Hockey roundup

by Steve, December 21st, 2006

hockeyNHL in Portland? Since the Pennsylvania gaming commission unanimously voted to deny Isle of Capri a slots license, the future of the Penguins in Pittsburgh looks bleak. Scott Burnside on ESPN points out that any realistic Pens fan had to see this coming. “Penguins fans, in your heart of hearts, you knew it was going to play out this way, didn’t you? It would have been too neat, too tidy otherwise,” writes burnside. Now Mario is saying the team is off the market, and he is looking into relocation. The top contenders for an NHL team are Houston, Kansas City (which has a sparkling new arena without a major tenant), and perennial bridesmaid (but never a bride) Portland.

I’ve never liked the idea of NHL here, but I’m starting to warm up to the idea. Especially if the deal involves Malkin, Staal and Crosby. Maybe the Trailblazers will move to Seattle, and Mario will buy the Rose Garden and move the Pens here. It’s a long shot, but it could happen.

Beaulieu suspended for forced flag signing: Jacques Beaulieu, head coach and G.M. of the Saint John Sea Dogs, has been suspende by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for forcing his team to sign a flag to be sent to Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. One player was cut from the team, ostensibly for refusing to sign the flag. The league determined that the player, 20 year old Dave Bouchard, was cut for performance reasons, not the flag incident, but still found that

the request from the Sea Dogs to have the players sign the flag was inappropriate and the comments made by Jacques Beaulieu in regards to Dave Bouchard violate the QMJHL anti-discrimination policy. The comments can be hurtful to the player and can be construed as a violation of his rights and consequently, of our anti-discrimination policy.

Gaustad moves up: Sabre’s coach Lindy Ruff has moved Portland boy Paul Gaustad to the second line with Chris Drury and Ales Kotalik. The move entails Gaustad moving from center to left wing, and will mean more ice team and probably more scoring chances.