Updates on Patrice Bergeron, Bryan Bickell, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick DiPietro, the Devils re-sign Dianius Zubrus, player agent Don Baizley dies, and more.
BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was in a Boston hospital for observation following Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final suffering from a small puncture in one of his lungs. Bergeron had suffered a broken rib and torn cartilage in Game Five, and separated his shoulder in Game Six. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli suspects Bergeron’s lung injury also occurred during Game Six, as the center wouldn’t have been able to play had he suffered the injury prior to that game.
The Globe also reports winger Nathan Horton will undergo shoulder surgery, team captain Zdeno Chara played through a hip flexor injury, and pending UFAs Andrew Ference and Jaromir Jagr won’t be re-signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron playing through a punctured lung will go down in Bruins lore along with Gregory Campbell finishing a shift on a broken leg. While I certainly admire Bergeron’s toughness, intensity and commitment to his teammates and the pursuit of the Stanley Cup, I also question putting his already battered body at risk for further, potentially more serious injury. I’m not singling him out for criticism, as many NHL players over the decades have done this. I fear, however, one day a player will go too far and suffer a career-ending injury – or worse – playing with an obviously debilitating injury.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita are the greatest Blackhawks of all time, but Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (with two Cup rings and a Conn Smythe trophy each) are well on their way to joining them.
ESPN CHICAGO: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman remains hopeful of re-signing pending UFA winger Bryan Bickell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have a little over $2 million in available cap space, which they’ll likely increase by buying out Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz, but it could take Bickell accepting less than market value (under $3 million) to re-sign him and leave sufficient cap space to re-sign or replace their other free agents.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The NHL is denying a NY Post report claiming a theoretical three-part trade of Vincent Lecavalier from the Lightning to the Toronto Maple Leafs was the impetus for the league closing a loophole in the new CBA. Under the scenario, the Lightning would’ve traded Lecavalier and a prospect to the Maple Leafs, who would’ve bought him out, thus allowing his return to the Lightning as an unrestricted free agent. Meanwhile, the Lightning yesterday re-signed defenseman Keith Aulie to a one-year, one-way contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the reason, the league moved swiftly to close that loophole before an intrepid general manager sought to exploit it, displaying a forethought previously lacking by the league in the early months of the last CBA.
STLTODAY.COM: Bernie Miklasz calls for a change in the culture of the Blues, believing the players have an undeserved sense of entitlement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the past several seasons the Blues have been considered among the most promising teams in the league, but have yet to fulfill that promise. As a result, some pundits and fans are growing impatient. This coming season will either stoke that impatience or silence the team’s critics.
BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports highly touted prospects Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse are adding to the growing diversity among minorities in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL remains a white-dominated sport, but hockey has been making inroads among minorities in North America, which will only improve the league over the long run.
NEWSDAY: The NY Islanders have yet to reach a decision on Rick DiPietro, who is considered a candidate for a compliance buyout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles would prefer to move his salary to another team but that’s just not going to happen. It makes no sense to keep his salary on their books when he obviously no longer fits into their plans.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils have agreed to terms with veteran forward Dainius Zubrus to a three-year contract worth approximately $3 million, per season, though it could take several days to finalize the deal. Contract negotiations with David Clarkson are expected to continue through the draft weekend. The Devils have yet to make a contract offer.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes will allow pending UFAs Chad LaRose, Tim Brent, Joe Corvo, Bobby Sanguinetti, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Dan Ellis to test the UFA market.
Sources out of Europe are reporting today NHL player agent Don Baizley has died as a result of non-smoker’s lung cancer. Baizley’s clients include, or have included, Teemu Selanne, Joe Sakic, Paul Kariya, Peter Forsberg , Saku Koivu, Theo Fleury and Anders Hedberg. Condolences to his family, friends and clients.