Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Montreal sends Capitals into Habernation

The most unlikely of outcomes played itself out on Wednesday evening as the Montreal Canadiens, eighth seed in the Eastern conference and barely into the playoffs by the slimmest of margins overcame the powerhouse Washington Capitals to win their opening round series 4 games to three. The first number eight seed to come back from a 3-1 deficit against a number one and take a series.

Another stellar performance from Jaroslav Halak propelled the Canadiens onto their next date with destiny, as the Montreal goaltender faced 41 shots, allowing only one (that counted) behind him to secure the win. Over the last three games Halak has faced over 134 shots and remarkably turned aside all but three. A legendary bit of goaltending for a franchise that has more than a few legends between the pipes over the years.

Yet Wednesday night's victory wasn't all Halak, Candiens dropped to block shots, took and made hits and most of all frustrated the one of the most potent offensive units that the NHL has, only to have Washington's top guns return to their bench shift after shift shaking their heads in wonderment as to what they needed to do to extinguish the Habs hopes.

They will have an entire off season to wonder now, Montreal never seemed to buckle, they were overwhelmed at times, and on more than one occasion it seemed as though destiny was finally going to lift the Capitals onto the next round, yet again and again there was Halak, or anyone else for that matter ready to lay waste to those plans.

For Washington, it was a case of no finish! No finish around the net when the scoring chances arrived and no finish to a season that many suggested was theirs for the taking. It's the latest setback for one of the NHL's marquee franchises and one suspects that Gary Bettman and the upper brass in New York weren't particularly happy with the way that the Capitals seemed to extinguish once again.

Again, as in years past there will be many questions raised about the Capitals and their inability to grasp the greatness that many say is theirs for the taking, when faced with a strong defensive team and a remarkable performance in the nets, they couldn't make their own breaks, the chances missed over the four games lost will come back to haunt over the summer, though one suspects that some changes will also be on the way before training camp in the fall.

For the NHL there will be no magical showdown of Crosby and Ovechkin this year in the East, instead the Pens having just battled through a surprisingly resilient Ottawa Senators will have to steel themselves for yet another team  that clearly isn't ready to be road kill on the way to the Cup. Montreal has little time to enjoy their thrilling victories of the last week, work begins anew on Friday when the offensively dominant Penguins will see first hand what the Caps just lived through.

In a post season with more than a few surprises, the NHL may want to keep the ladder handy, just in case they have to change the marquee...  

Montreal Gazette-- Habs oust Caps, meet Penguins next
Montreal Gazette-- Only one statistic matters: Habs win four to clinch series
Montreal Gazette-- 'That's playoff hockey,' Martin says
Montreal Gazette-- Huge crowd descends on downtown
Globe and Mail-- Where hockey is religion, delirious Habs disciples celebrate
Toronto Star-- Habs make history by storming back to upset Caps
CBC Sports-- Canadiens upset Capitals in Game 7 stunner
Washington Post-- Caps complete historic collapse
Washington Post-- Top-seeded Washington Capitals knocked out of Stanley Cup playoffs by eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens
Washington Post-- Mike Wise on the Washington Capitals' stunning loss to the Montreal Canadiens
Washington Post-- Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals come up short Too much Halak and a power-play outage sent the Capitals packing

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Every dog has his day... but not today!

The Detroit Red Wings finally solved the Ilya Bryzgalov riddle, shelling this year's  number one candidate for the Vezina trophy with four goals in a second period turn to reality for the Phoenix Coyotes. A twenty minute blitz of shots, hits and goals that brought to an end the Cinderella Coyotes season and perhaps saved Gary Bettman from a lot of splaining to do!

The Red Wings appeared more like the Stanley Cup champions they once were as they directed 50 shots at Bryzgalov, rattling the entire Coyote roster with their sudden crushing dominance of the pivotal game seven match up.

