Kariya’s agent Don Baizley released this statement for his client.
“Paul Kariya will not play hockey during the 2010/11 season. After being examined by concussion specialist Dr. Mark Lovell, Paul is not able to play hockey due to post-concussion syndrome.”
The interesting thing about that statement is that Baizley says he will miss the 2010-11 season, but doesn’t outright say that Kariya is retiring from hockey altogether. Still, considering the fact that the once-great forward will turn 36 around the beginning of next season, it’s pretty difficult to avoid the assumption that this is it for Kariya.
If this is indeed the last we’ve seen of Kariya, he’ll leave the game as an interesting Hall of Fame question. He scored exactly a point per game in his regular season, with 989 points in 989 games (402 goals and 587 assists). From a mere “neat and clean numbers” standpoint, you have to think he’d look a lot better if he eked out 11 more points to hit the 1,000 mark. Kariya hit a solid 39 points in 46 playoff games, as well.
His final two seasons weren’t very impressive, though, with 43 points in 75 games last season following an abysmal 15-point, 11-game 2008-09 campaign.
My instinct is to say that Kariya is a few strides short of Hall of Fame quality, despite the great years he had running shotgun with Teemu Selanne in Anaheim. Still, that’s just my opinion. I want to know what you readers think: if this is it for Kariya, did he accomplish enough in his 15-year NHL career to make the Hockey Hall of Fame? Vote below.
Clutter-bucks: Isles sign energy guy to five-year, $17.5 million extension
The New York Islanders made a splash on Friday, signing veteran forward Cal Clutterbuck to a five-year, $17.5 million extension — one that carries a $3.5 million average annual cap hit through 2023.
Clutterbuck, 29, has two goals and nine points through 25 games this year, while averaging 15:26 TOI per night (his highest average since joining the Isles four years ago). As per usual, he leads the club in hits — one of the staples of his game — and serves as one of the club’s alternate captains.
This new contract represents a nice raise for the former Minnesota Wild man. His last contract, set to expire in July, was of the four-year, $11 million variety, and carried a $2.75 million cap hit.
This contract also resembles the one GM Garth Snow gave another of the club’s role forwards. This summer, Casey Cizikas signed a five-year, $16.75 million extension — one with a $3.35 million hit — despite the fact he’d never scored more than 30 points in a season, or averaged more than 14 minutes of ice time.
This style of spending — along with splashes made for free agent disappointments Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd — is sure to raise some questions. The Isles opted not to spend that money on retaining two of their key players from a season ago, Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo, and the club has struggled to find its form through the first quarter of this year.
Bettman: Salary cap could stay the same for next season
Don’t expect a big jump in next season’s salary cap.
“We’re not going to give out any numbers now,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said yesterday, per Yahoo Sports. “The cap could range from where it is now to a couple or so million up, but we’re all going to have to focus on what makes the most sense moving forward.”
The salary cap only went up slightly for the current season, from $71.4 million to $73 million. The only slight increase was due to the lower Canadian dollar, which negatively impacted last season’s league revenues by “$100 or 200 million,” Bettman said earlier this year.
The loonie has been holding relatively steady for around half a year. It’s currently worth $0.76 USD and has been helped by the recent oil rally.
A flat salary cap would be bad news for big spenders like the Chicago Blackhawks, who still need to get Artemi Panarin signed to an extension. The Los Angeles Kings could also be forced to make some tough decisions, as they’ve got Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson in need of new deals. Ditto for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have key RFAs in Brian Dumoulin, Justin Schultz, and Conor Sheary.
Henrik Lundqvist has set such a high bar that his 12-8-1 record with a .912 save percentage is cause for great concern these days in New York.
That his backup, Antti Raanta, is 6-1-0 with a .932 save percentage only contributes to that concern, because if Raanta can manage those numbers, what’s Lundqvist’s excuse?
“I feel like I’m tracking the puck well, moving well,” Lundqvist told the Daily News. “It just comes down to some bad decisions at times that cost me.”
Indeed, December has not started well for The King. He’s allowed 10 goals in three starts for a save percentage of .894. In Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Islanders, his decision to poke check a loose puck led to the winning goal by Andrew Ladd.