Seems some folks are a bit miffed Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza and Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn weren’t invited to Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp next month.


Could Jason Spezza still get the call for Team Canada?

Could Jason Spezza still get the call for Team Canada?

 Do you really believe Spezza and Benn won’t get selected to Canada’s Olympic team if they get off to sizzling starts next season?

The orientation camp gives management and coaches an early opportunity to assess the players chemistry as potential teammates as well as their skills. Most of those invited to camp aren’t locks to make the Olympic team.

Of those invited to Team Canada’s orientation camp, I consider Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban, Shea Weber, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Eric Staal, John Tavares and Claude Giroux as “shoo-ins”. Your opinion may vary.

If Spezza and/or Benn are among the NHL scoring leaders by late-November, don’t be surprised if one or both end up on Team Canada.


I know Alex Hemsky is a talented playmaker, but why would an NHL general manager trade for him right now?

Hemksy’s one year away from UFA status, will earn $5 million this season, and has a lengthy injury history. Good luck selling a GM on parting with an asset or two to land him this summer. The only way I see it happening is if the Oilers pick up half his salary.

Most GMs probably won’t have serious interest in Hemsky until the mid-point of next season, and only if he’s healthy and putting up decent numbers.


Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment president Tim Leiweke stirred up howls of protest by saying he’ll consider taking down pictures commemorating previous Maple Leafs championships at the Air Canada Center.

Leiweke claimed he meant no disrespect to Leafs alumni, but wanted to put the focus on the current roster.

He also sang the praises of the club’s history. It is 100 years that is unbelievable and, quite frankly with the exception of maybe the Canadiens, unmatched”

The exception of “maybe” the Canadiens, Tim? Really?

Yes, the Leafs have a long, notable history (especially from the 1930s to the mid-60s)  but there’s no “maybe” when it comes to the Canadiens being the exception. No other team in the NHL has a history like the Habs. Indeed, the  mediocrity which has dogged Les Canadiens over the past twenty years explains why their fans have in recent years loudly trumpeted that history.

While I understand Leiweke is trying to improve the Leafs culture, it’s always a good idea to commemorate previous achievements, even those of a rapidly fading past.

Worse, however, was Leiweke publicly talking about planning the Stanley Cup parade route. It makes him  look ridiculous and should the Leafs struggle, such “boldness” only provides fodder for his critics. Win the Cup first, then plan the parade route.


It’s understandable why NHL general managers bombarded former Canucks winger Mason Raymond with contract offers.

Raymond’s a swift-skating winger with decent offensive skills, but inconsistency has plagued him in recent years, while concern lingers over the long-term effect of that back injury he suffered in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

What’s more interesting is no one’s snapped up former Red Wings winger Damien Brunner yet.

Granted, he’s only played the equivalent of a half-season, and his production did decline during its final weeks, though he subsequently posted a respectable nine points in 14 playoff games.

Still, I thought Brunner adapted reasonably well to the NHL last season, prompting my expectation of him getting quickly snapped up when the UFA market opened on July 5.

It’s rumored Brunner’s seeking $3.5 million per season, which would explain why he hasn’t been signed yet. With the salary cap declining, this summer’s a bad one for a player like Brunner to expect a big pay raise

He’ll likely have to accept a one-or two-year deal for less than $3 million per, and the longer this drags on, the less money he’ll get.


So, David Perron was “misunderstood” during his seasons with the St. Louis Blues. Funny how that story rarely emerged during his time with the Blues

Ditto all the stories about Tyler Seguin supposedly party animal lifestyle during his tenure with the Boston Bruins.

For all the  talk of how the media doesn’t protect players as they did in the “good ol’ days”, the respective sagas of Perron and Seguin suggest some in the St. Louis and Boston press willingly turned a blind eye to their supposedly troublesome personalities.

Was it because management asked them nicely not to report it? Were there veiled hints of restricted access to the other players if unflattering stories of Perron and Seguin emerged in the media?

And if the teams actually did hide those stories from the media, why is it all coming out after the players were dealt? Are the general managers trying to justify why the trades were made by deflecting criticism onto the players?

Whatever the reasons, it’ll be interesting to see if those “issues” follow Perron and Seguin to their new teams.