We all know that Wade Redden’s contract is one of the biggest albatrosses in a long stream of bad contracts handed out by New York Rangers Glen Sather. As you may know, the team shipped him to the Hartford Wolf Pack (who will soon become the Connecticut Whale, actually) to clear up his enormous $6.5 million salary cap hit.
While it’s difficult to feel too bad for Redden considering the fact that he still has four years and $23 million left on that contract, it can often be all-too-easy to forget that he is a human being after all. Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant caught up with Redden, who at least said all the right things about his demotion to Hartford.
Who knows if this situation eventually will be remedied, but Redden called Hartford a logical place for him to be while it happens. He said he doesn’t want to be running around at this point, that going to Europe with a newborn wouldn’t be a smart thing.
“A lot has happened to him in his personal and professional life,” coach Ken Gernander said. “To this point he has handled it with top marks.”
Redden talked easily about playing in Hartford during his rookie NHL season, including one of his first games in the preseason. He talked about chatting the other day with longtime friend and former Whaler Brad McCrimmon, who stressed what a great place Hartford is. His young teammates seemed eager to accept him. As a couple of reporters spoke to Redden, Devin DiDiomete, Brodie Dupont and Ryan Garlock playfully surrounded them using a water bottle as a microphone, a stick as a boom mike and pretending to roll a camera.
“I’m coming with a good attitude,” Redden said. “Looking at my time in New York, things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. And I don’t think things were going to change. I sat down with Glen and he said the same thing.”
Redden said he wasn’t surprised to be waived, which means that he’s at least not in total denial.
With those four expensive years left, Redden will need to get used to the AHL since he seems disinterested in playing in Europe (he explained that going overseas would be difficult with his young children). If Michael Nylander’s travels serve as a road map, the best Redden could probably hope for is the chance to be “loaned” to a different minor league team.
Again, it’s hard to empathize too much with a guy who’s making that much money, but it still must be embarrassing for a solid pro. Hopefully he’ll make it back to the NHL once his lengthy, expensive deal runs out. In the mean time, he’ll just have to make the best of things.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
–These parents named their baby girl after Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. (ABC News)
–The hockey card that helped inspire a Tragically Hip song. (Puck Junk)
–The fan who promised to get a tattoo of Gary Bettman if LA and Chicago were eliminated in the first round kept his word. (Bardown)
–Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Sharks and Blues. (Top)
–Jim Craig doesn’t regret auctioning off most of his “Miracle on Ice” memorabilia. (Yahoo)
–A Q & A with former Quebec Nordiques forward Peter Stastny. (ESPN)
–Former Flyers coach Craig Berube breaks down Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. (NHL)
Despite a late comeback attempt, the 2015-16 season came to an end for the St. Louis Blues, as they lost the Western Conference Final in six games to the San Jose Sharks.
And with Wednesday’s loss, the off-season will settle upon the Blues. It will be an intriguing one in St. Louis, starting with their head coach Ken Hitchcock. He’s on a one-year deal and he has already outlined that he’s fine with taking short-term contracts. But is an appearance in the conference final enough to solidify his place behind the St. Louis bench for next year?
The Blues have, according to General Fanager, five pending unrestricted free agent forwards, including Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak, Steve Ott, and most notably Troy Brouwer and David Backes.
Backes, 32, is the team’s captain and coming off a 21-goal, 45-point regular season, which is a decline from the numbers — 26 goals and 58 points — he posted the year before. Brouwer, 30, enjoyed the best post-season of his career, with eight goals and 13 points in 20 games, and he could potentially cash in on that this summer.
However, while there are questions ahead for the Blues, the emotional toll this loss took was clear.
“I see the devastation in our locker room right now. Guys aren’t even able to speak. I’m more worried about our guys right now, to be honest with you. We got some guys that are pretty shook up right now,” said Hitchcock to reporters.
“I’m not going to talk to them for a day or two. They need their space with each other. They’ve bonded together here better than any team I’ve coached in the last 10 years. They need their time together. They don’t need me interrupting them right now. We’ll talk at an appropriate time. But right now they need to be with each other.”
‘Jumbo’ Joe Thornton is off to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his career. The San Jose Sharks are off to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
And yeah, the 36-year-old Thornton, a veteran of 1,367 regular season games with 1,341 career regular season points, is pretty excited for both himself and his team when it comes to this feat.
It hasn’t been easy in San Jose. It hasn’t been easy for the franchise, for the fans, for the players, for Thornton or for Patrick Marleau, who is also 36 years old and has played his entire career (1,411 regular season games) in San Jose.
There have been playoff failures and a regular season disappointment last year. There has been a coaching change and harsh words exchanged between Thornton and management — more specifically, GM Doug Wilson — and an organizational decision to remove the captaincy from Thornton.
After all that, however, the Sharks are four wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Did we mention Joe Thornton is excited about the final?
For the first time in franchise history, the San Jose Sharks are off to the Stanley Cup Final.
This, after a monumental and historical collapse in the first round to the L.A. Kings two years ago. This, after they failed to make the playoffs a year ago, resulting in a coaching change. There have been other post-season disappointments along the way before that, too.
Those difficult times may never be forgotten. But the Sharks have rebounded, and it culminated with a 5-2 victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday. Fans at SAP Center could feel it, too, especially after Joel Ward scored his second goal of the night, giving San Jose a three-goal lead early in the third period.
The Blues attempted a furious comeback but couldn’t quite complete it.
The Sharks this year have eliminated the Kings, Nashville Predators and now the Blues in that order. They await the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Sharks got off to the perfect start in the series clincher versus St. Louis. Joe Pavelski recorded his 13th goal, which leads all players in this post-season, and the Sharks continued to roll from there.
Ward increased the lead in the second period and again in the third. His second of the night proved to be the winner. Joonas Donskoi‘s goal, making it 4-0 San Jose before the midway point of the third period, proved critical as the Blues tried to spark a desperation comeback.
The Blues’ leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko (40 goals, 74 points in the regular season) was held off the score sheet through the first five games of this series, before finally striking for both St. Louis goals in Game 6.