COLUMBUS - I survived the seven-hour drive from Toronto yesterday, though there were times I felt like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. Mistah (Doug) MacLean, he deadÂ…
Â• If scuttlebutt counts for anything, fans should look for the Blues (three first-round picks and eight total selections in the first four rounds), Canucks (hot to trot for B.C. native Kyle Turris), Oilers (three first-round picks) and Avalanche (four picks in the first two rounds) to be prime dealmakers.
Â• Judging by his angry comments in Friday's Tampa Tribune, Lightning GM Jay Feaster doesn't believe scuttlebutt Â– specifically, about Brad Richards being offered in exchange for a high draft pick Â– counts for much.
But there's no doubt Richards is one of the few movable pieces on a team that has won all of three playoff games in the past two years. Unless Feaster has a drastically different idea of what comprises a dynasty, he's got to break up the Bolts' "big three" eventually.
Â• J-S Giguere did the expected Thursday, re-signing for less with Anaheim than he could've received as an unrestricted free agent. That sound you hear is Ilya Bryzgalov packing his belongings.
Â• Blackhawks blueliner Adrian Aucoin looks as if he's headed to Calgary to help replace departing defensemen Roman Hamrlik and Brad Stuart.
Signed by Chicago after the lockout for $4-million a year, Aucoin was an unmitigated disaster in the Windy City, with just 22 points and a minus-35 rating in two injury-riddled seasons. He's certainly no upgrade on Stuart, but he is the type of hard-nosed leader who can handle playing for harder-nosed coach Mike Keenan.
Â• The Panthers also made a move Thursday, locking up young up-and-comer Nathan Horton for $24 million over six years.
Understandably, Horton told the Miami Herald he was ecstatic.
Â“This is where I want to be, this is where I want to play,Â” said Horton, a native of Welland, Ont., who had been rumored to be one of the players possibly in line for a restricted free agent contract tender from another franchise. Â“I don't ever want to go back to Canada.Â”
He doesn't want to ever go back to Canada?
Sounds like Horton would be the ideal candidate to head up the NHL's franchise relocation committee.