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Archive for August, 2011

Aug
08

Another former NHLer hoping to get back into the league next season is right wing Owen Nolan. The 39-year-old has played 18 seasons in the NHL and most recently with the Minnesota Wild but couldn’t get so much as a tryout with a team until he was offered one last week by the Vancouver Canucks.

Hoping to extend his career in the league, Nolan decided that rather than be discouraged, he’d set out to prove himself. Instead of retiring, he went to play in the Swiss League to prove he still has what it takes to win in the NHL.

“It was tough but I wanted to stay in shape and hopefully get a phone call where I could come back and help a team,” he said. “That didn’t happen. But I’m still not ready to say I’ve had enough. I have plenty of fire left.”

Nolan plans to make the most of this opportunity. Should the Canucks cut him at the end of September’s training camp, he hopes other teams might be interested. Although Brendan Morrison and Peter Schaefer failed to wow during tryouts last summer, they were both signed. Nolan is encouraged by that.

“They are not just inviting me up to waste time. They are bringing in players who they really believe could help the team. I’m very excited to get this opportunity and give them my all.”

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Aug
08

Last spring, it looked as if goalie Ray Emery’s career in the NHL was over. However, what a difference a year has made. The one-time starting goalie has had a miraculous recovery from avascular necrosis – a normally career-ending condition whereby the ball of his hip joint became deprived of blood and died. A year after surgery and a successful albeit long and painful rehab, the 28-year-old has been given the opportunity to shift his bid for an NHL comeback into high gear thanks to a tryout offer to attend September’s training camp with the Chicago Blackhawks.

“He’s an amazing character and I think he’s a controversial character,” said Duke University’s Dr. David Ruch, who performed Emery’s surgery. “The guy is an extraordinarily motivated individual. Everybody who has encountered him from our perspective is amazed at the dedication it took. He’s one in a million.”

Emery hopes the Blackhawks think he’s pretty special as well. He has his sights set on backstopping starting goalie Corey Crawford this coming season.

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Aug
08

Surprising news came out of the Shea Weber arbitration hearing last week. This summer, the captain of the Nashville Predators had been unable to reach a contract agreement with his club, so management opted for an independent arbiter to decide the defenseman’s salary for next season.

The 25-year-old wanted a one-year contract worth $8.5 million but his club was only offering $4.75 million – a small increase from the $4.5 million he received last season. By requesting arbitration, the club forfeited its right to walk away from the deal if it disagreed with the arbiter’s decision. That could be viewed as a mistake on the part of Predators GM David Poile as the arbiter awarded Weber a one-year contract worth $7.5 million which, according to capgeek.com, puts the team above the salary cap floor at $48.7 million.

Weber is a restricted free agent and won’t be unrestricted until after the 2011-12 season. Despite the arbiter’s decision, both Weber and Poile say their relationship remains strong and both sides hope to reach an agreement this season to keep Weber in Nashville long-term.

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