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Fischler's Bluelines

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#1 NJDevs4978


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Posted 18 July 2005 - 10:20 PM

MSG Network

Stan Fischler
Bluelines: Great news? Cujo, St. Louis Broadway targets? ...

Jul 18, 2005

The Wayne Gretzky – Is he or isn’t he going to coach? – soap opera is baffling. On the one hand, The Great One is telling the Arizona Republic’s David Vest that “nothing’s been decided.” Meanwhile, The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons claims that Wayne is “actively looking for assistants to fill out his staff.”

As for Gretz’s pals, who fear coaching will be a dead-end for Wayne, remember this: The Man is used to center stage. Coaching will put him right back in the middle of the ring!

Speaking of Gretzky, his 16-year-old daughter, Paulina, is making it as a model. Although inexperienced in the biz, Paulina will be the Flare cover girl for the magazine’s August issue. Plus, Ms. Gretzky has a small part in the upcoming Justin Timberlake-Bruce Willis flick “Alpha Dog.” Takes after her mom, Janet, who was a model and actress when she married Wayne in 1988.

Hockey keeps growing in The Holy Land. The First International Israel Ice Hockey Tournament will be held, January 24-26, in Metulla’s magnificent Canada Centre rink. Plus, a new ice arena will be built in Tel Aviv thanks to Israel Hockey Federation successes.

No Kidding Dep’t: Oilers’ philosopher-king Georges Laraque says, “We have to reach out to the fans. We have to get them back.” Next thing he’ll tell us is that ice is cold!

This from Las Vegas’ hockeymeister Bobby Bryde: “The NHL is discussing rule changes. Fine. But why not ask fans for their input?” To which we add: WHY NOT?
Rangers’ beat writer Andrew (Journal News) Gross arrests attention with an item that Martin St. Louis lives in suburban Greenwich, Connecticut and practices in Westchester. Better still, Gross notes that the MVP is “likely headed toward unrestricted free agency in 2006.” And that could make him a Rangers’ target.

As we predicted, baseball’s union boss, Don Fehr, was closely watching his protégé, Bob Goodenow, blow his CBA negotiations. Hence, the question being asked in MLB circles is what effect the NHL deal will have on the diamond boys? Since baseball remains the only top pro sport without a salary cap, MLB owners may follow the Bettman Plan and try for one. “They may want to wait and see if the NHL recovers, before beginning their own Cap crusade,” writes the New York Times’ Murray Chass.

If you’re wondering how tight the Fehr-Goodenow relationship is these days, one owner simply tells us, “They’re joined at the hip!”

Gary Roberts (39) is one older dude whose heart is more important than his years. Hence, he becomes a huge question – keep him or not? – for John Ferguson. This much we know, Toronto is a lot less fearsome without him.

For years, Lou Lamoriello has been telling us that the NHL schedule must be revised so that rivalries – Rangers-Devils, Philly-Islanders, etc. – are intensified. For starters, we hear that a possibility is four home and four away among divisional clubs. Plus, two home and two away against the other division in the Conference. If so, another triumph for Lou!

According to The Canadian Press, NHL players will be subject to a minimum of two drug tests a year without advance warning. It’s part of the new CBA. First-time offenders would receive a 20-game suspension. For repeat offenders, it’ll be a 60-game suspension. Three times – and you’re out! A permanent ban.

Recovering from recent cancer surgery, Pat Burns is at home in New Hampshire checking tapes for Lamoriello. “We’re going to keep him busy,” says Lou.

Good for Rob Ray; he had the gumption to rip NHLPA leadership at the beginning. And he did it again at the end. No turtling for this fighter!

Steve (Toronto Sun) Simmons throws one out that’s intriguing: Curtis (Cujo) Joseph as a Rangers’ goaltending possibility. Simmons believes that Broadway and Tampa Bay are possible Cujo destinations. We don’t see him in Florida. No way!

This from Long Island reader Dee Karl: “As busy as he was all these months, Gary Bettman never failed to return my correspondence. I believe that the Commissioner was the poster boy for Grace Under Fire. They claim he didn’t care about the fans, but I can attest that he cared enough to always respond to me. He could have ignored me and nobody would have known the difference.”

