I think Saturday is going to be my news and notes day here on Hockeybuzz. It's time to jump around the NHL and offer some random opinions.
- Like most newspapers in Canada today, the Edmonton Journal ran pictures of Sidney Crosby celebrating his birthday in Halifax with the Stanley Cup and 30,000 of his friends. Yuck. I have no real explanation for it, but I can't stand Sidney Crosby. It isn't his play - He's a great hockey player. Weird. For some reason, Ovechkin seems like a surfer dude you want to go out partying with, and Sidney the smart-ass you just want to punch in the back of the head. You know what I think it is? In Canada, Sidney is marketed by the NHL as the best player in the league, but he isn't even the best player on his team. Canadian fans don't really care where a great player comes from, and Ovechkin is regarded by most Canadians as the better player.
- I like the Theo Fleury comeback idea. When he was in his prime, he often would be the best player on the ice during the Battle of Alberta. Theo defied the odds most of his professional career, so I don't doubt that he could come back, even at age 41, and be a great player. The question is, will an NHL team give him a chance?
- Rumors involving Tomas Plekanec for Vladdy Smid make sense. The Oilers the last few seasons have done the rent-a-player thing...acquiring a player a year away from becoming a UFA, giving up little in return. The Oilers have too many players at defense and Smid has not developed as hoped. In Plekanec, the Oilers acquire a country-man of Ales Hemsky...don't think for a minute he hasn't offered management an opinion in respect to this...Wasn't Smid rumored to be part of the Heatley deal, and wasn't it rumored that San Jose needed to deal with Montreal to make the Heatley deal occur? Hmmm...
- Why is the NHL being so stupid in respect to the Jim Balsillie - Coyotes situation? Sportsnet is reporting today that the league is attempting to block Balsillie from bidding on the team. It isn't going to work. Does anyone see this situation ending well? My guess is, Balsillie will eventually own the Coyotes, because he is willing to pay any price. The league needs to realize it, and understand that having one of the world's richest men owning a NHL team is not the end of the world. If the Coyotes lost as much money as has been reported in Phoenix, a team is destined to fail there regardless who the owner is. A saying about beating a dead horse comes to mind.
- Rumor is San Jose is currently out of the running for Heatley. So who's left? The Wild are rumored, and it would make sense considering their line-up, but who could they give up in trade? I have a feeling Bryan Murray's phone is awfully cold and lonely right now. If the Oilers actually do pick up Tomas Plekanec, why do I get the feeling they'd be right back in the Dany Heatley saga? The Oilers have at least four NHL-worthy forwards too many going into training camp, and the Heatley deal would have moved a number of players. Is it possible that Dany, who hasn't actually clarified that he will not play in Edmonton, has figured out that the Oilers are the only team willing to put together a deal worth considering?
- And what if Dany does not return to Ottawa? The season starts, and Dany refuses to report to the Senators training camp...Will the team be suing him to return the $4 million he received July 1st? Or will the Heatley camp counter-sue claiming Ottawa has not truly attempted to move his rights? The NHL could have a legal channel on cable this year, bouncing between the Balsillie battle and the Heatley affair.
- Finally, a question to you readers: Which team will be the most improved this season? My vote goes to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have overhauled their defense.