Ken Holland is pushing forward with his idea for a new overtime format and plans to table it next month at the GMs meeting in Toronto.
The respected Red Wings GM wants to expand overtime to eight minutes from the current five: 4-on-4 for four minutes and 3-on-3 for the remaining four minutes. He also wants to ensure better ice quality for the extended overtime by having the ice scraped (not flooded) after regulation time.
He pushed the original concept this past March at the GMs meeting, and while it didn't fly at the time, Holland believes it's growing on fellow GMs.
"I think there's a groundswell of support," Holland told ESPN.com.
I like it, too. Too many games were decided by shootouts last season and this would ensure more results would come from a more traditional fashion. The shootout would remain, but wouldn't be used as frequently. And besides, 3-on-3 hockey is a lot of fun to watch.
Red Wings' roster issues
Well, here we go again. The Detroit Red Wings dressed only 17 skaters for Saturday's game at Phoenix, one below the CBA-mandated 18.
The problem is the Wings don't have enough cap room to call up a player; they used up the rest of that room with Doug Janik's call-up this past week. The only way for the Wings to call up a player now is if one of those injured players goes on long-term injured reserve, in which case the Wings could go over the cap. The problem is, any player on LTIR has to be out a minimum of 10 games and 23 days. Right now, the Wings don't believe any of their injured guys will be out that long.
So like New Jersey on Monday and Wednesday, Detroit had to ice a lineup that's below the mandated 18 skaters and two goalies. The Wings can get away with it because this would be considered an "emergency" situation as defined in Section 16.4b of the collective-bargaining agreement.
The fact is, despite all the attention the Devils got for this last week, a source told ESPN.com on Friday that teams have iced less than 18 skaters "six or seven times a season" since the lockout, it just hasn't got this much attention before other than when Calgary did it in 2008-09.
As for the Devils, the league believes they complied with "emergency" circumstances as defined in the CBA. Having said that, I'm told the league would have been troubled had the Devils continued it for a week or more and would have leaned on them.
The NHL Players' Association has serious issues with the language regarding this rule and I think it's an issue it wants to clean up for the next CBA. But for now, there's really not much the union can do. After all, the Devils' players were OK with playing with a shortened bench; it was better than having a teammate sent down for nothing other than cap reasons.
Thornton's new deal
As I hinted at last week, Joe Thornton indeed re-upped with the Sharks on Saturday. He left some money (but especially term) on the table by not exploring free agency on July 1, but he doesn't care. He told Sharks GM Doug Wilson he wanted to sign a deal that helped the Sharks stay competitive. At three years and $21 million, it's a small pay cut from the $7.2 million he's making under his expiring deal.
"Joe's life is in San Jose, and that's his team," brother/agent John Thornton told ESPN.com on Saturday. "He didn't want to even think about going somewhere else."
"No better place to play in the league," Joe Thornton told ESPN.com via text Saturday.
Believe me, a center of Thornton's stature on the open market is looking at between $8-$9 million a season and six to eight years in length. He gave the Sharks a break here.
"This is where the players truly step up for their organization and their teammates," Wilson told us Saturday.
Patrick Marleau could have also played the market last summer, but also chose to stay in San Jose for four years and $6.9 million a year. It's a contract that pays well, but he would have received more term and a bit more salary on the open market (starting with Los Angeles, I believe).
Say what you want about the Sharks, who continue to search for their first championship, but the actions of Thornton and Marleau, and even Joe Pavelski (four years, $16 million), speak volumes. The Sharks don't like the kind of long-term deals that have permeated across the league and have still been able to re-sign their core players without having a single contract go past the 2013-14 season.
"I take that as the greatest compliment," Wilson said of his core players playing ball with him on contracts.
Thornton's contract breakdown: $7 million salary next season plus a $1 million signing bonus; $6 million for 2012-13 season and $1 million signing bonus on July 14, 2012 (the birthday of Thornton's newborn daughter, Ayla); $6 million for 2013-14 season.
The clever thing here is, should there be a lockout in 2012-13, Thornton has $9 million guaranteed in the bank before then.
The latest on Souray
Sheldon Souray made his AHL debut with Hershey on Friday night, picking up an assist and posting a plus-3 rating in a 7-1 rout over the Binghamton. He likely hopes it was the first of not too many nights in the minors. Here's what I'm told the Edmonton Oilers are thinking at this point:
1. Do they eventually put him on re-entry waivers and live with paying him half of the remainder of his contract once another team picks him up at half the price?
2. Or do they continue to wait to make a hockey deal, which they've been doing for more than a year, and perhaps not move him until June, when he's suddenly more attractive to teams because he only has a year left on his deal?
I'm told the New York Rangers are mildly interested in Souray, but likely the only route for them is via re-entry waivers, where he'd come at half the price of his $4.5 million salary (his cap hit is actually $5.4 million this season and next).
Several reports since last summer have also linked the Columbus Blue Jackets to Souray, but two sources told ESPN.com this weekend that as of now, the interest isn't there from the Jackets. Of course, that could change.
It sure will be interesting to see what develops on the Craig Anderson front in Colorado. He's eligible for unrestricted free agency July 1, and other than a brief chat between agent Justin Duberman and the team during training camp, real contract talks have not yet begun.
My question is, what's Colorado waiting for? I understand the Avs were busy with re-signing Chris Stewart and Peter Mueller in early September, but the longer they wait on Anderson, the more money it's going to cost them. Last season, the dude proved he's a stud goalie. He made more saves than any other NHL goalie and should have deserved more serious consideration for the Vezina Trophy. His 41-save performance Friday night in New Jersey was further proof.
His cap hit is $1.812 million, meaning he's in for a nice raise. But I suspect he also doesn't want to leave Colorado, the first team to give him a starting gig. Still, if I'm Colorado, I'd get on this sooner rather than later.
The UFA defenseman has an important doctor's visit this upcoming week, which will determine his progress after ACL surgery in late June. He had the same surgery as Andrei Markov, but four weeks later. Teams struggling on the power play should be keeping an eye on this guy. The offensive blueliner had 13 goals last season for the Habs and was an important part of the team's second-ranked power play. His defensive deficiencies are obvious, but he's produced double-digit goals from the point four times in his career. He'll come at a bargain-basement price, too.