SUN Hockey Pool

NHL teams doing the GM shuffle?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:06 PM ET

NOTEBOOK

Expect a lot of openings in NHL front offices this summer. Boston and the New York Islanders have already made changes, while the Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues are expected to follow suit. Assistant GM Jeff Gorten, who has been in the Bruins organization for 14 seasons, has taken over on an interim basis and should get serious consideration for the GM's job when president Harry Sinden goes through the interview process. Two other names that have surfaced: Nashville assistant GM Ray Shero and Senators assistant GM Peter Chiarelli. There's a sense that, with so many jobs open, it's time for some fresh blood. The old boys network could take a hit because there's a belief the NHL's headquarters in New York is telling teams to look for fresh blood. "With the new system, so many (GMs) have been exposed and I would think you can expect a groundswell of change in the next 18 months," said a league source yesterday ... The Penguins could be ready to make a coaching change -- especially if GM Craig Patrick is fired. Coach Michel Therrien has not impressed since being brought up from the Wilkes Barre/Scranton (AHL) and the word is players are pining to get out the door. Many can't stand his methods and wonder if rookie Sidney Crosby is getting the proper training for success in the NHL ... If the Kings don't make the playoffs, the long career of LW Luc Robitaille -- who has been a healthy scratch lately -- will likely be over.

AROUND THE BOARDS: Ex-Canadiens G Jose Theodore is expected to make his Colorado Avalanche debut tonight against Minnesota. Theodore, recovering from a broken ankle he suffered during the Olympic break, has practised with the Avs for the last couple of days and is believed to be ready to return ... Don't look now, but a group is trying to bring the NHL back to Hartford. Lawrence R. Gottesdiener -- called Hartford's largest landlord -- told a New York newspaper last week he's trying to buy an existing franchise (read Pittsburgh) and move it to the city. "We're out there looking for a team," said Gottesdiener. But he admitted the city will need to build a new arena since they haven't had NHL hockey in Hartford since the Whalers left in 1997. To get some helpful hints, Gottesdiener's closest advisors are going to meet with Minnesota Wild officials to see how the Twin Cities were able to woo hockey back to St. Paul after losing the North Stars ... Expect to see Florida G Roberto Luongo accept an invitation from Team Canada to attend the world championships later this month in Latvia, since he's not going to be in the playoffs ... Does anybody else think Peter Laviolette is a slam dunk for coach-of-the-year? ... Atlanta coach Bob Hartley called Tampa's Chris Dingman "the worst three-minute player in the league." This came after Dingman collided with Atlanta G Kari Lehtonen Thursday and knocked him out of the game with a knee injury. "He was fully aware of what he was doing out there," said Hartley.

RUMOURS DU JOUR: There's plenty of the talk the Bolts could face a problem getting C Brad Richards signed this summer as a restricted free agent. That's because there are whispers a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs or Edmonton Oilers might put in an offer sheet on Richards. With Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis already signed to massive contracts, the Lightning might be in tough to match a big offer to Richards. Keep an eye on this one ... Kings coach Andy Murray could land behind the Columbus Blue Jackets bench next season. Many are mystified GM Doug MacLean has been able to keep his job, but there's plenty of talk coach Gerard Gallant won't survive ... While others are wondering how Minny GM Doug Risebrough and coach Jacques Lemaire are still employed, dealing D Willie Mitchell at the deadline could come back to haunt the duo. The Stars like the way he's played and are going to make a big pitch to sign him in the coming weeks. The word is Mitchell would love to stay there ... There have been whispers Kings RW Mark Parrish could sign with the Wild next season, but that move might be a little too obvious for Risebrough -- especially with Parrish being from the St. Paul area. Instead, don't be surprised if the Bruins make a pitch for Parrish and bring him in to replace the departed Sergei Samsonov ... This just in: The Bruins are expected to fire coach Mike Sullivan at the end of the season. Obvious question: If they'd done it sooner, would they have made the playoffs? ... Washington captain Jeff Halpern, an unrestricted free agent, likely won't return to the Caps next season. He's 29 years old and wants a chance to play for a contender, but Washington could be in its rebuilding phase for awhile even with the signing of G Olaf Kolzig ... Sources insist New York Rangers TV analyst John Davidson will join the St. Louis Blues as president in May.

Have a nice Sunday and enjoy the final round at Augusta!

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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