Wow. Here we go again. But first, in hockey that's actually happening:
- Big night last night as Roberto Luongo let in some baaad goals in an elimination game for the second consecutive year. Not worried about the "C" affecting his game, but I am wondering -- again -- why it makes sense for your goalie to be captain? He can't lead by example when the rest of the team is playing like fools, and when he has bad nights...it doesn't look good.
- Big day today as it's do-or-die for Scott Gordon's (and Okposo's, and Hillen's) Team USA against Finland. (Some quotes from Gordon on the first two OTLs at USA Today.) ... Despite the watered-down rosters, naturally the IIHF says the W.C. belongs in Olympic years, too. ... Frans Nielsen and the Danes are hoping to avoid complacency.
- Big night tonight, as the Penguins try to avoid a 1993 Game 7 repeat-light while the Habs can close the Igloo they opened many years ago. ... Meanwhile, Islanders 1975 talk continues in Philly.
- From the Let's Sign That Guy Dept.: In Lou We Trust looks at UFA Paul Martin.
- From the Actual Islanders Talk Dept.: I spoke with Garth Snow briefly about Ridderwall and goaltending depth, and turned that post into my own rambling muse about the impact of the Sweden and Finland transfer agreements.
In hockey that's not happening (the Wang/Wilpon section):
In a Newsday exclusive (that means you're excluded), Jeff Wilpon told Katie Strang [sub.] he's talked with Wang about the Islanders:
"[Wang and I] have talked about Queens. We'd like to be helpful and I think Queens is an option. We built Citi Field well under budget and on time. I have all my guys ready.
"We haven't really discussed ownership. It has been more of, 'Can we get something synergistic with Citi Field and a hockey arena, what can happen here?'"
The Post also has a little AP brief on it, and everybody is picking it up, while Newsday did a secondary story with nothing new about the challenges of Willets Point. Importantly, Wilpon also talked about similar discussions with MLS about a second team there, but doing both MLS and NHL together is not possible.
This comes after the Ken Campbell column from a few days ago that put a third of the league up for sale, which elicited this Puck Daddy question about the Isles, as well as this skepticism from Gallof at Hockey Independent, and this "remain calm" post by Botta at Point Blank. I think the overriding point in all of it is that the Islanders' future venue won't be known until it gets down to the wire. And it's going to look like it's "down to the wire -- no really this time" many more times before we can count on just hockey to talk about. As for the idea of having your team in the hands of the Wilpons, well...
In that Newsday story and to Larry Brooks in the Post, Bill Daly made the rounds responding to the
Canadian relocation pushers rumors saying Wang needs funding help from the league and/or will wash his hands of the team. The gist: "No and no."
Meanwhile, out West, it was a day of rampant hope for Winnipeg as many led themselves to believe (again) the Coyotes were just a step away from moving north. That all changed by nightfall, as the Glendale city council approved the NHL's requirement that they cover 2010-11 losses if a buyer isn't found. Not out of the woods yet, but definitely through water on the chaos of the previous 36 hours.
What a typical NHL summer day, eh? Some excellent playoff action combining with the off-ice shenanigans that keeps Canadian hockey writers selling papers, er, clicks, long after their NHL team has been eliminated.