Hockey Hearsay compiles stories from around the hockey world and runs weekdays, 12 months a year.
COMPETITIVE FIRE STILL BURNS FOR DEVILS’ BRODEUR
New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur tells The Star-Ledger he hasn’t made up his mind whether this will be his last season.
“Maybe I’ll play another year. You never know,” the 41-year-old goalie said.
He is not playing this season like it is a farewell tour.
“Right now it doesn’t change the way I approach or feel about anything. I don’t feel like it’s going to be the last time I’ll be in certain places,” he said. “I’m enjoying playing the game and coming to the rink. A lot. So it’s not in my mind that I might not come back.
“Guys like us (Brodeur and teammate Jaromir Jagr) don’t play this long without having that fire about playing the game and thriving on trying to be the best all the time. That’s the only reason we’re able to play for so long.”
Jagr offered this on Brodeur’s future: “Hey, don’t count him out. Trust me. He can play another three or four years. Dominik Hasek came back when he was 47. (Brodeur) can play however long he wants to play. It’s up to him. He still loves the game, so it’s up to him.”
IGINLA, FLAMES MATES PLAN MONDAY REUNION
Ahead of Tuesday’s homecoming, The Calgary Sun spoke with Boston Bruins forward Jarome Iginla.
“It still feels like I’m coming home,” said Iginla. “It’s not just the hockey side of it but the city — I grew up there for a lot of years. I’m excited about being back in the west and the mountains. The size, the familiarity, the friends and knowing how to get around and how friendly people are. I definitely loved my time in Calgary. It feels weird not having a place there.”
There will be a reunion Monday night too.
“I hope to get together with the boys,” said Iginla. “There are lots of turnovers there but I still play fantasy football and baseball with some of the guys. We all get busy but there’s the odd text here and there just to stay in touch and see how things are going. I talk to Cammy probably a little bit more and Connie, too.”
AVS’ STASTNY NOT WORRIED ABOUT CONTRACT SITUATION
Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny discussed with The Denver Post his current situation, where he’s in the last year of his contract and is headed into unrestricted free agency.
“There’s still a long time left,” said Stastny, 27, who makes $6.6 million on the final year of his contract. “I’m not worrying about it, and you can’t worry about it. You can just play. I’m enjoying playing right now.”
Maybe the Avs having so many quality centers can work after all?
“Teams can’t win in this league anymore with one or two lines,” Stastny said. “I think we’re fortunate too, in that we have four centers where two play a similar style and two others who play another similar style. We have two guys who are offensively gifted and dynamic; every time they have the puck they do something. And you have two guys who I think are more two-way, and I think Patty has done a good job of using them with the right guys.”
MASON’S AGENT DRAWS PRICE COMPARABLE
CSNPhilly.com tackles the subject of Flyers goaltender Steve Mason’s potential contract extension situation. He signed a one-year deal last summer and has been excellent so far, but can’t sign an extension until January hits because of CBA rules.
Agent Anton Thun makes it clear Mason wants to stay in Philadelphia and, while sizing up contracts, also equates his client to Montreal’s Carey Price.
“I think Price is a very good comparable,” Thun said.
CSNPhilly.com speculates Price will make at least $4 million per season in a multi-year contract, factoring in his potential unrestricted free agency a year from this summer.
Thun offered this on his client when noting the improvement in his play with his new team: “He hasn’t changed as an athlete. The change is within himself. He believes in himself again and he has a goaltending coach, who believes in him. He plays with confidence now.”
PANTHERS DENY KULIKOV TRADE REPORT
The Miami Herald reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon denied Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada report that a trade between the Panthers and Colorado fell apart and that Dmitry Kulikov was scratched last Tuesday because of that supposed trade.
“No, we sat him because of his play,” Tallon said. “[Kulikov] needed a little refresher. I’ve liked the way he’s played since.”
EKMAN-LARSSON’S PRAISES SUNG BY COYOTES
The Edmonton Journal points out how little media exposure Phoenix Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson receives, relative to his vast talent.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan: “It seems like blasphemy to compare anybody to Lidstrom because he’s so special,” Doan said. “By no means would I do that, and most people are quantifying that, but Oliver? Yeah, he is special, too.”
“I remember when he was drafted (2009, the year the New York Islanders took John Tavares No. 1) … you have to give our scout Christian Ruuttu so much credit. He went on and on about Oliver. He said he might take him first overall (he went No. 6). He said he knew how good Tavares was and how good (second pick fellow Swede Victor) Hedman was, but five years from now, he said he’d argue that Oliver was the best player in that draft.
“He was right.”
PREDATORS CEO DEFENDS SUN BELT EXPANSION
Interesting Q&A in The Nashville Tennessean with Predators CEO Jeff Cogen about the business aspects of the team. He has a reminder regarding the smaller Canadian markets too.
Q: You’ve worked in Texas and Florida, two other pieces of the Sun Belt expansion. What do you say to critics of the expansion?
A: When people characterize, as Forbes recently did, that the Sun Belt expansion has “failed,” I think it’s unfair.
Yes, you can go to the extremes. You can look at the Phoenix Coyotes and the saga there that’s been well-publicized. But now you have new ownership, and they are up double digits over (two years ago). It’s easy to compare the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning versus Toronto and Montreal and say, “You’re not selling as many tickets so it’s failed.”
But I think that’s a very simplistic view. The National Hockey League recently signed a broadcast agreement with NBC for record numbers for the NHL. Would NBC have been willing to pay that without having a top five market in Phoenix or the Miami TV market, or our TV market?
I will remind you that it wasn’t so long ago that the American teams were propping up the Canadian teams, primarily because of the exchange rate. It was a formalized program called the Canadian Assistance Plan where some of these smaller markets were writing checks to these Canadian teams. Be mindful that this is a cyclical business.
I think the sum of the parts makes the NHL a stronger business.
FLYERS NOT SEEKING LECAVALIER TRADE REPLACEMENT
Philly.com indicates Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier will miss at least the next three to four weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his lower-back.
For now, GM Paul Holmgren said the Flyers will try to make due with their current roster as assembled.
“I’d say we’re probably going to get by as is,” Holmgren said. “He does play a big role on our team. It’s hard to replace a guy like that. You’ve just got to hope that other guys pick it up. There’s opportunities for other players to perform now that maybe wouldn’t gotten as many minutes with Vinny in the lineup. You’ve got to look for other guys to step up.”