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All rights reserved. en-us 126 15 http://sports.yahoo.com Yahoo Sports http://l.yimg.com/rz/d/yahoo_sports_en-US_s_f_p_182x21_sports.gif Puck Daddy - NHL - Yahoo Sports Latest Puck Daddy - NHL from Yahoo Sports http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy?player=nhl.p.1354 Mon, 21 Apr 2014 06:26:19 PDT What We Learned: Boston Bruins hypocrisy already dialed up to 11 http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/what-we-learned--boston-bruins-hypocrisy-already-dialed-up-to-11-054604691.html 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.

As if things hadn't gone sideways enough in Boston when Shawn Thornton slew-footed and concussed Brooks Orpik just days after talking about how he's viewed as being almost too honorable -- and in doing so highlighted everything that's awful about this current iteration of the Bruins.

As if they needed the help being hated.

There was no need at all for Milan Lucic to spear Danny DeKeyser in the nuts. None whatsoever. But that he did it at all shouldn't come as any kind of a surprise because this is Milan Lucic we're talking about here. You'll have to recall that he tried to spear Alexei Emelin in the same spot less than a month ago, and this too was a gutless sneak attack from behind that ended with Lucic casually skating away as though he'd done nothing wrong.

In both cases, he was not assessed a penalty because of his diabolical away-from-the-play approach to Dr. Hook-ing his opponents McCrackens, and received no supplementary discipline for the Emelin run-in.

He has now been suspended twice in his career, and fined twice. He also intentionally ran into Ryan Miller at 6,000 miles per hour and received no supplementary discipline for reasons that continue to baffle to this day. Which makes his protestations that he doesn't “make a habit” of dirty play, and spearing in particular, and “believe[s] in playing within the rules” a remarkably hot load of garbage.

Milan Lucic is a player who has no respect for his opponents. Period.

He also happens to be a very good power forward who scores a lot of goals for one of the best teams in the league, and a big guy who can play some very physical hockey. But if he was smaller, or European maybe, or didn't put up the numbers, the amount of times you'd hear “rat” in association with his name around this league would be off the charts. He is a rat, the worst kind of actor in the league because he repeatedly plays to hurt, in the cheapest ways possible, and then pulls an aww shucks attitude whenever he's called to account for it.

Which, again, isn't often. And all that leads to a lot of intellectual dishonesty.

Any sentence that starts with, “It’s just funny. I never do that, I haven’t done that,” and exactly zero words later concludes, “but unfortunately I’ve done it twice in the last little bit here,” shows an amount of cognitive dissonance that should really be studied by scientists. He also took a moment to note that he too has been on the receiving end of spears like this, saying, “It happens more times than not.”

Perhaps only Abraham Zapruder has the video evidence though, because I've never seen any of it.

But a lot of the reason for it is that people will turn away from it, and let his continued malfeasance go uncriticized. The NHL Department of Player Safety let this pattern of his getting off lightly continue unabated, when you consider that two separate and escalating spearing incidents (the DeKeyser incident being notably worse than Emelin's) about three weeks apart lost him zero games and just $5,000.

For a player making Lucic money ($6 million), that's only about one-sixth of his pay for a single day of work this season.

One can't and shouldn't expect any real accountability on the play — if you want to call it that given how far outside the bounds of hockey it fell — to come from his coaches. Maybe during the regular season, but certainly not during the playoffs, when Claude Julien has to swear up and down he never saw the spear, either live or on video, because you gotta have your guy's back. Everyone gets that, even if it does make for an eye-rolling quote. This is also true of the Bruins at large, because any time anyone even looks at them crooked they can't help complaining about it for some time (remember, Lucic was still whining about the alleged Emelin low-bridge that prompted the spear two days on). In a between-periods interview during Game 1, Marchand was already bemoaning the amount of hooking and holding the Red Wings were getting away with.

And to their credit, the actual Boston media for once didn't fall all over itself to defend Lucic from those who would call his character into question. There was a lot of calling it a “bad” thing that happened, and someone even said that this kind of play had no place in the game. They were not quite so eager the first time this happened a few weeks back, and instead dutifully nodded in assent when Lucic call Emelin a chicken, as is their wont. But save for one dumbass mouth-breather proselytizing fanboy “Well I played the game, and...” Boston.com correspondent idiot who said that this is just what happens in playoff hockey (story not linked here for reasons which should be obvious), no one took to the ramparts to dump hot oil on Lucic's detractors as they did for Shawn Thornton.

That tells you a lot, in and of itself, about the kind of puke Lucic was on this play.

But the condemnations were also lacking, whether because this is just the kind of thing they expect in the playoffs (as the pom-pom waving, bottom-feeding moron suggested), or because this is The Big Bad Bruins we're talking about, or because Lucic is always going to play like this and it won't be a big deal as long as he keeps scoring. Had this been a DeKeyser-on-Lucic spear, instead of the other way around, and there'd only been a small fine doled out by the league, the pearl-clutching about What's Become Of Our Great Sport and what a cheap shot artist yellow-bellied punk DeKeyser is would have been splashed across the front page of every newspaper in the city. Hell, they still talk about what a dirtbag Matt Cooke is every time he finishes an innocuous check, and he's had a clean rap sheet for the last three seasons.

The reason for that was intervention. Everyone universally agreed, “Matt Cooke has to change, or he has to go.” That's from the league, his team, and pretty much all observers of the game. Lucic isn't on his level — yet? — but at the same time, how many more of these incidents have to come down the pike before everyone agrees that he has to change his game?

Lucic is a good player. But for a guy who says he believes in playing “the right way” (haha) it's really weird that this keeps happening to him, and no one seems to care too much.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks' penalty killing has been pretty damn good in the first two games of their series, but one supposes that you can't go around taking five or six penalties a night and hoping Tyler Seguin doesn't pop in a few. Not when you've won both games by a single goal.

Boston Bruins: Did you know Reilly and Brendan Smith are brothers? And they're playing each other in the playoffs? This has somehow not been mentioned yet in this series. I wonder what their mom thinks!

Buffalo Sabres: Headline: “Girgensons amazed by ‘A’ on jersey.” It's true. “Wow,” he said. “How did it get there? Was it magic?” It was magic!

Calgary Flames: Hoo boy. A recent poll found that 82 percent of Flames fans were not disappointed the team didn't get a Top-3 pick this year, and 71 percent think Kari Ramo (he of the .911 save percentage this season and .902 career) is the team's goalie of the future.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk want to become better leaders next season. See if you can get someone to take that Cam Ward contract and I'll believe it. Be men of action.

Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks say they're “confident” about their ability to come back after losing the first two games of their series in overtime. Huh, even with Corey Crawford back there and your second-best defenseman suspended? Okay guys.

Colorado Avalanche: Here, indeed, is the million-dollar question.

Columbus Blue Jackets: I am 100 percent shocked that there wasn't a single F-bomb in the Blue Jackets pile after Matt Calvert got them their first-ever franchise playoff win. That's the biggest surprise in all of this.

Dallas Stars: Tyler Seguin bought Mike Modano's mansion for less than $2 million. Hell of a deal. He probably left that much in spare change and bills on the floor of his Swiss apartment. Speaking of which, how much does it cost to have a mansion cleaned regularly?

Detroit Red Wings: It really is kind of surprising how little space there's been in this series, isn't it? You'd have thought things would be a lot more free-flowing given the quality of forwards on these two teams, but this is playoff hockey, one supposes.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers' new arena is going to be 60 percent bigger than Rexall Place? Good lord.

Florida Panthers: Panthers prospect Mac Weegar is racking up the points with the Halifax Mooseheads this postseason and one imagines that roughly three-quarters were on defensive-zone passes to Jonathan Drouin that were taken 200 feet and deposited in the back of the net.

Los Angeles Kings: I just never want this series to end ever.

Minnesota Wild: Yeah Darcy Kuemper probably starting a home playoff game. Surely what the team envisioned back in October.

Montreal Canadiens: How badly have things gone for Tampa? Rene Bourque has three goals in as many games against them.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: A nice experiment while it lasted, but Mike Del Zotto should basically not be back in Nashville next season.

New Jersey Devils: What can Devils fans look forward to? Their owner, who also owns the Philadelphia 76ers, recently called the basketball team having won just 19 games this season “a huge success.” Because they tanked good and hard. Imagine if bad hockey teams were smart enough to realize this is how things should go? What a world we would get to live in.

New York Islanders: Would it actually be allowed for the Islanders to keep their first-round pick this year — instead of sending it to Buffalo as per the Thomas Vanek trade — and then move it for a first-rounder next year to cover the lack of pick in a deeper draft? It must be. Garth Snow should do that.

New York Rangers: Oh, well then by all means.

Ottawa Senators: Matt Kassian is almost certainly on the outs in Ottawa, and apparently the Sens are still looking for a “harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for his teammates if necessary.” Good idea. How could that go wrong?

Philadelphia Flyers: Steve Mason says he wants to start Game 3. The way Ray Emery played in Game 2, I'm not sure that's the best idea.

Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan says the Coyotes have a chance to win a Cup within the next few years. C'mon Shane.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The speed and finish on this Brian Gibbons goal is something else.

San Jose Sharks: Turns out Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto are great. Who knew?

St. Louis Blues: I don't know if you can really call not trying to kill someone when you have a five-minute power play at the end of regulation “smart” so much as “obvious.”

Tampa Bay Lightning: Sorry, guys, but Ben Bishop's not walking through that door.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Right now, Brendan Shanahan is only definitively a good hire for the Maple Leafs insofar as he can't do worse than the current guys.

Vancouver Canucks: Alex Burrows is off to Worlds for Canada. So far, 12 of the 20 players named to the team play in Canada, which is a bad sign for that team's chances for success.

Washington Capitals: I always forget teams can make trades during the playoffs. Thanks to the Caps and Preds for the reminder.

Winnipeg Jets: Now that the Blue Jackets won a postseason game, the Jets/Thrashers are the only franchise in the league to have never picked up a playoff W.

Play of the Weekend

Which is more impressive on this goal: Nathan MacKinnon's speed, Paul Stastny's no-look pass, or Gabriel Landeskog's finish? Boy oh boy, what a line.

Gold Star Award

Speaking of MacKinnon, I guess having seven points in your first two playoff games ever is, like, good or whatever.

Minus of the Weekend

Not a good run of things from Ilya Bryzgalov in these playoffs so far. That's probably going to just about do it for him in the NHL.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User “ComixZone” seems like a Flames fan.

To Winnipeg:
- Jiri Hudler (2 years remaining, 4M cap-hit)
- Dennis Wideman (50% cap retained, 2.625M cap-hit for next 3 years)
- 34th overall in '14
- 2nd round pick in '15

To Calgary:
- Evander Kane

Signoff
Somewhere there’s a convenient store parking lot worried sick about these missing teens.

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

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Mon, 21 Apr 2014 06:26:19 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,7274173f-a002-3a1b-8767-e1cce48b580b-l:1
Mr. Hockey turns 86; Isles sale talks; dissecting the Leafs (Puck Headlines) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/-puck-headlines-150902493.html 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.

• It's Mr. Hockey's 86th birthday. Here's a great read from Helene St. James on Gordie Howe's battle with dementia and how it's not keeping him down. [Freep]

• It's come out that Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Barroway has been in talks to purchase the New York Islanders. Barroway was previously linked to the New Jersey Devils sale last summer. NY Post]

• Mirtle goes all in on the Toronto Maple Leafs: how missing the playoffs could be the best thing for the franchise. [Globe and Mail]

• Randy Carlyle is having a heckua time in Toronto right now. You know who knows what he's going through? Ron Wilson. [ESPN.com]

• Is Guy Boucher and his 1-3-1 the solution for the Leafs' woes? [The Leafs Nation]

• Dave Poulin doesn't understand score effects. [mc79hockey]

• Some good news: Tim Bozon is out of the hospital after battling meningitis and was on the ice to drop the puck prior to the Kootenay-Calgary playoff game on Saturday night. [Buzzing the Net]

• Seth Jones was back on the ice with the Nashville Predators Sunday as he continues his comeback from a concussion. [Tennessean]

• Is there a relationship between finishing the regular season strong and making a run at the Stanley Cup? [SB Nation]

• On the same day Tomas Plekanec returned after dealing with a personal matter, Alexei Emelin has left the Canadiens to return to Montreal for family reasons. [Hockey Inside/Out]

• Kyle Turris, Patrice Bergeron and T.J. Oshie are your Three Stars of the Week. [NHL]

• Masterton nominees are beginning to trickle out. For the New York Rangers, it's Dominic Moore, while Rich Peverley will represent the Dallas Stars. Colin McDonald is the Islanders' nominee.

• Chatting with Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan. [The Hockey Writers] -Is the 2013-14 fantasy hockey MVP Sidney Crosby over Alex Ovechkin? [Dobber Hockey]

• In praise of Jarome Iginla, the best signing of the summer by the Boston Bruins. [Bruins Daily]

• A Bruins fan is offering a free Iggy jersey to Vancouver Canucks fans in exchange for switching allegiances. [PITB]

• Is it time for new faces of the Nashville Predators? [On the Forecheck]

• Will the Anaheim Ducks pursue Ryan Kesler at the draft in June? [Edmonton Journal]

• Who are the best and worst defenseman in the NHL in terms of possession? [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

• Finally, the Carolina Hurricanes helped a member of the U.S. Air Force reunite with his family before Friday's game:

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Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:25:01 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,1b4cd24f-793f-326e-800f-3f1684e60ad4-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Iginla, Bruins streaking; Miller, Blues keep on rolling http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-iginla-bruins-streaking-miller-blues-060302607--nhl.html

No. 1 Star: Alexandre Burrows, Vancouver Canucks

It came in a losing effort as the Canucks dropped a 4-3 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but Burrows was in on all three Canuck goals, scoring two and assisting on the third. After a terrible season, he's on fire, with 9 points in his last 5 games.

No. 2 Star: Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins

Like Burrows, Iginla is on fire right now. He scored twice in the Bruins' 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, giving Boston their ninth consecutive win.

No. 3 Star: David Backes, St. Louis Blues

Backes scored twice in the Blues 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, pushing Ryan Miller to 7-0-1 as a member of the Blues. St. Louis has won three straight and eight of nine.

Honorable mention: Jason Pominville shattered his stick taking this shot and still scored:

Mike Smith made 36 saves as the Phoenix Coyotes held off a comeback from the Los Angeles Kings to win 4-3 and move into a playoff spot... This save by Tuukka Rask was pretty incredible:

Did You Know? Shane Doan's game was his 1,300th in the NHL.

Dishonorable mention: Ryan Stanton had two goals go in off of his body versus the Lightning... and speaking of the Lightning, when you do a Stanley Cup tribute, you should probably know what date they're commemorating.

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Mon, 17 Mar 2014 23:03:02 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,2fd4ede7-a60a-3e33-a591-338765063a0f-l:1
What We Learned: Time for Zdeno Chara to rest http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/what-we-learned--time-for-zdeno-chara-to-rest-003036963.html 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.

The acquisition of Andrej Meszaros from the Flyers at the trade deadline -- for a conditional third-round pick that will likely come in the late 80s or perhaps even early 90s, and therefore amounts to peanuts as far as the Bruins are concerned -- was designed to do one very specific thing for the Bruins: Give them flexibility on the blue line.

The season-ending injury to Dennis Seidenberg just two days after Christmas had many wondering about just how reasonably the team could continue to defend over the remainder of the season, and this was an issue that went largely unaddressed apart from the AHL call-up of the since-extended Kevan Miller.

By trading for Meszaros, Peter Chiarelli was effectively giving Claude Julien the ability to swap out a defenseman every once in a while. And do that he has, using Meszaros in spots to spell Dougie Hamilton twice and then Torey Krug once before returning him to the press box for Saturday's game against Carolina, which the Bruins predictably won by a wide margin, and outshot their opponents by a wider one.

