TSN Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie joined host James Duthie to discuss the latest with the state of women’s professional hockey, a scary incident involving the Tampa Bay Lightning and where Adam Fox might end up if he doesn’t reach an agreement with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Where does women’s hockey go from here?
Pierre LeBrun reported the NHL had given $50,000 a year to both the CWHL and the NWHL. But with the CWHL set to halt operations as of May 1, the NWHL will now get $100,000. Knowing this, where does women’s hockey go?
LeBrun: And it feels like that number was missing a zero in the eyes of many after I reported that but the thing is it’s a $100,000 sponsorship from the NHL to the NWHL and I think the reason it isn’t a bigger investment quite frankly in my eyes is that the NHL I think has questions about the business model of that league and long term. I think there’s no question the NHL might be in a position eventually where if there is no women’s league on either side of the border, perhaps it would get behind its own women’s league. But for now, I don’t think the National Hockey League wants to get in the way of an existing league, which there still is with the NWHL. So for now, it’s $100,000, it’s not a lot, but it’s up to the NWHL to try and make some hay now that it’s the only women’s league still going.
It’s been a dream season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they had quite the scare last week. Bob McKenzie has more.
McKenzie: Yeah, frightening story involving the Tampa Bay Lightning but one that ultimately has a very happy ending. Last week, the Lightning had a two, maybe three day, pre-playoff team bonding experience in Miami. Some would say maybe a celebration for being the Presidents’ Trophy champions. But in any case, when they were flying from Miami back to Tampa late last week on takeoff, one of the engines blew in their plane. Or it was a bird strike. They’re not quite sure what it was. But in any case, some anxious moments as the plane had to turn around and make an emergency landing back in Miami. And it’s not very often that National Hockey League would welcome a four or five hour bus ride, but that’s what the Lightning took from Miami back to Tampa. And I should point out it was not their normal team charter plane. They took that to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto this week and I think they’re happy to be back on it.
What’s the latest with Fox?
If the Carolina Hurricanes and college defenceman Adam Fox don’t come to an agreement, where might he end up?
LeBrun: There could still be many different endings to this story but for now we know the Carolina Hurricanes have had talks with the New York Rangers. That’s the team that we believe Adam Fox would like to sign with but where it goes from here remains to be seen. I mean, the Rangers because they can’t sign him and burn the first year of the entry-level contract for him at this particular time, there’s no real urgency to get it done right away for them and of course there’s no real urgency for the Hurricanes. So what is the timing of all this? What’s the price? The Rangers could wait a year and get him as a free agent. I can tell you this, if the Rangers offered a second-round pick right now I’m not sure Carolina would take it. I think that the Hurricanes would like a low first-round pick, maybe that Winnipeg first-round pick that the Rangers own, maybe that would get it done. At the end of the day, don’t close the door on the idea that perhaps the Hurricanes could convince Adam Fox to change his mind and sign as well. So we’ll see where this goes.
McKenzie: The most highly sought-after college remaining free agent is defenceman Jimmy Schuldt, a senior from St. Cloud State. And we should point out he’s probably the top defenceman available in this year’s college free agent class. He’s narrowed his list of teams that he wants to sign with down to five. Including his home state Minnesota Wild, plus the Vegas Golden Knights, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues and the New York Islanders. A decision is expected in the next day or two. He’s eligible for a one-year, entry-level deal that will literally only last days before it expires and then he’ll be a restricted free agent who can sign a non-entry level contract next year.
Does Blashill’s extension change the coaching market?
The Detroit Red Wings and head coach Jeff Blashilll agreed to a two-year extension on Tuesday. What does the deal mean for the league’s coaching carousel?
LeBrun: Well first of all he’s the last full-time head coach in the National Hockey League that was on an expiring deal to get an extension. We know Jon Cooper signed recently, John Hynes earlier in the year, now that doesn’t count a guy like Craig Berube who is an interim head coach. That’s a different kettle of fish. But Blashill finally signs, it’s only for two years, which raises some eyebrows for a couple reasons. One, the Red Wings don’t like missing the playoffs all the time so yeah, the rebuild is going better, the players are developing but there’s heat on Blashill to have that team take the next step. Number two, Ken Holland’s own future is up in the air. Let’s face it. He signed on a two-year deal last year, will he be the general manager long term? Will he leave? Will he be kicked upstairs? All of that is part of giving Blashill just two years.