The Sheet: Much Doughty about it

The Drew Doughty saga in sunny Los Angeles has dragged out all summer as the Kings look to lock up their star defenceman to a long term-deal.

The two sides appear to be far apart still as Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told Rich Hammond of, “I think it’s fair to say that in the last conversation, we set the parameters, as to where we feel his contract should be. We talked about a number of scenarios, and I guess now it’s their move. They never really responded.”

I know this has dragged on all summer and many, (my hand goes up,) thought the Shea Weber arbitration ruling would help move things along after setting the bar but I don’t see this continuing into training camp.

Having said that, Lombardi has been quite vocal this summer about the elimination of the second contract in the NHL as players coming off their entry-level contracts (ELC) to cash in with large deals immediately. Surprise, surprise, Lombardi doesn’t like it but the reality is given the nature of the salary cap, the NHL is now a prospector’s league where you gamble on how a player will end up by the end of his contract. You have to hope now that even though a player may earn a little more than you feel he’s worth at the front end of the contract, by the end of the deal you could have a bargain.

Where, once upon a time, teams rewarded older players for past performance while keeping younger players salaries down, (“pay yer dues, kid”), that’s now a recipe for disappointment and eventually a buyout.

Things should be resolved soon because as much as Lombardi may not like the situation, he’s too smart to go to war with his franchise player.

The semi-finals of the Ivan Hlinka Under 18 tournament are set: Canada faces off against Russia while the Swedes take on Finland. Both games take place on Friday. Canadian forward Andreas Athanasiou has been turning heads at this tournament with a pair of goals yesterday in a 6-0 Canada romp over Switzerland. Athanasiou plays with the London Knights of the OHL and is expected to be a big part of their attack this season. On the blueline, Red Deer Rebels’ Matthew Dumba’s play has been dynamic.

Swedish forward Filip Forsberg was described to me as being the best player in the tournament, however. He’s draft eligible in 2012 and is Top 5 on many scouting lists.

By the way, the Canada/Russia game will take place in Piestany. What could possibly go wrong?

Paul Kelly, the executive director of College Hockey Inc was on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and Michael Grange last night addressing the issue of players de-committing from Division 1 to play in the CHL. Kelly also talked about the assertion in the Boston Globe last weekend that some player’s families are being paid under the table by junior hockey clubs. Kelly maintains he has direct knowledge that families and kids are being lured by cash but still refuses to divulge any names or cite any CHL programs specifically. Kelly says the practice is not widespread in the CHL but confined to a few specific teams.

More bad news for Kelly. Reports indicate that Cam Darcy, who played for the US National Development Team, has decommitted from attending Northeastern and playing in the Huskies program this season. His CHL rights are held by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL.

Notes: The Phoenix Coyotes signed Viktor Tikhonov to a one-year, two-way contract yesterday… Ollie Maatta, the Finnish defenceman who went first overall in the CHL’s European draft told Adam Kimelman of that he’s going to play with the London Knights of the OHL this season. “My agent said to me that it is the best organization in CHL, or one of the best. They have a good staff, good coaches, good team. I think the best part is that we have a good team in London. We’re going to win the Memorial Cup there. We have a chance.”

Today in Hockey History

1920: Chuck Rayner was born in Sutherland, SK. Played in the NHL with the New York Americans and Rangers from ’40-’53 and never had a single winning season yet still made it to the Hall of Fame. A superior puck-handling goaltender, Rayner almost became a piece of history on Feb. 19, 1950 in a game involving his Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. With Turk Broda pulled for the extra attacker Rayner banked a shot off the boards towards the empty Toronto net but it just missed the net. Rayner was also known to occasionally join the rush after making a save as well. He even got deep enough on a couple of occasions to fire a shot at the opposing goalie!

1925: Former Habs winger Floyd Curry was born in Chapleau, QC. Great nickname – ‘The Honest Blocker’ (he also went by ‘Busher’). A solid two-way player for the Canadiens from 1947-1958, Curry scored the only hat trick of his career in front of Queen Elizabeth who was taking in a game at the Forum on Oct. 29, 1951.

1949: Dave Shand born in Cold Lake, AB. Drafted eighth overall by the Atlanta Flames in 1976, Shand’s NHL career came to an end in Washington in 1985 shortly after he blocked a Scott Stevens slap shot in the face at Caps training camp. That shot broke Shand’s nasal cavity. He played 13 games after that for the Caps and then retired from the league to go play in Austria.

1958: “The Rat” Ken Linseman born in Kingston, ON. Want to know why kids are drafted at the age of 18? Linseman’s your answer. He took the NHL to court over the league’s refusal to allow teams to draft ‘underage’ players, which was the onramp for the league to lower the draft age. Bobby Clarke gave him the nickname not because he was an agitator but because Clarke said that’s what he looked like when he skated.

1978: St Louis signs free agent Steve Durbano. He was one of the craziest players in the history of the NHL (and WHA for that matter). During a 1979 game against the Rangers, Durbano dropped his hockey pants and mooned the crowd at MSG. It’s true, check it out. Durbano also had a major problem with refs in every league he was in. In 1973, he was suspended for pushing referee Ron Wicks (he also threw his gloves at Wicks). Then in 1978 while playing for the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA, he got dinged for deliberately firing the puck at ref Bill Friday.

1998: Carolina trades Stu Grimson and Kevin Haller to Anaheim for David Karpa and a fourth round pick. Grimson has to be the toughest born-again Christian ever, no?

The Sheet reader profile

Name: Brooks Robinson
Twitter: @brooksyr14
Earliest Hockey Memory: Playing: Learning how to skate in Darlington Arena in Hampton, Ontario. Having my big brother on the bench leaning over telling me to get up. All the other parents and siblings were on the ice helping their son or daughter or brother or sister get up, but I was forced to do it on my own. Turned out to be one of the best things he did for me.

Watching; Hockey Night in Canada was a family staple in the house. Me on the floor watching with Mom and Dad in their recliners. And if the phone rang during Coaches Corner, it did NOT get answered.

Favourite YouTube Hockey Moment: To me, the CBC playoff pre-game montages are the best in all of sports. They are all well done but to me, there is none better than Game 7 between Boston and Montreal at the Bell Centre in 2008. It starts off with Ron MacLean voicing a small speech followed by Marion Cotillard singing a French song “I regret nothing” from La Vie en Rose. This game marked the first time Boston and Montreal met in a Game 7 in Montreal since 1979. I’m not a fan of either of these teams but just watching it gives you goosebumps.

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