By John Rolfe
An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• As the sale of the New Jersey Devils to Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris gets nearer by the day, Tom Gulitti looks at the legacy of Jeff Vanderbeek who left a lucrative career at Lehman Brothers to bathe in red ink in Newark. A shame, really, given the Devils’ history of success on the ice, their consistent competitiveness, and their sparkling barn. Harris, who has made some coin taking over struggling businesses, may be the man to right the franchise, but then again, owning an NHL team can be a great way to take inches off your piggy bank’s waistline.
• Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is surely familiar with hockey’s economic realites. It seems that budgetary concerns played no small role in Daniel Alfredsson’s departure,
• NHL.com’s 30 in 30 turns its focus to the Dallas Stars, another franchise that has wandered in the financial wilderness and is now seeking a fresh identity with a new owner, GM and coach. Tyler Seguin, who ran into a little Twitter controversy this summer, is hardly the Stars’ biggest question mark.
• Dan Bylsma is feeling pretty secure despite the Penguins’ disappointing playoff run. Armed with his new two-year extension, it was apparently his idea to have Pittsburgh hire Jacques Martin as an assistant coach. Martin was last seen being canned by the Canadiens in favor of the ill-fated Randy Cunneyworth, but he’s a former Jack Adams Award winner who ranks in the NHL’s top 10 in all-time coaching victories.
• Now that the blizzard of Gretzky trade anniversary coverage is blowing over, some final thoughts. If you haven’t read it, check out Stu Hackel’s story on how slowly solid rumors of the deal made their way through the media and a disbelieving public. When the news finally broke, there was genuine shock. Hard to imagine something like that happening today in the Twitterverse if, say, the Penguins were fixing to trade Sidney Crosby.
• Jonathan Willis has a take on another of Edmonton’s significant trades that doesn’t garner nearly as much attention, and our own Brian Cazeneuve evaluated the winners and losers in 10 of the NHL’s biggest landmark deals.
• Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun caught up with Gretzky the family guy, who says he actually enjoys moments of anonymity these days.
• In other family news, earlier this week, Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour, currently the GM of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, caused a stir by trading his own son. Apparently, it was just a case of tough fatherly love.
• Justin Schultz is determined to see the Oilers return to some measure of their former glory. It does seem to be time for all that highly touted young talent to reach some fruition.
• A heartwarming story out of Montreal where Brandon Prust is enjoying a summer of amore.
• With Team Canada’s starting goalie gig at Sochi up for grabs, Capitals netminder Braden Holtby is eager to get to orientation camp that runs from Aug. 25 to 28.
• If you play guitar and have got $700 or so you want to toss to charity, there’s an autographed Paul Reed Smith axe that has your name on it … well, the names of the Washington Capitals, actually, and Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers fame. The axe is one of his signature line models.