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NHL Insider

Flyers continue talks with Bryzgalov

Monday, 06.20.2011 / 2:25 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The Philadelphia Flyers have 10 days to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov or risk losing him on the opening day of NHL free agency July 1.

The Flyers acquired the negotiating rights to the 30-year-old Bryzgalov on June 7. Since then, he's been saying all the right things -- including how great it would be to bring a championship to Philadelphia. It certainly would behoove Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren if a deal were in place before the opening round of the 2011 Entry Draft on Friday. Or would it?

"We'd obviously like to get (a deal) resolved at some point, but I'm not sure it matters whether it's prior to the draft," Holmgren told the media via a conference call Monday. "There's still enough time after the Draft (four days) to get a deal done. The important thing is there's been progress made where we could get something worked out and I don't see why that won't continue. I don't have a crystal ball, so I can't really get into a definitive answer, but there's been enough progress that kind of gives me hope that we'd be able to make a deal at some time, but we'll see."

According to, Bryzgalov's agent, Ritch Winter, might be seeking a five-year deal with a salary exceeding $5 million per season. The Flyers probably would prefer something in the seven-year range. According to Holmgren, the length of the contract and the dollars involved still are in the negotiating stage

MacLean vows to bring direction, leadership to Sens

Tuesday, 06.14.2011 / 12:38 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

"I'm going to try and bring some direction and leadership and empower them to make them better. There's a great core of players and a crop of younger players, so we'll find the good players." -- Paul MacLean

Paul MacLean believes the Ottawa Senators are in need of direction and leadership, and he's convinced he's the right man for the job.

Backing that claim is Senators General Manager Bryan Murray, who Tuesday named MacLean the team's fifth head coach in four seasons during a news conference at Scotiabank Place.

"I think every player in the League wants to succeed … they don't want to be bad, they don't want to miss playoffs -- they want to be successful," MacLean said. "I'm going to try and bring some direction and leadership and empower them to make them better. There's a great core of players and a crop of younger players, so we'll find the good players."

Fans to vote on Skinner's outfit for Awards

Tuesday, 06.07.2011 / 12:27 PM / NHL Insider

Emily Kaplan - Staff Writer

For everything Jeff Skinner has gone through this past calendar year, this might have been the most unique experience of them all.

Skinner, who was selected by Carolina in the first round of the Entry Draft last June, received All-Star distinctions in January and finished his whirlwind rookie campaign with a remarkable 31 goals and 63 points -- spent a morning last month at the John Varvatos store in Soho.

While there, the Hurricanes' baby-faced rookie and finalist for the 2011 Calder Trophy tried on three different suits. His looks were photographed, and will appear on -- where readers will be able to vote for their favorite, choosing which one Skinner sports to next month's NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.

"It's definitely been a pretty crazy year for me, a lot of special memories, a lot of new experiences," Skinner told directly after his private fitting. "[Tuesday was] one of the more cool ones I think. It's not what you sort of think of when you think of playing in the NHL. It's definitely unique and it's been really fun."

Waddell 'disappointed' in final outcome

Tuesday, 05.31.2011 / 7:13 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

Atlanta Thrashers president Don Waddell traveled the country looking for potential buyers who would be willing to keep the franchise in Atlanta and met with more than 20 individuals and groups and tried various approaches, he said in a conference call on Tuesday.

In the end, none of them succeeded and the only potential buyer he could find on behalf of his ownership group, which was committed to selling the team to stop publicly documented financial losses, was one that wanted to move it to Winnipeg -- True North Sports and Entertainment.

"We probably had 20-plus people that inquired,"Waddell said. "That doesn't mean they're all qualified. We had a lot of people that were trying to put groups together, seek investors so probably at the end of the day we had 20-plus groups. And probably only a handful of those people had the resources and would qualify to be able to buy a franchise.

"And as we've stated publicly to date, we didn't have one offer that was even worth talking about.”

Smith brings his passion for hockey to the big screen

Friday, 05.27.2011 / 9:52 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

There might not be a person in the entertainment business more in touch with his fan base than filmmaker Kevin Smith. Whether it's through his multiple podcasts, live Q&A tours, daily Internet radio shows or his 1.7 million-plus followers on Twitter, Smith and his loyal supporters have an ongoing dialogue.

