Updates on the possible sale of the Florida Panthers, plus the latest on Chris Pronger, Cal Clutterbuck, Hal Gill, Paul Bissonnette, Raffi Torres, John Hedberg and more.
MIAMI HERALD: Vincent “Vinny” Viola, a prominent New York businessman and minority owner of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, is leading a group intent on purchasing the struggling Florida Panthers from current owner Chris Viner. The sale price is listed as $230 million, with Viola buying out several of the team’s minority owners. The club will not be relocated.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers fans are hoping the new ownership will invest more in the club’s payroll than the current ownership.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli remains committed to backing his money-losing team and its state-of-the-art arena. Currently there are no plans to bring in an NBA franchise as a tenant but Samueli claims if the opportunity arises he’ll be ready for it. He also said he and his wife remain committed to the Duck for the long term.
ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside with a fascinating article on Chris Pronger’s life with post-concussion symptoms and his adjustment from player to pro scout for the Philadelphia Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pronger’s playing days are over but he can’t officially retire because he fell under the “over-35″ rule when he signed his current contract with the Flyers. If he retires, they would still be tagged with his cap hit. As a result, they’ll again place him on long-term injury reserve for this season, allowing the club to spend over the cap by the equivalent of his $4.921 million cap hit if required. That means Pronger, while now a scout for the Flyers, also remains a member of the NHLPA.
NEWSDAY: NY Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck recently suffered a skate laceration to his leg during the club’s first preseason game and “will miss some extended time”. The Islanders acquired Clutterbuck during the off-season from the Minnesota Wild.
PHILLY.COM: Veteran defenseman Hal Gill could stick around with the Flyers a little longer. Gill is currently on a PTO contract with the club.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes enforcer Paul Bissonnette intends to appeal his recent ten-game suspension. Bissonnette reportedly left the bench in an illegal line change during an altercation in Sunday’s Coyotes-LA Kings game.
MERCURYNEWS.COM: San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres acknowledges he must continue to change his aggressive (some would say reckless) style of play. Torres has a long history of suspensions, including a series-ending one in last spring’s playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another suspension could spell the end of Torres’ NHL playing days. He could learn from Matt Cooke, another agitating player with a lengthy suspension history and reputation for dirty play who, over the past two seasons, has significantly cleaned up his act.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The NY Rangers have released Johan Hedberg from his PTO contract. Hedberg asked to be released from his contract after coach Alain Vigneault couldn’t confirm if he’d get to play one-half of the club’s final exhibition game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for my theory of the Rangers trading Martin Biron if Hedberg made the team, then putting the savings toward re-signing Derek Stepan.
ESPN.COM: Devon Heinen on San Jose Sharks goalie Alex Stalock overcoming a potentially career-ending knee injury to earn another shot at the NHL.
SI.COM: The ten unlikeliest hockey references in pop culture history.