NHL News and Rumors – September 10, 09

Sides still fighting with Coyotes auction looming

Landing Kessel won’t be easy

Heatley interests Sharks

Sides still fighting with Coyotes auction looming


Both sides tearing at the carcass of the Phoenix Coyotes are bent on battling it out right to the start of today’s two-day auction hearing.

The National Hockey League, in a late submission yesterday that brought the number of filings to almost 1,000 in the case, disputed would-be Hamilton owner Jim Balsillie’s claims that it stalled on handing over relevant discovery data about a relocation fee.

It’s one of the many issues Judge Redfield T. Baum must wade through to reach the core of the matter — whether Balsillie’s $242.5-million US offer should supercede the NHL’s $140 million, knowing the league will not accept the Canadian billionaire as an owner.

The proposed agenda begins today around noon with cross-examination of both sides’ experts on relocation and then moving on to arena and debtors issues, with Balsillie and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman scheduled to appear tomorrow. Baum has said he’ll make his ruling with the fast-approaching start of the NHL season in mind.

Balsillie has seemed beaten before, but he remains a player, thanks to tweaking his bid with extra millions to ease the contentious lease at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale and saying he would let the team stay put for some or all of the 2009-10 season.


Two league-supported bids to keep the team in Phoenix permanently have been withdrawn, although Ice Edge Holdings now says it might come back to the table after Baum’s ruling.


Landing Kessel won’t be easy


Two major obstacles remain for the Maple Leafs or any team trying to sign or trade for Boston Bruins winger Phil Kessel.

He has a shoulder injury that won’t heal until November. And Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli is expected to match any offer sheet for the restricted free agent — or try to make other trades and get under the NHL cap to accommodate Kessel’s anticipated $4-million US-plus salary request.

The New York Rangers head a list of teams also interested in Kessel, likely via a trade. While the Leafs have the needed first, second and third-round picks to make the bold RFA signing, they could package one of those picks and one or more of their surplus defencemen as part of a deal.

Whatever the case, Chiarelli is not under the gun to make a snap decision before training camp starts this weekend.


Heatley interests Sharks


Dany Heatley is expected to arrive in Ottawa today, but he could eventually find his way to San Jose.

Two league executives told Sun Media Wednesday they’ve heard talk the Senators, Sharks and Kings have discussed a three-way deal that would send Heatley to San Jose, centre Jarrett Stoll and winger Alexander Frolov to Ottawa and centre Patrick Marleau to the Kings.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson has insisted he has “never” asked Marleau to waive his no-trade clause. The executive said Marleau, recently stripped of his captaincy by the Sharks, likely wouldn’t remove the clause to move East, but might be enticed if he could stay in the West.