By Stu Hackell
The last few days have brought a number of interesting stories — the Kings filing a grievance on the Ryan Smyth-Colin Fraser deal, Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin beginning his DUI sentence, a pair of veterans – Brent Sopel and Alex Kovalev – heading to the KHL, and the bid submitted in the complicated sale of the Dallas Stars. Any one would be worth writing a post about.
A few New York-area items crawled into the hockey headlines, too, including the Rangers re-signing their heart-and-soul RFA Ryan Callahan, and the Devils and Islanders pulling off a trade that helps both teams — but not really for hockey reasons. The Devs shipped Brian Rolston and his big contract to the Isles for Trent Hunter and his less-big contract. The deal made Rolston the highest-paid Islander at slightly over $5 million and brought them to within a mere six million — or a few RFA signings and one Alexei Yashin – away from the cap floor of $48.3 million. The deal also freed up money the Devs needed to sign their RFA leftwinger Zach Parise for the season at $6 million.
Also, today (Monday) is the big referendum on Long Island as Nassau County residents decide if they want to pay for a new arena for Charles Wang’s Isles that he declines to finance himself. I wrote about that a bit last week and before the week ended, both the Rangers and Devils issued statements in support of the new coliseum, and why wouldn’t they? They don’t want the Isles to move. Consider this: 1) The Isles’ two local rivals love the bus ride road trips to Long Island, which are much cheaper than flights elsewhere. 2) The Devs gladly welcome Islanders fans buying tickets when the two teams play in Newark. 3) The Rangers’ parent company, Madison Square Garden, owns the Islanders’ TV rights and wouldn’t want to lose that property. But whether the rivals’ endorsements will mean anything in the final tally is pretty questionable.