It might have been a 6-0 final If not for a mental lapse on the part of the Red Wings Jimmy Howard, who let in a poor goal off of a faceoff that almost gave the Coyotes hope, yet the Wings veteran team that they are simply increased the tempo and took back control of the game, the crushing blow coming with a solid penalty kill that was rewarded with Brad Stuart's goal as he climbed out of the penalty box, the goal just seconds before the end of the second period seemed to send the message that the series was done and the Phoenix  fans could possibly give some thought to what their team will do in the off season, or maybe not judging on past precedent.

Outside of the Red Wings front office and the fans back home, perhaps the most relieved person of the night was the NHL Commissioner, he certainly must have been getting nervous watching a team that the other 29 team owners was subsidizing continue on its quest for Lord Stanley's Cup, while it was all good fun that they were the success story of the season, winning the Cup with money from the House of Bettman, funded by the collective perhaps might not have been quite so humorous to the fellow share holders.

As things end up the Coyotes wrap up their season feeling pretty good about themselves, their management team wins accolades for persevering under extremely difficult circumstances and their coach and goal tender may very well find themselves up on the stage in Las Vegas in June collecting awards for their years work.

For the fans the challenge now is to translate this sudden infatuation with the sport into concrete devotion, for the most part of the season Coyote games were known for two things the large number of empty spaces inside the rink and the number of out of towners who arrived knowing that if ever there was a chance for a cheap seat close to the action Phoenix was the place.

Should the NHL be correct about all of its talking points in the last year, this is we imagine the beginning of the Coyote renaissance era, providing negotiations with potential new owner Jerry Reinsdorf come to fruition, he would apparently be ready to lead them to the next phase of their development.

Then again, if attendance and interest returns to the levels of the regular season, one wonders how long a man well versed in his financials as Reinsdorf will give for hockey to truly take hold in the desert.

If somehow, as not beyond the realm of possibility, the Reinsdorf deal falters, one wonders if perhaps Tuesday night was the last night for hockey in Glendale.

There was lots to be fascinated about the Coyotes this year, their season was a fairly remarkable achievement, their playoff run one to talk about for more than a few years we imagine, but considering the nature of their franchise at the moment, the best thing (not for the truly devoted Coyote fans) but perhaps for the NHL, was that the Red Wings finally found their scoring touch when it mattered most.

Globe and Mail-- Wings spoil Coyotes party 
National Post-- Datsyuk, Detroit end Coyotes' season with 6-1 rout 
Detroit Free Press-- Powerhouse Red Wings prevail over workhorse Coyotes 
Detroit News--  Red Wings 6, Coyotes 1: Wings storm to victory in desert
Arizona Republic--  Phoenix Coyotes' storied season ends with tough loss Key three minutes power Wings past Coyotes and into West semis

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Will the Canucks find their scoring after a stay in El Segundo

What the Vancouver Canucks need in this first round playoff series is to finally get into a rhythm, perhaps like a Tribe called West, this Tribe called Canucks can find some direction from their stop over in El Segundo.

Vancouver's plans for a long run into the Stanley Cup playoffs will depend on their ability to recapture some of the initiative in their series with the Kings, as the Canucks set up shop at the Kings El Segundo practice facility for a day of  optional practice, head coach Alain Vigneault was more than clear on what needs to happen come game time on Wednesday.

The Canuck's coach simply put it that the team's best players needed to rise to this occasion, something that hasn't always been the focus of their attention it seems during the course of the first three games of this series.

Monday night provided the latest stumbling block for Vigneault's squad, as the team featured little jump and even less execution for the bulk of the sixty minutes of game three, only coming to life it seemed in the third when the Sedins finally began to bounce back into their more traditional role of offensive generators, cycling the puck and finally having opportunity to fire off some shots.

Their production seem to gain momentum from the disallowed goal that still has hockey fans discussing the optics of the deflected as opposed to the kicked puck, but in reality, the goal whether good or not, in the end didn't really seem to matter much, such was the control that the Kings seemed to take of the game, chasing Roberto Luongo from the competition early and smothering the Canucks offensive plans.

Once again the Kings seemed to have more jump, their ability to line match shutting down the Canucks offensive play, while costly penalties again proved to be a problem area for Vancouver, providing the Kings with power play time and frequent opportunity to add on to their lead at the expense of a woeful penalty kill.

