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NHL Morning Papers

NHL Morning Papers (Friday Edition): Blues are close to Tkachuk deal, Florida Panthers: GM will not be hired in time for entry draft, Operation Monster begins in earnest in Toronto, Not every NHL player attending Thursday’s annual awards ceremony necessarily agreed with commissioner Gary Bettman’s position on the Phoenix Coyotes

Post NHL Awards Show:

  • Alexander Ovechkin began the night walking down the red carpet with showgirls, made a crack about fellow Russian and Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk while accepting one award, and ended the night by winning his second Hart Trophy at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas on Thursday.
  • Penguins star Evgeni Malkin was a runner-up at Thursday’s NHL Awards ceremony, but he’ll take it after finishing first where it really counts — on the ice.
  • Predators forward Steve Sullivan saw his long struggle to return to the ice recognized Thursday as he became the 1st Predator to win end of the season hardware.
  • The Bruins failed to top off their season with a Stanley Cup, but here on a hot afternoon in the desert, with the Garden ice long melted down a Causeway Street drain, goalie Tim Thomas, defenseman Zdeno Chara, and coach Claude Julien copped three of the game’s most prestigious awards in an end-of-the-year hardware hat trick.
  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presented Jean Béliveau with the 2009 NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in Las Vegas on Thursday.
  • Is Vegas viable as a hockey market?  Upon arriving in Las Vegas, a few conversations with people on the street revealed hockey isn’t exactly on everyone’s radar.

NHL Teams:

  • The Blues want Keith Tkachuk back, Tkachuk wants to be back with the Blues and both sides may get their wish soon.
  • He is a Red Wing to his core and always will be identified with the Original Six NHL team, but Mr. Hockey says it’s time to give the Kid a break.
  • Penguins coach Dan Bylsma almost had a story for the ages Thursday, his cell phone, low on battery charge, rang and a voice said, “Hold for the President…”
  • The Maple Leafs will host free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson today, but the organization has refused to release any details of the Swede’s visit to Toronto.
  • Hey Brian Burke, the Sedin twins, Flossie and Freddie … er, Daniel and Henrik, are looking for identical 12-year, $63-million contracts, according to a Swedish report.
  • The NHL is hoping to double down on the success of its Winter Classic by planning a second outdoor game for Jan. 1, 2010, according to multiple league sources.  Calgary to host Winter Classic in 2010?
  • Blackhawks assistant general manager Rick Dudley has resigned after three years in that position.  Dudley has resigned in Chicago and is now going to be named associate GM in Atlanta.
  • A golf-resort developer put nearly two dozen NHL stars on ice — taking millions they invested with him and blowing it on parties packed with porn stars and hookers according to two explosive lawsuits filed today.
  • Bill Torrey said Thursday that his search for the next general manager of the Panthers is progressing, although a new GM won’t be in place by next week’s entry draft and probably won’t be hired until after the free agency period opens July 1.
  • Neil Donnelly, the vice-president of marketing and events at Evraz Place in Regina, confirmed Thursday that planning is underway to have an NHL pre-season game at the Brandt Centre on Sept. 21.

Phoenix Situation:

  • Jim Balsillie has conceded ground in his battle with the NHL over the future of the Phoenix Coyotes and agreed to participate in an NHL-arranged auction for the club in September.
  • Not every NHL player attending Thursday’s annual awards ceremony necessarily agreed with commissioner Gary Bettman’s position on the Phoenix Coyotes.
  • The Phoenix Coyotes have asked a bankruptcy judge to set a Sept. 15 deadline for the sale of the financially troubled hockey team.

Minor Hockey:

  • As expected, Rob Daum will continue on as head coach of the Springfield Falcons next season, carrying on the job he started last year when he took over from Jeff Truitt.
  • Andrew Gordon (Hershey Bears) drove back home to Nova Scotia this week with his longest hockey season behind him and the shortest vacation possible coming up.
  • Marking a second changing of the guard in less than a week, the Rapid City Rush named Luke Fritshaw their captain for the 2009-2010 Central Hockey League season.
  • The Iowa Chops are for sale because the American Hockey League team’s owners have lost nearly $4 million operating the club, a franchise official said Wednesday.