Monday, February 27, 2006

NHL News and Rumors

Lowe taking over for Canada?February 27 @ 8:50 AMIt could be the Great One has had enough of being the fall guy.According to a report out of the Calgary Sun, insiders have indicated Wayne Gretzky will step aside as Team Canada GM, leaving the door open for Oilers GM Kevin Lowe.The report also speculates the preferred coach, although early, would be Darryl Sutter.

Niedermayer surgery a successFebruary 24 @ 11:05 AMScott Niedermayer's recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery is going well enough that the defenseman could resume skating as soon as Friday.Niedermayer had the meniscus removed from his right knee on Feb. 13 after playing in pain since injuring it in mid-December. While he had what he called a "setback" a few days ago when swelling reappeared, the Duck captain said he is happy with the progress.

Deadline routine for WittFebruary 24 @ 8:55 AMEvery year Washington defenceman Brendan Witt tops the list of players expected to be traded -- this year the veteran hopes it comes true.The Washington Times is reporting Witt would like to be dealt to a contender at the deadline, knowing his time to play in another Stanley Cup final is running thin."At my age (31) I want to win now," he said yesterday as the Caps gathered to resume workouts after the Olympic break. "I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me having that opinion. It’s a goal of mine to win a Stanley Cup within the next couple years. I have nothing against the organization, nothing, but they’re in a rebuilding process."Vancouver, Nashville and Los Angeles are teams expected to inquire about the services of the 10-year player.

Canucks looking for blueline helpFebruary 24 @ 8:55 AMThe MASH unit that is the Canucks defense corps may be getting some veteren help. With injuries already to Ed Jovanovski and Nolan Baumgartner, Vancouver must contend with both Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo possibly being out of the lineup for an extended period.To assist the ailing blueline, the Vancouver Province is reporting that rumours to acquire Eric Weinrich from St. Louis have resurfaced.Weinrich, 39, becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and -- with $443,000 US left on his $1.3-million deal -- it could be palatable to Nonis, who has about $3 million in salary-cap relief from long-term injuries to Jovanovski and goaltender Dan Cloutier.

Tyler Wright to retireFebruary 24 @ 9:00 AMDucks forward Tyler Wright got caught in a numbers game with the return of Sandis Ozilinsh. According to the LA Times, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks have waived the veteran forward to make room for Ozilinsh. Wright has refused assignment to the minors and is considering calling it a career."Any time when you're getting to be in the later stages in your career, you've got to look at all the possibilities," the 13-year veteran told the Times. "It's kind of foolish to say you're going to retire within a week."

Marchment way ahead of scheduleFebruary 23 @ 10:41 AMThe Olympic break has done wonders for injured defenseman Bryan Marchment. Literally. Marchment, who was written-off in Calgary after an expected season-ending injury, skated with the team on Thursday. There is still no timetable on his return, but the veteran is confident it will be sometime before playoffs."I could have gone before (the break) but the team was playing well and the coaches didn't think there was a need for a change," he said. "It doesn't hurt to give a knee another 10 days to fully heal. It's probably a little bit better than it was but it was pretty close to perfect before the break."Marchment tore two ligaments in his left knee in early January.Elsewhere on the injury front, Roman Hamrlik skated prior to the session but will remain out a couple of weeks yet due to his hand injury.

Canucks' Ohlund out with cracked ribFebruary 23 @ 8:11 AMSources tell Sportsnet Vancouver Canucks defenseman Mathias Ohlund will return to Vancouver on Friday to further assess a cracked rib that has ended his quest for Olympic gold. Ohlund was injured in the second period of Sweden's 6-2 win over Switzerland in men's Olympic hockey quarter-finals. The Canucks blueline, with the emphasis on blue, is already missing Sami Salo and Ed Jovanovski.

Primeau can't admit season's overFebruary 21 @ 8:10 AMKeith Primeau knows his season is over but he just can't find the words to say it.According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Primeau is not recovering from post-concussion symptons and will soon announce his season is over."I haven't made any decisions known or made an announcement," he told the Daily News yesterday. "But I have an idea what I have to do. I'm having such a hard time committing to not playing. I can't come to grips with it and I just keep procrastinating, and avoiding it. I can't even say it."

Coyotes must be sellers at the deadlineFebruary 22 @ 9:10 AMAs the Phoenix Coyotes prepare for another season without playoffs, front office must consider being sellers at the March 9 trade deadline, writes's John Gambadoro.The Coyotes must get younger and prepare to be players in the summer free-agent market, which will present the opportunity of signing players like Brad Richards and Zdeno Chara.Some players who should be shipped out of town include:Curtis Joseph. At 38 years old Joseph doesn't play into the Coyotes future plans. The keeper of the future is David LeNevue and he is currently in the minors. Edmonton, Vancouver and Philadelphia could be interested.Geoff Sanderson. Sanderson has been a solid player who has been hot lately with four goals in the last four games and should draw a lot of interest.Sean O'Donnell would fit in nicely with a veteran laden team looking for a fifth defenseman for the stretch run. O'Donnell is not the physical presence he once was but he still can handle himself, log a lot of minutes and has great leadership skills in the locker room.Mike Ricci, who is clearly a few steps slower than when he had his best years in San Jose. Nonetheless Ricci can help a team in need of veteran experience.Ricci is also a good faceoff man and could be a nice late-season addition for a team that thinks they are a player or two away.Anyone else on the team is open for trade discussions, including Mike Comrie, Paul Mara, Derek Morris, Mike Johnson, and Dennis Gauthier.

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