July 14, 2009 News and Rumors Roundup

Report: Chicago Blackhawks fire GM Dale Tallon

Big bucks for NHL Commish Bettman

Oilers’ patience wearing thin
Report: Chicago Blackhawks fire GM Dale Tallon

Chris Kuc | Tribune reporter

The Blackhawks have fired general manager Dale Tallon and Stan Bowman will be named his replacement, according to a report.

Comcast SportsNet reported late Monday that Tallon, who had been GM of the Hawks since June 21, 2005, and had built the Hawks into a Stanley Cup contender, was out and that an official announcement would be made Tuesday.

Tallon put together a team that reached the playoffs for the first time in seven years and advanced to the Western Conference finals during the 2008-09 season.

But he came under fire last week for sending qualifying offers to restricted free agents late, causing them to be delivered after the deadline set by the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The eight players, including Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker, all were signed to contracts, and the NHL Players’ Association withdrew its grievance.

Tallon was in the final year of his contract, and last Wednesday, in his first comments after the filing snafu, he said he had not asked for an extension.


Big bucks for NHL Commish Bettman

Helene Elliott

Bettman The Phoenix Coyotes are bankrupt, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sure isn’t in the poorhouse.

According to an article in today’s SportsBusiness Journal, Bettman got a 27% raise during the 2007-08 season that brought his salary and benefits to $7.1 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008. The numbers came from league tax filings.

Those figures are a high point for Bettman, whose salary before the lockout was $3.77 million. SportsBusiness Journal said that, according to tax filings, Bettman’s $7.1 million broke down to $4,197,694 in compensation from the NHL and $2,911,550 in compensation and benefits from the NHL’s business arm, NHL Enterprises.


Oilers’ patience wearing thin

Edmonton could go in another direction as early as today if Heatley won’t agree to trade


The door still isn’t closed on a deal to send disgruntled Senators winger Dany Heatley to the Oilers — but it could be slammed shut soon.

Sources indicated yesterday that while Heatley refused to waive his no-movement clause on June 30 and agree to a deal that would have sent him to the Oilers, he has not “officially” rejected Edmonton as a destination.

But an NHL source indicated yesterday the Oilers’ patience is wearing thin to have Heatley agree to a deal and they could give up and move on perhaps as early as today.

At this point, the Oilers appear to be the only viable trade option. With Edmonton out of the picture, returning to Ottawa and an ugly reception from fans could be the Heatley camp’s only option.

Heatley, who in a letter to the Senators on June 4 asked to be traded, could still accept Edmonton if no other deal can be worked out. Rumours are there are at least two other teams which have recently held discussions with Senators GM Bryan Murray, but have only offered bloated contracts and underachieving players in return.

“What I’ve heard is Heatley is keeping the Edmonton door open in case nothing better comes along,” said an NHL source. “I don’t think all the options have been exhausted yet. But the reality is there’s not much interest out there.”

The Oilers were rumoured to be prepared to send forwards Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano and defenceman Ladislav Smid to the Senators on the eve of free agency July 1. Oilers president Kevin Lowe and GM Steve Tambellini visited Heatley that night to try and convince him to make the move, but were unsuccessful.