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Old 06-24-2007, 10:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hurricanes, Flyers discussing deal for defencemen

Unwanted Pitkanen rumoured to be on his way to Carolina

Jim Matheson, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, June 24, 2007

COLUMBUS - There were no major trades made Saturday after two goalies -- Tomas Vokoun and Vesa Toskala -- moved Friday, but you can bet the Hurricanes and Flyers are talking about defenceman Joni Pitkanen, who's fallen out of favour in Philadelphia.

The two teams have had a trade pipeline for years (Carolina GM Jim Rutherford and Flyer counterpart Paul Holmgren are tight) and the Hurricanes need a D-man.

"We're looking to mix things up defensively," admitted Rutherford. The Flyers might like to take a more experienced blue-liner back, like, say, Niclas Wallin. Or maybe they'd like one of the game's good guys, Mike Commodore.

The Edmonton Oilers have always liked Pitkanen, too, but they've apparently cooled on him after some background checks.


The Montreal Canadiens took a delightful kid, P.K. Subban, a defenceman from Belleville in the second-round, with the 43rd overall pick.


"Penalty-killer," laughed Subban, who's full of confidence. "I'm looking to make the Canadiens this year and help them win the Stanley Cup."

Yeah, sure.

When he spotted Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos at the draft, he yelled, "Hey, Nick you were at my camp once." Kypreos shrugged. "Your camp? I think it was the other way around," chuckled the ex-NHLer.


Anaheim GM Brian Burke says he's had calls about backup goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, now that he's signed J.S. Giguere to a four-year, $24-million deal, but he's not liking what he hears.

"They think they're shopping at Zellers," said Burke, who might be able to move Bryzgalov to Phoenix.

Burke says he'd deal a goaltender to a team in the West, although dealing him to the rival L.A. Kings seems a reach.


Carolina goalie Cam Ward remembers the Hurricanes' top pick, Brandon Sutter, hanging around the room when he played for Red Deer of the Western Hockey League.

"He'd be there, filling the water bottles for us," said Ward, of Red Deer coach and GM Brent Sutter's son. Rutherford obviously relied on talent and bloodlines to make the pick, but likes Brandon's character just as much.

"He was picked in the first round but here he was on the second day, down at our (draft) table, shaking hands with three of the kids we drafted," said Rutherford.

In total, nine Sutters have now been drafted -- the six boys, Brian, Duane, Darryl, Brent, Rich and Ron, and Brandon's cousins Shaun and Brett.


John H. McConnell, the Blue Jackets' 83-year-old owner, cannot tell a lie. In his introduction to the draft Friday, he was on the giant screen over the draft tables, saluting the Columbus fans.

"They've been with us, through thick and thin, mostly thin," said McConnell, who's paying the bills for a team that's never made the playoffs. When coach Ken Hitchcock was brought in, McConnell pointedly said, "Here is the man who will save this franchise."


Rick Olczyk, Oilers GM Kevin Lowe's hire to help with contracts and the salary cap, played at Brown University.

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