdon made his NHL debut with Philly last year, playing 45 games and accumulating 7 points(4 G, 3 A). With the right defensive partner this kid will do well. Philly will need to acquire a blue-line veteran before their defense ends up hemmed in their own zone. Philly’s going to have to do something to address the absence of Pronger. Rumor has it that Philadelphia’s GM Holmgren is looking to make another defensive offer sheet, to the #Canadiens RFA, P.K. Subban(which of course Montreal would have to match, leaving Philly once again in the lurch!).

Rumor has it that Nashville’s coach Barry Trotz has stated that Nashville is also in the #DoanLimboLottery which means potentially that, that list is now 4 NOT 3.Rumor has that one of the 4 teams(Nashville, Vancouver, or Philly, but apparently it was NOT New York) have offered him that elusive 4 year term & $7 million per season. However if Doan were to choose Nashville and they were to pay that price tag….that would mean that they would have tied up $21 million of their cap space[just about 1/3 of the total cap space] for the next for years on just TWO players( Doan at $7 million & Weber at $14 million) which lets be realistic, that is, say it with me now: RIDICULOUS! 1/3 of your salary cap tied up into two players is just absurd when you need to get 22-23 guys under the cap….kind hard to get the other 20 guys tied up in what remains.

Rumor also has it that Tuukka Rask is raring to take the reigns that Tim Thomas so willingly left behind when he fled Boston to put his focus back on his life away from hockey. Rask has surprised many by stating that he is absolutely confident that following his play in the upcoming season he will rewarded with a long-term contract by the Bruins as it looks like Thomas will not be returning to Boston after his self-imposed exile. Time shall see how that unravels.

The NHLPA is still preparing their counter-proposal to be presented to the NHL & hopefully soon both sides will agree to a new CBA that will benefit both parties.

As the off-season draws nearer to an end, the winds are shifting signaling more change is yet to come. After August comes hopefully a brand spanking new CBA (& the no more thoughts of a dreaded lockout), followed by training camps for all teams, followed by pre-season(a preview of what to look forward to & a chance to see how prospects have improved their game), and then FINALLY the 11th of October will be here!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Philadelphia takes another hit on the blueline! + other NHL tidbits

Philadelphia has suffered yet another loss on the blueline, the team announced Andrej Meszaros is out indefinitely after tearing one of his achilles tendons. As Canucks fans will remember…such an injury is not an easy road back…just ask Sami Salo.Sami Salo was sidelined by the very same injury in the summer of 2010…it was thought he might not come back and if he did would, he play the same? The answer is that YES he did make a comeback and NO he didn’t play the same, he played even BETTER(just look at game 4 against San Jose in the 2011 conference final and all of last season!). It was a long road back for Salo, he only played 27 regular season games in the 2010-2011 season, but he made his presence known in those games and during the 2011 playoffs he played amazing and last year was his best season in years. I wish the best for Meszaros as he works his way back from this injury, it will not be an easy or a quick path but as all Canuck fans know, it is definitely possible. The loss of Meszaros on the blueline adds to the already decimated blueline that is the Philadelphia Flyers. They lost Carle to free agency, they lost Weber due to Nashville matching their lunacy, and all camps are quiet on the Pronger situation. The lack of any news on the Pronger situation suggest that it will not be good news when an announcement does get made. The loss of Pronger(at least in the short term) and the indefinite loss of Meszaros leaves a HUGE void for the Flyers on the blueline come October. They will have to address the matter before the season begins.

In other NHL news Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul skated for the first time today since separating his shoulder in early March. The Leafs will need him in tip top form for camp next month, when he combines with Phil Kessel and both are healthy, they make a lethal duo. All eyes are still on Doan as his fate is still yet to be decided(big surprise!), the list sits at three until otherwise announced. I know, tell me something we don’t already know. In other news we already know but are anxiously awaiting, there is yet to be a formal agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA regarding a new CBA(must be reached by mid-September to avoid a shortened season or a lockout year). The Canucks would love to have a Doan-/Arnott-type player signed to help fill the void of Kesler’s absence until he returns. The dust has yet to settle on this off-season and there is bound to be more dramatics before all is said and done.


As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

And then there were 3….Doan shortens his list! + Will the NHLPA & NHL reach a new CBA?

We are now into the 2nd week of August of this off-season and there are still many players & teams waiting to sign or make moves. Rumor has it that Shane Doan has shortened his list to just 3 teams outside of Phoenix that he is considering: Pittsburgh, Vancouver, and of course New York(rangers). Yes he would love to stay in Phoenix…but with the ownership situation being so uncertain, it may be cause to draw Doan elsewhere. I still think Shane Doan would look fantastic outfitted in #Canuck blue & green slotting in on the 2nd line:)

Donald Fehr director of the NHLPA has said that an agreement can be reached by the NHL and the NHLPA, but both sides need to be committed. The NHL has made a proposal but the NHLPA is working on submitting a counteroffer. The current CBA expires in 6 weeks time…but Fehr feels that is sufficient time to counteroffer and for both sides to reach a fair agreement. Fingers crossed that the agreement comes quickly(I refuse to entertain the idea of no hockey next season…aka the dreaded lockout!)!

