Uncertain Times

With little more than a month and a half remaining until the regular season opens, it may seem to some like the NHL is on the brink of turmoil. In the midst of ownership crises, teams up for sale, more than a few decent free agents still left unsigned, player arrests over the summer, noticeable loss of talent to the KHL, teams perilously close to the cap ceiling – and others just as close to the cap floor, it can seem a little disheartening. But rest assured, hockey faithful – when that first puck drops October 1st, some of these issues will be the furthest from our minds

As of this writing, two NHLers could be facing charges in incidents that were made public. Alexandre Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks is reported to have high-sticked an opponent during a ball hockey match, while Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks will have a jury decide his fate concerning the taxi episode. While both accounts merit attention, the general consensus is that both players will start the seasons with their team, relatively unscathed. UFABET

As far as the ownership issue in Tampa Bay is concerned, it may not be as bad as it looks. Majority owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules will each have a chance to buy the other out. Should they both fail, the names of a few potential buyers have already popped out – a list that includes Hall of Famer Phil Esposito. Still, that leaves sales to be made for the Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens (still not finalized), Nashville Predators (minority sale), and – who could forget to mention – the Phoenix Coyotes. Will Jim Balsillie finally succeed in his bid to bring another team to Canada?

Every summer, a few free agents are surprisingly left unsigned. And a handful of players leave the NHL each summer, either to retire or to play in other leagues. But for the first time, there is a league that stands as a legitimate threat to the NHL – the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). This will be the issue that sticks, and the plethora of financial and cap-related negotiations that are needed to right the issue could be a heavy weight indeed.

That’s not to say there’s nothing else to talk about. Jeremy Roenick and Teppo Numminen have both retired, after 18 and 20 NHL seasons respectively. Will either of Roenick or Numminen join fellow 2009 retiree Joe Sakic in the Hall of Fame? It’s not all about retirements either – 40 year old Brendan Shanahan will play in his 22nd NHL season after signing a deal with the New Jersey Devils.

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