The Kings despite having a rather young defensive corps have been more solid in their end of the ice than can be said for the Canucks, Vancouver's blue line pairings frequently finding themselves beat to the puck or twisted out of position.

Beyond the lack of scoring and the scattered defensive play, Luongo has made some uncharacteristically bad errors, losing focus on the play at times and struggling at times it seems to get back into position after some of the frenzied action in the Vancouver end.

It no doubt is frustrating for the team's captain to have had such a rough time of things in his last few stops in LA, but if the Cancuks have any hopes of extending their playoff season past one round, Luongo will have to turn in a Gold Medal performance for his club team on Wednesday night.

Heading back to Vancouver down by three games would certainly make for a tense atmosphere at GM Place and as been the case thus far, the Kings it seems are better able to handle the pressure of late.

If they should win on Wednesday and head back to Vancouver up 3 games to 1 in the series, the odds it would seem would suggest that winning one of the following three  games, wouldn't be too hard a task for them to accomplish, bringing the Canucks to a very sudden and for many unexpected early stop!

Vancouver Sun-- Canucks coach Alain Vigneault's challenge: 'The will to win makes a big difference'
Vancouver Sun-- Nothing Special about Canucks: Penalty killing awful
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks’ Roberto Luongo still loose despite struggles against Kings
Vancouver Province-- For Vancouver Canucks to beat L.A. Kings, everyone needs to be better
Vancouver Province-- All four wheels have come off -- Canucks look overmatched
Globe and Mail-- Vigneault names names
Globe and Mail-- Power plays sink Canucks
LA Times-- Kings are thinking they can do this
LA Times-- Kings have done good job of defending Canucks’ Henrik and Daniel Sedin
LA Daily News-- Kings are back in black with Game 3 win over Vancouver

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sidney is the showcase as the Penguins take control

The Penguins captain has taken charge of this first round series with the Ottawa Senators in dramatic style, as Sidney Crosby put yet another stamp on his teams efforts with another outstanding night of hockey.

A high scoring, at times unpredictable game played out at Scotiabank Place on Tuesday night as the Penguins jumped out to an early lead, faced a slight comeback by Ottawa and then quickly crushed the rebellion, setting the stage for series clinching victory on home ice on Thursday.

The Pens for the most part seemed quite in control of the night's events, taking the bulk of the play to the Senators from the opening face off, scoring quick goals in the first and eventually driving Brian Elliot from the game as they flooded the Sens end of the ice.

It was a match that provided for a bit of everything, fast paced end to end action, which on occasion was slowed down by baffling calls by the officials and frustrated retribution by the Sens. The Pens with the game in hand and on the cusp of eliminating the Sens, held little interest in the invitations of physicality that the Sens extended on the night, satisfied to let the final score of 7-4 do their talking for the evening.

Crosby who has been the driving force behind his Penguins for all four games thus far continued to pad his lead atop the Playoff scoring race, his four points of Tuesday bringing the four game total to 11 and for the moment the crowing rights over his arch rival over in Washington.

The Senators took game one, providing a wee bit of a shock to the Stanley Cup champs who have since righted their ship and now seem destined for a smooth sail into the second round. And while Ottawa has shown flashes of a comeback, for the most part the Pens have been able to shut them down when it counts the most, those key moments when a game is ready for that momentum shift seems more and more likely to swing to the defending champs.

The four games thus far have offered a sample of what has made Crosby the pre-emanate player of the current era of the league, the legend of that Olympic medal win now morphing into his ever more comfortable leadership role with the Penguins, which  finds him taking his team one more step towards their goal.

