Malkin, Jackets' search, Johnsson update

May, 22, 2010

CHICAGO -- We had some spare time and got on the horn to some contacts around the league. Here are a few notes of possible interest:

Blue Jackets search

Kevin Dineen, Scott Arniel and Claude Noel are the three remaining candidates for the Columbus Blue Jackets' coaching job, although the process remains on hold because the Jackets are also intrigued by AHL coach of the year Guy Boucher, who remains busy with the AHL playoffs and thus hasn't been interviewed by any NHL team yet. Boucher's Bulldogs are tied at 2 in their series against Texas, so it might be a while.

The Montreal Canadiens won't stand in the way of Boucher getting a potential NHL job. Boucher is seen by many as a rising star in the industry. But is he ready? Dineen, a former player who has paid his dues in the coaching world, is the popular choice among fans and media in Columbus. Stay tuned.

Update on Coyotes

It's been quiet in the desert since the city of Glendale unanimously voted to give the NHL an "insurance policy" worth up to $25 million to cover losses for next season until a new owner for the NHL club is found.

The NHL and city of Glendale still need to iron out the exact terms of that insurance policy, and a source told us Friday those negotiations appear to have concluded. Now the process of finding and transitioning over to new ownership will continue.

The Penguins

There have been rumblings in cyberspace about the Penguins possibly trading Evgeni Malkin in the offseason. There is zero chance of that happening. The real story in Pittsburgh is what the Pens will do with unrestricted free agent-to-be Sergei Gonchar. The Pens want him back, but his age (36) is a factor because of the CBA stipulation that states contracts for players 35 and older count against the salary cap regardless of whether those players retire, etc. So, the Penguins have no interest in doing a deal with any term to it.

Panthers' front office

Perhaps Randy Sexton isn't quite done in Florida after all. New GM Dale Tallon has left the door open for his predecessor to have a role with the team. We spoke to Sexton on Friday and he said he would be more than willing to remain with the team and work with Tallon, a hockey guy he has a lot of respect for. We're told by other sources Tallon considers Sexton to be in the mix for an assistant GM job, but has also spoken to a few other candidates. If we were Tallon, we'd hire Sexton. He's got the background on what's going on with the Panthers' roster and would help Tallon hit the ground running.

Kim Johnsson update

Or lack thereof. Johnsson was Chicago's big trade-deadline acquisition this season, but the veteran defender played all but eight games before being sidelined by a concussion. On Friday, we asked a source close to Johnsson if there were any positive developments, and the answer was, "Unfortunately, no." The way the Hawks are playing, it doesn't seem to matter. Still, this was a player the Hawks were really counting on to make a difference in these playoffs, a workhorse who was going to play a lot of minutes. Because he's an UFA July 1, his Blackhawks career may be just eight games. Still, hard to blame GM Stan Bowman for that; you can't predict injuries before a trade.





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