Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Hockey News Internship

OK so, for those of you who don't know, the whole purpose of this blog is to get used to writing about hockey, mainly for the purpose of sending it to The Hockey News as I try and get an internship with them. About that...

So I sent Jason Kay (the editor of THN) an email last week and he responded by saying he would pass along my email to Edward Fraser. About a half hour later there was an email in my inbox that simply read:

Hey Tim. Glad to hear you’ll be joining the team. What exact date did you want to start and for how long?

So there you have it; the newest member of The Hockey News is yours truly.

I know its been a while since I posted anything, the crappy internet service at my school combined with all the work I have to get done for Thesis is making it rather difficult to find time to work on this. I still need to raise my GPA slightly (I have a 2.47 and need a 2.5) in order to be allowed to do this internship next semester. Its not much but I will be making absolutely sure there is nothing that will get in my way of this opportunity.

So, anyone who doesn't know the whole story, here is what happened. Lou Lamoriello, the GM of the New Jersey Devils, decided to show appreciation to the season ticket holders by offering prizes a few years ago. One of them was a trip to see a hockey game at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, which my mom won on the day of my 20th birthday. any one who knows me well would know that the one thing I have always wanted to do was see an Olympic hockey game in Canada, and here I am being handed this opportunity by a man whose purpose in life seemed to be to frustrate the hell out of Philadelphia Flyers fans.

So, after a year of trying to figure out what games we (my mom, dad, and brother Nick) wanted to go to, what other events to see, and preparing for a very cold week (which never came, seriously, Vancouver in the winter was nicer than Mass in March), there I am at the Olympics. We saw curling the first day, which was surprisingly entertaining by the way, then on the second day the hockey games started. The first game was Russia vs the Czech Republic, which to most was highlighted by Alex Ovechkin obliterating Jaromir Jagr. That was nothing compared to what happened during the fist intermission.

There I am, standing around just enjoying the atmosphere when I look to my left  and, after a double take, notice that Ken Campbell is standing right next me me. Now I saw plenty of famous people at these games, hell the pairs figure skating gold medalists stayed in the hotel room right next to me, and he is the one person I went and talked to. There was on way I was going to blow this chance to meet an established writer and get my name in the inner circle of the hockey world. I found out in an article he write a few days later that the only reason he was there was because one of his childhood friends just happened to be working the scoreboard that game.

Anyway, we're talking about hockey and I mention that I am looking for an internship and my dream job is to work for The Hockey News. He tells me to get in touch with Jason Kay and ask him about it. I don't think I have ever put more though into anything as I did in the letter I sent him, I must have revised it 10 times at least. I hear back from him and, as if that wasn't good enough, he asked me to send him some sample articles, which I did as soon as I got back to school (after watching the gold medal game of course). Fast forward a week or two to Spring Break.

I was expecting this, but it was still a shock when Jason Kay gave me a call one day. We talked for about 15 minutes; about the Olympics, my background in hockey, and what I would be doing if I happened to get this internship with them. He told me to get in contact with him again in the fall and that brings us to right now. I really wish I could describe to you all what this feels like, but those words just haven't been invented yet. Somehow, wicked stoked just doesn't quite cover it.

On a completely unrelated note, the Minnesota Wild's sellout streak has come to an end. Does this strike anyone else as odd? Do preseason games really count for that statistic? I don't think the streak should be stopped because of a meaningless exhibition game. Minnesota may be the State of Hockey, but I think Wild fans may have something better to do on a Wednesday night than watch a bunch a skaters who may not even be on the roster once the season begins and the games actually mean something. If they fail to sellout then, by all mean the streak is over, but for now one of the most passionate fanbases in all of sports still has a sellout streak of 409 games and counting.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

$6.66 M: The Number of the Beast...

...or at least the average cap hit on Kovalchuk's monster 15 year, $100 M contract that was finally approved on September 3.

