Rink Wrap: NHL rumours
Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
|Stephen Weiss has taken on an expanded role with the Florida Panthers this season. (File photo)
OTTAWA - Brendan Shanahan could have some explaining to do on Tuesday.
After attending the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday, the NHL’s 30 GMs will gather to discuss the first six weeks of the season and one of the major items on the agenda will be the route Shanahan has taken with league discipline.
Shanahan, who was named the NHL’s VP of player safety before the start of the season, came out of the gate with an iron fist by handing down tough suspensions, the likes which were rarely seen under former punisher Colin Campbell.
But not everybody is happy with the way Shanahan has handled his new role.
Sources say some GMs are going to want an explanation from Shanahan on what logic he uses in making his decisions to suspend or not to suspend.
“Some guys are going to want to know why he’s made certain decisions,” said a league executive. “I’m not sure he’s going to be on the hot seat, but he’s in the kind of job where it’s difficult to keep anybody happy.”
The GMs aren’t the only ones grumbling. As reported last month by the QMI Agency, the players aren’t thrilled, either, with the way Shanahan has handled things.
However, this will be the first time Shanahan has to go toe-to-toe with the GMs.
OFF THE GLASS
How have the Blue Jackets not fired one of, if not both, GM Scott Howson and coach Scott Arniel? Now, don’t think for a second that it couldn’t still happen, but the whisper is at least part of the reason no changes have been made are financial concerns. Not only do the Jackets have the fifth-highest payroll in the league at $63.9 million, attendance is slipping, the team is going to lose a boatload of money and the purse strings may be too tight to make changes. My only question: Can the Jackets afford to let this go on much longer? Columbus had an interest in Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall to take over for Howson. Perhaps, they don’t want to let him go mid-season ... GMs will also be discussing the incident in Tampa Wednesday night when the Flyers elected not to move the puck while the Bolts fell into their 1-3-1 system. “That’s not hockey in my book,” said Philly captain Chris Pronger. He wasn’t alone on that thought.
AROUND THE BOARDS
A big reason the Coyotes don’t want to give in to RFA C Kyle Turris is the bad precedent it would set. Teams don’t want to get into the habit of dealing players coming off their entry-level contracts. They don’t have that right and GM Don Maloney is going to have other players to deal with down the road, namely RW Mikkel Boedker and D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, both of whom are on entry-level deals ... The Panthers were ready to deal C Stephen Weiss before the start of the season, but they’ve pulled him off the market. He’s gotten to play a bigger role under new coach Kevin Dineen and has become an important player for Florida. Trading LW David Booth and his big contract to the Canucks probably helped secure Weiss’ future with the Panthers.
Suddenly nobody is restless in Montreal and everybody is safe, including GM Pierre Gauthier and coach Jacques Martin. The Habs have been able to string a few wins together and are hoping they’ll have D Andrei Markov back in the lineup soon. If the Habs miss the playoffs, Gauthier could be gone ... If the Oilers intend on moving C Sam Gagner, nothing is imminent. The Flames, Islanders and Coyotes are all looking to add help up the middle ... Vancouver GM Mike Gillis has been sniffing around the league. Ideally, the Canucks would like to add another blueliner. They can get in line on that front ... The sale of the Stars to Vancouver businessman Tom Gagliardi will be completed within two weeks.
RUMOURS DU JOUR
While the Jackets aren’t firing anyone, they are busy working the phones: The club picked up C Mark Letestu from Pittsburgh last week, but it doesn’t intend to stop there. Teams have shown interest in C Antoine Vermette and C Derick Brassard, but both have long-term deals that pay them in excess of $3 million a season. The Senators would be interested in bringing back Vermette, but would find it tough to absorb his $3.75-million cap hit through 2014-15. The Jackets could trade RW Rick Nash and his $7.8-million cap hit, but it would be tough to make that deal mid-season and sources say they haven’t shopped him around ... Sabres owner Terry Pegula was aggressive on the free-agent market last summer by signing C Ville Leino and D Christian Ehrhoff, but he didn’t stop there. Sources say the Sabres tried to acquire C Patrick Kane, a Buffalo native, from the Blackhawks before the NHL draft in June. A cornerstone of the Chicago franchise, Kane, 22, who has a $6.3-million cap hit, wasn’t going anywhere. You can’t fault the Sabres for asking ... The Isles are going to move a goalie and it won’t be Rick DiPietro. Many believe Evgeni Nabokov will be the odd man out when GM Garth Snow makes a decision. Sources say Nabokov, who is in the final year of his contract, could land in Phoenix. Have a nice Sunday.