Concern grow over a possible NHL lockout, players still preparing in hopes season begins on time, Coyotes have shown signs of staying power, and Quebec’s premier warns a vote for the PQ would hurt efforts to bring the NHL back to Quebec City.
STARTRIBUNE.COM/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks players are preparing for a season which seems unlikely to start on time. Several of the players questioned about playing in Europe if there’s a lockout (Dany Heatley, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Jamal Mayers) said they would consider that option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All NHL players are following that game plan. Prepare as though training camp will begin on time, but consider other options if it doesn’t. A number of them will head to Europe, while those who don’t have to clear waivers will likely report to their respective teams minor league affiliates.
EDMONTON SUN: The headline to Robert Tychkowski’s column says what all NHL fans are thinking: “NHL lockout makes absolutely no sense”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both sides can avoid this if there’s a willingness to compromise. If not, another lockout is inevitable.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Despite their ownership woes, the Phoenix Coyotes have proven over the past three seasons they can overachieve as an “underprivileged team”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A number of factors have contributed to this. They’re well-managed and well-coached, possess superb goaltending, strong on-ice leadership, and a good mix of veterans and youth who’ve fully bought into their defensive system.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Embattled Quebec premier Jean Charest warns a victory for the Parti Quebecois in the upcoming provincial election could jeopardize efforts to bring an NHL franchise back to Quebec City.