Globe and Mail-- Penguins have Senators on the ropes 
Ottawa Citizen-- Time ticking down on Senators' season after 7-4 loss  
Ottawa Citizen-- Slip, slip, slipping away 
Ottawa Sun-- Sens on brink after 7-4 loss 
Ottawa Sun-- Sens take subtle shots at officiating  
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Penguins take control of series in Ottawa 
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Sens have no answer for Pens' gritty guys  
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Penguins' Crosby produces four more points for 11 in series
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Penguins create space between advancing, elimination 

CBC Sports-- Penguins take 3-1 series lead over Senators 

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Opening round: Series by Series overview

Montreal vs Washington 
Montreal wins series 4 games to 3

Game One-- Montreal 3, Washington 2 (OT)
Game Two-- Washington 6, Montreal 5 (OT)
Game Three-- Washington 5,  Montreal  1
Game Four-- Washington 6, Montreal 3 
Game Five-- Montreal 2 , Washington 1 
Game Six--  Montreal 4, Washington 1
Game Seven-- Montreal 2 at Washington 1  

New Jersey vs Philadelphia
Philadelphia wins series 4 games to 1

Game One-- Philadelphia 2, New Jersey 1
Game Two-- New Jersey 5, Philadelphia 3
Game Three-- Philadelphia 3, New Jeresey 2 (OT)
Game Four--  Philadelphia 4,  New Jersey 1 
Game Five-- Philadelphia 3, New Jersey 0 

Pittsburgh vs Ottawa
Pittsburgh wins series 4 games to 2

Game One-- Ottawa 5, Pittsburgh 4
Game Two-- Pittsburgh 2, Ottawa 1
Game Three-- Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 2
Game Four-- Pittsburgh 7, Ottawa 4 
Game Five-- Ottawa 4, Pittsburgh 3 (3 OT)
Game Six-- Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 3

Buffalo vs Boston
Boston wins series 4 games to 2

Game One-- Buffalo 2, Boston 1
Game Two-- Boston 5, Buffalo 3
Game Three-- Boston 2, Buffalo 1
Game Four-- Boston3, Buffalo (2 OT) 
Game Five-- Buffalo 4, Boston 1 
Game Six-- Boston 4, Buffalo 3

San Jose vs Colorado
San Jose wins series 4 games to 2

Game One-- Colorado 2, San Jose 1
Game Two-- San Jose 6, Colorado 5 (OT)
Game Three-- Colorado 1, San Jose 0 (OT)
Game Four-- San Jose 2, Colorado 1 (OT) 
Game Five-- San Jose 5, Colorado 0   
Game Six-- San Jose 5, Colorado 2  

Chicago vs Nashville
Chicago wins series 4 games to 2 

Game One-- Nashville 4, Chicago 1
Game Two-- Chicago 2, Nashville 0
Game Three-- Nashville 4, Chicago 1 
Game Four-- Chicago 3, Nashville 0 
Game Five-- Chicago 5, Nashville 4
Game Six-- Chicago 5,  Nashville 3 

Los Angeles vs Vancouver
Vancouver wins series 4 games to 2 

Game One-- Vancouver 3, Los Angeles 2 (OT)
Game Two-- Los Angeles 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)
Game Three-- Los Angeles 5, Vancouver 3 
Game Four-- Vancouver 6, Los Angeles 4 (OT)
Game Five-- Vancouver 7, Los Angeles 2
Game Six-- Vancouver 4,  Los Angeles 2 

Detroit vs Phoenix
Detroit wins series 4 games to 3

Game One-- Phoenix 3, Detroit 2
Game Two-- Detroit 7, Phoenix 4
Game Three-- Phoenix 4, Detroit 2
Game Four-- Detroit 3, Phoenix 0 
Game Five-- Detroit 4,  Phoenix 1 
Game Six-- Phoenix  5,  Detroit 2 
Game Seven-- Detroit 6, Phoenix 1

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Surprises rule the night on opening night

The favourites they did tumble on Wednesday night as the NHL's post season derby officially took flight.

Senators 5 - Penguins 4

The first of the evenings surprises took place in Pittsburgh, where the star laden Pens couldn't overcome the Senators control of play when things counted. With the Sens receiving goals from the more bellicose of personalities such as Chris Neil, Cory Clouston's game plan seemed to be the perfect antidote to the Penguins fast forward approach to the game, helping out the Sens cause on the night was the less than solid goaltending of Marc Andre Fleury, who had a few shaky moments something that the Pens must be hoping will be a one night occurrence. After an 82 game season, the Sens grabbed home ice advantage in but sixty minutes and with their success of Wednesday, they may be more than ready to show the home folk that there is a bit of hockey left in the season after all.

