Friday, July 12, 2002

Meat-heads stay put: Right-winger Tie Domi is staying put. Domi has agreed to a three-year contract worth $6 million US with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Domi scored nine goals, assisted on 10 and recorded 157 penalty minutes last season, his seventh in Toronto. The Chicago Blackhawks had also made a serious pitch for the 32-year-old forward more known for his abilities with his fists than for his scoring talents. Domi's deal is similar to that of Donald Brashear, his most prominent rival and a player to whom he compares. Brashear re-signed Thursday with the Philadelphia Flyers.

More minor free agents land: Forward Brent Gilchrist, an unrestricted free agent who has played in the NHL for 14 years, and former Calgary forward Clark Wilm signed Thursday with the Nashville Predators.

Richard Smehlik ends up in Atlanta: Richard Smehlik has battled injuries most of his career and is coming off his worst season. But the Atlanta Thrashers are counting on the veteran to bolster an unproven defense corps that was primarily responsible for the Thrashers giving up the most goals in the NHL last season. Continuing their off-season makeover after finishing with the worst record in the NHL in their third year, the Thrashers reached a contract agreement with the unrestricted free agent Wednesday. Smehlik, 32, will receive $2.5 million next season, an increase from the $1.65 million he made last year with Buffalo. But that is the only part of the deal that is guaranteed. The Thrashers have one-season options for the next two years at the same salary.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Dad says good-bye, but Dominika vows to return. Hey, can you blame her! Prague Post – Pardubice:

"I was determined to call it quits after winning the Stanley Cup. I know that many teammates and fans were asking me for one more year, but I felt it was just the best time to finish. The Stanley Cup was the biggest motivation for me. It was my ultimate driving force. I wouldn't be able to perform on the same level without that goal."

Will Hasek never again wear a hockey uniform?

"Maybe when showing kids something, I'll do it, otherwise not," Hasek insists, adding that he plans no farewell game on Pardubice ice.

Though Hasek owns a clothing outlet known by his "Dominator" nickname, he says he'll concern himself less with managing the business than with his two children, 12-year old Michal and 7-year-old Dominika.

He wants to help them to learn Czech customs after spending nearly all their lives in the United States.

Now, he can finally do it in Czech.

"Despite being in America for 12 years, my English was still not good enough to be able to explain everything," says Hasek "I couldn't help Misa, say, with physics, because I didn't know the particular terms in English."

While Michal appears accepting of the move, Hasek admits near-teen Dominika is less than thrilled.

"Actually," says Hasek, "she's even promised her friends she's coming back once she turns 18."

But roots are important to Hasek. "It'd be our big loss if they didn't like it here," he says.

What Hasek seems to yearn for above all else is a normal life.

"I'd often get to sleep near dawn after some NHL games. When I thought of retirement I always planned on going to bed early and getting up early."

Hasek's new life has officially begun.
Mike Sultan's funny: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is being sent to the Middle East ...

He is going there to declare the conflict a tie ...
Is there tying in baseball: I just heard about the 7-7 baseball All-Star game finish... HA, HA!

Alright, so if the same thing happened in hockey, I can't imagine Gary Bettman coming up with anything different, but you sort of expect better from baseball -- at least baseball does not accept ties during the regular season. Why the hell during the all-star game?
The Hamilton Sabres: The Canadian Press reports on rumors that the essentially bankrupt Buffalo Sabres will be moved just across the Northern border, to Hamilton.

What is ice hockey? Ice hockey is in it, along with residential schools, biculturalism and three different versions of the word "committee." Wayne Gretzky is represented with brilliant economy, as two nines on the left upper arm -- just as seen on his jerseys.

Could a dictionary be more Canadian?

Another Miller joins the Capitals: Free-agent center Kip Miller has reunited with former coach Bruce Cassidy, signing a two-year contract with the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Originally a 1987 fourth-round pick of Quebec, Miller has played in 311 games with seven NHL teams, recording 53 goals and 105 assists. He won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player following his senior year at Michigan State.

