Sharks are my Cup pick, more notes (cont.)
Brad May didn't just have a long NHL career, he apparently has a long memory as well.
May announced his retirement during the offseason after playing over 1,000 NHL games. A rugged player best known as an enforcer, but with enough hockey skills to keep himself employed for two decades, he won a Stanley Cup with the 2007 Anaheim Ducks. This season, he joined the CBC network in Canada as a commentator, and when asked to give an opinion as to who might be the first coach fired this season, he named Lindy Ruff of the Buffalo Sabres.
It's an odd call given that Ruff is the longest tenured coach in the NHL and last season he led the Sabres to the Northeast Division Championship, a title they could well grab again this season.
Could it be grudge-settling time?
May was a Sabres first-round draft pick in 1990 and he gained fame in that city when he ended a 10-year playoff drought by scoring the famed "May Day" goal that pushed Buffalo past the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 1993 playoffs. He played seven seasons with the Sabres before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks. After that trade, there were whispers out of Buffalo that because of chronic shoulder problems, May would likely be "out of hockey" after another season or two.
It apparently didn't sit well with May, who pretty much gave everything he had to the Sabres in his time there and went on to play 15 more seasons in the NHL. While with his home-town Toronto Maple Leafs, he played his 1000th NHL game against the Sabres, going so far as to sit out one game so that the milestone came against his old club.
Years ago, I covered May for the Buffalo News and, later, was in the employ of a network when he had that Stanley Cup run with the Ducks. During that Cup run, he told me and a reporter from Buffalo that he would play in 1,000 games and "would be thinking of you (Buffalo) guys when I do it."
I didn't quite get his meaning at the time, but it's clear now that he resented those "washed-up" whispers. To be fair, I never heard Ruff criticize May or project his demise in the NHL. Yet, with 1,041 NHL games (plus another 88 in the playoffs), 2,248 penalty minutes and a Stanley Cup ring to his credit, one can understand why May might have been steamed.
Things should be interesting when the Sabres are on the CBC network this season and May is commenting from the network's "I"desk.
As we mentioned last week, the Edmonton Oilers put Sheldon Souray on waivers, but opted not to send him to Oklahoma City of the AHL. Instead, they loaned him to the Capitals' farm team in Hershey, Pa.
The thinking is that the Oilers did not want to be responsible for the defenseman's $6-plus million salary cap hit this season, and because of the hard feelings between Souray and upper management, they also didn't want him involved in the development process of their young players in Oklahoma City. That's true, but it's also true to say that the Oilers' goal is to still find a buyer for Souray in the trade market. Rest assured, if a team, perhaps even the Capitals, shows interest at some point, the Oilers will recall and trade Souray. That move will reduce their costs as they would then be responsible for only half his salary while his new team would pick up the rest.
That's a good deal for a hard-shooting defenseman who is excellent at creating points and scoring goals from the point on the power play, and as the season moves to crunch time, some team is likely to take the Souray bait.
As to how long Souray might be with the Caps' AHL team, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said: "I can't say. General managers speak on a weekly basis and if somebody expresses an interest I'll listen."
Tambellini told Edmonton reporters that Washington didn't ask for a specific commitment on how long Souray would be on their farm club and that Souray is "completely comfortable with whatever happens."
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