Cross Checks: Milan Hejduk
You know those Ilya Bryzgalov-to-Toronto rumors we raised in our unrestricted free-agent primer Friday? Forget about 'em. A source told ESPN.com on Saturday that there is "no way" Toronto would chase Bryzgalov this summer.
1. Maple Leafs goalie coach Francois Allaire and Bryzgalov don't get along from their days in Anaheim. "They can't work together," the source said.
2. The Leafs believe they have their starter in impressive rookie James Reimer. Yes, they'll need another goalie to complement him. At this point, the tentative plan is to see how Jonas Gustavsson does in training camp/preseason in the fall. If there are red flags at the end of camp, Toronto could try to add a veteran goalie through waivers. Another option is to bring back Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a cheap, one-way deal.
Capitals' blue-line injuries
The Washington Capitals have had a terrific second half, but their Stanley Cup hopes are hanging in the balance because of a ravaged blue line. Here's an update as of Saturday:
• Dennis Wideman: He was slated to leave the hospital Saturday after being treated for a hematoma in his right leg. The good news is the muscle looks great, but it's going to take some time. There is hope he will back sometime during the playoffs, but it's impossible to tell for sure at this point.
• Mike Green: He feels ready to go, but the team is following its internal concussion protocol: The number of days a player shows symptoms is the number of days the team wants that player to be symptom-free. There's a chance he will play in a game or two before the end of the regular season, but the team also might wait until the playoffs to bring him back. Either way, he appears to be on the mend.
• Tom Poti: Plagued by an on-again, off-again groin injury most of the season, the veteran blueliner is skating and getting better. But, at this point, there's is no clear indication if and when he'll return.
Expect an announcement from the veteran defenseman in the next 7-10 days regarding his future, and expect the announcement to be that he is retiring. The 39-year-old, out since March 16 with a leg injury, has been a great warrior, and he'll be missed.
Meanwhile, the agent for Milan Hejduk (UFA July 1) believes the 35-year-old winger will be back for more after posting another 20-goal season.
"He's feeling strong, he's had a good season, I think he could continue to play," agent Jiri Crha told ESPN.com on Friday. "At this point, he wants to play. His contract is expired and we'll see what happens."
Former Habs forward Georges Laraque stirred the pot in Montreal this week by suggesting that Montreal coach Jacques Martin had lost the confidence of some of his players.
Obviously, the players denied it the next day.
In my opinion, this is a very pedestrian team that has been saved by its goalie for two straight seasons. Last season, it was Jaroslav Halak saving the Habs' bacon; this season, it is Carey Price. And right now, Price looks tired, mentally and physically. He was playing in his league-leading 70th game Saturday. Perhaps a mini-break before the playoffs is just what he needs.
Ducks and goaltending
It is going to be interesting to see what the Anaheim Ducks do with their goaltending in the offseason. There's some obvious concern for All-Star Jonas Hiller and his vertigo issues. He is signed for three more years at a $4.5 million cap hit. Ray Emery, meanwhile, has been a savior out of left field. He also turns UFA July 1. I believe the Ducks have interest in possibly bringing Emery back, but they also have Dan Ellis on the roster and he has another year left on his deal at $1.5 million. It all starts with Hiller's health. He's skating every day, but says he still feels a bit off.
Huge win for Detroit
The Red Wings posted a gigantic win against Nashville on Saturday afternoon.
On the heels of an embarrassing 10-3 home loss against St. Louis (part of a stretch that has been a struggle), imagine the feeling on the Detroit bench when the Preds went up 3-0 in the second period. That's when Wings coach Mike Babcock called a timeout. He huddled the entire bench and relayed a message.
"Just told them to stay with it and challenged a few guys to join the group,'' Babcock texted to ESPN.com after Saturday's game.
Great stuff. And perhaps a win that changes the course of Detroit's season.
CALGARY, Alberta -- As we get set for the NHL's second outdoor game this season on Sunday, the debate continues as to whether it is one too many.
Well if you think that, you better sit down for this: The NHL is privately kicking around the idea of whether it shouldn't have three or four outdoor games a season, such is the insatiable demand from corporate sponsors and NHL teams to host these things.
Hey, at this point it's just spit-balling among league officials and governors, but it tells you what the appetite is for these events.
Ownership issuesThe ownership situation is getting urgent in Atlanta. We were told this weekend that the league is trying mighty hard to find a new owner who's willing to keep the team in Atlanta. The league's sole focus right now is to keep the team in Atlanta and given its ability to find new owners in Tampa, Buffalo and Phoenix, it's not unrealistic to think the league won't be able to pull it off again. However, should a new owner not be found in the next six to eight weeks, we're told the Thrashers could indeed be up for relocation and Winnipeg would very likely be the new home.
Meanwhile in Phoenix, two sources involved in the transaction believe the sale will close in the next 10 days, so it appears the Coyotes aren't going anywhere.
Kovalev getting interest from PensSens GM Bryan Murray has been a mighty busy man, and he's not done. I was told Saturday that three teams have shown interest in UFA-to-be winger Alexei Kovalev over the past few days, and one of those teams is the Pittsburgh Penguins. Speaking of the Pens, they had interest in UFA-to-be winger Curtis Glengross of the Flames but that was before Calgary got so hot it stopped listening to offers and is focused on trying to make the playoffs.
Ottawa, meanwhile, is trying hard to move defenseman Filip Kuba (who has one more year left on his deal at $3.7 million) so that they have money to re-sign UFA-to-be Chris Phillips. If they can't move Kuba, Phillips has to decide whether or not he wants to move. I believe Montreal is among the teams still interested in Phillips.
Leafs looking for D-manLeafs GM Brian Burke hopes he's got at least another move left in him before the trade deadline. The Leafs have been scouring the market hard over the past few days looking for a defenseman. They kicked the tires on Zach Bogosian in Atlanta but there doesn't seem to be a fit there. They have zero interest in Sheldon Souray, whom the Oilers put on re-entry waivers Saturday (waiver period clears at noon ET Monday).
New concussion protocol to be discussedThe NHL is considering some important changes to the league's concussion protocol for next season. One idea is to force a player to the dressing room to get checked out after he got his bell rung. No more just checking him on the bench. The other more drastic idea also being discussed is not allowing a player back in the game under any circumstance if he looks woozy. Expect this to be discussed at the GM meetings next month in Boca Raton, Fla.
Avs say Hejduk not movingSo what now for the Avalanche after their blockbuster trade with St. Louis? A lot of people are wondering about veteran winger Milan Hejduk because he's an UFA July 1. But GM Greg Sherman told ESPN.com Saturday that Hejduk is not moving.
"We're not trading Milan," Sherman said.