Friday, May 29, 2009

WRT's This 'n' That

A column of opinions, some facts and an occasional rant from the Wild Road Tripper (WRT)

Well, we hockey fans have finally made it. The eve of the start of the Stanley Cup Finals. The penultimate event on our favorite sport. And, there is one burning question I bet most of you have been thinking long and hard about:

"What have the OTHER teams been doing since April?"

Hopefully, you have followed the antics of the Minnesota Wild after then-GM Doug Risebrough made his now-infamous 'managed expectations' comments after the Jacques Lemaire farewell press conference. If not, I wholeheartedly invite you to either the website or the site for the Pioneer Press and get caught up. The thrill ride isn't over yet, as there still is a head coach to be hired, and with the NHL draft less than four weeks away, well, the staff has some catching up to do.

But what about everyone else? What has the rest of the NHL been doing? Let's see...

In Anaheim, they are getting ready for an equipment sale, on Saturday, June 6, at their Anaheim ICE practice facility (same day as the Wild's AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros, have theirs in Sugar Land, Texas). Who knew you had to go south for hockey equipment?

ESPN's John Buccigross has agreed to do some appearances on behalf of the Los Angeles Kings, including one later in August prior to the start of training camp.

In Montreal, they are getting ready to host the NHL draft June 26-27, then dreading the beginning of free agency on July 1; nine front-line players will become UFA's that day.

The New York Islanders are still unsure of their future in regards to the Lighthouse project, what owner Charles Wang sees as the key to the team's financial future.

In Columbus, the Blue Jackets seek to have ownership of Nationwide Arena, currently owned not by the Jackets, but by Nationwide Insurance (whose headquarters are across the street) turned over to a public authority (like most NHL arenas, including the 'X'). The Governor's office across town has been contacted...the 'sin tax' that has been proposed to pay for the arena's purchase has raised eyebrows in St. Louis at the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch, a major NHL (and Jackets') sponsor.

In Dallas, the Stars expanded and remodelled practice facility in suburban Frisco will officially open on June 1. The name belies the area: Dr. Pepper Arena...

And, what of the Phoenix Coyotes? Their website goes on like everything is normal off-season, except for one item about a relocation hearing on June 9. Hmmm...and they really want to sell season tickets. Right.

Enjoy the Finals!


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