There has been a lot of talk about the whole ordeal, whether or not this contract was really any worse than Marian Hossa's or Chris Pronger's. Here are Kovalchuk's thoughts on the contract situation. It seems for now that those three players, along with Roberto Luongo and Marc Savard, are safe from investigation for now. The loophole in the CBA was closed, but the issue will undoubtedly be brought up during the next negotiations. Scott Burnside of explains what this means for the salary cap hit:

Under the new guidelines, the salary cap hit of any deal five years or longer that takes a player into his 41st year is calculated on all the years leading up to the year in which the player turns 40. The remaining years, traditionally when the value of the contracts has fallen off the map, would act as their own separate cap hit.
The new ruling means we've seen the end of these so-called "cheat deals" that front-load contracts that take a player well into the retirement zone with payments falling completely off the map to drive down the average cap hit. The league had been warning GMs about those deals for a couple of years, and it finally drew a line in the sand this summer right outside the Prudential Center in Newark.
More information about how this contract will affect the rest of the league can be found on

But what exactly will this mean for New Jersey?

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is either losing his touch or is more of a genius than anyone thought. My vote is on the latter. For nearly two decades, the centerpiece of the team has been Martin Brodeur who is only under contract for two more seasons. He will not be around forever and when he leaves, the Devils will need to find a new identity. They have been a defense first team since they won the Stanley Cup in 1995, but that foundation has slowly been eroding for a few years now. Nevermind that they led the league in goals in 2000-01, they have always won through defense.

The exodus began after the 2001-02 season when grinding center Bobby Holik crossed the river to New York. After each of the next two seasons, major components to their defense would play their last game in Ken Daneyko and Scott Stevens respectively. Scott Niedermayer would leave to join his brother in Anaheim once the lockout ended. Underrated plugger Sergei Brylin left for the KHL two seasons ago. One of the top defensive duos in John Madden and Jay Pandolfo was broken up when Madden wasn't resigned after 2008-09. Pandolfo will not be back in New Jersey next season.  Once Brodeur is gone, the Devils will need to be able to score goals if they want to win.

Enter Ilya Kovalchuk and his six consecutive seasons of at least 40 goals. He only had 10 in 27 games last season after being traded from Atlanta, a pace of 30 goals over 82 games. Should Lamoriello be able to sign Zach Parise long term too, the Devils should be able to roll out two scoring lines. Think about it, Parise had a down year and still scored 38 goals last season. He, along with Travis Zajac who is blossoming into a top points producer should form a formative duo for years to come. Jamie Langenbrunner is getting better with age and Patrick Elias should have a few more 60-70 point seasons in him. According to The Hockey News Yearbook, the Devils have a few strong offensive players waiting in the shadows. They include Mattias Tedenby from Jonkoping in Sweden and Adam Henrique who had 38 goals and 77 points in 54 games for Windsor in the OHL last season.

The Devils appear to be headed towards a new identity as a team, hopefully one that will actually bring fans to The Rock.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Offseason Recap-Pacific Division

The Sharks will continue to be the top team in the division. At least in the regular season.

San Jose Sharks - 3
Key Signings
7/1: G Antero Niittymaki (TB) 2 years
7/31: RW Devin Setoguchi (re-signed) 1 year
8/4: RW Jamal Mayers (CAL)
9/2:  Antti Niemi (CHI) 1 year, $2 M
6/21: 5th round draft pick (2010) from MIN for RW Brad Staubitz
6/24: D Mike Vernace, LW Brett Sterling, and 7th round draft pick (2010) from ATL for future considerations
G Evgeni Nabokov (KHL, SKA St. Petersburg)
D Rob Blake (retired)
C Manny Malhotra (VAN)
RW Jed Ortmeyer
What To Expect
Former captain Patrick Marleau and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov have taken the most amount of heat for the Sharks' playoff failures in the past. GM Doug Wilson opted to keep Marleau after a career high 44 goals last season and let Nabokov head back to Russia. HOwever, with the signings of Antero Niittymaki and Antti Niemi should give the Sharks solid goatending. Niittymaki plays better when the crease is being shared and Niemi brings his Stanley Cup winning experience to California. The Sharks did lose a few key players from last season, captain Rob Blake retired and faceoff ace Manny Malhotra headed to Vancouver. This is still a deep lineup and shouldn't slip too far from last season.

