NHL notes: Beliveau faces surgery

Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau will undergo surgery next week to repair abdominal aneurysms....

Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau will undergo surgery next week to repair abdominal aneurysms. (PHILIPPE-OLIVIER CONTANT/QMI Agency file photo)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:55 PM ET

Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau is scheduled to undergo a preventive surgical procedure next week to repair abdominal aneurysms, the team announced Friday.

The procedure, known as endovascular surgery, will be minimally invasive, but Beliveau will require a few months to recover.

"As of today and for the duration of his convalescence Mr. Beliveau humbly asks for everyone to respect his privacy and that of his family," the Habs said in a news release.

Beliveau, who will turn 80 in August, has had several health issues, including an apparent stroke last year.

The native of Trois-Rivieres, Que., won 10 Stanley Cups with the Canadiens.

Beliveau was a two-time winner of the Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL's most valuable player.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 and is now a Canadiens ambassador.

Wings top franchise

For the third time in four years, the Detroit Red Wings have been declared the NHL's top franchise by The Hockey News.

The Red Wings were cited for their ability to prosper despite tough economic times in the Detroit area.

The publication uses nine categories to determine the annual franchise rankings, with the Wings recording high marks in four categories: Front-office continuity, regular-season success, playoff performance and strong ownership.

Pittsburgh and Buffalo finished second and third, respectively, while the New York Islanders were last.

Montreal was the highest-ranked Canadian franchise, placing seventh. Vancouver was ninth, Ottawa 16th, Calgary 17th, Edmonton 22nd and Toronto 23rd.

The Atlanta Thrashers -- the team Winnipeg is inheriting -- was 29th.

Whaddya mean free?

After years of being teased by the possibility of getting another NHL franchise, and finally getting one this week, you can't blame Winnipeggers for being wary at an offer of free hockey sticks.

The initial reaction Friday to the 1,500 free sticks was muted to say the least, as downtown workers mostly ignored a cluster of them leaning against the MTS Arena.

"Most people are saying, 'Is it free or not?' " said Jacques Trudel, a worker with retailer Canadian Tire, which masterminded the take-a-stick campaign. "People are too honest."

By mid-morning that had changed, and office workers soon had sticks with "Welcome Home" printed on them slung over their shoulders as they headed back to their cubicles.

"It's awesome," Kevin McDowell said of the NHL's return. "We've been waiting for a long time."

The money-losing Atlanta Thrashers will move to Winnipeg next season if the NHL's board of governors approves the sale June 21 to True North Sports and Entertainment.

Habs kids go to camp

The Montreal Canadiens announced that 33 prospects will participate in a development camp starting Sunday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, Que.

Fourteen of the 33 are draft selections, including the first selections from the past three drafts: Jarred Tinordi (2010), Louis Leblanc (2009) and Danny Kristo (2008).


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