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NHL Morning Papers

NHL Morning Papers (Saturday Edition): Still no clear #1 in the draft, Looks like the Winter Classic will be a double header with game 2 in Calgary, Gary Bettman to address the Players, Flames and Devils keeping head coaching selection quiet, Going undercover in Phoenix.

2009 NHL Entry Draft:

  • For the first time in the last six or perhaps seven years, the clear identity of who will go No. 1 in the NHL entry draft is not known in the days leading up to the event. 
  • At least one prominent scout was glad to see Sweden’s Victor Hedman in the flesh, working out at the recent NHL scouting combine in Toronto. If for no other reason than a respite in the John Tavares bashing.
  • What better way to ease those nerves than some good-natured ribbing from … John Tavares. No, he’s not talking to himself. This John Tavares is his uncle and professional lacrosse’s most prolific goal scorer.
  • There was a time during the 2007-08 Western Hockey League season when Kelly McCrimmon thought Brayden Schenn would hit the wall.
  • As the NHL entry draft continues to draw closer, the Lightning seem more inclined to retain the No. 2 pick in the draft.
  • As he and his staff get ready for next week’s draft in Montreal, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray has only one first-round pick so far.
  • There is a tremendous amount of excitement over this year’s first round knockoutsIt will be interesting to look back in a couple of years to see if they lived up to the hype.

NHL Teams:

  • The National Hockey League salary cap for the 2009-10 season will be revealed next week, but one thing is already certain – the Canadiens have more money to spend on free agents than any other team.
  • The marquee outside McMahon Stadium this winter is expected to say Calgary v. Toronto, only it won’t be the Stampeders and Argonauts looking to block and tackle one another.  Count the Maple Leafs in if the Calgary Flames get permission to stage an outdoor game at McMahon Stadium on New Year’s Day.
  • The Maple Leafs had better hope Swedish goaltending sensation Jonas Gustavsson didn’t come down with a case of indigestion during his visit to Toronto yesterday.
  • Doug Gilmour and friends likely are moving further to the back of the bus when the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee meets early next week to vote on the class of 2009.
  • If it wanted, the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee could take Leaf of its senses when it meets here next Tuesday.
  • Wild’s new coach was no coddled Minnesota kid, Tom Richards starred for the Eveleth (Minn.) High hockey team.
  • Evgeni “Geno” Malkin has matured from a shy 20-year-old with tons of potential into one of the National Hockey League’s best offensive players. Russia may be his native land, but Pittsburgh is quickly becoming home to the Penguins center.
  • The Colorado Avalanche and forward Cody McLeod have agreed to a three-year deal worth $3.1 million.
  • Ask anyone remotely connected to the Calgary Flames, even on the sly, about the prolonged search for a head coach and they go chalk-white, uncomfortably avoid eye contact and get all “I know notttttthing” Sergeant Schultzy on you.
  • Gary Bettman is about to get a rare audience with the NHL Players’ Association. He better come ready for some tough questions.
  • It’s less than a week from the start of the NHL Entry Draft and, at this point, it appears unlikely that the Devils will have hired a head coach before it gets under way.
  • Red Wings general manager Ken Holland will be the featured speaker at the West Michigan Sports Commission Luncheon on Sept. 23.
  • Veteran Swedish defenseman Kenny Jonsson, a two-time Olympic champion and former NHL player, is retiring from hockey after 19 seasons.
  • Cory Clouston’s welcome to the NHL is only coming now, as he learns the hard way just how much power star players such as Dany Heatley hold in their hands.

Phoenix Situation:

  • We were almost in store for a National Hockey League franchise to pull a ”trifecta.” That would have involved a team playing in its third home city.
  • According to Glenn Healy, the NHLPA’s director of player affairs, there is frustration amongst his members.
  • The NHL has rejected Jim Balsillie’s request for mediation over the purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes and his request to open a September auction for the team to all bidders, including those who wish to move the team.
  • I have about as much interest in Jim Balsillie’s bid for a National Hockey League team as I do in gout, the painful joint inflammation caused by a buildup of uric acid.
  • Hockey-crazed fans showed up in droves to a lunchtime rally in support of bringing an NHL team to Hamilton and a seventh to Canada — and to make their message to league commissioner Gary Bettman loud and clear.  Why was this better than the rally Phoenix held? 
  • The Phoenix Coyotes have re-signed left wing Petr Prucha to a two-year contract.
  • Sometimes, in our search for the truth, a sportswriter needs to go undercover and become someone else to get answers.

Minor Hockey:

  • Former Lincoln Stars coach Steve Johnson is the new coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force.
  • There was some International Hockey League expansion news coming out of league meetings in Las Vegas on Thursday, but not the immediate news some were hoping for.
  • The Ontario Hockey League intends to crack down on misconduct by member teams and is looking for a heavyweight to enforce the rules.
  • The ECHL announced that there were more than 500 call ups to the American Hockey League involving more than 300 players in 2008-09.