Los Angeles Kings - 5
Key Signings
7/17: C Brad Richardson (re-signed) 1 year
7/18: C Marc-Andre Cliche (re-signed) 1 year
7/18: C Trevor Lewis (re-signed) 1 year
7/18: LW Richard Clune (re-signed) 1 year
7/27: LW Alexei Ponikarovsky (PIT) 1 year
D Sean O'Donnell (PHI)
RW Raitis Ivanans (CAL)
LW Alexander Frolov (NYR)
D Randy Jones (TB)
LW Fredrik Modin
C Jeff Halpern
What To Expect
Other than Alexander Frolov and Sean O'Donnell, the Kings did not lose any significant players from last season. Alexei Ponikarovsky replaces Frolov and while his peak may not be as high, Ponikarovsky offers a much more consistent game. Jonathan Bernier is ready to step into the NHL full time and will challenge Jonathan Quick who set a franchise record for wins with 39 for the starting job. Drew Doughty appears to be ready to own the Norris Trophy for the foreseeable future.

Phoenix Coyotes - 6
Key Signings
7/1: D Derrek Morris (re-signed) 4 years, $11 M
7/1: LW Ray Whitney (CAR) 2 years, $6 M
7/2: C Andrew Ebbett (MIN)
7/26: LW Alexandre Picard (re-signed) 1 year
8/30: RW Lee Stempniak (re-signed) 2 years, $3.8 M
5/13: 5th round draft pick (2010) from CAR for RW Jared Staal
6/26: 4th round draft pick (2012) from COL for LW Daniel Winnik
6/30: C Patrick O'Sullivan from EDM for D Jim Vandermeer
D Zbynek Michalek (PIT)
C Joel Perrault (VAN)
LW Stefan Meyer (CAL)
RW Francis Lessard (OTT)
What To Expect
The man they called The Wizard in Carolina is in the desert and Ray Whitney should help improve the 24th ranked offense from last season. His was the only major addition to a team that will once again be scoring by committee. They lost shutdown specialist Zbynek Michalek to Pittsburgh but Vezina finalist Ilya Bryzgalov should be able to keep the damage minimal.

Anaheim Ducks - 9
Key Signings
7/1:D Toni Lydman (BUF) 3 years, $9 M
7/1: C Saku Koivu (re-signed) 2 years, $5 M
7/21: D Danny Syvret (PHI) 1 year
8/2: D Andy Sutton (OTT) 2 years
8/9: RW Teemu Selanne (re-signed) 1 year, $3.25 M
6/26: 5th round draft pick (2010) from TOR for RW Mike Brown
6/30: RW Jason Jaffray and 7th round draft pick (2013) from CAL for C Logan Man Millan and 7th round draft pick (2013)
7/9: LW Aaron Voros and LW Ryan Hillier from NYR for D Steve Eminger
7/19: LW Thomas Zuborsky from NYR for D Matt McCue
7/30: 3rd round draft pick (2011) from NYI for D James Wisniewski
D Scott Niedermayer (retired)
G Joey MacDonald (DET)
What To Expect
Defense used to be the power of Anaheim, now a team that was once led by Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, and Francois Beauchemin is now headed by Lubomir Visnovsky, James Wisniewski, and Toni Lydman. Jonas Hiller's job this year may be slightly more difficult than it was for Giguere the past few years. Not much has changed up front as the Ducks may struggle to score after their first line of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry.

