The New York Rangers made former Madison Square Garden executive and current St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts buy his way into the building Saturday for a game between the teams. The Rangers said they had provided the required allotment of tickets for Blues players but could not do anything more for their former employee.
A little petty, don't you think? Here are a few other views on the news around the league.
|Ryan Smyth started his NHL career in Edmonton in 1994. (Getty Images)|
News: Police investigating NHLPA for potential e-mail tampering.
Views: The Toronto Star broke this story, reporting that police in that city are investigating union officials for allegedly accessing or blocking e-mail accounts of players opposed to leader Ted Saskin. It's all very preliminary, and according to legal scholars interviewed by the Star, the alleged actions might not necessarily violate Canadian law. But it smells funny and won't improve the trust factor even though the warring sides seem to have agreed on an end game. The dissidents, led by Chris Chelios, who says they number about 200 players, have been challenging Saskin's hiring since the lockout ended. They've attempted several legal actions unsuccessfully, but last month, they did get the NHLPA to accept an investigation headed up by the independent counsel of their choice. Sheila Block's report is expected this summer, and both sides are expected to abide by its findings. Still, this should make for an interesting additional chapter.
News: The NHL crosses the threshold to Europe for regular-season games.
Views: When NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was in London last week for the formal announcement of two games there between Los Angeles and Anaheim, he mentioned the possibility that one day European teams might play for the Stanley Cup. Don't be surprised. While the NBA tests out the Las Vegas market, the NHL is taking a step toward fulfilling its long time lust for Europe with these regular-season games. NHL teams have played preseason games in Europe before, but these are "serious" and come at a time where real global expansion possibilities truly exist for the league. Europe is really an untapped market for North American teams though not a guaranteed one, but hockey is far more popular in many countries there than in the United States. There are several elite leagues in Europe, most paying salaries competitive with North America, and Kings and Staples Center owner Phillip Anschutz is building new state-of-the-art arenas across the continent, including the one his team will help open in London. In October, the NHL signed a multimillion-dollar deal with a European network to broadcast more than 200 games this season on television and to stream them online, and NHL players will still be representing their countries in World Championship and Olympic tournaments for several years. The league is expanding its footprint gradually, and it could look a lot different in a decade from now.
Views: Janssen should be sitting for a lot longer. Either the league wants to get rid of head-hunting or it doesn't. A three-game suspension is trivial, especially in this case since Janssen plays fewer than five minutes a game for the Devils. Sitting him down for eight to 10 games would be the way to set a precedent everyone notices. A week earlier, there was no disciplinary action against Ottawa's Chris Neil for a blind-side high hit on Buffalo's Chris Drury, an incident that sparked a brawl and a controversy about protecting players. The Neil hit was late, but just barely on a play when Drury had the puck, and to traditionalists around the league, it was simply a "hockey hit." Janssen went after Kaberle several seconds after he had passed the puck. The Leafs star defenseman should have had his head up, but Janssen simply saw a free target and went after him with a cheap shot. If the league wants to get rid of that, it has to make the message clear.
News: Jeremy Roenick to appear on CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Tuesday.
Views: Whyyyyyyy? Actually this could be the most interesting thing J.R. has done all year. If he lets loose, that is. His season has been a disaster, almost as bad as his team's, but Roenick can be a fun to listen to when he tries to entertain. A few days ago, he told the Arizona Republic "I've always been a complainer," and he probably has lots of ammunition. Roenick did start complaining last week when he talked about hoping for a trade. The Coyotes hung on to him at the deadline, but he has been a healthy scratch since and might not play again. Roenick is 37 and hasn't been able to keep up with the game since the lockout ended, so retirement seems likely as well. And that should set the stage for a conversation worth watching. Oh, and it's on CBS by the way.