Huet transfer movement, Sopel talks Siberia, Fraser grievance, Bickell’s recovery, coaching moves and much more


It appears Cristobal Huet will ride out the final year of his Blackhawks’ contract in Europe again this season.  Huet is apparently in negotiations to rejoin Fribourg-Gotteron of Switzerland’s National-A league for their 2011-12 season.  There had been reports in French and German newspapers indicating Huet was set to join the team for a second season.  However, a statement released by Fribourg-Gotteron on Tuesday stated that a loan agreement with the Blackhawks is not yet finalized.

Should a deal be worked out, Huet would again be teammates with former Chicago Wolves’ winger Simon Gamache.  He’d also have a new one.  Former Blackhawk defenseman and 2003 2nd round pick (59th overall), Michal Barinka has joined Fribourg-Gotteron after time in the Czech and KHL (Yaroslavl) leagues last season.

Despite a strong 2010-11 campaign, Huet was unable to carry a lackluster Fribourg-Gotteron roster above their 22-22-3-3 record, good enough for an 8th place finish out of 12 teams.  Huet did not play well, nor did he get much help, in the team’s brief 4-games-to-none playoff exit at the hands of eventual Swiss league champion, HC Davos.

Fribourg opens training camp this week.  Their regular season begins on the road, September 9th against Jussi Markkanen, Andy Wozniewski, Glen Metropolit; members of EV Zug.

–The Blackhawks will introduce Andrew Brunette and Daniel Carcillo to the Chicago media in a press conference on Monday.  Neither were able to attend last month’s fan convention as both had prior commitments.

Brent Sopel talks to the Montreal Gazette about signing with a KHL team, spurning Canadiens fans on his way out, not getting a call from Montreal this summer and leaving his family behind to continue his career.

“I was going to take the league minimum or take a pay cut from what I was making to stay in the NHL,” Sopel told Dave Stubbs of The Gazette. “But those opportunities weren’t there.”

As we wrote on Friday night, Sopel signed with Metallurg Novokuznetsk for two years.  Novokuznetsk was the worst team (12-38-4) in the 23-team KHL last season and is in Siberia, 2,000 miles east Moscow and also 2,000 miles west of divisional opponent Amur, in Khabarovsk.

Sopel leaves for Russia next Tuesday.  His wife and children are moving from Chicago to Syracuse, NY to be closer to her family while Brent is away.  His wife Kelly wrote a blog about a farm house they bought in Syracuse recently.

Chris Chelios, Gary Suter, Keith Tkachuk, Mike Emrich and Ed Snider headed into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame this fall.  Tremendous class that will be tough to top.  The induction ceremony will be held in Chicago at a date and location to be announced.

Buffalo Sabres will name former Blackhawk center Kevyn Adams associate coach on Wednesday.  [Buffalo News]

–Here’s a little hidden nugget from the Blackhawks’ web site.

Blackhawks.com caught up with Bryan Bickell recently, who said his goal is to match his ’10-11 numbers (17g, 20a) this coming season.  He says he hopes to get back on the ice this month.  Bickell is recovering from an April 25th wrist surgery.

At the time, Blackhawks’ doctors indicated Bickell would need 6 to 8 weeks of recovery.  At this point it is 14 weeks.  When asked if he’d been working on his hockey skills this summer, Bickell responded, “I haven’t really skated yet. I’ll be back on the ice in August.  So nothing as far as skills go yet, but hopefully soon.”

Not sure what you should make of that?  Regardless of when the interview took place (probably at the fan convention), August is still fourteen weeks out from surgery.  Either his recovery hasn’t gone as well as expected, or he’s not in a rush to get back on the ice.  Some players do like to get off the ice for at least a couple months during the summers.  Bickell played in his own golf tournament on July 8th, so you’d assume the wrist was fine then (11 weeks).  Corey Crawford and former prospect Adam Berti were the only Blackhawks to attend the tournament, on “Bryan Bickell Day” in Orono, Ontario.