Dallas Stars - 13
Key Signings
7/1: RW Adam Burish (CHI) 2 years, $2.3 M
7/1: G Andrew Raycroft (VAN) 2 years
7/12: C Aaron Gagnon (re-signed) 1 year
7/16: D Brad Lukowich (VAN) 1 year
7/16: D Maxime Fortunus (re-signed) 1 year
7/16: RW Raymond Sawada (re-signed) 1 year
7/23: LW Fabian Brunnstrom (re-signed) 1 year, $675,000
8/26: Nicklas Grossman (re-signed) 2 years, $3.25 M
C Mike Modano (DET)
G Marty Turco (CHI)
What To Expect
The face of the franchise for 20 seasons, Mike Modano, was let go and headed home to Detroit. With goalie Marty gone as well, the team's chances lie in the hands of oft-injured Kari Lehtonen. GM Joe Nieuwendyk will have a tough time putting a good team together, especially under the tight budget he must adhere to. Whether or not they have a one line attack depends largely on the play of Mike Ribeiro, but even if he has a good season, expect this team to miss the playoffs again while it refinds its identity.

Sources: Free Agent TradeCentre, The Hockey News Yearbook

Friday, 3 September 2010

Offseason Recap-Central Division

Detroit will try to show the Blackhawks they are not yet the best team in the division. The Central Division has a chance to have a few teams make the playoffs next year.

Detroit Red Wings - 2
Key Signings
7/6: LW Drew Miller (re-signed) 1 year
7/7: Patrick Eaves (re-signed) 1 year
7/15: D Derek Meech (re-signed) 1 year
8/4: C Darren Helm (re-signed) 2 years, $1.825 M
8/5: Mike Modano (DAL) 1 year, $1.25 M
8/9: D Ruslan Salei (COL) 1 year
8/23: LW Justin Abdelkader (re-signed) 2 years
D Brett Lebda (TOR)
RW Jeremy Williams (NYR)
What To Expect
You know you have a good team when 101 points and a fifth place showing is considered an off year. Improved health is going to be the biggest factor this season, as evidence by the lack of any major signings. Jimmy Howard looks to be ready to take control of the crease in Detroit, but look for Chris Osgood to get some starts early as he looks for win number 400.

Chicago Blackhawks - 4
Key Signings
7/12: Nicklas Hjalmarsson (re-signed, offer sheet from SJ matched) 4 years, $14 M
7/28: RW Jack Skille (re-signed) 1 year
7/28: LW Bryan Bickell (re-signed) 3 years
8/2: G Marty Turco (DAL) 1 year, $1.3 M
8/4: C Evan Brophey (re-signed) 1 year
8/24: RW Fernando Pisani
6/23: 24th overall draft pick (2010), 2nd round draft pick (2010), C Marty Reasoner, LW Jeremy Morin, and RW Joey Crabb from ATL for LW Dustin Byfuglien, D Brent Sopel, LW Ben Eager, and RW Akim Aliu
6/24: 6th round draft pick (2010) from EDM for C Colin Fraser
6/26: RW Jimmy Hayes from TOR for 2nd round draft pick (2010)
6/30: LW Viktor Stalberg, C Phillipe Paradis, and C Chris Di Domenico from TOR for LW Kris Versteeg and LW Bill Sweatt
7/1: D Ivan Vishnevsky and 2nd round draft pick from ATL for LW Andrew Ladd
7/22: F Jeff Taffe from FLA for F Marty Reasoner
RW Adam Burish (DAL)
C John Madden (MIN)
What To Expect
GM Stan Bowman had as good an offseason as he could have hope for all things considering. He did lose quality players such as Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg, but he was at least able to get a return on almost every player he lost. They stocked up on draft picks, so they should be able to cheaply support the core that includes Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook supported for a while. There's no reason for the Hawks not to be as dangerous as ever this season.

St. Louis Blues - 8
Key Signings
7/1: C Alex Steen (re-signed)
7/1: C Vladimir Sobotka (BOS)
7/2: F Brad Winchester (re-signed)

