Sorry for the long delay between blogs, but those days are almost over. I have just finished the last of five stories that I had on my plate this week before I take the last few remaining vacation days I have left. Then it’s the start of training camp and non-stop until April – or beyond?
Despite the title of the last blog, about four goaltenders in the mix at training camp, there are now five. As Kevin Allen of USA Today first reported, and I have since confirmed myself, Manny Legace will be invited to camp for a pro tryout. There are other players that will get a pro tryout – namely Dan Fritsche and Mark Popovic. Don’t be surprised if they are one or two others.
Just to keep you updated on the Ilya Kovalchuk negotiations. They are on hold for the moment. Don’t be alarmed. Both sides are waiting for Kovy to return to the states to continue the talks. Like I had in my last story, there doesn’t appear to be any major roadblocks at the moment.
I spent some time with Waddell on Wednesday reporting on a couple stories about his extensive autograph collection. I wrote a story that will appear later in the month. The man has one huge and impressive collection, most of which we obtained by himself as a fan. He has plenty of hockey stuff. Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Stan Makita, Wayne Gretzky, Brendan Shanahan, the list goes on. However, he also has over 200 baseballs with Hall of Fame signatures, Julius Erving on a basketball, Joe Montana on a football, many jerseys. He has the first Thrashers jersey wore by Kovy and Dany Heatley. Anyway, that story will run later in the month.
I did use the story of how he got the jersey he wore for the L.A. Kings in the one career NHL game he played in 1980-81 for my Sunday notebook. Look for that.
I know you guys are hungry for hockey but I did my best to keep you informed throughout the summer – all while covering quite a number of different sports and events. That will change in a week. It will be all hockey, all the time. It starts with interviews on Sept. 11, team physicals on the 12th and the first on-ice practice on the 13th.
I’m coming up with a list of the top five things to watch for during training camp. Of course, we have the goalie situation and how it falls out. The Kovy negotiations. How Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina fit in? Will Evander Kane make the team? Can the team build off last season’s late success?
What things will you be looking for?