The idea to scratch Hamilton and Krug both was apparently performance-related; but Hamilton really hadn't been so bad that one should have scratched him in favor of, say, Miller or Matt Bartkowski, but the Bruins are very much rolling these days anyhow. The Carolina win was their eighth in a row, and during that time they've capitalized on other teams' recent struggles significantly, stretching their lead in the division to 15 points through the conclusion of games on Saturday — i.e. all but assuring they're the top seed in it — and in the conference, which matters far less in the grand scheme, to three points, albeit with Pittsburgh holding a game in hand. During this run of success, they've outscored opponents 28-11 and outattempted them at even strength 399-326 (55 percent) despite score effects stating they should be playing more defensively. In short, they're playing hockey so revelatory that nothing can prevent them from running their opponents out of the building.

And given that as well as how strongly they've built this insurmountable divisional lead, one would think Meszaros, who has likewise been perfectly since coming to Boston, would be used a little more liberally to spell easily the biggest and perhaps the most important cog in this possession machine: Zdeno Chara.

You'll recall that one of the things lazier commentators pointed to in their frantic search for the reason the Bruins got pushed around in the final three games of the Stanley Cup Final was that Chara had been overused too often and was therefore tired (and also he had a pretty serious hip injury that limited his mobility and which Chicago exploited to perfection). He had, in fact, been used 25 minutes or more in a single game 27 times in the regular season and another 18 in the playoffs, including seven in which he went north of 30, and two on the wrong side of 40.

But there was a nugget of truth in that finger-pointing — if you want to call it that — insofar as Chara is now a 36-year-old man, and while still an elite defenseman, might not be able to run quite so long and far and fast as he once did. This is a concern which isn't exactly new, either. It's just that the Bruins haven't exactly done all in their power to give the guy what is a much-needed rest. Not lately, and not all season. In fact, he's already played more of his 63 games with 25 minutes or more this year (30) than he did in 82 last year, and only 11 of them came after the Seidenberg injury, which one might assume necessitated a little more use. The Bruins graciously gave him two days off to go be the Slovakian flag-bearer at the Olympics, and he missed one other game (on Jan. 1) with an undisclosed issue, and other than that he's been the same old warhorse. Then, y'know, he played 23:31 a night in the Olympics.

But sometimes, you gotta take even the trustiest of warriors off the front lines for a little while. With Meszaros now in the fold and the top spot in the division all but assured, it would behoove Julien to mix in a day of rest for Chara every several games the rest of the way. Fitness freak though he may be, maybe the extra time off afforded him by the addition of a new and healthy defenseman would do him more good than it would, say, Hamilton, who is 21 years old and who necessarily didn't play badly enough to warrant the two-game exile to the land of free popcorn and hot dogs.

The games the Bruins will play over the next month are largely meaningless. Many of them are also on the road. Many of them are also against teams which could best be categorized as “not very good.” Your Phoenixes and Washingtons and Torontos and Winnipegs and Buffaloes.

It's easy to see why the Bruins would, of course, not want to sit their captain and world-beating, star-destroying defenseman. He's really good, he gives them a really good chance to win most games. All that stuff. Yeah. But also the fact that even one game of the Bruins rolling a six-man D unit ofHamilton, Bartkowski, Meszaros, Krug, Miller, and Johnny Boychuk is enough to give a coach a season's worth of screaming night terrors. Chara's not playing this much at his age because Julien feels like doing it for fun. It's out of necessity to some extent.

But that necessity isn't quite so great now as it was, say, in December or January, when things in the division in particular were a lot more tenuous. The Bruins have won 17 of their last 23 games, and lost three more in overtime. That's points from 20 out of 23 and Chara has been a monster in just about all of them, except those two right before the Olympics. In those 21 games he played, he's 53.4 percent corsi at evens, against the toughest competition every night (and he's only been below water in six of those games, and north of 60 percent in seven).

As far as I'm concerned, he's once again as legitimate a Norris Trophy candidate as anyone in the league, and he's taken the Bruins a lot farther than they probably should have gone defensively given the way in which injuries have hit their blue line. As such, it's pretty clear he's earned a game or three off. The Bruins can afford it now. They won't be able to say the same when the playoffs start.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Shots were 38-20 but the Ducks beat the Kings anyway. Wins are the ultimate stat.

Boston Bruins: The Bruins' opponents now seem to be targeting defensemen. Johnny Boychuk went into the boards with his feet taking the brunt of the punishment, missed a little while, came back into the game, and immediately took a slap shot off the foot. That's hockey. Boychuk on the incident: “You can’t really do anything but laugh. You get it on the same side and it hurts so bad that you just have to laugh at it.”

Buffalo Sabres: “The Sabres haven't been much to see of late either.” Uh well, it depends how you define “of late.” The last two seasons? You got it.

Calgary Flames: The Flames entered the third period with Phoenix on Saturday looking at a 2-2 tie. Then they took six penalties and lost 3-2. That's to be expected.

Carolina Hurricanes: Cam Ward gave up five goals on 41 shots, and lost for the eighth time in the last 11 games in which he's played. That's not very good at all. He has an .893 save percentage this season, and is now down to .909 for his career.

Chicago Blackhawks: Joel Quenneville went into Sunday maaaaaaaad the his team. They knew it, too.

Colorado Avalanche: Really interesting look at why the Avs are dead meat in the playoffs.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Johansen made everyone upset with this shootout winner but after a long deliberation they allowed it to count. Initially it looked like Darcy Kuemper touched it but he in fact did not.

Dallas Stars: Kari Lehtonen is closer to coming back and that's bad news for anyone the Stars play down the stretch here. They've been pretty damn good of late.

Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings would really like to keep that playoff streak of theirs alive. You don't say.

Edmonton Oilers: It's now just about time for Oilers fans to turn their sights to drafting really high once again. At least this time they're looking at a defenseman. You have to wonder how much they regret taking Nail Yakupov instead of Ryan Murray when they had the chance. The idea of a Ryan Murray-Aaron Ekblad top pairing for the next decade seems like it would be a nice one.

Florida Panthers: Sure it's funny that the Canucks and Panthers played each other so soon after that big trade, but it would have been funnier if it had been in Vancouver. Luongo's going to ride into that town with palm leaves thrown down before him by disgruntled Canucks fans.

Los Angeles Kings: “Controversy aside.” Yes the refs disallowed a clear goal in a one-goal game. So, I don't know how you separate out the controversy from the result.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild sure do like losing in the shootout lately. They've played in three over their last four games, and lost all of them. Moreover, the most recent one was the first time this year a team built a 2-0 shootout lead and still lost in it.

Montreal Canadiens: The vision by PK Subban on this pass to David Desharnais for the game-tying goal, in this situation, is wonderful. Three assists for Subban in the game. What a player.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: The Predators haven't won at home since the end of February, and that was five games ago. Losing to St. Louis anywhere, though, isn't necessarily the worst thing to happen. They beat everyone.

New Jersey Devils: Man am I gonna miss ol' Double-J.

New York Islanders: “When the New York Islanders’ lead was cut in half in the opening minute of the third period, the sense of impending doom began wafting through Nassau Coliseum.” Good thing they were playing the Sabres. They won 4-1 in the end.

New York Rangers: A week after getting his 300th win, which is a milestone in and of itself, Henrik Lundqvist has now picked up his 301st victory. This is important because it ties Mike Richter's franchise record.

Ottawa Senators: Oh, Clarke. No, buddy. Don't.

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers are fascinated by the idea of this playoff format. Scott Hartnell says “it's leveled the playing field for all teams” which I don't think is all that true but okay sure.

Phoenix Coyotes: It's actually kind of surprising to me that Shane Doan only has 350 career goals, quite frankly. Dude's been around for-ev-er.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Chris Kunitz still dealing with a lower body injury, James Neal with a concussion. As referenced above, the conference title might not be available to them any more thanks to the Bruins' run here. Problems at the wrong time, for sure.

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks are just 3 for 46 on the power play since the start of February. Seems like that's too good a team to go 6.5 percent up a man for that long. They'll have like three games in a row of going 2 for 4 and sort it all out soon.

St. Louis Blues: The Blues went 5-0 against the Preds this season, and had a ton of fans in Nashville to help them get there. It's the first time sweeping a team they played five or more times in a season since they went 8-0 against the Kings in 1969-70. They're a good team it seems like.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Ben Bishop just set the franchise record by winning his 31st game of the season. And, y'know, they have 15 games left.

Toronto Maple Leafs: MLSE wants to upgrade BMO Field, where Toronto FC plays, so that it can host a Winter Classic. Finally, the Leafs will get that Winter Classic they've long deserved but they've never played in one somehow unless you count that one they just played which I do not.

Vancouver Canucks: Markus Naslund may or may not be coming back to Vancouver, in a front-office capacity. Mike Gillis said he'd reach out, but Naslund's not ready to commit to anything for reasons you probably understand.

Washington Capitals: Don't hold your breath.

Winnipeg Jets: Ondrej Pavelec and Chris Thorburn both missed last night's game with Dallas and will miss the next one as well. I'm not sure how much this actually hurts the Jets.

Play of the Weekend

Just like they drew it up.

Gold Star Award

Shout out to Shannon Szabados for making her pro debut in the SPHL on Saturday.

Minus of the Weekend

Get over it.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User “Eric Sachs” would love to bring the prodigal son back to New Jersey.

]to nj: david clarkson and nazem kadri
to toronto: michael rider, steve gionta, 30th overall[

Signoff

I know when I'm being lied to. It's like when I look at myself in the mirror and say, “It's going to be okay.”

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

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Mon, 17 Mar 2014 06:59:06 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,fad38308-ecad-306f-8030-b7ce4c5fe9f0-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Bishop gets milestone win; Subban leads Habs’ turnaround http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-bishop-gets-milestone-win-subban-072754463--nhl.html

The Calgary Flames say kind things to Shane Doan.

No. 1 Star: P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens

Watching Subban in the Canadiens' comeback 5-4 OT win over the Ottawa Senators was watching one of the most explosive players in the game at work. Subban picked up assists on all three of the Habs' goals during their late third-period flurry to tie the game, in addition to playing a game-high 28:55 and registering a game-high 7 shots on goal. Dude's good.

No. 2 Star: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

Bishop won his 31st game of the season for the Lightning in a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils, a franchise record, and he did it style, stopping all 23 shots he faced for the shutout. These were the best saves right here:

No. 3 Star: Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins

Lucic had a 3-point night as the Bruins rolled over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1. The win was Boston's eighth straight.

Honorable mention: Anders Nilsson stopped 33 shots as the New York Islanders topped the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1... Ryan Johansen scored the shootout winner as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Minnesota Wild, 2-1... Shane Doan's 350th career goal stood up as the game-winner in a 3-2 Phoenix Coyotes victory over the Calgary Flames... Patrick Maroon and Tim Jackman scored for the Anaheim Ducks, who beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1... Alexander Steen hit 30 goals as the St. Louis Blues cruised past the Nashville Predators, 4-1... Steve Mason stopped 25 and Matt Read scored twice as the Philadelphia Flyers made quick work of the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-1. Check out this beautiful passing play on Read's second:

Did You Know? The St. Louis Blues are now 19-0-2 against their own Central Division.

Dishonorable mention: There was nothing quite like Ottawa losing a 4-1 lead with four minutes to go in regulation. Even more disheartening is that the loss could very well be the end of their playoff hopes... What are you doing, Joni Ortio?

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Sun, 16 Mar 2014 00:27:54 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,9c47f3b9-a102-3db4-995b-655c7487ce28-l:1
Emotionally preparing for this being the last NHL Olympics (What We Learned) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/emotionally-preparing-being-last-nhl-olympics-learned-143123184--nhl.html As this is being written, the National Hockey League players who will represent their countries in Sochi are en route to Russia, and by the time you read it, they will have already landed and begun practicing. But the more one thinks about it, the more dread must rise at the prospect of this being the last time the world's greatest players will jet off for the event.

No decision, obviously, has been made about whether the league will participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea four years from now, considering the 2014 men's hockey tournament doesn't even begin for another two days. But you get the sense that the tide is certainly shifting toward a solid “no” vote four years from now.

The simple fact is that the NHL risks a lot for “the good of the sport” by sending these top-flight players off for three weeks every year. For one thing, they shut down the league for three weeks at a time, which is something about which no teams can be particularly happy. For another, they risk seeing, say, Evgeni Malkin blow out a knee late in a meaningless preliminary round game because he catches a rut, and that hurts both the Penguins and the league itself. These players are The Product in the NHL, and as such owners very understandably are reticent to just let them go play for someone else; if you really loved your car, would you want to loan it to someone you don't know to enter it into races for three weeks?

This was recently reflected in an interview with Ed Snider, usually one of the more fan-friendly owners in terms of giving them what they want (provided what they want does not include “sane contracts for largely unproven goaltenders”). For example, he was one of the few owners in the league to be vocally opposed to the most recent lockout through which his more militant, or perhaps you'd say greedy, colleagues dragged the league. But the Olympics? Snider is 100 percent not-down with them.

He said it's not good for the league and the teams, and that's fair enough because really, it isn't. The fact is that this is something the NHL does so its players won't flip out, and you can bet participation came up in the most recent collective bargaining agreement talks. It's very important to the players to be able to compete in the Olympics, so the league allows it. (Snider also said the tournament is bad for the fans, and if we're talking about people who are fans of their teams only, then maybe that's true, but if they're fans of the sport itself, then this is the greatest two weeks in hockey, period.)

Not that there isn't pushback. Pavel Datsyuk, for example, is headed over to Sochi to represent the host country but he's also nursing an injury. Ken Holland says he's pretty worried about it but doesn't feel like it's his place to tell his star center that he can't go. Meanwhile, the Islanders apparently feel no such compunction about their ability to dictate to an employee how he spends his three-week Olympic break; Slovak general manger Otto Sykora seems to think that Lubomir Visnovsky is not quite so injured as the Islanders would have us believe, which is to say that they're holding him out of the Olympics despite the fact that the player “says he's okay.” Then there's John Tortorella, who flat-out said of the injured Henrik Sedin, “I'll tell you right now: Do I want him to go? Absolutely not. I'm thinking about our hockey club.”

This isn't the kind of thing we've seen in the past, with teams expressing misgivings about the quadrennial tradition, but one imagines that even an injury that holds a player out of just a single NHL game when the league comes back is going to be enough to start a firestorm.

Again, it's important to keep in mind that the NHL is a business and one that makes no money from the Olympics, at least not directly. Maybe the games get a few more general sports fans interested overall, but they're not exactly selling out National Ski Jumping League events even if people do pay a hell of a lot of attention to it for three weeks every four years. Just because everyone suddenly becomes an expert in a sport during the Olympics — telling you for sure that so-and-so screwed up her triple axel horribly despite having watched no figure skating since Vancouver — doesn't mean they stick with the sport and the vast majority. The NHL (probably correctly) thinks that it should be in charge of promoting the sport on a global level, and turning it over to the IOC every four years has to chafe them. The reason the NHL is setting revenue records just about every year now is that it's incredibly good at getting people to pay attention to it. The league, frankly, doesn't need the help in making the sport more popular. It's doing a great job in that regard.

There's a reason negotiations dragged on so long about going to Sochi, and there's a reason that all the Olympic orientation camps are basically floor hockey tournaments, and there's a reason there's so much pushback from teams now. It's because while hockey fans and players love the Olympics, the NHL doesn't, and when's the last time the league did something that was in the best interest of fans and players only? Might be wise to start getting yourself ready to looking forward to all amateur players in Pyeongchang.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks headed into the Olympic break by snapping a three-game losing streak on what Hampus Lindholm called “a couple of [crappy] goals.” That works.

Boston Bruins: Yes Patrice Bergeron we get it. You're really good.

Buffalo Sabres: Loved this feature on Ryan Miller going to Sochi out for blood.

Calgary Flames: The Flames are feeling good about losing to the Flyers because at least they put 32 on net apparently.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes entered the break by getting clobbered. They are not happy about it.

Chicago Blackhawks: Joel Quenneville is a good coach. This has been a very important update on why the Blackhawks are good, I guess.

Colorado Avalanche: The entire city of Haliburton is hoping Canada wins because of native son Matt Duchene. Otherwise, they would never have rooted for Canada ever.

Columbus Blue Jackets: “Olympic break a non-issue as Blue Jackets stay focused on winning.” Too bad. I bet they don't win a game for at least the next three weeks.

