In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news coming out regarding Jim Little’s firing in Ottawa, and the details aren’t pretty. The New York Islanders are struggling and if they miss the playoffs, questions about what they’ll do and who’ll they’ll target. Finally, it doesn’t sound like the New York Rangers will have a busy summer.
Little’s Firing Getting Messy
Reports are now surfacing — likely to refute Little’s statement that he was fired by the Ottawa Senators for using some bad language — that, while his termination was linked to the phone call on Valentines Day, there was far more going on that led to his termination.
For starters, Elliotte Friedman noted on Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast that Senators owner Eugene Melnyk had requested Little stop being so blunt with fans about the status of the Senators organization, including but not limited to the team’s economic struggles. Little apparently “went off” on Melnyk for as much as 10 minutes and others were around to hear the tirade.
Then, to make matters worse, the Senators discovered online posts from Little’s former spouse that alleged domestic abuse charges.
She claims she was the victim of extreme control, along with psychological and at times, physical abuse. The Senators did a background check into Little’s history of these type of outburst after everything took place and decided it was best to terminate his contract. Little is threatening legal action now.
“Given that litigation is imminent, Mr. Little will not be making further public statements regarding these matters at this time,” his attorney said. A comment from the team stated, “The Senators stand by the dismissal and will vigorously defend its circumstances in court, as needed,” Gagnier said.
Rangers to Have Quiet Offseason
In a recent mailbag segment, Vincent Mercogliano of lohud.com and USA Today said he didn’t expect the New York Rangers to be big players in this summer’s UFA market, especially when you consider all they did last summer.
Re-signing free agents like Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, Alexandar Georgiev, and Jesper Fast might be the biggest moves the organization makes and while the team could move someone to make a little more room on the cap, the free agent crop isn’t exactly swimming with the types of players the Rangers really need.
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Senators Could Bring Back Ron Hainsey
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun recently reported the Ottawa Senators are open to the idea of bringing back Ron Hainsey for another season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer and head coach D.J. Smith is pleased with Hainsey’s efforts this season, saying he’ll speak with GM Pierre Dorion about bringing him back.
Coach Smith said of Hainsey’s contribution:
“That’s something we’ll discuss with Pierre, but in saying that he’s done a phenomenal job and he’s done exactly what we brought him here to do, to provide some leadership, some stability and help Chabot grow, and I think he’s done that.”source – ‘SNAPSHOTS: The Senators are open to the idea of bringing back Ron Hainsey next season’ Bruce Garrioch – Ottawa Sun – 03/05/2020
What if the Islanders Miss the Playoffs?
Newsday’s Andrew Gross writes that falling out of the playoffs would be a disaster for the New York Islanders and there is a lot of talk about what the team will do.
One rumored possibility might be that the Islanders show interest in forward and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Taylor Hall. If the Islanders can find the cap room, they might considering making him a significant offer. Finding the room might be the trick part as they have over $71 million invested in 18 players and restricted free agents like Matthew Barzal, Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews are due to see big raises.
Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello would likely have to cut some payroll to make room for Hall, and that could mean a trade this summer before July 1.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”