Sports ownership draws some oddball characters, some of which aren’t always the most … ethical. For every outspoken but ultimately good-for-the-sport rich guy like Mark Cuban there’s an unfortunate case like former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott.
Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli seemed like he was firmly entrenched in that latter group when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended him for 18 months, but Samueli was eventually cleared of the felony charges that prompted his NHL hiatus. Some might hold a grudge for such an embarrassing reprimand, but Samueli told the OC Register that he retains a “great relationship” with Bettman after the ordeal.
With his nearly 18-month suspension from the NHL long behind him, Samueli said he bore no ill will toward Gary Bettman after the league commissioner called the punishment “regrettable” upon lifting it last November.
Bettman reversed field in light of Samueli being cleared of a felony criminal charge of lying to federal investigators in a probe into illegal backdating of stock options at Broadcom Corp., the computer chip-making company he co-founded.
“I fully understood his decision process,” Samueli said. “I have no second thoughts about that at all. The whole event, the way it transpired was as you saw how it did in the newspaper, was pretty bizarre.
“No, I fully understand the reasons why he made his decision.”
This could be a rocky transitional period for the Ducks. With Scott Niedermayer retiring, their blueline is now a barren wasteland compared to the group that won a Stanley Cup not so long ago. Though the team boasts a strong, youthful core with Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Jonas Hiller, the depth positions are a little weak and quite old (don’t expect more than a season or two from aging Finns Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne).
That being said, with Samueli pushing through a tough period and GM Bob Murray showing some solid managerial chops, the future looks pretty solid for the Ducks. I’m not sure if I’m too confident about the team’s chances for making a big impact in 10-11, but it’s not that preposterous in a more wide-open (but still quite competitive) Pacific Division.
By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.
Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.
And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:
LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.
Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.
It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:
The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.
Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.
One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?
Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …
Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.
/paging Jacques Lemaire …
The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.
The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.
According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).
Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.
Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines:
If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.
“I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.
It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.
The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.
Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.
(And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)
Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.
Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?