Dallas Stars: Thank you Valeri Nichushkin for once again reminding everyone that any goal scored against crybaby Mike Smith is never his fault ever.

Detroit Red Wings: Stephen Weiss will be back from injury following the Olympic break but have the Red Wings really missed his contributions this season?

Edmonton Oilers: Well: “In order to become a playoff contender, the Oilers need to become a lot better and have to learn to play a lot harder.” And also go back in time to win about 10 more games than they have already.

Florida Panthers: Anyone who gets Tom Gilbert in a trade with the Panthers is probably going to get a steal. He's been one of the better possession defensemen in the league this season (34th in the league in relative corsi, despite playing on the Panthers), playing on a dirt-cheap contract, and then whoever trades for him gets first crack at re-signing him. This is awful asset management by Dale Tallon.

Los Angeles Kings: That things about good young players getting sent to the AHL? How about Tyler Toffoli and Martin Jones? Woe be unto opponents of the Manchester Monarchs the next few weeks.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild might just kick the tires on finding some goaltending depth for the stretch run. Say, are there any guys who might help? Maybe like ones that might be a teammate with your two best players in Sochi? I don't know I'm just spitballing here.

Montreal Canadiens: Max don't you ever scare me like that again.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: The only way the Swiss surprise anyone in Sochi is if all the better teams literally don't even show up. Roman Josi is really rooting for a Bermuda Triangle-type situation here.

New Jersey Devils: Devils' splits on the power play with and without Eric Gelinas running it? Without: 5 for 49 (10.2 percent). With: 28 for 125 (22.4 percent). That's literally double. Just recall him, Lou. Jesus.

New York Islanders: This is pretty good advice for anyone, really.

New York Rangers: Really interesting comments from Alain Vigneault if only because he's very candid about the team's position, and you don't often hear coaches say stuff like this in-season.

Ottawa Senators: Paul MacLean on his team dropping a 7-2 road decision to the Bruins: “We probably owe them a couple of bucks for the clinic they put on today.”

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers are divided on whether getting three weeks off when they've won five of their last six. Having their first game back be against the Sharks probably doesn't help.

Phoenix Coyotes: “Phoenix Coyotes players wait for Olympics fever.” Another weird disease for Shane Doan, I guess.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Well, Kris Letang's stroke certainly makes Ray Shero's job a lot more interesting after the Olympic break.

San Jose Sharks: Todd McLellan on Patrick Marleau: “He's a streaky player.” The fact that he's got two points in his last seven games bodes well for Canada.

St. Louis Blues: This is a hell of a strange bounce to get a goal for Derek Roy.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Valtteri Filppula's fractured ankle will keep him out of the Olympics and then more time after that. Tough for the Bolts, but it looks like they're probably going to get some kid named Stamkos back, so that might cushion the blow a little bit.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel yeahhhhhh. Most points in the NHL since the new year. America!

Vancouver Canucks: Pretty great headline here.

Washington Capitals: Martin Erat finally frickin scored. Wow.

Winnipeg Jets: Amazing how the narrative changes when the coach does.

Play of the Weekend

Patrice I just said we got it.

Gold Star Award

Notre Dame's Bryan Rust scored two goals in 24 seconds to help his team beat Maine on Saturday. It was mighty impressive.

Minus of the Weekend
Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner combined to give up seven goals on 42 shots which is in my opinion too many.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User “Nuke” wants to watch Denver burn.

To Buffalo:
- MacKinnon

To Colorado:
- 2015 1st
- NY Islanders 2014 or 2015 first.

Signoff

Anthrax? Ahhhhhh, anthrax smells like babies!

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

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Mon, 10 Feb 2014 06:31:23 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,bb0da6d2-919a-3825-ab15-cdecd6db6222-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Greiss, Price shutouts nice, Hartnell goals put Wings on ice http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-greiss-price-shutouts-nice-hartnell-060749945--nhl.html

Chad Ruhwedel uses the photographer hole to balance himself while battling for a puck.

No. 1 Star: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Ovechkin scored his 37th and 38 goals of the season in the Capitals' 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres, but he didn't stop there. The Capitals' captain also contributed two assists, one of which came on Mike Green's overtime winner:

No. 2 Star: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

After being pulled in 2 of his last 3, Price made 36 saves for his third shutout of the season as the Canadiens ended their four-game losing streak, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0.

No. 3 Star: Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers

Freed of the fear that his foot might be broken, Hartnell played with an extra glide in his stride, scoring twice and adding an assist in the Flyers' 5-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Steve Mason made 33 saves for the shutout.

Honorable mention: Thomas Greiss made 30 saves for the shutout as the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Los Angeles Kings, who just can't seem to score right now, 3-0. On the bright side, Drew Doughty hit Oliver Ekman-Larsson really hard:

... The St. Louis Blues avenged the lopsided loss the New Jersey Devils handed them the last time the two teams met, beating New Jersey 3-0 this time around. Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves for the shutout... Mike Fisher's early third-period goal was the difference in a 4-3 Nashville Predators win over the Winnipeg Jets... Mikael Backlund scored twice and T.J. Brodie scored the OT winner as the Calgary Flames beat th eChicago Blackhawks, 5-4... Zach Parise had a three-point night in the Minnesota Wild's 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, just as I predicted... Milan Lucic scored twice as the Boston Bruins routed the Florida Panthers, 6-2... Nazem Kadri contributed two goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2. His second goal was gorgeous:

... Stephane da Costa also scored twice, leading the Ottawa Senators over the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2...

Did you know? Shane Doan registered his 500th career assist for the Coyotes.

Dishonorable mention: The Chicago Blackhawks have now lost five straight... The Blue Jackets have now lost three straight after that historic winning streak... the Red Wings looked terrible, and were outdone on this night only by the Florida Panthers, who probably should have tried a little harder to make Thomas's return to Boston special. Seriously, how do you let Shawn Thornton do this to you?

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Tue, 28 Jan 2014 22:07:49 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,5cbd8d6f-0490-3a9b-a3fa-e464710a8486-l:1
Coyotes ‘not very good’; Brandon Sutter’s junk; Gretzky returns (Puck Headlines) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/coyotes-not-very-good-brandon-sutter-junk-gretzky-194632564--nhl.html 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.

• 12-year-old Jason Demers meets Joe Thornton. [@brodiebrazilCSN]

• Shane Doan on the Phoenix Coyotes: “We’re not very good. We haven’t been very good for a while. We’ve been fooling ourselves with finding ways to come back and get points — tie games and get to overtime — probably the last month-and-a-half. We haven’t been good enough, and we gotta be better as a group.” [AZ Central]

• Brandon Sutter's naked video bomb gets the "I'm Too Sexy" treatment. [Benstonium]

• Sutter on dong-gate: ""We knew there were cameras out there. I think we were standing there watching [goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury] do the “Hockey Night in Canada” interview and we were just sitting there watching TV. I’m pretty sure I was standing right in front of the shower. I’m not sure how it got in there. Like I said, it’s one of those freak accidents. I think in time, it will just kind of cool off a bit. At first, I didn’t know what to think but I think down the road, I’ll probably find it kind of funny." [Post-Gazette]

• Dustin Brown's not having a very good season. He'd like to be more than a role player. [Frozen Royalty]

• Wayne Gretzky will end his four-year exile from hockey with an appearance at the outdoor game at Dodger stadium today. [LA Times]

• Loui Eriksson is finding a home on the Bruins' third line alongside Ryan Spooner and Carl Soderberg. [Bruins Daily]

• Mike Cammalleri is out with a concussion. [Flames]

• Dave Nonis and Randy Carlyle in five words. [Leafs Nation]

• Read this old interview with Stephen Warshaw, who was sent by former Pittsburgh Penguins' owner Howard Baldwin to Moscow to oversee the Red Army team after they'd been bought and rechristened the "Russian Penguins". Seriously, read it. [Third String Goalie]

• Who is creating most of the Carolina Hurricane's offensive chances? Hint: it's Jeff Skinner. [Shutdown Line]

• What's the be-all and end-all hockey stat? Yeah, there isn't one. [SB Nation]

• Craig MacTavish suggests the Oilers were once hiding Taylor Hall with their match-ups, and now they're letting him go head-to-head with the game's best. Is this true, and is it helping them at all? [mc79hockey]

• On Claude Noel's last post game press conference. [Jets Nation]

• After initially refusing the assignment, Mikhail Grigorenko has decided to accept his assignment to the Quebec Rampart of the QMJHL. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• The New York Islanders are having a rebirth. What's changed? [Eye on Isles]

• Prominent black civil rights attorney John C. Brittain, was the captain of his high school hockey team in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1962, which is pretty cool. "It doesn’t take a historian or detective to deduce that very few black people played organized hockey in Connecticut – or anywhere else in the United States – in the early 1960s, let alone be designated as the undisputed leader of a team." [Color of Hockey]

• Looking at the impact Dan Carcillo had for the Rangers versus the Philadelphia Flyers. [NY Rangers Blog]

• Taking a tour of the Western Conference to see which fantasy players are breaking their slumps. [Dobber Hockey]

• Tomas Kopecky may only have 9 points on the season, but he's contributing in other ways for the Panthers. [Panther Parkway]

• Groin injuries are in. [Undisclosed Injury]

• Connor McDavid begins and ends this gorgeous goal with just one hand on his stick. [Buzzing the Net]

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Mon, 13 Jan 2014 11:46:32 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,81d680a0-660a-3e46-9be9-bd835b869a9b-l:1
What We Learned: Brian Burke’s catastrophes across Canada http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-brian-burke-catastrophes-across-canada-151033716--nhl.html 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.

Perhaps the only good thing the Toronto Maple Leafs are doing for anyone besides the advanced stats community these days is providing a distraction for their old boss.

Brian Burke may be gone, but the cronyism he put into place at Air Canada Center is the reason the Leafs are awful. For all the good he did in rebuilding that roster — and let's be fair, there's a lot of it, from trading for Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and Jake Gardiner and the drafting of Nazem Kadri, among other things — he is also the reason Randy Carlyle is behind the bench, and Dave Nonis is in the front office, and there's so many awful players on the roster.

The Leafs are cratering in a way that is very fun and exciting for everyone who is not a Leafs fan and this is directly due to their insistence on being “hard to play against,” and all that kind of thing.

The number of guys on their roster who get less than 10 minutes a night but have played 20 or more games is at three (Carter Ashton, Frazer McLaren, and Colton Orr at 20, 21, and 34, respectively), indicating that Carlyle has little to no faith in their ability to be good contributors to the team itself, but nonetheless slots them into the lineup regularly. It seems a curious way to run a hockey team, and no one on earth who's looking at things rationally can at this point defend the way in which Carlyle composes his roster or runs his bench. He plays favorites and allows some guys — typically those who are bad but tough — free reign to do more or less anything they want while skill guys make one inconsequential turnover and get benched. This is all well-known stuff at this point. It doesn't need a lot of rehashing, and is further self-evident every time the Leafs take the ice and get creamed; they have two regulation wins since Nov. 20 for a reason.

But while the rest of Canada watches helpless as the Leafs burn to the ground after their summer of inexplicably expensive signings, the team Brian Burke runs now is playing some historically futile hockey.

The Calgary Flames may not be the worst team in the league this season, but they're certainly trending that way, and Burke is being given the opportunity to craft the team in whatever image he likes. One suspects it will resemble the Maple Leafs before too long.

The Flames scored a goal against the Penguins in a 2-1 loss on Saturday, which is only notable because of how often they had been not-scoring in the previous several games. In the seven contests leading up to that (predictable) loss, Calgary had scored but five goals, four of which came in one win over the Colorado Avalanche. Put another way: They were shut out in five of their previous seven games, and the goal that broke that run came inside the final 10 minutes of Saturday's contest.

To find a team that has been shut out that often in such a short period of time, one must head all the way back to the 1928-29 season. The Pittsburgh Pirates were shut out five times in six games back then, scoring just once in that stretch, while the Chicago Blackhawks (the most shut-out team in NHL history, at 20 games in which they were held goalless) went eight straight without a goal from Feb. 7-28. That season, you'll note, was the league's last prior to the stock market crash that helped spark the Great Depression, which is something in which many in Calgary must feel themselves mired.

But people knew the Flames would be bad this season. Was it generally thought they would be THIS bad?

Perhaps not; anecdotally, most observers had them in the bottom five, but they're charging hard for Buffalo's 30th-place spot with a .355 winning percentage since Nov. 3. Just three of their nine wins in those last 31 games were in regulation. Things will, predictably, only get worse when they start selling players, mostly forwards, as the trade deadline approaches.

The real problem, though, is that Burke has the keys now. After the merciful firing of Jay Feaster, it was speculated that he would approach things aggressively when it came to finding a new GM, but most now seem to think he'll stay out of the market until around the draft this summer. Until then, he'll mold the team to his preference, and his preference is, to paraphrase his philosophy as laid out in the Feaster firing presser: “surround skill with beef.”

The Flames know they now have to play Tough Hockey to get ice time, and Bob Hartley knows he has to keep those guys in the lineup because if he doesn't, he doesn't have a job after this season. He might not anyway, but he's going out compliant; Saturday night, both Penguins goals were scored with the same five skaters out there: Brian McGrattan, Kevin Westgarth (a recent Burke acquisition), Joe Colborne (picked up in a trade after Burke was hired), Shane O'Brien, and Dennis Wideman. In theory, Colborne and Wideman are the skill guys there, but the first goal was a direct result of the latter being overwhelmed by his teammates' ineffectiveness and making a doomed clearing attempt from his knees.

Giving Burke the ability to bring in his guys is what led the Leafs to their current hilariously bad state, both directly and indirectly, and now he has the ability to make the same mistakes in Calgary. A potentially unending rebuild, misappropriation of cap resources, and unwatchable hockey for years to come because of a sad devotion to an ancient religion that will never help the team conjure up possession, goals, or the resultant wins that come with them. Maybe a smoke-and-mirrors playoff appearance mixed in.

Even when the Oilers were at their worst the last few seasons — and to be fair they're still a point behind Calgary in the standings right now — every loss was a scandal in the Canadian media. Every one, even now, is still scrutinized by the local scribes at least as to the role the team's defensive responsibility plays in the ongoing failure. It hasn't been that way in Calgary, where everyone seems to have just given up already (and who can blame them?), while the national people turn their attention to the colossal tire fire in the world's hockey capital. Thus, under cover of darkness, can the Flames continue to toil in futility with nary a question raised by anyone of import until the damage to the organization is already done, using the same methods that got the Leafs where they are today.

It's going to be an abysmal few years.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks have given up the first goal in four of their last five games, and won all of them anyway. You get the feeling they're doing it on purpose at this point, just to see how hard they can make it on themselves.

Boston Bruins: Tuukka Rask now has five shutouts on the season, giving him the league lead, but this was the first one against a Western Conference opponent.

Buffalo Sabres: Mikhail Grigorenko really doesn't want to go back to juniors, and who can blame him? The cool thing that's great about this situation is it effectively burns the second year of his entry-level deal for a grand total of 43 games of NHL service. This is the Buffalo Sabres in a nutshell, really.

Calgary Flames: The way the crowd and Jim Hughson react after this admittedly nice Mikael Backlund goal, you'd think it was that phantom goal from the 2004 Cup Final come back to life.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner has points in six straight games, and 17-7-24 in 19 since the start of December. He's also got 4.3 shots per game during that stretch, which is pretty good I guess.

Chicago Blackhawks: Filed under "wishful thinking."

Colorado Avalanche: Saturday's game was Ryan O'Reilly's first appearance in three contests, and his return was marked by two goals. He's got 10 points in his last 13 games.

Columbus Blue Jackets: This is just a very nice story.

Dallas Stars: Antoine Roussel, Ryan Garbutt, and Shawn Horcoff take an absolutely absurd number of penalties in their offensive zone. They should really cut that out.

Detroit Red Wings: Tomas Tatar's father died a few days ago, and the young Red Wing scored a goal in his honor. Jonathan Quick kicking the puck right to him helped as well.

Edmonton Oilers: Kevin Lowe is and has been bad at his job. Weird that everyone is only just now figuring it out.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers can spend to the cap. Every new player they sign has to build a casino in their backyard though.

