<span style=color: #666666; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 16.200000762939453px;>MONTREAL, CANADA - NOVEMBER 19: Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers takes a shot against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game on November 19, 2011 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Canadiens won 4-0. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)</span>

Former New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery is reportedly in trouble with the law.  

According to the publication 27east.com, Avery was arrested following a traffic stop in Southampton, New York on Sept. 30. He was charged with fourth degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. All charges were misdemeanors.

According to 27east.com:

Police said the criminal mischief charge stemmed from an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery, who lives in the village, reportedly threw objects at passing vehicles. Police could not specify where that incident took place, but on Monday, police radio transmissions indicated that Mr. Avery had contacted authorities about speeding cars on David Whites Lane. 


Additionally, during the traffic stop, Mr. Avery was found to be in possession of two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.

Avery tweeted this Tuesday – the day the news was reported. It appears to be some sort of drug prescription list.

Pretty disgusting I even have to do this but unfortunately it's the same old story. Have fun with this one ✌🏻️ pic.twitter.com/OBBzTymwk2

— Sean Avery (@imseanavery) October 6, 2015

Per the New York Post

“Mr. Avery has prescriptions for the medications that were the basis of this charge,” said his lawyer, Edward Burke Jr., adding that they “look forward” to addressing the criminal mischief charges in court.

Recently Avery launched a career of building homes in Southampton. Last summer he wrote a piece for Players’ Tribune, trying to better explain himself as a hockey player and how he transitioned into life away from the sport. 

Avery played 580 games in an NHL career that spanned from 2001-02 through 2011-12. He also made a name for himself as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

According to the Post, Avery is supposed to marry Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hilary Rhoda this month.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 6, 2015, 10:25 pm

Sweden’s Frolunda and Germany’s ERC Ingolstadt needed overtime in the second leg of their Champions Hockey League Round of 32 matchup on Tuesday. Frolunda forward Ryan Lasch was the hero, scoring the winning goal in highlight-reel fashion after entering the zone facing this:

Scorpions921024 / YouTube

Here's the entire sequence:

The Swedish side would win 6-5 on aggregate after entering the second leg down 4-2.

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The undrafted Lasch is in his second season with Frolunda after spending time in Finland, Sweden, the AHL, and ECHL following four years at St. Cloud State.

Frolunda now moves on to the Round of 16 to face off with the Czech Republic’s HC Litvinov over two legs.

Meanwhile, Ingolstadt's head coach Emanuel Viveiros couldn't believe the post-game question he received:

Ingolstadt's coach Emanuel Viveiros wasn't happy with the question he got following the OT loss against Frölunda. pic.twitter.com/lQy94nxQb0

— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) October 6, 2015

Stick-tap Robert Soderlind

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 6, 2015, 9:56 pm

NEWARK, NJ – Martin Brodeur stepped before the New Jersey Devils season-ticket holders seated inside Prudential Center on Tuesday. They serenaded him with a familiar chant.

“MARTY!” (clap, clap) “MARTY!” (clap, clap) “MARTY!”

He smiled. “I haven’t heard that in a while. It’s nice.”

Brodeur was back in New Jersey as the team announced his number retirement ceremony on Feb. 9, 2016, in a home game against the Edmonton Oilers. The No. 30 will be the fourth number that hangs from the rafters in Newark, along with Scott Stevens (4), Ken Daneyko (3) and Scott Niedermayer (27).

In addition, Brodeur will be immortalized with a statue outside the arena, like so many legends are in Montreal where Brodeur attended Canadiens game as a child.

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“I grew up in Montreal, where a lot of guys get their jersey retired,” he said.

For Brodeur and the Devils, it’s been an interesting journey. He wasn’t re-signed after the 2013-14 season, and played his final NHL games with the St. Louis Blues, the team with whom he retired. Brodeur is now an assistant general manager with St. Louis.

“He is unfortunately employed by another NHL team, but he’s always going to be a Devil at heart,” said Devils owner Josh Harris.

Brodeur said he’s had time to reflect on the split. “My last season in New Jersey, I didn’t play as much as I wanted to. And for good reason. Look at the guy they have between the pipes now,” he said, pointing to current Devils goalie Cory Schneider.

He’s not sure how many old teammates will attend the ceremony, or if current Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello will come back to New Jersey for the night. He said the main thing is having his family there for the event – including his late father, there in spirit.

“He’s got the best seat in the house for it,” said Brodeur.

We spoke with Brodeur for a short podcast that you can listen to above.


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 6, 2015, 8:44 pm

EL SEGUNDO, Calif – Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar said he’s had “some talks” with the team about a new contract, “but nothing finalized obviously.”

Kopitar is entering the final season of a seven-year $47.6 million deal with Los Angeles. In the recent past, Kopitar has indicated he would like a contract extension to get done before the start of the regular season.

The Kings are slated to open 2015-16 at Staples Center on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. local time against the San Jose Sharks.

When asked about his mental preparation for the season – going into the year as a pending unrestricted free agent in a contract year versus having a long-term deal locked up, the 28-year-old Kopitar tried to take a big picture view of his lack of contract extension. 

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“That’s still a long ways away so … my mind is in hockey right now, as I said. Would it be perfect or ideal to get it done now and not have to think about it? Yes. But if it’s not, it’s just not, so … I have to start here tomorrow and just play the way I can,” Kopitar said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s my last year or not. I have to play and do my thing and we’ll see where that takes me.” 

Kopitar is coming off his worst full season since his rookie year. He failed to hit at least 20 goals for the first time in a full NHL season. His 64 points were just three more than his first year in the NHL in 2006-07. Kopitar did suffer an “upper body” injury in late October, which also could have led to the downtick in numbers.

He maintained that a long summer of relaxation mixed with training has made him come into camp feeling refreshed. The Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2014. They also made the 2013 Western Conference Final. Last year they did not make the playoffs.

"(I’m) more rested. I guess a lot more hungry for hockey because the last few years we played quite a bit of hockey with very little rest in between and the offseasons were short,” Kopitar said.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter has put Kopitar on a line with newly acquired power forward Milan Lucic and speedster Marian Gaborik.

It’s a trio that stayed together on the last full practice before the regular season. 

“You notice Kopitar every day because he’s such a good player. He had a tough year last year and a lot of it was predicated because he played a lot of hockey and he got hurt,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “He’s a pretty good player, easy player to coach.”

Despite the slight drop-off in numbers, Kopitar has been one of the most consistently excellent centers in the NHL since his rookie season. The 6-foot-3, 224-pound Slovenian has 610 points in 683 career games. Last season he ranked third in the NHL in on-ice shot attempts differential at plus-363. He is a two-time Selke Trophy finalist. 

Kopitar is represented by Pat Brisson of CAA. It’s unclear as to what type of contract he’d want,  though the eight-year $84 million contract for Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews would seem to be his comparable.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper








Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 6, 2015, 8:05 pm

HC Olomouc's 2-1 victory over HC Pardubice on Sunday helped put the team into a tie for fourth in the Czech Extraliga. It was a good enough win to a call for a celebration featuring goaltender Branislav Konra, who decided to prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil in his own special way. 

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Taking a page out of noted post-win celebrator Julius Hudacek of the Swedish Hockey League’s Orebro, Konrad attempted the javelin, shot put and hammer throw using his own goalie equipment:

I haven’t been that impressed by a track and field effort since I was stranded in Columbus during All-Star Weekend and played hours of “Track & Field” at the great 16-bit bar.

Hopefully this becomes a thing with Konrad and he and Hudacek develop a blood feud over their post-game celebrations. Hudacek is way in the league, but this is a fine first effort from the Slovak.

Stick-tap Patrik


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 6, 2015, 7:03 pm

Have a look at last year's teams to make the Frozen Four: Boston University, Providence College, North Dakota, and Nebraska-Omaha. They kind of typify the situation in college hockey at large this season. 

Usually, when a year begins, we have a pretty good idea of who's going to be really good. It's not uncommon to get near-unanimous preseason No. 1 rankings. But in the first preseason poll, that was not only not-the-case, but there wasn't even a good idea of what the top-10 would look like. In all, a whopping 10 teams received at least one vote as the No. 1 team in the nation, and of that number, five got two or more.

This is, to some extent, a democratization of power on the national level; long-time lower-tier programs (reigning national champion Providence, Minnesota State, UMass Lowell, Harvard, etc.) have closed the gap between themselves and traditional powers (Boston College, North Dakota, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Miami, etc.) and it's a trend that's likely to continue.

That makes for fun hockey and a dramatic season, but as far as the whole “handicapping the season” thing goes, all it does is muddy the waters in a delightful way.

Let's take, for example, the preseason No. 1: Boston College, which received 19 first-place votes and was also selected to finish atop Hockey East. With no disrespect to the Eagles — who got demolished in a Saturday exhibition against the CIS superpower University of New Brunswick — this feels more like people just kind of throwing their hands up in the air and saying, “I don't know, BC looks pretty good.”

Indeed they do, with only Michael Matheson and Noah Hanifin (both first-round-pick defensemen) as truly notable losses from last year's NCAA tournament team, there's a lot to like about the Eagles. In theory. Alex Tuch and Zach Sanford up front? Yeah buddy, Ryan Fitzgerald and Adam Gilmour too. Ian McCoshen is going to be one of the best defensemen in the nation this season, and Thatcher Demko has a pretty good claim to “best goalie.” But the rest of the team? Well, freshmen Jeremy Bracco and Colin White should be pretty damn good, but if you're looking for freshmen to make your offense go (that was a big problem for BC last year, too), you're probably not in the best shape.

Speaking of counting on freshmen to make your offense go, there's also No. 3 Boston University, which lost a kid you might have heard of called Cason Hohmann. Just kidding, it was Evan Rodrigues. Just kidding, it was Matt O'Connor. Just kidding, it was Jack Eichel. 

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Anyway, Jack Eichel accounted for some absurd percentage of BU's offense last year, and not-having him, Rodrigues, or Hohmann back for this season makes Danny O'Regan the only sure thing in attack on the entire team. Which is problematic. Also, they lost anything resembling reliable goaltending (junior Sean Maguire is the clear No. 1, and he didn't play hockey at all last year), so despite having arguably the best blue line in the nation, it's really impossible to judge just how they're going to do.

Meanwhile, Minnesota-Duluth (which did not make the Frozen Four last season, having lost to BU in the Elite Eight) is the No. 2 team in the country, and they too have a good team with obvious holes. Mediocre goaltending (apologies to those dazzled by Kasimir Kaskisuo's middle-of-the-road .917 as a freshman), nobody with more than 30 points, that sort of thing. Tony Cameranesi is their best returning forward — and they have a lot of returning players at every part of the ice — but he didn't get to 30 points last season until the NCAA tournament began. So yeah, a lot of questions, just fewer than everyone else.

Duluth's conference foe North Dakota was picked to finish No. 4, for reasons that really defy description. It got a totally new coach, for one thing, as Dave Hakstol went off to the Philadelphia Flyers. Also jumping to the pros was all-world goaltender Zane McIntyre, who will probably be impossible to replace (unless one of the three guys with a combined 43:19 of college experience can also .929 hockey, which definitely seems very very very possible for sure). And hey what do you know, it's another team that didn't have a single point-a-game player last season.

I mean you can go on and on like this. No. 5 Denver is solid but not considered even the second-best team in its conference. No. 6 Minnesota State is a piranha in a pond of minnows. No. 7 Providence needed .930 goaltending from a guy who went pro to barely make the tournament last year (but hey, they won it). Et cetera.

This isn't to say any of these teams aren't good or won't become great, but right now there's very little to separate the combined impact of one's strengths and weaknesses from that of the next. Would it surprise anyone to see Miami win a national title this year? No, but they're currently considered the 11th-best team in the country.

A lot of this will boil down, as it always does, to who has the best goaltending. Having a good goalie goes a very long way in hockey in general, but in the NCAA in particular. There are a number of good goalies returning, including Demko, St. Lawrence's Kyle Hayton, Yale's Alex Lyon, and Michigan State's Jake Hildebrand. More are bound to have uncommonly good seasons because some bad goalie does it every year (see also: Ryan Massa), but you see the point.

In the NHL, you have a pretty good idea of who the four or five best teams in the league are, and it would truly be a shock if, say, Columbus won a Stanley Cup or even came close. But if I were picking the Frozen Four teams that will meet in Tampa come April, I'd have a hell of a time with it. As would just about anyone else.

Maybe that's what will make this long, cold winter of college hockey so fun: The not-knowing.

What do you mean the NCAA did something stupid?

Further complicating Denver's problems this year is the loss of captain Grant Arnold to NCAA-mandated suspension, for the team's first two games of the year.

The reason he was suspended? He played a USHL game on his 21st birthday, which technically made him ineligible for junior hockey. But it was the final game on his team's run to the Clark Cup title. And it was in 2012.

Arnold, like most captains, is a senior, and the NCAA wanted to suspend him for literally an entire season for this technically-illegal-but-come-on-it-was-his-21st-birthday infraction. A whole year for one game, which was played more than three years ago. 

Fortunately, Arnold appealed and got it cut down to the current two games (probably about 5 percent of the original punishment). But boy doesn't that just tell you everything about how good and cool the NCAA is at all times when it comes to stuff like this?

Fortunately those two games are against Air Force, and if Denver needs Arnold to beat Air Force twice, the Pioneers have bigger problems than their captain being suspended for a game that happened before Obama got re-elected.

A somewhat arbitrary ranking of teams which are pretty good in my opinion only (and just for right now but maybe for a little longer too?)

1. Boston College (I guess)

2. Miami (okay)

3. Minnesota-Duluth (if I have to)

4. Yale (sure)

5. Denver (I suppose)

6. Harvard (Jimmy Vesey can keep shooting 20-plus percent, right?)

7. UNH (I don't know why I believe in them but I do)

8. Notre Dame (I'm just guessing at this point)

9. North Dakota (because why not?)

10. UMass Lowell (whatever)

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist and also covers the NCAA for College Hockey News. His email is here and his Twitter is here.


Author: Ryan Lambert
Posted: October 6, 2015, 5:44 pm

The Vancouver Canucks surprised many when they dropped defensive prospect Frank Corrado on waivers, hoping to sneak the 22-year-old blueliner to the AHL. 

No such luck: The Toronto Maple Leafs pounced on him, putting forward Richard Panik on waivers while claiming Corrado on Tuesday.

Taken in the fifth round of the 2011 Entry Draft, he made cameo appearances with the Canucks over the last three seasons, playing 28 games in total while seeing steady time in the AHL. He’s on a one-year bridge deal before becoming a restricted free agent again, with a cap hit of just $632,500.

Coach Mike Babcock said he broke down tape of Corrado, saying he “skates well, right-handed shot. I think he could help." 

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Corrado comes with some legit hype, as he was the highest rated defenseman in the Canucks’ system according to Hockey’s Future.

Essentially, Ben Hutton played himself onto the Canucks’ roster in the preseason, showing great offensive upside. He’s the new hotness according to Daniel Wagner of Pass It To Bulis, while Corrado was the “old and busted” in this Men In Black-inspired metaphor.

From Wagner, defending Corrado:

He showed it in 2012-13, when he got the chance to play for the Canucks in the playoffs and held his own as a 19-year-old. He showed it in 2013-14, when he stepped into the lineup for 15 games. He showed it last season when he played 10 games for the Canucks and likely should have played more.

Last season, Corrado was the only defenceman that managed to post positive possession numbers while paired with Luca Sbisa, and not just positive -- he and Sbisa posted a 58.9% corsi percentage together. With the caveat that it was a small sample size, it was impressive enough that he should have been playing in the NHL.

Most importantly, writes Wagner, this didn’t have to happen:

With Chris Higgins injured, the Canucks could have temporarily sent Hutton down to the AHL, declared their 23-man roster by the Tuesday deadline, then put Higgins on long-term injured reserve and called Hutton back up. It would have meant carrying 8 defencemen on the roster, but with the risk of injuries, that’s not always a bad thing, particularly when it means that you don’t risk losing a 22-year-old, right-shooting, NHL-ready defenceman for nothing. 

And they did, to another Canadian team, whose waiver claim of Corrado has more than a few Canucks fans scratching their heads while tearing their hair out by this decision from GM Jim Benning. 

Meanwhile, Lou Lamoriello just picked up a young defenseman. He has a habit of finding good ones. 


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 6, 2015, 4:44 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com

One Czech Superstar cheering on another! @TomasRosicky7 of @Arsenal for @68Jagr. pic.twitter.com/yiW8mulz3U

— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 6, 2015

• OK, Tomas, time to grow out a mullet for the fans at the Emirates.

• Tyler Johnson responds to the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" bit featuring a woman who claimed she cheated on her boyfriend with the Tampa Bay Lightning star: “I have no idea who she is or why what was said was said. People can talk but (that) doesn’t mean it’s true.” [Tampa Tribune]

• After previously being released by the Toronto Maple Leafs while on a tryout contract, Curtis Glencross was cut by the Colorado Avalanche while he was on a PTO with them. [Denver Post]

• Nino Niederreiter of the Minnesota Wild is part-hockey player, part-daredevil as he showed last month when he took a plane ride over the Alps ... strapped to the outside of the plane. [Star Tribune

• Sidney Crosby joins Connor McDavid with adidas on a multi-year deal. [Newswire]

• Interesting read on David Conte, Lou Lamoriello’s right-hand man for nearly 30 years. [TSN]

• We all know McDavid and Jack Eichel, but one rookie to keep an eye on is Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings. He's a real darkhorse Calder Trophy candidate. [The Hockey News]

• It's a youth movement in Vancouver for the Canucks. [Sportsnet]

• Uni-Watch goes around the NHL to look at the various uniform changes for the 2015-16 season. [ESPN]

• Looking at winners and losers in the Eastern Conference with a fantasy spin. [Dobber Hockey]

• Boston College and the University of Minnesota top the men’s and women’s preseason USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine College Hockey Polls, respectively. [USA Hockey

• “An upstate New York woman was slain inside her home in a suspected murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by her husband, a former professional hockey player, a prosecutor said Monday.” [AP]

• Can the Washington Capitals’ penalty kill improve this season? [Japers’ Rink]

• The Florida Panthers have sent 2015 first-round pick Lawson Crouse back to junior. [Panthers

• A review of “Golden Oldies,” which features hockey stories from former Hockey Night in Canada broadaster Brian McFarlane. [Puck Junk]

• Chatting with Pete Weber as he moves from the TV booth to radio for the Nashville Predators. [Sports & Entertainment Nashville

• The Hamilton Bulldogs are settling into their new home at FirstOntario Centre. [Buzzing the Net]

• Ranking the top five 2015-16 NHL throwback jerseys. [Hockey by Design]

• Finally, Winnipeg Jets fans are rallying behind Dancin’ Gabe to have him included in the NHL 17 videogame: 


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 6, 2015, 4:32 pm

Hey, have you heard? Hockey’s back! The NHL season starts this Wednesday, and thus here is another edition of our 2015-16 NHL season preview predictions! 

We all want to know who wins the Stanley Cup. We all want to know who captures the Hart Trophy. But there are so many other things worth predicting in the National Hockey League’s 2015-16 season that we had to tackle some appetizers before the main course.

