Hockey Hearsay shines a light on stories of interest from around the hockey world and runs weekdays, year-round.
MURRAY CHATS WITH SABRES’ KEY FREE AGENTS
New Sabres GM Tim Murray spoke with The Buffalo News before Saturday’s win over Columbus, indicating he has casually chatted with pending unrestricted free agents Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson and Steve Ott.
Murray emphasized none of them are getting traded unless the Sabres reap significant rewards.
“I’ve told them all the same thing really and it was like, ‘It’s unfortunate you’re going to see your name in the paper. That’s just the nature of the game,’ ” Murray said. “They’re not young players. They’ve been around. They know the game. They know that this is part of it.
“I told them not to believe everything they read or everything they’ve heard on the sports channels. But certainly their names are in play and we’ll see what happens, but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll be moved at all. For me, it’s all about return. These are good players. So if the return was up to a certain point and not great and we then decide we want to talk to them about staying, then that’s an option too.”
Murray, on what it will take: “So if we’re going to do something, it’s going to be something I’m really forced to do as far as return. That would be fine but I’m not sure it’s going to happen.”
Murray, on discussions with teams so far: “There’s been lots of interaction, a lot of early talking,” he said. “There’s been no real specifics. I think teams are just trying to feel us out, feel me out on what we want to do. There’s certainly been discussions. I’m not sure there’s any artificial deadline. I think people are in a wait-and-see mode, to tell you the truth.
“People are concerned about injuries this far out. If a contending team makes their one big move and that guy is not available when he needs to be, there’s concern there from those teams. I’m really not sure a lot of teams want to pull off the big trade this far out. It could happen, but it doesn’t seem to me there’s any urgency right now.”
BETTMAN ADDRESSES GRETZKY’S NHL FUTURE
The Los Angeles Times has quotes from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman during Saturday night’s Stadium Series tilt at Dodger Stadium involving the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, where Wayne Gretzky was a central part of the festivities.
Gretzky and the league finally recently settled the matter of money owed him from the Phoenix Coyotes’ bankruptcy.
“I’m not sure he ever left the fold. People have their own lives to live,” Bettman said. “But having him as a more frequent presence is very special to us.
“On a personal level I’m a fan of his. His accomplishments are unbelievable in the annals of any sport. And he’s just such a great ambassador for the game. We wouldn’t be here tonight doing this if it wasn’t for him.”
Bettman said Gretzky’s future involvement with the NHL “is a matter for him of personal choice and what he wants to spend his time doing.”
BURKE LOOKING TO DEAL O’BRIEN
The Calgary Flames waived Shane O’Brien over the weekend and with no takers, he was assigned to the Abbotsford Heat.
The veteran defenceman is in the second season of a three-year, $6 million dollar pact.
SENATORS EVALUATING TRADE OPTIONS
The Ottawa Sun asserts it doesn’t seem likely Senators GM Bryan Murray will make any trades before the Olympic break.
Assistant GM Pierre Dorion: “We identified what our team is right now and possible targets for possible trades. Not that we’re going to make any trades but we always have to be ready for that possibility (with) players who we feel could help us in the short-or-long term.”
More Dorion: “We have to wait to see where we are the Olympic break. You have to wait to see where are at the trade deadline and that will dictate a lot of what happens in the future.
“I like the way we’re going as a team and the direction that we’re taking.”
CROSBY PRAISES OLYMPIAN BENN
Via The Dallas Morning News, Canadian Olympic captain Sidney Crosby on first-time Olympian Jamie Benn.
“I think his play, especially the last couple of years, has earned him the right to be on the team,” Crosby said of the Stars’ captain. “I think he’s just gotten better every year. He’s a big guy. He’s got speed, a lot of offensive talent. Yeah, he’s done everything to make himself ready for that team.”
FLYERS’ SIMMONDS BRUSHES OFF RACIST TAUNTS
The Courier-Post traces back the blue collar, hard working roots of Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, which, in itself, is an extremely worthwhile read to further gain an appreciation of him as a both a hockey player and a person. Great tidbit about how he didn’t mind paying his dues coming up in his role with the Los Angeles Kings either.
Also reflected upon are the racist taunts to which Simmonds has been subjected in recent years.
Simmonds has “no problem” taking abuse like that.
