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March 26, 2012

Quebec City To Begin Construction On NHL Area In September

Quebec City says it will begin construction on a new NHL-style arena in September.

Mayor Regis Labeaume says the $400 million arena will hold about 18,000 people, saying it would be comparable to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ new building.

“Today, the dream becomes a reality,” he said at a news conference Sunday.

The arena is expected to be completed by September 2015.

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March 25, 2012

Weekend Round Up: Roy, Johnson, Gagne, Hall, Bernier, Kobasew, Bolduc

Weekend round up of NHL news and rumors.

  • Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons writes, “Word is, Patrick Roy has unofficially been on retainer from Quebec NHL interests for almost two years now.” Simmons adds that it’s “highly unlikely” Roy ends up in Montreal, which is certainly different from what was being reported in the past few weeks, when there were reports that Roy was all but officially hired as the next Montreal Canadiens head coach replacing Randy Cunneyworth.
  • Erik Johnson will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, and the former No. 1 pick is looking for a long-term deal. Johnson told the Denver Post, “I want to be here for the long term, that’s my first priority, staying here and accomplishing what we want to accomplish.”
  • Simon Gagne will probably be out the rest of the season after suffering a concussion, which has led to some talk that he could retire. But that’s apparently not in the plans, as RDS’s Renaud Lavoie writes that the retirement talk for Gagne is exaggerated, and that he’s “working hard to come back this season, or playoffs. For sure he’ll play in the next season.”
  • The Edmonton Oilers could shut Taylor Hall down for the rest of this season because of his concussion symptoms. Hockey Night in Canada’s Eric Francis believes there has been serious talk in the organization of doing exactly that, but he adds that no final decision has been made.
  • The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson writes,  Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman has a “serious eye” on Jonathan Bernier of the Los Angeles Kings, because Tampa Bay’s head of amateur scouting, Al Murray, used to work for the Kings and was behind them taking Bernier in Round 1.
  • Colorado Avalanche forward Chuck Kobasew was fined $2,500 by the NHL on Sunday for charging Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome on Saturday night.
  • Phoenix Coyotes forward Alexandre Bolduc has been fined $2,500, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for slew-footing San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe during the game in San Jose on Saturday, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
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March 24, 2012

Duncan Keith Suspended Five Games For Hit On Daniel Sedin

ESPNChicago reports that Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was suspended for five games without pay by the NHL on Friday for elbowing Vancouver Canucks star Daniel Sedin in the head.

Keith lunged at Sedin in the neutral zone in the first period of Chicago’s 2-1 overtime victory Wednesday night, hitting Sedin in the head. Sedin didn’t have the puck at the time.

Keith was given a minor penalty for elbowing. The suspension will cost him $149,688.

“We respect the league’s decision and move forward from this point on and try to renew a playoff position and secure the highest seeding possible,” Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said. “That being said, our priority, obviously, is Daniel’s health and well-being.”

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March 23, 2012

Predators Sign Joonas Rask To Entry-Level Contract

Forward Joonas Rask, the younger brother of Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask, has signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Nashville Predators.

The Savonlinna, Finland native was a seventh-round pick (No. 198) by the Predators in the 2010 NHL Draft.

Rask, 21, recently completed his fourth season with Ilves of the Finnish League (SM-Liiga), posting 4 goals and 15 points in 29 games. In 156 SM-Liiga games since 2008, the 5-foot-10, 176-pound center has 29 goals, 62 points and 70 penalty minutes.

Rask represented Finland at both the 2009 and 2010 World Junior Championship, and captained his homeland’s club at the 2008 Under-18 World Championship, being named one of team’s three best players.

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March 23, 2012

Duncan Keith Has Phone Hearing With Brendan Shanahan Over Daniel Sedin Hit

March 23: Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.ca is reporting that Duncan Keith may get more than a five game suspension for his elbow to the head on Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.

Conference call hearings normally mean a five game suspension or less, as an in-person hearing is usually more serious. But Kypreos is reporting that the NHL asked Keith to waive his right to an in-person hearing, hence the suspension could be a lengthy one. The call should take place at 2:00 PM ET. We’ll keep you updated.

 

March 22: According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith will have a phone hearing with NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan on Friday regarding his elbow to the head of Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin.