Los Angeles Kings: The Kings put 45 shots on Jimmy Howard Saturday night, but only scored once, so what Mike Richards' reaction? “I've got to start getting back to shooting first and looking for second options later.” Mike, dude, you put EIGHT on goal.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild returned to Nashville last night, with their two former Preds on the blue line. Mike Yeo joked he might put Jonathan Blum out there with Ryan Suter so they can both be booed at the same time.

Montreal Canadiens: Owned.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: Maybe not the best clearing attempt by Mattias Ekholm.

New Jersey Devils: Shaquille O'Neal, three years retired from the NBA at 41 years old, drove the Zamboni, wore a comically undersized Alexei Ponikarovsky jersey, and dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Devils game on Saturday. Jaromir Jagr, who's 19 days older than Shaq, played 23:21 and set up the game-winner.

New York Islanders: The Islanders have played five different rookies for at least 18 games this season. Boy I wonder why they're so bad.

New York Rangers: It appears as though Rick Nash is finally starting to put it together a little bit. Maybe. I don't know. Probably not really.

Ottawa Senators: The Senators are about to extend Bryan Murray, which is a smart thing to do when your team's record is in the toilet. At least they're ahead of the Leafs.

Philadelphia Flyers: Steve Downie a healthy scratch because of... you guessed it, “intensity.” What a fun world hockey is.

Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan on the Coyotes: “Right now, we're not very good.” Yes that is correct Shane.

Pittsburgh Penguins: You can't see it too well in this video but here's Marc-Andre Fleury making a save on Mikael Backlund with the back of his head.

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks probably just don't want to play the Bruins any more this season. Fortunately, they don't have to unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Final. At that point they might not feel so bad about a 1-0 loss on Saturday, and the 2-1 game they lost with 0.8 seconds left in October.

St. Louis Blues: The Blues lead the NHL in goals per game? That seems like it would be impossible, but here we are I guess.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning put five past Steve Mason on just 17 shots. Mason's save percentage of .895 since December, and the Bolts were the beneficiary here tonight.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Don't worry about it, Randy. You're doin' fine.

Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks held their annual SuperSkills competition on Saturday and the runaway winner was the Cooperalls on Ryan Kesler's kid. Eddie Lack has to do better there.

Washington Capitals: The Caps are already working on an extension for Mikhail Grabovski because hey what do you know he's really good.

Winnipeg Jets: Worse than Mason's numbers, Ondrej Pavelec's save percentage since Dec. 1 is .860 — EIGHT SIXTY — and is the reason Claude Noel got fired.

Play of the Weekend
Man what a stop by Corey Crawford. Totally worth that extension.

Gold Star Award

Dustin Byfuglien you are the Jets' best defenseman but you Weren't Bad on Saturday when you were strangely moved to forward. Congrats to you.

Minus of the Weekend

Paul Maurice this was a bad idea for you.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User “mhstudios” has a blockbuster in mind.

To Islanders:
RNH
Jordan Eberle
Darnel Nurse
2014 1st Rounder

To Oilers:
John Tavares

One of the rare trades that solves neither team's problems.

Signoff
Is this an ad for side by side bathtubs? I want one!

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

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Mon, 13 Jan 2014 07:10:33 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c5573cb4-2ed3-369a-be64-31204ad7a6ea-l:1
Shane Doan returns to Coyotes after bout with Rocky Mountain spotted fever http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/shane-doan-returns-coyotes-bout-rocky-mountain-spotted-203943808--nhl.html

This photo is actually really gross when you consider Doan left the team the next day with a pretty nasty illness.

Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was unhappy with his team's effort Thursday night versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, so he has to be happy with the news out of Phoenix the following morning.

Shane Doan, one of hockey's great try-hards and a captain that tends to instill effort in his teammates, has finally been cleared to play.

Doan hasn't played since December 4, out with what was originally thought to be a flu but turned out to be, of all things, Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

No one quite knows how Doan picked up the illness, which affects the cells that line the blood vessels and is usually transmitted via tick, but however he got it, he got it bad, missing a month of hockey.

He's been off antibiotics for a little while, but his energy has remained low. Even after he skated at practice last Monday, the team was unsure when he'd be able to rejoin the team for a game.

“It’s not if he can get through practice and the skate,” coach Dave Tippett told Sarah McLellan. “It’s what happens after that. The other day he skated for a little bit in the morning in Anaheim and slept four hours in the afternoon. He skated for an hour for us today. If he sleeps 10 hours later today, that’s probably not a good sign.”

Fortunately, it would appear Doan's energy is back, and now he's poised to bring it to a lineup that could desperately use it. It couldn't come at a better time for the Coyotes, who are still holding onto a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference, but have gone five games without a win in regulation.

To make room for the returning Doan, the Coyotes sent Chris Brown -- the unfortunately named forward, not the awful person/R&B star -- back to the AHL.

- - - - - - -

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

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Fri, 03 Jan 2014 12:39:43 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,a4867d9f-2c54-3e07-895c-d3bc8b75dc0b-l:1
Shane Doan has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (an actual illness) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/shane-doan-rocky-mountain-spotted-fever-actual-illness-035433972--nhl.html

December 4th is the last time Shane Doan played for the Phoenix Coyotes before coming down with an undisclosed illness. On Friday, Coyotes' GM Don Malone wouldn't go as far as to say Doan has contracted the actual illness but he did imply he was sick: “Shane is receiving antibiotics for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever symptoms and he’s showing improvement."

Probably safe to assume he has the totally real, not something Ferris Bueller made up, disease.

What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, you ask? Here is how WebMD describes it:

This disease is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii and is transmitted by a number of different ticks. Despite its geographical title, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is present in many locations throughout the United States and the entire Western Hemisphere. After infection by tick bite, there is an incubation period of 2–14 days. The abrupt onset of the disease includes severe headache, fever, chills, arthralgia [joint pain], and myalgia [muscle pain]. After 2–3 days of these constitutional symptoms, erythematous macules [spots] erupt on the wrists, hands, forearms,legs, and ankles ... Lesions then spread to the palms and soles and the trunk. The macules originally blanch with pressure but soon become purpuric [subcutaneous bleeding] and even necrotic [dead skin tissue]. The disease causes a severe vasculitis [inflamed blood vessel(s)] and complications include disseminated intravascular coagulation [proteins that control blood clotting become over active], hemorrhage into the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, and cardiovascular collapse.

YIKES! Hopefully Doan's case is not as serious as WebMD describes it.

The Coyotes have missed and will continue to miss Doan's contribution. Since Phoenix's leading scorer has been out of the lineup, the 'Yotes have gone 2-2-2. The team sits three points back of Minnesota for the second of the two wild card slots.

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Fri, 20 Dec 2013 19:54:33 PST Jen Neale nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,41fca0db-e297-3956-b007-98e215fdd4fa-l:1
What We Learned: It’s time for NHL to get serious on suspensions http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-time-nhl-serious-suspensions-145201164--nhl.html The NHL's Department of Player Safety was recently profiled in a lengthy and fascinating feature in the Boston Globe, and in it we learned that when a dangerous hit happens, the process goes thusly: Someone sends out an email briefly explaining to almost 20 people what happened, if there was an injury, the player's history of supplemental discipline, and the offending player's next game.

After that, Brendan Shanahan tends to reply-all with the simplest of responses: “Thoughts?”

It's an interesting process, in that some 800 plays are reviewed every year for fines or suspensions, and obviously of that number a relatively small percentage actually results in one. Maybe, though, it's time to up the conversion rate.

Shanahan told the Globe that he thinks players are “getting it” and that there is indeed a culture change under way. All evidence, however, stands to the contrary.

Last season there were just 21 regular- and postseason suspensions levied for a total of 55 games (2.62 games per suspension), and that in a shortened campaign. This season, we're already up to 26 suspensions, for 114 games (4.38 per, but that is brought up heavily by the lengthy bans for Shawn Thornton, Patrick Kaleta, and David Clarkson; excluding those, the average is 3.43 per). In 2011-12, under some slightly more restrictive circumstances, there were 55 for 204 (3.71 per).

And as of this writing, that doesn't include the pending suspension Deryk Engelland, a repeat offender who laid a dirty and dangerous hit on Justin Abdelkader over the weekend. This is an in-person hearing too, meaning that it is also going to be lengthy at six games or more.

Jared Cowen, though, recently dodged any kind of action from DPS for a blatant elbow which concussed Pavel Datsyuk, and which the league somehow ruled “accidental” and “inadvertent,” which is stretching credulity thinner than the Leafs' current forward depth. Two and a half weeks later, Cowen picked Zemgus Girgensons' head as he came across the blue line, and was subsequently suspended for just two games. So it would appear as though Cowen is developing a bit of a reputation for hitting opponents right on the chin, and yet only one of two recent incidents has risen to the level of league discipline.

It should be said that Shanahan, as the head of the DPS, has faced a lot criticism as anyone in his position would. Some of it has been warranted, some not, and most of it comes from the fans of teams who either had a player hurt or suspended because of one play or another.

The complaint, though, is always the same: “This is justice?”

Over the weekend, the league dropped its longest regular-season suspension since Shanahan took office in giving Thornton 15 nights off for his gutless attack on Brooks Orpik, and there was a decent amount of talk that it should have been longer (from rational people) or shorter (from Bruins fanboys who bring up his first-time offender status, but shockingly didn't feel the same way when first-timer John Scott got seven for taking Loui Eriksson's head off with what could be more reasonably be called a “hockey play that went bad bad”).

There's nothing in the league rules which state “Here's how much a player gets in such-and-such a situation,” each incident is unique and thus its commensurate punishment is subjective. But what is not objective is that suspensions and extremely injurious plays are taking place with greater frequency now.

So how do you make the argument that players are getting anything?

The problem is that there's no real deterrent. Even fighting's staunchest advocates now concede that a player looking to make an illegal check does not live in fear of being beaten up by the knuckle-dragging Scotts and Thorntons still lumbering around the league with dubious intent. Nor does the idea of a hearing from DPS. You serve your three-ish games, you return to the lineup, it's not that big of a deal. Everyone's doing it.

Players should live in fear of suspensions more so than anything else, and they are, for the most part, getting slaps on the wrist. Again, the three long suspensions handed out this year were automatic (a 10-game ban for leaving the bench), an easy call against one of the league's biggest recidivists (a seven-game slam dunk), and a clear violation of The Code that happened well after the whistle (a should-have-been-more 15-gamer to a thug). The system is perhaps always going to be broken, but applying some duct tape to it shouldn't be this hard.

There needs to be a statement of intent. If Shanahan is serious about keeping players safe — and he should be — guys who offend, even for the first time, need to start getting more severe punishment. It's that simple.

You have to remember that when Shanahan first took the job, he came in guns f'n blazing. The first eight suspensions he handed out were all in the preseason, and amounted to 57 games total (7.13 per). That's 28 percent of all the games for which he banned anyone during his first season, on just 14 percent of the suspensions. The message was clear: If you hurt another player, you're eating press box popcorn for a long-ass time.

However, the league and teams promptly freaked out at this kind of thing, and clearly told Shanahan to dial it way, way, way back. The number of suspensions of seven games or more doled out in an eight-day span during that first preseason was five. The number in the two full seasons' worth of games since then? Eight.

Shanahan is walking around talking about how the kinds of thing his department does are helping. They're not. The idea of Sheriff Shanny with the big iron on his hip and an itchy trigger finger has long since vanished, and more people are getting hurt on his watch as a result. Now he's Barney Fife, despite the fact that the Mayberry he sees more closely resembles Tombstone.

He needs to go back to being Wyatt Earp.


What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano spent $1,500 of their own money to take some disadvantaged kids on a Toys R Us shopping spree last week. Great stuff, but next year make sure Perry and Getzlaf get a call about this; they've got deep pockets.

Boston Bruins: Guess the thing Claude Julien is upset about: “[W]hat happened, that’s definitely not something we will accept in our organization.” Did you guess having an enforcer slewfoot and knock an unsuspecting player unconscious? Sorry, that's incorrect; when asked about that incident, Julien said, “The only thing I’m going to say is let’s not just look one way here. There’s a lot of blame to go all around.” The answer we were looking for is “Brad Marchand kissed a pretend Stanley Cup ring.” So remember, all you kids out there, you can concuss anyone you want with a cowardly sneak attack, but if you taunt an opponent you're going to get called to the principal's office. What a wonderful and not at all embarrassing organization.

Buffalo Sabres: Would you rather be the GM for the Flames or Sabres? I suppose C (“None of the above because I've thrown myself screaming from a tall building”) is also an option.

Calgary Flames: Speaking of those two teams, can you imagine anything worse than paying money to watch a Sabres/Flames afternoon game? How about a 2-1 overtime finish in Calgary's favor? How about Buffalo was wearing its thirds? Yeah, that bad.

Carolina Hurricanes: Are the Hurricanes thinking about trading Justin Peters to Edmonton? Maybe they've had conversations, but didn't the Oilers just sign a goalie? Don't they also already have one? Why does this happen?

Chicago Blackhawks: Fascinating conversation between Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane moderated by Craig Custance. Must-read stuff.

Colorado Avalanche: Jan Hejda played his first game back for Colorado after a knee injury on Dec. 5, and got close to 26 minutes, behind only Ryan Suter (32:51!!!!) and Erik Johnson (27:52) in the game. Nice way to return.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets blew a 3-1 first-period lead and lost in overtime to the Blues, which is probably not something you want to do on home ice.

Dallas Stars: Ho hum another four-point game for Tyler Seguin. That's four games this season in which he's gotten four or more. What talent.

Detroit Red Wings: The Wings have lost four in a row and five of six. And with Justin Abdelkader down, things could get worse before they get better.

Edmonton Oilers: You know who Sam Gagner thinks has been awful lately? Sam Gagner. Dallas Eakins agrees.

Florida Panthers: Dylan Olsen is off to a heck of a fast start since he was traded to Florida. Three goals and four assists in his first nine games, after going 0-1-1 in 28 two seasons ago with Chicago.

Los Angeles Kings: Entering last night's tilt at Chicago, the Kings had one regulation loss in their previous 18 games. That's not many at all.

Minnesota Wild: Josh Harding has to logically stop doing this at some point, right? Dude's got a 1.49 goals-against and .939 save percentage in 26 appearances this season.

Montreal Canadiens: This was the only goal in Saturday's Habs/Isles game and boy does it feature some Islanders-level defending.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: These wonderful Preds have won three straight. Oh who have they beaten, you ask? Just the Rangers, Stars, and Sharks. Not a big deal.

New Jersey Devils: Marty Brodeur played like a guy who's not a thousand years old in picking up his 124th career shutout against the Bolts Saturday. It was a 33-save performance, giving him only his 22nd clean sheet of 30 saves or more.

New York Islanders: The above-mentioned Canadiens/Islanders contest featured just one goal, and this thunderous hit on John Tavares by Lars Eller, who got two minutes for contact to the head. Wonder if Shanahan calls him about that. Just kidding, no I don't, because Tavares is a star player:

New York Rangers: Ryan McDonagh is a nice American boy who likes America. What a guy.

Ottawa Senators: The Sens are just awful. They've given up four or more in nine of their last 14 games.

Philadelphia Flyers: Michael Raffl has played very well alongside Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, so don't feel like you need to work that hard to get back up there, Scott Hartnell.

Phoenix Coyotes: Whatever illness is keeping Shane Doan out of the lineup, it sounds really awful.

Pittsburgh Penguins: That injury to Evgeni Malkin looked bad and that whole “trying to put weight on it then collapsing” thing doesn't help matters. Pretty serious for the Penguins if he misses any great amount of time (though whether he will is still not clear). Maybe the Russian Federation also thinks this is a North American conspiracy.

San Jose Sharks: Earlier this week Mike Yeo flipped out and said the Sharks dive all the time, but then he called Todd McLellan to apologize. McLellan says the Sharks have been whistled for one dive or embellishment since 2010, which seems crazy.

St. Louis Blues: Two of St. Louis's four goals on Saturday were scored by Vladimir Tarasenko, who now has 11 for the year, but only three since December started. Gotta pick it up here.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Bolts have now been shut out in six of their 32 games. Not surprisingly, five of them have taken place since Steven Stamkos broke his leg.

