Sale of the New Jersey Devils expected today, updates on Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Toews and Shawn Thornton, plus the latest on the Stars, Hurricanes and Predators.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK/NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils have called a press conference for 11 AM ET today, where it is expected they will announce the sale of the club to Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who are the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers. The sale price is expected to be well in excess of $320 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quite a difference selling an NHL team in a major Northeastern US market compared to one in the Arizona desert. No one should be surprised how quickly the sale negotiations were or how expensive it is. It’ll be interesting to see what direction the club takes in building and maintaining its roster under the new ownership.
NHL.COM: New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist told a Swedish TV station it was hard for him to picture playing for anyone else than the Rangers. Lundqvist, 31, is on the final season of his contract and is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe Rangers management has any intention of losing Lundqvist to free agency. Even if it costs over $9 million per season on a five-to-seven year deal, I think they’ll re-sign him. Some Rangers observers are nervous over the fact the club isn’t trying to re-sign Lundqvist now. They could be waiting until next June to determine how much the salary cap will increase and how much cap space they’ll have to work with, plus they’ll likely want to make a decision on using their remaining compliance buyout to free up more cap space if needed.
THE SCORE: Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews told Sportsnet 590 the Fan he has no problem with increased PED testing in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL has so far avoided the taint of PEDs, but as Toews noted, it would be naive to believe everyone in the league is squeaky clean. If the NHL is confident PED use isn’t widespread within its ranks, increased testing is a sure way to prove it.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports Stars GM Jim Nill said the club will name a team captain for the upcoming season. Heika believes the leading candidate is Jamie Benn.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benn is the face of the Stars franchise and is entering his fifth season with the club. If he’s possesses the necessary leadership skills, he would be the natural choice for team captain.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes will face some key questions this coming season, including the state of their defense, the club’s overall health, and if Jeff Skinner can overcome his recent concussion history to regain his scoring touch.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Nashville Predators are eliminating single-game tickets sales for their three home games against the Chicago Blackhawks as a means of cutting down on the number of Blackhawks fans turning up at those games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a savvy marketing move, both to stoke a rivalry with the Blackhawks whilst forcing fans to buy multi-game tickets.
CSNNE.COM: Ageing Boston Bruins rugged forward Scott Thornton, 35, intends to play for as long as possible.