Washington has completed the family circle with the signing of Miller. Kip's oldest brother, Kelly, is the Capitals' all-time leader in games played, appearing in 940 contests from 1987-99, while Kevin, another brother, recorded three assists in 10 games for the Caps during the 1992-93 season.

The Millers become the eighth family in NHL history to have three brothers play for the same franchise. The most recent are the Sutters, who had four brothers -- Darryl, Duane, Brent and Rich -- skate as members of the Chicago Blackhawks between 1979 and 1998.

And let's face it, talking about the family ties are far more interesting than talking about Kip. Kip had his 15 minutes of fame when he joined a line with Jaromir Jager in Pittsburgh. He's had no success before or since.

Is Igor Larionov finished? He and the Wings cannot agree on contract terms, and Igor has already said he plays in Detroit or he does not play.

Other free agent signings: They're all people who, if anyone has heard of them, it doesn't really matter. They're all has-beens or never-weres.

Monday, July 08, 2002

September will mark the 30th anniversary of the first Team Canada vs. Soviet Hockey Series. Let us travel back in time to look at a sample of pre- and post-series comments. The ghosts of ’72 still haunt the hallowed halls of NHL lore troubling the speakers for years to come in life and beyond the grave.

Some Pre-Series Comments

We should win every game – Harold Ballard

Perhaps we will lose. One objective after all, is to learn… - Anatoli Tarasov

Canada’s two goals better each game. It looks like Canada 8-0 – Foster Hewitt

Canada to romp in eight. It’s a Russian team in decay. – Dick Beddoes of the Globe and Mail

We will learn from you this year, and in years to come Vsevolod Bobrov

Some Post-Series Comments

This should teach us… If we’re smart we’ll go home and begin to apply some of the lessons… The sad things is, we may not be smart enough. – Harold Ballard

The Russians play a style reminiscent of the 1930’s New York Rangers… In fact they may have made some improvements. – Foster Hewitt

In twenty years Canada has practically stayed still… - Ken Dryden

Amen brother!

A busy weekend: While I was enjoying barbecues, alcohol, and a wedding, the NHL dollars flowed freely:
  • Teemu Selanne took a pay cut to stay with the San Jose Sharks, keeping them among the NHL's elite teams. Selanne agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Sharks on Friday, capping an eventful negotiation between the high-scoring right wing and the team he led in goals last season.

  • The Phoenix Coyotes have signed free agent right wing Kelly Buchberger to a one-year deal, the team announced Sunday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

  • The Dallas Stars signed free-agent veteran Scott Young to a two-year contract Friday. Details weren't released, but ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek reports that the deal is worth $7 million.

  • Vancouver signed loser goalie Tyler Moss (who has not had a great game since he nearly shutout the Penguins in his NHL debut 5 years ago).

  • Minnesota signed Bill Muckault, formerly with Ottawa and the NY Islanders, to a multi-year deal.

The big trade: Petr Sykora, a 20-goal scorer the last four seasons, was among four players acquired by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Saturday night in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky, forward Jeff Friesen and another player. The Mighty Ducks also acquired forward Igor Pohanka, defenseman Mike Commodore and goaltender J.F. Damphousse in the seven-player deal, while New Jersey also received forward Maxim Balmochnykh.

Let's spell this one out. The Ducks get RW Petr Sykora, F Igor Pohanka, G J.F. Damphousse, and D Mike Commodore. The Devils get D Oleg Tverdovsky, F Jeff Friesen and F Maxim Balmochnykh.

This is a tough one to grade. Oleg will make a great tandem with Scott Neidermayer as an offensive-minded d-man with New Jersey. Friesen may rediscover his scoring touch (but his defensive lapses will earn him time in the Devil dog-house). For Anaheim, they get a solid up-and-coming d-man in Commodore, a guaranteed scorer in Sykora, a potential NHL backup in Damphousse, and ... well, I know nothing about Pohanka, so I'll shut up now.