NHL News and Notes for Aug 8th

Fleury eyes NHL comeback

Balsillie’s ace in the hole

Nylander: “I think that Edmonton would be fun now. I would like to try that now.”Fleury eyes NHL comeback

Keith Bradford, Calgary Herald

As prospects go, he’s a bit on the small side.

But his hands look decent.

And the kid’s got wheels.

“I’ve skated with him the last couple of days at the rink,” said Calgary Flames tough guy Brian McGrattan. “He looks pretty confident, pretty fast.”

The kid, of course, is Flames legend Theoren Fleury, who is attempting a National Hockey League comeback at the age of 41.

McGrattan, who signed a one-year free agent deal with the Flames earlier this summer, was skating with a couple of other Flames at Westside earlier this week when Fleury showed up, complete with skates and stick.

“We were just doing kind of like a shinny skate and passing the puck around,” said McGrattan. “I was out there shooting the breeze (with him).

“He looks pretty good on the ice.”


Balsillie’s ace in the hole

Stephen Brunt

It isn’t tough to find someone to malign Richard Rodier, chief counsel to Jim Balsillie in his quest to secure an NHL franchise for Hamilton.

He has been described as a “rogue” lawyer, has been blamed in some circles for Balsillie’s failure to make friends among the NHL’s governors, has rubbed people the wrong way, has been accused of leading the billionaire down a quixotic path that can’t possibly end in success.

Some of that is pure NHL propaganda – both sides have been playing the information and disinformation game to the limits – but some of it also comes from those sympathetic to Balsillie’s cause, who are convinced he is the victim of bad advice.

But as this story enters a new and intriguing chapter, with Balsillie’s bid now part of the September auction for the remains of the Phoenix Coyotes, best keep one thing in mind.

Bankruptcy law is Rodier’s world. When it became clear that there was no direct route to NHL ownership for Balsillie – or at least NHL ownership in Hamilton – the entire strategy shifted to finding a club teetering on the brink, to find an owner who had lost faith, who needed to get out and get out fast.


Nylander: “I think that Edmonton would be fun now. I would like to try that now.”

David Staples

Good work over at Japers’ Rink, a Washington Capitals blog, which has a story from Capitals forward Michael Nylander, who has fallen in love with Edmonton all over again.

In July 2007, if you recall, Oilers GM Kevin Lowe thought he had Nylander signed up, only to have Nylander’s wife balk at moving to Alberta. Nylander ended up in Washington, where he has had limited success.

But now that Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau has told Nylander there’s no role for him on the team any longer, Nylander is wistfully recalling past loves and looking for a warm embrace in Edmonton.

“It would have been fun to try Edmonton,” he recently told a Swedish newspaper. “Now, of course, I said no to them before. Instead I chose Washington because we had more friends and knew more people there. And it was perhaps a little better socially. But I would have liked to try Edmonton. I think that it would be fun now. I would like to try that now but it will probably be difficult for them to get me under the salary cap”

Nylander will be 37 in October. He scored nine goals and had 24 assists last season in 72 games, which is about the level of production one would expect from a player of his age and with his background. He was never a superstar, never a player one might expect to have good years past the age of 35.