7/6: G Jaroslav Halak (MON) 4 years, $14 M

7/6: RW Cam Janssen (re-signed) 1 year

7/6: D Carlo Colaiacovo (re-signed) 2 years

7/15: D Tyson Strachan (re-signed) 1 year

7/16: C T.J. Hensick (COL) 1 year

7/21: LW David Perron (re-signed) 2 years, $4.3 M

8/2: D Eric Johnson (re-signed) 2 years, $5.2 M

8/4: C Dave Scatchard (NAS) 1 year
6/17: G Jaroslav Halak from MON for F Lars Eller and RW Ian Schultz
6/17: C T.J. Hensick from COL for C Julian Talbot
6/25: 1st round draft pick (2010) from OTT for D David Bolland
6/26: C Vladimir Sobotka from BOS for D David Warsofsky
7/28: F Stefan Della Rouvere from WAS for F D.J. King
G Chris Mason (ATL)
C Keith Tkachuk
LW Paul Kariya
What To Expect
The Blues season last year should really be considered as growing pains. The youth movement is ready to pay off as the same core returns from last year, one year wiser and better. Add playoff hero Jaroslav Halak and this has the potential to be a dangerous group. There is no one superstar in this group, rather a whole lineup of solid players.

Nashville Predators - 11
Key Signings
7/26: D Rayn Parent (PHI) 2 years, $1.8 M
8/24: RW Patrick Hornqvist (re-signed) 3 years, $9.25 M
6/19: D Ryan Parent from PHI for D Dan Hamhuis and 7th round draft pick (2011)
6/19: RW Matt Halischuk and 2nd round draft pick (2011) from NJ for C Jason Arnott
6/29: LW Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations from MON for C Dustin Boyd, G Dan Ellis, and future considerations
LW Triston Grant (FLA)
D Nolan Yonkman (PHO)
RW Hugh Jessiman (CHI)
C Dave Scatchard (STL)
What To Expect
With Jason Arnott headed back to New Jersey via trade, the Predators are left with few proven goal scorers in the fold. Thirty goal scorer Patrick Hornqvist is back and will need to at least match that amount again for the Predators to have any change of getting back in the playoffs. Ryan Parent comes back to the team that drafted him, bringing playoff experience with him this time. Its hard to believe this team, which finished 18th overall in offense last season, will produce enough goals to get into a playoff spot.

Columbus Blue Jackets - 12
Key Signings
7/1: C Derek MacKenzie (re-signed) 2 years
7/2: D Nathan Guenin (PIT) 1 year
7/13: RW Jared Boll (re-signed) 2 years
7/22: D Grant Clitsome (re-signed) 1 year
7/28: D Anton Stralman (re-signed) 1 year
8/10: RW Michael Blunden (re-signed) 1 year
8/18: RW Ben Guite (NAS) 1 year
D Nathan Paetsch (FLA)
D Mathieu Roy (TB)
What To Expect
If Steve Mason plays like he did when he was a rookie, the Blue Jackets may have a chance to sneak into the playoffs. Maybe. Like Philadelphia and goalies, Columbus cannot find a quality, long-term number one center. Antoine Vermette and Derek Brassard are good players, but neither can be considered a true number one. They added grit and leadership in Ethan Moreau, but made no other significant moves.

Sources: Free Agent TradeCentre, The Hockey News Yearbook

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Offseason Recap-Northwest Division

Beginning the Western Conference, here is a look at the Northwest Division.

Vancouver Canucks - 1
Key Signings
7/1: C Manny Malhotra (SJ) 3 years
7/1: C Joel Perrault (PHO) 1 year
7/1: LW Jeff Tambellini (NYI)
7/1: D Dan Hamhuis (NAS) 6 years
7/12: G Tyler Weiman (COL)
7/12: C Alexandre Bolduc (re-signed)
7/12: LW Tanner Glass (re-signed)
7/12: D Shane O'Brien (re-signed)
7/22: R Jannik Hansen (re-signed)
7/26: LW Mason Raymond (re-signed)
8/25: LW Raffi Torres (BUF)
6/25:D Keith Ballard and RW Victor Oreskovich from FLA for RW Steve Bernier, RW Michael Grabner, and 1st round draft pick (2010)
G Andrew Raycroft (DAL)
C Pavol Demitra (KHL, Yaroslavl)
D Willie Mitchell
C Kyle Wellwood
D Brad Lukowich
What To Expect
The city that saw gold last year will be expecting silver this season.Not much has changed on the front lines. Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres will combine to add plenty of grit. An already solid defensive core was made stronger, despite the loss of shutdown specialist Willie Mitchell. Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard are new in town and combine with Christian Ehrhoff, Alexander Edler, Sami Salo, and Kevin Bieksa to form a solid defensive group. The move most likely to help the Canucks however, may be Dustin Byfuglien heading to the Eastern Conference and away from Luongo's crease.

