NHl News and Rumors – September 24, 2009

Pat Burns hopes health will allow him to scout for NJ Devils this season

Balsillie continues to finesse Coyotes bid

Forsberg planning another comeback

Murray has deals in mind

Pat Burns hopes health will allow him to scout for NJ Devils this season

Rich Chere/The Star-Ledger

Under different cir*****stances, this could have been his team.

When the Devils were searching for a new head coach this summer, Pat Burns might have been the logical choice. He is a no-nonsense guy with a Stanley Cup ring, a history of success as a three-time NHL coach of the year and holds a special place in Devils history.

It was, of course, never a possibility. Burns, 57, is dealing with cancer for the third time since he was first diagnosed with colon cancer during the 2004 playoffs. He beat that, as well as liver cancer.

This time it is incurable lung cancer, which has taken a noticeable toll on the once-robust former cop. Burns has lost 57 pounds, and now weighs 184, his voice is very weak and he has decided to forego any further treatment.

“That’s all done. It wouldn’t do much. It’s not going to help. It’s a question of time, really,” Burns told me from his home in New Hampshire.

“I feel so-so. It’s a struggle. But we knew that. It’s not getting any better. It’s progressing.”

Usually, Burns soon would be heading to his other home in Florida. He remains a Devils special assignment coach and scout, doing most of his work watching games in Tampa and Sunrise, Fla.


Balsillie continues to finesse Coyotes bid

Kevin McGran

Billionaire Jim Balsillie sweetened his offer to the city of Glendale and offered an olive branch to the NHL if he wins control of the Phoenix Coyotes in an amended offer to bring the bankrupt hockey team to Hamilton.

A key part of his amended offer is keeping the Coyotes in Glendale this coming season if he wins.

But none of what came forward to Judge Redfield T. Baum – who convened an emergency meeting to consider sending all sides to mediation – changes the NHL’s key position that Balsillie is not approved as an owner. The league believes its offer of $140 million (all figures U.S.) should prevail.

Balsillie, whose offer remains at $242.5 million, moved on a number of fronts:

To Phoenix hockey fans …

A promise the team will remain in Glendale this season, as long as the NHL pays for any losses. Balsillie’s lawyers said it was possible, but not likely, for the team to move to Hamilton during the Olympic break.

To Glendale …

He offered $25 million, win or lose, if the city relinquishes its claim for up to $560 million if the team relocates and joins Balsillie’s side. The city would get a further $25 million if Balsillie wins the team. Glendale is backing the NHL’s bid, like the rest of the creditors, and previously would get $50 million from Balsillie if he wins.


Forsberg planning another comeback

Adrian Dater

Brett Favre might amaze the average athlete with his comebacks, but if Peter Forsberg heard about them, he might respond: “Is that all?”

Forsberg, the former Avalanche star whose last NHL appearance was in Game 3 of the 2008 Western Conference semifinals against the Red Wings, is attempting another return to the NHL. He signed a one-week contract Wednesday with the Swedish Elite League team Modo, and hopes to sign with an NHL team before an Oct. 1 deadline.

“I’ve felt good recently and I’m ready to go,” Forsberg told Modo online. “I’ve made six or seven comebacks, so why not make another one?

“No, seriously, I’ve been working hard this summer and I have had a major surgery. That’s why I want to give it a try.”

Forsberg can play in Europe until Oct. 1, but if he plays there beyond that date, he will be ineligible to play in the NHL in the regular season.

Asked if the Avalanche would have an interest in re-signing Forsberg, general manager Greg Sherman declined comment.

Forsberg signed with the Avs late in the 2007-08 season after sitting out the campaign to that point because of chronic right foot problems.He played two games for Modo last season before having more foot problems, and many believed his playing days were finally over. But another surgery has left him feeling better than he has in at least two years.


Murray has deals in mind


Senators GM Bryan Murray conceded yesterday that forward Peter Regin will start the season in Ottawa and indicated rookie defenceman Erik Karlsson is also on the verge of earning a roster spot.

While that’s good for the young Dane and young Swede, it means some of the team’s veterans should be very nervous.

With only Friday’s home game against the Bruins left on the pre-season schedule before the Senators make final cuts to reach their 21-man roster, Murray will try to find a new home for a couple of veteran players to open up roster spots and save some salary cap space.

“It’s a hard time of year because organizations have lots of young players that are going to be looked at,” said Murray. “Very definitely it’s going to be worth my while to make some calls and find out if there’s anybody that wants to give someone a chance.”

Murray didn’t name names, but it’s not hard to tell which players are on the bubble. Centre Chris Kelly, who would be difficult to deal with a $2.125-million US cap hit for the next three years, hasn’t performed up to expectations in camp and is feeling a lot of heat.