Toronto Maple Leafs: How does this happen?

Vancouver Canucks: Nice save Tuukka just kidding.

Washington Capitals: Michal Neuvirth is close to coming back, having won a rehab start in Hershey. He did, however, concede four on 37 shots.

Winnipeg Jets: Finally some honesty out of Winnipeg courtesy of Blake Wheeler (1, 2): “We’ve been blowing smoke for three years, everyone, myself, everyone that’s stood in front of a microphone in the last three years, we’ve said the same [poop]. What do you want me to say? That’s about it. I don’t know what else to say.” This is all Atlanta's fault!


Play of the Weekend

This is a hell of a goal from David Backes. To score like that with a guy hooking you that hard is mighty impressive.


Gold Star Award

Big ups to David Clarkson for getting suspended again. The Leafs are 8-3-0 in games for which he's been banned this season. Big-time leadership.


Minus of the Weekend

Gutted to see 24/7 off to an awful, boring start.


Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User “Price4Prez” is tryin' to juice the offense.

To Montreal:
Malkin

To Pittsburgh:
Subban
Galchenyuk

Great!


Signoff

Here's a bunch of numbers. They may look random but they're my phone number.

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

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Mon, 16 Dec 2013 06:52:01 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,a9b2d787-70b8-3f98-a636-31da1bf8e8f5-l:1
What We Learned: In the East, it’s the Boston Bruins and everyone else http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-east-boston-bruins-everyone-else-144459113--nhl.html 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.

The idea that the Western Conference is so much better than the East as to be laughable is, at this point, well-trodden ground.

Of course it is. Miles better.

We have been constantly reminded over the last week or so that the East-leading Bruins, with their 32 points from 23 games, wouldn't even be a playoff team in the West. That is obviously a mind-boggling statistic, especially given the fact that they've enjoyed the benefit of playing Eastern teams far more often than their Western counterparts — i.e. 18 of their 23 games — but the fact remains that you don't get to pick the conference you're in unless you're the Red Wings.

(And by the way, that's starting to look like a very judicious temper tantrum on Detroit's part; their point total would be 10th in the West, and five points out of eighth.)

But in terms of quality, any reasonable observer would be inclined to agree that the one far-and-away best team in the East is in fact the Bruins.

Unlike the Penguins, who are second in the conference and have flattened out a bit in the last several games, the Bruins' division is actually somewhat difficult to play in, and the myriad problems with Pittsburgh's roster makeup simply don't exist in Boston.

At this point, no one should be all that impressed with the fact that the Bruins only beat the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime on Saturday, but the way in which they did it — holding Carolina without a shot on goal from 9:13 of the first period to 11:56 of the second — was astonishing. This is what they do to the East's weak teams, and have shown an ability to weather whatever storms come their way when actual good teams run across them as well.

They beat the Sharks 2-1, the Ducks 3-2 in a shootout, and most recently edged the Rangers 2-1. These were all games in which they were coming off the first games of back-to-backs and generally pushed around at even strength, but still took six points from some of the league's best possession teams and gave away just one.

The question, one supposes, is simple: “Can that last?”

Statistically, no, it probably can't. Regression comes for us all, as the Maple Leafs have begun to learn in the last few weeks, and you therefore usually can't hope that you're going to win all those games. But the fact of the matter is that the Bruins also don't have to worry about that too much down the stretch. Though they've only played three games against the truly difficult-to-beat Western Conference teams (let's say they're Chicago, San Jose, St. Louis, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Vancouver), the Bruins have gotten points from all three of them, losing only to St. Louis, and that in a shootout.

The thing is, all they have to do is start Tuukka Rask and score twice, and they have an extremely reasonable chance to win any game they play. That Rangers game six days ago was evidence enough of that: They were pounded in terms of possession, and it was one of those games you'd say they didn't “deserve” to win, but Rask being Rask (the best goaltender alive as it stands right now), they barely need to show up to get at least a point.

And maybe you say, too, that much like it's impossible for the Bruins to keep winning games against teams which outshoot them because they don't get off the bus, it's impossible for Rask to keep up his .945 save percentage. Probably it is. But then again — and yes this is about to become a “systems goalie” argument — when have the Bruins ever been anything less than stellar defensively, and consequently in net, since Claude Julien took over? The Bruins have had a goaltender in the top four in the league in save percentage in six of the last seven seasons, with only 2011-12 as the outlier. That season, they were still fifth in the league in goals against, and the team's save percentage came in at “just” .921; if it had counted, Rask's .929 save percentage in 23 games would have been tied for fifth, and Tim Thomas's .920 in 59 was tied for 10th.

The question, then, is how much better than everyone else in the East Rask actually makes the Bruins, and the fact that they have so many games left against the bottom of the barrel — having played only one of five against Buffalo and two of four with Florida and one of three against the islanders, for instance — leads one to believe that there are a great number of points still to be had.

The point is that even if Rask slows down, they still have the benefit of playing the East, and they've already built themselves a nice cushion from which to work. The same can't be said for some of the overachievers out West. That doesn't necessarily always lead to playoff success, but if you had one bet on a team from this awful conference to get to a Cup Final, it appears that Boston is once again the wisest choice.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Tough bounce for the Ducks and Viktor Fasth. The goaltender was just out a month, then injured himself during warmups after just two games back, and now he's out as long as another month. Yikes.

Boston Bruins: Another reason the Bruins are far and away the team to beat in the East is that plays like this go uncalled.

Buffalo Sabres: I still can't believe they actually wore those godawful jerseys.

Calgary Flames: The Flames are apparently shopping 24-year-old center Mikael Backlund, and if you guessed that he's currently fourth on the team in corsi-for, you are a) correct, and b) acutely aware of the way in which Jay Feaster operates. Trade him for Colton Orr.

Carolina Hurricanes: Nice hands on the shortie Patrick Dwyer, awful passing on the power play by Milan Lucic.

Chicago Blackhawks: Starting to look more and more like Corey Crawford is going to be on the Canadian Olympic team. “Good news!” said every team that is not the Canadian one.

Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog is 21 already? Good lord. Seems like just yesterday he should have been the first overall pick.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Say, the Blue Jackets have given up 14 goals in their last three games (the one in which they gave up just one was against Calgary so it barely even counts). That's probably too many. A whopping 11 of those goals have been allowed by Vezina winner and possible Russian Olympic starter Sergei Bobrovsky, on just 77 shots. Bad.

Dallas Stars: The Stars started the season with Alex Goligoski and Sergei Gonchar playing on the same pairing. Things did not go well. Once they were broken up, everything went way better for Goligoski. The lesson here is: Sergei Gonchar is old and bad now.

Detroit Red Wings: Pavel Datsyuk missed yesterday's game with what could be a concussion. That's really awful. The team is understandably taking all necessary precautions.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers have been great lately. Of course, it's also way too late to matter and is therefore counterproductive to getting a good, high pick, but maybe you just want the kids to keep improving under a stable coaching situation for once in their careers. Still, though, imagine them getting David Rundblad?

Florida Panthers: The Panthers exploited market inefficiencies to grab Tom Gilbert, Tim Thomas, and Brad Boyes for next to nothing (also Ryan Whitney, but the less said about that the better). Now they're some of the best players on the team. Damned with faint praise, sure, but still, there was a lot of wiggle room to add quality players with the cap coming down and few teams actually did it.

Los Angeles Kings: “Another loss for Kings' Ben Scrivens.” How many goals do you suppose he gave up in those two losses, which by the way were both in overtime? Yeah, it's three. Total. On 48 shots.

Minnesota Wild: Crazy situation in Winnipeg on Saturday. Niklas Backstrom was supposed to simply backup Josh Harding, as he was coming off a concussion and had practiced just once. Then Harding stepped on a puck in warmups, and Backstrom had to play half the game with no backup at all until Darcy Kuemper could come back from the airport, as he had been sent down. Then Backstrom stopped 37 of 39.

Montreal Canadiens: Wayne Gretzky said that if it were up to him, the reigning Norris winner would be on his country's Olympic team. That we're even having the discussion is asinine.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: More statistical analysis that Seth Jones is Good. I will read every story like this for the rest of his career. I don't care.

New Jersey Devils: Some kinda run the Devs have been on lately, eh? They've won four of their last six, and those losses have come against Los Angeles and San Jose. During that run, they've beaten the Predators (meh), Rangers (good), Penguins (good), Ducks (great), and Kings (great). Four of those were also on the road.

New York Islanders: Now we're getting stories about how guys WISH they could have played outside. Outdoor games are the absolute worst.

New York Rangers: Ryan McDonagh would really like to make the Olympic team, it seems.

Ottawa Senators: Jared Cowen didn't suspended for this. How does that work?

Philadelphia Flyers: Hey Jake Voracek, why don't the Flyers suck any more? “A couple weeks ago, three weeks ago, when we would have been scored on with that second goal and be up 3-2, pardon my language, we would [pooped] the bed. Right now, we were very calm on the bench.” Also, they've played the Oilers, Senators, Penguins, Jets, Senators, Sabres and Islanders, almost all of whom have been hot garbage for most of the season. Which helps.

Phoenix Coyotes: Kissy faces for Shane Doan, who hasn't elbowed anyone in the face yet this season. What a captain. Plays the right way.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Oh c'mon, Malkin. You only beat four of the five Habs on the ice to set up this goal. Get it together.

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks have allowed 12 goals in the first period this season. They've scored 32. Well then.

St. Louis Blues: This is still the best start in Blues history. They have three regulation losses. And they're still only tied for third in the West. That's absolutely amazing.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Ben Bishop might end up being on the U.S. Olympic team, which is a thing I never thought I would type in my entire life. A fun fact is that he and two other hopefuls — Cory Schneider and Jon Quick — were all in the same college hockey conference at the same time in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Which wasn't all that fair for everyone else, as you'd imagine.

Toronto Maple Leafs: James Reimer has to, at some point, stop playing so insanely well, right?

Vancouver Canucks: Usually it's a good idea not to only score one goal against the Blackhawks and hope you can hang on for a win.

Washington Capitals: The hockey world is still trying to get Mikhail Grabovski to feel bad about calling Randy Carlyle an idiot that time, no matter how right he was. Stay strong, kid.

Winnipeg Jets: Jacob Trouba will probably be back in the Jets lineup tonight, after missing more than a month of what had previously been a phenomenal start to his rookie season.

Play of the Weekend

Here's Notre Dame defenseman and Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns hitting UMass Lowell forward Joe Pendenza so hard on Friday night they both almost go out of frame. This was maybe the biggest clean hit I have ever seen live. It was insane.

Gold Star Award

Seriously, though, James Reimer. He stopped 49 of 50 shots in a game the Leafs should have lost going away.

Minus of the Weekend

Andrew MacDonald was on the ice for all five Philadelphia goals on Saturday, which you generally don't want to have happen to you.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User “hambl” gets it.

Dallas
Eakin
Daley
2nd

Philadelphia
Schenn x 2

Unless it's two Brayden Schenns, probably not. And even then, really.

Signoff

Dad, I need you to drop everything and shave my legs.

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

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Mon, 25 Nov 2013 06:44:59 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,afa50911-cc2d-3981-860d-b280d682bb7e-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Leafs’ Reimer rules vs. Capitals http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-leafs-reimer-rules-vs-capitals-064538920--nhl.html No. 1 Star: James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs goalie made 49 saves and a few more in the shootout, as Toronto bested the Washington Capitals, 2-1. David Clarkson and Alex Ovechkin had the goals.

No. 2 Star: David Krejci, Boston Bruins

Set up by Jarome Iginla on a rush into the zone, Krejci had to make a nifty move to beat Cam Ward and give the Boston Bruins the 3-2 win in overtime.

No. 3 Star: Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild played without a backup goalie, as expected starter Josh Harding was injured in warmups. But Backstrom made 37 saves and Charlie Coyle won it in the shootout against the Winnipeg Jets for the 3-2 win.

Honorable mention: Cam Talbot made 17 saves for the shutout and Mats Zuccarello set up goals by Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan as the New York Rangers topped the Nashville Predators, 2-0. … Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov didn’t face the shot volume of his counterpart Ben Scrivens, but his 19 saves were good enough for the shutout as Colorado won in OT, 1-0. Jamie McGinn was credited with the goal, which went off of a sliding Jarret Stoll. … Max Pacioretty and James Neal both had two goals, but it was Tomas Plekanec’s goal that helped push the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. … Clarke MacArthur scored two goals and Robin Lehner made 37 saves in the Ottawa Senators’ 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. … Matt Read scored two goals as the Philadelphia Flyers continued their turnaround, 5-2 over the New York Islanders. Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist, while Steve Mason made 36 saves. … The Blues’ top line generated two goals in their 6-1 rout of the Dallas Stars. David Backes scored his 10th. … Dustin Penner scored two goals and Jonas Hiller made 42 saves in the Anaheim Ducks’ 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Shane Doan scored goal No. 11. … The Chicago Blackhawks got goals from Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger nine seconds apart in defeating the Vancouver Canucks, 2-1. … Scott Hannan and Tyler Kennedy had first-period goals, while Antti Niemi made them stand up with 18 saves in the San Jose Sharks’ 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Did You Know? Brendan Morrow, who played 13 seasons with Dallas, picked up an assist for the Blues. He now has a point against all 30 teams. …

Dishonorable mention: Nashville lost forward Patric Hornqvist in the first period with an upper-body injury. … Jamie Benn and Sergei Gonchar were minus-3. … Kari Lehtonen was pulled after giving up five goals for Dallas. …The Ducks lost Bryan Allen to injury, while Phoenix lost Martin Hanzal in the first to a lower-body injury. … Pavel Datsyuk will miss Sunday’s Detroit game with an injury he appeared to suffer on a Jared Cowen head shot.

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Sat, 23 Nov 2013 22:45:38 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c08235da-4904-3a73-bdef-648c2dd58774-l:1
The 13 most pleasant surprises in the NHL this season http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/13-most-pleasant-surprises-nhl-season-174641073--nhl.html As we pass the quarter point of the 2013-14 NHL season, there have been some pleasant surprises along the way.

(There have also been some crushing disappointments, but that’s tomorrow’s post.)

Here are 13 most pleasant surprise players, teams, decisions and trends in the NHL this season:

St. Louis Blues’ Top Line

Alexander Steen is getting all the accolades, and rightfully so given his astounding 17 goals in 20 games (with a 23.3 shooting percentage). But the Blues’ entire top line of Steen, David Backes (8 goals, 12 assists) and T.J. Oshie (3 goals, 15 assists) has been their offensive engine, scoring goals in 14 of the Blues’ first 20 games.

And yet no widely known nickname. How is this not the S.O.B. Line, again?

Josh Harding

As we wrote earlier this month, Harding’s roll for the Minnesota Wild has been one of the most inspiring stories of the NHL season, as the goalie went from a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis last season to an incredible 13-3-2 start with a 1.48 GAA and a .939 save percentage. Best of all: 19 appearances, without so much as a whisper about his health.

The Penguins Defense

After last season’s playoff disappointment, the Pittsburgh Penguins brought on Jacques Martin as an assistant coach, and his impact on the team’s defense has been instantaneous. The Pens are sixth in the NHL at 2.18 GA/G, with great organization on the defensive end, solid puck possession and smart passes out of their own zone.

Marc-Andre Fleury has a GAA of 1.90, people. That says it all.

Goaltending Surprises

Besides Harding and Fleury, others goalies have opened some eyes this season. Ben Bishop (2.29 GAA) has back-stopped the Tampa Bay Lightning to the top of the Atlantic Division, and put his name in U.S. Olympic roster contention.

Ben Scrivens sparked “Scrivensmania” for the Los Angeles Kings, going 5-1-1 with a 1.35 GAA overall and winning four starts after Jonathan Quick was injured.

Jonathan Bernier, who backed up Quick last season, has been stellar for the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 2.05 GAA and a .939 save percentage.

[It's not too late to play fantasy hockey on Yahoo Sports!]

