Despite the fact that no actual hockey was played, there was a ton of news yesterday around the NHL. Let's dive right in, shall we?
Let's start with the word that broke early yesterday that the Rangers are going to buy out current captain Chris Drury and recent trade acquisition Wojtek Wolski, presumably to go after Brad Richards. I feel bad for Drury, honestly. It's not like you're going to say no when someone offers to pay you a metric asston of money to do something you love, and despite the fact that he probably hasn't been a $7 million dollar a year player, he's clearly tried to be a good leader for his team on and off the ice.
Team USA announced their 2011 Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp roster yesterday. Among the invitees were Ohio products Connor Murphy, son of former CBJ coach Gord Murphy, Tyler Biggs, and J.T. Miller. Stick tap to Ryan Holtmann for pointing this out on Twitter.
With game 5 shifting to NBC tonight, Steve over at Puck The Media gives a good look at how Versus finished up in the ratings for the playoffs, and though ratings are down a bit from last year, they're still staying steady despite having a Canadian team in the finals, which many thought would "bring down" US ratings.
Over on her blog, Lori Schmidt is taking us on a virtual tour of 97.1 The Fan from the elevator on up!
Tapeleg shows off some of his Russian Jersey Collection.
There are reports the NHL is mending fences with Jim Balsille. There are official denials that we were ever allies with Blackberritania. There are more reports that the Coyotes' chances of staying in Glendale are growing slim. I am sure NONE of this is related...as someone mentioned to me, with Winnipeg finally getting a team, Gary Bettman needed a new boogeyman for teams who could potentially move. Looks like he's working on that nicely.
Oh, and speaking of Game 5, it appears that Roberto Luongo is still the guy. Which he should be! Until he isn't.
According to Tom Reed, the Blue Jackets may not have a home game vs. Pittsburgh next season. While I get people who are concerned about lost ticket sales (even if it comes with a herd of smelly, filthy, yinzing bandwagoners), I'd also point out his makes us no different than 11 other Western Conference clubs, since that home game generally came as one of Pittsburgh's three "extra" cross conference games. It's a good rivalry and makes sense for travel reasons, but they have the right to play elsewhere.
Besides, if we move to the East, we'll see more of them than you can stand next season.
On the recurring topic of the Winnipeg _________, Andrew Ladd stopped in to kick the tires. Assuming he's still captain of the team, he's an RFA who may want to sniff the ground before deciding on re-upping there for a long term deal.
Icethetics is starting a Best Sweaters In The West contest, voting by division. Today? The Pacific!
Over at TMM, Jeff Little has his next part of "Lifting The Shroud" posted, this time dealing with the "grinder" forwards.
Since it is nearly buyout season (Mike Commodore probably has it circled on his calendar), what about the Sharks possibly buying out Dany Heatley? (Spoiler - it's a bad idea for all kinds of reasons.)
Speaking of the Preds, OTF is also doing a report card for Joel Ward, who was one of their big playoff surprises...and is in a contract year.
Are you following SBNation's mock draft? You might want to bookmark the page and go check it on, say, Sunday afternoon. Around 2pm. I'm just saying.
Two goalies who played half a season in the NHL cashed in this offseason. LHH takes a look at Al Montoya and James Reimer's new deals.
Some sobering news to end a dark and stormy Friday morning - the Bossier Shreveport Mudbugs won the CHL title this season. They had a parade. And then the team folded. It's like the ending of "Slap Shot", but instead of Paul Newman cracking wise from his car in the parade float about going off to be an NHL scout, a lot of people are out of work and uncertain about their future.
There's probably more we could discuss, but lightning just slammed down about 20 feet from my window, so I think that's Mother Nature saying it's time I wrap it up. We'll be back on Saturday to see if everyone survived the downpour.