Archive for the ‘BREAKING’ Category

Anaheim Ducks v Colorado Avalanche

Viktor Fasth is a 30 year old first-year goalie for the Anaheim Ducks (technically not a “rookie” due to age), and he is off to a ridiculously good start. Here’s how the Ducks’ website describes what he’s done in the NHL so far:

Fasth, 30 (8/8/82), has appeared in nine contests for Anaheim this season, posting a perfect 8-0-0 record (one no decision) with a 1.78 goals-against average (GAA) and a .933 save percentage (SV%). The 6-0, 186-pound netminder is just the third goaltender in NHL history to win his first eight-or-more career decisions (also Ray Emery with Ottawa, an NHL record 9-0-0 from 2003-05 and Bob Froese with Philadelphia, 8-0-0 in Jan. 1983). Co-leading the NHL in wins, Fasth also ranks sixth in GAA and tied for seventh in SV%. He recorded his first career shutout at Colorado on Feb. 6, stopping all 31 shots he faced in a 3-0 decision. Signed as a free agent on May 21, 2012, Fasth made his NHL debut on Jan. 26, making 19 saves in a 3-2 shootout win over Nashville at Honda Center.

So uh, yeah. He’s off to a good start.

Because of that, the Ducks have extended him for two years, $5.8 million ($2.9M per), which is pretty amazing for a guy who has played so few NHL games. Almost as amazing as getting a team to negotiate a new deal for your client before he’s lost a game, let alone played a season. Stick-tap to dude’s agent.

More from the Ducks’ release:

“Viktor has proven himself not only this year in the NHL, but the previous two seasons as the top goaltender in Sweden,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “We are pleased to be able to keep him and feel fortunate to have two top NHL goaltenders going forward.”

With Hiller under contract until 2014 for $4.5M per, and John Gibson (of the US World Junior team) waiting in the wings, it looks like the Ducks are, and will be, set in net for some time being.

…And I’m sorry, but I refuse to make a “That was Fasth” pun. REFUSE.

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Because I hate unanswered headlines, the simple answer is “yes.” Yes it could.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie was discussing possible end-games for the PK Subban/Marc Bergevin contract stand-off tonight during the first period of the Leafs/Penguins game, when he said he figured “trade” to be the most likely outcome of the situation. And with desperate teams panicking about their defense in the early going – Detroit, in particular, comes to mind – who knows what the Habs could get in return. And hey, while I’m mindlessly bandying about teams, Philly could use a little help on the back-end too. Anyway, that’s where we’re at – insiders thinking the PK Subban situation could end poorly.

Woosh. Read the rest of this entry »

Katie Strang of ESPNNewYork was first to report the news: Nino Niederreiter, a talented young forward on the New York Islanders’ payroll wants out.

He was drafted fifth overall in 2010, and spent time with the Islanders almost immediately. He played nine games in 2010-11, before being sent back to junior, as the Islanders didn’t want to burn a year of his entry-level deal, which they would’ve done had he hit 10 games. The next season he stayed up for the year (55 games in all) and struggled mightily (to go with a terrible run of shooting luck), tallying only a single goal.

This season, it seemed, Niederreiter had finally found his stride. In 39 AHL games (AHL-plus, really, given the amount of NHLers that were down there), he ran up 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points. The problem, you see, is that he’s still in the AHL, which has to be frustrating for a player ready to be in The Bigs who still can’t get the call despite being in the Islanders system.

Here’s what Strang wrote today:

His agent informed Islanders general manager Garth Snow of the request last week, the source said, although Snow is not believed to be amenable to doing a deal — at least at the moment.

There has been growing concern about Niederreiter’s development since last season. Although the young prospect appeared in 55 games for the Islanders, he was used in a limited role. He managed only one goal, causing many to feel he’d be better off playing in Bridgeport and to speculate that the team could be keeping him around for cap purposes (i.e. his entry-level contract bonuses helped the team hover slightly above the cap floor).

During the lockout, Niederreiter began the year in Bridgeport and has flourished, leaving him and his camp baffled as to why he didn’t get a chance to crack the roster.

In a nutshell, Niederreiter was miffed at not being invited to main camp – and why the fuck wouldn’t he be, he was on the team the year before – and has finally had enough of being jerked around.

It’s tough to trade a guy who clearly wants out, as the Coyotes learned with Kyle Turris, but it seems like at some point, this has to happen. Terrible, terrible news for Islanders fans.

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Well ho-ly smokes. It’s official, from Bob McKenzie:

When Brian Burke took the reins from Cliff Fletcher and John Ferguson Jr, the Leafs were in shambles. But Burke had a proven track record, haven built the Anaheim Ducks into Stanley Cup champions, and was hailed as somewhat of a savior for the Leafs. He liked bigger teams, wanted top-end talent, and wanted the Maple Leafs to be as good as they were famous.

As some have claimed with Obama’s first term, however, it takes some time to right a whole bunch of wrongs. He made some great trades, picking up Dion Phaneuf for a handful of spare parts. He turned some (high) draft picks into Phil Kessel, maybe not the best big picture idea, but at least he got a proven scorer. He turned what appears to be a disappointing Luke Schenn into James Van Riemsdyk. He got Joffrey Lupul (and Jake Gardiner) for a fair shake.

…But on the other side, he’s made some r-u-f RUF free agent signings, from Mike Komisarek to Colby Armstrong to Tim Connolly and beyond.

Needless to say, the ship hasn’t been righted since he’s taken over, finishing 24th, 29th, 22nd, and 26th, and the Leafs’ brass has had enough.

The timing, from where I sit, is flat odd. The season starts in a hot three days, and the puck drops on the year a mere 10 from now. It’s pretty clear that Assistant GM Dave Nonis will be taking over in the interim (though note that that’s entirely speculation for now), and who knows, possibly long-term. I’m a fan of Burke. This whole thing is bumming me out a bit.

I just don’t think they gave him enough time for this to play out. The fact that it seems out of the blue makes you wonder: did something happen behind the scenes, a moment, a blow-up, an argument? Were the brass pissed that the new CBA bailed out the GMs who took wild chances, while Burke refused to take those shots?

Guess what? I literally have no idea.

What we do know, for now, is that with Brian Burke out of work, we have the perfect destination idea for him here at theScore. Don Cherry’s seat. Get that man on there. I’d love to hear him speak freely.

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UPDATES:

It’s time to play one of our favourite games here on Backhand Shelf: compile interesting, noteworthy points from people in the know, and occasionally a few thoughts from someone somewhat out of the mainstream. So, let’s get to it. We’ll be updating as the news roles in…

 

 

 

 

More updates as they roll in…

UPDATES: Read the rest of this entry »

And here’s more (potentially) breaking news on the Maple Leafs shake-ups….

That would make sense: Randy Carlyle was a Burke import from his days with the Anaheim Ducks when they won the Cup together. If the Leafs are really looking to start up fresh and head in a new direction, there’s no sense doing it with a bunch of spare parts that he brought around. Maybe it’s time that the Leafs’ successful AHL coach Dallas Eakins gets a promotion?

Stay tuned…

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UPDATES:

Greg Brady’s on a roll right now…

Seems like Carlyle will stick around…

So. This happened. The Toronto Maple Leafs have apparently fired general manager Brian Burke, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now. As is the norm with news of this nature, Twitter was abuzz with reaction. Here are some of the best.

Read the rest of this entry »