A few thoughts as we mourn the passing of the great Reg Dunlop.
STILL WORK TO DO - The trade of defenseman Mathieu Schneider to the Atlanta Thrashers Friday didn’t solve all the salary cap dilemmas for Anaheim Ducks General Manager Brian Burke.
The Ducks want to add Teemu Selanne to the roster and despite the trade of Schneider, there is still more maneuvering to come.
“We’re not done yet,” Burke told reporters. “Our next goal is to get under enough to sign Teemu Selanne and there are a couple ways to do that. One of those it to make additional player moves, and we’re going to explore what those might be. The other option is to send players to the minors, either ones who are on one-way contracts or a player who is on a two-way, but takes up some cap room. We have a multitude of options, but our first priority was to get under the cap, solve Mathieu’s situation, get the focus back in training camp and move forward.
”Plan A was today’s deal, but now we have to start looking at Plan B and Plan C, with the primary motivation being to get enough cap space to sign Teemu,” Burke said. “We’re going a step at a time here. It’s like a game of chess. We made one move today and now we have to make a couple more. I haven’t sorted out what’s best just yet.”
Burke had been trying to move Schneider for some time, but salary cap issues, combined with the Ducks needing to move salary made it a more difficult process that many would have initially suspected.
”What we’ve done here today is accomplish two goals, in my mind,” Burke said. “We’ve gotten under the cap and we’ve managed to do it without parting with Bobby Ryan. A number of the proposals we received – and two of the more dogged and determined ones – would have required us to put Bobby Ryan in the deal. That was something we did not want to do. To me, that was a major goal and both those goals got accomplished today.
”It’s proven to be more difficult to move players than I envisioned,” Burke said. “You’re talking about a good hockey in Mathieu Schneider, a good person. But getting teams to take on that salary was difficult. So, to me, it’s a relief. And it’s the right thing to do for Mathieu. I wasn’t comfortable making him swing in the wind. I don’t like that a player’s fate hung in the balance for a few days like that. At least now there’s some certainty in his life as far as what happens next. It was a good day.”
Burke said Selanne is eager to get a deal done, but suspects he will need to shed more salary to make it happen.
“I’ve had discussions with Don Baizley (Selanne’s agent) and I don’t think it’s going to be enough.
He’s being fair now and his proposals have been eminently reasonable in my mind,” Burke said. “Barring a change there, I think we need to create additional room. I don’t necessarily want to go over the cap now, but at some point that may be what we need to do. We may say we’ve got to get him in some preseason games and get a rhythm going offensively, so maybe that’s the next step.
“Teemu can play in preseason games now, but it wouldn’t be fair to him to put him at risk. There is some risk in practices and scrimmages, but it changes dramatically in games. Teemu is such a free spirit, he might say he wants to play anyway. But my recommendation would be he not play until we get something done. We still have four games left after this weekend, so we’ve got some time here.”
THE UNKINDEST CUT – Petr Nedved played pretty well in training camp for the Rangers, but the numbers game he faced entering the training camp tryout were too daunting.
Nedved tied for the team lead with two goals and three points in three pre-season games this week, but was released as the Rangers prepared for their trip to Europe for Bridgestone NHL Premiere 2008 in Prague.
"This is probably it for me as far as the NHL goes," Nedved told reporters. "Obviously, it gave me an indication that I can still play in this league. I'm happy about that, but I don't think I'm going to be trying next year."
Nedved, who had played for the Rangers twice before, had hoped to grab a spot on the third or fourth lines, but a passel of younger players crowded him out of the picture.
"I mentioned to him in the summertime that he would certainly get a chance to make this team. We've given him that opportunity," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "I made it clear to him that if it boiled down to a good young player that was offering up similar to him, we would probably take the young player.
"In the best interests of growing our organization, integrating new blood into it to develop this team for the long run, that's what we were going to do. In my mind, that's what it boiled down to. Had we not had the performance of a couple of young people, there's a good chance Petr would be here."
In 15 seasons with six teams, Nedved scored 310 goals and assisted on 407 others in 982 NHL games. In addition to the Rangers, Nedved played for Vancouver, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Edmonton and Phoenix.
AROUND THE NHL – New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said Saturday morning that Friday's surgery to correct Barry Tallackson's irregular heartbeat was a success. "The procedure was a complete success," Lamoriello told The Bergen Records’ Tom Gulitti.. "There were no issues. I don't have any timetable concerning the recovery stage. We'll know more in a day or so. But everything was a success. Everything went well." Tallackson's family cardialogist performed the proceded in Minnesota. Lamoriello said he spoke to Tallackson this afternoon and he expects to return to New Jersey "in three or four days." … In Boston, goalie Manny Fernandez was injured in warm-ups Friday night prior to a game with Detroit. He suffered a bruised right thumb when he was hit by a puck. After the game, Fernandez had his thumb and middle finger taped. … Valtteri Filppula returned to the Wings’ lineup Friday night after missing the first two preseason games with a jammed thumb. Filppula centered a line with Tomas Holmstrom and Marian Hossa because Pavel Datsyuk was out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. … Brian McCabe was held out of practice and Friday’s game because of a hip-flexor injury. Peter DeBoer said it’s a precaution, and McCabe is day to day. …