–LA Kings general manager Dean Lombardi officially filed a grievance with the commissioner’s office late last week over an injury situation with a player acquired from Edmonton in the June 26 Ryan Smyth trade, former Blackhawk center Colin Fraser.  Reports state Lombardi does not wish to void the trade, feeling Fraser can be a useful player on the Kings’ fourth line once healthy, but is looking for “some sort of relief” as Fraser arrived in Los Angeles with an ankle injury that worse than, as Lombardi claims, the Kings were led to believe before the trade.  Once Fraser was evaluated by Kings’ physicians after the trade, it was determined Fraser’s ankle had not healed, would need surgery and he’d miss the start of the season.  The Edmonton Journal report suggest the Kings will argue that the Oilers should have to keep Fraser’s contract on their salary cap until Fraser is fit enough to play for the Kings.  Somehow I don’t see that being the outcome.  The LA Times reported that the Kings and Oilers tried to negotiate an accommodation with the league office and mediator while Fraser got a second opinion on his ankle, but an settlement couldn’t be reached.  Fraser’s second-opinion at a Cleveland clinic first recommended three weeks of rest but after the fracture still didn’t heal, Fraser underwent surgery a week ago.  Kings’ doctors also discovered a cyst on Fraser’s ankle, but the Times reports the cyst was not operated on.  Fraser’s agent Jerry Johansen expressed frustration on behalf of his client, who is probably unfairly caught in the middle of the dispute.  Fraser hurt the ankle blocking a shot on March 29th, against the Kings.  Lombardi claims he was told Fraser would be clear to pass a physical shortly after the late June deal.  Steve Tambellini, the Oilers’ GM, probably assumed Fraser’s ankle would have healed by that point, but didn’t have Fraser reevaluated, three months after the injury occurred.

–It’s amusing to see Kyle Beach and Dean Arsene getting along in the summertime. The two were combatants in a bitter Peoria-Rockford rivalry this past season.  They even dropped the gloves once, on November 27 at MetroCentre, a fight Beach did not fare well in.  Now, they’re training together this summer in Abbotsford.  Beach lives about 45 minutes away from the rink they’re doing these off season workouts.  The two are a part of a group of fifteen who train on-ice fundamentals twice a week in southern British Columbia.  Arsene, 31, signed with Phoenix, so he’s headed to Portland, Maine – the brand new AHL affiliate of the Coyotes.

Jake Dowell gets a lot of credit in Eau Claire becoming a hockey “hot bed” [Leader-Telegram]

Craig MacTavish was finally named head coach of the Chicago Wolves on Monday.  The Canucks/Wolves were aiming for a big hire and they got one of the men they were pursuing.  MacTavish says other than interviewing unsuccessfully for three NHL jobs this summer, he also looked into a KHL job in St. Petersburg and turned down a US-college offer before taking the Wolves’ gig.

–The AHL schedule is still 10-14 days away.  Last year it didn’t come out until August 25th.  Previously it was typically during the first week of August.

John Torchetti’s assistants on the Houston Aeros will be Sebastien Laplante and Mike Van Ryn, former defenseman of the Blues, Maple Leafs and Panthers, whose career was cut short by concussions.  Both have played for Torchetti in the past, Van Ryn in San Antonio and Florida, so Torchetti had input in the hirings.

–Now, Evgeni Nabakov tells TSN that he will attend NY Islanders training camp.

Tony Amonte turned 41 on Tuesday.  Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray turned 49 on Sunday.

–Six years ago Tuesday, the Blackhawks signed defenseman Adrian Aucoin to a 4-year $16 million contract.  Aucoin had played for the NY Islanders before the 2004-05 lockout season.

The Hawks signed Marty Turco a year ago today (August 2, 2010) to a 1-year $1.3 million deal in the wake of Antti Niemi’s one-year $2.75M arbitration award.

