– The Devils have traded F Jamie Langenbrunner to the Stars for a conditional 3rd-round draft pick. The pick could be as high as a 2nd-rounder if the Stars win a playoff round or ink Langenbrunner to an extension before July 1, but in that scenario, the Devils have to also give Dallas their 2012 3rd-round pick. Langenbrunner, a 2nd-round draft pick of the Stars back in 1993, has formally agreed to waive his no-trade clause to return to Dallas. He has four goals and 14 points in 31 games this season on a dismal New Jersey team, but could line up as a top-six forward in Dallas. Langenbrunner is an impending UFA.
– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (mild concussion) is expected to miss about one week. The club will not confirm it, but the injury is very likely to have occurred when Crosby was hit by Capitals’ F Dave Steckel at the Winter Classic. He currently leads the league with 66 points and he was on track to score more than 60 goals this season.
– Capitals’ F Alex Ovechkin (left wrist) received a cortisone shot on Tuesday and wore a non-contact jersey on practice Thursday. It’s unclear when he may have suffered the injury, but it could attribute to his slowed goal-scoring pace this season.
“Yeah, I’m going to be OK. Bruce (Boudreau) just gave me some skating, so no puck-handling or nothing. He just told me to be here and relax and be ready for Saturday.”
– According to the Columbus Post-Dispatch, Blue Jackets’ D Mike Commodore took some swings at coach Scott Arniel. He was placed on waivers yesterday, less than a week after he approached GM Scott Howson and requested a trade.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in Columbus. I liked being there.. I like the guys. I like the front office. I love the fans and the city. I love being there. But I’ve been scratched in seven of the last eight games. We’ve got guys going down with food poisoning or the flu, and I still can’t get into the lineup.
“I’ve sat quiet and I’ve worked my (butt) off all year. I haven’t said anything, while Arniel has gone to the media and said, basically, that I can’t play. It gets to the point where I have to have some personal pride and I have to stand up for myself.”
Commodore practiced with the Blue Jackets yesterday perhaps for the final time. Before they took the ice in a suburban Anaheim, Calif., rink, Commodore said he addressed his teammates in the dressing room.
“I didn’t want (the trade request) to be a distraction. I wanted them to know that in no way, shape or form does me asking for a trade have anything to do with them. I have a lot of great relationships. I’m on great terms with everybody in that dressing room.
“They were fine. They all knew what I told them was true. And, to be honest, I think a lot of them agree with what I’m doing.”
Arniel said Wednesday that his decision to scratch Commodore in recent games “is not personal. It’s about hockey skills.” He reiterated that yesterday, but Commodore disagreed.
“I think it is personal. He says it isn’t, but I have some serious doubts. I was playing well before I was scratched. That trip (to western Canada) might have been one of the better road trips I’ve ever had, and then we get back and I get scratched.
“For him to say I can’t even crack the lineup on a team that it would be one thing if we were in first place. But for a team that’s up and down, I just don’t buy it. Sorry.”
Commodore signed a 5-year/$18.75M contract with the Blue Jackets on July 1, 2008. It included a no-trade clause the first two years, but that has since been lifted. It won’t be easy for Howson to trade Commodore, both because he’s owed $3.5M next season and $3.35M in 2012-13, and the two-plus years remaining. Several NHL clubs would not be able to fit Commodore under the salary cap even if they wanted to acquire him via trade.
“I still feel like I can play. Sitting the press box, I’m not helping anybody. This is a lose-lose situation.
“You have your highest-paid defenseman sitting in the press box and you refuse to put him in.
“It was frustrating at first. I’m not letting it frustrate me anymore. I just don’t know what it is. (Arniel) wants me out of here.”
– Bruce Miles of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports that the Cubs are close to acquiring Rays’ RHP Matt Garza for RHP Chris Archer, SS Hak-Ju Lee, OF Brandon Guyer and C Robinson Chirinos. An announcement is not imminent just yet because physicals still need to be taken and negotiations may still be taking place, but “that is the package,” according to the Daily Herald. Garza, 27, finished with a 15-10 record, 3.91 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 204 2/3 innings this year in the American League East. He would do quite well with a move to the NL Central, though the Cubs are basically depleting their farm system to land him.
– LHP Andy Pettitte told Brian Costello of the NY Post on Thursday night that he wants the Yankees to “just go on” without him. It sounds like Pettitte is struggling with his decision on whether to retire or return for a 16th major league season. “I’m just chilling out, hanging. I’m relaxing. If I had something, y’all would know. If I knew exactly what I was doing, y’all would know.” The Yankees are said to be offering a 1-year/$12-13M deal. This saga probably won’t reach its conclusion for another few weeks.
– Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the SS Edgar Renteria will make $2M guaranteed on his 1-year deal with the Reds. Renteria can also earn another $1M in performance-based bonuses. While he’s coming off a World Series MVP award last season, he will turn 36 in August of 2011 and batted just .276/.332/.374 over 243 at-bats in 2010. The Giants’ highest offer to him was for $1M and did not include performance-based incentives.
– According to the Denver Post, the Broncos are no longer planning to interview Stanford’ coach Jim Harbaugh. The Broncos have been just a “backburner” team all along, and were never really considered legitimate contenders to sign him, but it now looks as if they’ve come to that realization and are moving on to more realistic candidates. Per CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, there were no late-night talks between Harbaugh and the 49ers, as initially reported. The Niners’ offer of roughly $5M per season still stands. Stanford now looks like the team to beat in the Harbaugh chase.