Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NHL and Hockey Rumors for Dec 24, 2008

In an interview with Russian newspaper Sport Express, Maxim Afinogenov denies that he will leave the Buffalo Sabres in mid-season, but is open to the idea of playing in the KHL after his contract expires. Afinogenov wants to the stay in the NHL, but looking at all offers. "It is probably the worst period in my career, and it is difficult to do anything when you play five minutes a game. But let’s see, the deadline is soon [4 March] and then something should happen." Afinogenov said. Brochu's take: Even Afinogenov recognizes that he will be traded soon. I expect a deal to be made closer to the deadline, which will maximize the return for Buffalo. Source

The Phoenix Coyotes franchise is in serious financial straits, and it's been rumored that the NHL will take over the team. Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes' trucking business has been hit hard by the economic meltdown, and it's been reported that the Coyotes's assets and revenue have been used as collateral for a major loan. Brochu's take: Before everyone calls for the franchise to return to Winnipeg, the existing lease with the city of Glendale pretty much prevents the team from relocating. However, the league is rumoured to be negotiating a change in that lease. Source

According to Rich Hammond of the LA Kings blog "Inside the Kings", the Kings were interested in acquiring Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, but the talks fell through earlier this week. Brochu's take: Khabibulin's strong play of late has made it hard for the Hawks to deal him. But at the same time, Khabby's value has been higher. Remember, he was on waivers earlier this season. Source

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph has played down rumors that he will retire after this season. Instead, he has concentrated on getting his games whenever possible. Source

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