SUN Hockey Pool

Event changes in the wind

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

ATLANTA -- The NHL is going to take a long, hard look at the all-star weekend in the next few months.

And the league may have tough decisions to make.

While some league officials are wondering privately why the NHL continues to have the all-star game at all, there could be changes after next year's game is held in Montreal to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens.

Though cancelling the game all together seems a little harsh, there are proponents of that route at NHL headquarters. At the very least, it would appear the skills competition is going to become a victim of the changes once the league figures out what kind of direction it wants to take.

Yes, Saturday's presentation at Philips Arena was better than past years, but it's still lacking, and many wonder if the game couldn't just stand alone with a headliner concert on Friday night in the host city to help kick off the celebration.

"I haven't heard any positive comments about the skills competition at all," said a league executive yesterday. "The players think it's painful, the changes to the competition didn't work and, quite frankly, the players are bored with the whole thing."

There is no game scheduled for 2010 because of the Winter Olympics, but there is a chance the game could take a permanent hiatus.

"This is a touchy subject," said one league executive.

OFF THE GLASS

Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is looking for a puck-moving blueliner, and he's held discussions with the Los Angeles Kings about D Tom Preissing. He was signed by the club as a UFA in the off-season and hasn't lived up to expectations. According to one executive, Kings GM Dean Lombardi is currently seeking inflated prices for his players ... The Marian Hossa saga with the Thrashers could be settled this week. GM Don Waddell, agent Rich Winter and Hossa are going to meet to decide whether he's going to accept the club's long-term contract offer or not. "We're just going to sit down and see where everybody is at," said Hossa. "I'm pretty sure that something is going to have to be decided soon." If there's no deal in place before the deadline, then the Thrashers are going to try to trade the power winger. If that's the case, Waddell will have interest from the Senators, Rangers, Canucks, Flyers, Sharks and Ducks. But the talk is the club is going to need a roster player as part of a package that should include a No. 1 pick and a top prospect.

AROUND THE BOARDS

A name that's going to be pushed for the vacant GM's job in Toronto is NHL VP Colin Campbell. There's talk NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is going to make a call to Toronto Maple Leafs president Richard Peddie on Campbell's behalf to make sure he gets consideration.

No, Campbell doesn't have GM experience, but he has spent his lifetime in hockey ... Minnesota Wild RW Marian Gaborik doesn't sound completely thrilled about playing with the Wild under coach Jacques Lemaire. A UFA at the end of next season, Gaborik, 25, left the impression he might like to play a more wide-open game. "Minnesota is my only team so far," said Gaborik. "But sometimes you think how it could be in an Eastern system, in a more offensive system. There's more offence (in the East) for sure. It's a totally different style of hockey. The West is tight and physical, so you're thinking that sometimes."

SLAPSHOTS

UFA C Peter Forsberg, who has been skating in Sweden, could make a decision on his return to the NHL in the next 10 days. While the Red Wings, Avalanche, Canucks, Sharks, Senators and Ducks have all shown interest in Forsberg, the belief is he'll return to play with the Flyers ... Panthers GM Jacques Martin has been busy working the phones. He's trying to move: D Branislav Mezei and RW Radek Dvorak. Florida officials can deny it all they want, but league executives insists that C Olli Jokinen could be moved ... Isles G Rick DiPietro made the start, but he was nursing a sore hip from the skills competition.


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