Hall of Famer Stan Mikita is battling cancer.
The former Chicago Blackhawks centre announced Tuesday he has been diagnosed with stage 1 oral cancer. He was given an "excellent" prognosis by Richard Borrowdale of Loyola Medical Center, who will be treating Mikita, after doctors discovered "and early base of tongue cancer," according to a press release sent out by the Blackhawks.
Mikita, who turned 71 on Friday, had 541 goals and 926 assists in his 22-year NHL career with Chicago. He won back-to-back Hart Trophies in 1987 and '68, won the Stanley Cup in 1961 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
Rafalski calls presser
Detroit Red Wings defenceman Brian Rafalski is expected to announce his retirement Wednesday at a press conference.
General manager Ken Holland will also attend, giving rise to the possibility of Rafalski stay with the organization.
Multiple reports have indicated that the 37-year-old Rafalski is set to retire.
Rafalski has played 11 NHL seasons, the first seven with the New Jersey Devils and the past four with Detroit. The Michigan native has won Stanley Cups in 2000 and 2003 with the Devils and in 2008 championship with the Wings. He also won silver medals with the U.S. team at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics.
Isles hopefuls rally
New York Islanders owner Charles Wang joined fans and merchants at a rally Tuesday to encourage residents to vote in favour of a new arena for the hockey team.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said a new building would provide a "great return" for the community.
Results of a referendum Aug. 1 will determine whether the county will borrow $400 million to replace the aging Nassau Memorial Coliseum as well as build a minor-league ball park.
Reddox off to Sweden?
Edmonton Oilers forward Liam Reddox has reportedly signed with a Swedish Elite League team.
Reddox has signed with the Vaxjo Lakers, according to Swedish hockey magazine Hockeysverige.se.
The 21-year-old from East York, Ont., will join former Oklahoma Barons teammate Brad Moran, who signed with the Lakers in April. Vaxjo is new to the top league in Sweden, having earned a promotion from the second division this season.
Reddox had one goal and nine assists in 44 games with the Oilers this season.
Wild sign prospect
Swedish defenceman Johan Larsson signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild Tuesday.
Larsson, a 6-foot, 198-pounder, had four goals and four assists in 43 games with Gavle of the Swedish Elite League this season. He also played in the world junior championship in Buffalo, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
"We're very excited to have Johan under contract," Wild assistant general manager Brent Flahr said. "He's a quality prospect with a good combination of skill, grit, and character. We look forward to having him in camp and monitoring his development going forward."
Kings ink two
The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Linden Vey and goalie Jean-Francois Berube to three-year, entry-level contracts.
Vey, the Kings' fourth-round pick in 2009, had 46 goals and 70 assists in 69 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL this season. The 5-foot-10, 166-pounder from Wakaw, Sask., played four years with the Tigers.
Berube was also a fourth-round pick in '09. He was 32-7-8 with a 2.60 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in 50 games with the Montreal Juniors of the QMJHL.
Preds get defenceman
Free-agent defenceman Victor Bartley signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Nashville Predators Tuesday.
Bartley, a 23-year-old from Maple Ridge, B.C., played with Rogle of the Swedish second division this season. He had 11 goals and 23 assists in 52 games with Rogle.
Previously, Bartley played five years in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers and Regina Pats.