More stunners? How about Steve Mason of the Philadelphia Flyers, who somehow has a 2.12 GAA and a .932 save percentage despite that team’s putrid start?

Oh, and after Martin Brodeur handed his crease over to Cory Schneider, he took it back with a 7-3-2 record and a 2.06 GAA. Wait, an incumbent start goalie retaking his job after Cory Schneider couldn’t keep it? What sort of sorcery is this?!

Tyler Seguin Is Born

One hoped that a change in scenery and a prominent role on the Dallas Stars’ top line would reignite Tyler Seguin’s young career. No one could have anticipated 23 points in 20 games, a 21.8 shooting percentage and a renewed focus that he seemed to lack with the Boston Bruins.

The EGG Line

The young trio of Lars Eller, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk has combined for 43 points, and has been the team’s top offensive weapon not named P.K. Subban for most of the season. They hate the name “EGG Line.” Oh well … different yolks for different folks.

Patrick Roy’s Avalanche

From his insane glass-shaking debut again Bruce Boudreau through the 20-game mark, Patrick Roy’s Colorado Avalanche have been anything but unremarkable. Matt Duchene’s 12 goals were a surprise. The goaltending of Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere has been a surprise. Jan Hejda’s plus-14 was a surprise.

Their 15-5-0 record is an amazing accomplishment for a team that many had outside the postseason picture. And a team whose coach is nuttier than a bag of cashews.

The Olympic Roster Party Crashers

The Olympics can be a hell of a motivator for some players. Jamie Benn was left out of Team Canada camp; he responded with 23 points in 20 games. Jason Pominville was left of the U.S. camp roster; he has 13 goals in 23 games. Ryan Getzlaf (25 points in 21 games) is making an Olympic statement. Patrick Marleau (10 goals) is stating his case. And did anyone expect Tim Thomas (2.76 GAA with the Florida Panthers) to play his way back into the Olympic conversation for the U.S.?

The Freshmen Stars

Tomas Hertl had, perhaps, the greatest debut for a rookie in recent memory with his controversial 4-goal performance. Since then, he’s scored 12 goals overall for the San Jose Sharks, with 18 points in 21 games to lead all rookie scorers.

But it’s the blue line that’s really been impressive for the rookie class. Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins has 12 points in 21 games, six of them on the power play. Hampus Lindholm has been an outstanding defensive stopper for the Anaheim Ducks. Seth Jones, meanwhile, has been the total package for the Nashville Predators in playing a rookies-best 23:59 per game. He’s also on the Olympic radar, which obviously helps when your GM is also the U.S. GM.

Pat LaFontaine Lands In Buffalo

While the pleasant surprise for many was when the Buffalo Sabres finally cut the cord on Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston, the real pleasant development was when they brought back fan favorite LaFontaine as the franchise’s first director of hockey operations. He brought on Ted Nolan as interim head coach in another crowd-pleasing move. Blissful nostalgia is a hell of a narcotic and Sabres fans are high on the new regime so far.

Frans Nielsen

The New York Islanders forward is one of the most under-appreciated players in the NHL. By all accounts, dude should have a Selke by now. So maybe he realized the best way to get the voters’ attention is to have the offensive numbers to go with the defensive prowess, so Nielsen has 22 points in 22 games as the Islanders’ second-line center. The Great Dane has been just that.

Phoenix Coyotes, Scoring Machine

Who would have figured the Coyotes for an offensive juggernaut? Phoenix is fourth in the NHL in scoring at 3.29 goals per game, as Shane Doan (10 goals) and Martin Hanzal (18 points in 18 games) lead the way. This is a good thing, considering the Coyotes are an uncharacteristic 24th in team defense at the moment.

Jaromir Jagr

Signed as a desperation move after Ilya Kovalchuk bolted for the KHL, the 41-year-old Jagr leads the New Jersey Devils with 17 points(!) in 21 games, including eight goals. He’s one goal behind Mario Lemieux on the all-time list, and just 11 more away from hitting 700 for his career.

- - - - - - -

Greg Wyshynski is the editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Thu, 21 Nov 2013 09:46:41 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,2efbeba9-1045-3aed-b818-6c6b343c9557-l:1
The Vent: Sidney Crosby overkill; solving the NHL’s shootout problem http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/vent-sidney-crosby-overkill-solving-nhl-shootout-problem-160955911--nhl.html The Vent is a column that hands the mic on Puck Daddy over to hockey fans to rant, rave and react to everything in the game. If you have a pitch for an editorial, or have one written, and want it featured on Sunday, email puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com with the subject “The Vent.”

Writer Michael Traeger lives in Pittsburgh and is a staff writer for the Pittsburgh media website Benstonium.com. You can also follow and argue with him on Twitter @PolemicLicense. Here’s his piece called …

The Media, the NHL, and Soap: the Over-Selling of Sidney Crosby

“Crosby. Sid the Kid. Golden Boy. Cindy Crysby.

“Love him or hate him, you know who Sidney Crosby is. You know he plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and you know that he wears #87.

“You know that Crosby is good at playing hockey. You know that Crosby hoisted the Stanley Cup, and you know that Crosby scored the overtime goal that won gold for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics.

“You know this, because the NHL wants you to know this.

“To the casual viewer, hockey is nothing more than ‘Fight Club’ on ice, and at times, it's an apt comparison. So be it: if the NHL is ‘Fight Club,’ then the First Rule of the NHL is ‘You talk about Sidney Crosby.’

“Of course, this means that the Second Rule of the NHL is also ‘You talk about Sidney Crosby.’ And so the NHL promotes Crosby on the NHL.com website, features #87 in commercials for televised games, and has its television partner, NBC Sports, run an endless loop of segments where broadcast analysts praise His almighty play.

“In short: Sidney Crosby is the all-singing, all-dancing hockey star of the world.

“As in “Fight Club,” the NHL’s marketing strategy of ‘Crosby, Crosby…and Crosby’ seems as contradictory as the members of ‘Project Mayhem’ having to recruit without being allowed to talk about Fight Club: how is the league supposed to ‘grow the game’ and increase NHL brand if they insist on talking about only one player?

“The answer to this question is complex, and goes far beyond the ice rink. First and foremost, the never-ending cascade of Sidney Crosby propaganda is not aimed at YOU. YOU are already a fan of the sport, and you already seek out articles, videos, and opinions on the game you love.

“YOU already have an existing rooting interest, complete with your own personal list of players and teams you like. You don’t need to be told that, for instance, the Chicago Blackhawks play in the Western Conference, and you already know that the Winnipeg Jets used to be the Atlanta Thrashers, thank-you-very-much.

“YOU already know the story of Sidney Crosby, and YOU may very well hate his guts.

“The coveted ‘casual viewer,’ however, may not know these things. The NHL front office sees Sidney Crosby the same way the NBA saw Michael Jordan in the 1980’s, and has patterned its marketing strategy accordingly: they see Crosby as a transcendent player who, for whatever reasons, always seems to find a way to be in the spotlight.

“Ever since the Penguins won the right to draft Crosby in a manner only David Stern and the NBA could appreciate, Crosby has played on the biggest stages that hockey has to offer­- the Stanley Cup Finals (twice) and the Olympics- and did so with success. This mainstream attention only added to Crosby’s popularity and marketability.

“Crosby’s media rise bears few parallels to that of his old landlord, Pittsburgh great Mario Lemieux. Lemieux was a reluctant superstar in his early years, struggling with both the English language and the pressures of print and television exposure.

“Lemieux became the face of the NHL upon his 2000 comeback in part because Lemieux (by then the owner of the Penguins) possessed a newfound understanding of the BUSINESS side of hockey.

“Lemieux embracing the league’s spotlight late in his career had little to do with ego, and everything to do with recognizing the important role he played in marketing the NHL and the game.

“Conversely, ever since his teens, Crosby has been trained to handle the media onslaught, and accepts his role in the bigger league picture. Even when he was not playing on the ice (as was the case during his lengthy bouts with head and neck injuries), Crosby still dominated the spotlight and conversation as the vocal face of the concussion movement in professional sports.

“That constant attention and constant exposure gives Crosby a high ‘Q Score.’ In marketing, a Q Score is a metric that evaluates a person’s name familiarity, and his or her relative appeal. Successful cross-marketing and high Q scores are why a random American on the street can correctly identify Shaquille O’Neill, Peyton Manning, and Tiger Woods with the sports they play regardless of whether or not they pay attention (or care) about the athletes themselves.

“Put simply, people who know nothing about hockey have still heard of Sidney Crosby. Hockey fans all laughed and snickered when a College Jeopardy contestant identified the 2011-2012 scoring champion nicknamed 'Geno' as 'Sidney Crosby,' but that example is a perfect microcosm of NHL exposure to non-fans.

“Evgeni Malkin was the reigning NHL MVP, had led the league in scoring, and even boasted a Conn Smythe playoff MVP trophy to his name…and yet nobody knew who he was.

“Can you imagine an ESPN-fueled world where SportsCenter didn’t cram the names of the NBA MVP candidates down everyone’s throats?

“Can you blame ESPN when the one major sport they don’t have a broadcast rights with- the NHL- has nightly highlights, and SportsCenter’s producer has to decide how to pay lip service to the one sport ESPN actively does not want to promote while simultaneously keeping their viewers informed, engaged, and not changing the channel?

“The producer’s decision-making process goes something like this: ‘Do I show an extended highlight package where Shane Doan scores a hat trick and the Phoenix Coyotes win 5-2, or do I show Crosby with a goal and an assist and a Penguins win?’

“Of course the ESPN producer pulls the Crosby clip, because the casual viewer doesn’t know who Shane Doan is, and the casual viewer finds it impossible to believe that Phoenix, Arizona has a professional hockey team.

“As such, after eight years, the Crosby Media Effect has become cyclical and self-perpetuating, and at this point, the NHL and NBC have aligned their fortunes with that of the Pittsburgh center, despite the fact that the NHL isn’t lacking for other viable superstars.

“The league has tried to promote Alexander Ovechkin as something akin to the ‘Anti-Crosby’ (complete with his face that only Mother Russia could love), and tried to build on the success of Ryan Miller’s 2010 Olympic campaign.

“Still, the league’s advertising tactics leaves many unanswered questions: given his success, why is there no avalanche of NHL promotions involving Jonathan Toews? Toews has more Stanley Cups than Crosby (2) and also won gold with Canada in 2010. While he lacks the personal hardware Crosby has amassed, any student of the game would readily acknowledge Toews' place within the pantheon of current game greats. And if not Toews, why not Americans Jonathan Quick,= or Patrick Kane?

“Admittedly, the issue with promoting and marketing some NHL stars comes down to language barriers and broad international appeal. Fair or not, American companies tend to want to market American players. Not speaking fluent English naturally makes promoting products in English difficult: for as endearing as Evgeni Malkin and his malapropisms are to fans (‘I'm score’ comes to mind), for advertisers, it’s a red flag.

“So why doesn’t the NHL just create multi-player advertisements instead of choosing ONE player (Sidney Crosby)?

“Beyond the headache of trying to align multiple players and their different availability to fit a shooting and reshoot schedule, most NHL superstars have a series of personal endorsement deals that easily conflict with those of other players, thus preventing them from ever appearing on camera together.

“The logistics and costs also tend to grow exponentially as more and more players and components are included in the advertising and commercial process. The more players that are added to a shoot, the longer and more complex shooting schedules become, and the more time design teams must spend in editing and cleanup.

“Finally, Sidney Crosby also has TV ratings working on his side: the Pittsburgh Penguins have racked up the highest regional sports ratings of any team in the country, and have more raw viewers than much larger markets such as New York and Philadelphia.

“Record TV ratings + high Q Score is a simplistic rational to give when assessing Crosby’s appeal to the NHL advertising brass, and an unsatisfying answer to fans that would like to see other just-as-worthy players receive national media attention.

“In the end, however, the sum value of Sidney Crosby to the NHL, and the reason why the NHL chooses to singularly promote Crosby, is not his stats or his freaking khakis, but the fact that everyone- whether they love him or despise him- knows #87, and they know #87’s name is Sidney Crosby.

“…and maybe, just maybe, Gary Bettman’s power animal is a Penguin too.”

I don’t think it’s a sin to market Crosby, and I also think the NHL has done a great job developing teams that fans make time to watch rather than marketing stars. But I know for some, any Sid is too much Sid.

• • •

Reader Dennis Gray has a suggestion for overtime:

“I have a really simple suggestion to improve the shootout: add some more skaters. This has been a personal pet idea of mine for a couple years now.

"Instead of three rounds, one skaters vs. the goalie, make it three rounds, two attackers against a defenseman and the goalie.

"You're still going to get a winner in pretty much the same amount of time, but this adds elements that are supposed to decide a hockey game (like defense, timing, chemistry, strategy, etc.) to the former offensive skills show.

“I would suggest starting both teams at their respective blue lines, use all the same rules the shootout currently has regarding forward progress with the stipulation that passes can be backwards. The people who deride the shootout as a skills competition are still going to be unhappy, but I personally think this addresses the legitimate concern that hockey games are being decided by something that looks nothing like hockey.

"This doesn't solve all the problems with overtime, it'll be forever broken until the point system is fixed so every game is worth the same amount of points (the 3-2-1 system or simply 2 points for a win, none for any kind of loss, I frankly don't give a damn which), but this is a suggestion to fix the shootout, at least.

“Also, can we imagine for a moment a game in the balance with Pittsburgh against, say, my Boston Bruins? Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on a 2-on-1 rush trying to beat Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask for the win? How is that not fantastic?

It’s a premise your humble editor as long argued for: That one of the inherent flaws in the shootout is that it has no semblance of the team competition that preceded it. What say you to this suggestion?

• • •

Reader Travis Culham wants to see more accountability from teams and coaches when it comes to supplemental discipline:

“From what I've gathered in the past year and a half, the NHL is attempting to clean up its image, specifically hits to the head.

“As we've by now learned, if a 220-pound man drives his elbow into your head, you are likely to end up with a concussion, and that could be a bad thing. The Department of Player Safety has begun to take steps to reduce the amount of hits that cause potentially serious injuries.

"The concept of not hitting a player in a vulnerable position, while seemingly obvious, is brilliant. If it is enforced, you should see more shoves and pushes instead of steam rolling over players who are in the 'danger zone', which by the way, is taught to the youngest of the young in minor hockey here in Ontario. Three feet away from the boards is where you never want to be, I learned that around the time I was ten. Why a 25 year old being paid millions of dollars can't wrap his head around that idea I will never know. I digress.

“The real issue that I feel is hindering the elimination of these events in the game are the coaches, general managers and owners. For example, let's take a look at Ray Emery.

“In full disclosure, I myself have suffered from concussions, though I doubt not nearly to the extend that an NHL player does. I am also a Flyer's fan and have been since 2007. However, I was flat out appalled by Emery's actions in pummeling the back of Brayden Holtby's skull. He acted aggressively, and very well likely could have injured another human being. Following the game, both Ed Snider and Paul 'I Can't Believe I'm Not Fired Yet' Holmgren defended Emery and his actions stating that they didn't see anything wrong with the way they acted.

“Just the other night, the star child of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nazem Kadri, took a run at Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, who had to leave the game after the collision. Now either Kadri is a huge Josh Harding fan, or he took a run at another NHL player attempting to 'rattle' him.

"Guess what Kadri? You injured him. As I saw on TSN the next day, Randy Carlyle took to defending his player following the game. He didn't see anything wrong with Kadri pretending to be a more skilled John Scott and trying to hurt both Backstrom and later in the game Mikael Granlund. Carlyle actually said he didn't believe it was deserving of a match penalty for the Granlund.

"Sorry Carlyle, if you're player takes away from the physicality of the game that makes it as great as it is by stepping over the line and making contact with the head, yeah, yeah he does deserve the penalty.

“There will never be any significant change in the league until one day it becomes the consensus view across the NHL that it is OK for a owner, coach or general manager or player to acknowledge their own player was in the wrong. The focus should be on the fact that your own player crossed the line, took a penalty and put your team in a situation where they had to kill a penalty or play the remainder of the game with one less player on the bench.

