Late yesterday afternoon, Scott Niedermayer informed the public that he has yet to make up his mind about whether he will return to the NHL for the 2007/08 season. Most hockey fans have been tossing in their two cents with regard to whether Niedermayer will return to the Ducks for the upcoming season or not. But before the four-time Stanley Cup winner decides one way or another, I think it is fair to ask whether Niedermayer is being selfish with his long drawn-out decision. For my money, the long-time New Jersey Devil is not holding his team hostage. After the Ducks defeated the Senators in the Cup final and Niedermayer subsequently announced he was taking time away from the game, the Ducks took necessary precaution by going out and signing arguably the most-talented defenseman on the open market (albeit an old talented defenseman) for the next two seasons. There is no doubt in my mind that Niedermayer informed Ducks’ General Manager Brian Burke that he was leaning towards retirement and to prepare the team accordingly. Additionally, if Niedermayer leaves open the possibility of a return, as he did yesterday, some say he is holding the Ducks’ salary cap situation hostage. But if that is the case, then for whom is he doing this? Who are the Ducks going to sign in the next little while that would upgrade their offense/defense even marginally? The answer is no one. The All-Star defenseman is taking this time to make the decision he feels is right for himself, and if anyone in the hockey world has earned the right to a protracted career decision, it is number 27.
On to the morning papers:
- Apparently not having Niedermayer or Selanne at camp isn’t the Ducks only concern, explains Dan Wood of the Orange County Register.
- Perhaps the Sabres have learned from past miscalculations and it now appears they are willing to discuss extensions with soon-to-be unrestricted free agents says Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.
- There will be some healthy competition over who will be the backup to Miikka Kiprusoff. The Flames have few roster spots available but backup goaltender is one of them.
- As Steve Macfarlane documents, Eric Nystrom is champing at the bit waiting for training camp to get under way in Calgary.
- Mike Keenan is back in the NHL and would love nothing more than having some of the Flames’ youngsters make his roster decisions more difficult. Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald has the story.
- The Hurricanes unveiled their “new” jerseys yesterday, and, once again, they look an awful lot similar to the “old” ones.
- The Avalanche signed fan-favorite Ian Lapperriere to a contract extension on Thursday that will take him through the 2008/09 season.
- The Blue Jackets are going to get an up close and personal look at their 2007 first round draft pick Jakub Voracek this training camp and, according to GM Scott Howson, the Jackets plan on letting Voracek compete for a roster spot.
- In some great news for fans, the Red Wings plan on bringing back some $9 seats this season.
- The Detroit Free Press has an interesting interview with Ken Holland, one of the best general managers in the business.
- With rookies already showing up at training camp, Kevin Lowe has let it be known there are roster spots up for grabs, writes the Edmonton Sun’s Robert Tychkowski.
- While the Oilers do have many jobs that players will be fighting for at camp, of more concern to Kevin Lowe is the health of Fernando Pisani.
- Legendary hockey writer Red Fisher explains how Saku Koivu’s comments were incorrectly interpreted in this morning’s Montreal Gazette.
- Fisher’s colleague at the Gazette, Pat Hickey opines that maybe the future is now for the Habs’ Carey Price. For those of you who haven’t seen Price play, the Canadiens have their goalie for the next 15 years once the youngster proves he is NHL ready.
- The New York Post’s Mark Everson details the Rangers’ plans to lift Brian Leetch’s number 2 to the MSG rafters.
- According to John Dellapina of the New York Daily News, Rangers’ Head Coach Tom Renney attempted to coax Leetch back to the Rangers, while he was sitting out last season, to run the Rangers’ powerplay.
- Senators’ top draft pick from this summer’s draft Jim O’Brien won’t be able to partake in the team’s four-day rookie tournament says Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
- Apparently Ray Emery needs to do a better job of controlling his temper on the roads, never mind the ice.
- Without Vesa Toskala around, Evgeni Nabokov (remember when people used to call him John?) is the Sharks’ number on netminder for the upcoming season writes David Pollak of the Mercury Times.
- Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star has the story of Justin Pogge and his maturation and progression while playing his first season in the AHL.
- Star Reporter Kevin McGran explains the tragedy that hit the Steen family 17 years ago and what the family is doing to help at-risk youth both in Toronto and Winnipeg.
- Expectations are high for Canucks’ prospect Mason Raymond, and no one has higher standards than Raymond himself. Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province has the story.
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