NHL Notebook


Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kyle Wellwood is trying to shrug off yet another injury.


Wellwood breaks bone in foot

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kyle Wellwood is trying to shrug off yet another injury.

The 25-year-old, who can become a restricted free agent July 1, broke a bone in his right foot during a workout two weeks ago with a trainer.

“I was playing indoor soccer and (my foot) sort of cracked,” Wellwood said. “We went to the hospital and they said there was a crack in the foot.”

Wellwood said he quickly made the trip to Toronto to see the Maple Leafs’ physicians.

“I should have a full recovery (by camp),” said the five-foot-10, 180-pound Wellwood. “I’ll have a cast on for the next four or five days and then I’ll get a walking boot for a few weeks.”

It’s the latest injury for Wellwood, who has been criticized for his fitness levels in the past. He suffered a sports hernia two years ago and underwent surgery this year for groin problems.

After being limited to 59 games last season and 48 in 2006-07, Wellwood is anxious to put the injuries behind him and put his career back on track.

“It’s bad luck,” he said. “It seems to happen to people in bunches. You just ride it out and wait for things to turn around.”

Jokinen a popular rumour

The name most often mentioned at last season’s NHL trade deadline was Florida Panthers centre Olli Jokinen.

A trade never happened.

Now, leading into next week’s entry draft, Jokinen is the centre of attention again.

“We have absolutely no role in this process,” Jokinen’s agent, Mark Gandler, told the Miami Herald. “He’s not even talking about it. The Florida organization has to do what it thinks is best for them. If Olli is traded, then that team wants him, and he’ll play for them. If the Panthers want him, great. He doesn’t have much choice in this matter. He signed a contract, and he is going to live up to it.”

The 29-year-old scored 34 goals and 37 assists in 82 games last season, his seventh with the Panthers.

At least a dozen teams have made inquiries about Jokinen, including the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks.

“He’s no different than any other player,” Florida GM Jacques Martin told the Herald.

“As a general manager, you’re always looking to improve the club. There have been no specific talks about him, but I’ll be talking to other general managers and see where teams want to improve themselves.”

Stuart may stay in Hockeytown

The Detroit Red Wings added depth on the blue-line in February by acquiring Brad Stuart from the Los Angeles Kings.

And now, after playing for four teams — the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles and Detroit — in the past two seasons, the veteran would love to find a permanent home.

“That would be nice,” Stuart told the Detroit News.

But while Stuart would love to return to Motown and the Wings would like him to return, it could come down to the bottom line. This past season he earned $3.5 million US.

“A determining factor has to be money,” Wings general manager Ken Holland told the News. “I’ll make an offer and see where it goes.

“People take less (money) because they want to be here. That’s the reason we win. You have a group of players that like to play with other good players, are prepared to sacrifice financially, and sacrifice ice time.”

Holland said he expected to make an offer to Stuart’s agent, Pat Brisson, within the next 10 days.

“My indications are that Stewie is prepared to make some sacrifices,” Holland said.

All eyes on Malone

One of the top free-agent wingers potentially available on July 1 is Ryan Malone of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Malone’s agent, Mike Liut, spoke with Penguins general manager Ray Shero earlier this week and expects to speak more before next week’s draft, as Malone inches toward unrestricted free agency.

“Not much was exchanged,” Liut told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“We talked briefly during the regular season, too. They have a lot of free agents. They have a (salary) cap they have to deal with. They have a lot of things to think about. They have some really good young players there.

“One of the hallmarks of the new (collective bargaining) deal is sometimes you have to pick and choose. (The Penguins) are in the process of doing that.”

Malone, who is the son of former Penguins star Greg Malone, may or may not be willing to offer up the hometown discount.

“We don’t know what the discount is,” Liut said. “We do our homework and look at possibilities out there, see where opportunities are. But where you’re playing and who you’re playing with is important.

“When you challenge for the Stanley Cup, it’s hard to get back. It’s tough to win the Stanley Cup. That’s why you play hockey. Right now, he’s a Pittsburgh Penguin. If it gets to July 1, you start to look around. (The hometown discount) plays in, but if July 1 comes around, you have to make decisions.”

Torts was tough on the kids

Vinny Lecavalier has a lot of respect for recently fired Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella, but he also knows there were times this past season where the young players weren’t used to Tortorella’s aggressive coaching style.

“He was very tough on young players,” Lecavalier, 28, told the St. Petersburg Times.

“His emotions sometimes made it difficult. I’m not saying that in a bad way. That’s the type of coach he is. He is very aggressive, very emotional and very into the game.”

Lecavalier was just 20 years old when Tortorella was brought aboard as coach.

They’ve gone through good times and bad times together over the years.

“We’ve had our differences, but that’s how it is,” Lecavalier said. “You’re not always going to agree with the coach and the coach is not always going to agree with players. I’ve had tough years with him, but our relationship the past few years is not even close to being when I started.”

Lecavalier has yet to speak with Tortorella since he was fired last week.

He’s not sure if he will.

“You never wish that on anybody,” Lecavalier said. “But things happen. It’s part of the business. And with new ownership coming in, maybe to have a different type of coach, a different philosophy. I don’t mean the old one or new one is better, but sometimes change is good.”

He said it:

“I can call Darryl Sutter, the general manager, to ask for permission to talk to Darryl Sutter, the coach.”

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, joking about his interest in Sutter, his former coach in San Jose, as the new Kings coach. Sutter is now GM in Calgary.

Ice chips:

New York Rangers defenceman Michal Rozsival was scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a labral tear in his left hip. Recovery time is expected to be four to six weeks. . . . The Anaheim Ducks re-signed goaltender Jonas Hiller and centre Andrew Ebbett on Wednesday to two-year contract extensions. Hiller, 26, was 10-7-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average in 23 games with the Ducks last season. Ebbett, 25, played in 74 games last season with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in Portland, where he recorded 18 goals and 54 assists for 72 points.

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