"A team should absolutely defend their teammates, and support them through all disciplinary actions, but at the same time, at some point someone is going to have to say that, ‘Yes he did that. Yes it was wrong. He got the suspension because he played outside the rules of the game and attempted to hurt a fellow NHLPA member. I can't wait until he comes back because we miss him on the ice.’

“There should not be anything wrong with that, but yet for now, it's taboo among the NHL's players and management.

“Until then, we're going to continue to see Marc Savard-like situations, and no one wants anymore of those.”

All for tougher penalties against the men who hire and play injurious players.

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Sun, 17 Nov 2013 08:09:55 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,35ff96fc-25dd-3687-8e11-5a44379a6f7a-l:1
Hockey Hall of Fame: Which active players are in, which are on bubble? http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/hockey-hall-fame-active-players-bubble-170558295--nhl.html The Hockey Hall of Fame inductions this week have us thinking about the current players in the NHL and their chances at immortality.

For me, there are four stone-cold locks for the Hall of Fame currently playing in the NHL: Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, Chris Pronger and Martin Brodeur. First ballot, no questions ask, start planning your sojourns to Toronto to celebrate them.

I’d put Joe Thornton on that list, too, as he’s going to end up with over 1,000 assists in his career, which puts him in Joe Sakic territory. But I’ve read a lot of people who think his lack of a Cup should be a factor in his candidacy, to whom I’d ask if they’re familiar with Adam Oates and his recent new piece of hand jewelry from the Hall?

But what about the rest of the veteran players that are inching toward the finish line? Who’s a Hall of Famer, who is on the bubble, and who is out?

Inspired by our Marek Vs. Wyshynski discussion this week, a look at the potential candidates in coming years:

FORWARDS

Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings

Age: 40

Current Credentials: Fourth in active points with 1,121, fifth in active goals with 429, won the Calder Trophy and Olympic gold with Sweden.

The Bubble Verdict: Hall of Famer. He’s got the numbers, he’s at least played for a Cup (if that’s your standard) and no doubt has the respect of the men who will be guarding the gate at the Hall. Maybe not first ballot, but certainly in.

Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins

Age: 36

Current Credentials: Fifth in active points with 1,117; third in active goals with 534; owns two gold medals for Canada.

The Bubble Verdict: Hall of Famer. While 500 goals isn’t automatic, Iggy is inching closer to Top 20 all-time in the NHL. He’s seen as an ambassador of the game, and again, at least played for a Stanley Cup.

Ray Whitney, Dallas Stars

Age: 41

Current Credentials: Sixth in active points with 1,040; fifth in active assists with 663; Stanley Cup winner with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Bubble Verdict: Outside The Hall. Has the numbers, has a Cup, but lacks both an NHL Award and an Olympic appearance. His longevity is impressive, no doubt, but he lacks a certain star quality you expect from an immortal. Could be the next Dave Andreychuk as far as the numbers being there but the impact falling short.

Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

Age: 34

Current Credentials: Seventh in active points with 949; fourth in active goals with 442; multiple Stanley Cup winner and multiple NHL all-star.

The Bubble Verdict: Hall of Famer. He’s got plenty in the tank left and will crack 500 goals. He’s a star player with multiple Cups and without question one of the most lethal goal-scorers of his era.

Patrick Elias, New Jersey Devils

Age: 37

Current Credentials: Eighth in active points with 937; 10th in active goals with 378; multiple Stanley Cup winner.

The Bubble Verdict: Bubble. There may be some that see Elias’ consistency and professionalism and excuse his numbers, which would have likely been higher in another less-constrictive system. But in the end, I think he falls into that “great, not immortal” category, even if he gets to 1,000 points.

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Age: 37

Current Credentials: Ninth in active points with 928; 13th in active goals with 347; Stanley Cup winner and multiple award winner.

The Bubble Verdict: Bubble. St. Louis has some impressive hardware – the Stanley Cup, the 2003-04 Hart Trophy, two Art Rosses – and one expects he’s going to crack 1,000 points. He’s one of the most dynamic offensive players of the last 15 years, and the way he plays the game – with tenacity, but with a Lady Byng sportsmanship – should earn him respect in the voting room. He’s very, very close as an MVP winner.

Vincent Lecavalier, Philadelphia Flyers

Age: 33

Current Credentials: Tenth in active points with 882; seventh in active goals with 389; Stanley Cup winner and Rocket Richard winner.

The Bubble Verdict: Out Of The Hall. From 2002-2008, a Hall of Fame player. In the years surrounding it, a very good player with star qualities whose offensive output never really matched his pedigree. He’s become a well-rounded veteran in his later years, and one assumes he’ll still crack 1,000 points. But for a guy that seemed on track for 500 goals, one also assumes he’s not getting there, and that was a magic number for his candidacy.

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks

Age: 34

Current Credentials: Eleventh in active points with 877; sixth in active goals with 412; won Olympic gold.

The Bubble Verdict: Out Of The Hall. His goal scoring numbers are really impressive, and there’s no reason to think he won’t break 500. But Marleau lacks star quality. He also currently lacks a Stanley Cup, and the notion he’s not a clutch postseason player is hard to shake. From a numbers and impact perspective, might be a Peter Bondra for his generation.

Brad Richards , New York Rangers

Age: 33

Current Credentials: Twelfth in active points with 831; ninth in active assists with 569; Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winner.

The Bubble Verdict: Bubble. This season shows that Richards still has plenty left offensively, so there’s no telling where those numbers will end up on the career rankings. If he plays another seven seasons and gets to 700 assists, he might be a Hall of Famer. Unless the Hall of Fame sees him as Bernie Nicholls.

Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

Age: 37

Current Credentials: Thirteenth in active points with 827; fifteenth in active goals with 339.

The Bubble Verdict: Bubble. Two words: Bernie Federko. Doan’s consistency and commitment as a player is going to be attractive to the Hall of Famer selection committee. The numbers aren’t going to be there; it would be an intangibles thing for Doan. Things could get interesting if he ever won a Cup, but that window is closing.

Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers

Age: 37

Current Credentials: Fourteenth in active points with 823; ninth in goals with 379; Olympic gold.

The Bubble Verdict: Out Of The Hall. The Captain Canada stuff aside, Smyth was one of the NHL’s top forwards for only a three-year stretch. Good but not a great player; but his number will hang in Edmonton, right?

Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Age: 33

Current Credentials: Fifteenth in active points with 812; Hart and Art Ross winner; Olympic gold medal winner.

Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Age: 33

Current Credentials: Nineteenth in active points with 775; Art Ross winner; Olympic gold medal winner.

The Bubble Verdict: What do you do with the Sedins? I hesitated to put them on the list, because I think they're still very much in their prime. But let's have it out: Can Henrik get in without Daniel? Do they both go in as a package on the same plaque, given their unique relationship? If pressed, I'd say Henrik's in and Daniel's on the bubble, but my druthers is that they both get in on the same plaque.

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

Age: 35

Current Credentials: Seventeenth in active points with 785; two-time Stanley Cup winner; three-time Selke winner.

The Bubble Verdict: Hall of Famer. He's going to have strong but not spectacular numbers, and some significant hardware. But ask yourself: Can the Hockey Hall of Fame honestly keep out one of the single most talented athletes we've seen in the last 20 years because he doesn't have 1,000 points? He's one of the best two-way players in NHL history. He's in.

Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

Age: 33

Current Credentials: Twenty-sixth in active points with 692. Stanley Cup winner, Conn Smythe winner, Olympic gold medalist.

The Bubble Verdict: Bubble. He'll have sold offensive numbers, but the case to be made for Zetterberg is in intangibles and being a complete player. I think he falls short of Datsyuk's credentials, and therefore short of the Hall.

DEFENSEMEN

Sergei Gonchar, Dallas Stars

Age: 37

Current Credentials: First is active points for defensemen with 777; first in active goal for defensemen with 217; Stanley Cup winner.

The Bubble Verdict: Hall of Famer. He’ll have more points than Borje Salming and Rob Blake by the end of his career, pushing well into the Top 20 of all-time. Never won the Norris, which hurts, but then again Nicklas Lidstrom happened during his era. Don’t forget his international career, which was perhaps even better than his NHL one.

Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers

Age: 38

Current Credentials: Third in active defenseman points with 537.

The Bubble Verdict: Out Of The Hall. Deserves mention for his point total and longevity and consistency, but was never a star and was eclipsed by his peers.

Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks

Age: 37

Current Credentials: Fourth in active points by a defenseman with 531; Stanley Cup and gold medal winner.

The Bubble Verdict: Bubble. One of the best defensemen of his generation and a great rags-to-riches story, too. His points per game is outstanding; but did he make enough of an impact?

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Age: 36

Current Credentials: Sixth in active points by a defenseman with 484; Stanley Cup and Norris Trophy winner.

The Bubble Verdict: Hall of Famer. It’s hard to ignore a 6-foot-9 player regardless of this career accomplishments, of which there have been many. He'll be seen as one of the most dominating players of his generation, and a unique athlete in NHL history.

GOALIES

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Age: 34

Current Credentials: Second in active career victories with 357; Jennings winner; Olympic goal medalist.

The Bubble Verdict: Bubble. He’s going to crack 400 wins, even if he’s had the benefit of the shootout to get there. He’s other career numbers are going to be respectable. But it’s a different world for Hall of Fame goalies, as Curtis Joseph and Mike Vernon are discovering. So he’s on the bubble.

Evgeni Nabokov, New York Islanders

Age: 38

Current Credentials: His 340 wins are third in the NHL for active goalies.

The Bubble Verdict: Out Of The Hall. Again, not his fault he played in an era with other dominant goaltenders but he also never won an award or played for a Cup.

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Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:05:58 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,b388f1fb-ad6c-3f10-9651-e228b3d91141-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Lightning finally win again in Detroit; Doan’s heroics vs. Caps http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-lightning-finally-win-again-detroit-072502848--nhl.html

No. 1 Star: Teddy Purcell, Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning forward snapped a shot past Jimmy Howard at 3:51 of overtime, taking advantage of a Kyle Quincey mistake that turned into a Richard Panik to the slot. The Lightning won, 3-2, their first win at the Joe since Jan. 1994(!) and in Steve Yzerman’s return to Detroit.

No. 2 Star: Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

Doan scored two power-play goals, including the game-tying tally at 18:14 of the third, as the Phoenix Coyotes rallied for a 4-3 shootout win over the Washington Capitals. Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker had the shootout tallies.

No. 3 Star: Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings

The Kings forward had two goals and an assist to lead the Kings to a 5-1 rout of the Vancouver Canucks. Those were his first two goals of the season. Mike Richards had a goal and two assists in the win.

Honorable mention: The Ottawa Senators got a key power-play goal from Clarke MacArthur in the second to key a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers in coach Peter Horachek’s debut. … Claude Giroux finally scored a goal and Steve Mason made 24 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers topped the Edmonton Oilers, 4-2. … Patrice Bergeron scored two goals and the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-1, in that team’s first visit to Beantown since their playoff meltdown last spring. … Ryan Johansen and Brandon Dubinsky each had a goal and two assists as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the New York Islanders, 5-2. … Ryan Reaves and Kevin Shattenkirk provided the offense, and Jaroslav Halak made 19 saves in the St. Louis Blues’ 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. … The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Dallas Stars, 5-2, as Marian Hossa netted two goals and Patrick Sharp had four assists. … The Minnesota Wild scored three shootout goals against Justin Peters to top the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, including this nasty move from Zach Parise:

Did You Know? Linden Vey scored his first NHL point for the Kings. And wouldn’t you know it, 10,000 people on Twitter made the same “Oy Vey” joke.

Dishonorable mention: Roberto Luongo was pulled after giving up four goals on 18 shots. … Alex Edler was a minus-3. … Taylor Fedun was a minus-3. … The officials blew a match penalty called on the Oilers’ Anton Belov, who hit Giroux’s shoulder and not his head. … Thomas Vanek left the Islanders’ loss with an upper body injury, and Adam McQuaid was injured for the Bruins.

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Sat, 09 Nov 2013 23:25:02 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c9aae88c-037f-3517-8325-e97d9da22f78-l:1
Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Ray Emery reactions, media homerism and empty NHL seats http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-daddy-power-rankings-ray-emery-reactions-media-160711091--nhl.html [Author's note: Every sports website on earth dedicated to covering just one league publishes a weekly power ranking, and we here at Puck Daddy have finally decided to do the same. However, the problem with power rankings in general is that they 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.]

8. Gross Under-reaction

The NHL not doing anything in the wake of the Ray Emery suspension tells you a whole lot about how abhorrent, really, it found the whole thing.

Brendan Shanahan can say all he wants that he wanted to puke forever at watching dumb and awful goaltender Ray Emery maul Braden Holtby, but he had nothing in the rules that allowed him to drop supplementary discipline of any kind on Emery's empty head.

Gary Bettman, on the other hand, has the ability to do almost anything he wants and could have rained molten diarrhea on Emery and the Philadelphia Flyers if he really wanted to. He didn't. Which says everything you need to know about how the league really views this.

In much the same way that seeing some poorly-armed prisoners try to fight bears shipped in from the German frontier was popular among the Roman citizenry, the goon squad that buys tickets to Flyers games (and gets accredited by their media relations staff) went absolutely ballistic for it. Bravo, Ray Emery, you gave this team fire that the preceding two fights couldn't, and all you had to do was make a pathetic spectacle of yourself. That's all that really mattered. Fan engagement.

The only thing the league found disgusting about it, really, was how much conversation was generated about how it had to do something. “Do something, you say?”

7. Gross Overreaction

So now the league is Doing Something. Well, it's going to make a show of Doing Something, at the very least. It's probably not going to actually get to the real Doing Something of it. “If the GMs don't like it,” and so on.

Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press took time out from his busy schedule of ripping Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien while staunchly defending the worst starting goaltender in the league from all criticism to report that the league is now going to consider a 10-game ban for all goalies who leave their defensive zones.

It seems like a pretty hefty deterrent, but there's a reason for that. It's because they think it's not going to happen anyway. It's like how parents threaten to sell their kids to the circus if they don't finish their peas: the threat of gross overreaction to an almost non-existent problem that they'll never have to follow through on.

Oh yeah, they're being tough on crime, for sure. So that the extraordinarily occasional goalie fight doesn't happen.

“Other fights? That's part of the game. Goalie fights, though, are simply a bridge too far. Unconscionable. We've gotta come down hard on the two goalies a year who actually leave their zones to start fights. If we don't, who will? Well, not us, because we won't impose anything like this. Anyway keep buying tickets because you never know when some lunatic on the Flyers is going to try to beat someone to death.”

6. Tim Thomas

It has to be said that long after he's out of the NHL (so, say, August), Tim Thomas will not be remembered for the Stanley Cup or two Vezinas, but rather for refusing to go to the White House because Ron Paul didn't get elected. Now, every time a Stanley Cup winner goes to the White House, that's all anyone is ever going to think about.

This week it was the Blackhawks' turn to meet the president and try their hand at signing up for Obamacare. In that little speech he always gives where he makes a couple inside jokes to the team, Obama took a bit of a run at Corey Crawford, he of the F-words, and once again showed that he couldn't pick anyone on a hockey team out of a lineup. Jonathan Toews is the little guy with the mullet, right?

Anyway, congrats to Crawford for not flipping over a table and ranting about the CIA spying on NHL dressing rooms. Not that I'd say that last part is outside the realm of possibility, but y'know.

5. Media Homers

It should be noted, by the way, that the vast majority of Flyers partisans were grossed out — as they should have been — by their team's action at the end of an ugly 7-0 beating. Included among those turned-off fans (who by the way will still wear their jerseys and keep buying tickets because moral outrage only extends so far), was the Philadelphia media.

Just kidding.

Apart from the shameless cheerleading of Third-Star-Ray-Emery voter Frank Seravalli, who is no stranger to embarrassing himself in shilling for his dear Flyers, there was the slew of not-worth-linking-to stories about how the Flyers thought the fight made their 7-0 loss “feel like a win” and how this was going to be a “turning point” in the season.

After all, they shut out New Jersey the next night, thanks to — according to Seravalli — the steadying hand of Hal Gill. The same Hal Gill who was a possession black hole all night. This is the kind of high-level hockey analysis that goes on when goaltenders aren't assaulting their counterparts.

