It seems that the Columbus Blue Jackets are going to call Nikolai Zherdev on his claim that he's willing to go to Russia to play if his contract demands are not met. GM Doug MacLean hasn't spoken to Zherdev or his agent since Zherdev rejected a two-year contract worth about $3.8M. It seems the Zherdev camp is looking for a longer term deal and probably more cash.
It's a shame that Zherdev has so much untapped talent, but it seems that he's dead set on getting what he wants or else he'll head back home to play in the Russian Super League. Of course, with Fredrik Modin being acquired the pain of Zherdev not being there is lessened.
Jeremy Roenick is at it again. This time JR is complaining that the Phoenix Coyotes aren't getting enough TV time, especially since Wayne Gretzky is the coach and part-owner of the team. The Coyotes will be seen on national TV only once on Versus, and that's not until late March.
As much as people may hate JR, I have to agree with him. I can understand that the NHL wants people to watch by putting team on there that casual watcher will recognize; but how do they expect to grow the game if they just show the Red Wings, Flyers, Avalanche, Penguins, and Rangers?? Especially when there's plenty of teams out there with exciting players, it's a shame the talent isn't being exposed as much as it should.
The Edmonton Oilers are sleeping in a plenty of beds when it comes to AHL affiliates this coming season. The Oilers will have five teams as their affiliates for '06-'07, splitting with the teams who used the teams as a primary role. On the list are the Iowa Stars and Hamiliton Bulldogs, whom the Oilers used last season, while new to the list are the Milwaukee Admirals, Wilkes/Barre Scranton Penguins, and Grand Rapids Griffins.
More than likely, the deal will have the Oilers be able to put a maximum of five players on each of the teams. The Oilers old AHL team, the Edmonton Roadrunners, suspended operations before the '05-'06 season after spending on season in Toronton and one in Edmonton.
Some other news of interest for you all:
-Steve Yzerman's #19 will be retired on January 2nd. Yzerman spent his entire career in Motown and it is a truly deserving honor for one of the greatest captains in the game.
-The Atlanta Thrashers announced that they will use their baby blue, former alternates, as their home uniform this season. The Thrashers debuted their baby blues in '03-'04.
-New St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts is ready to get back on the winning track. Not only has he allowed Larry Pleau to open the checkbook and get bigger names in the line-up, but he's ready to get the team back into the playoffs and get over on the hiccup of last year.
Remember, training camps open on September 13th and we'll be there to cover the happenings and undoings during that time. So keep checking in and listening up and you'll be fine.