A year later, Brian Burke defends his rant.

Asked about the ripple effect of the Oilers’ offer sheets for Dustin Penner and Thomas Vanek, Brian Burke pulled no punches during a conference call Tuesday morning:

Everything I said a year ago has come true. Every single word. … Both (general) managers don’t like starting fights with other (general) managers. I stand by everything I said a year ago and everything I predicted has come true. Thanks to the Edmonton Oilers, the second contract has disappeared in the NHL. They go right from the entry system into what used to be the third contract, thanks to two offer sheets from Kevin Lowe.”

Continue reading “A year later, Brian Burke defends his rant.” »

Jake Gardiner, the newest Duck.

Ducks take Jake Gardiner, a converted 6-foot, 173-pound defenseman, with the 17th pick. Central scouting had him at No. 23, so you could consider him a bit of a reach, but here’s the scouting reports:

NHL Central Scouting’s Jack Barzee

“Jake’s biggest attribute is that he might be one of the best skaters in the draft – he is just a pure skater. He used to be a forward and they made him a defensemen a few years ago and he loves being a defenseman. He is smart with the puck, unselfish and he’s careful. He is another one that has grown all year, I had him measured at 6’0″ – he might be almost 6’2″ and that’s been not even a year. He’s a greyhound right now, wiry, but he’ll fill out. He is dynamic when he grabs the puck and goes. He has a very quick dangerous wrist shot – he gets it away like Joe Sakic does. The dimension of his quickness fools goalies. I liken him to Brett Hedican when he was in high school but maybe a little more polished. He’s an easy player to like.”

Minnetonkahead coach Brian Urick

“Making the switch from playing forward to defenseman really helped Jake improve as a player. He makes a better defenseman because of his experience playing as a forward. Jake has an uncanny ability to read plays and this helps him see the ice in a different way.”

The center of the Ducks’ universe…

…is not in Anaheim this weekend, but in Ottawa, where the Ducks have told Scott Niedermayer’s agent, Kevin Epp, that the defenseman won’t have to decide his future by tomorrow (according to this report). If he retires, it’s the type of story that could potentially upstage anything the Ducks do in the draft. If waits to decide until a deadline of July 1, as the report suggests, it could affect the Ducks’ draft strategy.

Confirmation coming soon.

Grading the Ducks.

Here’s the blog where I pretend to be able to run a hockey team. Seriously, after covering a team day in and day out, you gain a certain level of respect for how coaches and management are able to do their jobs. I know I certainly couldn’t.

That said, here’s how I think each Duck did in 07-08, plus their likely off-season fate. I could arrange these guys in alphabetical order, but instead I will arrange them in order of penalty minutes (in parentheses). Seems the appropriate thing to do with this team. This is long. Bookmark the page. Print it out, read it in bed. It might even put you to sleep. In lieu of letter grades I’ve included faces, just to break up the monotony …
Continue reading “Grading the Ducks.” »