Proteau’s Blog: Alex the Gone

• Three cheers, major kudos and hosannas all around for Charles Wang’s decision to buy out Alexei Yashin’s contract. And the same goes for Islanders fans who put pressure on Wang to do the deed and deep-six his tennis buddy.

If other fan bases are wondering how to best express their frustrations with their team, this is a textbook case of how to do it.

Now that Yashin is on the open market, it will be mighty interesting to see (a) how many teams will be interested in his services; and (b) the price those teams are willing to pay.

Any GM prepared to offer more than two years and $3 million a season for him will likely be the winner – and should have his head checked.

For the Isles, though, the move means they’ve got a much better shot at retaining Ryan Smyth and/or Jason Blake. And even if neither re-signs, the organization now has precious financial flexibility to make moves this summer and summers beyond.

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Good on them for biting the bullet.

• News that Canada’s Competition Bureau is investigating the validity of the NHL’s franchise relocation policies – at the same time Jim Balsillie is rumored to be interested in moving the Nashville Predators to southern Ontario – is a hell of a coincidence, wouldn’t you say?

Why, it’s almost as if Balsillie had an inkling the league’s territorial boundaries could be challenged. If those boundaries are found to be in violation of federal competition laws, it won’t matter how vociferously the league objects to a third team in the province.

Just another reason for Preds fans to be pessimistic about the team’s future in Tennessee.