(Please note this is a metaphor and in no way intended to be a Phil Kessel dietary reference. We leave those to the Toronto Sun.)

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Here are some of the trends we have our eyes on this season, and how we think they’ll play out.

Your esteemed panel: Greg Wyshynski, NHL editor, Puck Daddy; Sean Leahy, editor, Puck Daddy; Jen Neale, editor, Puck Daddy; Josh Cooper, editor, Puck Daddy; Ryan Lambert, lead columnist, Puck Daddy; Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, fantasy columnist, Puck Daddy; Sam McCaig, NHL editor/columnist, Yahoo Sports.


So it’s an average of 42 goals for Phil Kessel in his first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and 79 points for Connor McDavid (after tossing out Jen Neale’s protest vote … must be an Eichel fan).

Looks like the Penguins have too much hype, while the Hamburgler can be expected to steal more wins for the Ottawa Senators.

Meanwhile, the head coaches of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins split the vote for the first to be turfed.

What are your predictions for the 2015-16 NHL season?

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 6, 2015, 3:56 pm

A torn ACL and two blood clots have limited Pascal Dupuis to 55 games over the last two seasons for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Some more tough injury luck will sideline the forward for another 4-5 weeks to start the 2015-16 NHL season. 

According to the Penguins, the 36-year old Dupuis will miss the first month of the season with a lower-body injury. The only good news is that whatever he’s dealing with is unrelated to the two blood clots he was diagnosed with since 2014. 

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On Monday, it was announced Dupuis would miss the Penguins’ opener on Thursday against the Dallas Stars, but now that injury has failed to show any signs of improvement.

Dupuis suffered the injury during a Sunday 3-on-3 drill, according to Seth Rorabaugh of the Post-Gazette. He had been working with rookie Daniel Sprong and summer addition Nick Bonino on various lines in the preseason and now this will likely open the door for David Perron to bump up a spot on the wing.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 6, 2015, 2:16 pm

On Monday night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” they did one of those person on the street bits in which they asked pedestrians the most impressive thing they’ve ever done. 

The good news for Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning? That apparently he’s impressive. The bad news for Tyler Johnson? That the person he apparently impressed had a boyfriend at the time, and just let the world know about it.

“The most impressive thing I’ve ever done?” asked the woman, on camera. “I don’t know … cheat on my boyfriend, not have him find out.”

She’s then reminded this is a national television program.

She then reminds the audience that it’s an old boyfriend, not the one she has now. And apologizes to “Ben.”

Without prompting, she offers up that he’s a “famous athlete.” She’s then asked his initials, and she says “T.J.” She’s asked what sport he plays, and she says, “hockey.”

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There’s a cut in the clip, and now she’s being asked what team he plays for. She says “Florida,” followed by “Tampa Bay."

Perhaps someone back in the control truck took a cursory glance at the roster, because our intrepid interviewer asks “Tyler Johnson?”

And with that, she suddenly has no more time for the television camera.

Obviously, we can neither confirm nor deny there was ever a relationship between this featured performer on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and Tyler Johnson. We can confirm that today’s practice probably just got a little more interesting for him. Provided his teammates weren’t watching Fallon or Colbert instead.

s/t Uproxx


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 6, 2015, 12:58 pm

The WeekndLast month, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect named Viktor Loov told a Swedish news outlet that “there is a lot of cocaine” in the NHL. 

“There are players everywhere who do it,” he said, via Pension Plan Puppets. “If you have money you probably have easy access.” 

How much cocaine? Enough that the NHL has been forced to acknowledge that more than a few players are using it, and that the League might have to be more proactive in testing for it.

Rick Westhead of TSN wrote on Monday that the NHL is in talks with the NHLPA about adding cocaine and similar narcotics “to the list of banned substances for which the league regularly monitors.”

From TSN:

"The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they're going up," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN in an interview. "I wouldn't say it's a crisis in any sense. What I'd say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you've hit a cycle where it's an 'in' drug again.

"I'd be shocked if we're talking about a couple dozen guys. I don't want to be naïve here … but if we're talking more than 20 guys I'd be shocked. Because we don't test in a comprehensive way, I can't say."

There were 882 NHL skaters last season that played at least one game. We’re going to go ahead and assume it’s more than 20.

Westhead writes that NHLPA chief Don Fehr has spoken to players behind closed doors about the rise in cocaine use. He also said that the players would have to collectively bargain for drugs like cocaine to be added to the testing list.

One of the most intriguing passages in the piece concerns the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Last season, a senior Maple Leafs team executive met with Toronto Police Service officers to address concerns that Leafs players were purportedly using cocaine or were associating with those who were, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Speaking of the police, an accompanying interview with former NHLer Todd Fedoruk, who used cocaine while in the League, yielded this beautiful passage:

I got away with stuff because I was a hockey player. Like getting pulled over by the cops. You're drunk, but they're like, 'You're drunk, but get home, take care of yourself.' For me it happened a few times. Driving around and you had a few drinks, and the cop could tell but he was a season ticket holder. So he'd follow you home. I guess it's a good thing but it enables bad things down the road. I'm not saying it happened every night.  

It depends on where you are. In Philly, there's a history of (police) taking care of us.

Well, that’s just shocking. Almost makes you want to fly off to some dry island and contemplate life for a while …

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Look, cocaine has been in the NHL for decades. It was a problem in Edmonton during the glory years, and it was a problem for Bob Probert and it’s probably a problem on any team that finds fast success and then inexplicably loses its grip on it in subsequent seasons. 

That the NHL chose to acknowledge it now speaks to (a) how much the stakes have been raised for hockey from an image perspective and (b) that it’s serious enough that the League needed to let the players know that mom and dad are watching. 


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 6, 2015, 5:15 am

Montreal Canadiens forward Zack Kassian has been placed in Stage Two of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, both the league and the PA announced Monday afternoon.

Kassian is suspended without pay until he is “cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

The news comes shortly after Kassian was the passenger in a car accident at around 6 a.m. ET Sunday. On Monday, Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said Kassian broke his nose and left foot in the crash.

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"I'm a firm believer in character, and that's a lack of character on his part," Bergevin said. "I do not have all the information, but it is disappointing to say the least.”

Added Bergevin, "Perfection is not a part of this world but if mistakes keep happening then maybe there's a pattern here.”

TSN's Bob McKenzie tweeted out the differenes between Stage One and Stage Two of the program:

On NHL-NHLPA program (Kassian), Stage 1 can be voluntary or mandatory depending on circumstances but there is rarely public acknowledgement.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 5, 2015

Stage 1 is with pay. But any violation of Stage 1 conditions (can be very strict) leads to automatic entry to Stage 2, suspended without pay

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 5, 2015

There is always public acknowledgment of Stage 2 because the player is suspended without pay. Once in Stage 2, only doctors can reinstate.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 5, 2015

Montreal acquired Kassian in July for a trade that sent Brandon Prust and a 2016 fifth-round draft pick to the Vancouver Canucks. Kassian was the 13th overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft, selected by the Buffalo Sabres. He has scored 66 points in 198 games over his NHL career.  

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 5, 2015, 11:14 pm

There are repeat offenders, and then there’s The Irredeemable Raffi Torres. 

The end of the NHL Department of Player Safety video announcing the San Jose Sharks winger’s 41-game suspension on Monday is such a baffling ledger of irresponsible head-hunting that it sounds like it was lifted from a Nancy Dowd screenplay.

April 2011: Torres bravely steps into a crouched, onrushing Jordan Eberle to crack him on the skull with his elbow, earning a four-game suspension.

December 2011: Torres steps up and into the head of Nate Prosser of the Wild for no apparent reason, getting a two-game suspension.

April 2012: The “Citizen Kane” of Torres hits, as he goes late and high on Marian Hossa, putting the Chicago Blackhawks star on a stretcher and earning him a 25-game playoff suspension, reduced down to 21 games.

May 2013: Torres lifts his shoulder into the head of Jarret Stoll in a Sharks/Kings playoff series, earning a suspension for the duration of Round 2.

In 703 NHL games, he was warned, fined or suspended by the NHL on nine previous occasions, before Torres drilled Jakob Silfverberg in the head in a preseason game on Saturday -- launching his shoulder into the Anaheim Ducks winger’s noggin, dropping him to the ice.

There are going to be fans who see this rap sheet and compare it to the rest of the NHL’s recent rogues' gallery – your oft-suspended Chris Pronger, your never-quite-reformed Matt Cooke – and wonder where their 41-gamers are.

But the difference here, as the video shows, is that Raffi Torres is the definition of insanity: He literally does the same thing over and over, expects a different result, and still ends up suspended. 

Pronger would mix up an elbow with a skate-stomp. Cooke would headhunt, then board someone. In Torres’s case, this is a seemingly unending string of suspensions over the same type of hit, every time.

When Brendan Shanahan built the Department of Player Safety, he wanted to target repeat offenders and players who couldn’t adapt to the NHL’s new rules. So, basically, Raffi Torres.

Of course, like Cooke, Torres claimed he had seen the light and understood that the way he approached physicality in the game was (a) no longer legal under the NHL’s rules that protected players’ heads and (b) was going to keep him off the ice for large chunks of the season because of his suspension history.

After he sent Hossa onto a stretcher, Torres said he understood that it was “getting to that point” where another significant incident could affect him “long term.” And while he didn’t work with the NHL like Cooke did to better understand what was expected of him, he studied tape and made an effort to change his ways.

At least, that’s what he was saying. “Just by going over clips and clips and clips of that, and seeing that you can do it and I’ve done it before, made it easier,” Torres told Yahoo Sports’ Nick Cotsonika. “My problem’s always been, I get a little too emotional out there. That’s when I get in trouble. But I’ve just taken a step back.”

Or several steps forward, before launching his shoulder into another player’s head, as it were.

From what I’ve been told, there was no discussion of an 82-game suspension for Torres within the Department of Player Safety. This wasn’t a stick swing at an opponent’s head or Todd Bertuzzi getting revenge on the back of Steve Moore’s neck. This was a hockey hit that was completely illegal, but not something that rose to a season-long ban.

No, that’ll be the next time.

It has to be. Once you go half-a-season for a player who can’t stop hitting people in the head, the next step if he does it again has to be a full season, right?

And the thing is, no one would blink an eye at the NHL for it.

While it’s true Torres isn’t a complete waste of skates like Trevor Gillies, for example, no one’s paying to see him play. In fact, they’re usually paying to see the guys he lays out with a concussion. The only thing the NHL loses when it loses Raffi Torres are head shots, in-person hearing invitations, multi-cultural Halloween costumes and empty promises for reform.

So what now for Raffi?

Well, the NHLPA tells us that if Torres wanted to appeal, the NHLPA would do so on the player’s behalf. The appeal would be filed in writing within 48 hours of the League’s notification of the suspension. So as of now, no word on if he’ll appeal a suspension for the second time in his career.

Then there are the San Jose Sharks. What do they do with Raffi?

Michael Russo notes that with NHL rosters due to be set by tomorrow, the Sharks are going to have to decide if they want to dedicate a contract to a player that can’t go 15 games without a suspension.

In the hours after the NHL announced its 41-game suspension of Torres, the Sharks had yet to issue a statement of any kind, let alone a full-throated defense of their player as they did after the Stoll hit.

Maybe there’s just nothing left to say in defense of Raffi Torres.



Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 5, 2015, 10:31 pm

Raffi Torres sat out all of last season due to an ACL injury and now will sit for 41 more games after the NHL handed the San Jose Sharks forward a heavy suspension for his hit on Jakob Silfverberg Saturday night.

Take it away, Patrick Burke:

It's not often in a suspension video that listing a player's "Greatest Hits" takes as long as 25 seconds to read. That and quoting the collective bargaining agreement. But this is a special case.

Remember all those times in the past when a questionable hit was met with the “Throw the book at him!” response? This is the NHL and the Department of Player Safety getting fed up enough to punt a guy for half a season after four suspensions, three fines and two warnings failed to get the message across.

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The 41-game ban will cause Torres to forfeit $404,860.29 of salary. And because it’s a 41-game suspension, Torres does have the right to appeal to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. That move worked once before for him when he appealed a 25-gamer for a hit on Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs down to 21 games. 

That was now two suspensions ago.

Raffi Torres has played 703 NHL regular season and playoff games. If you include the 41-games he’s set to miss now, he’ll have been suspended for 74 games in his career. 

The hit itself was a suspendable act, whether it was Raffi Torres or someone else. But the fact that this is a hammer being struck down on a player who couldn't change his ways through supplemental discipline and repeated warnings will hopefully go a long way to changing the behavior of others who play their game on the edge. 

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 5, 2015, 9:11 pm

In order to right the wrongs from their previous season, the San Jose Sharks believed they needed to name a captain.

On Monday, the team announced via its official Twitter handle that Joe Pavelski would wear the captain’s ‘C’ a year after the the Sharks stripped Joe Thornton of the letter and went with all alternate captains.

Thornton and forward Logan Couture will wear the alternate captain’s ‘A’ for the season.

Longtime Shark Patrick Marleau was not a part of the Sharks leadership group. Marleau was drafted by the Sharks in 1997 and was the team’s captain from 2003-09 before the ‘C’ was given to Rob Blake in 2009. Thornton was captain from 2010-14.

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Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, along with Thornton and Pavelski, all wore an 'A' last season as part of San Jose's rotation. 

Last season the Sharks didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since 2003, and some of the issues with the team’s captaincy played a role. New coach Peter DeBoer said he would make naming a captain a priority and followed through on his word.

“I think I felt part of the contributing factors to last year was distractions and the captaincy was just one of them,” DeBoer said while Puck Daddy was in San Jose two weeks ago. “We want to eliminate all those distractions this year and just start fresh and play hockey.”

Said Pavelski on Thornton having his ‘C’ stripped, “It was extra stuff that was going on … and not even so much that nobody got (the captaincy) just that it got taken away. Because we all felt that pain a little bit,” 

Pavelski is 31 years old and was the Sharks’ leading scorer last season with 70 points. He’s coming off years of 41 goals in 2013-14 and 37 last year. Pavelski is a lifelong Shark, drafted by the team in 2003. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 5, 2015, 8:12 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com. 

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 04: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks holds up the Stanley Cup prior to the NFL game between the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders at Soldier Field on October 4, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Bears defeated the Oakland Raiders 22-20. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

• Jonathan Toews is living quite the life these days. Take a look at him with the Stanley Cup at Sunday's Chicago Bears game. [Getty]

• On Steven Stamkos and rumors about his contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into the NHL season. [Tampa Bay Times]

• The Arizona Coyotes have sent Dylan Strome, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, back to major junior for another year of seasoning. [Arizona Republic]

• Teams find all sorts of different reasons for motivation. For the Dallas Stars, it was a snub for an outdoor game. [Dallas News]

• Mario Lemieux is 50 years old. Check out his career in hockey cards. [Puck Junk]

• There are 10 games that will determine Daniel Sprong’s spot with the Pittsburgh Penguins this upcoming season. Sprong is just 18 years old and could be sent back to junior after said 10 games. [Post-Gazette]

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• Jonas Gustavsson will be the Boston Bruins backup goaltender after signing a one-year deal. [CSN New England]

• An excellent Q&A with Mike Babcock before his first season as Toronto Maple Leafs head coach. [Maclean’s]

• The NHL and NHLPA are finding out how cooperation can boost many elements of hockey. [Canadian Press]

• Sam Reinhart could be sent to the American Hockey League rather than stay with the Buffalo Sabres as a scratch. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• What are the 10 biggest fantasy hockey stories of the season? [Dobber Hockey]

• What do we make of the Florida Panthers this season? Can they make some noise in the Atlantic Division? [Litter Box Cats]

• What could a high expansion fee mean for rules of the expansion draft? [The Sin Bin]

• How social media has changed the way NHL fans watch games. [Sports Illustrated]

• Reigning QMJHL leading scorer Conor Garland of the Moncton Wildcats was injured in what sounded like a scary scene. [Buzzing the Net]

• The Connecticut Whale of the NWHL faced off against the Minnesota Whitecaps, another women's team. A story of that game between the two teams. [Today’s Slapshot]

• On how cat-eye masks could be a gamechanger for NWHL teams and how they can see the game in front of them.  [Along the Boards]

• Why the New York Rangers have a team that could go deep in the playoffs, maybe even win the Stanley Cup. Several reasons why we shouldn’t sleep on the blueshirts. [Blueline Station]

• Your college hockey preseason top-10 and how it looks heading into the season. [College Hockey News]

• Looking at the 2015-16 Carolina Hurricanes and their organizational depth all the way down to junior. [Section 328]

• Dougie Hamilton’s brother Freddie was traded to the Calgary Flames. Calgary is doing all it can to make Dougie happy it seems. [Flames Nation]

• Five bold predictions for the Washington Capitals in the upcoming season. [Stars and Sticks

• Finally, love it when hockey players read 'mean' tweets about them.


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 5, 2015, 7:01 pm

In big fashion news, Jaromir Jagr has announced he will bring back his mullet for the 2015-16 NHL season.

The scoop was broken by George Richards of the Miami Herald.

"We have to wear helmets, so that's why I'm growing my hair back out,'' Jagr said on being recognized by non-hockey fans. "I'm growing it back. I have to."

Earlier in the preseason, Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo tweeted that he would try to get the 43-year-old Jagr to bring back the classic hairstyle.

I will make it my mission this year, work 24h around the clock 2 get Jags to bring this puppy back! It's gonna happen pic.twitter.com/NcAiEzmtmU

— Strombone (@strombone1) September 16, 2015

After seeing Richards' tweet, Luongo sent out a celebratory "Guys we did it!!!!!" Tweet.

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For fans of Jagr, this is great news. Jagr cut off his famous long locks in 1999 as he tried to mature into the face of a post-Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux NHL.

Since his return from the KHL in 2011, fans have been clamoring for him to bring back the hairstyle. His mullet has made lists as one of the most famous haircuts in sports. The Panthers held a mullet night last season in honor of their trade for the legend, who has 1,802 points in his career.

With the mullet, Jagr led the NHL in scoring three times and notched a career-high 149 points in 1995-96. Post-mullet he led the league in scoring twice.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 5, 2015, 6:12 pm

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin didn’t mince words when talking about forward Zack Kassian, and the car accident that will sideline him for an undetermined amount of time.

Meeting with the media on Monday, Bergevin revealed that Kassian broke his nose and left foot in a Sunday morning accident. 

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"I'm a firm believer in character, and that's a lack of character on his part," Bergevin said. "I do not have all the information, but it is disappointing to say the least.”

According to the Montreal Gazette, Kassian was a passenger in a truck that crashed into a tree around 6 a.m. ET on Sunday. Kassian, who was in the vehicle with two other passengers, was found "bloodied and dazed."

Bergevin, who has yet to speak to Kassian, said that he was aware of the forward's reputation for late nights and that he’s been spoken to in the past by GMs on his previous teams.

"Perfection is not a part of this world but if mistakes keep happening then maybe there's a pattern here,” Bergevin said. 

