- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to deliver his written opinion on Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta's appeal of his 10-game suspension either Wednesday or Thursday.
Once that decision is rendered -- and as long as the suspension remains six or more games -- Kaleta and the NHL players’ association have seven days to decide whether to take the appeal to independent arbitrator James Oldham.
If the decision is to ask for the independent arbitrator, then that appeal case must be heard in an expedited manner, according to the collective bargaining agreement.
Given that Kaleta has already sat out five games, it’s possible that his second appeal hearing wouldn’t be heard until his suspension is nearly finished. But the chance to reduce his financial penalty through the independent arbitrator is just as important, given Kaleta's lost wages to the tune of $152,439.
Premiere Games update
The Premiere Games in Europe may not return after all next fall. Then again, it depends on who you ask.
With ongoing international discussions continuing between the NHL and NHLPA, a different story is emerging from each side as to the return of regular-season games in Europe.
League sources tell ESPN.com that it’s getting late in the planning process and that the NHL doesn’t want to "shoehorn" games in for next fall just for the sake of playing in Europe. Instead, the league wants to do it in a more meaningful fashion down the road and make it part of a bigger plan.
NHLPA sources, however, tell ESPN.com that the players’ union is not yet ready to pull the plug on the project for next October and wants to continue to see what can be done to resurrect the games in time. The NHLPA says the games overseas are an important tool for the game’s exposure and still wants to see if anything can be done for next fall.
The NHL held regular-season games in Europe five straight years from the 2007-08 season through 2011-12 before last year’s lockout obviously stopped the string.
Don't forget Eller
It’s becoming pretty clear now that he’s Montreal’s top center, with all due respect to the versatile and dependable Tomas Plekanec; the Nashville Predators hammered home this point Saturday when they had Shea Weber and Seth Jones square off against Eller’s line all game long.
The Habs certainly saw all this coming and held talks over the summer with Eller’s camp, led by Kevin Epp of Titan Sports Management. But no offer was ever made for an extension because Eller’s camp wanted to hold off to see how the center bounced back from that devastating hit that ended his season last spring. Both sides are open to talking contract during the season, however.
Eller, who had eight points in eight games entering Tuesday’s game versus Edmonton, is going to jump up nicely from the $1.325 million he’s earning his year, especially if you consider that disappointing center David Desharnais is earning $3.5 million a year.
Panthers open for business
With new ownership providing the kind of stability the team has lacked the past few years, the Florida Panthers are keen to make some moves to reshape their roster, according to sources around the league.
Sources indicate GM Dale Tallon won’t wait terribly long to start making some players available, although it’s not so much a rebuild that’s going to happen as much as a retooling.
The rebuild, after all, started a few years ago with the draft. Now the idea is to better surround the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Erik Gudbranson and Jacob Markstrom -- not to mention the rest of the prospects making their way up the ranks.
Tallon isn’t shy to make bold moves, and now that he has better financial backing, it seems that he wants to reshape the pieces around what is going to be a good team once all the young talent grows.
8dScott Burnside and Craig Custance