is what I've got in mind.
I'm away until roughly July 9th, at which point the entire NHL landscape will have changed. A few notes, both major and minor:
- Apparently - FINALLY - the salary cap figure will be agreed upon today or tomorrow at the NHLPA executive board meeting - it could go as high as USD$50 million. Last year's cap was at USD$44 million. Prepare for the annual round of logic-defying head-shaking contracts. I expect to get a number of mind-blowing text messages on Sunday when free-agent season begins.
- In another exclusive-rights deal, the Atlanta Thrashers traded the rights to free agent center Keith Tkachuk back to St. Louis for the conditional first round pick they gave up when originally acquiring his useless carcass at the deadline. I can never understand why rebuilding teams would re-sign retreads like this.
- The Hall of Fame committee meets tomorrow and will vote in one of the greatest classes ever, led by Mark Messier. Other possibilities include Ron Francis, Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis, Adam Oates, Igor Larionov and Claude Lemieux. A maximum of four can be inducted each year.
- On the (very) light side, Wayne Gretzky is getting into the wine business in Southern Ontario despite admitting that he doesn't "know a whole lot about wine." Rumours that he plans on hiring Jeremy Roenick, Owen Nolan, and Marty McSorley to pick grapes are unfounded.
Please follow the critical hockey links in the right-hand column below to keep tabs on all goings-on over the next few weeks.