The Canadiens dealt for the 24-year old Kassian in July as part of a trade that sent Brandon Prust and a 2016 fifth-rounder to the Vancouver Canucks. Kassian has one year left on his current contract before he would become a restricted free agent.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 5, 2015, 5:33 pm

Slava Voynov’s journey home to Russia last month was not something he expected to happen so early in his career. But after pleading “no contest” to a misdemeanor charge of spousal abuse and spending 90 days in jail, Voynov left North America for his homeland while still under suspension from the NHL and the Los Angeles Kings.

However, as soon as he started skating at the Russian national team training facility over a week ago with the national team coach Oleg Znarok, his future in the KHL became a topic for debate. “My emotions are positive,” Voynov said after the first skate. “It is a shame, though, that I am coming back under such circumstances.”

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Voynov’s KHL rights belong to Traktor Chelyabinsk, and the team, supported by the governor of the region, made a substantial offer to have him play for the team. However, Voynov decided to play for SKA St. Petersburg together with Ilya Kovalchuk, who showed support for Voynov in Russian media.

SKA is currently negotiating with Traktor to obtain Voynov’s KHL rights before negotiating with the player himself regarding details. SKA will also need to obtain Voynov’s international transfer card, which means the Los Angeles Kings will also need to agree to the terms of the contract. Voynov’s agent Alexander Tyzhnykh said the negotiations are continuing with the Kings, the NHL and the NHLPA.

But this is where the situation can get tricky for Voynov.

SKA’s head coach Andrei Nazarov opined that he wasn’t too keen to see Voynov in St. Petersburg, if it was going to be just a one year deal. “If he signs a contact with the club for three years, like Ilya Kovalchuk, I will be happy to take him,” Nazarov said. “But if he comes to St. Petersburg for three-four months to regain form and then leave for the US, why would I need him? And not just I, why would the team and the club need him?”

But SKA owners insisted on bringing Voynov to the team. And Voynov may not make more than the Traktor offer, according to Tyzhnykh. Voynov wants his daughter to attend a school where subjects are taught in English. And such school exists in St. Petersburg, and not Chelyabinsk.

The longer the contract Voynov signs in the KHL, the larger his paycheck is likely to be. He is likely to command a salary around $3 million per year, if he decides to stay for three years. As a rental player until the end of the season, he may get less than $1 million. There will be no official information, however, because the KHL does not make contracts public.

Voynov’s agents may want to insist on a three-year deal also hoping the scandal may be forgotten in the U.S.; and at 28, Voynov may try to come back to the NHL, still in his prime.


Author: Dmitry Chesnokov
Posted: October 5, 2015, 5:18 pm

Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel has created such a fervor that he will have his own burger.

The treat is called the “Eike Daddy Burger” and can be bought at First Niagara Center, which where the Sabres play their home games. According to a release we received about the dish, Eichel has indeed personally tasted it.

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Hopefully it was just a bite, since it doesn’t look or sound super healthy. But it does sound really tasty. 

1) Start with the bottom portion of a sliced Brioche Roll

2) Spread thousand island dressing on roll bottom

3) Add one all beef hamburger patty

4) Top patty with a slice of American cheese

5) Place iceberg lettuce on top of the cheese

6) Next add two tomato slices

7) Fried egg goes next

8) Place slivered onion on fried egg

9) Slather top portion of bun with Guacamole

10) Place on top of the and enjoy

Said the release:

The burger is delicious and something Sabres fans will be able to enjoy at the Stadium (and try to replicate at home this season)!

It doesn't quite compare to Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews having a beer named after him, though. Eichel would need to win three Stanley Cups to mark such an achievement.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 5, 2015, 5:16 pm

LOS ANGELES – Last season Dustin Brown had little energy.

After a workout would end, he would come home to his wife and four children and just lay on the couch. 

He couldn’t play with his kids, couldn’t throw them around his pool. He felt more tired than a man in his late 20s or early 30s should.

Was it the wear and tear on his battering ram of a body? Did his game start to deteriorate at a time when he shouldn’t have seen such a major drop off that saw him go from 54 points in 2011-12 to half that number in 2014-15?

Most athletes hit a crossroads at some point in their career where they have to change something to stay productive. For the Los Angeles Kings captain – it was the type of food he was putting in his body. 

He heard about Manhattan Beach-based nutritionist Lisa Rado from Kings chiropractor Chad Moreau and decided to talk to her about how to shift his diet.

“I was at a point where I would have sought her on my own,” Brown said. “I was committed to the program. I’ve reaped the benefits of that and once you see how it works it’s very easy to stay with it.”

Rado got into the nutrition game as sort of a second career. She used to do marketing and PR, but later in life decided nutrition was her calling. She attained the title of Integrative Health Coach from Duke’s Integrative Medicine program.

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Her first sports client was Garry Gilliam Jr. of the Seattle Seahawks, who reduced his body fat by 7.1 percent and lost 23.4 pounds of body fat.

“He said, ‘I thought felt good when I got here, now I know what good feels like,’” Rado said.

Her belief is that in order to get an athlete’s body working properly a liver detox is vital.

“Always almost 99 percent of the time I start people on my liver detox program because that really is the foundation of someone’s health,” Rado said. “It’s really the gateway to someone’s health. We all have toxic overload that we’re unaware of.”

Even though a pro athlete may seem like the paradigm of perfect health, because of daily exercise and a regimented lifestyle, this isn’t always the case.

“Everyone thinks athletes are healthier. Maybe but they also produce more metabolic waste than most individuals, which is all the stuff when your muscles break down or rebuild,” Rado said. “And if your liver is congested, it's just recirculating back into your system, causing you fatigue and adrenal stress and not allowing you to recover and perform at your peak. When we clear that stuff all tat stuff works at optimal levels.”

After undergoing blood work with Rado, Brown found out about sensitivities he didn’t know existed within his body. Like dairy for example.

“I always loved dairy and then I got rid of dairy and I started feeling better,” Brown said. “I never would have thought that and never would have known that. Things like that give you an edge.”

Said Rado about the blood work, “He needed some support in different areas and within seven weeks, we turned a lot of really dangerous markers into optimal, from high risk to optimal,” Rado said.

One of those markers, according to her website, for Brown listed “cardiovascular disease risk.”

“It’s not just him. It’s a lot of our athletes,” Rado said. “They work out so much they feel like they think they can eat whatever they want because people usually eat healthy for right reasons. But they don’t look at what’s going on inside and they’re not really seeing the big picture of how they truly feel until they feel better.” 

During the summer, Brown would drink specialty prepared shakes for him. He also had food delivered to his home from Fitness Kitchen LA to prevent the cooking process. Since he has four kids, there was little time for him to cook every night. Also, Fitness Kitchen had the right types of foods he needed to maximize his performance.

“They do as much customizable or as little customizable edits that we want,” Rado said.

Along with dairy, Brown had to get rid of what he called “processed foods” such as cereal.

“I get to have a steak or salmon or some type of fish or chicken every single night with … it probably wouldn’t work as well if I didn’t like vegetables,” Brown said.

Brown said he always believed in nutrition, but just wasn’t educated properly about how he should better control what he puts in his body. Now he knows. 

“Like we have strength coaches, we have hockey coaches and for me it was one area of my life where I didn’t really know a whole lot about it,” he said.

The biggest issue came when he went home to Ithaca, New York at one point during the summer. Brown said he would have to get all his food from the local grocery store and cook it right away, because with four kids he wouldn’t have time to make meals every night.

“It was a little more challenging in a smaller town because they don’t have meal delivery and they don’t have the resources a big city like LA does,” Brown said.

The results have been visibly transformational for Brown. Rado’s website shows before and after shots of Brown’s body and the before shots look somewhat doughy. The after images are lean and tone.

According to Rado, Brown lost 17.6 pounds of body fat over the summer – a total of 7.7 percent.

“He just looks healthier and he’s happier, he’s in a better mood,” Rado said.

Dustin Brown before/after body shots from radonutrition.com.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter applauded Brown for trying to take it upon himself to improve his game in a sort of ‘outside the box’ way.

“He’s a proud guy, and he wanted to do the necessary things, we asked him to be around the ice more during the summer as part of his training and he did that,” Sutter said. “He took it upon himself to get a nutritionist, and that just tells you that he’s trying to get better as a player and be a good role model for some of the other guys.”

If Brown rediscovers his playing success will more players start calling up Rado or looking for their own nutritionist? 

There’s a responsibility on the player – just as much as it’s important for the nutritionist to find the right type of program. Some have their own nutritionist, but not all. 

“We’ve had nutritionists come in and speak,” Brown said. “It’s … you have to find guys who are willing to listen.”

Currently Brown and Rado have mapped out a plan for him this season. And he’s committed – if anything so he can keep up with his dad duties at home along with on-ice progression.

“There’s a lot that goes into it, just like my travel days,” Brown said. “She has a little pack she gives me. I’m on my own for food, but now I understand what I need to eat. All the other stuff is very convenient and I’m committed to it, so it makes a big difference.”

(S/t LA Kings Insider for the initial story on Brown)

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper







Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 5, 2015, 4:44 pm

On Monday, NHL teams finalized their rosters by dropping dozens of players through waivers. In some cases, that meant attempting to stow away players in the AHL that just don’t have a fit on the current team. In other cases, that meant attempting to make a veteran player and his contract disappear, by demotion or waiver claim. 

Max Talbot of the Boston Bruins is a member of that latter category.

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Talbot, 31, was a surprise name on the waiver wire, despite having been in a training camp battle for a fourth-line spot. He’s only making $900,000 against the cap this season, since the Colorado Avalanche retained $900,000 of his $1.8 million cap hit. Every little bit counts for the Bruins, who have less than $2 million under the cap.

The guy who made Talbot expendable? Forward Tyler Randell, despite being on a two-way contract. As Causeway Crowd notes, he’s one of the few right-handed shots the team has among the depth forwards, and it appears he's won a job on the fourth line. Being a faster player in Claude Julien's new system can only help, too. 

Talbot wasn’t exactly an asset last season, with possession numbers that were among the worst on the Bruins (thanks to his time in Colorado). But he was sure that a full season in Boston would have improved his numbers, as he was looking forward to being “an old soul” among many for the Bruins.

As a veteran guy with a manageable cap hit, one assumes Talbot could get a sniff on waivers. Hey, if nothing else, he keeps the mood light.


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 5, 2015, 4:31 pm

In April 2014, the Philadelphia Flyers looked upon the 19 games defenseman Andrew MacDonald had played for them since he was acquired from the New York Islanders and thought, yes, this man is worthy of a 6-year, $30-million contract extension. 

The first season of that contract? Hideous.

He stumbled out of the gate with a knee injury, was a turnover machine, and by season’s end was a healthy scratch by former coach Craig Berube. The Flyers were a better team with MacDonald off the ice. And for a team that’s been crouched down under the salary cap for two years, his $5 million hit was an albatross.  

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(To say nothing of the fact that the Flyers took him from a $550,000 base salary to $6.25 million in his first season of the deal. CEOs don’t get percentage raises that elephantine.)

On Monday, a day of many waivers, the Flyers dropped MacDonald, 29, on the waiver wire, with four years and $23.75 million left on his contract.

MacDonald said before the season that he wanted 2015-16 to be a “clean slate,” and it appears it will be … for the Flyers, who clean MacDonald from the blue line like gristle from a plate of overcooked steak.

"He's an NHL player, but we're in a jam here with a roster spot and a cap issue. We also have to put our best team on the ice," said GM Ron Hextall. "It was a tough decision. We know Mac's a good NHL player. Is it what we wanted to do? No."

The Flyers will save $950,000 against the cap if he clears waivers and goes to the AHL.

There are teams with cap space and blue line needs – looking at you, Buffalo – but five more years at $5 million annually is a toxic contract for a player that hasn’t come close to earning that dedication of assets.

(We'd say Arizona was an option, but they've already acquired one high-salaried Flyers defenseman who gives you nothing on the ice.)

Which was basically our point when he signed the deal: Even if you liked Andrew MacDonald at $5 million against the cap, you couldn’t possibly have liked him at six years for a player whose calling card is blocking pucks with his body.


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 5, 2015, 3:07 pm

The Chicago Blackhawks will raise another Stanley Cup banner Wednesday night before their game against the New York Rangers. On Sunday, one the final celebrations of their 2015 championship conquest took place when the players and staff all received their rings.

And boy, are they blingy:

Blackhawks / Jostens

Blackhawks / Jostens
Blackhawks / Jostens

Blackhawks / Jostens
Here are the details about the Jostens rings, via the Blackhawks:

The 2015 Stanley Cup Championship Ring boasts 355 round, pear, marquise and custom princess-cut diamonds all meticulously set in a 14 karat white gold ring. This collection of stones comes together to create a stunning all white ring which tops over 10.8 carats.
The ring top boasts the Blackhawks logo created with custom-cut diamonds sitting atop a bed of 50 custom princess-cut diamonds. The words STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS surrounds the top and bottom of the ring top, giving way to four shimmering rows of round pave-set diamonds. The four rows of diamonds are master set and cascade down the side of the ring in a waterfall effect.
The left side features all six Stanley Cup trophies the team has won. Round pave-set diamonds are stacked up to form the base of each trophy. The right side features the Blackhawks secondary logo created with pear and round pave-set diamonds, as well as each player’s name and number. Inside, the team’s motto of ONE GOAL is featured along with a silhouette of the trophy. The Blackhawks 2015 postseason opponents and series scores are also included.

So what’s the tale of the tape between the 2010, 2013 and 2015 rings? 

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Diamond count

2010: 404

2013: 260

2015: 355

Carat count

2010: 8

2013: 14.68

2015: 10.8

Championship rings in sports certainly have changed in 54 years...

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 5, 2015, 2:59 pm

(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

There is a huge shortcoming when you talk about goaltender evaluation at just about any level of hockey:

We only have one number that really tells us anything about their quality.

All we have is save percentage. That's it. There's not a lot more we can really do at this point to objectively understand their efficiency, efficacy, and so on when it comes to doing anything involved in their job, except for what it ultimately boils down to: Stopping the puck.

For example, who's the best in the NHL at getting from one post to the other? Who takes up the most net? Who best takes away scoring chances in 1-on-1 situations? These are all measures that probably could be measured, but not right now, and that means that while we can have opinions as to who does all those things better than anyone else, it's very, very subjective.

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The good news is that we are at least getting better at this sort of thing. Shot location data is easier to come across now than it ever has been, so we're getting a pretty good idea of how likely a shot from x part of the ice is to go in, generally speaking. Obviously, Steven Stamkos taking a shot from the hashmarks has a much better chance of going in than Brandon Bollig shooting on the same goalie from the same spot. Likewise, Henrik Lundqvist is statistically going to be far more likely to stop that shot than Ondrej Pavelec.

But again, we have a general idea of how “shot quality” figures into this sort of thing.

Which is why the quality-adjusted save percentage stat that has been developed in the last few years is so valuable. As the name implies, it adjusts for the overall quality of shot the goaltender faces — i.e. giving them more credit for stopping higher-percentage, quality shots — to somewhat level the playing field (it does not, however, account for shot volume, meaning busier goalies get no real benefit here).

This was something that became rather hard to ignore when Craig Custance released his now-annual ranking of the league's 30 likely starting goalies on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the best. This is a poll of six GMs, one assistant GM, three head coaches, and four goalie coaches. These are, then, guys you can safely consider “hockey people,” who watch a lot of games and have a lot of experience in the sport.

And yet, the actual rankings they handed in two years running really didn't really make a lot of sense. How, for example, is Jonathan Quick better than Tuukka Rask? How are there 11 goalies in the league rated more highly than Braden Holtby? How is Jonathan Bernier worse than Ondrej Pavelec? There are a lot of questions you can ask here, but even if you check out their justifications (and you should, because the whole thing is really interesting) you're left asking how Mike Smith, for instance, “has as much talent as any guy on the list.” He, in fact, has a long and demonstrated statistical history of exactly the opposite, save for one season in which he was inexplicably a .930 goalie over 67 games.

Well, funny you should ask.

“It comes down to confidence and consistency,” said one coach. “And being about to go out night after night and reproduce what his strengths are.”

And that is just the kind of mumbo-jumbo you hear a lot with goalies because, again, they are incredibly difficult to evaluate. Even statistically minded people will repeat over and over that “Goalies are voodoo,” but what that really means is that they have a position that is more likely to be ruled by randomness than any other in the sport.

For goalies, the difference between a good season and a bad one is failing to stop an extra 10 shots out of 1,000 in a lot of cases. But over time (say, the last three years) quality-adjusted save percentage is going to tell you a lot about a goaltender's quality in a lot of cases.

What made things a little tricky this year is the fact that Edmonton and San Jose are both using goalies with very good statistical profiles — Martin Jones and Cam Talbot rank first and third, respectively, in adj. 5v5 sv% over that time — with very little actual in-game experience. Most goalies on this list have more starts in a given season than they have in their brief careers as backups, as you might expect. Buffalo and St. Louis are both likewise going with inexperienced hands who were ranked on this list, but whose stats were a little less rosy. Even Minnesota's Devan Dubnyk is little-used in comparison with a lot of these guys.

But still, looking at these ratings versus adjusted save percentage highlights that there's a lot of poor evaluation going on out there these days from some very smart hockey people.

When looking at this chart, great goalies should be far to the right, and bad ones low to the bottom. And yet you see a lot of guys who are quite high that don't get very far over (the one in the 3 range is Jones, the one closer to 1.5 is Rask), as well as some quite low ones who aren't nearly as far left as they should be (the lowest guy in that far-right group is Pekka Rinne.)

First things first, let's note that at the extremes, they mostly seem to get things right. GMs are going to have good idea of who is really good or really bad; No. 1 Carey Price, No. 2 Henrik Lundqvist, No. 30 Cam Ward, etc., all make sense. There are only four goalies inside of the 1.5 rating, and six are below 3.

However, none — not even unanimously awful Cam Ward — could be evaluated as being less than 4 overall? All the goalies are at least “a little less than fair?” That seems crazy, especially given the evidence we have to suggest Cam Ward shouldn't be a starting goalie in the league at all. One GM polled even specifically said, “I think he might be done,” but we can't get a better consensus than “he's pulling about a D+ grade?”

But there's a lot of crazy crap in the middle (not even counting “Jonathan Quick is better than Tuukka Rask,” which is absurd). Again, it is difficult to evaluate goaltenders but the fact that there's only about a 14 percent correlation between what these hockey lifers think and what the actual performance is crazy.

And on one level, you can say “who cares,” right? Who cares what a small sampling of people, even those with a wall full of credentials, might think about an individual guy they may only see in person a handful of times per season?

Fair enough. But here's the thing: Seven of the 14 guys polled were either GMs or AGMs, and three more were head coaches.

These are the guys that sign the deals or put together the lineup. So if they're misevaluating goaltenders — which they are, by and large — then that hurts their teams' chances of winning. Especially if those goalies are signed to fat paychecks. Which many of them are, as discussed by Corey Masisak on Friday. For example, 18 goalies carry a cap hit of at least $5.2 million, and seven more are between that number and $4.1 million.

Indeed, here's the same quality-adjusted save percentage numbers, but this time compared with those goalies' cap hits for this season.


