Goalie coach Francois Allaire quits the Maple Leafs, Milan Michalek undergoes surgery, Andrew Ladd glad Evander Kane was re-signed, Kevin Bieksa believes NHL fans behind the players in this lockout, Brian Gionta voices his opinion about the lockout, the Flames organization settles into lockout mode, and Oilers owner Darryl Katz concerned over construction of new downtown arena.
NATIONAL POST: Goalie coach Francois Allaire has quit the Toronto Maple Leafs, expressing frustration over the status of the club, suggesting he didn’t feel like he could do his job there the way he wanted to.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allaire had been under fire for some time over the performance of the Leafs goaltenders. His decision to quit the team, and his comments suggesting the club needs more than a goalie coach, could increase criticism of GM Brian Burke and the Leafs front office.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Milan Michalek underwent abdominal surgery which will sidelined him four-to-six weeks.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Andrew Ladd is happy teammate Evander Kane was re-signed prior to the lockout, though he suggested it was kind of hypocritical of ownership to sign him to the kind of deal the NHL is trying to eliminate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kane were an unrestricted free agent, or slated to become one next summer, I could understand the rationale behind signing him to that contract just hours before the expiration of the CBA. Kane, however, was a restricted free agent, meaning the Jets still retained his rights following the lockout. There was no reason to rush out and sign him to that contract, especially when the owners are claiming they’re paying the players too much and seek to impose term limits upon contracts.
VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa feels there is plenty of support for the players from the fans during this lockout compared to the previous one.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That appears to be the case this time, but that could quickly evaporate if this lockout drags on, especially if it threatens to kill another season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brian Gionta believes another lockout was exactly what the NHL wanted, and has little time for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “(The NHL) is talking about a problem and then you have record contracts going out the door. It’s hard to believe there are problems.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the players disliked Bettman before this lockout, it appears they loathe him now. Won’t change the outcome of this lockout, of course, but Bettman risks thoroughly poisoning his relationship with the players, which could potentially have consequences down the road regarding his personal appearances with the players (Winter Classic, All-Star Game, presentation of the Stanley Cup). What appears to unite fans and players is a mutual dislike of Bettman, which the players could try to exploit, now and after the lockout.
CALGARY HERALD: The Flames organization settles into lockout mode, with pay cuts and reshuffling of staff, and arranging ticket refunds.
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers owner Darryl Katz believes construction of a new downtown arena could be in jeopardy. He also denied he was making last minute demands from the city, including an arena operating subsidy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman was credited for his efforts to bring Katz and the Edmonton city council together and kick-starting the new arena project. Perhaps now would be a good time for the Commissioner to hand over CBA negotiations to Deputy commissioner Bill Daly and focus on smoothing things over with the Oilers arena project.