Ottawa Citizen-- Senators shock Penguins with 5-4 win
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Penguins fall to Senators, 5-4

Flyers 2 - Devils 1

Youth outplayed experience on Wednesday as the Flyer's riding on the strength of goaltender Brian Boucher took game one from the New Jersey Devils, Boucher turned aside 23 shots to lead his squad to the opening night victory,   a game which saw the Flyers use their underdog status to approach the game in a rather loose fashion heading into the game, but still showing some good discipline on the ice as they methodically stymied the Devils through the night. The Devils finally solved the Boucher riddle late in the third and with a bit of a flurry provided the home side fans with the tempting thought of a comeback and maybe a push to overtime, however Boucher held the fort for the final two minutes securing the Flyers victory.

Newark Star Ledger-- Flyers' penalty killers come up big in Game 1 victory over Devils
Phiadelphia Daily News-- Flyers take first step

Coyotes 3 - Red Wings 2

For most hockey observers the Red Wings despite the lesser record are considered the favourites in the West Division opening round series with Phoenix, the problem however may be that nobody told the Cinderalla Coyotes that it's closing in on midnight. The Coyotes in front of a huge crowd clad in white managed to push back from the eventual Red Wing assault, holding the Wings close and then finding the winning marker to write another chapter in the long strange season that has made for Coyote hockey. The Coyotes took advantage of their power play opportunities as the Red Wings suffered lapses in discipline that eventually snatched the chance to push ahead in the series away from them. With word that the Coyotes financial troubles may soon be a thing of the past, it seems that the fans in the Phoenix area may be treated with the possibility of a bit more hockey this year before they get down to turning around the fortunes for the next.

Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes take 1-0 playoff series lead over Red Wings
Detroit Free Press-- Wings struggle on penalty killing against Coyotes 

Colorado  2 - San Jose 1

The boos began to descend onto the ice in full fury by the second period, the San Jose Sharks the ever popular flame outs of post season play provided yet another warning shot for their fans that disappointment could once again visit the Bay area. The Sharks despite some furious play could not seem to get goals behind The Avs Anderson, with Devon Setoguchi finding frustration at every turn on the ice. For Colorado the final two periods provided a glimpse of the potential horror to come for Sharks fans as the Avs shut down the San Jose attack for the most part, taking away chances and keeping play to the perimeter for the most part. The Sharks managed to tie things up with a Ryan Clowe goal in the third and for a portion of the period it seemed as though overtime was on the horizon. However, as seems the case in playoff hockey and ugly goal with but seconds to go in the third proved to be the fatal shot for the Sharks in game one, as the much battered TJ Galiardi provided enough of a distraction to the Sharks that a shot from the corner deflected off of Rob Blake and into the Sharks net, sending the eighth seed Avs to a game one victory and sending Shark fans off on a quest for their favourite therapists phone number just in case.

Denver Post-- Avs win Game 1 at San Jose 
San Jose Mercury News-- San Jose Sharks lose playoff opener to Colorado Avalanche   

The Road to Stanley 2010

We're one day delayed with our prognostications, but we stick to our guns despite the surprises of Wednesday evening. Below our fearless forecast for the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Eastern Conference

Ottawa vs Pittsburgh (Senators in six)
Philadelphia vs New Jersey (Devils in seven)
Washington vs Montreal (Capitals in five)
Boston vs Buffalo (Sabres in five)

We find that the streaky Sens may be on the upswing again taking the Pens by surprise and bringing an end to the Pens ambitions for this year, the Devils will eventually battle back the Flyers but it will be a tiring and physical series for Jersey, The Caps are in a different area code than the Canadiens and will find little to trouble them out of Montreal and the Sabres will make quick work of the confusing Bruins, leaving Boston to have much to think about in this off season.

