– Undrafted Swedish G Jonas Gustavsson has shortened the list of teams he is interested to four. Gustavsson’s list includes the Leafs, Avalanche, Stars and Sharks. Gustavsson should visit all four cities shortly, but his mother is seriously ill, and that could prevent him from coming over in the short-term to visit the teams he is interested. Gustavsson is regarded as the best goalie in the world not playing in the NHL.
A 6-foot-3, 192-pound goalie, Gustavsson led Farjestad to the championship of the Swedish Elite League this year. He posted a 1.96 GAA and .932 SV% in the regular season, and said he will jump to the NHL in 2009-10. While he is an unrestricted free agent, Gustavsson would be subject to a “rookie max” salary for one year, at a maximum of $900K. That makes it likely his first NHL contract will be for one season, because after he turns 25 he won’t be subject to entry-level salary bylaws. Unlike traditional unrestricted free agents, Gustavsson can be signed at any time rather than needing to wait for the July 1 start of free agency.
– Devils’ coach Brent Sutter is being rumoured as a possible replacement for the Flames’ head coach job. Sutter has one year remaining on his contract.
– Sharks’ F Jeremy Roenick, a former teammate of Red Wings’ D Chris Chelios when both were members of the Blackhawks, offered a reason why Chelios hasn’t been playing much this postseason – Detroit coach Mike Babcock doesn’t appear to like American players, especially Chelios.
Roenick said on The Monsters in the Morning, “The coach just doesn’t like him for some ungodly known reason, I think he’s got a grudge against American players, but he does not like Cheli at all…There is an underlying, I don’t know if it’s a hatred, because hatred is a strong word. But there is some underlying issue there that I don’t understand. You know Babcock is the coach. You have to respect him for his decisions on who he plays, and that is all well and good”
“Sometimes it’s just the verbal stuff that goes back and forth, from what I understand,” he added. “Cheli will never complain. He is the ultimate professional. He will do whatever the team needs.”
Roenick said he couldn’t repeat some of the things Babcock has said to the 47-year-old Chelios. The defenseman is in his 25th NHL season and has played in only four playoff games this year. His role was limited this season, especially after he fractured a shin bone in a preseason game.
He said, “If you’d know some of the things that Babcock says to Chris Chelios, it would make your stomach churn. Just total disrespect, for not even just one of the best Americans, but one of the best defensemen to ever play the game. The way he is talked to is just unacceptable. I wish I could elaborate, but that’s not proper. It’s just disrespectful.”
Chelios, a Chicago native who was traded from the Blackhawks to the Red Wings in 1999, downplayed Roenick’s comments.
Chelios told the Detroit Free Press, “How does JR know anything—is he playing? The last time I talked to JR was a few weeks ago, and it was about his charity pool party in Vegas. I don’t know what JR is talking about.”
Head coach Mike Babcock said, “I think Cheli and I have a good relationship. I hold him in high regard and I think he’s an important part of our team and he has been for a long time. We bring him back year after year because we feel he’s important. He’s going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and he’s a real important guy for us.”
– F Bobby Holik is retiring from the NHL after playing in 18 seasons, 11 of them with the New Jersey Devils.
“I’m done. I’m retiring,” Holik said. “I miss being with my family every day. I knew when the season ended, but I wanted to leave and get home first, and not make a big deal of it.” Holik finished his career with 326 goals and 747 points in 1,314 regular season games. He also won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils.
– The New York Daily News reports that the Jets will not satisfy RB Thomas Jones’ desire for a new contract.
The Jets have leverage after drafting RB Shonn Greene and will have even more after they extend RB Leon Washington. Jones says he isn’t unhappy with the Jets, but he’s boycotted voluntary workouts to this point. Agent Drew Rosenhaus announced on Twitter that Jones would report next week, but it remains to be seen if that will indeed happen.
– NBA legend Michael Jordan remains sure that he wants to buy a controlling portion of the Bobcats. Majority owner Bob Johnson is looking to sell the team, and Jordan has a minority interest in the Bobcats. The former NBA superstar oversees their basketball operation.
– Grizzlies’ GM Chris Wallace recently had a “cordial meeting” with the agent for Spanish G Ricky Rubio. Contrary to earlier reports, it sounds like Rubio is open to being drafted by the Grizzlies at #2. If nothing else, that gives Memphis more leverage as they look into other options, such as trading up to get F Blake Griffin.
– The White Sox will not rescind their trade proposal for Padres’ RHP Jake Peavy, as it will remain on the table if Peavy changes his mind and waives his no-trade clause.
– The Mariners have offered 2B Yuniesky Betancourt to the Pirates for SS Jack Wilson. The Pirates have turned down the offer. Betancourt remains on the trade block.
– The Cubs have placed RHP Rich Harden (back) on the DL. It’s his 7th DL stint since 2005.
– The Rangers have placed RHP Vicente Padilla (shoulder strain) on the 15-day DL.
– The Rays have placed LHP Scott Kazmir (left quad strain) and RHP Troy Percival (shoulder tendinitis) on the 15-day DL.
– The Orioles have released RHP Adam Eaton.