Friday, June 28, 2002

Probert will continue knocking heads: The Blackhawks resigned Bob Probert for another season.

Kasparaitus is a free agent: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Darius Kasparaitis will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, TSN reports.

According to the Canada-based network, Friday's independent arbitration hearing to determine Kasparaitis' status was canceled after the NHL withdrew it's petition. Sources told TSN the NHL didn't think it could win the case.

While with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kasparaitis was awarded a two-year deal worth $2.4 million by an arbitrator last summer. He accepted the contract, which paid him $1.15 million in 2001-02, with the understanding he would be an unrestricted free agent after the first season because he would have 10 years of professional experience and would be earning less than the league average. Kasparaitis' agent, Mark Gandler, told The Associated Press at the time that the NHL's collective bargaining agreement specifies a player awarded a two-year contract through arbitration can void the second year if he becomes eligible for free agency after the first year.

Old and useless defenseman to stay with Detroit: Defenceman Steve Duchesne has exercised his option with the Detroit Red Wings for next season, general manager Ken Holland said Thursday. Duchesne will earn $1 million in the 2002-03 season, which will be his fourth with Detroit. Last week, the Red Wings decided not to exercise their $1.6 million option for next season on Duchesne, who turns 37 on Sunday. Had he declined the option, he would have become an unrestricted free agent Monday.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Whatever happened to...? In the second installment of an ongoing series, LCS Hockey looks at the career of a failed NHL star. Yesterday it was would-be Capitals phenom, Pat Peake. Today, it is Peter Ferraro.

Bidding intense for Tony: The New York Islanders have made Chicago Blackhawks captain Tony Amonte their top free-agent target, according to Wednesday. Indications are Amonte will sign a long-term contract for between $7 million and $8 million per year shortly after the market opens at midnight EST Monday. The Dallas Stars are among the other teams interested.

Jose Theodore to sign with the Red Wings? That is the speculation from the National Post, which thinks that someone is bound to step into the waters of signing offer sheets to restricted free agents this summer, despite the steep costs involved.
Thomas stays put: The Chicago Blackhawks re-signed forward Steve Thomas on Wednesday.

Thomas, 38, signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent on July 18, 2001. He played in only 34 games last season, missing 47 because of a broken left ankle. He scored 11 goals and had 4 assists.

The right wing has played NHL 18 seasons with Chicago, Toronto, New Jersey and the New York Islanders. He has scored more than 40 goals twice and 30 or more three times.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Shields up for grabs: Boston aquired Anaheim goalie Steve Shields in exchange for a third round 2003 draft pick. This will help them when Byron Dafoe bolts into free agency next week...
Capitals have a new coach -- and no one has ever heard of him!!
Bruce Cassidy became the second-youngest coach in the NHL on Tuesday when he was hired by the Washington Capitals to replace the fired Ron Wilson.

The 37-year-old Cassidy, who has coached the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League the last two seasons, is two years older than Paul Maurice, who guided the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Finals this spring.

"I certainly didn’t see it coming this year, but I’m pleased that it did," Cassidy said. "I’m anxious, grateful and nervous."

The Caps become the fourth team this offseason to hire a first-time NHL coach. Anaheim (Mike Babcock), Dallas (Dave Tippett) and the New York Rangers (Bryan Trottier) are the others.

"We're part of the new trend, bringing in young men and giving them their first chance," general manager George McPhee said. "We found out that he is a really good coach."

Thus sayeth the Caps press release. Sorry, George, but you have yet to find out if he is a really good coach. But here's hoping...

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

This day in infamy: 1997 - The NHL officially approves expansion to 30 teams by the year 2000 with the announcement of new clubs in Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota and Nashville.

Monday, June 24, 2002

The Draft: Here are the picks from the first round of Saturday's draft. Not too exciting an event to watch this year -- Peca and Yashin were not traded!

LCS Hockey has the low-down on what transpired.

Draft-day trades:
-- The Rangers got Kristoff Oliwa from the Penguins for "future considerations"
-- The Leafs got Josh Holden from the Vancouver Canucks for Jeff Farkas.
(a stinker of a deal!!!)
-- Minnesota got Cliff Ronning from Los Angeles for a 4th round pick
-- The Capitals got Peter Sykora from the Predators for a 2003 3rd round pick
-- Calgary picked up goalie Jammie Maclennan from Minnesota for a 9th round pick
-- Atlanta got Slava Kozlov and a 2nd round pick from Buffalo for Atlanta's 2nd and 3rd round picks
-- Buffalo got Jochen Hecht from Edmonton for their 31st and 36th picks
-- The Islanders got Mattias Timmander from Columbus for a 4th round pick
-- The Habs got Mariuz Czerkjawski from the Islanders for Aaron Asham and a fifth round pick.
-- The Lightning picked up Brad Lukoiwich from the Stars for a 2nd round pick
What else is going on in the NHL?:

-- The head man of the Chicago Blackhawks says star forward Tony Amonte will not be back with the team next season. "For all intents and purposes he's gone," Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday. "We've been planning on going without him. I don't know if we'll add one player or several to replace him. We will have a better team next year than we had this year -- I know that for sure."

-- Dominik Hasek has officially retired.

-- The evil Peter Worrell of the Florida Panthers was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.

-- Peter Forsberg, who missed the whole season with injuries but led all players in scoring in the playoffs, played the last two games against Detroit with a broken pinkie.

Sunday, June 23, 2002

I Know It Was Held On A Saturday, But. . . Is there any better testament to the absolute irrelevance of the NHL Entry Draft than the fact that a group of ice hockey fans have absolutely nothing to say about it?