Simon Gagne, he of the no-trade clause and the $5.25 million contract has been given permission to talk to clubs who might be interested in his services.
The Philadelphia Flyers have decided to eject the somewhat injury-prone left winger in hopes of squeaking under the league salary cap.
While the Leafs, as reported on Thursday, certainly have interest in Gagne, the price along with all the other intangibles (Would he want to play in Toronto? Does Toronto have what it takes to get him, etc.?) may be a problem. Followers of the Tampa Bay Lightning expect general manager Steve Yzerman to pursue Gagne aggressively.
FIGHTS RULE ON NHL.COM
Think the NHL is interested in banning fighting from the game?
Not likely. In fact, the league’s website cut into Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em territory this week, posting videos of five major slugfests on its home page.
The feature bout — headlined “Fight of the Year” — is a near 2˝ minute video of St. Louis Blues’ Cam Janssen and New Jersey Devils’ Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond pounding the crap out of each other.
A “Boston’s Revenge,” video shows Bruins’ Shawn Thornton trading punches with Pittsburgh Penguins’ Matt Cooke.
Another one, “Orr Pounds Carkner,” needs no explanation. Toronto’s Colton Orr rocks Ottawa Senators’ Matt Carkner with a haymaker, leaving him in a crumpled heap.
EDMONTON? NO THANKS
Legendary junior hockey coach Don Hay has turned down a chance to coach the Edmonton Oilers as one of Tom Renney’s assistants. This after Hays’ boss with the Vancouver Giants, Scott Bonner, rejected an offer to run the Oilers farm team in Oklahoma City.
So, now it’s not just NHL free agents who avoid Edmonton.
LEAFS SIGN AHL TRIO
Toronto native Mike Zigomanis, who left the Marlies to play with Djurgardens of Sweden last season, has re-signed with the Leafs.
Zigomanis, a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup winning team, recorded 13 assists in his first seven games with the Marlies last season before heading overseas.
The Leafs also added Chicago Wolves free agent Joey Crabb, who scored 24 goals and 53 points in the AHL last season. Crabb 27, has appeared in 29 career games with the Atlanta Thrashers.
Danny Richmond, a defenceman with the Peoria Rivermen and Rockford IceHogs, is also headed to the Marlies after signing a free-agent deal.
HABS INK PROSPECTS
The Montreal Canadiens signed 6-foot-2 Russian winger Alexander Avtsin to a three-year, entry-level contract. Avtsin, 19, played 30 games for Moscow Dynamo (KHL) last season, collecting three goals and nine points.
Montreal also re-upped 5-foot-7 forward David Desharnais, the fifth-leading scorer in the AHL last season, notching 27 goals and 51 assists with Hamilton. Desharnais appeared in six games with the Habs last season, picking up an assist.
Koivu stays Wild
The Minnesota Wild gave centre and team captain Mikko Koivu a seven-year contract extension through the 2017-18 season, the team announced.
Last season, over 80 games he set career highs in goals (22), assists (49) and points (71). He also earned a Bronze Medal with Team Finland at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Over his five seasons in the NHL, all with Minnesota, the 27-year-old has 79 goals and 176 assists in 362 games.
— with Sports Network files