Calgary Sun columnist Randy Sportak has a good question for Chris Chelios: “How much were you making before Gary Bettman took over as Commissioner? Despite what some players think, Bettman had a huge hand in the spiraling salaries by expanding the league.”

Our man in Las Vegas, Bobby Bryde, places the odds on CBA approval at 1-2 in favor. “That’s good for people who like to watch the NHL,” Bryde tells us.

Give the Stars credit for being sea-worthy to regain fans in the Dallas area. Our man in Texas, Richard Pollak, writes: “The club has purchased a boat and are cruising the many surrounding lakes going to their potential fans. Plans call for planes to fly over major summer festivals with banners; plus a moving billboard on wheels and Stars’ painted buses for high traffic streets.”

Some insiders believe that the new CBA gives Winnipeg another shot at an NHL club. Manitoba Moose boss Mark Chipman says, “They’ve got cost certainty now and that improves our chances of getting a team. But I don’t think the city could afford a $39 million players’ salary. If it were in the mid-$20s, we could produce a ticket price that would work in Winnipeg.”

P.S. The Jets lost $25 mil in their last NHL season before emigrating to Phoenix in 1996.

Interesting comment from agent Don Meehan regarding the CBA. “This truly is a business partnership now. It’s time we started dealing with each other on that basis and not as enemies.”

Meehan could start by telling that to Bob Goodenow who spent the past decade seemingly imbuing a players vs. owners scenario within his NHLPA. As long as Goodenow stays at the head of the “union,” there’ll be an “enemy” feel vis-à-vis NHL and the Association.

Physical trainers should have a field day getting Brett Hull back in shape. The Golden One remarked during a springtime interview, “I think I’m about five pounds from being a perfect circle.” Hull had signed a two-year deal with Phoenix, but if he’s falling away to a ton by September, Brett just might follow through on his retirement threats.

It’ll be interesting to follow the career of Jordan Sigalet. He’s the Bowling Green goalie who overcame multiple sclerosis to star on the collegiate level. The Bruins own his rights and what a story it would be if the seventh round pick in the 2001 NHL Draft makes it big-time on the professional level. His career save percentage (.916) was the best in school history.
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#2 NJD Jester

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 09:04 AM

This from Long Island reader Dee Karl: “As busy as he was all these months, Gary Bettman never failed to return my correspondence. I believe that the Commissioner was the poster boy for Grace Under Fire. They claim he didn’t care about the fans, but I can attest that he cared enough to always respond to me. He could have ignored me and nobody would have known the difference.”

Wow, what a stand-up guy.

It's not like he had anything else to do after crashing this league like a 12-year-old pilot taking his dad's plane for a joy ride.

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#3 Don


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Posted 19 July 2005 - 10:03 AM

It's not like he had anything else to do after crashing this league like a 12-year-old pilot taking his dad's plane for a joy ride.

Oh, I think Bob Goodenow had something to do with that along the way....

As I have said in other threads, I think since the start of the lockout, Bettman has handled himself with intellegence, class and grace. The only two mistakes he made where being caught by Bob's dirty trick with Gretzky and Lemieux (he admits he should have smelled a rat when Bob had him on the phone and Bob asked him to call back in five minutes to arrange a meeting time/place and having the owners run around promising there would be "hockey of some kind in October", suggesting replacements.

The claims that he was yelling on a cell phone are as unsubstantiated as the agents claims that I posted yesterday.

Refusing to be drawn into a war of insults, making himself available to explain the situation, just the way he has carried himself throughout... I think he's done his job to perfection.

But maybe it is time for him to step down anyway given that he is cleaning up a mess much of his own creation (though he had to idiot-proof this CBA because the owners themselves are idiots; they caused more damage to the league than Bettman did).
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#4 LizDevil30


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Posted 19 July 2005 - 10:35 AM

Bob thought he'd convince the players to kill off two seasons. But they were smarter than him and Linden was a good co-captain.

Cujo to rags? Are Weekes days numbered in NY?

Edited by LizDevil30, 19 July 2005 - 10:35 AM.

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