NHL News and Rumors – August 11, 2009

Attorneys downplay allegations against Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane

Coyotes hearing today could be ‘a bloodbath’

Pogge trade not prelude to another
Attorneys downplay allegations against Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane


onflicting portrayals of Patrick Kane’s altercation with a Buffalo taxi driver emerged Monday as attorneys on both sides sought to downplay the allegations against the Blackhawks’ star winger.

The driver’s attorney, backpedaling on his client’s accusations a day before, said the incident had been “blown out of proportion,” and a prominent Buffalo attorney hired by Kane said he was convinced that the former No. 1 draft pick had not committed a crime.

Paul Cambria, a lawyer who has defended several Buffalo Bills football players in court, said he met with Kane on Monday and interviewed witnesses to the incident in which the taxi driver alleged he was beaten and robbed by Kane and his cousin over 20 cents in change for a fare.

Kane made $3.75 million last season playing for the Blackhawks.

“He’s upset this accusation has been made and he’s anxious to clear it up,” said Cambria, who also met with Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita.

When contacted by the Tribune, Kane’s mother, Donna, said: “We will just acknowledge that Patrick is not guilty” and referred further questions to Cambria.

Speaking to WGN-AM 720 on Monday, Andrew LoTempio, the cabdriver’s attorney, said the episode Sunday morning in the hockey player’s hometown was “blown out of proportion” and should not be considered a felony. He called it a “regular kid incident.”


Coyotes hearing today could be ‘a bloodbath’

Paul Hunter – Sports Reporter

No one is saying much on the record but one involved party said he expects that proceedings in an Arizona bankruptcy court today to be “a bloodbath.”

And, really, how could the next step in trying to find a new owner for the Phoenix Coyotes unfold any other way than with an ugly cage match before an audience of one – Judge Redfield T. Baum.

This afternoon’s gathering is expected to set the rules for the Sept.10 auction for the team, one in which Baum ruled last week that Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie can participate despite the NHL’s strenuous objections.

In a do*****ent filed in court yesterday, Balsillie’s group claimed that the “real goal” in the NHLblocking him from moving the team to Hamilton is “to avoid another NHL team anywhere near the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

Rather than address the merits of legal arguments today, the hearing will lay out a schedule to deal with the steps and inevitable conflicts leading up to that auction.

But that timetabling should in itself be very contentious given that the league and Balsillie are working to two different agendas. The Canadian wants matters expedited in anticipation of playing the upcoming Coyotes’ season out of Hamilton. The NHL, with concerns about keeping its business viable in Phoenix, in no rush since it doesn’t believe the team can play anywhere but Phoenix this season. It doesn’t want to damage ticket sales and other business there.

The Balsillie camp, in the wake of filings aimed at earning the right to examine NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy Bill Daly, wasn’t further tipping its hand.

“We want to allow our filings to speak for themselves and to make our arguments in court, due to our respect for Judge Baum and the process,” said spokesperson Bill Walker.


Pogge trade not prelude to another

It would be easy to surmise that the acquisition of goaltender Justin Pogge would be a preliminary step toward moving another piece in the organization.

It’s no secret the Ducks are in an awkward situation with Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who last season was supplanted as the No.1 by Jonas Hiller.

But Giguere isn’t going anywhere, and Pogge gives the club a go-to goalie in case Hiller or Giguere goes down this season.

The Ducks have a host of goaltending prospects in their system, but none appear ready to step into the No.3 spot.

“You have to have three goalies,” senior vice president of hockey operations David McNab said.

“I think some people will say you have to have two, but you have to have three. Your third has to be someone that the organization is comfortable, who can play and can win. This (trade) has nothing to do with leading into something else.”

The Ducks front office, namely general manager Bob Murray, McNab and director of professional scouting Rick Paterson, have liked Pogge for some time.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 204 pounds, Pogge brings size in the crease and a winning background. He backstopped Canada to the gold medal in the 2006 World Junior Championship.

“With the way the game is now, we’ve been preached when (former goaltending consultant) Francois (Allaire) was here, about the big goalies and the necessity to have bigger guys,” McNab said. “He’s just somebody that we think has a chance to be a real good goalie in the NHL.”