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No such thing as an 'off' season in the NHL

Tuesday, 07.05.2011 / 12:45 PM / 2011 Offseason News

By Emily Kaplan - NHL.com Staff Writer

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No such thing as an 'off' season in the NHL
While the next NHL game is still months away, there's plenty of business to be attended to over the summer, including the Devils' search for a coach and the unknown fate of several restricted free agents.
Most of the big-name free agents have been snatched off the market, the NHL Awards show has come and gone and the Entry Draft is over after a successful two days in Minnesota.

Hockey is done for the summer, right? Think again.

The NHL may be in its three-month hiatus between the Stanley Cup Final and training camp, but there's still business that needs attending.

For starters, the New Jersey Devils need to find a new head coach.

The Devils began last season with John MacLean behind the bench, but after a slow start, General Manager Lou Lamoriello fired MacLean and called former New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire out of retirement.

The Devils finished the season strong, but Lemaire won't return for 2011-12 -- he's heading back into retirement.

That leaves a significant void in the organization, one that was left open through the Draft and free agency. Several names have surfaced as potential hires -- including University of Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves, longtime NHL coach Ken Hitchcock and former Atlanta Thrashers coach Craig Ramsey -- yet Lamoriello has yet to name a replacement.

What's something else that needs to be settled soon? Several restricted free agents still need to sign contracts.

A handful of key players -- including All-Stars Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty -- are still in negotiations with their clubs as they try to work out new deals.

However the Lightning and Kings can't be too comfortable, as any team is open to send out offer sheets to Stamkos and Doughty. In fact, anything can happen -- it's certainly an interesting storyline to follow.

 In addition, arbitration hearings will occur in the next few weeks if Devils forward Zach Parise and Predators defenseman Shea Weber can't come to terms with their clubs.

Another piece of NHL housekeeping this summer? The Winnipeg Jets still need a logo.

The franchise, which recently relocated from Atlanta, has a new name, a new arena and a new coach. The only thing the Jets are missing is a design and color for their uniforms.

So while there won't be any action on the ice for a little while, there will be plenty of buzz off it.

Quote of the Day

(The tribute) was great, brought back a lot of memories. I felt I wanted to give them the thank you they deserved. I understand the booing and it was expected. They are great fans.

— Martin St. Louis after playing his first game in Tampa Bay since being traded to the Rangers last season
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