GMs perform even worse here: There's only a 3.88 percent correlation for three-year adjusted save percentage at full strength and salaries. Which leaves a lot of room for some very bad contracts. In an ideal world, you're getting contracts high and to the left on this chart, but probably don't mind paying for the ones high and to the right. When you're down and to the right, that's where the problems start.

Every dollar is valuable, and you certainly get more bang for your buck out of a goalie than any other single position in the league, simply because they play the full 60 and are often the difference between winning and losing. In terms of dollars spent per win, you basically can't overspend on an elite goaltender, but you can very quickly spend too much money on mediocre goaltending (ask Dean Lombardi). And that doesn't even begin to get into the term on many of these deals, which are often four or five years at the minimum. It's crazy, and typically not good valuation.

But at least these talent evaluators are pretty consistent in how they examine these players; there's a more than 36 percent correlation between AAV and evaluator rating, meaning that they generally believe guys with big contracts also happen to be the best goalies, far more so than they think the guys with the highest save percentages are the best in the game.

Seems they're big fans of their own work, even if that work isn't very good.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks have won the Pacific Division three times in a row and a fourth seems very much in the cards. And man, it used to be frickin hard to win the Pacific. Turns out this Bruce Boudreau guy is good.

Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes went 0-fer in the preseason, having scored just one (ONE!) goal at 5-on-5. Goal differential across six games was 20-4.

Boston Bruins: “Bruins can't muster enough offense even as Tuukka Rask is incredible” sounds like a pretty plausible storyline for the entire season, doesn't it?

Buffalo Sabres: Are we really already saying “Bylsma for Jack Adams?” With zero games played? Slow down.

Calgary Flames: It's going to be fascinating to see what the Flames give Kris Russell. Because he isn't very good, and Calgary seems to think he very much is. And with the contracts they're going to have to give out over the next few years, overpaying a borderline No. 5 defenseman would be disastrous. Get your popcorn. 

Carolina Hurricanes: Carolina has only nine players signed for 2016-17, plus five RFAs. You can probably say so long to plenty of guys on the current roster in the very near future.

Chicago Blackhawks: Why it's almost like you shouldn't give bad players big-money contracts based entirely on one postseason run. I don't know.

Colorado Avalanche: To other teams, you mean?

Columbus Blue Jackets: William Karlsson's nickname is Wild Bill. Hard not to be very into that.

Dallas Stars: Very sorry to hear about this, Stars fans. You have our sympathies.

Detroit Red Wings: How dare Dylan Larkin challenge Detroit's assumptions that all players under the age of 22 toil for years in the AHL, regardless of their talent level? Doesn't he know they want to play Darren Helm and Drew Miller 14 minutes a night?

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers' defense isn't very good? The devil, you say!

Florida Panthers: The Panthers largely say they like the idea of a 3-on-3 overtime. They seem like a team that could do better in it than the shootout, given the amount of high-end skill they have up front and that 19-year-old defenseman at the back.

Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty really just ought to have the full-on captaincy, right?

Minnesota Wild: This is not a good choice to have to make.

Montreal Canadiens: Well guys I have some bad news about this: Michel Therrien is your coach.

Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne (and probably Cory Crawford) are probably going to be poster boys for the “goaltender's workload” problem in this league.

New Jersey Devils: Another judicious deal in a growing line of them for Ray Shero.

New York Islanders: What if being in a building that's actually easy to get to is good? Hmm. Hmmmmm.

New York Rangers: The Rangers got plenty of luck last year and didn't win anything. How much more would people realistically like them to have?

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Ottawa Senators: Raise your hand if you remembered Clarke MacArthur played for the Senators. Well, now he doesn't because he's injured. At least a little bit.

Philadelphia Flyers: Oooooo they should try this with most of their other blue line veterans too.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Yeah, having Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang as your 3-on-3 unit seems bad.

San Jose Sharks: If Martin Jones can actually stay good all season, that would be some kind of thing. Have to doubt it happens, though.

St. Louis Blues: Do you think this is just copied and pasted from the last two seasons?

Tampa Bay Lightning: This is a really good look at the Stamkos contract situation as the season looms large here. You gotta wonder how much negotiating will really happen after the season starts.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Mike Babcock got to Toronto expecting Nazem Kadri to be The Worst, simply because of how the local media talks about him. Turns out: “All the things I heard about him, none of them were true.”

Vancouver Canucks: “Brandon Sutter with the Sedins” seems very much like a thing that isn't going to work out.

Washington Capitals: Hey, remember when the Capitals were playing third-line center Jay Beagle with Alex Ovechkin? Man, what a time that was.

Winnipeg Jets: It shouldn't be that hard for the Jets to make the playoffs. Not getting creamed in the first round, on the other hand...

Gold Star Award

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack, of Sweden, defends against Washington Capitals' Stanislav Galiev (49), of Russia, during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Carolina won 4-3 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Wow, it's quite a world when a team can sign its starting goalie for two years at the Eddie Lack price point. Very shrewd move in Carolina.

Minus of the Weekend

Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond plays with a puck as he records a video segment during the first day of NHL hockey training camp Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Andrew Hammond being out two weeks is going to be rough. As long as those two weeks are at the end of last season. Otherwise, probably not a big deal.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User “legitbeauty” is feeling good.

 michalek and lazar for okposo 


He’s a can of vegetables. He doesn’t have to know.

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All stats via War On Ice unless otherwise noted.)


Author: Ryan Lambert
Posted: October 5, 2015, 1:26 pm

The Chicago Blackhawks brought the Stanley Cup to the Chicago Bears’ game against the Oakland Raiders to celebrate the return of Jay-sus Cutler.

Well, that and to get honored at midfield during halftime. 

Before the game, the Blackhawks also engaged in some football fun. Although Andrew Shaw apparently put a little too much foot into it.

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Here is the Blackhawks’ winger doing his Robbie Gould impression, attempting a field goal at Soldier Field with Patrick Kane* as his holder. Unfortunately, you don’t get any extra points for splitting the uprights with your shoe after the ball.

#BearDown ! @shawz15er #Blackhawks #OAKvsCHI pic.twitter.com/wzAg9kJIiP

— Jake robison (@jakerobison1) October 4, 2015

Here’s another look from the stands:

#PatrickKane on the hold#AndrewShaw on the kickNo ice, no problem#Blackhawks@WGNNews pic.twitter.com/czRKeLGgsL

— Rick Tarsitano (@RickTarsitano) October 4, 2015

LACES OUT, ANDREW. (So please tie them.)

No word when he plans to attempt the 70-yard Sidney Crosby slap shot field goal.

(*Yes, Patrick Kane. As we saw from the Bobblehead Night fallout, the Blackhawks are just going to market Kane no matter how uncomfortable and angry it makes a healthy portion of their fan base.) 


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 5, 2015, 12:15 am

Goaltender Ben Scrivens has been placed on waivers by the Edmonton Oilers.

The move seemed like it was somewhat of a surprise, since Scrivens, 29, played in 57 games last season for and carried a modest $2.3 million salary cap hit. The point of putting Scrivens on waivers was “for purpose of assignment” according to Edmonton’s Twitter feed.

Scrivens came into camp needing to try to erase the memory of a 2014-15 where he had a 3.16 goals against average and .890 save percentage. During the offseason, Edmonton acquired Cam Talbot from the New York Rangers to become the team's starter.

Also, the Oilers seemed to have insurance plans for their backup beyond Scrivens, acquiring Anders Nilsson from Chicago.

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And Nilsson has delivered this preseason according to the Edmonton Journal, while Scrivens hasn’t been quite as good.

Nilsson came into camp and impressed pretty much everybody, playing 120 minutes over three appearances and stopping every single one of the 53 shots he faced. With that performance he earned his way on to the big club where from all appearances he will back up Talbot, who started and finished both of Edmonton’s final two preseason games.

For his part Scrivens had a decent, not great, camp, getting lit up for 3 goals in one period in his one full game in Winnipeg but stopping pretty much everything else.

Also according to the Journal, Scrivens will carry a $1.35 million salary cap hit to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League.

Oilers defenseman Nikita Nikitin cleared waivers and has been assigned to Bakersfield according to the team. Nikitin was entering the final season of a two-year $9 million contract. His deal will carry a $3.55 million salary cap hit in the AHL according to General Fanager.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 4, 2015, 7:23 pm

Montreal Canadiens forward Zack Kassian was involved in a car accident Sunday morning, according to the Montreal Gazette.

The Canadiens said Kassian suffered “minor injuries” and is “under the care of the Montreal Canadiens doctors.”

From the Gazette:

A 20-year old woman was driving the truck, which ran into a tree on Clanranald Ave. A 24-year-old man and 18-year-old woman were passengers in the vehicle, said Montreal police spokesperson Manuel Couture.

Speed did not appear to be a factor in the crash, which took place around 6 a.m., said Couture.


“(Kassian) was all bloodied up and stuff. He was in a daze,” said Steve Petrenko, a resident on the street where the accident took place. He described the man as a big guy, who he thought looked familiar.

“He had a hard time walking, and he almost took a fall.” 

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On July 1 the Canadiens acquired Kassian from the Vancouver Canucks for Brandon Prust and a 2016 fifth-round draft pick. Last season with the Canucks, Kassian scored 10 goals in 42 games. He also had 81 penalty minutes.

In 198 career NHL games he has 66 points and 307 penalty minutes. Kassian is entering the final season of a two-year $3.5 million contract. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 4, 2015, 4:11 pm

Raffi Torres missed all of last season dealing with an ACL issue. He returned this preseason, and in his third game back he reminded us all of Old Raffi Torres. 

Midway through the first period of Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, Torres laid this hit on Jakob Silfverberg: 

Silfverberg did not return to the game while Torres was handed a match penalty for the hit.

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As you see, Torres was deadset on laying a hit on Silfverberg, even as the puck squirted away from the Ducks forward. 

"Same player every year,” said Ryan Kesler, via the Orange County Register. “I played with the guy. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game any more. He came from across the ice and only made contact with his head. Obviously hope Silfvy’s alright.”

The NHL rulebook states that any player receiving a match penalty is automatically suspended until the Commissioner rules. The Department of Player Safety is very familiar with Torres given his discipline history with four multiple game suspensions, including a 21-game ban in 2012.

How many does Torres get this time around?

UPDATE: The DoPS has announced Torres will have a Monday phone hearing after waiving his right to an in-person meeting. That means the DoPS can hand down a suspension of five games or longer.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 4, 2015, 2:10 pm

Goaltender Eddie Lack has a new contract with the ...

(Be honest with yourself. Before reading the headline, did you remember what team Eddie Lack is on? Outside of two cities, it is acceptable not to know the answer.)

Lack, currently a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, and will continue to be a Hurricane for two additional seasons. As for salary, the 'Canes are one of the few franchises to release the details themselves:

The deal will pay Lack $2.5 million in 2016-17, and $3 million in 2017-18. 

That'll buy a lot of tacos

Carolina acquired Lack at this year's draft for a third round pick in 2015 and a seventh round pick next year. When the trade was announced, the sound around the hockey world was that of Vancouver Canucks GM Trevor Linden crushing the souls of his team's fanbase.

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People love them some Lack and rightfully so. His helmet for this season is adorned with two indelible images: the Swedish Chef and Roberto Luongo. His Twitter account is amazing, especially when he's lovingly trolling old teammates:

Hey @RyanMiller3039 what do u think of my new t-shirt I got from @NoJoryous @MKarlsson86 #walmart #❤️ pic.twitter.com/5onA9dMBEV

— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) August 29, 2015

With Lack, 27, locked up for the next three years, the Hurricanes will have to make a decision on Cam Ward. The goaltender, 31, has been with the franchise his entire career. He's entering the final season of his current contract that carries a $6.8-million cap hit and a no trade clause, leaving him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Declaring Lack as the successor to Ward based on this signing may be a bit premature, seeing as the regular season hasn't started yet. But it's possible the writing is on the wall.

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Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD.



Author: Jen Neale
Posted: October 3, 2015, 10:09 pm

Sergei Gonchar’s hockey career likely reached the end of the line on Saturday when the Pittsburgh Penguins announced they were releasing him from his tryout contract.

The 41-year old Gonchar played in four preseason games for the Penguins, and while his time on the ice in Pittsburgh is over, the team is open to being a part of the next chapter of his hockey life.

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said on Saturday that should Gonchar not sign elsewhere to play, he would like for the defenseman to stay in the organization in some capacity.

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As he said last week while still battling for a spot, via Jason Mackey of the Tribune Review, his presence can be a benefit to others on the roster. “I can share (my) experience with them. I’ve been around for a few years. I've been in different situations. You talk with them. There are a few things that I've already shared. I'll try to help this team any way I can. Helping the young guys is one thing that I can do.”

Certainly a guy who has played 1,301 NHL games, scored 220 goals (102 on the power play) and recorded 811 points in his career can be a mentor to some of the organization’s young blueliners like Derrick Pouliot, who was sent to the AHL, Olli Maatta, Adam Clendening and Tim Erixon. He, along with Evgeni Malkin, could also serve as another friendly Russian face for winger Sergei Plotnikov, who signed over the summer.

The next question then, if this is indeed the end for Gonchar, is do you see him getting into the Hockey Hall of Fame?

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 3, 2015, 5:01 pm

The Edmonton Oilers dropped defenseman Nikita Nikitin on waivers on Saturday, in a reminder that new executives can clean up old messes with a clear conscience. 

Please recall the Oilers acquiring Nikitin’s negotiating rights from the Columbus Blue Jackets in June 2014, a move made under former general manager Craig MacTavish and his assistant GM Scott Howson, who acquired Nikitin from the St. Louis Blues in 2011 as GM of the Jackets.

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The Oilers’ blueline at the time was like wet tissue paper, so any NHL level defenseman added to that group seemed like an upgrade. Then they handed him a two-year deal with $4.5 million annually. Then he an injury-filled season with bad analytics, with MacTavish himself suggesting “I don’t think he was in the best shape that he could have been” in training camp.

MacTavish is gone. GM Peter Chiarelli has nothing to prove in having someone else’s $4.5-million boondoggle on the roster, so the Oilers popped him on waivers after an underwhelming preseason.

There were talks between the Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks about a Nikitin and Bryan Bickell swap; it never amounted to anything, and both players hit waivers (Bickell’s already passed through).

David Staples of Cult of Hockey felt that Niktin hadn’t played that poorly in the preseason. Before his waivering, Staples wrote:

The Oil might also need Nikitin. Right now the Oilers have good-offence, poor-defence Justin Schultz and poor-offence, good-defence Mark Fayne on the right side. There’s also newcomer Eric Gryba, who may lack the necessary mobility to make the required contributions.

Which of Schultz or Fayne is good to go with Andrej Sekera on the Oil’s top-pairing? The answer could well be neither. Schultz has played well in the preseason, but this has occurred in, well, the preseason.

Indeed, the answer for Sekera’s partner could be Nikitin, who might be big, strong and skilled enough to hold the role for a year, or part of a year.

Not everyone agreed.

OK, most people don’t agree.

Kris Hansen of Oil On Whyte didn’t mince words:

Whenever Nikitin touched the puck, it was like handling the grenade. Forget any creativity in the offensive zone: as soon as Nikitin would touch the thing, it would be a turnover where he would be losing another foot race.

Nikita Nikitin owes the Edmonton Oilers nine million dollars. How an NHL veteran shows up to camp in the same condition, or even dare I say worse condition, is beyond me. It paints to me, that this is a guy who cashed in his paycheque and he’s set for life. He’s an embarrassment to the logo on the jersey and embodies everything wrong these last few years as an Oilers fan: someone we hoped would actually be a player but turns out to be utter garbage.

Geez, tell us how you really feel …

So we imagine the next move for Nikitin will be the KHL, having played for Omsk for parts of eight years and where he'll immediately be favored to win the Russian Norris by default.


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 3, 2015, 4:57 pm

Bryan Bickell cleared waivers but will start the season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

According to Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune, coach Joel Quenneville said Bickell will indeed stay with Chicago rather than being sent to Rockford of the American Hockey League

"I think organizationally we know Bicks can bring a lot to our team," Quenneville said. "I think he can be a factor and we need him to be."

Said Bickell per Hine, "I'm just taking it as an awakening, set a fire."

Shipping the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Bickell to the American Hockey League would have given the Blackhawks some desperately needed salary cap relief. According to General Fanager, the Hawks are over the $71.4 million salary cap by approximately $189,710. Bickell has two seasons left at an average of $4 million per-year on a four-year $16 million contract.

The Blackhawks have10 regular season games or 30 days where they can send Bickell to Rockford without him having to clear waivers according to General Fanager.

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Per CSN Chicago from a Friday story:

If he is not claimed by 11 a.m. Saturday, Bickell will likely go to the Rockford IceHogs; that would give the Blackhawks approximately $950,000 of cap space and the remaining $3.05 million would be buried salary, according to generalfanager.com.

The Blackhawks had tried to trade Bickell, 29, during the summer to unload his salary but couldn’t find the right deal. 

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector said Chicago had tried to deal Bickell to Edmonton earlier in the week.

Bickell received his contract after Chicago’s 2013 Stanley Cup run. In that postseason he notched 17 points in 28 games. Since then, he hasn’t replicated the same success with 43 points in 139 regular season games. He didn’t score a goal in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, though he missed some time with vertigo symptoms. 

There were questions as to whether vertigo had something to do with this move. In training camp, Bickell said he was still having trouble with the issue, though he was doing better. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 3, 2015, 4:49 pm

ANAHEIM, Calif. – On a late September night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Anaheim Ducks played an exhibition lineup that could have probably beaten most NHL bottom feeders in a regular season game.

Forward Corey Perry scored two goals in the Ducks’ 2-1 win over the Kings that evening. Defenseman Cam Fowler notched an assist and played 21:28 of action. 

Rickard Rakell – the team’s designated third line center who could be a second-liner on a lot of teams – was arguably their best forward with two assists in 18:04 of ice-time. Newly acquired 34-year-old defenseman Kevin Bieksa showed skating ability that made you think he was back in his late 20s.

Young defenseman Josh Manson stood up to Kings crusher Milan Lucic by fighting the big, bruising winger who was trying to make a statement to his new team.

 It was the type of preseason win over a rival that should have built some level of confidence for a team heading into a season. Except that’s not how these Ducks looked at it.

For this group, the preseason doesn’t matter. At all. The regular season is just a vessel to get them into the playoffs and atone for Game 7 failures of the last three seasons.

“We’ve gotten a lot of accolades for doing nothing right now, by the way. We haven’t won a game. We haven’t done anything,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “People aren’t surmising or whatever the word is (over) what we should do. We've got to worry about ourselves on the ice, and everything else will take care of itself.”

A year ago, the Ducks blew a 3-2 Western Conference Final lead to the Chicago Blackhawks and lost Game 7 at home.

Again the Ducks, who were the Western Conference’s top-seeded team in the 2015 postseason, head into the year as a favorite in the Western Conference. But this season, the team’s set-up for success is greater, which means failure could sting even worse.

As some contending teams in the West felt a salary cap crunch, the Ducks loaded up. This combined with learning from past demises should make the Ducks a big favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Except with these Ducks and this core, it’s not that cut-and-dry. 

