The latest inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame are announced, plus updates on the Blackhawks, Devils, Capitals, Hurricanes, Islanders and more.
NHL.COM: Former NHL stars Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano, along with former coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McCreary, were announced yesterday as the latest inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All are worthy inductees. Better late than never for Burns, I guess, but it would’ve been better if he had been inducted before he died four years ago. Still too much politics going on among the HHoF induction committee.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien has a listing of the teams that face the most travel and back-to-back games next season, while Jason Brough cites a report in which league commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL would look more closely at Las Vegas if the league expands.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before some of you Bettman critics out there lose your minds over the possibility of another NHL Sun Belt franchise, venue remains the most important issue for any prospective expansion city. An NHL-suitable arena is lacking in Las Vegas. Sure, Bettman said lack of a building doesn’t necessarily disqualify a city from getting an NHL expansion team, but those with NHL-worthy arenas will have a distinct advantage over those which don’t. Bettman also said the league currently has no plans for expansion. I believe that’s a lot of codswallop, but I don’t foresee any serious expansion plans for another five years. I believe the league wants some more time under the current CBA to gauge their revenue growth and the attraction of other markets.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Former Flyer Scott Hartnell was shocked and upset when asked by GM Ron Hextall several days ago about waiving his no-movement clause, but did so willingly to join the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team he believes is on the rise and determined to become a winner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hartnell-for-RJ Umberger swap remains a headscratcher. Travis Yost addressed it best with his post for The Sporting News.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews said contract talks between he, Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks are ongoing and he expects both will re-sign with the ‘Hawks at the same time, just as they did five years ago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t be surprised if that’s announced on July 1. That’s the earliest date teams can re-sign next summer’s pending UFAs.
NJ.COM: Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is unlikely to use his remaining compliance buyout, which is good news for defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who was rumored to be a buyout candidate.
WASHINGTON POST: Capitals assistant coach Calle Johansson is stepping down to return to Sweden for personal reasons.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Former Oilers assistant coach Steve Smith is joining the Carolina Hurricanes as an assistant coach.
NEWSDAY: Barclays Center is already starting a program to entice NY Islanders season-ticket holders to follow the club when they move to Brooklyn next year.