The days of this off-season are continuing to drag on…silence and echoes filling the space. It feels as though a team or two is going to make a dramatic move or two yet before all is said and done. The dominoes have yet to fall into place.

#65more days! #isitOctoberyet?!

As always until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Kesler’s return delayed…Doan’s heart in Phoenix, but where will he play next season?

Bad news bears. In the latest #Canuck news, it looks like Ryan Kesler will not be returning in early October…but rather early-mid December. I was hoping to see #17 lace up the skates for October…but as I mentioned before, I would much rather have Kesler return 100% recovered and fully ready to unleash his #beastmode for the rest of the year +playoffs(into JUNE..*fingers crossed*) and that means later than we all hoped. This latest update explains the pursuit of both (top 6 forward)Doan and (3rd line centre)Arnott as the Canucks are in need of both type of players to bolster the line-up without Kesler. Mind you a young Evander Kane would look great in the lineup too…with his skill-set, he could fill in the gaps with Kesler out and solidify that 3rd line. When one of a team’s best players is out of the the lineup for an extended period, it means that another player has to step up, with Kesler out of the lineup to start the year, that is exactly what it means. When Daniel Sedin missed 18 games in the start of the  2009-2010 season it was his brother who stepped up to lead this team(a year before he was named team captain!) with 18 points in that stretch, proving that he can play without his brother…he eventually went on to win the Art Ross trophy that year. When a player goes down, it gives the rest of the team the opportunity to step up and rise above the adversity. It will be interesting to see who takes that role with Kesler out of the lineup for a bit. I think it better that Kesler acts with precaution, coming back a little later than we all had hoped but fully capable of encompassing that #beastmode we all love to watch!

At this moment Doan’s heart is Phoenix but he has officially stated that he will do what is best for him…even that means leaving the Coyotes franchise. So, once again we are left with the “I need more time to make this decision” announcement. It sounds as though Doan is divided, he may be on his way out of Phoenix but he also could remain loyal to the Coyotes. He has been visiting with other teams as he processes what is right for his future( a list that includes: New York, Philadelphia, Montreal, and Vancouver). Until the hockey world hears his official decision…all eyes around the NHL will remain on him, or until another dramatic move is made.

In other news all of us fans are still waiting to hear any  official word of agreement on the new CBA[Collective Bargaining Agreement] between the NHL & the NHLPA…because if you are like me…a year of no hockey(aka a lockout year) is absolutely unacceptable. The NHLPA has been reviewing the latest proposal by Bettman[Do Not get me started on Bettman!] and the NHL executives…but no word on its been seen as accepted or not. Keep your fingers crossed that both sides find a #winning agreement for both sides before mid-September so that we get hockey starting October 11th and not a year later!!

Until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Evander Kane considering his options? + other NHL notes

Are the Winnipeg Jets are worried they could lose Evander Kane(not to be confused with that pest known as Patrick Kane whose alias is a blackhawk in the windy city!)? They have reportedly offered him a six year deal worth $29 million.  Rumor has it that the reason it is taking so long for Evander Kane to sign the dotted line, is that he wants to review all his options including possibly Vancouver…but as you know, this rumor must be taken with a grain of salt. It would an interesting signing to land Kane who was drated 4th overall in 2009 by the Atlanta Thrashers(now the Winnipeg Jets) from the VANCOUVER GIANTS in the WHL. During his time in the WHL he won the Memorial Cup in 2007. He’s had some success with Atlanta/Winnipeg, but unfortunately the last 3 years he has not had the opportunity to participate in the NHL playoffs as the team has yet to qualify past April. If he were to sign somewhere else…it would require being given an offer sheet as Kane is a restricted free agent and Winnipeg would have the choice to match or not match the offer. I think it is a long shot that Kane does not end up in Winnipeg next year…but wouldn’t it be something to see a B.C. native and former popular Vancouver Giant outfitted in #Canuck blue & green in October?

In other news, surprise surprise, the hockey world still awaits Doan’s impending annoucement. Where oh where will Doan sign?….Phoenix, Vancouver, New York, Pittsburgh, LA? Alas, we shall have to wait.

Tuukka Rask is priming to take the reigns that Tim Thomas left willingly behind when he fled B-town for personal reasons. The Bruins are also apparently looking to dump Thomas’ salary from their roster in order to make other moves which even if he doesn’t play leaves them responsible to pay him 3 of the 5 million dollars that he would get if he played. Although with the way that Thomas keeps turning to social media to express his views and make controversial statements, it will be harder for the Bruins to convince another team to to take Thomas & his salary. Initially they were planning to trade him to a team that was below the salary cap floor(ie: the Islanders), but who is going to want to invite someone to their team that causes problems(via social media) and unnecessary drama(ie: skipping the White House visit)…many think it is too much trouble.

The Canucks have signed their 2012 2nd round draft pick to entry level NHL contract today. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.