Former NHL player Wayne Gretzky shakes hands with Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings after the ceremonial opening faceoff as Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils looks on prior to Game Three of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
(June 3, 2012 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Gretzky thinks last lockout eliminated “the big hurdle” to labor peace


Whenever Wayne Gretzky talks hockey, it’s hard not to listen. His achievements as a player have earned him that much.

Lately though, Gretzky has also been one of the few optimistic voices during a lockout that that has led to fan frustration and anger.

Earlier this week he said that he still thinks we’ll have a 2012-13 NHL season. Part of the reason for that is because he believes the greatest gulf between the players and owners is already gone.

“I thought that in 2004 when we changed the structure and went to a salary cap, I thought that was the big hurdle,” Gretzky told Brian Shactman of CNBC Sports Biz. “So, it seems to me that the big hurdle is behind us or sort of in the rear-view mirror.”

Gretzky thinks this lockout has already cost the NHL fans, but he added, “it’s such a great game and these athletes are so good, hopefully we can win back some of those fans that aren’t happy with the current situation.”

Repairing the damage from the lockout is something that the players and owners will focus on eventually, but the first step towards recovery is agreeing to a new CBA.

Hopefully Gretzky’s prediction will come true and a deal will be done in time to salvage the 2012-13 campaign.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?