Weekend wrap: Sturm fallout, Rangers looking at Richards and drama in Toronto
So, what the heck happened with that Marco Sturm trade, anyway?
Well, here’s what we’re told happened. The Los Angeles Kings realized the time frame for Sturm’s return from knee injury was about a week later than they previously thought, so the deal got scuttled. Whether the deal eventually goes through depends on who you talk to. Some sources connected to the deal say yes, others say no. It’s up in the air at this point.
Sturm, who has a no-trade clause, signed a consent form to accept a trade to Los Angeles. In the meantime, medical staffs from both teams have exchanged information on the player, so the Kings have an up-to-date picture on Sturm’s injury. If and when the trade goes through, it would still be contingent upon Strum passing a physical. The Bruins would get a conditional pick in return.
Board of governors meetings
My pal and ESPN.com colleague Scott Burnside will be covering the NHL’s board of governors meetings Monday and Tuesday in Palm Beach, Fla., this week. He’ll have details on the agenda Monday in his Five Things, but I wanted to pass along this nugget.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has traditionally hinted at the annual gathering what next year’s salary cap will be based on current revenue projections. A source told ESPN.com on Saturday that will again be the case this week and next year’s cap is expected to “up modestly.”
It might surprise some that the cap isn’t expected to go down given all the empty seats in places like Phoenix, Dallas, Florida, Long Island, Atlanta and Columbus. But the league has seen growth in other areas, particularly in new media and most relevantly in the Canadian dollar. The Canadian and U.S. dollars have essentially been at par all season long, and with the six Canadian teams representing between 30-35 percent of league-wide team revenues … well, you get the picture.
If the Canadian dollar was back down to 70 or 75 cents U.S., revenues for Canadian teams would be lower and the cap would go down.
Brad Richards update
I was told Saturday the New York Rangers’ interest in Brad Richards (set to be an unrestricted free agent July 1) is serious enough that they’re willing to pony up assets before the Feb. 28 trade deadline to make sure he doesn’t go elsewhere should the Dallas Stars decide to put him on the market in order to get value before he leaves. This despite the fact the Rangers could get him July 1 without giving up any assets.
Obviously, the carrot here for Richards, who has a no-movement clause, is his relationship with Rangers coach John Tortorella. The two won a Cup together in 2004 when Torts was behind the bench for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Former Colorado and Atlanta coach Bob Hartley was offered the head coaching job in Lugano of the Swiss League this past week, but told ESPN.com on Saturday he decided to take a pass.
Seguin and the World Juniors
ESPNBoston.com’s James Murphy reported this past week that the Bruins’ front office was thinking about whether they should send rookie forward Tyler Seguin to the World Junior Championship to play for Canada.
Elliotte Friedman from “Hockey Night in Canada” reported during Saturday night’s Bruins-Leafs telecast that the Bruins thought about it and ultimately decided not to send Seguin, who will instead remain with the Bruins.
A week in Leafs Land
What a week it’s been here in Toronto. Let’s start on the ice, where the team continues to flounder. The lowlight was a 5-0 home loss to Edmonton on Thursday in which fans chanted for coach Ron Wilson to be fired and threw some Leafs jerseys on the ice. Ugly.
On Friday, the players got a surprise address from Dave Nonis, the senior vice president of hockey operations. A little different to be sure -- usually only the coach or GM would address the team -- but I think it was wise to have a difference voice after veteran GM Brian Burke addressed the players last month.
According to a Leafs player, the message from Nonis was: “The answer comes from within this room, stop waiting for the answer to come from the outside [via trade]. And a coaching change is not in the works; the players have to provide the solution.”
That’s not to say Wilson won’t ever face the ax, but it’s clear at this point that Burke and Nonis don’t see that as the current solution. Not right now.
Leafs and its ownership
Meanwhile, the Toronto Star dropped a local bombshell earlier in the week with news that Canadian telecommunications giant Rogers Communications Inc. had approached the biggest shareholder in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, to buy its 66 percent share of the mega-sports empire which controls the Leafs, NBA’s Raptors and MLS’ Toronto FC, plus other assets.
Then, on Friday, the CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan broke his silence, saying there had never been an offer from Rogers for its stake in MLSE.
“We have not received an offer for Maple Leaf Sports,” Jim Leech told the Globe and Mail.
Here’s my take: I don’t think the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is aggressively looking to sell its share, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.
“It’s a pension fund,” an MLSE source told ESPN.com on Saturday. “They made a very wise investment a number of years ago. They will hold onto it as long as they think the enterprise value is growing. If it stalls, meaning it goes down or gets flat growth, they will sell it. Or if they believe they can sell it and deploy those millions of dollars somewhere else that will give a higher return, they will do that as well. So that’s where it’s at. It’s always for sale and it’s not for sale at the same time.”
In the end, though, the MLSE source said there’s really nothing going on at this point. In fact, the Leafs’ ownership situation is not even on the board of governors’ agenda this week.
The Leafs and their CEO
And finally, Richard Peddie made it official over the past week that he’ll step down as president and CEO of MLSE in December 2011. A search firm has begun the process to gather names. A source told ESPN.com on Saturday more than 100 names will be contacted before a short list is produced within a few months. So you’ll hear all kinds of names between now and then, especially given the prestigious nature of the job, one of the highest-profile gigs in North America.
One name another industry source told me to keep an eye on as a possible candidate is Scott O’Neil, president of Madison Square Garden Sports since July 2008. He’s been described a major rising star in the sports business. In his role, he oversees the business operations of the Knicks, Rangers, New York Liberty and Hartford Wolfpack. O'Neil also manages all MSG sporting events, such as college basketball, boxing, etc.