Friday, October 22, 2010

NHL in a Nutshell- Out of This World

Hello again Pens Nation. I hope you all enjoyed the Penguins-Predators game last night. It was definitely one of the most entertaining games so far this season. It *almost* had a playoff feel to it, no?

Before I move on to the hockey news of the week, I just want to let everyone know that I'm going to try a new system for NHL in a Nutshell. Instead of compiling NHL news and writing a piece once a week about it, I'm going to try reporting the news as it comes. I'll try that system for a week or so and see how it goes. Also, starting next week I'll be doing a weekly player feature, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.

There is some very good news for Penguins fans this week regarding injuries, bad news for Rangers fans, an update on the Coyotes' ownership, more suspensions and a hockey jersey going into orbit.

On-Ice-

-Very good news for Penguins fans. All Penguins players, except for Zbeynek Michalek, are skating and practicing with the team again! There is still no timetable for Jordan Staal's return but we can expect Brooks Orpik back for Saturday's game in St. Louis and Arron Asham back no later than Wednesday against the Lightning. Michalek will be out for another week at best and three more weeks at worst, but the good news is that he has been skating (before practice). The Pens are slowly getting healthy again and should be at full strength sometime next month.

-The injury report for our Atlantic Divison rival New York Rangers is not as good. Their most potent offensive player, Marian Gaborik, is out for two to three weeks with groin injury separated shoulder and captain Chris Drury re-broke his finger in a different spot and is out six weeks.

-The season may have just begun but things are already off to a great start for Jumbo Joe Thornton. Earlier this month he was named as the San Jose Sharks' captain and now he's been given a three-year contract extension with the team, worth $21 million. The contract has a no-movement clause and will pay Thornton roughly $7 million a year, giving him leeway to continue his disappearing act in the playoffs for another three years without fear.

-This just in: Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien had his hearing in NYC this morning after being suspended indefinitely for getting into a scrum with a Minnesota Wild fan on Tuesday. (Click here to watch the fight if you haven't seen it yet.) Rypien has been suspended for six games and by league policy the Canucks will be fined $25,000. His time off will not only give Rypien plenty of time to think about what he's done but he'll also be able to focus on deflecting the lawsuit of the fan he attacked.

-Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes has also been suspended by the league. Doan has been suspended for three games due to a blindside hit to the head of the Ducks' Dan Sexton on Sunday night. Time to go adjust my fantasy roster...

-Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie has been assigned to the AHL after claiming Brendan Mikkelson off of waivers. This is mainly notable to Pens fans because Brodie was the player who had the audacity to wear Mario's number 66. TSN's Bob McKenzie defended Brodie in this regard, saying that #66 was the number the Flames had assigned him during training camp. But no more will any NHL player wear the sacred number of Mario Lemieux.

Off-Ice-

-A Nashville Predators jersey is being launched into orbit. Colonel Tim Kopra, a crew member of Space Shuttle Discovery's final mission, is going to bring the a Pekka Rinne jersey with him into space. Kopra's brother-in-law in a Preds season ticket holder and he was the one who suggested that Kopra bring the jersey along. He recommended a Rinne jersey because Kopra is of Finnish decent and Rinne, as well all know, is Finnish. You can read more details of the story here.

-The potential buyer of the Phoenix Coyotes has been officially revealed; Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer. Hulsizer told ESPN.com on Friday that he had come to a principal agreement with the city of Glendale on a lease for Jobing.com Arena, where the Coyotes play. Hulsizer would not discuss the details of the lease but he did attend the Coyotes home opener and is hoping to reach a deal with NHL to buy the team at the league's asking price, which has not been revealed. It looks like there may be an end in sight for the long ownership saga in Phoenix and the hockey team will remain in the desert. I can hear the cries of the citizens of Winnipeg from here.

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