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June 5, 2007

June 5, 2007

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.


New York captain ‘vital part’ of Isles

LOOKING AHEAD Will Captain Blah cost the Islanders Captain Canada? The Isles have $27.4 million in 2007-08 payroll allotted for 13 players, notably the $7.6 million owed on each of the four remaining years on captain Alexei Yashin’s contract. With the annual questions swirling about a buyout, GM Garth Snow recently made it sound like Yashin was staying. Snow called Yashin “a vital part of the organization” and said “we’re looking forward to him having the same start next season.” An early knee injury derailed that hot start. If Yashin remains, it would be nearly impossible to sign both Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake, who will become unrestricted free agents on July 1. The Isles have only six NHL forwards under contract and need at least one top-four defenseman with Tom Poti a UFA.…


Sabres have cash, but will they spend?

LOOKING AHEAD The Sabres definitely have money to spend. The question is whether owner Thomas Golisano will spend up to the salary cap for a second straight season. The Sabres have $28.5 million committed, with five regulars up for unrestricted free agency and five about to become restricted. Depth is so substantial, the Sabres’ lone area of need is a backup goalie – unless they lose both center/co-captains, Daniel Briere and Chris Drury as UFAs. Restricted winger Thomas Vanek will get a raise after leading the team with 43 goals and the topping the NHL at plus-47. Under contract are 13 regulars including: goalie Ryan Miller; defensemen Brian Campbell, Toni Lydman, and Henrik Tallinder; and forwards Maxim Afinogenov, Tim Connolly, Paul Gaustad, Jochen Hecht, Ales Kotalik, Jason Pominville and Drew Stafford.…


Ducks migrate to slot

Through five games of the Western final, the Ducks weren’t picky when it came to trying to score on Wings goalie Dominik Hasek. But that changed in Game 6 when Anaheim found a spot it liked, and went with it. The Ducks scored all four goals with shots on the ice; three of which were due to Hasek being out of position and Detroit’s defense not getting to rebounds. The Ducks made their presence felt around the net as only one goal, Getzlaf’s Game 4 winner, came from beyond the top of the faceoff circles. Only one goal all series, a Rob Niedermayer deflection off a Pronger blast in Game 6, was tipped in. The Goals 1. Game 1 Kunitz scores off the rush 2. Game 2 Rob Niedermayer one-times quick pass 3. Game…


New Ward-en a familiar face

Though he came from Germany, the Edmonton Oilers didn’t have to look far to find a coach for their new AHL farm team. Geoff Ward is the eighth coach in Springfield Falcons history and their first in a new affiliation with Edmonton. It is the fourth AHL city where Ward, 44, has molded Oilers prospects. He was an assistant to Claude Julien in Hamilton before getting the head job when Julien was promoted to Montreal in January, 2003. Ward shared the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the league’s top coach with Julien after leading the Bulldogs to the Calder Cup final. “We are extremely excited to have Geoff join the Falcons organization,” said Springfield GM-president Bruce Landon. “Geoff brings a good amount of AHL head coaching experience and is very familiar with the…