–The USA Hockey Under-20 World Junior Championship evaluation camp set to begin this Saturday through August 13th, will be streamed online at the paysite, FASThockey.com.

This is the annual elite international junior tournament Blackhawks’ second-round pick Brandon Saad opted not be apart of.  Goaltender Mac Carruth, forward Kevin Hayes and defenseman Adam Clendening, Justin Holl and Stephen Johns will attend.

Florida Panthers players will see lots of red this season.

–VERSUS will be re-branded at the NBC Sports Network in January 2012.  It will mark the third moniker the network has had since the NHL signed on in 1995, shortly after the network’s inception.

–Have at least $300 and want to own a game-worn IceHogs’ jersey from the 2010-11 season?  The team is doing an auction at the IceHogs Ebay store beginning this Thursday at 8pm central through Wednesday the 10th at 8pm.  A second auction begins on Thursday Aug 11th at 8pm.

Jimmy Jam Hayes talks about leaving Boston College a year early  [IceHogs.com]

Becky Conner is a Blackhawks’ fan.

–Story behind the Michael Jordan statue outside United Center.  Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita will get statues of their own this fall.

–Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler will need 10-12 weeks recovery after having surgery to repair a torn labral in his hip last week.  Kesler sustained the injury in Game 5 of the conference-finals series against San Jose.  After playing through it during the Finals, Kelser had hoped rest and physical therapy, according to Canucks GM Mike Gillis, would be enough to heal the injury.  It was not and he went under the knife.  Ten weeks would put Kesler on track for the first week of the season, but it hasn’t been specified if the timetable is for a return to on-ice training or full-on NHL action.

The Blackhawks won’t see Vancouver until Sunday night, November 6th at the UC.

–Former Blackhawks winger Mike Peluso (the second, less crazy one), has taken an assistant coaching position with the NAHL (Junior-A) Bismarck Bobcats.  Peluso is from Bismarck and is the head coach of his alma mater, Bismarck High Demons.  He took that job in 2008.  As a collegiate player, Peluso put up big numbers as a right wing in the WCHA, gaining All-rookie team honors and three years on the All-WCHA team.  In four years at Minnesota-Duluth, Peluso posted 80 goals, 83 assists and 255 penalty minutes in 153 games.  He was drafted by Calgary in the 10th round of the 1994 draft but went unsigned.  After graduating he signed with the Capitals but was eventually traded to St. Louis before signing with the Hawks on August 1, 2001.  He spent two seasons in the Hawks’ organization, mostly playing in farm affiliate Norfolk, before finishing his career with the Flyers’ organization in 2004.  As a Blackhawk, Peluso scored 4 goals, 2 assists and 19 penalty minutes in 37 games.

This Mike Peluso, who will turn 37 in September, is actually a second-cousin of the identical name, infamous Blackhawks pugilist of the early 90’s, Mike Peluso (118gp, 743 PIM w/Chicago).

The NJ Star-Ledger really fucked this story up. (It’s since been taken down) Not “your” Mike Peluso, guys.  That has to be embarrassing.  The older Mike Peluso is still a scout for the Edmonton Oilers.

–I’m looking for a couple Blackhawks’ writers for this season.  Specifically for game recaps, but also game previews and additional analysis or commentary.  Email for more info and exactly what I’m looking for.

–I’ve been having more problems with my email than I thought.  For anyone who sent me email to the ChrisBlock at TTMI address from about July 23, and I have not responded, you’ll need to resend.  I apologize for this.  My email is all forwarded to the address at the bottom of this post and I don’t regularly check the other inboxes.  But apparently we’re also having email server issues.  So for now just use the following address…

TheThirdManIn@sbcglobal.net

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2 Responses to Huet transfer movement, Sopel talks Siberia, Fraser grievance, Bickell’s recovery, coaching moves and much more

  1. I believe I just finished the sequel to “War and Peace.”

    thanks for the info Chris

  2. The NHL signed onto Versus (then the Outdoor Life Network) in 2005. The network OLN started in ’95.

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