More reaction to Wade Belak’s untimely passing…Markov under scrutiny…Lighter Latendresse returns…Stars ownership situation soon to be resolved…Agreement reached on new arena in Quebec City.
NATIONAL POST: reports Wade Belak’s mother admitted her son suffered from depression prior to his death, but believed he was taking control of it.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Greg Wyshynski cited a report from CBC analyst P.J. Stock, who suggested more details to Belak’s death could soon be known, in that his death by strangulation may have been accidental, not suicide.
CALGARY HERALD: Scott Cruickshank reports Flames center Matt Stajan, a former teammate of Belak’s during their days as Maple Leafs, is calling for more respect for his friend’s grieving family and less speculation through the social media over the cause of Belak’s death.
TORONTO SUN: reports Belak’s death had NHL scrappers divided over the role of fighting in hockey, with former enforcer Chris Nilan calling for fighting to be banned, while another, Georges Laraque, accused those like Nilan of being selfish, and defended the role.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Laraque penned an editorial in which he acknowledged the stress faced by hockey enforcers, suggested the formation of a committee of former enforcers to assist those who may be struggling with emotional or physical issues arising from their role, and rejected the idea of eliminating fights, claiming it would eliminate over 75 jobs from the NHL.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan reports new Senators tough guy Zenon Kenopka acknowledged the passings of Belak, Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard should server as a “wake-up” call, as there may be some issues to be addressed., but also said he’s learned to leave his role at the rink, and has been focused on his businesses and preparation for the upcoming season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be offering up my take on this situation in my Sunday Soapbox. It’s clear there’s a division of opinion among former enforcers, while current ones who’ve spoken on the issue obviously don’t want fighting banned from the game. I understand Stajan’s opinion of all the speculation surrounding Belak’s death, but it’s apparent there won’t be any let-up in the coverage anytime soon. Stock’s comments will only further stoke speculation over the nature of Belak’s death. Rather than get into that guessing game, I’m going to wait for all the facts to be released. I will say that, regardless of the nature of his death, it’s not going to bring him back, or offer up much comfort to his grieving family and friends.
CTV MONTREAL: Arpon Basu reports Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov will face considerable scrutiny heading into training camp, with the focus being on the status of his surgically repaired right knee, which required two reconstructions of the anterior cruciate ligament.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markov’s health has given rise to rumors the Canadiens are in the market for a top-four defenseman before he’s even begun skating in training camp. While it’s unlikely the Habs will jump so soon into the market for another blueliner before knowing the full effects of Markov’s recovery upon his game, there’s no question he’ll be closely watched by fans and media alike throughout this season.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo interviewed Wild forward Guillaume Latendresse, who will be reporting to training camp slimmed down and looking forward to the upcoming season after missing most of 2010-11 to injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Latendresse appeared on the verge of breaking out as a power forward in his first season with the Wild until injuries sidelined him for 58 games last season. If he’s back healthier, lighter and ready to pick up where he left off in 2009-10, he could have a significant impact upon Minnesota’s offense this season.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Gerry Fraley reports the Stars will have new ownership by Christmas, as Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi formally submitted a bid on Friday to purchase the franchise, according to two sources close to the situation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars lack of ownership over the past couple of years has made it difficult for GM Joe Nieuwendyk to significantly improve his roster, and in all likelihood, cost the club the opportunity to bid competitively to retain top center Brad Richards. The sooner this situation is finally resolved, the better for the team and its fans.
TORONTO SUN: reports the city of Quebec and media giant Quebecor have signed off on an agreement for the construction of a new arena.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will be a substantial step toward bringing an NHL franchise – via expansion or relocation – back to Quebec City.