Updates on Patrick Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, David Savard, Mats Zuccarello,Ray Emery and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: A grand jury investigation into a rape allegation leveled against Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane has been postponed amid speculation a settlement between Kane and his accuser could be in the works. Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, told Sportsnet he’s hopeful for a conclusion, adding he believes his client is innocent. With Blackhawks training camp starting in less than 10 days, Kane’s status remains in limbo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A settlement could ensure Kane’s return to the Blackhawks lineup, but as Sun-Times columnist Rick Morrissey suggests, a settlement could leave too many unanswered questions. Forbes.com’s Eric Macramalla examines the legal impact of a possible settlement.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets yesterday re-signed defenseman David Savard to a five-year, $21.25 million contract extension, which begins in 2016-17. Savard will earn $4.25 million per season. “The extension will pay Savard $3.5 million in 2016-17, $4 million in 2017-18, $4.75 million in 2018-19, $5 million in 2019-20 and $4 million in 2020-21. It does not include an no-movement or no-trade clauses.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This deal was right around what I expected Savard to receive, and it’s a significant raise over the $1.3 million per season of his current deal . He became the Blue Jackets best all-around defenseman last season. The 24-year-old is still improving and his best years are still ahead of him. This could turn into a worthwhile investment for the Jackets.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly, who was charged earlier this summer with impaired driving and other infractions, apologized for the “unfortunate incident.” He declined to speak further about it, saying the details will come out in his court hearing on Sept. 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly likely faces a fine and perhaps suspension of his license. It remains to be seen if he’ll face additional discipline from the Sabres or the league.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello’s offseason training was affected by the skull fracture he suffered in last spring’s playoffs, but he’s put the injury behind him and expects to be ready for the start of the upcoming season. He claims the injury won’t change his style of play.
NBC SPORTS: With backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy outs 2-3 months recovering from blood-clot surgery, the Tampa Bay Lightning have invited veteran netminder Ray Emery to training camp on a tryout basis.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Brett Ritchie recently underwent wrist surgery and is expected to be sidelined three-four months.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: An unspecified injury will prevent Carolina Hurricanes top rookie prospect Noah Hanifin from participating in an upcoming prospects tournament in Traverse, Mich. Hanafin is expected to be ready for the club’s training camp on Sept. 18.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings have hired former NHL player Brantt Myhres as their new player assistance director. Myhres NHL playing career was ended by a lifetime ban over failed drug tests. He’s since been clean and sober for over seven years, studied substance abuse behavioral heath at Mount Royal University in Calgary and has been keen to establish an in-house program to assist players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the wake of recent incidents involving Slava Voynov and former Kings Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll, this could be a wise move by Kings management.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Could the city of Pittsburgh get a cut of the potential sale of the Penguins?
TSN.CA: The return of the World Cup of Hockey isn’t seen by the players as a replacement for the Olympics.
RDS.CA: According to Quebec premier Philippe Couillard, participating in bringing an NHL team to Quebec City is not among the province’s priorities. Media giant Quebecor is currently bidding for an expansion franchise.