Friday, September 08, 2006

Around the Rink 09.08.06

Two teams locked up their young goaltenders for the next couple of years. First, on Thursday, Kari Lehtonen and the Atlanta Thrashers agreed to a new two-year pact. In 38 games last season, Lehtonen compiled a 20-15-0 record with a 2.94 GAA. Lehtonen was hampered with a groin issue last year, but should be able to bounce back and play up to his caliber.

The Anaheim Ducks re-signed Ilya Bryzgalov for three more years after his stellar performance in the playoffs last season. The big question is whether or not Bryzgalov will be the starter, back-up, or split time with J-S Giguere for the season.

The Buffalo Sabres locked up Ryan Miller for three more seasons on Friday. After a broken thumb kept him out for the middle part of the season, Miller came back and was able to cap off a 30-win season as well as help the Sabres get to the Eastern Conference finals.

These goalies are crucial in their organization, but Miller could be more valuable of the two. Miller has turned the Sabres franchise around and has given the Sabres a top-notch goalie for the first time since Dominik Hasek left.

A few days are Mike Keenan being pushed out, things are getting clearer about what happened. At first, former Panthers GM Rick Dudley came out to say that owner Alan Cohen was a huge fan of Jacques Martin, which definitely answered questions about why Keenan was disposed of so quickly.

The next day, Jacques Martin came out to say that the relationship between himself and Mike Keenan was just fine and that there was no turmoil between the two. Martin says that he doesn't know why Keenan resigned so suddenly.

Keenan has yet to come out to say why he resigned.

The issue of captaincy has been hot and heavy this week. First off, Alexander Ovechkin denied the Washington Capitals captaincy due to the fact that Ovechkin still is learning the english language and doesn't think he'll be able to be communicate with the team if need be. It's a mature move by Ovechkin, who knows that this will be his team sooner or later and it not afraid to wait.

Vancouver Canucks' captain Markus Naslund is unsure if he'll be the captain with all the new faces both on the ice and behind the bench. With someone new behind the bench, they may think that Naslund isn't the right fit to lead the team. It should be interesting to see what happens in Vancouver, but it could go one of two ways. Which way is still to be determined.

Finally, in a somewhat surprising move, the Tampa Bay Lightning named Tim Taylor as their captain. The "Toolman" will have forwards Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier as his alternates. Though Taylor isn't as flashy as the others, coach John Tortorella believes that the experience will help the team in the long-run.

Training camps are going to get underway in about a week. There are many questions that will be answers and more problems that will be compounded if something were to go down unexpectedly. However, for all the latest, tune into Face Off Hockey Show every Wednesday and always on the Podcast.

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