NHL News and Rumors – October 13, 2009

Demitra’s rehab from shoulder surgery is not going well

Chris Chelios wants to win with the Chicago Wolves

Leafs were close on Gilroy

Habs balk at bringing versatile Dandenault back
Demitra’s rehab from shoulder surgery is not going well

Ben Kuzma, The Province

Pavol Demitra hopped up the GM Place steps on one foot Sunday morning.

If the hobbled Vancouver Canucks winger was recovering from a knee or ankle injury, this would be a positive development. It’s not.

Demitra has been slow to recover from offseason shoulder surgery to repair tears to the front and back of his rotator cuff.

He suffered the ailment while checking defenceman Brian Campbell into the end boards during Game 2 of the Western Conference semfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

“Obviously, it’s not getting better,” said Demitra.

“They’re going to decide what’s next for me and I’ll see the doctor on Tuesday. There’s a lot of pain in the shoulder.”


Chris Chelios wants to win with the Chicago Wolves

David Haugh

Hustling out in front of a pack of Wolves, 47-year-old Chris Chelios skated sprints at the end of practice Monday like someone half his age.

Scratch that.

Most of the Wolves players half Chelios’ age lagged several strides behind the old man.

“Face the facts, I have to go out and prove myself,” Chelios said between huffs and puffs. “It’s not going to happen sitting at home. I’m lucky I got a chance here.”

A few minutes earlier, Chelios had amused himself during a break by flicking a puck at an empty net from about 70 feet away. When the biscuit landed squarely in the basket, Chelios smiled like a NHL prospect satisfied he had just impressed his new coach.

Of course, Chelios isn’t a prospect like many of the Wolves players he practiced with at the team’s facility in Hoffman Estates. Depending on your perspective, Chelios is either a freak of nature who embodies all that is good in sports or a sad example of an aging athlete who doesn’t know when to walk away.

There were plenty in cyberspace Monday claiming the latter with capital letters and exclamation points. I’ll go with the former.

Seeing a guy 27 months from his 50th birthday mix it up on the ice with Wolves in their 20s left this impression: Everyone should enjoy his job as much as Chelios does, and every young hockey player should be lucky enough to be exposed to his example.


Leafs were close on Gilroy


No, Matt Gilroy didn’t look across at the Maple Leafs jerseys lining up across from him at Madison Square Garden last night and wish he was wearing one.

Yes, he admits, the Leafs were a very serious player in the sweepstakes to sign him last spring when he was a highly-coveted free agent out of Boston University.

But in the end, Gilroy says, the decision came down to several factors, including the fact he grew up a Rangers fan.

According to Leafs officials, cold hard cash played a significant role as well. The two-year, $3.5 million US deal handed out to Gilroy by the Rangers was more guaranteed money than the Leafs were willing to offer.

Because Gilroy turned 25 over the summer, the slick puck-moving defenceman was not subject to an entry-level contract like fellow U.S. collegians Christian Hanson and Tyler Bozak were when they signed with the Leafs for the maximum allowed.

As a result, Gilroy was an unrestricted free agent, one the Rangers were eager to gobble up.

“I couldn’t be happier here,” Gilroy said. “Playing for John Tortorella, it has been a perfect fit. Playing here at the world’s most famous arena too — I couldn’t be happier.”

Gilroy grew up in Bellmore, N.Y., a hamlet on Long Island that is just a 45-minute drive from Madison Square Garden. As a boy, he skated a handful of times with a couple of older Long Island NHLers — the Leafs’ Mike Komisarek and forward Christopher Higgins, now one of his Rangers teammates.

“Toronto was right there the whole time,” Gilroy said of the Leafs efforts to recruit him. “But I had to go with my gut.


Habs balk at bringing versatile Dandenault back

Pat Hickey, The Gazette

Mathieu Dandenault’s name came up last week as the Canadiens scrambled to shore up the defence after losing Andrei Markov and Ryan O’Byrne to injuries.

But the Canadiens passed on the chance to bring Dandenault back and instead signed Marc-André Bergeron, who might join the team when it resumes practising Tuesday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

The Canadiens signed Dandenault to a four-year contract as a free agent coming out of the lockout. He proved to be a versatile addition, playing defence and forward. But his ice time dropped and he expressed his unhappiness when he was a healthy scratch for 15 of the final 20 games in the 2007-08.

A three-time Stanley Cup winner with Detroit, he played in nine postseason games, averaging 8:45 of ice time.

Last season, an injury sidelined him from Dec. 11 to Feb. 3 and he was a healthy scratch for seven of 11 games in March. Again, he publicly expressed his frustration and that frustration led to a perception that he wasn’t “good in the room.”

Despite a strong finish to the season – he averaged more than 21 minutes a game in the playoffs – Dandenault wasn’t offered a contract during the offseason.


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