The big news is that Shanahan’s conducting a phone hearing, because suspensions stemming from phone hearings can only be a maximum five games in length. That said, Shanahan did set a precedent earlier this year for issuing max suspensions via a phone hearing, giving Boston’s Brad Marchand the full five games for his clip on Vancouver’s Sami Salo back in January.

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March 22, 2012

Hurricanes Looking To Make ‘Big Splash’ This Off Season

The Carolina Hurricanes could make a big splash in this summer’s free agent market. During Wednesday’s broadcast of Insider Trading, TSN’s Darren Dreger suggested the Hurricanes feel they’re “really close to becoming a Stanley Cup contender” and will “go hard” after Zach Parise if he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1st. Dreger also proposed the Hurricanes could show “considerable interest” in defenseman Ryan Suter also assuming he becomes a UFA.

The Nashville Predators have expressed a keen interest in re-signing Suter. If the 27-year-old decides to test the market, there would be a ridiculous amount of interest. And while Parise’s future with the New Jersey Devils appears uncertain, the Minnesota Wild may have a leg up on their hometown boy, should he become available.

The Hurricanes have plenty of room under the salary cap to sign either, especially if General Manager Jim Rutherford opts not to re-sign defensemen Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek.

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March 22, 2012

Gary Bettman Ready To Meet With Players Union To Negotiate New CBA

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday he’s ready to meet with the players union to negotiate a new contract, but it’s up to the union to decide when that might happen.

Bettman said that the NHL Players’ Association hasn’t yet indicated that it’s ready.

“That’s something that we’re relying on the union for right now,” Bettman said of the timing on talks. “We’ve been ready to go for months but there’s a new executive director and he’s getting up to speed, meeting with his constituents and when the union’s ready, then we’ll start.”

Donald Fehr, who previously led the union for Major League Baseball players, became executive director of the NHLPA in December 2010.

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March 22, 2012

David Poile Plans To Sign Ryan Suter, Shea Weber And Alexander Radulov

The General Manager of the Nashville Predators has grand intentions for the offseason.

ESPN.com’s Craig Custance suggests General Manager David Poile plans to eventually sign extensions with defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, and forward Alexander Radulov. The Predators wouldn’t have much salary-cap wiggle room leftover after re-signing all three. But Suter and Weber might be enticed to accept  slightly less money if they’re convinced the Nashville club is committed to winning.

As for Radulov, much has been discussed of the alleged agreement to return to the KHL after honoring the final year of his current NHL contract with the Predators. Josh Cooper of the Tennessean reports, the 25-year-old Russian quashed the chatter regarding a supposed obligation to return to Salavat Yulaev Ufa for next season.

“There has been a lot of talking about it,” Radulov said, indicating his contract with Ufa had indeed expired. “I didn’t say anything, I didn’t promise anything to anybody.”

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March 22, 2012

Quick Hits: Playoff Discipline, Nicklas Backstrom, Goal Metric System, Coyotes, Andrej Meszaros, Connor McDavid

Quick hits from around the NHL:

  • Craig Custance discusses Brendan Shanahan approach to discipline in the playoffs. ”The standard of what is illegal or legal doesn’t change,” Shanahan said. “For the most part, you’re looking at things in seven-game clumps. It’s a seven-game season each series.”
  • Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports Dale Hunter hints Nicklas Backstrom who is recovery from a concussion may take part in practice next week.
  • Arctic Ice Hockey created an expected goal metric and it is a pretty big deal.
  • If things don’t progress this week with Phoenix Coyotes ownership David Pagnotta tweets that Kansas City and Seattle are serious options for the league to consider.
  • Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren announced today that Andrej Meszaros will be sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks after he has surgery on Wednesday to have a small disk fragment removed from his lower back.
  • Ottawa Sun reports that Connor McDavid who is 15, has been granted exceptional-player status and will be eligible for the Ontario Hockey League draft this year as an underage player.
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March 21, 2012

NHL Suspends Coyotes Shane Doan For 3 Games

Phoenix Coyotes forward Shane Doan has been suspended for three games and will forfeit $166,463.40 for elbowing Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn during NHL contest on Tuesday, March 20, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

Doan, who received a three-game suspension in October 2010, is classified as a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Accordingly, he forfeits his salary based on the number of games in the season (82), rather than the number of days (185). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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