Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Off-day news and notes from elsewhere


Wednesday was an off-day for the finals, but there have been some interesting news bits going on lately. (Yes, this is a rather shameless steal of WRT's post down below.)

**First, I'm going to steal from someone else - Puck Daddy I believe - who said Jacques Martin was done ruining the Florida Panthers, so now he's going to further ruin the Montreal Canadiens, who hired Martin to become their next head coach.

Good news for the Panthers, who Martin didn't help by not trading free agent-to-be Jay Bouwmeester. Rather than move the highly coveted defenseman for, well, anything, Martin stood pat, and Florida missed the playoffs. Hindsight might be 20/20, but Martin's goal should've been to build a Stanley Cup-winning team, not a playoff-contending team, and if moving Bouwmeester would've aided in achieving the first goal, he should've done so.

Last season, the Canadiens suffered through a disappointing year on many fronts, culminating in a first-round sweep at the hands of the archrival Bruins. Martin once won the Jack Adams Trophy but only once in 14 years as a coach has he taken a team to the conference finals. Hard to imagine how big an influence - positive anyway - Martin will have in Montreal.

Even with less than a month before the draft to find a new GM, Florida is better off without Martin.

This is also good timing for Minnesota fans, as Chuck Fletcher might have decided Florida was the place to go, having worked there before.

**In other hiring and firing news, Colorado cleaned house, removing Tony Granato as head coach, relieving all assistants - even the video coach - of their duties, and promoted assistant GM Greg Sherman to the post of general manager. Granato probably figured his time was nearing its end with the not-so-subtle courting of Patrick Roy to be the Avs' next head coach.

Sherman has his work cut out for him to fix a team that finished near the bottom of the NHL standings, has very little cap room, an aging franchise star (Joe Sakic) who doesn't know if he'll play next season or not, and a vacancy in net. Maybe Colorado should've asked Roy to be coach and goalie?

-Dallas decided the co-GM experiment with Brett Hull and Les Jackson wasn't working, but isn't ready to give up on the "former players can be good GMs" mindset by replacing those two with Joe Nieuwendyk. The Hull-Jackson duo didn't help themselves with that little Sean Avery signing.

Cliff Fletcher thinks Nieuwendyk is front-office material, and Nieuwendyk also must work to get the Stars back into the playoffs.

-Lastly, these two notes are older so just a brief mention: Edmonton hired Pat Quinn to be their next head coach and Calgary seeks a replacement for the unsurprisingly-fired Mike Keenan.

**Boston rewarded young center David Krejci with a three-year extension reported to be worth $11.25 million. Krejci enjoyed a career season with 22 goals, 51 assists and a league-best +37 rating, and was a big part of the Bruins earning the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. He was second on the team in assists and points.

One problem is the 23-year-old will have surgery that will keep him out four-to-six months, possibly missing the first month of the regular season. Krejci had his share of slumps in his sophomore season. He finished the regular season with one goal in his last 16 games, recovered to put up two goals and five points in the sweep of Montreal but had just three assists in the seven-game series against Carolina.

Still, a good contract for a player who should continue to improve.

**The Capitals need to re-stock their Russians after Sergei Federov and Viktor Kozlov apparently made plans to join the KHL. Both players saw time with Alex Ovechkin and the absences of both create some holes in Washington's lineup.

Also rumored to be moving to the KHL is Penguins winger Petr Sykora, who played so poorly down the stretch and in the playoffs that he hasn't skated in a game since early in the second-round series against Washington, and only six total playoff games.

**A congratulations to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Penguins beat writer Dave Molinari for winning the Hockey Hall of Fame's Elmer Ferguson Award for his print journalism contributions to hockey over what is a 26-year ongoing career.

Also to John Davidson, now president of St. Louis, who won the Foster Hewitt Award for broadcasting.

**Finally, a bit of fun. The biggest rumor to be gaining steam lately seems to be Tampa Bay prepared (or at least trying) to trade Vincent Lecavalier to Los Angeles, which would send Jack Johnson to the Lightning. Johnson - Sidney Crosby's best friend, who wants to play in Pittsburgh - has apparently said he doesn't want to play in Tampa, so the Lightning would turn around and send him to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal.

That's all for now. Talk to you after Game 4.

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