“I don’t think you look at it and you’re like, ‘These guys have to be the favorite right now,’” Fowler said. “We definitely feel like we can contend and we feel like we’ll be there at the end of it but we have to go out and use some of that loss we had last year and use it as motivation coming into this year.” 

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All the right moves

Ducks general manager Bob Murray didn’t make a bad roster decision this past summer. He boosted the Ducks’ overall speed by bringing in Carl Hagelin from the New York Rangers and Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks.

He added goaltending depth by adding Anton Khudobin from the Carolina Hurricanes. The subsequent contract for Bieksa (two years for a 34-year-old starting in 2016-17) seemed like a bit much as did Ryan Kesler’s six-year $41.25-million extension. But those are problems for next year’s Murray. For this season, he needed a happy group that didn’t need to worry about future status.

He also added versatile forward depth by signing Mike Santorelli for one year at $875,000 and Chris Stewart at a bargain price of $1.7 million for this season. Both those deals happened well after the start of unrestricted free agency. 

He let Matt Beleskey walk to the Boston Bruins, opting to not give the one-time 20-goal scorer a five-year contract.

According to General Fanager, Murray left himself with around $7.4 million of salary cap space this season. 

This gives him enough room to add a player this season if he sees a deficiency. It also keeps him with some level of room when restricted free agent defensemen Simon Despres, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen are up for new contracts next summer.

While the Blackhawks and Kings were forced to jettison core pieces, the Ducks reloaded.

“Bob did a lot of great things during the summer. It’s up to us to go on the ice and show it was beneficial,” Perry said.

Even in training camp, players in the lineup can sense that this group fits.

“There’s not a lot of holes to fill, especially at forward,” winger Andrew Cogliano said. “I think it’s more of mixing guys up and seeing where guys fit at the moment, but I think our fourth line can be as good as our third line, sometimes as good as our second line sometimes. That’s what you want on the team.”

Can the stars shine?

Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are star players in the NHL and have the hardware to prove it.

Perry is a former league MVP. Getzlaf is consistently mentioned as one of the NHL’s top-three centers, if not one of the league’s top-five players. They’ve both won a Cup, which makes them more immune to criticism than some other elite players like San Jose’s Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

But they’ve never led their team to a championship at the NHL level. Teemu Selanne, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger were the main faces of the Ducks’ 2007 championship charge. Perry and Getzlaf were 22-year-old NHL neophytes back then.

Now they’re 30-year-old family men who have taken their playoff lumps as the leaders of the Ducks.

In 2013 they were beat in a Game 7 (first-round of the playoffs) at home by Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. In 2014 it was the Los Angeles Kings and their bevy of talented forwards led by Anze Kopitar that buried the Ducks at home in Game 7 in the second-round.

In the 2015 Western Conference Final the decision by Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville to put Jonathan Toews against Getzlaf changed that series. The last three games of the Final, Getzlaf had two assists and was a minus-four. Toews had four goals.

As the Ducks started to panic, Toews simplified his game in big moments, pushing the puck deep into Anaheim’s zone, and firing shots at the Anaheim net from all angles. It was the mark of a great player in desperation mode.

Depth can go a long way, but ultimately players down on the roster take their cue from the big names.

This is how the Blackhawks – playing essentially with four defensemen – were able to beat the Ducks at a point in their series when they should have wilted.

“Getzlaf and Perry are superstars and they do it all, but over the years at times … they have a lot of miles on them,” an Eastern Conference scout said.

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 30: Chicago Blackhawks against the Anaheim Ducks in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Honda Center on May 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Robert Binder/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Ducks’ stars can take one of two paths. If they lose again, they will likely be looked at like Thornton and Marleau – a great tandem who somehow couldn’t get it done in the playoffs.

If they win, they’ll look more like Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov from some of the great Detroit teams in the late '90s and early 2000s. They learned from their mistakes of playoff heartache against the Colorado Avalanche and others and figured out how to make their games more successful in the postseason.

Boudreau said his two stars look “determined” heading into this season, which is a start.

Pressure mounts

After the season, Murray took some time to decide if Boudreau would return. The loss to the Blackhawks rightfully didn’t sit well with the general manager.

The Ducks had banged and bruised the Hawks over seven games. There was a belief that Anaheim couldn’t possibly lose another Game 7 at home. Beyond the Ducks’ obvious depth advantage – they had learned and it was their time. Except it wasn’t, which was a shocking gut punch for the team.

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 30: Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau talks to his team during the game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Honda Center on May 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Robert Binder/NHLI via Getty Images)

“You felt like towards the back-end of that series that maybe a couple of their big horses would slow down a little bit,” Fowler said. “They were pretty much playing four D at one point with the occasional five and six guys thrown in once in a while.”

Instead of firing Boudreau and blowing up the Ducks, Murray stayed the course with his additions, making subtle changes to address weaknesses, by making a deep team even richer.

Even though the Blackhawks beat Anaheim 5-3 in Game 7, hockey is still a game of bounces and fine-detailed execution. What if Toews didn’t score that goal in the first three minutes to give the Blackhawks and early 1-0 lead? What if Jakob Silfverberg didn’t take that hooking penalty that led to Chicago’s second goal and added more doubt to the Ducks’ already bruised playoff psyche?

In hockey it’s all about putting yourself in that position and hope your team can come through. The Ducks have the type of squad to again at very worst go to the conference final. And if/when they get there, will they finally be able to execute the way they expect?

“Any time you can add more depth and people who can contribute in different ways, it’s only going to help you,” Fowler said. “If opportunity comes around again, you’d like to think we’ll be better prepared this time and come out on top.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper







Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 3, 2015, 1:55 pm

There are many legal ways to try to get a competitive advantage in hockey.

And then there are some illegal ways that border on the hilarious and ridiculous. Take Oscar Milton of Almtuna IS from Allsvenskan (Sweden) who tried to untie his opponent’s skates off a neutral zone face off. He reportedly got a two-minute minor penalty.

Oscar Milton unties opponents skate, gets 2 minute minor - Swedish Tier II (Hockeyallsvenskan) pic.twitter.com/nZGL5yLO71

— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) October 2, 2015

His opponent seemed to take exception to the maneuver by slapping Milton’s skates.

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Milton is no stranger to making highlight reels. In 2010 when he was with Almtuna J20, he showed deft hands with this goal off the back of a goaltender’s mask in a game against Nacka of Stockholm. 

Last season Milton had eight points in 52 games with Almtuna. Even if he didn't have a lot of points, he definitely seems to have a creative hockey mind. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 2, 2015, 10:18 pm

SAN JOSE, Calif. – It’s about 30 steps to the NHL for members of the San Jose Barracuda.

You go out the sliding glass door of their offices in Sharks Ice, walk straight for maybe 20-30 seconds and then cut into the team’s practice facility.

“All of us want to eventually go across the hall and play for the Sharks,” Barracuda forward Trevor Parkes said. “If a guy gets hurt it’s a two minute walk to the dressing room and it’s a big opportunity for guys like us because the chance for getting called up makes it a little easier rather than having to go on a big flight across the country.”

All the American Hockey League teams that relocated to California have their own specific advantages to their parent clubs.

But the Barracuda give the San Jose Sharks the greatest hockey operations benefit of all the groups. If a Sharks player gets hurt, it’ll be easy to quickly bring in a reinforcement. If management wants to know how a player is performing, watching a game involves a short drive to the SAP Center in downtown San Jose, rather than a cross-country flight to Worcester, where the Sharks’ AHL team played last year. 

If a player needs extra coaching, the Sharks’ development staff will be nearby.

“They’re right here in our own building,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. “I can walk across and I can watch both practices. To get it to this point, it really benefits the players but it benefits us, plus the players know, if they play well, they’re probably going to get promoted. If they’re struggling a little bit they can go down and work on their games.” 

Except for the Barracuda, all the new California AHL teams are not located in the same city as their parent clubs.

The Stockton Heat are aligned with the Calgary Flames. The Bakersfield Condors are with the Edmonton Oilers. The San Diego Gulls are the feeder team for the Anaheim Ducks and the Ontario Reign are the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL team. 

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All those teams – except the Gulls – existed in some form or fashion before the AHL announced the California franchise relocation. Facilities didn’t have to be rebuilt or created. The Gulls will be a tenant in a facility that they did not build.

The Sharks trumpet the fact that their Barracuda practice facility and offices were created with their ownership’s blessing.

“Our owner stepped up in a big way spending millions of dollars to bring this franchise out here and build the facility to the Barracuda. That’s a commitment to the hockey team – huge commitment,” Wilson said.

Barracuda Games at SAP Center will not be like Sharks games. The upper levels will be curtained off and the arena will seat approximately 8,000 people. SAP Center holds 17,562 for Sharks games.

There are some questions as to whether this will impact Sharks attendance, since the Barracuda will be a cheaper ticket. But the team sees the ability for fans to watch their players grow and mature into NHLers as a positive.

Added Wilson, “It was a decision from our organization that it was the best case for the players, best case for the hockey side, really exciting I think for our fanbase.”

What about the players?

The biggest issue between Worcester and San Jose would probably involve cost of living.

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive places in the United States and San Jose is near the top of priciest spots in that region.

According to General Fanager, Sharks prospect Jeremy Langlois is set to make $70,000 on his AHL contract next year. Per Sperling’s Best Places, that salary in Worcester equates to $131,217 in San Jose.  

AHL careers aren’t as lucrative as NHL careers and there was some fear that a few players would have issues with a potential devaluing of their income. According to Langlois, this hasn’t been the case at the moment.

His one bedroom apartment is about $400 per-month more than what he paid in Worcester for the same size. Parkes said his rent for his place is about $1,200 per-month unfurnished, which is what he paid for a furnished place in Worcester last season. 

“It is more expensive but it’s also nicer … this one has a pool and a hot tub and more amenities and stuff like that,” Langlois said. “Last year in Worcester was like snowstorm after snowstorm. They got hit a lot. We didn’t have a pool or anything like that there though.”

Even if the change isn’t as bad as expected, there probably will have to be some more watching of disposable income for players. 

“It’s definitely a lifestyle change. The cost of living is what you make of it. You can live like an NHLer or you can live within your pay grade,” Barracuda coach Roy Sommer said. “There’s certain things out here that are more expensive but it depends on where you go out and where you eat. It’s no different there. If I want to spend a lot in Worcester I could and go to the chophouse and all those places. It’s all relative, you know?” 

But that’s the only tangible ‘downside’ for the players, who tout the beach, the mountains and proximity to the Sharks their decision makers as major positives.

Sommer notes that his players tended to have an extra pep in their steps whenever Wilson arrived in Worcester to watch that group.  

“I think there’s more of an emphasis on these guys to be ready to play hard every night,” Sommer said.

Emphasis and perhaps less pressure. Instead of having to impress the Sharks brass a handful of nights during the year, the players won’t feel the same level of stress when San Jose management types watch their games – because there’s a likelihood they’ll see all of them. 

“If they just come up to see one weekend and you don’t perform well, that doesn’t look as good,” Langlois said. “But if you can see your body of work over the whole season, I think it’ll benefit guys in the long run.”

And a player will have a greater chance at success when he’s called up to the NHL. It won’t involve some sort of cross-country circus flight that will throw his body out of whack. He’ll be able to keep the same physical and nutritional routines

“My guess is (the travel) is definitely not the best thing for your body when you get a chance,” Langlois said. “You want to be able to prove what you have right away and you don’t want to be getting in there and not doing well, so you want to be as prepared as possible for when you can finally get there.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper



Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 2, 2015, 8:29 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com.

Sometimes you find a teammate and the connection is too profound to ignore pic.twitter.com/5DLLoWg32j

— Spencer Bacon (@SBacon_33) September 29, 2015

• Mmmm... bacon. /drool [@SBacon_33]

• Boston Bruins owner, and Mr. Burns lookalike, Jeremy Jacobs, doesn't think there is a 'desire for expansion.' [ESPN]

• Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts highlight the ups and downs of the expansion talks. [SportsNet]

• Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is out 3-4 weeks with a foot injury. [M Live]

• The New Jersey Devils will be without Patrik Elias as the season begins. [North Jersey]

• The Capitals are preparing to start their season without Nicklas Backstrom. [Washington Post]

• Contract negotiations between Andrew Ladd and the Winnipeg Jets are going nowhere at the moment. [Winnipeg Free Press]

• The cases involving Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll have turned the spotlight on to the NHL's substance abuse policy. [LA Times]

• One pro hockey player, one convicted fellon: The story of the Metropolit Brothers. [The Hockey News]

• After player salaries were released, questions arose regarding the NWHL's finances. [Today's Slapshot]

• If the NWHL is looking to grow the game, they should come out west for exhibition games against teams in the ACHA, specifically in Arizona. [Catherine Silverman]

• Kristine Morrison becomes the first female official to officiate a WCHA game. [WCHA]

• General managers have yet to adopt two fundamental issues when it comes to offering goaltenders long term contracts in the salary cap era. [Sporting News]

• Darnell Nurse was assigned to the AHL by the Edmonton Oilers. He likely won't be there long. [Hockey Buzz]

• If the Boston Bruins are looking for defense. Why not Luke Schenn? [Causeway Crowd]

• Speaking of Schenn, here's a couple ideas of where he might land. [Broad Street Buzz]

• The Washington Capitals core isn't getting younger. Here's proof: the splicing together of roster photos from years ago and now. It's awesome. Some guys look like Batman villain, Two Face. [Japers' Rink]

• The New York Islanders are hoping Ryan Pulock is the generational talent on defense the team hasn't seen in decades. [Islanders Insight]

• Blake Wheeler is the key to the Winnipeg Jets being successful? [Jets All Out]

• Part 5 of grading goaltending mask designs for this season. [Hockey By Design]

• Should you take Tyler Seguin in the first round of your fantasy draft? [Dobber Hockey]

• Bruce Boudreau should keep Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry separate. [Puck of a Feather]

• As the final cuts loom, the New York Rangers have more questions than answers when it comes to completing their roster. [Blue Seat Blog]

• 10 questions for former Vancouver Canuck, Corey Hirsch. [Van City Buzz]

• Top 5 potential sources of disappointment for Minnesota Wild fans. [Hockey Wilderness]

• If you're new to the Fancy Stats movement, here's a 'back to basics' lesson on Offensive Zone Entries. [Jen LC]

• Three things to watch as the NCAA prepares to begin it's new year. [College Hockey News]

• Back-to-school hockey roster photos and many player forgot to shave. Who is looking the scruffiest? [What's Up Ya Sieve?]

• Finally, Alexander Nylander, younger brother of Leafs prospect William, shows of his dangle ... er ... dangling abilities on a highlight reel goal. [Buzzing the Net]

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Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD.


Author: Jen Neale
Posted: October 2, 2015, 6:18 pm

The Chicago Blackhawks had been trying to deal Bryan Bickell all summer with no luck. So GM Stan Bowman is pulling one last-ditch effort to rid himself of the forward’s $4 million cap hit as the team tries to loosen their cap crunch.

On Friday, the Blackhawks placed Bickell on waivers, hoping there some NHL team with plenty of cap room is looking to add to their forward group. Mark Spector of Sportsnet Tweeted on Thursday that talks with the Edmonton Oilers about a deal involving Nikita Nikitin didn’t progress.

If no NHL team wanted to give up assets for Bickell in a deal, would any want to pick up the full tab of two more years and $9 million? Especially for a player who is still dealing with vertigo symptons?

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Should Bickell clear, and if he’s sent to Rockford of the AHL, the Blackhawks would get $950,000 in cap savings, giving them some decent space under the ceiling.

Maybe the bigger surprise out of Blackhawks camp on Friday was that forward prospect Marko Dano, acquired from Columbus in the Brandon Saad trade, was cut. That opens up a spot for Kyle Baun on the NHL roster, while Dano will have to wait his turn in Rockford, which may not be very long considering how much he impressed in preseason. That seemed to work out for Teuvo Teravainen last season.


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 2, 2015, 5:43 pm

Andrew Hammond is out for the start of the 2015-16 season. 

According to multiple reports, the Ottawa Senators goaltender, who spearheaded the team’s hot streak into the 2014-15 playoffs, will miss two weeks with a groin injury.

Hammond suffered the issue at the team’s morning skate Thursday, prior to its exhibition game against the Montreal Canadiens.

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At the time, Senators coach Dave Cameron didn’t know how serious the issue was via the Ottawa Sun:

“Hammond isn’t going. He tweaked a groin,” said Cameron Thursday morning. “Tweaked groin is all I know. I have no time limit on it. I don’t know (how long he is out). I haven’t talked to anybody. I got the information relayed to me.”

This means AHL goaltender Matt O’Connor will likely take Hammond’s roster spot to start the season with Craig Anderson as the team’s starter.

During the offseason, Hammond, 27, signed a three-year $4.05 million contract. He made his first NHL start last season and went 20-1-2 with a 1.79 goals against average to lead the Senators into the playoffs.

In honor of Hammond’s nickname, ‘The Hamburglar,’ Senators fans threw hamburgers on the ice at points during Ottawa’s late-season run.

In Ottawa’s first-round playoff loss to Montreal, Hammond notched a 3.44 goals against average and went 0-2. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 2, 2015, 4:18 pm

What do hockey coaches always say? “Go to the net and good things will happen.” Sometimes that involves the puck going in off your face. That’s the risk.

On Thursday night, Vancouver Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen did just that on the power play and scored in interesting fashion during a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers:

"Next thing I remember, (Bo) Horvat is on top of me screaming, 'You scored!'" Virtanen said, via Jason Botchford of the Province

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The 19-year old Virtanen, who Vancouver selected sixth overall in 2014, went to the dressing room and received a few stitches near his left eye. He returned for the start of the third period and would set up a Bo Horvat goal 54 seconds in.  

That one felt good 😂👍🏻#good2go

— Jake Virtanen (@Jake_Virtanen) October 2, 2015

The line of Virtanen, Horvat and Sven Baertschi turned plenty of heads after combining for three goals and 10 points. The VHB line were responsible for all of the Canucks’ scoring, aside from Ben Hutton’s goal and Yannick Weber’s two points.


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 2, 2015, 3:37 pm

There was a rumor going around this week, since kinda-debunked by Bob McKenzie, that Eric Staal wants a $9 million AAV for his next contract.

The partial refutation from McKenzie was that Staal and the Hurricanes haven't even begun to discuss the dollars and cents of the new contract, and even the initial rumor from Renaud Lavoie indicates that while that might be what Staal wants, it's not necessarily what he thinks he'll get.

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Which he shouldn't, because he's not worth anything close to $9 million and he and his agent know that just as much as anyone else. Asking for $9 million for a player like Staal — declining, past 30, no longer even a center as far as his team is concerned — might as well be asking for the league maximum, which this year is $14.28 million. By degrees, you're not really being that much more ludicrous with your initial ask. 

No one is going to give Eric Staal, who hasn't broken 70 points in a full season since 2012, anywhere near that much money, and if they do well, they have bigger problems than the albatross contract they just gave him. But this does raise the question of what is a reasonable contract request from this player.

