Wild owner defends expensive signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, ten biggest NHL off-season surprises, proposal to block Coyotes sale may be faltering,  Jeff Halpern signs with Rangers, and Cristobal Huet hopes for NHL return.


Wild owner defends his signings of Parise and Suter.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold defended himself against accusations of hypocrisy for signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to expensive contracts, only four months after complaining his club was losing money and changes had to be made over how teams spent money. Leipold claimed the signings were done to get his team out of the hole it was in.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a team owner is saying, please save us from ourselves…again. Look, Leipold can spend his money any way he wants, that’s his right as a team owner, and I certainly don’t begrudge them landing Parise and Suter fair and square under the rules of the current CBA.

Regardless, he still came across as a hypocrite for complaining about the current system – one which he and his fellow owners fought for and achieved by shutting down the league for an entire season – only to turn around four months later and drop big money on the two best available players in the UFA market.  While we don’t know what “changes” Leipold wants in the next CBA, they’ll likely have little impact upon how much money teams spend for big name talent.  As for his investment in Parise and Suter, I sincerely hope they can turn the Wild around, though history suggests it could work against them.

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen with the top ten surprises (so far) of the NHL off-season. Bet you can guess what the top one was (see above).

SPORTING NEWS: An effort to force the arena lease agreement between the city of Glendale and the Jamison Group (necessary to facilitate the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes) into a referendum vote in November appears to be faltering. If so, the sale of the club would proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the sale goes through to the Jamison group, it would also have significant impact upon the plans of Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who is currently fielding offers from rival teams, but would prefer to remain with the Coyotes if they’re to remain in Glendale.

WASHINGTON TIMES: The New York Rangers have signed former Capitals center Jeff Halpern to a one-year deal reportedly worth $700K.

IN GOAL MAGAZINE: Former Blackhawks goaltender Cristobal Huet has spent the past two seasons in Europe, but now that he’s an unrestricted free agent, he’s hoping for a return to the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps he’d be an affordable, short-term option for clubs seeking depth in goal.