The Tampa Bay Lightning have placed forward Radim Vrbata on waivers. Vrbata had asked, and was given permission to return to the Czech Republic for "personal reason". If Vrbata clears waivers Tuesday, he will likely be assigned to his hometown team in Mlada Boleslav. Vrbata's $3 million a year contract will come off the cap, and the Lightning will not have to pay his salary. However, Vrbata's contract will still be valid, whenever he decides to return to the NHL. Brochu's take: TSN is reporting that Vrbata is citing "confidence" issues, but the Tampa.com blog has an insider's look on the situation and it is definitely sounds like personal reasons. (His wife being 5 months pregnant is a major point). Source
The Lightning have also placed forward Chris Gratton on waivers. Brochu's take: The Bolts are well on the way to having the NHL record for most different players on a team in a season.
The Buffalo Sabres have denied a report in Western New York Hockey magazine that majority owner Tom Golisano is looking to sell the team. Minority owner Larry Quinn has quelled the speculation, but admitted that "four or five" teams of people have called to ask if the franchise was indeed on the block. There's rumors that Canadian billionaire Jim Balsille may be one of the groups trying to land the Sabres. Brochu's take: Is there a time when a team is rumored to be for sale, that Balsille is not interested?? Source
According to the Puck-rakers blog on the Columbus Dispatch website, several scouts from NHL teams were watching the Columbus Blue Jackets-Los Angeles Kings game on Saturday. Two scouts for the Boston Bruins watched, as did one each from the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers. Brochu's take: The Stars, Preds and Hawks are probably studying their divisional rivals, but the Bruins don't play the BJs until March. The Rangers play the Kings later this month. The Canucks don't play either team until 2009. Source