It was technically not that long ago that he was a more or less annual lock to clear 70 points. He did it every year from 2005-06 — when he scored 100 and won a Cup, setting career expectations too lofty for all but the game's all-time legends to live up to — and even scored 53 in 48 in the lockout season. But as a 29-year-old two seasons ago he scored only 61, and followed that up with 54 this past year. Guys generally don't get over a 156-game hump like that when they're 31 and beyond.

He actually turned in a pretty good two-way season overall in 2014-15, but one would imagine that such an uptick (from a plus-0.75 WAR to 2.29) doesn't necessarily mean he's once again found whatever made him such a great player back just a few years ago. Keep in mind, he saw his position changed to the wing, which relieves some of his defensive responsibilities, and also found himself on a line with brother Jordan Staal for much of the season, which is going to help anyone look better.

That, however, also came with a considerable drop in per-60 production for both goals and primary points (goals plus first assists), at declines of 10.7 percent and 36.8 percent. Yes, he was still playing a solid all-around game, but you pay guys with $8.25 million cap hits — Eric Staal has an $8.25 million cap hit, folks — to put up points, and Staal simply didn't do it. Again, this is not a skill he's likely to rediscover as time marches on.

But even a WAR that good, and the position change, doesn't put him in the top-15 left wings in the league last season. Among guys he finished behind in this regard were Mathieu Perreault and Justin Abdelkader. Both of them had career seasons, but come on. If you were putting together a list of the best left wings in the game, would Staal realistically be anywhere near the top of it? 

Let's put it another way: The two best left wings in hockey right now are Taylor Hall and Jamie Benn. Let's add in Max Pacioretty, Daniel Sedin, Zach Parise, Gabriel Landeskog, Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Milan Lucic, Evander Kane, Rick Nash, maybe a few other guys. You'd rightly take all of them over a 31-year-old Eric Staal. And the price point for those guys understandably doesn't begin to even approach $9 million. I'm willing to pass that absurd number off as a negotiating tactic and nothing more, but if that's even your jumping-off point you're out of your mind.

Currently, the number of left wings who make even $8 million per season is zero. The average left wing with a top-10 AAV for the position only makes $6.55 million or so, with a max of $7.8 million for Nash, and a minimum of $5.9 million for Sharp. If you were re-signing either one today — they're both 30-plus — it's likely those numbers wouldn't be approached. For the record, only five players in the league make more than $9 million at all, and Staal ain't Kane/Toews/Ovechkin/Malkin/Subban good.

This isn't a “Brent Seabrook” case, where Staal is going to be looking for money he didn't-get on a previous contract. He was, in fact, overpaid for the bulk of his soon-to-expire seven-year deal. His actual salary in the last three seasons alone was $28 million (which by the way is basically ex-Canes GM Jim Rutherford screaming, “I don't understand when players peak or indeed how to value them in the first place!”) so this isn't one of those make-whole contracts you occasionally see.

Staal, more than other players in a similar situation age- and production-wise, should get exactly what's coming to him, no more and no less. Which means you need to start pulling comparables. Which means you need to look at War on Ice's Similarity Scores tool and start fooling with the filters.

From where I sit, that's pretty good company. Closely comparing to Justin Williams is never a bad thing, and in fact, Williams' name pops up three times on that list. If you're basically Justin Williams, that's solid. The other guys on this list are all pretty good as well (or at least had insane, career-best years). You'll notice that they carried an average cap hit of about $5.5 million in the seasons in which they were so close to Staal's latest campaign — well below Staal's silly $8.25 million — and by the time they turned 31, which Staal will be for the majority of the first year of his new contract, they were pulling the equivalent of $4.7 million in today's money.

Frankly, that “feels” a little low for what Staal might be able to do even for a few years, but it's better for teams to err on the side of underpaying guys past the age of 30 (well, teams should try to underpay everyone, but you get the point). Hedging bets on guys on the wrong side of the Big Three-Oh is usually going to pay off for you, and overpaying hoping to hit the jackpot usually isn't.

Because that's the other thing with Staal: He's going to want term if he can't get cash. And he shouldn't get cash. So if you're signing a guy for, say, his age-31-through-36 seasons, you're going to want to keep the dollar value as depressed as possible. This number would constitute a paycut of more than 40 percent, but that's only fair because he was overpaid by at least 20 percent (and often more) in each of the last seven years.

In an ideal world Staal can be had for about $5 million AAV, give or take, and fewer than four years. The “fewer than four years” part should be league policy on guys older than 30, but y'know. That's probably not realistic, but that's what it should be.

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He's still a good or perhaps even very good player, but he was basically never worth $8.25 million, and it's going to skew his valuation for basically the rest of his career. However long that is.

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here. 

All stats via War on Ice unless otherwise stated.


Author: Ryan Lambert
Posted: October 2, 2015, 2:55 pm

NEW YORK – Rick Nash of the New York Rangers waited for the large line of fans, braving a steady rain, to make their way over for a photo op. Smile for the camera, sell a few products – such is life for a hockey star with an endorsement deal.

Even if it’s an endorsement deal his nearly one-year-old son might enjoy more than Nash would.

“All the other endorsements go out the window, and you get the Playmobil one. That’s what happens when you have a little one,” he said.

Nash was at the NHL Store in Manhattan on Thursday pushing the new Playmobil NHL line.

Basically, it’s like a table hockey game for wee ones. The NHL Hockey Arena ($59.99) houses little players and goalies from Original Six teams. Kids hold the players with their hands on the rink, and operate a lever to swing the player’s stick to take shots. A joystick controls the goalie to make saves.

It’s all super cute.

Even if you have to buy the referee package to get the Stanley Cup:


Nash used to play table hockey a young Ontario boy. “This one’s almost an upgrade, with the players actually on the ice,” he said.

But Nash said he probably played more bubble hockey growing up, hitting the arcade with his friends.

USA vs. Russia?

“Canada vs. Russia. It might have actually been Canada vs. the USA,” he said. “I just remember the different techniques: Banking it all the back wall, or trying to turn the faceoff into a breakaway. It was pretty cool.”

What Nash hopes in endorsing a toy like this? To make actual, hands-on toys cool for his son’s generation.

“I feel like everything’s with your cell phone now. It’s video games. We’d be outside playing road hockey all day and then we’d come in and play games like this,” he said.

As for the games that’ll being next week for Nash’s Rangers, the veteran winger is excited. Especially with Mats Zuccarello back on his line after suffering an injury late last season.

“He’s looked great in the preseason. It’s great to have him back. On our line, especially. We had great chemistry,” Nash said. “And it’s not just on the ice but in the room too. He’s a funny guy. He keeps it light.”

He’s also the kind of player that can fly in the 3-on-3 overtime, which comes to the NHL this season.

“It’s been fun to play. It’s been fun to watch. But I just can’t get a grip around how it’s going to be. Is it worth a team missing the playoffs, with those important points in the line?” asked Nash.

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Isn’t that what they said about the shootout? “Didn’t the Rangers miss the playoffs a few years back, in the shootout?” he asked.

Why yes they did.

“I just feel you keep it 5-on-5 in the playoffs, and you play … for a season to come down to what happens in the shootout. Maybe have a tie. I don’t know.”



Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 2, 2015, 1:45 pm

The New York Islanders debut in Brooklyn this season, and they’re bringing along some comforts from the Nassau Coliseum. The old organ. The old organist. The PA announcer. A group of legendary players that will act as team ambassadors. 

Something that wasn’t going to relocate with them? The deafening goal horn. Barclays Center debuted a new horn during the preseason, inspired by the sound of a subway train’s horn.

Introducing the new @nyislanders goal horn that we worked on with the MTA. pic.twitter.com/PcAwbuIAVc

— Barclays Center (@barclayscenter) September 29, 2015

At best, it was a misguided tribute to the fact that the Islanders’ new arena is more accessible by mass transit.

At worst, it sounded like a mosquito blowing into a party favor.

Islanders fans were … not pleased. Like, at all. As in, there was a petition to get it changed back.

“I think we’ve been very sensitive to the traditions of Islanders hockey,” said CEO Brett Yormark via The Michael Kay Show on Thursday. “At the same time, we must broaden the fan base. We must reach out to Brooklynites and areas around Brooklyn to make this move viable.”

And as you know, there’s nothing New Yorkers like to hear more than the squealing horn of an oncoming subway train vibrating inside their ears.

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“How do we do something that’s authentic to Brooklyn? Authentic to the subway? Authentic to bringing the team to an urban market?” asked Yormark.

Well, the answer sure wasn’t “change the goal horn,” because Yormark announced that the team will have its old Nassau horn back for opening night next Friday and throughout the season.

Hooray! The Islanders fans won!

Well, not really, said Yormark.

“I’m not acquiescing to the Islanders fans, I’m doing the right thing,” he said.

The CEO of both the Islanders and Barclays Center let it be known that he didn’t appreciate the fan outrage that totally drove the team to change the goal horn had little influence on his decision.

“Personally, I don’t respect the way they approached it. The Islanders fans. How they attacked our Twitter handle, the vocabulary they used to reference me and the organization. I don’t appreciate it,” he said to Kay.

And before you go off and send another snarky tweet, let it be know that the Islanders are watching you like a drone hovering over Kabul.

“We audit all the social media chatter of the people that commented. There was even a petition that was done by 650 fans, and only 30 were season-ticket holders,” he said.

“It’s great to comment about what we’re doing, and be critical of it. But I would ask all those people who signed the petition: Now that you got your goal horn, sign up and buy season tickets.”

The full interview is here. Please listen to it, because Brett Yormark will know if you didn’t.


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 1, 2015, 10:44 pm

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is scheduled to have his own bobblehead night this season.

According to the team promotional schedule the Blackhawks will be giving away Kane bobbleheads presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Chevy dealers. The promotion is scheduled to take place on Jan. 24 for Chicago’s game against the St. Louis Blues.

Screen shot from Chicago Blackhawks website

Kane is currently under investigation for rape for an incident that allegedly occurred in early August in Kane’s Hamburg, New York home.

He has taken part in Chicago’s preseason and training camp and has not been suspended by the NHL nor the Blackhawks.

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This has led to some levels of criticism on the Blackhawks for their attitude in letting their star take part in team activities in spite of the allegations.

Grand jury proceedings in the case have been postponed indefinitely, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Kane has not been charged with a crime.

At a news conference where Kane talked for the first time since the investigation was reported, a reporter told Blackhawks president John McDonough that the exec sounded tone deaf in regards to the situation.

"I can assure you I'm anything but tone deaf," he responded.

The Blackhawks did not immediately respond to an email by Puck Daddy asking about the promotion. 

Stick-tap @chiblackhawks

- - - - - - -

Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper


Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: October 1, 2015, 8:24 pm

TORONTO —Nick Bjugstad admits he was a bit nervous meeting Jaromir Jagr for the first time after a February trade brought the NHL great to the Florida Panthers.

“Shaking his hand when I met him was like being a fan boy,” said Bjugstad during the NHL Player Media Tour last month in Toronto.

A team that has some promising young talent in its ranks added a legend, who would later sign a one-year extension to stay in Sunrise. At this point in his career, Jagr is the old sage dispensing wisdom to his younger teammates, like those in Philadelphia, Dallas and now Florida.

Bjugstad's been a recipient in their short time together. There's a 20-year age gap between them -- Bjugstad was 46 days old when Jagr won his second Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992 -- so the Panthers forward is just trying to be a sponge.

A back injury cut short his 2014-15 season, allowing him only 11 games Jagr, but Bjugstad has already learned a lot from the 43-year old.

“We watch what we does on the ice and his puck protection,” he said. “[Panthers GM] Dale [Tallon] always tells us centermen that we need to watch what we does in the corners and it’s unbelievable. We learned a lot from him on the ice and off the ice. He was very talkative and gave a lot of learning points. Obviously he knows what he’s doing. He’s one of the best of all-time. When he talks, we all listen.”

Jagr's next piece of advice for Bjugstad might have to be on the topic of organization. In the Panthers’ dressing room, there’s a noticeable difference between the two players' stalls. Jagr’s area is neat and tidy, while Bjugstad’s, as he described it, is a “pig sty.”  

“I should take notes,” Bjugstad joked.

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After finishing seventh in the Atlantic Division in 2013-14, Florida improved one place last season, but most notably recorded 25 more points. That success helped Bjugstad avoid the sophomore jinx and tally 24 goals and 43 points. That success also brings expectations of continued improvement heading into the 2015-16 season for the Panthers.

“It was a whole different year for everyone involved,” Bjugstad said. “It was an enjoyable year. I guess everyone’s play was kind of looser and everyone kind of got better I feel like just because the culture changed. The organization kind of changed. Vinnie Viola came in and he brought a lot of his staff, military mindset… we went to West Point before the season and everyone kind of came together.”

Tallon didn’t tweak his roster much in the off-season. He drafted forward Lawson Crouse eleventh overall; acquired Reilly Smith and the contract of Marc Savard for Jimmy Hayes; and brought in Martin Havlat and David Booth on tryout deals, with only Havlat remaining for now. There’s room for some of the youth in the organization — Crouse, Rocco Grimaldi, Vince Trochek — to establish themselves in the lineup, while the likes of Bjugstad, Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, among others, continue to progress.

Bjugstad made his NHL debut in April 2013, a year after the Panthers took the New Jersey Devils to a seventh in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He watched on television as a sold out BankAtlantic Center rocked with each goal by the home side and he’s ready for those scenes to return.

“We’re hungry. The fans are hungry. We need some playoff time to really get the fans into it down there,” he said. “It would be fun to be able to do that.”


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 1, 2015, 7:11 pm

Imagine you’re a professional hockey coach. 

Your team missed the playoffs, by only some fault of your own, for the first time on your watch, a span of eight seasons. Your general manager was fired for this failure. The new general manager takes two weeks to decide your fate, despite having been the assistant general manager under the previous regime. You admit to that the waiting game was excruciating, especially when it seemed all was well following a multi-year contract extension.

[Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today]

Now, if anyone claimed you were on “the hot seat” in light of these circumstances, would you bristle? Would you say it was a mischaracterization of the situation at hand?

No? Well, Cam Neely thinks differently. 

At Boston Bruins media day, the team president vowed that anyone saying Julien is on the hot seat is being “unfair” to the veteran coach despite the Bruins having basically placed him there.

Neely said he had seen reports that “Claude may be on the hot seat” before the season. “I don't think that's fair... I think it's unfair to Claude,” he said.

Via the Boston Herald:

"Claude is a very good coach in the league. I think it’s unfair to say that he's on the hot seat,” Neely said during a press conference during the team’s annual preseason media day.

Julien, on the same dais with Neely, CEO Charlie Jacobs, owner Jeremy Jacobs and GM Don Sweeney, had said he doesn’t feel any pressure moments before Neely spoke.

Like, what else is he going to say in front of Julien, right? Or perhaps Cam has total faith in the new system the Bruins are going to play.

As we’ve seen countless times, a show of support is as good as a kiss of death for most coaches, and probably is here. Is there any chance Julien’s back if the Bruins miss the playoffs for a second time, despite what we assume is a sizable contract with multiple years left on it?


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 1, 2015, 6:23 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com

Sports Illustrated

Via Swiss Habs, Connor McDavid is your SI for Kids cover boy for October. 

• Ryan O’Reilly’s impaired driving case has been adjourned again, this time until Oct. 22. [CP via Yahoo]

• Good read on David Levin’s journey from Israel to junior hockey in Canada. [Sportsnet]

• Former NHLer Mike Peluso on the consquences he’s dealing with today following head injuries suffered during his career. [Montreal Gazette]

• “Day-to-day” Zdeno Chara skated by himself on Thursday as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury. [WEEI]

• Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice on risking a timeout when deciding whether to use a coach’s challenge: "So for our goaltender, you know, I don't want to burn that timeout just because the tender is a little sour, they got to help me make the right challenge by what they see. If a guy comes to the bench and says that's good, I'm not going to throw it.” [Winnipeg Free Press]

• Washington Capitals goaltending coach Mitch Korn has a great looking museum inside his Florida home with memorabilia from his hockey career. [Washington Post]

• Tomas Tatar and Brad Richards look like a great fit together for the Detroit Red Wings. [Octopus Thrower]

• Three big questions facing the Florida Panthers this season. [Litter Box Cats]

• How soon can the Los Angeles Kings get back to the postseason? [Pro Hockey News]

• Former minor league hockey player Thomas Clayton pleaded not guilty Wednesday to killing his wife inside their upstate New York home. [AP via Yahoo]

• Why Magnus Paajarvi would be a wise pickup for NHL teams now that the St. Louis Blues have waived him. [The Hockey Writers]

• What kind of fantasy hockey impact can Brandon Saad have with the Columbus Blue Jackets? [Dobber Hockey]

• The opportunity is there for Anton Slepyshev to earn a spot with the Edmonton Oilers. Has he met expectations? [Oilers Nation]

• Kevin Fiala, Steve Moses and adjusting to the size of the rinks in the NHL. [Predlines

• Finally, NHL 16 predicts the Anaheim Ducks will win the Stanley Cup over the Montreal Canadiens: 


Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: October 1, 2015, 5:31 pm

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League has “no desire” to engage in settlement discussions with the players involved in a class action lawsuit that alleges negligence and fraud by the League regarding concussions. 

An excerpt from a League memo, distributed to the Board of Governors at their meeting this week in New York and acquired by Yahoo Sports, makes it clear that the NHL feels there is no "smoking gun" that gives the plaintiffs an advantage in the civil case or a path to settlement like in the National Football League’s concussion suit.  

From the internal NHL memo:

“While recent signals suggest plaintiffs are anxious to begin settlement discussions (similar to what transpired in the NFL), we have indicated to them no desire to engage in such discussions, primarily because we feel so strongly in the merits of our case and the leadership role (among all sports leagues) we have taken in the study, prevention, diagnosis and management of concussions. 

“In this regard, it should be pointed out that the NFL entered settlement negotiations and reached preliminary agreement before any meaningful discovery had been conducted in their cases – perhaps because of a concern of their ‘facts’ and what discovery in those cases might reveal.

“By contrast, despite extensive discovery to date, we have yet to find any document or other evidence that would tend to support the plaintiffs’ theory of the case.”

The class action suit, which contains several lawsuits filed against the NHL and is being tried in Minnesota courts, is deep into the discovery phase. For the last several months, depositions have been taken from dozens of NHL officials, including commissioner Gary Bettman. The NHL has been ordered to turn over injury databases and videos of head injuries, but has yet to share those with the plaintiffs. 

According to a source with knowledge of the plaintiffs’ case, there have been no substantive talks regarding a settlement with the NHL. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be, given how the National Football League’s concussion case was resolved. 

After years of trying to debunk the research done by doctors and concussion specialists, the NFL decided to settle its suit with former players – to the tune of nearly $1 billion – rather than open up its files to the public and have more incriminating evidence of a potential cover-up come to light.

The NHL has been steadfast in saying the two cases aren't similar, and has used the "science isn't there yet on CTE" argument frequently.

The NHL has made two motions to have the class action suit tossed. The first was denied in March. The second, which Sports In Law reports “makes the argument that the former players collectively bargained away their causes of action,” is still pending and is a rather complex motion to wade through. 

Meanwhile, it remains in the public eye thanks to carefully placed editorials from players involved in the suit like Mike Peluso, editorial page coverage in papers like the Globe & Mail and the tragic deaths of ex-players like Todd Ewen, whose family donated his brain for concussion studies.


