Bettman’s press conference break down … Bettman contacted True North about Coyotes...

Bettman’s press conference break down … Bettman contacted True North about Coyotes … Giguere an option for Leafs … Blues, Wings notes

  • Pierre LeBrun of ESPN: LeBrun breaks down Gary Bettman’s press conference. Re-alignment will wait another year, and they will look at all kinds of possibilities. The NHL may more towards a more balanced schedule, each team playing each other at least twice. Though Bettman wouldn’t confirm, re-alignment may have been delayed to see how the Phoenix situation unfolds. 2011-12 NHL schedule should come out at the end of June. Bettman said that if the True North and Atlanta sale didn’t happen on Tuesday morning, it may not have happened. In the next collective bargaining talks, drug testing may get tougher. NHLPA’s exectutive director, Donald Fehr, expects CBA talks to begin next winter. Bettman says it makes sense to wait until the NFL, NBA, and MLB have ironed out there CBA’s before the NHL talks about theirs. Bill Daly said that next year’s salary cap could be as high as $63.3 million. Rule 48 could get expanded, will be discussed at next weeks GMs meetings. No update on participation in the 2014 Sochi Olympics or a return of the World Cup. Bettman on Phoenix,

    “The city of Glendale stepped up and said they want the team to stay another year while they try to complete the sales process with us and will be funding the losses,” Bettman said. “Any suggestion that the league is funding this club or carrying the burden is not true. Last season, the city of Glendale did it. … Hopefully the club will be sold in due course, and there will be a new owner in there to start turning things around.

    “You have a city in Glendale that built the building and has invested in it and wanting the club to stay there. As long as they’re prepared to carry the burden of doing this while we try to effectuate a solution, there’s no reason to move.”

  • Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun: Gary Bettman approached True North about buying the Phoenix Coyotes before the 2009-10 season. “It was too late in the year to consider it for the fall of 2009,” Chipman told the Winnipeg Sun. “Pulling together in that time frame was not realistic.” The NHL bought the Coyotes that fall. “Now they owned the team and were looking for a solution in Glendale, and would we consider it?” Chipman recalled the league asking. “The answer was yes.” In May 2010 they met again. Chipman figured out the new NHL economics could work in Winnipeg. They had an agreement in principle but were the backup plan. If Glendale hadn’t decided to agree to pay $25 million in loses before last season, the Coyotes might have moved north.
  • Chris Johnston in the Globe and Mail: J.S. Giguere has moved out of his Toronto home, and isn’t sure if he’ll be back. Six weeks ago he had his 2nd sports hernia surgery. Burke confirmed in an email that Giguere still remains an option for the Maple Leafs. Giguere would love to return to be re-signed by the Leafs,

    “I would love to, but I don’t know what the management have in mind,” said Giguere. “I feel like I could be a good fit in Toronto working with (James Reimer). It’s going to be a tough season for him next year having that pressure of coming back to Toronto. We all know that all the journalists when we go back to camp are going to be after him — asking him questions and stuff like that.

    “I think I can be helpful to him. I have no doubt that he can handle it himself, but I think a veteran presence might help him a little bit.”

  • Tom Gulitti of the Bergon Record: If the Devils are interested in having Ken Hitchcock coach the team, they should contact the guy. “I haven’t heard anything from New Jersey,” said Hitchcock. “I don’t know what’s going on with New Jersey.” Minnesota and Dallas have already asked the Blue Jackets for permission to speak with Hitchcock. Hitchcock has let it be known his interest in hearing from Lou Lamoriello. “I’ve said that before,” Hitchcock said. “I know the people that coached for him very well. I knew Pat (Burns), obviously, very well. I know Brent (Sutter) very well and I know Jacques very well. Coaches talk.”
  • Andy Strickland of True Hockey: With Patrik Berglund locked up for 2 years, the Blues are expected to turn their attention to T.J. Oshie. Strickland thinks they will sign Oshie to a 1 or 2 year deal and around $500,000 less than Berglund (Berglund signed a 2 year for $4.5 million). Strickland also mentions he expects the Blues to re-sign Matt D’Agostini to a 1 year deal. Roman Polak could get a raise to $2 million from the $1.1 million he made last year. The Blues may be forced to give Nikita Nikitin a one-way deal to keep him from heading to the KHL. Talks with Ben Bishop should begin in a few weeks.
  • Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press: The Red Wings have met with Jonathan Ericsson’s agent, “a step in a long process. We’ll talk again, but negotiating a contract takes time.” They would like to sign him to a multi-year deal, Ericsson rejected one around Christmas time. He’ll be looking for a raise from the $1.25 million he made last season.
  • Katie Carrera of the Washington Post: The Sovetsky Sport is reporting that Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov signed a 1 year deal with Traktor of the KHL and remain in Russia for another year. The Capitals are “fine” with the decision as they felt after they drafted him that he’d need 2 years of development before he’d be ready for the NHL.