Colorado Avalanche - 7
Key Signings
7/2: D Kyle Quincy (re-signed) 2 years
7/2: LW Daniel Winnik (PHO) 2 years
7/7: LW Brandon Yip (re-signed) 2 years
6/17: LW Julian Talbot from STL for C TJ Hensick
6/26: LW Daniel Winnik from PHO for 4th round draft pick (2012)
D Brett Clark (TB)
D Brian Fahey (WAS)
G Tyler Weiman (VAN)
RW Brian Willsie (WAS)
LW Chris Durno (TB)
D Ruslan Salei (DET)
RW Marek Svatos
C Stephane Yelle
LW Darcy Tucker
What To Expect
Its up to the young players now in Colorado. If second year players Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly can avoid the sophomore slump and Peter Mueller can get back to his rookie form which showed after being ntraded to Colorado from Phoenix last season, the Avalanche should be able to make the playoff two seasons in a row for the first time since the lockout. There were not many changes from the team that finished last season. Super pest Darcy Tucker and the uber-talented but ultra-frustrating Marek Svatos are gone,

Calgary Flames - 10
Key Signings
7/1: LW Alex Tanguay (TB) 1 year
7/1: C Olli Jokinen (NYR) 2 years $6 M
7/2: RW Tim Jackman (NYI) 2 years
7/2: LW Raitis Ivanans (LA) 2 years
7/17: RW Kris Chucko (re-signed)
7/18: D Matt Pelech (re-signed) 1 year
7/20: LW Brett Sutter (re-signed) 1 year
7/30: D Ian White (re-signed) 1 year
8/11: C Craig Conroy (re-signed) 1 year
6/30: C Logan MacMillan and 7th round draft pick (2013) from ANA for RW Jason Jaffray and 7th round draft pick (2013)
LW Eric Nystrom (MIN)
LW Chris Higgins (FLA)
D Brett Palin (NAS)
F Jamal Mayers (SJ)
LW Colin Stuart
LW Nigel Dawes
What To Expect
For a team that boasts one of the best forwards and goalies in the league, the Flames do not seem like a playoff team. GM Darryl Sutter brought Olli Jokinen back to Calgary after already making the right move and getting rid of him at the trade deadline last year. Alex Tanguay has had some of his best seasons in Calgary and with just a one year deal, thats not a bad signing. The defense is the same as it was at the end of last year when they tied for the fifth best goals against average. That really won't matter too much if they continue to struggle to score goals.

Minnesota Wild - 14
Key Signings
7/1: LW Guillaume Latendresse (re-signed) 2 years
7/1: C Matt Cullen (OTT)
7/1: LW Eric Nystrom (CAL) 3 years
7/2: D Drew Bagnall (LA) 1 year
7/2: C Warren Peters (DAL) 2 years
7/8: Robbie Earl (re-signed)
7/14: G Josh Harding (re-signed) 1 year
7/15: G Anton Khudobin (re-signed) 1 year
8/6: C John Madden (CHI) 1 year
6/21: RW Brad Staubitz from SJ for 5th round draft pick (2010)
LW Derek Boogaard (NYR)
D John Scott (CHI)
C Andrew Ebbett (PHO)
D Jamie Sifers (MIN)
C Andy Hilbert (NYI)
What To Expect
The new era of hockey in Minnesota didn;t really improve the team's success last season and it doesn;t look to be getting any better. Matt Cullen is a solid signing, he can flirt with 20 goals and play on the special teams, but it will not be nearly enough to help a team that finished in the bottom third in offense. Niklas Backstrom will be a workhorse once again behind a defense that didn't get any better. The State of Hockey looks to in for another long winter.