Western Conference

Detroit vs Phoenix (Red Wings in six)
Colorado vs San Jose (San Jose in six)
Los Angeles vs Vancouver (Canucks in five)
Nasvhille vs Chicago (Chicago in six)

Phoenix is the feel good story of the year for hockey fans (well those outside of Winnipeg we guess), but every Cinderella must face the midnight hour and the bell is ready to ring for the Coyotes. The Sharks always seem to provide for anxious moments for the home town fans and that will once again prove to be the case in the opening round though we still see them moving on beyond the Avs. The Canucks are starting to feel as though this may be their year and if Roberto Luongo can find his normally reliable form they very well may be going a long way in these playoffs, the first round shouldn't provide too much in the way of trouble. And the Hawks will face a tough challenge in the Preds, but Chicago seems a team on the cusp of a bit of Stanley Cup destiny and the first round won't be the one that sets that plan aside.  

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Flameout Fallout

Things are rather unsettled in Calgary these days, the local population once hopeful of a Stanley Cup run instead can focus on what the Stampeders have planned for this summer, hockey with the exception of the Hitmen and what's available from the NHL on television will be but a memory by the end of this weekend.

The Flames flickered out on Tuesday, offering up little indication that their exile from the playoffs is not a just punishment for a less than successful season.

Indeed, their effort on Tuesday against the Sharks, like much of the season showcased much of what has puzzled Calgarians about their squad this year. A lack of offence and confidence provided for yet another frustrating night for the home side and their fans and now all that is left to do is dissect the season.

An autopsy that will make for a vivid reminder of all that has gone wrong.

For whatever reason the Flames main attraction, the main cog in their machine Jarome Iginla never found a comfort factor this year, no matter who lined up alongside of him the results always seemed the same, more misses than connects and few goals in the for column by the end of the night.

Fortunately for the captain, he can carry forward those fond memories of Vancouver when he and Crosby made a little hockey history, not so for many others with the Flaming C.

As always at the end of a season the fans will want to look back and see where things went off the rails, for Calgary it seems that the momentum on the downslope took root after New Years, but even a shake up by the trading deadline couldn't move the team into a safer spot in the standings.

In fact, as things turned out, taking some of the cast offs of the Leafs and the Rangers didn't really provide much in the way of a turn around, a circumstance that now has the General Manager on the hot seat as thoughts turn to finding a way back to relevance in the NHL's Western Conference.

The trade of Dion Phaneuf will resonate over the summer, the loss of a long time fixture on the Flames blue line contemplated as to what the Flames received in return and what impact the trade may have had on the fate of this season about to end.

Many suggest that the days of Daryl Sutter's stewardship may be about to come to an end, not the portrait many would have envisioned when he brought his brother Brent into the Flames fold as head coach in the off season, a move that after one year hasn't paid many dividends nor provided for much inspiration that things are going to improve any time soon.

The constant remaking of the team has left it a confused collective, unsure of the path ahead and certainly at least as indicated by how they have played this year incapable of making the step forward that many in Calgary had been waiting for.

While it's not a particularly positive situation for Calgary fans at the moment, one thing at least will soothe their tortured souls from this year, at least the Oilers won't be elbowing their way onto their television sets this spring. In an unusual post season occurrence, both Alberta teams will be absent from any play-off requirements.

Now the question is, which city rebounds faster, at the moment that's not a wager anyone should be looking into.

Globe and Mail-- Dumping Sutter won’t solve the Flames’ problems
Calgary Herald-- Flames fans: 'Disappointed yes, surprised, no,' as playoff hopes crash
Calgary Herald-- Flames sink to defeat, officially eliminated from playoff race
Calgary Herald-- Lots of questions that may lead to change
Calgary Herald-- Iginla happy in Calgary despite 'tough' season
Calgary Herald-- Johnson: Sutter's blueprint has failed
Calgary Sun-- In the firing line
Calgary Sun-- Agony of defeat
Calgary Sun-- Iggy deal would spell disaster
Calgary Sun-- Woeful skid killed chances
Calgary Sun-- Reality check
CBC-- Offence is what ails Flames
CBC-- Finding method in Flames' madness

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

For the Great One, maybe it's a case of "once bitten, twice shy"

The long weekend was one of much speculation as to whether or not Wayne Gretzky had signed on with a plan to purchase the Dallas Stars, the latest of financial trouble spots in Gary Bettman's NHL discount bin of franchises.