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 1, 2015, 4:50 pm

To succeed in the National Hockey League, your body must be a well-maintained temple of stamina, strength and nutrition. 

But NHL players are also humans with stomachs and pleasure centers in their brains, so the occasional dabbling in junk food and sweets is to be expected during the season.

We spoke with Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins, James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks about their food guilty pleasures.

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Spoiler: None of them mentioned anything about visiting the same hot dog stand every day.

Produced by Florent Conti/Yahoo Sports Canada

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: October 1, 2015, 3:06 pm

Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009. 

We all have our hunches. And of course, we let them influence our selections at the draft table. But that's a good thing provided your hunch isn't something silly like believing Braden Holtby and Pekka Rinne became elite fantasy goalies on their own - Barry Trotz as coach was just coincidence. And you don't want to move a player up or down 10 rounds because of a hunch either. Hunches are just for tweaking your list as the draft happens.

If you want to review a few of my hunches, which were better than yours (just ignore the dumb ones), here is what I had in this column last year.

And now for this year's batch…

Anton Khudobin will create a goalie controversy

At some point in the season Frederik Andersen will miss a couple of weeks with an injury and for one reason or another the Ducks won't turn to John Gibson (maybe he'll be hurt too). So Khudobin will get consecutive starts and - wouldn't you know it - he flourishes behind a great team and a strong system. By the time Andersen gets back Khudobin will have won eight of nine. From that point forward, anytime Andersen stumbles a little there will be clamoring to start Khudobin. Last year I said something similar here about Khudobin and Cam Ward…but hey - that's the Hurricanes, this is the Ducks. Khudobin is a talented goaltender and maybe that doesn't show behind a 2014-15 Carolina team, it will sure as hell show behind a powerful Anaheim Ducks squad.

[Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Sign up for a league today]

Brett Connolly will surprise

An easy thing to say the day after he scores two goals, but I had this on my list prior to Wednesday's contest against the Rangers. Connolly is a good, talented player who is ready to take the next step. He just had the misfortune of being on a Tampa Bay team with several other similar-aged and very skilled players (also known as the Triplets). So with other players clearly deserving more ice time and PP time than he, Connolly was left playing in a depth role. Then, when he arrived to join his new team the Bruins, he promptly broke his finger in the first practice. Without bad luck, he'd have no luck at all. Despite how long the 23-year-old has been around, this is actually going to be just his third full NHL season. The Bruins need an offensive catalyst, given David Krejci's wonky hips and Matt Beleskey's wonky everything, so why not Connolly?

Marco Dano falls short

I like Dano. I think he's a talented kid with potential. But I've had two of my three drafts now and I'm in awe as to how highly he is thought of by my fellow poolies. They seem to think he'll replace Brandon Saad in the top six and will somehow upgrade the production. In three years, Saad managed between 47 and 52 points. That's the best-case scenario for Dano, who has always been more of a two-way guy than a scoring-line guy. With coach Joel Quenneville mixing and matching his lines, you're going to see Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell, Artemy Panarin, Teuvo Teräväinen and Dano in there at different times. I'll take the "under" if the over/under is 39.5.

Nathan MacKinnon rebounds nicely

After a pretty kick-ass rookie season, I had MacKinnon penciled in as the next big thing. Perhaps even top 80 points as a sophomore? But then the train wreck happened (also known as MacKinnon's 2014-15 NHL season). Since then, poolies have been sustaining ankle and knee injuries in their rush to jump off the wagon. But I'm still on it. I never got off. He's a great player and he'll lead the Avs in scoring this season.

Ryan Johansen turns water into wine

We saw it last season when the young Johansen turned 40-point plugger Nick Foligno into a 73-point star. Today poolies - myself included - are downgrading Foligno because there's no way a player with that skill set can repeat, right? But I just can't shake this feeling that RyJo can do it again with Foligno - and he'll take Brandon Saad to the next level too. Johansen has 125 points in his last 147 games (70-point pace).

Anton Slepyshev makes a splash

He may not even make the team. Or he may get sent down as soon as Jordan Eberle returns. But while most poolies are focused on Nail Yakupov or perhaps Teddy Purcell getting a top six spot during Eberle's absence, I'm watching what they do with Slepyshev. He seems to want it more, and that goes a long way in this league. It's his first year in North America and he's going to rocket up the keeper-league charts with his production in the AHL and NHL this season.

The Kings miss the playoffs again

Los Angeles improved during the offseason, led by the upgrade of Justin Williams to Milan Lucic. With a healthy Tanner Pearson and a steady vet on the blue line (Christian Ehrhoff), the team is definitely better. But not good enough. I see other Western Conference teams improving even more than the Kings - and not enough teams are getting weaker.

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, left, fails to stop a shot and goal by Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, right, during the second period of Game 2 in the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Chicago, Sunday, May 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Devan Dubnyk is the real deal

I'm seeing a lot of fantasy owners still hesitate with this guy. They don't trust him. Statements like "partial season" and "unproven" are being used liberally. It's okay. You can trust him. Contracts like the one he signed this summer will see to it that he succeeds. Because he'll get unlimited chances to work through any problems. Just look no further than Cam Ward - no matter how bad that guy was, he was still thrown out there game after game. But in the Minnesota system there won't be any such issues and Dubnyk will be elite in terms of fantasy numbers. You may think I'm nuts when I say this, and frankly I don't care - if I own Henrik Lundqvist I trade him for Devan Dubnyk plus. Because the 'plus' is a nice bonus, and I think Dubnyk's numbers will beat Henrik's. Sure, I'm wrong sometimes. But last year I pumped Braden Holtby's tires and the year before that I was all about Ben Bishop. I know my goalies.

Lars Eller finally emerges

Okay, this one is influenced by preseason. And yes, I suckered for it when Eller kicked off 2013-14 with five points in two games. But between his move to the wing and his chemistry with the Alexs - Galchenyuk and Semin - I think this is it. He's also 26 which is often a year in which a talented player comes into his own. Eller had 30 points in 46 lockout-shortened games, lending credence to his ability to top 50 over a full campaign.

One of Tlusty or Palmieri become stars

Well…"stars" is a relative term, since we're talking about the Devils. After all, this is a team that turns to Adam Henrique for offensive leadership. Kyle Palmieri is a goal scorer and the Devils don't have many of them. So he'll get all the ice time in the world and then some. Provided he can stay healthy (an issue with him), he'll flirt with 50 points. Tlusty has shown offense in the past, for example the lockout year in which he got 38 points in 48 games. Like Palmieri, the Devils will lean on him heavily for offense. He's 27 and in his prime.

It will be Anders Lee, not Brock Nelson, who takes the next big step

Nelson is 24 in a couple of weeks and Lee is 25. Nelson had 42 points last year and Lee had 41. But because Nelson started the 2014-15 campaign with 18 points in 18 games, poolies tend to favor him. But he's going to be that steady player in that 55 to 60 range year in and year out. Whereas Lee has the tools to go him one better. So while Nelson is the safer player to own (so valuable to his team in all areas of the game), Lee has more upside and you'll see that in the year ahead.

It finally works out for Sam Gagner

It's a good situation in Philadelphia for Gagner. They need him and they need his production, but they don't "need need" him. He's not "the guy" or even "the backup guy". He's just a nice bonus who can play any forward position on any of the top three lines. With the pressure off and decent talent to pass to on an actual winning team, Gagner will set career highs this year. He's also 26 years old and right in that 26-27 range I look for that extra level from talented players who have gone far too long without showing it.

Kris Letang finally has a healthy season

Is this a plea or a hunch? I own Letang in two of my three keepers (so there's your disclosure). But isn't the hard-luck Pittsburgh defenseman due? Defining 75 games as a "healthy season", couldn't Letang make it at least once more in his career? I'm having a hard time determining if this is a hunch or a hope, but I just can't shake the feeling.

Stalock takes the starting job by February

I wrote this last year, too. But an injury at the worst possible time completely derailed any momentum Stalock had. The Sharks wanted him to steal the job from pending UFA Antti Niemi, but instead he missed the better part of a month and struggled to return to form. By the time he was back on track it was March but then he allowed 15 goals in his last seven games. Meanwhile, Martin Jones was just as promising in 2013-14…and just as bad in 2014-15. So these two will be back and forth in the first half, but my hunch is that Stalock eventually runs with it.

Vladimir Tarasenko leads the league in scoring at some point in March

He may not win the Art Ross. In fact, I don't think he will. But Tarasenko will be among three or four other players in contention for the scoring lead and at some point in March he will be on top. I'd tell you which exact day but my crystal ball is dirty.

Hey! Pick up Dobber's 10th annual Fantasy Hockey Guide . And while you're in a charitable mood, follow Dobber on Twitter @DobberHockey for more fantasy hockey tidbits.


Author: Dobber Hockey
Posted: October 1, 2015, 1:55 pm

(The 2015-16 NHL season is nearly upon us! Why bother watching this team? What will make or break the season? Find out as we preview all 30 teams as camps begin!)

Last Season:

51-24-7, 109 points, first in the Western Conference

2014-15 Season, In One Tweet

Did They Get Better, Worse Or Are They About The Same?

Better-ish. When the Ducks lost to Edmonton in the 2006 Western Conference Finals, then-GM Brian Burke realized the team was on the precipice of being great, but they were missing one piece to put them over the top. He went out and acquired Chris Pronger and as they say, the rest is history.

So is Kevin Bieksa - acquired at the draft - this team's Chris Pronger? (STOP LAUGHING.) No, he's not. There may not be a magic piece this time around. It may be more of a 'let's see what might work to get this done.'

Bob Murray's goal this offseason was to create a faster team. Acquiring Bieksa did not help achieve that goal. Murray knew he was going to lose Francois Beauchemin to the open market, and he filled that gap - more or less - with Bieksa. After acquiring James Wisniewski at the trade deadline, the defenseman (and his gigantic cap hit) went unused during the playoffs. They shipped Wiz off to Carolina for backup goalie Anton Khudobin.

Trading away home-grown prospect Emerson Etem definitely decreased that speed component, but the return made up for it in Carl Hagelin. Etem had the speed but never displayed the skill needed to stay in Boudreau's good graces. Hagelin is streaky in the offensive department but he’s got speed away from the puck to make the Ducks even more dangerous. He and fellow Swede, Jakob Silfverberg, inked four-year contracts with the club.

Anaheim made sure they wouldn’t be short in experience at center. First they locked up Ryan Kesler until the end of time; then they signed Mike Santorelli and Shawn Horcoff to one year deals. After a fantastic season, Matt Beleskey left the team in free agency, and Chris Stewart was brought in as a quasi-replacement.

Following Beleskey out of town was Tomas Fleischmann (via free agency) and Kyle Palmieri was traded to New Jersey. Mark Fistric was bought out one year after receiving a three years extension.

Five Most Fascinating Players

1. Frederik Andersen, G

Andersen is the No. 1 goaltender for the Ducks. Last season, he posted a 35-12-5 record with .914 save-percentage and 2.38 GAA. The team has made that clear as they intend to send John Gibson to San Diego (AHL) at the end of camp in order to get him as much work as possible and Khudobin will backup. Here's the thing, the Gibson signed a three-year, $6.9-million extension scheduled to start next season. Freddie is in the final year of his RFA contract, and Bob Murray used salty pirate language to deny any plots to trade Gibson. Sources report the Ducks have been unsuccessful in making contact with Andersen’s camp to jumpstart negotiations.

2. Carl Hagelin, F

Conventional wisdom is the Ducks won the Etem-for-Hagelin trade. Sure Hagelin is a little bit older than Etem and more expensive, but Anaheim expects his style of play to mesh well with Boudreau’s system. Boudreau has the unique ability to draw out the offensive production in players. (Just look at what he did with Matt Beleskey and Andrew Cogliano.) Save one season out of four, Hagelin has produced 30-plus points. Playing with a center like Kesler or even possibly up with Getzlaf could see him netting more than 40-points.

3. Contract year RFA defensemen, D

Specifically Sami Vatanen, Simon Despres and Hampus Lindholm. Despres clicked with Cam Fowler after being traded to the Ducks midseason from Pittsburgh. Lindholm had been mentored by Beauchemin and will likely start the season paired with Bieksa. Hampus has shown flashes of brilliance but he’s still learning. Then there’s Sami. The Lilliputian defenseman was the highest scoring d-man on the team; 17 of his 37 points came on a (terrible) power play. All three men are in the final year of an RFA contract and keeping all three may be difficult.

4. Clayton Stoner, D

Few things are more frightening, yet hilarious, on this planet than Stoner getting the puck on his stick. He is terrified of playing with the puck and flings it wildly once it hits his tape regardless of where he is on the ice. If Murray wants to get faster, Stoner is, well, a very large stone. He hits and blocks shots, but tends to make poor decisions. The Ducks owe him $9.75-million over the next three years; could he be the next Mark Fistric? Oh and he killed a bear named Cheeky.

5. Patrick Maroon, F

He’s fascinating because no one seems to know what to make of him. As a big body grinder, he is consistently getting time with Getzlaf and Perry leading to the best offensive season of his career with 9 goals and 25 assists this past season; yet he finds himself in Boudreau’s dog house more often than not. Some of it is him playing himself into shape. Part of it is effort and consistency. Getzlaf and Perry need a steady left wing, is Maroon really it?

Potentially The Best Thing About This Team

This organization is crazy deep with talent. Now that the AHL team is located in San Diego, a good 90 minute drive to Anaheim with minimal traffic, they can give many more young forwards a shot throughout the season. Names like Stefan Noesen, Max Friberg, and Nick Kerdiles are ones people should become familiar with. Only downside, many of these prospects have RFA contracts expiring at the end of this season.

Potentially The Worst Thing About This Team

The power play. There is zero reason this team should have a bad power play even before they made big roster changes. The PP unit was third-to-last in the NHL last season at an abysmal 15.7-percent. Bringing in Paul MacLean will hopefully reinvigorate the unit.

Dream 3-on-3 OT Group:

Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Cam Fowler. It's a no-brainer to put Getzlaf and Perry out there together. They need a third person with them who will stay back and let them do their thing, and join in when time is right. The initial thought was to have Sami Vatanen out on the ice because of his bomb of a slapshot. Only problem is the defense part. He doesn't skate as well as Cam and tends to be over eager to join the rush.

Coach Hot Seat Rating (1-10, 10 being scorching hot)

Eight-and-a-half. Bob Murray made it very clear he was NOT happy with his coaching staff following the Ducks exiting the playoffs with a big old fart at home - again. The GM took about a week before sacrificing assistant coach Brad Lauer to the Hockey Gods. Nothing could indicate Bruce Boudreau’s precarious perch at the top than the hiring of (former Ottawa head coach) Paul Maclean to replace Lauer. If the team stops responding to Boudreau, Mac is there is to jump right in. Fun fact: MacLean is in his second tour as an assistant with the franchise after serving under Mike Babcock.

Awkward Old School Video Break

Which was worse: this monstrosity for the first Mighty Ducks home game or the NHL Guardians?

Their Best Case Scenario Is …

The outstanding regular season team continues to be outstanding through the playoffs and all the way to the Cup.

Their Nightmare Scenario Is …

Epic failure in Game 7 - at home - for the fourth straight year and Bruce is out of a job.


Under Bruce Boudreau, the Ducks are beginning to reach San Jose Sharks level of expectations - and subsequent failure - minus the President's Trophies. Bob Murray has done his part giving Gabby pretty much everything he needs to win. The yips by the team and the coach in Games 7 over the past few years are significant and weighing on the organization.

It’s Stanley Cup or bust for the team. They’ll make it to the Stanley Cup Final; however, a team from the East takes home the final crown ... Probably in Game 7 with the Ducks up 3-2 in the series playing in Anaheim.  

PUCK DADDY SEASON PREVIEW 2015-16: Winnipeg Jets/Washington Capitals/Vancouver Canucks/Tampa Bay Lightning/San Jose Sharks/Pittsburgh Penguins/Philadelphia Flyers/Ottawa Senators/New York Rangers/New York Islanders/New Jersey Devils/Nashville Predators/Montreal Canadiens/Minnesota Wild/Los Angeles Kings/Florida Panthers/Detroit Red Wings/Dallas Stars/Columbus Blue Jackets/Colorado Avalanche/Chicago Blackhawks/Carolina Hurricanes/Calgary Flames/Buffalo Sabres/Boston Bruins/Arizona Coyotes

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Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD.

Author: Jen Neale
Posted: October 1, 2015, 5:53 am

[Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

7. Travis Zajac

The idea that anyone should want to take on Travis Zajac's contract has been kicked around a lot in the last week or so, but it's all rubbish. This is an oft-injured player in decline on an awful contract, which would be fine for the Toronto Maple Leafs to take aboard with Dave Nonis at the wheel.

But this is the New Smart Maple Leafs, not the Old Dumb Ones who could be bilked into giving just about any bad player who had a good season four years ago big money because hey you never know he might do that thing that's impossible to reproduce again at some point over the next five years, so let's just give him $5-plus million and let the chips fall where they may.

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Remember, though, this rumor started with a whisper from Elliotte Friedman — a reputable source if ever there was one — saying that other NHL executives had heard Lou Lamoriello might be interested in acquiring the player. This was particularly believable because, a) He gave away this awful deal in the first place, and b) He has built up a credible legacy over the years as being a really bad GM.

The exact kind, you might say, who would think acquiring Travis Zajac in 2015 is a good idea.

Now, I've seen it floated that this might be something New Jersey is putting out there to drum up interest, because perhaps Ray Shero has no want or use for Zajac in the first place. That's also very believable. But in any event, the number of teams who should be clamoring to acquire a player like this, and more specifically one with a contract like this, is roughly zero. Unless you're really desperate to make the cap floor or something.

Does Zajac have some positives to his game? Sure. But you're paying him first-line dollars — and the Devils have been playing him first-line minutes — to an unforgivable end. He doesn't even fit the standards of a middling second-line center based on his statistical output, so his ability to push the puck in the right direction might not be enough to even justify putting him there.

So what do you want teams to do? Acquire a third-line center with a contract that awful and say, “Well at least they sent a second-round pick back our way?” or, “At least we got rid of our own bad contract?” Because here's the thing: The Devils are rebuilding so their excitement to offload a pick good enough to make the contract worth someone's while (if such a pick even exists, which I doubt) is going to be nil. Likewise, this is possibly one of the two or three worst deals in the league, so teams have no incentive for taking it on even if they get rid of a bad contract of their own (David Clarkson, Tyler Bozak, etc.).

This is as close to an untradeable contract as you're ever going to see in this league. So please, let's not talk about the prospects of trading it.

(Though, I guess you never know with Lou...)

6. Being on a PTO

At this point teams are starting to release a number of guys who signed to tryout deals, and so far only two have gotten contracts out of it.

Brad Boyes got one from Toronto, and that makes sense because while the production hasn't really been there for the former 40-goalscorer (can you believe that?), the underlying numbers basically always have been. If this is part of Toronto's Rebuild Plan — get guys cheap, put them in a position to succeed on one-year deals, get them plenty of TV exposure, then trade them at the deadline for middling picks — then you could do a lot worse than Boyes.

