• A major Toronto daily newspaper has rented an apartment in Pittsburgh for the duration of the NHL season to cover Penguins rookie center Sidney Crosby.
A Crosby "beat" writer has been assigned to cover every game. (Detroit News)
• Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher, who will miss most if not all of training camp while rehabbing partially torn ligaments in his left knee, will start the 2005-06 season out of the lineup for adroitly placing an elbow into the jaw of the Flames' Matthew Lombardi in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals in May 2004. A week after his Red Wings were bounced from the playoffs, he was suspended. Hatcher said he was stunned to hear, upon his signing as a free agent in Philadelphia, that the suspension was still in force. Flyers general manager Bob Clarke talked to the league and was told Hatcher's suspension would not be lifted. (Boston Globe)
• Other than Ilya Kovalchuk, whose situation with Atlanta remains as much a stalemate as ever, 26-year-old Boston defenseman Nick Boynton remains the most attractive Group II free agent on the restricted market. With the B's facing serious cap issues and therefore holding on their $1.33M qualifier after earlier passing on their $1.9M option, the opportunity is wide open for a competing club to come in with an offer sheet to Boynton, an emerging difference maker.
"I've had a number of conversations with GMs who have expressed interest, but I don't think we're at the point yet where it's advantageous to pull the trigger," Anton Thun, Boynton's agent, told Slap Shots on Friday. "Until Oct. 1, teams have a $3.9M cushion on the $39M cap, so that if an offer sheet were made now, the Bruins would have time and that extra space in which to maneuver.
"But once Oct. 1 hits, there's no give in that number. That's when I think both teams and Nick and I will become more aggressive in pursuing that offer-heet option. That's the time when there will be urgency."
An offer sheet of up to $2M would entail compensation of a second-round pick for Boynton, who would be a steal at both those prices. (NY Post)