Edmonton Oilers - 15
Key Signings
7/1: D Kurtis Foster (TB) 2 years, $3.6 M
7/1: C Colin Fraser (CHI) 2 years
7/2: F Steve MacIntyre (FLA) 1 year
7/2: D Jason Strudwick (re-signed) 1 year
7/13: G Devan Dubnyk (re-signed)
7/14: LW J. F. Jacques (re-signed) 1 year
7/15: D Theo Peckham (re-signed) 1 year
7/27: C Gilbert Brule (re-signed) 2 years, $3.7 M
7/31: G Jeff Deslauriers (re-signed) 1 year
8/9: LW Liam Reddox (re-signed) 1 year
8/29: C Sam Gagner (re-signed) 2 years, $4.55 M
6/24: C Colin Fraser from CHI for 6th round draft pick (2010)
6/26: 2nd round draft pick (2010) from CAR for C Riley Nash
6/30: D Jim Vandermeer from PHO for C Patrick O-Sullivan
LW Chris Minard (DET)
LW Ethan Moreau (CLB)
RW Fernando Pisani (CHI)
What To Expect
There are benefits to being last overall as Edmonton was awarded the number one overall draft pick and the right to choose Taylor Hall. He will join a young group of forwards trying to prove themselves in the NHL. Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano needs to have breakout seasons and Duntin Penner must continue the upward trajectory he showed last season if they wish to improve their 27th ranked offense. Having Ales Hemsky for a full season will certainly help. Nikolai Khabibulin is healthy again as well but has his legal troubles to deal with before thinking about playing goal. Hopefully if the youth movement goes as planned, Edmonton be toiling in the basement much longer.

Sources: Free Agent TradeCentre, The Hockey News Yearbook

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

So Close To 50

I've had a busy last few days, packing for and going to school. I will continue on the the Western Conference offseason recaps tomorrow night. By the way, if anyone is having a problem with the Twitter Gadget, just right click on the link and open it in a new tab. I'll try and figure out how to fix it. Also, the internet is really slow here and keeps going in and out, hopefully that doesn't affect me too much. In the meantime:

  • Chris Chelios has finally retired after playing parts of 26 seasons in the NHL. At age 48, he ranks fourth all-time and first among defensemen with 1651 games played and will go down as one of the toughest, nastiest players to play the game. Since/when he first started playing
    • The NHL has gone from 21 teams to 30
    • Guy Lafleur and Mats Naslund were the leading scorers for the Canadiens
    • Gilbert Perreault was still a dangerous player for the Sabres
    • Wayne Gretzky was still beginning to captivate hockey fans
    • Mario Lemieux was obliterating records with the Laval Voisins in the QMJHL
    • The Islanders were still the powerhouse of the NHL, about to be overtaken by Edmonton
    • Scotty Bowman still had four Stanley Cups to win
    • Mario Lemieux, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull, Patrick Roy, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, Pierre Turgeon, Branden Shanahan, Jeremy Roenick, Rob Blake, Tony Amonte, Pavel Bure, and Olie Kolzig among many others have all come and gone
  • Nikolai Khabibulin will appeal his jail sentence from his DUI charge. For the moment, he will be allowed to attend training camp while the appeal process goes through. It is a shame but it just reminds us they are people and make mistakes too. Hopefully this won't put too much of a damper on his season, as he is looking to rebound after suffering a back injury and missing most of last season. The Oilers need him on the ice and playing well if they have any chance of getting out of the basement in the Western Conference. 
  • The San Jose Sharks have finally nabbed the Stanley Cup caliber goalie they have been looking for as Antti Niemi signed a 1 year, $2 M contract today. It makes you wonder why he couldn't stay with the hawks as they had a similar offer for him. It goes to show that players these days, especially goalies, should probably take what they can get when its offered because that big payday they're looking for might not come. Along with Antero Niittymaki, the Sharks now have a solid 1a and 1b goaltending tandem.