Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban has become a universal scapegoat on the Twitter-sphere.
Subban is being blamed by Canadiens fans who use the social media site for everything from bad traffic to delayed flights. Twitter users have adopted the #blamesubban hashtag -- legend has it the tag was used for the first time when then-Philly captain Mike Richards accused Subban of being disrespectful to veteran NHLers -- for everything under the sun.
And Subban thinks it's a riot, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette.
"One guy came into the dressing room last year and said: 'My washing machine is broken. 'Hashtag blamesubban,' " he told the Gazette, laughing. "I wasn't on Twitter yet, so that might have been the first I heard of it."
Subban (@PKSubban1) wasn't on Twitter when the "blame Subban" phenomenon started but he is now. He's one of a handful of Habs who tweet.
"The last thing I needed was more attention," Subban said of his delay in creating a Twitter account. "But I've seen only positives from it. If you use Twitter properly, it can be incredibly constructive."
The price tag on the bankrupt Dallas Stars could be on the rise.
The Stars, in bankruptcy court in Delaware for the first time Monday, were expected to be sold to Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi, who has reportedly offered $265 million for the team. But, according to a Wall Street journal report, Chuck Greenberg, who unsuccessfully tried to buy the Texas Rangers baseball team when it went to bankruptcy court auction, wants to put in a bid for the Stars.
Gaglardi's offer includes a promise to repay a $50-million loan from the NHL and $100 million earmarked for the debts of the current owner, Tom Hicks. If Greenberg is interested in buying the team, the price could exceed $300 million.
Stars president Tony Tavares, appointed by the banks to run the team during its bankruptcy and sale, said in an open letter to Stars fans Monday he expects a new owner in place "within the next 60-75 days."
READY TO QUACK
Unlike most NHL veterans, Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller is anxious to get into his first pre-season game.
Hiller, who missed a big chunk of last season because of vertigo issues, has been skating and scrimmaging but he knows the true test will come when the puck drops for real, even if it is in the pre-season.
"In the end I still have to play exhibition games, because the whole atmosphere, the whole thing, also mentally, is just different than when you play in practice," he told FS West. "Sure, it's part of it -- we scrimmaged last week. We scrimmaged when I was skating back home. That kind of went well, but I still think that just being there and facing a different team, having fans in the stands, the whole atmosphere, it's just going to be another test.
"But I'm not too worried about it. I'm definitely looking forward for those first games."
PRONGER MAKING PROGRESS
Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger is taking baby steps as he attempts to return from off-season back surgery.
Pronger skated for half an hour Monday, primarily with new defenceman Andreas Lilja. Afterward he called the session "a good start."
"I had a good day today, but we'll see how I am (Tuesday) after partaking a little bit more than the day before," Pronger said. "I've had some not-so-good days, a couple days where I have not felt great. Usually, the next day, you push through and feel a little better. I felt pretty good today."
Despite Pronger's slow progress, general manager Paul Holmgren expects his new captain to be in the lineup on opening night.
"I'll still say he'll be ready at the start of the regular season," Holmgren told NHL.com. "Whether he plays a (pre-season) game or not is not an issue for me. He has certainly played enough of those in his 18-year career. He knows how to play the game."
MAX GOOD TO GO
Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty declared himself ready to play in the pre-season after Monday's intra-squad scrimmage.
Pacioretty had his 2010-11 season ended early when he was left with a broken vertebra in his neck and a concussion after being drilled into a stanchion during a game March 8 at the Bell Centre. He's played in a pair of training camp scrimmages now and thinks it's time to up the ante.
"It's good to finally get some physicality going, to take a couple of hits and give some as well," Pacioretty said on NHL.com. "My neck's feeling great and I'm ready to go. I'm not going to ask someone to hit me into the stanchion but I'll take some hits and give some. It's felt good so far."
CHARA BANGED UP
Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara left Monday's practice after taking a shot off the inside of his left leg, according to NHL.com.
"Right now it's a contusion and we'll evaluate as we go along here," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "This is training camp and if he needs an extra day here, we'll give him an extra day. If not, then he'll be back on the ice tomorrow."
The Bruins won't take any chances with Chara's health this early in camp. The 34-year-old had 14 goals and 30 assists in 81 games last season.
FOSTER OUT 2-4 WEEKS
Anaheim Ducks defenceman Kurtis Foster will be sidelined 2-4 weeks after having surgery to remove a piece of wire from his left thigh Monday.
The wire was left in Foster's thigh after he had surgery to fix a broken leg in March 2008. But it was causing inflammation and irritation in his leg, so the 29-year-old decided to have it removed.
The Ducks got Foster in a deal with the Edmonton Oilers on July 1 that sent Andy Sutton north. He had eight goals and 14 assists in 74 games with the Oilers last season.
NEW DEAL FOR KING
Forward Kevin Westgarth signed a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings Monday.
The deal is worth a reported $1.45 million, with the Kings on the hook for an annual cap hit of $725,000.
Westgarth, 27, had three assists and 105 penalty minutes in 56 games with L.A. last season and added two assists in six playoff games. The Amherstburg, Ont., native has played a total of 65 NHL games in his career.
Even if the days of the heavyweight enforcer are in the past, Winnipeg Jets forward Tanner Glass says there is still plenty of room for players who are willing to drop the gloves.
"(Fighting) is still a big part of the game," Glass said Monday. "It's not necessarily used as much to police the game as it used to be. I'd like to see it used more. The instigator rule changed the way fighting is used. The days of the big heavyweight enforcer are a bit dated."
Glass, who fought 10 times as a member of the Vancouver Canucks last season, said players like having fighting in the game because it keeps people honest.
"If a dirty play happens or someone goes after a top player, it's nice to know that you've got a guy on your team that is willing to stand up for his teammates," Glass said.
As for the issue of fighting causing head injuries, Glass thinks it's overblown.
"Guys do get concussions from fighting but I think it's more from those hits where you don't see a guy coming," Glass said. "That's more dangerous. When two guys are going at it on the ice, I don't think it's very dangerous at all."
Goalie Martin Brodeur was held out of the New Jersey Devils' scrimmage Monday with a lower body injury. General manager Lou Lamoriello told the Star-Ledger the injury wasn't serious ... Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan hurt his groin during a workout drill Sunday and was held out of practice Monday. Ryan, a 34-goal scorer last season, is expected to skate Tuesday. Ducks D Mathieu Carle was also absent from practice ... The Vancouver Canucks sent defenceman Sawyer Hannay back to the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL and released former Ottawa 67's blueliner Marc Zanetti ... The Tampa Bay Lightning sent defencemen Adam Janosik and Geoffrey Schemitsch back to junior. Janosik went back to Gatineau of the QMJHL and Schemitsch to Owen Sound of the OHL ... The Ottawa Senators signed forward Mark Stone to an entry-level contract. Ottawa's sixth-round pick in 2010, Stone had 37 goals and 69 assists in 71 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL last season ... Ex-Toronto Maple Leafs forward Russ Courtnall will replace the late Wade Belak on CBC's Battle of the Blades. Courtnall, who appeared on the reality show in 2010, will be paired with figure skater Kim Navarro.