NHL News and Rumors – August 31, 2009

Kings rule out Heatley trade

Sykora on Senators’ radar

New Canuck Mathieu Schneider: Vancouver’s the only place to be

Kings rule out Heatley trade


Dany Heatley can scratch La-La Land off his list.

Kings GM Dean Lombardi ruled out acquiring the disgruntled Senators winger during the club’s fanfest Sunday in Los Angeles — where Terry Murray, the brother of Senators GM Bryan Murray, is coach.

Lombardi made it abundantly clear he won’t be in active pursuit of Heatley, who asked for a trade in June.

As far as Lombardi is concerned, adding Heatley to the Kings’ core of young stars doesn’t make sense — and fans agree.

When Lombardi told them his thoughts about the two-time 50-goal scorer, they applauded.

“Do I want to bring in a Dany Heatley with all that baggage? It might work,” Lombardi said in a report on the Los Angeles Times website last night. “But I don’t think we’re in a position where we can afford that … Maybe a change of environment and he grows up. But my point is, do we need to take that risk right now? It scares me.

“If your core is established and they’ve proven they can win, it’s different. I think you can take that swing. I don’t think we’re in that position yet. Because if we’re wrong, (Anze) Kopitar and (Dustin) Brown and (Drew) Doughty and these guys lose control. (Heatley) becomes the room and then you have a huge problem. And he’s not going to be controlled by them. That leadership group is not strong enough yet to deal with a guy who can change your team.

“I’m not saying those kids can’t do it. It’s still in the formative stages. I don’t need to put that burden on them. They’ve still got to perform and go to another level.”

Meanwhile, Heatley is running out of destinations.


Sykora on Senators’ radar

The Senators are keeping their options open up front.

While the club still is holding talks with unrestricted free-agent centre Mike Comrie, league sources say GM Bryan Murray has also held serious discussions with winger Petr Sykora and he’s at the top of the Senators’ radar screen if they can trade disgruntled winger Dany Heatley before training camp.

So, he’s held talks with the 34-year-old Sykora, who had 25 goals and 21 assists for 46 points in 76 games last season while making $2.5 million US.

Kelly in limbo

The fate of NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly, according to a report on TSN.ca, remained in limbo last night as he waited outside a Chicago boardroom.

Inside, interim ombudsman Buzz Hargrove and representatives of all 30 NHL teams met to discuss concerns about his leadership and the association’s direction.


New Canuck Mathieu Schneider: Vancouver’s the only place to be

The Canucks didn’t make Mathieu Schneider’s short-list. That’s because he didn’t have one.

Vancouver was the only place the unrestricted free agent wanted to play, providing hard evidence to the theory that GM Mike Gillis is slowly changing the culture of an organization which has been marred historically by too many losing seasons and playoff failures.

Yes, Schneider is Gillis’s former client. The two share a history and a friendship. But friendships only go so far and generally aren’t enough to make a player, without much hockey left, shun both money and options.

“I’m not sure how things were run before Mike, but in talking to people within the organization, everything has just been done right [since he took over],” said Schneider, 40, who started courting the Canucks once last season ended.

“That was something that I was looking for. I kind of handcuffed my agent, Pat Morris. I told him this is the place I wanted to be, and until we exhausted negotiations with Vancouver, we really didn’t want to negotiate with anyone else. We never really took any offers from any other teams.