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NHL Morning Papers

NHL Morning Papers (Saturday Edition): Penguins raise Stanley Cup Banner, Semenov’s wife nixes deal with Rangers, Sharks coach makes changes to top line, Why didn’t Balsillie “play nice in the sand box”?

All 30 teams are playing today which means there is a lot of news. Penguins raised their 3rd Stanley Cup Banner. NHL team owners are quite happy with Commissioner Bettman. One would think that Rangers 7th defenceman Alexi Semenov would have discussed his possibly joining the team with his wife…at least one would think. Stanley Cup foreshadowing in Philadelphia? Flames pull a Jekyll and Hyde routine. Coach McLellan changes his 1st line. These stories and many, many more after the jump.

A tremendous number of stories today as the NHL truly gets underway with all 30 teams playing from noon est until approximately 1:30 am.

General NHL:

  • Who would have thought that the NHL would be fending off a Canadian billionaire as a potential owner but that is the reality and Paul Waldie of the Globe and Mail details how it all went wrong.
  • It appears that the NHL is finding success financially, despite itself sometimes, but when will it start to make the tough decisions about the problem franchises?
  • While he might be seen as something of a pariah by fans, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly are seen as hero’s by the team owners right now.
  • Deputy Daly sent a not so thinly veiled threat to the City of Hamilton that if it expects to secure an NHL franchise it had best start playing “nice” with the league.

Eastern Conference:

  • For the third time in franchise history, the Pittsburgh Penguins raised a championship banner at the Mellon Arena and then treated their fans to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Rangers.  
  • While many pundits have already called an end to the Thrashers season, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution offers up some things to look for in the 2009/10 season.
  • Aaron Ward is back in Boston as a member of the Hurricanes although he may still have been a Bruin, if not for the salary cap.
  • While it might be just one game of many, the Buffalo Sabres players are excited to finally be playing some meaningful hockey again.
  • When you don’t have many contracts left in your career, sometimes you have to choose the money over the team and that is exactly what former Sabres defenceman Jaroslav Spacek chose to do.
  • While the game of hockey is a 60 minute game (sometimes 65 with OT) it can be won or lost in the blink of an eye and that is exactly what happened in 22 seconds to the Carolina Hurricanes last night.
  • Montreal fansenjoy endless fun following the misfortunes of former Habs as they struggle on new teams.
  • Despite Jacques Lemaire not revealing his lineup for tonight’s game, Cory Murphy is excited at the prospect of playing for the Devils.  If you are a Devils fan and want to win a free pair of tickets to a game then you need to show off your Devils passion. (just don’t get too excited…)
    David Putty
  • While all eyes will be on the ice, as Islanders 1st overall pick John Tavares battles Sidney Crosby, off the ice the Lighthouse Project deadline of October 3rd (as set by owner Charles Wang) was put on hold to discuss amending the proposal.
  • While Alexei Semenov thought he was a Ranger, his agent thought he was a Ranger, GM Glen Sather thought he was a Ranger and Coach John Tortorella thought he was a Ranger, perhaps they needed to consult with Semenov’s wife who nixed the deal.
  • The Ottawa Senators, losers for so many years, transformed themselves into a powerhouse, only to revert back to their former status; but now they have a new look and no more time for excuses.
  • The Flyers have a new motto (Relentless) and they showed a pretty good example last night against the Hurricanes and perhaps Emery’s shoutout has some Stanley Cup foreshadowing.
  • The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins looked great to start the season and a lot of that had to do with the play of their big three.   
  • Sidney Crosby is aware of the pressure on young John Tavares as the Penguins take the show on the road to the Island and he still remembers what it meant to play in his first game.
  • While the Championship banner was raised at Mellon Arena for the last time, Commissioner Gary Bettman eagerly anticipates the Pens ‘spectacular’ new building.
  • While most of the prognosticators have written off the Tampa Bay Lightning there are still many reasons to have faith in the Bolts as the season begins and Damian Cristodero has 10 reasons for that hope.
  • Leafs Coach Ron Wilson didn’t hold back as he assessed the areas that Toronto failed in during their first game of the season.  Unfortunately Leafs nation will have to get its news of the gems dropped by Wilson and Burke from other sources as for the first time in seventeen years the Fan 590 is reducing Leafs coverage.
  • Caps coach Bruce Boudreau took an interesting approach, telling a radio station that he expects to see “the Monster” in net, which is news to Leafs netminder Toskala who expects to start tonight. 
  • While scoring two goals in the Caps season opener was a positive Brooks Laich hasn’t suddenly developed, instead he has grown the past three seasons with Washington. 

Western Conference:

  • While he might be flying under the radar compared to Crosby, Malkin and Ovechkin, Anaheim Duck Ryan Getzlaf is flying pretty high on the ice and more people are taking notice.
  • Flames coach Darryl Sutter was happy with the win but could have done without the Jekyll and Hyde personahis team showed against the Canucks.
  • Despite being hobbled from his ankle surgery, Flames forward Rene Bourque showed that scoring flare Calgary is going to need from him often this season.  On the other end of the scale, Flames scrapper Brandon Prust also showed off his scoring touch, although he is known more for his pugilism than his soft hands.
  • The Hawks were picked by many to be amongst the West’s elite this season but came up lacking in Helsinki on Friday and a lot of those expectations are being placed on goaltender Cristobal Huet.  As Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald writes this was a home opener the Hawks should have won.
  • The Avalanche got a good look at a couple of their rookies in their win over the Sharks and both Duchene and O’Reilly just can’t get enough ice time.
  • While the Dallas Stars have reasons to open the season with many negatives, there are still some positives that can be looked at before the pessimism sets in.
  • Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock knew that some of his players just weren’t ready and that showed as Detroit blew a 3-1 lead to the Blues.
  • Chris Osgood isn’t worried that fans will be calling for his head after the Wings surrendered a 3 straight goals to the Blues.   He is a fan favorite whether he is in Detroit or his native Sweden, and fans let him know it as they cheered loudest for Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
  • Looks like Oilers captain Ethan Moreau will be in the lineup tonight and hopes to be pain free by game time.
  • Pat Quinn must really be looking to make a good impression on Oilers fans as he got himself all fancied up for the season opener, including new haircut and pedicure.
  • There is a spirit of collaboration between GM Chuck Fletcher and Coach Todd Richards as they discuss everything, big and small.
  • Groin strains have struck the Predators as they will be without Jordin Tootoo and Joel Ward in their home opener against the Stars.
  • While they won the battle off the ice, the Phoenix Coyotes have someone in Paul Bissonnette who is ready to mix it up for them on the ice.
  • It might not qualify as panic, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan, has already made a change to his top line, swapping out Devin Setoguchi and promoting rooke Benn Ferriero to play with Thornton and Heatley.
  • Even though it was just one game, Blues fans have to be happy with the zip that Paul Kariya showed in last night’s victory over the Red Wings and he credits it to the surgeries he had to his hips.  
  • It wasn’t the season opener that the Canucks envisioned but they are pragmatic and know that it was simply one game in eighty-two.