Meanwhile, Toronto also released Mark Fraser, who is bad, but the Senators immediately signed him to a two-way deal, because of course they did.

Everyone else, well, there's still some value out there. Lee Stempniak, Curtis Glencross (released by the Leafs but immediately PTO'ed by the Avs), and maybe one or two others seem like a new contract out of a tryout is very much within reason.

However, one can't imagine that, of the 40-plus guys who got PTO deals, we're going to see more than five or six actual contracts out of it. It seems very likely that this is then end of the line for guys like Devin Setoguchi, Dan Paille, and Douglas Murray. How could it not be?

FILE - In this April 11, 2015, file photo, New York Rangers left wing Tanner Glass (15) and Washington Capitals defenseman Tim Gleason (6) fight in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Washington. Glass believes there is still a spot for fighting in the NHL. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

5. Tanner Glass

You may remember that last week right here in the Power Rankings (RIPending), there was some discussion about the further decline of the fighter's role in this league, with only those who have a vested interest — Paul Bissonnette (another PTO casualty) and Tanner Glass — defending their ongoing use.

Well, looks like Glass is going to be out of a job on Broadway after all. Because he's going to lose his fighting role to....... wait a minute, this says “Chris Kreider.”

No I mean it. The actual headline is, “Has fiery Chris Kreider made Tanner Glass expendable?”

Okay so this is a very very very legitimate question here from your good pal RL: Do you think this means the Rangers are going to let Chris Kreider — a skilled former first-round pick who scored 21 goals last season — go around fighting people?

Or do you think it means that the improved physicality in his game means that Tanner Glass doesn't have to hit an opponent with a phone book next time someone tries to kill Mats Zuccarello?

Because both of those things are wrong. The reason the Rangers don't need Tanner Glass is Tanner Glass is bad at hockey. That is the reason. That is why the Rangers should send him and his hilarious contract to the AHL posthaste. You can sign a better forward who helps your team more from the PTO scrapheap in a week's time. No question about it.

I'm not saying that's the Rangers' decision-making process, but if you look at the situation and that's your takeaway, well. I can't imagine how you see the game this way in 2015.

4. Predictions

Here they come! You can't stop them! And I agree with you, the Puck Daddy reader who has my infinite love, respect, and gratitude: They're all bad and stupid except the ones that say your team is the best!

3. Over-unders

Well if you're the betting type and you're a hockey fan, have I got some good news for you: Bovada released its latest lines and prop bets for the NHL season. This is always a way to make easy money because they still don't do a very good job of predicting team performance in reality.

Carolina winning more than 30 games? Yup. Columbus winning 45-plus? Nope. Rangers winning 47 or more? Pass.

But it's the prop bets that look real nice here. Phil Kessel as a sleeper Rocket Richard winner (he's well back of Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin, who are tied for first), or Vladimir Tarasenko or Tyler Seguin all look like good values. I'd feel real good about putting some money down on Ryan Getzlaf to take home the Hart (18/1) and Art Ross (25/1), because he'll be the best player on what is likely the best team. Braden Holtby at 10/1 to win the Vezina? Hoo buddy.

And while I wouldn't personally advise picking anyone but Connor McDavid to win the Calder, going with someone from the field might work out in your favor if something awful were to happen.

This is, again, all for entertainment purposes. And it's also worth noting that these are odds as of yesterday afternoon, rather than when they were released, when you can be sure they were even more absurd.

[Listen To The Latest Episode Of Our Podcast!]

2. The “Luck is real!” sayers

You know that thing where stats people have long dismissed guys being on a run of success as just being a thing related to good luck over a short period of time, and nothing more? Well, new research shows that the "hot hand" in sports is real.

It's real you guys. You were right all along and all the nerds and dorks were wrong idiots on this one! We have been collectively humiliated (although, it was nerds who humiliated us, so I don't know how that works for your well-being).

However, this comes with a litany of "Howevers."

First, this only proves true when it comes to coin flips — that is, in any given set of flips, the odds that it lands on the opposite side immediately after is 60 percent, not the 50 previously assumed — and might not have practical application when it comes to sports. In hockey, specifically, it's not a 50-50 chance that a given shot goes in. It's more like 8-92 against the better goalies in the league, so...

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Second, all this does is really open up the possibility of further research which may further prove or disprove the hypothesis.

Third, even if true, it took 4 million coin flips for the people to find this fact. There were fewer than 79,000 shots in the NHL last season, meaning that it probably takes about 12.5 full seasons for 30 teams' worth of NHLers to take 4 million shots.

On the "average player" level, it would probably take about 30,400 seasons to record 4 million shots personally, roughly 2.5 million games. That's a little more than 1,400 Gordie Howe careers.

So the impact of this principle on, say, an individual set of, say, 10 games in which a guy is on a tear, well, you can still call that luck.

But the stat-dislikers are, I guess, technically right.

1. 3-on-3

Not counting last night's games, there had been just four shootouts in the preseason. Out of 18 that went to overtime. That doesn't include games where they played a 3-on-3 for the hell of it, but it gives you an idea that this is very likely to eradicate the shootout altogether. That may be especially true as more teams shift to using zero defensemen in their shootout schemes (though one supposes PK Subban and Erik Karlsson, among others, help just as much as forwards here).

And man, it sure makes for good up-and-down hockey that gets over in a hurry.

Still a gimmick? Sure it is, but at least it's not the [expletive]ing shootout.

(Not ranked this week: Hoaxes.

The Patrick Kane case now officially has more twists and turns than an Elmore Leonard novel. It's ridiculous. The whole thing. I cannot wait for it to be over so misogynists stop airing their monstrous opinions on every development.)

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All statistics via War On Ice unless otherwise noted.)


Author: Ryan Lambert
Posted: September 30, 2015, 10:03 pm

When thinking about the 2015-16 Washington Capitals, there are many questions about their status as a true contender in the Eastern Conference, ranging from the chemistry in lines to their lack of playoff success to GREAT LASSIE’S GHOST LOOK AT HOW ADORABLE THOSE FRIGGIN’ PUPPIES ARE. 

Russian Machine Never Breaks

Courtesy of Russian Machine Never Breaks and photographer Amanda Bowen, here are the latest batch of behind the scenes photos from the Capitals' annual Canine Calendar, benefitting Homeward Trails’ Animal Rescue. 

That's goalie Braden Holtby, celebrating St. Patrick's Day (unconfirmed).

Russian Machine Never Breaks

We imagine the conversation between T.J. Oshie and the Capitals went something like this:

"Welcome to the team, T.J. We expect you'll have a chance to play with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom this season, lifting you to career bests in points and goals."

"Sure, whatever. Now, what about that dog calendar you guys do?"

This photo is great because it can also be used for the Capitals' Inflatable Pool Toys Wearing Giant Sunglasses calendar.

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Russian Machine Never Breaks

Finally, here's defenseman Karl Alzner, posing with some ghoulish pups. Although Alzner has been haunted by dogs before.

Finally ...

Russian Machine Never Breaks

We'll leave it to you to caption this one ...

Head over to Russian Machine Never Breaks for more amazing Caps and dogs photos.



Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: September 30, 2015, 9:41 pm

Guy Lafleur’s attempt to sue Montreal police and Crown prosecutors for $2.16 million has been denied according to CBC.

The lawsuit stems from an arrest of the Montreal Canadiens legend for perjury.

A ruling Tuesday in Quebec Superior Court said Lafleur’s arguments were without merit and based on “speculations, impressions, conjectures and prejudices.”

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Per CBC:

Lafleur testified during the legal proceeding that he believed he was "the victim of a power trip by girls who wanted to make me pay," in reference to the female police officers and Crown prosecutors who handled his case.

From CTV which recounted the details of Lafleur's trial that led to a conviction.

The charges originate with testimony the former Montreal Canadiens star gave in September 2007 at his son's bail hearing. Mark Lafleur had been charged with uttering death threats, forcible confinement and assault. 

Lafleur testified he would make sure his son would abide by a court-ordered curfew if he were granted bail pending trial. 

But at a hearing the following month, it was revealed the elder Lafleur had driven his son to a hotel so he could spend time with a girlfriend on two occasions.

Lafleur was arrested, charged and convicted of perjury in 2009, but the conviction was appealed and overturned.

Again via CBC:

Justice Wéry rejected all of Lafleur's arguments, writing in his ruling that just because a suspect is eventually acquitted does not mean police and prosecutors acted in bad faith.

Wéry found that officers who arrested Lafleur followed normal procedures and treated him with courtesy and respect. 

Lafleur argued police were hasty in pushing for an arrest warrant and that the trial negatively impacted his life. 

Lafleur scored 560 goals and notched 1,353 points in 1,126 games played. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper



Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: September 30, 2015, 8:45 pm
David Booth

David Booth’s participation in Florida Panthers camp on a professional tryout offer was one of the most intriguing storylines of the preseason, if only because it was an attempt to prove you can go home again (after flaming out with the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs). 

Booth was drafted in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft by the Panthers, and spent the first six years of his career there. He hit 31 goals in 2008-09. He’s never come within sniffing distance of that pace since.

The 30-year-old left wing tried to make a come back with the Panthers in camp, hoping to provide the kind of sage veteran advice he received as a young player.

"When I heard Florida was offering I thought it was such a good opportunity. You want to earn a spot and help the young kids out because I'll never forget when I was coming in here, [veterans] Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts, Ed Belfour; those guys were so encouraging to me and helped my confidence and transition to the NHL,” he said.

But was cut on Wednesday by the Panthers.

Here’s Booth to George Richards of the Miami Herald:

David Booth quotes on being released from #FlaPanthers PTO 1/2 pic.twitter.com/SPvdFUTwLv

— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) September 30, 2015

David Booth quotes on being released from #FlaPanthers PTO 2/2 pic.twitter.com/yBEZ42djVZ

— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) September 30, 2015

What does David Booth do now? Probably kill something with an arrow. But after that, it’s tough to say: European leagues are all underway, and he doesn’t see the AHL as an option. 

Booth says he still feels like “a great player,” and believes that the “older guys are being phased out” after years of the young players being held back by veterans. And that’s certainly the case with the Panthers, as Booth couldn’t crack the lineup. Hopefully he latches on elsewhere.


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: September 30, 2015, 7:30 pm

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks’ technological component was impressive to new coach Peter DeBoer.

In fact, it was big reason why DeBoer agreed to be the Sharks’ coach last summer as he went through the interview process.  

“I think they’re very progressive and on the cutting edge of providing us with information,” DeBoer said. “I think when I took the job, that was one of the attractive parts was having that piece here so that we make sure we have all the information we can possibly have.”

This team that’s nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley and DeBoer, who has always been a bit of an advanced-stats coach, were a common-sense marriage. 

The team’s owner, Hasso Plattner, is a co-founder of SAP, the software company that drives the NHL’s enhanced stats portion of its website.

“Acquiring quality data is probably the most important part of it, and then determining which segments of the data and how you want to apply it are most important for your staff – coaching staff, scouting staff, acquisition staff,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. “We try to be fairly present in what’s available to you. You want to have as much information as possible when you make your decision and that’s what you do.”

Teams are often very guarded with what they publicly say about advanced stats. The Sharks are no different. After Wilson made that comment he said, “That’s all I’ll share with you,” with a wry smile on his face.

Whatever metrics DeBoer uses, he has been able to get the most out of his teams, at least schematically speaking.

The 2011-12 New Jersey Devils are an example of this.

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That team wasn’t the most talented squad in the NHL. But it made the Stanley Cup Final by out-strategizing its opponents.

“Peter has a great aptitude as does his staff and you have to be curious, willing to learn and look and say, ‘Geez, this is what works today,’'” Wilson said. “That’s our community. That’s our dynamic here (in Silicon Valley). You can address some things fairly quickly if you’re willing to be bold.”

In 2012-13 and 2013-14, the Devils had 5-on-5 Corsi-for percentages of 55.9 percent and 54.4 percent respectively according to Puckalytics, meaning they fired more shots toward the net than their opposition.  

DeBoer also wouldn’t say what type of data he uses the most – again probably because teams don’t like to give up this “secret sauce.”

But he thinks the key for helping players to understand his coaching style is by simplifying the information he receives.   

“The long and short of it is, we have the most up-to-date analytics that you can get,” DeBoer said. “We have as much information as anybody in the league and then it’s our job as coaches to sift through that and make sure we’re picking out the important stuff and sifting through and making sure we’re not overwhelming the players too much. That’s the key to analytics.”

Former coach Todd McLellan believed in holding onto the puck in the offensive zone, but he favored a cycling, grinding style. DeBoer’s systems involve more forecheck, puck pressuring and forcing turnovers.

“I think system-wise, he wants to get in and attack and go after pucks, and like all coaches, spend the least amount of time in the defensive zone but he wants to put pressure on the other guys’ defenseman,” forward Joe Thornton said. “That’s how I like to play, get in on the forecheck, get in there hard and usually when you get in on the forecheck, things happen.”

Said forward Joe Pavelski, “Once you get it you want to make smart plays and be heavy on it and hold onto it at times. It’s also about getting it back and putting pressure on the other teams and trying to create turnovers.” 

This is similar to what DeBoer pushed for in New Jersey. Newly acquired defenseman Paul Martin used to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins and saw the Devils multiple times per-year as a division rival.

Martin admitted that the Penguins “struggled against it a lot” with the Devils – despite the talent gap between the two teams the last couple of years.

“I think some of his systems … when we were in Pittsburgh playing against New Jersey, you noticed the way they liked to play – aggressive at times and then that puck control at other times,” he said. “With our systems I think there’s a time and place for it and things he wants that he’s been stressing with our videos and our meetings. The guys have responded well to it and will like the style of play that we’ll play.”

And some of San Jose’s younger forwards who are looking for bounce-back years can potentially see a benefit from DeBoer as coach.

Tomas Hertl is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and has the type of size and skating ability that can cause fits for opponents both on the forecheck and grinding out plays on the boards in the zone.

Matt Nieto’s speed could provide a nice weapon for DeBoer. The Sharks wanted both Hertl and Nieto to have breakthrough seasons in 2014-15. They didn’t happen from a traditional stats perspective with Hertl scoring 13 goals and Nieto 10.

According to the NHL’s enhanced portion of its site, Hertl had a plus-164 shots differential and a plus-3.5 shot attempts relative percentage, meaning the Sharks possessed the puck more when he was on the ice. Nieto was at plus-94 and a plus-0.9 relative percentage.

“He wants us to play hard, play fast and pressure the puck,” forward Logan Couture said. “That’s something we lacked last year.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: September 30, 2015, 6:26 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com. 

Photo via The Hanson Brothers on Twitter

• There were almost too many viral moments in Hockeyville. [The Hanson Brothers]

• The NHL gave us more questions than answers in regards to expansion after their Board of Governors meeting Tuesday. [Sportsnet]

• Buffalo Sabres prospect Jack Eichel is living up to the hype, at least in the preseason so far. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• On the Pittsburg Penguins’ memorable Kraft Hockeyville win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A nice scene-setting piece. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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• Contract talks between Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings are supposed to pick up this week. Sounds like Kopitar is looking for Jonathan Toews money. [The Fourth Period]

• Who are the top 10 left wingers in the Metropolitan Division? No. 1 shouldn't be a surprise. [Japers’ Rink]

• Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said his team’s veteran forwards need to start playing “the right way.” Shots fired? [TSN]

• Detailed reasoning on why it's the NHL’s responsibility to suspend Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. [SB Nation]

• Edmonton Oilers D prospect Darnell Nurse sent to the Bakersfield Condors. [Edmonton Oilers]

• Help our friends with The Royal Half find North America’s Next Top Blogger. [The Royal Half]

• Could Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn be moved to the St. Louis Blues? [Today’s Slapshot]

• What are 10 fearless forecasts for the upcoming fantasy hockey season?  [Dobber Hockey]

• Nashville Predators prospect Austin Watson is making a push to start the season in Nashville. [Rinkside Report]

• On the transition of KHL scoring ace Steve Moses to the NHL with the Predators. Moses was sent down to the Predators' AHL affiliate Wednesday. [Penalty Box Radio]

• A look into the Florida home of Washington Capitals goaltending coach Mitch Korn. Korn is one of the NHL's good guys. A solid read. [Washington Post]

• Forward Viktor Stalberg is impressing New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. [New York Post]

• What are the nine most unruly hockey teams in movie history? The top choice probably isn’t a surprise. [IFC]

• If the NHL decides to expand, how exactly would an expansion draft work?  [ESPN]

• A question and answer session with New Jersey Devils prospect Joe Blandisi. He was a sixth-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in 2012. [The Hockey Writers]

• Why Charles Hudson is the most impressive of the Montreal Canadiens’ group of prospects so far. [SPORTLOGiQ]

• Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is recovering from an upper body injury. [Big Bad Blog]

• The differences between the sexual assault accusations toward Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. [Sun-Times]

• Brawny Caps forward Tom Wilson explains why there’s no need to fight Islanders enforcer Eric Boulton. [Puck Drunk Love]

• Why the Minnesota Wild are at a crossroads. It's time for the team to make a run. [Pro Hockey News]

• Finally, Is there a better group to give a motivational speech than the Hanson Brothers?




Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: September 30, 2015, 5:28 pm

When Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle was injured in Tuesday night’s exhibition game vs. the Arizona Coyotes, the initial reaction was that it could be something significant. 

Then it was downgraded to “day to day” with further evaluation, even as Eberle had his arm in a sling after the game following an awkward hit into the end boards from Kyle Chipchura.

On Wednesday, we were back at “significant”: Eberle will miss 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury, as confirmed by the Oilers.

Here's the play:

Eberle with what appears to be a shoulder injury sustained behind the net, left the bench shortly after&didn't return pic.twitter.com/g8OsLUXQgg

— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 30, 2015

Eberle’s a 60-point winger whose overall game won’t be replaced. So what do the Oilers do in the short-term for a winger to play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

The names being thrown around include Nail Yakupov, Anton Slepyshev, Teddy Purcell and most interestingly Leon Draisaitl. Jonathan Willis from Cult of Hockey handicaps the field:

Teddy Purcell. The veteran isn’t popular with fans after a tough 2014-15 campaign, and he’s been banged up early in training camp to boot. He has played tough minutes in the past, though, and would be a logical candidate for Nugent-Hopkins’ wing if that line is used for more difficult assignments.

Leon Draisaitl. The big German has had success at right wing in camp, and spent a lot of time with Hall and McDavid. He could easily find himself starting there when Game 1 of the regular season rolls around.

Nail Yakupov. The first overall pick in 2012 has largely been kept with Lander on the third line, and the coaching staff may want to keep him at left wing if possible. He’s struggled in the past with Nugent-Hopkins and probably stands a better chance of playing with McDavid if he ends up in the top-six.

Willis is actually fond of Mark Letestu being a potential solution here as well.

As we said last night, injuries affect every team but it just sucks that the Oilers can’t get off the blocks like they’d like to, considering all the good vibes heading into this season. Hopefully this doesn’t put them in a hole during the first 4-6 weeks of the season. Well, OK, a deeper hole.


Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: September 30, 2015, 5:02 pm

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: September 30, 2015, 4:39 pm

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