Word of the rumoured bid came about from Dallas with an article in the Dallas Observer, which had it that Grezkty apparently set to team up with Brett Hull and Mike Modano, as "serious bidders" in the chase for the Stars.

A team that has been shopped around by current owner Tom Hicks, currently in the midst of some financial troubles of his own has been investigating the possibility of selling the Stars a team which is apparently there for the taking and the right amount of zeroes at the end of a number.

The rumour of the Gretzky angle was quickly debunked by a number of sources including Modano who called it a bad fairy tale, though Modano himself is not averse to joining in with local investors in some capacity should he call it a career at the end of this season.

Darren Blake who is Gretzky's agent also poured cold water on the prospect of a Gretzky cash flow coming to Dallas, though Blake advises that Gretzky always is receiving potential offers for investment from many directions.

Gretzky who has been left on the sidelines in the most recent discussions over the fate of the Phoenix Coyotes, is still waiting to be paid out for his past efforts in regard to that troubled franchise currently the ward of the NHL.

It's doubtful that he would have any plans to invest any more of his money in the NHL until Gary Bettman makes things right regarding his past experiences with NHL ownership and management, something we like to refer to as the Once Bitten, twice shy apporach to negotiations.

However the current distance in rather cool relations between the two sides is leaving a rather large gap for the NHL when it comes to making use of one its most treasured assets, that being the reputation of the Great One and his legacy in the game.

At the moment he seems less than inclined to partake in much in the way of public events when it comes to the NHL, not even in the role of a greeter, let alone sink any more of his family funds into Mr. Bettman's casino.

One possible delightfully ironic bit of drama to come could be if the Coyotes are sold to Winnipeg interests and return to whence they came from, some of that potential purchase price out of Winnipeg could end up being used to   provide Gretzky with that which he believes he is still entitled to.

Making for a situation where the city which he once tormented as a player, will in the end prove to provide him with his financial reward in his post playing days era, you just can't write a script better than that!

But that scenario seems less likely with each passing day as the seemingly never ending process of sorting out the Coyotes lumbers on in Arizona, all while Gretzky patiently waits to see if he's to be done right by.

Until then, we suspect he's keeping his wallet pretty close at hand and far away from those of his once fellow owners of the NHL.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Headlines of April 2010

Tracking the stories behind the headlines of April.

April 30-- Pens clobber Habs in Game 1
April 29-- Sharks draw first blood; early flurry sinks Red Wings
April 28-- Where hockey is religion, delirious Habs disciples celebrate
April 27-- Wings spoil Coyotes party
April 26-- Halak helps Habs force Game 7
April 25-- Canucks finish off Kings in L.A.
April 24-- Penguins end Senators' season with 4-3 win in overtime
April 23-- Halak bars the door; Habs stay alive
April 22-- Senators show signs of life after overtime marathon
April 21-- Canucks rally round to tie series
April 20-- Penguins have Senators on the ropes
April 19-- Caps step on the gas
April 18-- Avalanche goalie Anderson truly was awesome
April 17-- Canucks squander strong Game 2 start
April 16-- Ode to the Igloo
April 15-- Habs topple Caps in OT
April 14-- Reinsdorf gets approval from Glendale city council
April 13-- Edmonton Oilers to pick first in NHL draft
April 12-- How to be a pool shark
April 11-- NHL Playoffs ready to begin
April 10-- Sedins key Canucks’ rout of Flames
April 9-- Buds, Burke lowest of the low
April 8-- Crosby scores 50th goal, 500th point
April 7-- Dumping Sutter won’t solve the Flames’ problems
April 6-- Flames' hopes fizzle in loss to Sharks
April 5-- Sources: Gretzky not close to buying Stars
April 4-- Fleury ‘extremely disappointed’ by report convicted coach pardoned
April 3-- Chara clocks nearly half game of work after Seidenberg goes down
April 2-- Flames pull even with Avalanche in dramatic win
April 1-- Are Wilson's barbs getting to his players?