It's clearly a two-way street -- as much as fans adore Smith, he listens when those fans speak to him. That's how two scenes from his in-development script for his next -- and he says last -- film, the hockey-themed "Hit Somebody," surfaced online in March, and likely will lead to the public getting a sneak preview of the film long before it hits theaters.

"Hit Somebody" is based on the Warren Zevon song of the same name. The song tells the story of Buddy, an enforcer with no offensive skills who holds fast to the dream of someday scoring just one goal in a game. Award-winning Detroit Free Press columnist and author Mitch Albom wrote the lyrics to the song, which was released in 2002 on Zevon's final album before his death a year later. The song got little radio airplay and seemingly had lived its life before Smith came across it in late 2008. He credits the song for reinvigorating his passion for both writing and hockey.

Sharks look for answers that will yield Final trip

Thursday, 05.26.2011 / 7:13 PM / NHL Insider

Eric Gilmore - Correspondent

SAN JOSE, Calif.  -- If the puck had taken a few different bounces Tuesday night at Vancouver, Sharks captain Joe Thornton would have spent Thursday afternoon preparing to play Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

Instead, Thornton was cleaning out his locker and rehashing another close-but-no-Stanley-Cup season before heading to the hospital for surgery on his broken pinky.

"It's still pretty tough," Thornton said of the Sharks' 3-2 double-overtime loss in Game 5. "You wanted to play tonight, and obviously you're not. It's still tough and I'm sure it's going to sting for a little bit. But we have a great group of guys in here who are going to come back next year and want it even more. I'm optimistic about the future.

Canucks' GM Gillis on 'NHL Hour' Thursday

Thursday, 05.26.2011 / 3:21 PM / NHL Insider

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis will be Thursday's guest on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on and SIRIUS XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET.

In his third season as GM, the Canucks won the Presidents' Trophy and set franchise records for both wins and points. They ousted the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, defeated the Nashville Predators in the second round and on Tuesday finished off a five-game Western Conference Finals win over the San Jose Sharks to advance to the third Stanley Cup Final in their history and the first in 17 years.

NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman broadcasts live on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 92 and on SIRIUS Channel 207 as part of the "Best of XM" programming package) and The show will re-air on SIRIUS XM Radio, with archived shows available for download via podcast on

Rafalski's departure leaves questions for Wings

Wednesday, 05.25.2011 / 5:11 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- The offseason for the Detroit Red Wings just got a lot more interesting with the retirement of veteran puck-moving defenseman Brian Rafalski.

Detroit General Manager Ken Holland was already sweating out a decision about whether 41-year old Red Wings captain and future Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom would play another season. Now, without Rafalski, Holland could have two gaping holes in the top four of his blue line next season if Lidstrom retires.

No wonder Holland is crossing his fingers and toes before going to sleep each night -- not to mention giving hopeful "thumbs-up" signs almost every time he mentioned Lidstrom on Wednesday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena, following Rafalski's retirement ceremony.

Lashoff growing on the ice, in the studio

Monday, 05.23.2011 / 1:25 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Landolfi - Staff Writer

Matt Lashoff only has his father to blame.

When he was 3, his father built an ice rink in the backyard of their East Greenbush, N.Y. home for him and his brother, Brian. Almost immediately he was hooked, and Matt's career path was set.

But there also was that whole music thing. Lashoff's father is an accomplished guitarist who had played in bands since Matt was born. He taught Matt the love of the guitar at an early age.

Fast forward 23 years later and it's no wonder Lashoff finds himself living a double life -- rugged, crease-clearing defenseman for the Maple Leafs by day; guitarist/singer/songwriter by night.

Summer coaching carousel begins to spin

Sunday, 05.22.2011 / 3:11 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

While most of the attention of the hockey world is focused on the conference finals, five teams -- the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars -- have their view in other places.

Those are the only teams with coaching vacancies, and as the summer nears, those five teams are zeroing in on potential candidates.

Big names and coaches working their way up the professional ladder all have been tossed into the rumor mill. Here are a few of the candidates whose names you might be hearing more of in the not-too-distant future.


Marc Crawford -- He won the Stanley Cup in 1996, his second season with the Avalanche, and then guided the Canucks to the playoffs four times in seven seasons. His two seasons in Los Angeles and Dallas weren't as successful, but a team could take a chance on him.
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I would definitely love to play with him. He's a skilled player and over the years he definitely has shown that he can score a lot of goals. I think it would work out well.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on Alexander Semin