NHL News and Rumors – September 15, 2009

Wild expected to sign ‘pure goal scorer’ Petr Sykora after tryout

Kiss Kessel goodbye

One Forward’s Out, One’s NotWild expected to sign ‘pure goal scorer’ Petr Sykora after tryout

Bruce Brothers

Adding Petr Sykora is not “a big piece of the puzzle” for the Wild, coach Todd Richards said Monday.

Not yet.

But Richards, unable to suppress a smile, said it could turn out that way.

A veteran forward who scored the 300th goal of his NHL career on April 7 for the Pittsburgh Penguins against Tampa Bay, Sykora accepted an invitation Monday from Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher to come to camp and try out.

Say what?

Turns out, a tryout simply means the player is unsigned and must travel to the prospective team on his own dime. The likelihood of Sykora not making the Wild is about that of Derek Boogaard scoring 20 goals this season.

Coupled with free-agent signee Martin Havlat, Sykora should provide Minnesota one more reason to forget about all-time leading scorer Marian Gaborik, who left the Wild to sign with the New York Rangers in July.

Sykora lacks the fleet feet of Gaborik, but he knows where the net is.

“He’s a pure goal scorer,” Fletcher said of Sykora, who scored 28 and 25 goals for the Penguins the past two seasons when Fletcher was assistant general manager in Pittsburgh. “He’s had, I believe, over 10 20-goal seasons. Last year in Pittsburgh for us, in what was probably a relatively down year for Petr, he scored 25 goals and 10 game-winners.”


Kiss Kessel goodbye

Kevin Paul Dupont

Just hours before the Bruins skated yesterday at the Garden for their first bona fide training camp workout, the ever-active rumor mill in Toronto had the Maple Leafs tabling the best offer yet for Boston free agent Phil Kessel. To wit: for a pair of first-round picks and one second-round pick, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli could be free at last from his summer ’09 migraine, and the 21-year-old Kessel could call southern Ontario home.

“Partially true,’’ said one source familiar with the talks between the teams, which have been going on for more than two weeks. “Toronto also wants a third-rounder along with Kessel.’’

Meanwhile, Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, attended the Leafs’ workout in Toronto. No, he did not have Kessel at his elbow, wearing a raincoat, skimmer, and sunglasses. But Arnott was spotted talking to GM Brian Burke’s top lieutenant, Dave Nonis, who now has the charge of handling the trade talks with Chiarelli.

For the moment, and possibly well on into November, Kessel holds the cards as a restricted free agent. If Chiarelli were to make a deal with, say, the Predators, Nashville GM David Poile would only give up assets if he is assured Kessel will sign in Tune Town. Likewise, the Leafs won’t flip picks and/or players Boston’s way unless Chiarelli already has inked Kessel to a sign-and-trade.


One Forward’s Out, One’s Not

Tarik El-Bashir

The opening day of training camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex was dominated by story lines involving two veteran forwards: the temporary loss of Tomas Fleischmann and the awkward return of Michael Nylander.

Fleischmann could miss all of camp and the first few weeks of the season, the team announced Sunday, because of a blood clot in his leg, a condition that was discovered after he returned to his native Czech Republic this summer.

Fleischmann, who scored 19 goals last season as the Capitals’ second-line left wing, is able to skate lightly on his own and work out. But he is not expected to participate in full-contact drills until early October at the earliest, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau.

“We were taken by surprise by it when it happened,” Boudreau said. “But we’re actually pleasantly surprised that he’s going to be able to compete with us in the first week of the season, when we thought it might be a lot longer. So it’s good news for what it was, because these blood clots can be very serious.”