Dany Heatley wanted out because his feelings were hurt.
Partly by a coach who “diminished” his role, if you actually bought that, but also by the valid criticisms being written and said of him.
The Kings now have to look toward next season, when change is sure to come. They have six players who are now unrestricted free agents and three more who are restricted. Some of these players may not be back. Here are the names, their 2009-10 salary, key stats and comments from The Times hockey Hall of Fame columnist Helene Elliott.
Brian Burke will have his hands full this offseason. The free agency this year in nothing special in terms of big name players. The names that come to mind are Marleau and Kovalchuk and since it is very unlikely either end up in Toronto next season Burke will have to trade to bolster his offence. The Leafs do not have a pick in the first 2 rounds, but Burke has said on a few occasions that he will try to acquire a 1st round pick and a top 6 forward. Kaberle and Grabovski are likely on the move with a number of different teams as possible destinations.
Maybe the conversation would be different had the puck left Alexander Semin’s stick — where it found itself in the first period of Game 5 Friday night — and somehow made its way behind Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak . Semin’s wrist shot, fired in a blur from the left circle behind a screen — “one of the best shots in the league, if not the best,” according to teammate Tom Poti — instead found Halak’s pad.
And so it looks as though the Vancouver Canucks will be granted what they so wished for at the outset of training camp.
Another shot at the Chicago Blackhawks, the team they felt never should have eliminated them from Cup contention, could be very much in their future which is fine with everyone in the Vancouver room.
Because they remain a dark shadow in their recent past. Obviously nothing is set in stone with the Hawks still having to finish off the Nashville Predators, but that’s the way it’s looking and it’s not lost on any of the Vancouver players who went through last year’s anguish, a series they felt was within their grasp only to slip away after so many opportunities to close it out.
“I guess it’s looking like we might both get another shot at each other although that series isn’t over yet,” said Ryan Kesler , who likely still remembers Andrew Ladd’ s wicked hit that went uncalled in that series. And it would be pretty astonishing if Rick Rypien has forgotten Ben Eager’s also totally ignored by the league and totally unsolicited shot that cold*****ed him.