Will Snapple King quench thirst to own Habs?

Peltz, who built up his Triarc group of companies and makes his home in a ritzy South Florida...

Peltz, who built up his Triarc group of companies and makes his home in a ritzy South Florida neighbourhood, has taken a pass on the NHL in the past. (Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:16 PM ET

Is the Snapple king ready to make a pitch for the Montreal Canadiens?

League sources say Nelson Peltz, a New York billionaire who once tried to purchase the Ottawa Senators in a refinancing deal with former owner Rod Bryden, is taking a long, hard look at the storied Habs franchise and may take it off the hands of current owner George Gillett.

Peltz, who built up his Triarc group of companies and makes his home in a ritzy South Florida neighbourhood, has taken a pass on the NHL in the past. But indications are he has a real interest this time around to get involved with one of the top franchises in the league.

If Gillett does indeed sell the Habs, don't be surprised if Peltz ends up with the club. He's not just a hockey fan. His kids play, and he loves the game. Peltz also has a strong relationship with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Should singer Celine Dion actually make a bid for the Habs, you can be guaranteed former Colorado Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix is going to be part of the picture.

He is close friends with Dion and husband Rene Angelil, and they have been Las Vegas neighbours since Lacroix stepped back from his GM's post with the Avalanche.

SOURCES SAY

Former Senators G Ray Emery could be back in the NHL next season -- and he could have plenty of options.

League sources say Emery -- the top goalie with Atlant Mytishchi of the Kontinental Hockey League -- has drawn interest from several NHL teams looking for goaltending help next season.

The 27-year-old, who helped lead the Senators to the Stanley Cup final in 2007, would offer an option for teams that don't want to sign long-term deals with the salary cap poised to fall in 2010-11.

Emery could be a good backup option and push the starter. The Toronto Maple Leafs likely have to look. They need a goalie.

OFF THE GLASS

A guy who should be a candidate for coach of the year is Calgary Flames' Mike Keenan. Everybody is quick to criticize, but he has done an excellent job ... The Carolina Hurricanes will keep LW Erik Cole from becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer if he's willing to take less than the US $4 million he's making this season. The talk is the Hurricanes will ask Cole to take a deal in the $3-$3.5-million range ... There has been speculation about the future of Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky, but he likely isn't going anywhere. Sources say Gretzky has met with groups interested in buying the financially troubled Coyotes and has indicated he's in it for the long haul. This has also been a frustrating season for the Coyotes on the ice. They were supposed to challenge for a playoff spot but are mired near the Western Conference basement. Gretzky still lives in the Los Angeles area, which does make the Phoenix job a little more difficult ... A potentially valuable free agent on the market is Edmonton Oilers G Dwayne Roloson. But he would have to be willing to take a short-term deal.

AROUND THE BOARDS

Yes, they're getting a Mike Cammalleri sweater ready in Toronto, but that might not be the ultimate destination for the Flames winger. If the Canucks aren't able to get Henrik and Daniel Sedin signed, then GM Mike Gillis could be forced to go the free-agent route. It's believed Gillis, who once represented Cammalleri as an agent, would at least make a pitch. Of course, Gillis would be better off getting the Sedins signed ... If the Hurricanes make the playoffs, and it sure looks like they will, there's a strong belief interim coach Paul Maurice will be back on a full-time basis next year. There was a belief assistant Ron Francis would step into the role next year, but that thinking has changed with the Hurricanes playing well in Maurice's second stint with the club. He coached the 'Canes to four straight winning seasons from 1998-2002 before getting fired in 2003 and later landing in Toronto. If the Hurricanes do look outside the organization for another bench boss, former team captain Kevin Dineen, who is currently coach of the AHL's Portland Pirates, might get a shot ... There has been plenty of talk about the Habs acquiring Tampa Bay Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier. Just wondering if the Los Angeles Kings might take a shot? Don't forget Lecavalier's no-movement clause kicks in July 1. We're going to hear more about this before the NHL Entry Draft in late June ... The Minnesota Wild will have a tough decision over LW Marian Gaborik, who is making $7.5 million this season and turned down a long-term contract offer at the start of the year. Gaborik, 26, has been troubled by a groin problem that required surgery.

BRUCE GARRIOCH IS A SUN MEDIA COLUMNIST


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