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.
As part of their community relations day, Nashville Predators center Filip Forsberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm surprised a group of fans by participating in a game of street hockey in suburban Tennessee on Thursday. Not sure if Peter Laviolette will review the tape to help him make his decision on Forsberg’s chances of sticking with the big club. (Predators website)
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, negotiations between the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Marc Methot aren’t going smoothly. Methot, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, was reportedly offered a four-year deal worth $4.6 million per season. McKenzie says Methot is looking for a five-year deal in the $5 million per-season range. (TSN)
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is healthy and ready to put the stroke, which limited him to just 37 games in 2013-14, behind him. However, he admits he’s worried it could happen again. (Yahoo)
Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos is listening to offers for his team, but according to team president, Don Waddell, Kermanos is in no rush to unload the team. (Raleigh News & Observer)
The Edmonton Oilers opened the scoring in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks, but poor defense allowed the visitors back into the game. The Canucks would eventually win the game 2-1. (The Hockey Gods)
After being fired by the Carolina Hurricanes in September 2013, Jason Karmanos has a new gig and it’s those ‘Canes connections that helped him out.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced they’ve hired Karmanos to be the Vice President of Hockey Operations.
After spending 15 seasons with the Hurricanes, ultimately winding up as the assistant GM to Jim Rutherford, it’s Rutherford who has brought him back on board in Pittsburgh. From the Penguins’ release:
“I’ve worked with Jason for many years, know him well and know he can make great contributions to our hockey operations department,” Rutherford said. “His first priority here will be to re-shape our analytics so that we have all the tools available in our decision-making process throughout the season.”
Karmanos is the son of Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, but you may not want to bring to mention that to him.
When he was fired by the Hurricanes he said it wasn’t his performance that came into play, something he mentioned again today, hinting at possible (likely?) disagreements with his father. Even at today’s announcement he stressed his desire to be his own person.
It’s worked out pretty well for him that his relationship with Rutherford is still strong. Landing an executive job with the Penguins while they have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their prime could work out rather well.
Apparently being the son of the owner doesn’t guarantee keeping your job.
The Carolina Hurricanes announced they’ve relieved assistant general manager Jason Karmanos of his duties after 15 seasons with the organization. He’s the son of team owner Peter Karmanos who offered this as the only explanation, courtesy of ‘Canes PR man Mike Sundheim.
“This is a family matter. I have no further comment at this time.”
The team will fill the position from within by Vice President of Hockey Operations Ron Francis and Video Scout/Hockey Operations Darren Yorke.
The timing of this firing is, to say the least, curious. The Hurricanes are set to open training camp in four days and considering the amount of time Karmanos has spent with the organization and who is father is, it’s easy to let your imagination run away in trying to figure out what went wrong.
Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has an attack plan for this offseason that has their sights set on bringing in a big name to play alongside Eric Staal and with a dearth of top line talent available via free agency, Rutherford says he has big ideas as he tells Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer.
“Based on my conversation with Mr. Karmanos, we’ve talked about a top-line player,” Rutherford said. “He agrees that that’s something we want to do. Not what we’ve done in the past with free agents, where we go to the second-tier free-agent group, or the third tier or the fourth tier, but a top-line player. If it’s available by free agency or trade, we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen this year.”
The Hurricanes have never been a team to break the bank in free agency, but after their aggressive moves to re-sign Tuomo Ruutu and Tim Gleason, taking aim on Parise in free agency would be a huge step in proving they’re for real.
Of course, the Hurricanes might have to compete with every other team in the NHL for Parise and while Rutherford says they’ve got the cash to make it happen, not to mention the long-time affinity for Parise that goes back to when he was drafted, it won’t be easy to fight off high-profile teams for him should he become a free agent on July 1.
Talking big is one thing, pulling off something big is another thing entirely. Signing guys like Alexei Ponikarovsky (for example) after you’ve talked big about guys like Parise can really bum the fans out.
We had you vote on who you thought the winners and losers of realignment last night but there’s one loser worthy of more attention. With how the teams are shuffled about into four new conferences, the one team that loses out especially hard are the Carolina Hurricanes.
Look at what the Hurricanes have now. They’re in a division with Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington, and Winnipeg. That would at least give them a punchers chance of battling through the dregs of the Southeast to make a run at a playoff spot.
Now they’re tossed into the remaking of the old Patrick Division. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, New Jersey, Rangers, and Islanders. Sure the Islanders seem weak now, but they’ve been building for the future ever since Garth Snow took over as GM. They’ll be good in short order. Then they’ll have to deal with both Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby along with the Rangers and Flyers as well? Forget about it.
Perhaps this is why Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford told CBC’s Elliotte Friedman about his 20-team playoff proposal. Carolina might need the postseason to involve 20 teams to get a shot at it in the future. If Devils GM Lou Lamoriello says it’s going to be hard, you’d better believe it.
It was reported last night that the final vote on realignment had 26 teams vote in support of it and four against it. If the Hurricanes and owner Peter Karmanos weren’t one of the “no” votes on this arrangement, we’d be stunned.