The lockout and not making the playoffs didn't help the Devils' shaky financial situation. (Elsa/Getty Images)
By John Rolfe
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Now that the Coyotes are ensconced in Arizona (for the time being) with new owners and an All-Star Game on the horizon, the ongoing saga of the New Jersey Devils can take center stage. Tom Gulitti reports that the Philadelphia 76ers' ownership group is now making a bid to buy the struggling franchise, which is $230 million in the red.
• Meanwhile, Forbes is reporting that the Devils will likely end up a ward of the NHL. Apparently, one potential new owner got a close look at the books and said, "Thanks, but no thanks, baby, I've already got more trouble than I need." Commissioner Gary Bettman has denied that the league is about to step in, but a sale may be near.
• The Devils will play their cross-river rivals the Rangers outdoors at Yankee Stadium on January 26 as part of the two-game Stadium Series that will feature all three New York metro area teams. Here's a preliminary look at what the rink set-up will look like, courtesy of Newsday's Arthur Staple.
• Terry Gregson's successor as the NHL's Director of Officiating is a familiar face, especially to Blackhawks fans. You may recall this little episode in May.
• Speaking of the Blackhawks, NHL.com's 30 in 30 series takes stock of the reigning Stanley Cup champions, who will return mostly intact from their summer of partying with the chalice (Michal Rozsival had a beery nice time with it), hopefully without too severe a hangover. They'll also have an intriguing x-factor when they hit camp.
• Trades surely make being a GM a cold-hearted business. Hockey Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour, who now runs the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs, just traded his son, in a package deal ... for a 12th round draft pick.
• Speaking of trades, the world's commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Wayne Gretzky-to-LA deal continues with looks at how that epic deal changed lives, not the least of which was Jimmy Carson's. The 20-year-old Kings phenom who was the plum in the package that the Oilers received for the Great One had a brief, turbulent stay in Edmonton. Never any pressure when you're succeeding a legend, right?
• Jason Spezza spoke out about life without Daniel Alfredsson and possibly succeeding the former Senators icon as captain. Here's his Q&A with Bruce Garrioch.
• If you're still in the mood for a good barroom debate, (yesterday's topic was Gretzky vs. Crosby) try deciding who was better in his prime: Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur?
• The NHLPA has managed to thwart the NHL's attempt to further reduce the size of goaltenders' thigh pads, clearing the way for netminders to gear up for the coming season.
• The annual Teemu Selanne Watch is apparently going into overtime. The Arctic Ice Hockey blog looks at the possibility of the 43-year-old Finnish Flash making an emotional return to Winnipeg. It would be a nice story, but then again, it's worth pondering this sobering reminder that many notable old vets have gone out with a whimper.
• Team USA is holding it National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, the site of a bit of Olympic hockey history. Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News has a nice piece on the rink where the Miracle on Ice took place and how it's still much the same as it was in 1980. Having visited it in recent years, I can attest to how the place can give you chills, and not because of the ice.
• Steve Ludzik, 52, spent parts of nine seasons in the NHL as a grinding forward with the Blackhawks and Sabres. He suffered at least six concussions and though his doctors can't prove it, they agree with his suspicion that head injuries are at the root of his Parkinson's Disease
. Now 52, Ludzik has become an advocate of removing hitting from minor hockey.