NHLPA director Donald Fehr attempts to calm NHL fans fearful of a lockout, what to do with Nikolai Khabibulin, the latest on Josh Gorges, Jonathan Toews speaks out about not playing in Winnipeg next season, the upcoming nuptials of Nick Foligno, and the Canucks new winger Mike Duco could have some ‘splainin’ to do with his new teammates over some of his “tweets”.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr attempted to calm nervous NHL fans fearful of another lockout next year.

“If there is a reason to be nervous, they will know soon enough,” Fehr, the NHL Players’ Association executive director, said on Monday. “I wouldn’t be nervous before there is a reason to be.”

Fehr also spoke on his relationship with Bettman and when he believed CBA talks would begin.

“I’m sure it won’t be until the winter, but whether it is mid-winter or early spring, I think it is too soon to say,” Fehr said. “I’ve known Gary for about 30 years. Serious talks in terms of trying to negotiate a contract? No. Serious talks in terms of trying to get to know one another and begin to build a relationship? Yes.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Feel better, kids? Forgive me if Fehr’s comments didn’t give me a warm fuzzy. Now, of course it’s possible there’s nothing to be worried about, and that everything will work out without any work stoppage at all, but considering talks haven’t begun between the two sides, Fehr hasn’t said anything worthwhile which will mollify worried NHL fans.

Now, on to the team news.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently responded to a reader’s e-mail regarding Nikolai Khabibulin’s status with the Oilers.

“NHL rules won’t allow the Oilers to buy out Khabibulin, who has two years left on his contract, because he was older than 35 when he was signed as a free agent. The Oilers could bury his contract in OK City and get it off the NHL salary-cap books, but they wouldn’t do that for two years. They could loan him to a KHL team, I suppose.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Or, they could hope that Khabibulin will come to camp in better shape than he was last year and have a better performance. Yes, they could bury him in the minors or loan him to a KHL team, but unless his performance next season is bloody awful, I suspect they’re stuck with him.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey suggests the Canadiens shouldn’t rush defenseman Josh Gorges back into action next season as he’s coming off major reconstructive knee surgery. He reminds readers Habs blueliner Andrei Markov rushed back from knee surgery last year and wound up re-injured and sidelined for the rest of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Excellent suggestion by Hickey. The Canadiens have plenty of blueline depth, and Markov should be far healthier to start this coming season compared to last. If Gorges still needs a little more time to fully recover, he should be given that time. They should also ease him into the lineup, rather than expect him to start out playing the usual big minutes he did before he was sidelined.


WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports Chicago Blackhawks captain and Manitoba native Jonathan Toews isn’t happy with the fact his club won’t be facing the reborn Jets next season.

“It kind of sucks,” Toews told reporters. “It does suck. Write that down.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews and his teammates will get plenty of opportunities after next season, when the Jets are formally moved into the Western Conference.


OTTAWA CITIZEN: Wayne Scanlan reports on the upcoming nuptials of Senators forward Nick Foligno to his longtime sweetheart Janelle Forest, whose love and support helped Foligno during his mother’s battle with breast cancer.

“In 2009, Foligno and his family were dealing with his mother’s battle against breast cancer. It was an extremely difficult time for Foligno, who had always been extremely close to his mother, Janis, and admits it was Forest’s love and support that helped him through many dark days.

“She was amazing,” said Foligno, as he looked lovingly at Forest. “That’s when I really fell in love with her. She was by my side every day, and that meant so much to me. She was always there.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wish the two all the best for their wedding as well as best wishes for a long, happy life together.


VANCOUVER SUN: Blogger Harrison Mooney of “Pass it to Bulis” recently wrote newly-acquired Canucks winger Mike Duco will have some explaining to do with some of his new teammates over “tweets” he made during the 2011 playoffs, criticizing and mocking the performance of Roberto Luongo and accusing the Sedins of diving.


Nothing new on the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs today.