- Ed Tait and Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press: Mark Scheifele will be invited to the Jets training camp. Zach Bogosian’s rehab from his wrist surgery is coming along fine and he may begin skating this week. His return date is unknown, and it’s possible that he misses the first month of the season.
- Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune: Wild’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard said he’s ”pretty much symptom-free” and aiming for opening night. He hasn’t been cleared to play yet. Josh Harding, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in October, feels great and doesn’t foresee any problems. He isn’t sure how his weekly treatment will affect him though. Marco Scandella is still out with a groin injury, will be reevaluated this week. The Wild don’t plan on bringing Matt Dumba to camp.
- The Fourth Period: Canadiens Tomas Plekanec suffered what is believed to be a pulled rib muscle in late December and may not be ready to start training camp. He hasn’t skated in 10 days, but could begin to do so today.
“It’s better, but is going slower than I thought,” Plekanec told Czech reporters this morning. “This is gonna take some time. It’s not anything serious, that I know one hundred per cent.”
- Katie Strang of ESPN: There will be little time for Michael Del Zotto and the Rangers to get a deal done, but they’ve already started the process.
“I’m hoping to get something done as soon as possible,” Del Zotto told ESPNNewYork.com. “I know my agents and Glen (Sather) are talking and I expect that they’ll try to get a deal that’s fair to me and the team.”
Del Zotto was previously looking for a multi-year deal worth more than $3 million a season according to a source.
- Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: The Penguins will look to sign Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to contract extensions this summer. Both can sign an extension starting on July 1st. GM Ray Shero has talked to Sidney Crosby that it’s possible that Malkin could become the highest paid Penguin.
“I did not anticipate what the salary-cap number would be, but I‘ve said over the years that you had to anticipate the (last labor contract) was ending,” Shero said. “And I wanted to be in a position to sign (captain Sidney) Crosby, Malkin and (defenseman Kris) Letang.”
- Randy Miller of the Courier Post: Chris Pronger is expected to attend the Flyers training camp, but he’s unable to skate. He’s still suffering from post-concussion syndrome and will likely never play again. Look for Claude Giroux to be named captain of the Flyers.
- Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe: Toronto was leading in the way in pushing to fix long-term back-diving contracts. The Sharks were another team opposed to those types of deals. One agent was miffed that a couple issues were hardly looked at or ignored.
“No-trade contracts, just as one example,’’ he said. “Why, as a GM, would you give them out as routinely as these guys do? That never even got discussed. Or how about the arbitration process? The salaries that get swept into that whole thing probably serve as one of the most inflationary factors in the game. Barely a change to arbitration.
“I get the 50/50 — that’s where the other leagues went, so you had to figure that’s what would happen here. And, yeah, that’s a huge change. But some of what didn’t get touched here, like, say, the age level for free agency, kinda shocks me. It stayed the same. So the players can’t call that a win, per se, but there’s value in the fact that a lot of it didn’t change.’’
The agent added,
“It’s pretty clear how Gary’s operated here,’’ said the agent, referring to Gary Bettman, league commissioner for all three lockouts in the game’s history. “If you look at the document, you can tell he’s ignored the input of hockey people, especially his own GMs, who are the guys who have to work with it every day. Nothing changed in no-trades, in arb, in age threshold for free agency . . . guaranteed contracts.
“He’s an extremely bright guy, no one questions that. But I think he thinks his own GMs are dumb. He refuses to listen to most of them, and so you end up with a deal that wins on 50/50 and contract length — very important stuff —but then all this other vital stuff gets left alone.’’
The same agent feels that Gary Bettman will soon be moved from his job. He would never be fired, but maybe in a year or two shift to another front office job, some advisory role. Bill Daly would be obvious choice to replace Bettman.