NHL News and Rumor Roundup – June 16, 2009

Thrashers Lehtonen staying in Atlanta

Olympics blow a hole in Canucks schedule

Oil trade for Dany still alive

Caps in talks for game at ‘Big O’

Thrashers Lehtonen staying in Atlanta

Chris Vivlamore – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Thrashers re-signed goaltender Kari Lehtonen on Wednesday when he accepted his one-year qualifying offer as a restricted free agent. Wednesday was the deadline for him to accept the offer.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but Lehtonen earned $3 million last season.

Lehtonen had a 19-22-3 record with three shutouts, a 3.06 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage in 46 games last season. He missed time with injuries to his back and head.

Lehtonen, 25, is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, wins, shutouts and save percentage.

The Thrashers have one other restricted free agent. Forward Colby Armstrong declined his offer and will go to arbitration later in the month. He could sign a multi-year contract before his arbitration hearing. Last week forward Jim Slater accepted his qualifying offer.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-thrashers/thrashers-lehtonen-staying-in-92096.html

Olympics blow a hole in Canucks schedule

Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun

The Winter Olympics are coming and the Vancouver Canucks will be going and going and going.

With GM Place turned over to Games preparation in late January, the Canucks won’t play a home date for more than six weeks. Forty-five days to be exact. You can count ’em up. Nothing at the Garage from Jan. 27-March 13 and 14 straight on the road — eight before the Olympic break and six after.

It’s enough to make a body numb if the mind isn’t numbed already. To compensate for the long road swings, the Canucks will play eight straight at home in December and 10 of their last 15 will also be at GM Place.

They’ll start the 2009-10 campaign Oct. 1 in Calgary. The home opener is Monday, Oct. 5, against Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Montreal Canadiens are in town two days later.

“I think, yeah, overall we’re pleased with the schedule,” Canuck assistant GM Laurence Gilman commented Wednesday after the NHL released its 1,230-game slate for next season. “The league was very accommodating with respect to our concerns about flipping through different time zones on trips so, while we have some some longer trips, we are actually covering less miles than the Canucks ever have in the past.

http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Olympics+blow+hole+Canucks+schedule/1793581/story.html

Oil trade for Dany still alive

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

Sources indicated yesterday while Heatley refused to waive his no-movement clause 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 Sens June 4 asked to be traded, could still accept a trade to 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.”

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Edmonton/2009/07/14/10125776-sun.html

Caps in talks for game at ‘Big O’

Corey Masisak

That the Washington Capitals won’t play in the 2010 Winter Classic became official Wednesday, but their participation in a potential game at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium remains to be determined.

The Caps visit Montreal on Nov. 28 to play the Canadiens, according to the NHL’s official schedule, but whether that contest will be played at Bell Centre or the former home of the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise hasn’t been finalized. The Globe and Mail reported Monday the Caps could play at “The Big O” as part of Montreal’s centennial celebration.

“We talked about it [with the league] a little bit today, but we don’t know if that is going to happen or not,” Caps general manager George McPhee said. “It is something that Montreal is working on, and it is probably 50-50 as to whether it is going to happen or not. … It sounds like a neat idea, but we’ll see how it develops and go from there.”

One game the Caps will not be a part of is the annual outdoor game, which will match the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 1 at Fenway Park. There have been reports that Washington was one of the teams considered for the NHL’s signature regular-season event, but the league — at the urging of television partner NBC — chose the Flyers instead.

“It sounds like they wanted a different matchup and they got it,” McPhee said. “Maybe our turn will come in the next year or two. It has become a special event for people, and we would have like to play in it, but we’re not, so we’ll focus on the other 82 games.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/16/caps-in-talks-for-game-at-big-o/