The weird, wild and disappointing summer for former Sabres forward Tim Kennedy plods along quietly, much to his dismay. After winning a million dollar award in arbitration from the Buffalo Sabres, Kennedy was waived and had his contract bought out making him an unrestricted free agent. If you haven’t been paying attention this off-season, being a free agent of any kind hasn’t been an easy job and for the young Kennedy, it’s been frustrating especially after such a bizarre situation with the Sabres as Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News details.
For what it’s worth, Kennedy no longer harbors resentment toward the Sabres. Yes, he was hurt and confused after they waived him and bought out a $1 million award he received in arbitration. Their decision to send him packing knocked him for a pretty good loop.
Once the shock and frustration subsided, he plowed forward without wasting time and energy on what couldn’t be undone. He had his reasons for taking them to arbitration, which was within his rights. His refusal to back down from the Sabres is part of what makes him a good player. But their response also was within their rights, no matter how classless it appeared.
“I’m not mad at them,” Kennedy said. “I’m 24 years old. I’m a professional athlete, and I have to act like one. .‚.‚. Maybe it was the right call and maybe it wasn’t the right call. I made the choice to go, and I live with that choice.”
Those are pretty mature words from Kennedy which means he’s at least got a good head on his shoulders. As for who might be looking at Kennedy, there is certainly interest in the former Michigan State product and Buffalo native.
Kennedy said five teams are interested, although he wouldn’t reveal which ones. Toronto figures to be in the mix along with Columbus, Los Angeles, Phoenix and possibly Atlanta. All are looking for good, young forwards to fill their needs for the right price. He’s looking for the right fit.
You can probably cut Toronto off that list presumably after they signed fellow arbitration victim Clarke MacArthur yesterday to a one-year contract. As for the other teams mentioned there, they all certainly could use the depth that Kennedy would provide to them, but what you could reasonably expect to get out of Kennedy on the ice is still relatively unknown considering last year was his first real shot at considerable minutes on the ice. Kennedy finished last year with 10 goals and 16 assists in 78 games with the Sabres.
This summer looks like it could be one of changes for the Detroit Red Wings, even beyond the most obvious storyline of Pavel Datsyuk‘s future.
One area where the Red Wings would like to make some tweaks is in net, namely in trading Jimmy Howard. The Detroit Free-Press points out that GM Ken Holland admitted that moving the former franchise netminder “might be good for the organization.”
It’s reasonable to wonder what kind of market there will be for Howard, whose deal ($5.29 million cap hit through 2018-19) looks pretty tough to stomach on paper.
Maybe it’s best to consider the Red Wings’ options if Howard starts the 2016-17 season off on a strong note, or something of that nature. Perhaps an expansion draft could “solve” that problem if Detroit cannot find any takers?
The Red Wings remain forward-thinking and patient, which likely explains why the Free-Press focuses on their confidence with prospect Jared Coreau.
“In the big scheme of things, he’ll play in Grand Rapids for another year, but now we know he can play a lot of minutes if needed,” Goalie coach Jeff Salajko said. “Jimmy Howard played four years in the minors. We’re not rushing Jared, but he is going to be an NHL goalie, there is no doubt in my mind about that.”
In other words, a pairing of Petr Mrazek and Coreau wouldn’t just be a cost-effective duo … it might just be the Red Wings’ ideal scenario in the not-too-distant future.
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win