Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Around the Rink 03.13.07

Finally, closure. At least we think it's closure. Of course, I'm speaking about the Pittsburgh Penguins finally picking a place....and it's Pittsburgh. All the posturing, traveling to other cities, bickering back and forth-- it all finally came to something. The deal will be finalized this afternoon.

The deal itself will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for 30 years, with a new arena to be built by 2009. The arena will also be funded by the red hot slots.

Great joy for the Penguins, but heartache for cities like Kansas City and Las Vegas who were courted. Kansas City more so, because they have an arena still without a tenant. Thoughts for KC will have to turn to the Nashville Predators situation, but only time will tell with that.

Chris Simon's suspension was handed down and it's interesting, at best. Simon was suspended the rest of the season (15 games) and the entire post-season (TBD). However, there's a minimum of 25 games-- meaning if the Isles play less than 10 games, the remaining games will carry over to the '07-'08 season. If they play more than 10 games, Simon will return, if signed, at the start of the '07-'08 season.

Good move by the NHL. It's the longest suspension in history, regardless of the playoffs happening and if the Isles max out every series-- it could turn out to be a 43 game suspension. People think that this will cut down the stick work-- but if they haven't learned from Wayne Maki or Dino Ciccarelli; they never will.

If the NHLPA could fall further into obscurity, I don't know how. Both executive director Ted Saskin and senior director Ken Kim have been sent home on a leave of absence. This is stemming from a Toronto Star report that Saskin and Kim were tapping into players email boxes to track what they were doing.

Quite frankly, I don't see why someone would do that. Let's be honest, if the player has an NHLPA email address, they probably have a personal email address that they use more frequently. At least, you'd hope that was the case and not just imagination. There's still much to be uncovered, but in the end-- the NHLPA continues to be in shambles, one brick after another.

Does Paul Stastny have a shot at winning the Calder Trophy?? Many assume no, mainly because that was awarded to Evgeni Malkin when he defected. Yet, Stastny must have not seen that memo. Stastny's 18-game point streak is a record in the NHL for rookies. Not only that, but Stastny has been a catalyst for the Colorado Avalanche; keeping their playoff hopes alive.

When you look at the numbers, Stastny isn't too far off Malkin's numbers; but you always have to factor in the East Coast bias, simply because Stastny plays in the West and not many writers can stay awake that long to watch his games. Stranger things have happened, though, and the Sean-O's "Second Half Surge" is in effect. It'll be an interesting awards night, that's for sure.

That's all for now. Check out the Show this week for great guest, a whole lot of laughs, and maybe some hockey. If you can't wait-- the Message Board awaits you.

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