Shrapnel - 5/27/2011
For the first time since the middle of April, we had a day without NHL hockey. (Or, at least, a day without NHL hockey being played - there was plenty of off-ice news, and you'll soon see.)
It's a reminder that sooner rather than later, we'll be clustering around the mock drafts for warmth, counting the days until July 1st so we can see just what free agency will bring, and quietly counting down the days until training camp opens even as the summer unfolds. You do what you can to get you through it. The Memorial cup tiebreaker last night was great - like hockey methadone as we watched the Kootenay Ice rally back from a 2-0 deficit to eliminate Owen Sound 7-3.
So, what else was going on?
Perhaps one of the biggest stories was the official announcement that Doug Weight has retired after 19 seasons in the NHL, moving from the ice to the bench as he takes up a position as an assistant coach and special assistant to the GM for the Islanders. Puck Daddy also had a great look on what Weight has meant to USA Hockey, and the impact he hopes his career has had on younger players wanting to make their mark with Team USA.
Over at SBN Atlanta, in the story that just won't die, Laura Astorian wonders if the NHL board of governors could quash the sale of the Thrashers if it violates the league's own relocation bylaws. PHT sees her point, but doubts that the BOG will see it her way.
If you've never listened to the NHL Hour on XM radio, last night was something of a hoot - the commissioner was leaping through more verbal hoops than a show dog as he tried to avoid making any commitments, predictions, hard statements, or judgements. I only caught about 15 minutes in my drive home, but I think I heard the phrase "I'm not going to comment on something that is not resolved" about 248 times.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Sun is reporting a deal is"80% complete", but it's likely there would be no announcement before Tuesday. For what it's worth, Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey says he expects the sale may not be announced until after the Stanley Cup Finals. Take it all with a grain of salt.
In a semi-related story, the Zac Brown Band played in Columbus last night, and reportedly ZBB drummer Chris Fryar told fans he would become a Blue Jackets' fan if the Thrashers leave Atlanta, and backed it up by wearing a Jackets' jersey on stage.
Meanwhile, with Game 7 between the Bruins and Lightning tonight, Justin Bourne looks at the two teams and the puzzling amounts of slow starts we've seen in this series, while The View From My Seats talks about the sanctity of a Game 7.
In other Game 7 news, ESPN's Scott Burnside takes some time to talk about the leadership of Martin St. Louis going into tonight's game.
Meanwhile, on the Western Conference side of things, PHT compares this edition of the Canucks wTwitterith the '93-'94 team, while the Canucks have announced that Aaron Rome and Christian Ehrhoff should be healthy in time for the start of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday.
On the other side of the coin, let's talk about San Jose - first by skewering them in their annual (nearly) always hilarious Puck Daddy eulogy, and more seriously looking at the slew of injuries running through their lineup. Does the news that Dany Heatley played the entire postseason with a broken hand absolve him of his disappearing act? Probably at least somewhat, but I'm sure there's plenty of people happy to make him into a scapegoat.
Speaking of scapegoats, Chris Pronger took time out of his rehab to publicly endorse Mike Richards as the Flyers Captain, though I'm sure that won't stop the constant barrage of questions about Pronger taking over the captaincy.
Just a reminder for those who are in the mood to do some good - the Jacket Backers still need blood donors for their June 18th blood drive.
Many have suggested the Red Wings may swing for the fences in free agency to replace Brian Rafalski on their blue line. Adam Proteau disagrees, and expects the Wings to do what they usually do - find someone to step up from within, or expose an unlikely candidate to take the reins.
Over at Hockey's Future, they've got an evaluation of the Jackets' farm team in Springfield. Perhaps not surprisingly, it isn't terribly positive about the team as a whole, but does recognize players with strong individual performances, including David Savard and Tomas Kubalik.
Russian Hockey mensch and Puck Daddy contributor Dmitry Chesnokov reported via Twitter that Nikita Filatov has no plans to return to the KHL - and is determined to make it in the NHL with the Blue Jackets.
In "Water is Wet" news, the Rangers are still screwed by the Wade Redden contract, as it hampers their ability to secure RFAs and make moves on free agents until Redden can be officially re-waived back down to the minors, as he's now considered back on his NHL deal for cap purposes during the offseason.
That also means unless or until he's bought out, the Jackets are likely in the same position with Mike Commodore's contract. Not as drastically, of course, because the Jackets have a good deal more available cap room than the Jackets, but it's still worth considering.
In a touch of sad news, the Sabres have announced that Rick Jeanneret will start cutting back his broadcasting duties, restricting himself to home games and 10-15 road games (likely trips within their division, if I had to guess). It's a shame, but understandable. The man's an iconic voice of hockey history, but he's also nearly 70. He's earned a chance to rest.
Could Ron Wilson be a lame duck coach in Toronto? It sure looks that way.
Going back to the Jackets as a "dirty" team argument - according to Gus Katsaros of McKeen's Hockey, Columbus lead the NHL in goalie interference and interference calls last season.
Over at Kukla's, the Goal Line Report has a neat interview with Josh Rimer, a producer on XM Radio's NHL Home Ice channel.
Last but not least, if you'd like to spend your weekend looking back, Fire That Cannon has their fourth and final installment of their recap of the Jackets' 2009 playoff appearance.
If you'd prefer to look forward, we'd remind you that the Jackets are "On The Clock" over at Hockey WIlderness' community mock draft.
Boy, that turned out to be a lot for a "slow news day", didn't it?
We'll see you back later today for the next Draft Prospect Profile, and we'll keep the lights for you! If you're in the US, enjoy the holiday weekend!