On negotiations with the Blackhawks on a new contract extension, Sharp said there was nothing new to report. “I like Chicago. I want to stay there,” Sharp told TBNewswire.com. “I’m pretty sure they’d like to keep me as well. We’ll see how things play out.”
–According to the Blackhawks’ roster page at ChicagoBlackhawks.com, Ben Smith has changed his number from #57 to #28…. Alexander Salak will wear #53…. Sami Lepisto does not have a number at this point… In case you missed numbers on the other new Hawks; Steve Montador is #5… Sean O’Donnell is #6… Daniel Carcillo is #13… Andrew Brunette is #15… and Jamal Mayers is #22.
Nikolai Khabibulin wore #53 for one season (before he switched to #39), since #35 he wore in Tampa Bay is retired. Number 13 has only been worn a few times, most recently and prominently by Alexei Zhamnov. Eric Nesterenko, Tim Higgins and Tuomo Ruutu are the biggest names to have dawned #15 now prior to Brunette. Steve Sullivan wore it for a few months in 99-00 before Todd White was dealt to the Flyers. 22 has never lasted long on anyone aside from Grant Mulvey and Adam Creighton.
–Speaking of Sami Lepisto, his godfather is Hockey Hall of Famer Jari Kurri. As for potential numbers for Lepisto, he can’t wear #18 as he did in Phoenix and #4, as he wore in Columbus, is already occupied. He dawned #42 in Washington and has worn #40 and #3 (which is out) for the Finnish national team. Chances are he’ll choose #40, which he wore during his four seasons with Jokerit in Finland’s Elite league.
–On Friday, Brent Sopel signed a two-year agreement to play in Russia. Since the KHL regular season opens earlier than the NHL’s, Sopel will leave to join his new team by August 9th, five weeks sooner than if he were to have signed with a North American team. Sopel’s wife, who if you recall authors her own blog entitled “Life of a Hockey Widow”, blogged about the news today. This is a rough move for Sopel. The team he signed with, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, is in Siberia. Its closest opponent is Sibir, in Novosibirsk, which is about 200 miles away. However, Sopel will also be roughly 2,000 miles from Moscow. Another team in Sopel’s new division is Amur, in Khabarovsk, which is another 2,000 miles east of Sopel’s team in Novokuznetsk. There are no teams in points between Novokuznetsk and Khabarovsk. Needless to say, Amur and Novokuznetsk have trouble attracting top talent to their organizations and it should come as no surprise those two teams were the worst in the KHL last season. Good luck Brent Sopel.
–Rumors persist having Mike Keenan a lead candidate to coach Latvia for the 2012 World Championships in Helsinki and Stockholm. Keenan, 61, has not stepped behind the bench since being let go by the Calgary Flames in the spring of 2009, after the Blackhawks eliminated Calgary in the opening round of the ’09 playoffs.
Wade Flaherty talks about accepting the Winnipeg Jets’ goaltending coach position. [TerraceStandard]
1994 Olympic Gold medalist and former Chicago Blackhawks skating coach, Dan Jansen, no longer skates but is running an orthopedic rehabilitation business in Charlotte, North Carolina. [Argus Leader]
New Blackhawk Jamal Mayers acted as conduit in making his former coach Andy Murray the new head coach at Western Michigan University. Mayers attended and played hockey at Western Michigan from 1992-96. WMU held a record of 88-58-13 during Mayers’ collegiate career. The only NHL’er of note Mayers skated with at WMU is Joe Corvo, and that was for one season, Mayers’ senior year.
The new issue of The Hockey News is out. Jaromir Jagr is on the cover in an action shot with a Flyers’ uniform super-imposed on his body. Above Jagr’s head, THN subtitles the issue the “What the #?@$ Just Happened?” issue.
Fresh Wave – The official deodorizer of the Chicago Blackhawks for the second-consecutive season. [PR Newswire]
Writer in Shawn Thornton’s hometown is bitching because the two-time Stanley Cup winner chose not to “share” the Cup with strangers on his day with it. Thornton claimed a “selfish day.”
Former Blackhawks’ captain and head coach Dirk Graham celebrated his 52nd birthday on Friday. Graham played 546 regular season games in Chicago (1988-95) after being acquired from the Minnesota North Stars in exchange for Curt Fraser. He scored 152 goals, 190 assists and 342 penalty minutes in his seven seasons with the Blackhawks. Graham became the Hawks’ head coach in the summer of ’98 but lasted just 59 games (16-35-8) before being fired. He had never been a coach before and never since. Graham is now a pro scout with the San Jose Sharks.
Blackhawks signed Rene Bourque, an undrafted college free agent, out of Wisconsin University on this day in 2004.
Hall of Famer and Detroit legend Ted Lindsay turned 86 today. Lindsay played in Chicago for three seasons (1957-60) at the end of his career before being away from the game for four years and finishing up with the Red Wings in 1965.
It’ll be six years ago tomorrow, Saturday, that the Hawks sent Travis Moen to Anaheim in exchange for winger Michael Holmqvist. Moen had played one season with Chicago, the year leading up to the lockout, appearing in all 82 games and posting just 4 goals and 6 total points. Holmqvist stuck around the Hawks for two years, playing in 135 games, scoring 16 goals and 33 points. Moen was an integral part of the Anaheim Ducks’ shut-down line in their 2007 Stanley Cup season. Holmqvist has skated in the Swedish Elite League ever since leaving the Blackhawks in 2007.