Weekend roundup: Latest NHL buzz
By Pierre LeBrun
The Lidstrom decision
Nicklas Lidstrom will deliver his decision on his playing future to Detroit GM Ken Holland in the upcoming week. The Red Wings have their fingers crossed that he’ll return, but the reality is, no one has a clue what he’s going to decide. If he decides to return for another season, the next step will be to sign a contract since he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He earned $7.4 million this season, and despite the fact that he remains a great defenseman at age 40, the Wings will hope to get him back for less money.
Penguins GM Ray Shero had a lengthy discussion with Sergei Gonchar’ s agent, J.P. Barry of CAA Sports, this week at the player combine in Toronto. Gonchar is UFA July 1. There is still no resolution, and term remains an important issue. The Gonchar camp would like two years; but because he’s over 35, the Pens are understandably nervous about giving more than a year. The two sides plan to speak again soon.
Thrashers’ coaching update
The Thrashers have interviewed Scott Arniel and Don Lever so far in their search for a new coach. They also hope to interview Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay. They will need to wait after the Cup finals to interview Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti, which they plan to do. Another coach the Thrashers want to talk to is Billy Peters, coach of AHL Rockford, Chicago’s top farm team. There’s also an outside chance of an eventual conversation with AHL coach of the year Guy Boucher, although that’s not for sure. Arniel, Lever, Ramsay, Torchetti and Peters all have ties to Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, and that’s key as he looks to hire a coach he can have a strong relationship with as they work with a young team.
Top draft pick
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Oilers GM Steve Tambellini briefly chatted this week at the combine in Toronto. With Edmonton holding the first overall pick and Boston next at No. 2, it’ll be interesting to see how things ultimately play out over the final 24 hours before the June 25-26 draft.