Another Atlanta Thrashers lawsuit: Owners allege that faulty contract blocked sale, team lost $130M since 2005

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The Atlanta Thrashers are opening a new chapter on the ice thanks in a large part to the changes made by general manager Rick Dudley, but they still face some problems off the ice.

That’s evident in a new lawsuit filed by the Atlanta Spirit, an ownership group behind the Thrashers as well as the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks (although the Hawks aren’t mentioned in the new suit). The Atlanta Spirit filed a $200 million malpractice suit against law firm King & Spalding today, arguing that a “fatally flawed” contract made it impossible for the group to sell the Thrashers in 2005. In that time, they claim that the team accrued loses of more than $130 million, according to Kristi Swartz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

They claim that the franchise’s value has dropped $50 million since ’05, when the Spirit convinced partner Steve Belkin to sell his 30 percent stake in the team.

It seemed like the franchise and ownership group might turn the page when a lengthy lawsuit between the Spirit and Belkin was finally settled, but that apparently isn’t the case. We’re far from legal experts here at PHT, but we’ll pass along updates when some of the bigger news drops, especially if this means that the blossoming young team ends up with new owners.

After all, everyone might want to cleanse their palate after some painfully expensive years.

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.