Mark Chipman

Jets owner justifies lockout


Mark Chipman isn’t convinced that the NHL’s new 10-year CBA will solve all the league’s problems; however, the Jets’ owner knew something had to be done – even if it meant another prolonged lockout – to ensure all 30 franchises had a better chance to be profitable.

“We had studied the league very carefully leading up to buying the team,” Chipman told the Winnipeg Free Press on Wednesday. “I came to the conclusion the lockout in 2004-05 created a significant correction in the model but hadn’t gone all the way. There were still big holes and they needed to be filled or the operation of a 30-team league was going to be fiction.”

So…is the NHL fixed now?

“It certainly is a lot closer,” said Chipman. “Is it optimal? I’m not sure yet. Let me put it to you this way, if this doesn’t work by the time the deal expires, I’m not sure what the next step would be. This ought to give all the teams in the league a chance to be viable.”

As for Gary Bettman, Chipman had nothing but good things to say and is “very, very” supportive of the commissioner:

“There wouldn’t be a team in Winnipeg but for Gary and I owe him for that and I always will. I also admire how he handled this very difficult negotiation.”

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.