“Eventually, hopefully, people will realize that it’s childish and stupid and will stop doing it,” he said. “If I have to be a person that’s gonna get ridiculed or chanted at, I’ll gladly take it for the younger kids coming up so they don’t have to deal with it.”
CRAWFORD MARVELS AT QUENNEVILLE’S MIND
The Chicago Tribune profiles Blackhawks bench boss Joel Quenneville. Coach Q and Marc Crawford – who would each go on to become Stanley Cup winners as coaches – were inseparable in the early 90s, when Crawford was the coach of the AHL’s St. John’s Maple Leafs and Quenneville was a player/assistant coach.
“I had a little bit more experience with things like how to run a practice, how to talk to players and that sort of thing,” Crawford said. “I always remember him being totally enthralled by it. It made me think, ‘Yeah, he’s going to be a really good coach.’ I would always joke that the three (words) I would say to Joel, were ‘what happened there?’ And he would always know exactly what had happened.
“I’ve never seen anybody who has recollection and recognition of what has happened like Joel does. I’m not a doofus or anything as a coach but he’s amazing. He really is. He has a very, very good mind. His recollection of what has happened and his vision are great. I believe that makes him as good as he is.
“I sent a note to him when he won the second Cup. I only sent three letters, which were ‘HOF.’ To me, that’s what it is. His record speaks for itself.”
SHARKS’ ROBINSON STILL LOVES NHL
CSNBayArea.com describes how 62-year-old San Jose Sharks associate coach Larry Robinson, with health being one of the factors, can’t commit to a third season in his role.
“It’s no different than any other year. If I was 25, I’d say I know what my future is,” Robinson said. “But, I’m getting older. We’ll see. I just take everything a year at a time, and we’ll see how it goes.”
On always wanting to be involved with the NHL in some capacity, regardless: “I don’t think I ever would like to get out of the game. Certainly, when you’re 60-plus years old and you’re traveling the travel schedule we’ve got, especially this year, it takes its toll on you, for sure.”
FLYERS’ GREAT LEACH WARNS KIDS OF ALCOHOL DANGERS
Inspirational tale via CSNPhilly.com from former Flyers’ great Reggie Leach, a notorious drinker during his playing days. He’s been sober for 29 years and spends much of his time these days – on his own dime – speaking with the youth of First Nation in Canada, explaining how drinking ruined his marriage, sent him into bankruptcy, and drove his family apart.
“I go around and talk about life choices and my experiences as a hockey player and what I did after hockey. I am more proud of what I do today than my hockey career. That was a stepping stone of getting me where I am now.
“Everybody has a journey in life. I have been lucky enough to accomplish mine in hockey and now I use that experience with what I accomplished to help youth so they don’t follow in the footsteps of what I did as a youngster.”
On not being able to reach everyone: “You’re never gonna win the battle. You’re gonna help kids think about it. If I can talk to 100 kids and get two or three of them to listen, I did something, not just for the kids but for everybody.
“I speak the truth. I don’t hide nothing. I go out there and whatever I [say], I speak from the heart. I do it and I am very proud of what I do.”
AVALANCHE UNDERSCORE IMPORTANCE OF ENGLISH COMMUNICATION
Interesting feature in The Denver Post on an issue each NHL team faces, in terms of having so many different nationalities among the players – which makes using English as a point of commonality that much more important.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov describes coming to the U.S. in 2008 when he was 20.
“I definitely think English is the toughest language in the world,” he said. “I was pretty lazy on English my first three years because I had five Russian players on my team at Washington, and I would always speak Russian when I was hanging out with the Russian guys.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere notes English “has to be” the language of team communication, adding: “It’s the international language of business, and if we all need to know what’s going on, we need to communicate all in one language. Everybody communicates in English very well. The communication on the ice is usually very simple, one word or two words so you don’t get confused in what you’re saying, so everything is in English. It’s just easier that way.”
PENS’ DESPRES NOT POUTING IN AHL
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review points out Penguins defenseman Simon Despres hasn’t taken his demotion to the AHL personally and has, in fact, been thriving.
Coach John Hynes: “The way he’s produced offense is probably more important than the offense he’s produced. He hasn’t been leading the rush. He hasn’t been carrying the puck end to end.”
Also: “The key point is he’s improving, and he’s a better player than he was last year, and he’s a better player than he was at the beginning of this year. It’s about patience. Every person’s different in their own development. For him, it’s just mental maturity. That sometimes takes a little bit longer than the physical stuff.”
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