(And by the way, if this forest fire of a team actually makes the playoffs somehow, just wait for all the loving tributes to Emery.)

The good news for the Philly media (not all of whom are bad actors in this, obviously) is that the other most-embarrassing press corps in hockey was not to be outdone. After spending the summer bravely ripping Tyler Seguin only after he was shuffled out of town, they lucked into the chance to do it again thanks to the Stars coming up to Boston for a game last night.

This presented the Bruins media fanboys, of which there are ever so many, with the chance to retry the former No. 2 overall pick, and the verdict was that he was guilty of partying and not being hard on the puck and not fitting in with the culture but mostly of having a 1.4 shooting percentage in the playoffs after scoring 45 goals in his previous 129 regular-season games.

Meanwhile, they got the chance to chuckle with party-boy Brad Marchand about Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli, who wandered drunkenly around Boston following the team's World Series parade.

“I did it first,” joked Marchand who by the way has one goal in 13 games this season, and would have a shooting percentage lower than the already-bad 6.7 percent if he actually had and shot the puck at any point. Prior to the Stars game, though, he had a grand total of three SOG in his previous eight games.

But hahaha you can do whatever you want in Boston, including not score, as long as you check people, and that includes if you do it below the knees.

Can't wait 'til Marchand finishes with 12 goals this season, gets traded, and we hear from all his old buddies in the media that he's a real prick who didn't fit in with the culture.

4. Anyone with Center Depth

The Maple Leafs are going to be without Dave Bolland for a very long time, and Tyler Bozak is still on the shelf, meaning that the Leafs already poor center depth is now all the poorer. This obviously has prompted something of a panic in Toronto, as the team must now necessarily scramble for someone to run the pivot, probably on the second line.

So if you're an NHL general manger and happen to have any centers at all lying around collecting dust (Matt Stajan) then maybe you oughta talk to Dave Nonis about it. Don't forget to bring up how lazy and stupid Jake Gardiner is.

3. Empty Seats

Anyone who's watched one of the Coyotes home games this season has noticed that the team is playing well enough. They currently have just three regulation losses, including a 6-0-1 record at home. Very energized by the new ownership, I'm sure. And so how do you think their fans have rewarded them for all their hard work and winning ways?

That's right, by not showing up. Coyotes attendance is down about 2,200 from last season. And that's not so many if you're drawing 22,000 a night. When you're drawing 18,000, though, that's a major problem. And by the way, that's announced attendance, not actual attendance.

What happened to all those people who swore up and down they'd go to Yotes games if only the team didn't move to some city where people actually cared? Come back, sweater vest cowboy! Return to us, lady who talked at length about peacocks or something. It seems like charging for parking that used to be free to see a team nobody sees anyway wasn't such a good idea.

This should prove once and for all that the new Coyotes owners are going to leave a Shane Doan-shaped hole in the side of Jobing.com Arena the second their five-year lease is up. All they have to do is prove they lost a certain amount of money. With attendance like this, you'd believe just about any red-ink number at all.

2. Tweets That Were Only Missing The Word Brash

Frankly, it's surprising that this was the only (printable) racebaiting tweet about Ray Emery.

Not a good look, that.

1. Walkin' on Sunshine

This is officially the most anyone has ever talked about a four-win team without constantly mentioning how terrible they are. Again, that's a big win for Paul Holmgren.

The fact that, after one win against a team that's almost as hopeless as they are, we have to sit here and listen to all this talk about a Flyers resurgence is hilarious, isn't it. If the Flames went out and got shelled by San Jose but Kari Ramo beat the hell out of Antti Niemi then also won the next game, would we be talking about anything but how awful Calgary is? Of course not. And Calgary, for the record, is better than the Flyers.

You wonder where all those proclamations about this being a team turned around will scamper off to when the Flyers have 25 losses by the end of December.

(Not ranked this week: Rob Ford, Ian from Etobicoke, drunken stupors, smoking crack, the Tampa Bay Lightning, forgetting that your No. 1 goalie is Steve Mason, the hopes for a 19th season of Jason Arnott, the feeling that you were pretty sure Jason Arnott retired like two or three years ago, every other Olympic uniform now that the Slovaks released theirs, the Rochester Americans' chances of winning a suspension pool, Ben Bishop before the fall, Reto Berra somehow, Krys Barch's crybaby Twitter rants about fighting)

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Wed, 06 Nov 2013 08:07:11 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,6aefb303-348a-37c2-9f51-9fc5f95659d7-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Shutouts for Montoya, Scrivens; Mighty Ducks return http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-shutouts-montoya-scrivens-mighty-ducks-030855943--nhl.html

The Mighty Ducks returned for one more night!

No. 1 Star: Al Montoya, Winnipeg Jets

Behind a pair of Evander Kane goals and Montoya's 24 saves, the Jets shutout the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Montoya earned the fourth shutout of his career in his first start for the Jets this season.

No. 2 Star: Rob Klinkhammer, Phoenix Coyotes Klinkhammer's pair of goals helped lead the Coyotes over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 in a Sunday matinee. His first goal tied the game at two in the second period, and his second of the afternoon 22 seconds into the third period broke a 3-3 tie and would stand as the game-winning goal.

No. 3 Star: Ben Scrivens, Los Angeles Kings Making his first start of the season, Scrivens stopped 20 shots and recorded his third career shutout as the Kings blanked the Florida Panthers 3-0. Jordan Nolan and Dan Carcillo each had a goal and an assist as LA won their third straight game.

Honorable mention: Shane Doan had a goal and an assist, with his second tally of the year ending up as the insurance marker for the Coyotes ... Tuomo Ruutu returned to the Carolina lineup after missing the first five games of the season while dealing with a hip injury ... It was "Throwback Night" for the Anaheim Ducks as they donned the beautiful eggplant and jade jerseys from their inaugural season of 1993-94. To celebrate the night, Corey Perry scored twice and Ryan Getzlaf and rookie Hampus Lindholm added two points each as the Ducks downed the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Jonas Hiller made 30 saves and Anaheim won 38 of 62 faceoffs ... Here are the introductions for the 14 members of that '93-94 Ducks team who were in attendance Sunday night:

The 56 shots put up by the Ducks doubled as a franchise record for them, as well as for Ottawa in the "shots allowed" department ... Justin Williams' goal in the second period was his 500th NHL point ... Mike Richards pulled off a sweet no-look pass to set up Carcillo's goal:

Did You Know? New Jersey is winless in its first six games for the first time in franchise history. (MSG)

Dishonorable mention: The Panthers have dropped four of five ... New Jersey's power play went 0-for-6 and is 1-for-16 o the season ... Anton Khudobin had to leave the game midway through the second period with a lower-body injury ... The Hurricanes went 1-for-9 on the power play ... Just what did Stephen Gionta do here to earn a two-minute tripping call? ... Ottawa has lost four straight ... Craig Anderson allowed two goals in the first 4:06 of the game and was pulled in favor of Robin Lehner, who impressed making 45 saves on 47 shots faced, including this denial of Perry:

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Sun, 13 Oct 2013 20:08:55 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,3b26f78b-51bd-38bd-88fd-d7bb3f8af652-l:1
Phoenix Coyotes, 2013-14 (Puck Daddy Gold Medal Preview) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/phoenix-coyotes-2013-14-puck-daddy-gold-medal-183456085--nhl.html (Ed. Note: It’s an Olympic year in the NHL. So, naturally, we decided to use the trappings of the Winter Games to preview all 30 teams for the 2013-14 NHL season. Who takes the gold? Who falls on their triple-axel? Read on and find out!)

After a banner year in Phoenix, literally, not to mention three rounds of playoffs, the Coyotes were going to be in tough to surpass the accomplishments of the 2011-12 season in 2012-2013. But they absolutely did it.

Not on the ice, though. There, they regressed bigtime, finishing 4th in the Pacific and failing to make the playoffs. Some of the blame falls squarely on Mike Smith, who failed to replicate his brilliant debut season in Arizona, instead reaching too far into the past and replicating something more closely resembling his 2008-09 season in Tampa Bay. Not bad -- just not elite.

But after the first playoff-free year in three seasons, a disappointment, the Coyotes accomplished something nobody expected them to accomplish: they found a new owner. What's more, they stayed in Arizona. After everything this club has been through, that's a feat that trumps pretty much anything else they could do.

Armed with an actual ownership group, and a few new faces, can the Coyotes refind their identity, and the postseason to which it usually leads?

Keith Yandle dumps the puck into the Wild zone, only to have it deflect off the side boards and, somehow, miraculously, into the net. What in the heck.

Considering how uncertain everything was, the Coyotes did an incredible job retaining their core pieces, both in the front office (Don Maloney, Dave Tippett) and at ice level (Mike Smith). Of course, we'd expect nothing less, as this team has been busier while in purgatory than Dante and Virgil combined (and way busier than those laggards on the fourth terrace).

The most noteworthy departure is shutdown centre Boyd Gordon, who's off to Edmonton by way of free agency. He was the prototypical Dave Tippett player, and he'll be missed.

Rather than sign another defensive-minded guy, the Coyotes opted to instead add a little flourish to their forwards corps, inking centre Mike Ribeiro to a four-year, $22 million deal.

Backup netminder Jason LaBarbera left as well, and will be replaced by former Shark Thomas Greiss.

Forward: Captain Doan is the key here, of course, and at 36, there's always worry of a decline due to oldness, especially after he put up just 27 points in 48 games in 2013. But the addition of a bona fide first-line center in Ribeiro could help to boost his production.

Ribeiro's arrival gives the Coyotes something resembling a true top line for the first time in ages. In training camp, he's been skating alongside Doan and the recently re-signed Mikkel Boedker, and the trio has looked good, showing some early chemistry.

Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata make up two-thirds of the second line, but who will play the left wing remains to be seen. It could be a young player -- first-round pick Max Domi will get a look, as will Lucas Lessio and big Chris Brown, both of whom showed well for Portland last season. Finding someone to complete that trio and give the Coyotes two full, dangerous lines is among Dave Tippet's top priorities this training camp.

Antoine Vermette and Kyle Chipchura are centres three and four, and they're surrounded, as always, by the Coyotes' big cast of tireless checkers and character guys -- skaters like Lauri Korpikoski, Brandon Yip and, on occasion, Paul Bissonnette.

Defense: Led by Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who is, in my opinion, a top 10 defender in the NHL, the Coyotes' blueline is quietly one of hockey's best. OEL skates with prototypical defensive defenceman Zbynek Michalek. They worked beautifully together last season.

Pairing two is much the same, with Keith Yandle and his shouldering the responsibilities as breakout starter and Derek Morris playing the dutiful stay-at-home partner. Rotislav Klesla and Mark Stone, who had a breakout first season in the desert, round out the likely top-six, with David Rundblad and Brandon Gormley waiting in the wings as depth options and 20-year-old Connor Murphy making a case that space needs to be made for him.

Goalies: In order for the Coyotes to return to the postseason, Mike Smith needs to return to the type of goaltending that got them there two years ago. They believe he can, which is why the club signed him to a six-year deal worth $5.67 per season. Smith knows the pressure's on him now, though he doesn't think the new contract adds to that.

"I don't think it's more pressure," he told NHL.com. "If you're a No. 1 goalie in this League, you've accepted that," Smith said. "I think I'm at a point now in my career where I've learned how to deal with that. I've grown as a player tremendously in the last couple of years. Obviously having that great year, I gained a lot of confidence in how I need to play and what I need to do to be successful."

Thomas Greiss is the backup option, so expect Smith to play a lot of games.

Dave Tippett and Don Maloney have worked wonders in Phoenix during wartime, keeping this team competitive with no money and no owner for years. But now the Coyotes are owned, leaving Loney and Tips to focus exclusively on owning the competition.

The biggest difference between this season and last is that Tippett has a full training camp to establish and tighten up the team's signature defensive shell. That should make a difference.

Blast from the past! Pierre the Fanatic Hockey Snowman, one of Phoenix's best creations, sings his 2008 campaign theme song.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who led the Coyotes in scoring last season with 30 points. I love him, and I feel like, if he were playing in the East, more people would too. He's as creative, dynamic and entertaining to watch as any defender in the West.

Defense! The trick to watching Phoenix Coyotes hockey is learning how to appreciate unyielding defensive posture. Do that and this team is a blast.

Shane Doan is one of hockey's most passionate captains. Get him angry, which isn't difficult, and he becomes a sociopath, shooting from everywhere and hitting everyone. Playing with an actual playmaker could make him more offensively potent as well.

The Coyotes' margin for error remains awfully slim. Even with Ribeiro added, they're still not going to score a ton of goals, which means keeping the score low is a must. If Mike Smith can't refind his old form, or there are any cracks in the defence, this team's not going anywhere.

The Coyotes don't look like a playoff team, but under Dave Tippett, they're consistently greater than the sum of their parts. Still, the new Pacific Division is a tough one, since it retains all the teams from the old Pacific Division, and adds one more likely playoff team in the Canucks. The Coyotes will be in contention all year, but I'm not convinced they'll be one of the division's top four teams when the dust settles.

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Sun, 22 Sep 2013 11:34:56 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,92da540e-46a8-33ab-990c-ebb63608e2f2-l:1
NHL Training Camp 2013: Puck Daddy’s guide to Western Conference preseason storylines http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-training-camp-2013-puck-daddy-guide-western-180740104--nhl.html Rejoice, friends, for hockey hath finally returned unto our lives…

The NHL opens its 2013-14 season training camps this week. Earlier, we gave you a look at the Eastern Conference and its new friends in Detroit and Columbus.

Now it's time to focus on the West, home to the Stanley Cup champions, Teemu Selanne and now the Winnipeg Jets, too.

Enjoy!

CENTRAL DIVISION

Chicago Blackhawks (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena (100 Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN)/ United Center

The Storyline: Second line center. Brandon Pirri, who led the AHL in scoring last season, is going to be given a solid audition as the Blackhawks' No. 2 behind Jonathan Toews. Should he fail to grab the brass ring, last year’s rookie sensation Brandon Saad might get a shot, with Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc lingering as the darkest of dark horses.

The Subplot: Ben Smith vs. Jeremy Morin. With Michael Frolik in Winnipeg, there’s competition to fill his role on the fourth line and on the PK. Smith gained fame as an emergency fill-in for Marian Hossa in the playoffs. The Daily Herald sees Morin as his chief competition, with a combination of offense and grit.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Kyle Beach once had two fights during prospects camp.

Colorado Avalanche (Training Camp Roster)

Where: South Suburban Family Sports Center in Centennial, CO.

The Storyline: Ryan O'Reilly’s big shift. Jeff Marek’s favorite player moves from the middle to left wing this season, skating with Matt Duchene at center and P.A. Parenteau at right wing. It was necessitated when Nathan MacKinnon was taken first overall; will O’Reilly thrive on the wing in the last year of his offer-sheeted contract (thanks, Calgary)?

The Subplot: Camp Roy. It’s Saint Patrick’s first NHL training camp as a head coach; what discernible differences will become apparent in the preseason between a Patrick Roy Avs team and what preceded it?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Guillaume Desbiens had 118 penalty minutes for the Chicago Wolves last season and will look to make an impression in camp.

Dallas Stars (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Fort Worth Convention Center (1201 Houston St, Fort Worth, TX)

The Storyline: Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn get positional. Seguin was a winger with the center-laden Bruins, but was acquired to become the Stars’ No. 1 pivot. Jamie Benn was a left wing in juniors but played center for the Stars, and now he’s shifted back to the wing -- at least for the moment.

The Subplot: Valeri Nichushkin was a “man child” at the Traverse City Prospects tournament, and the 2013 No. 10 overall pick is going to have “every opportunity to be on our team,” assistant GM Les Jackson told NHL.com. Don’t underestimate the importance of Sergei Gonchar on the roster to help facilitate this offensive dynamo’s transition to the NHL.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: If super pest Antoine Roussel channels his boundless energy the wrong way, someone could pay the price.

Minnesota Wild (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Xcel Energy Center.

The Storyline: The youth movement up front. Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula will all be given chances to make an impact on the team. Coyle, Granlund and Haula are all going to be vying for the No. 2 center spot behind Mikko Koivu. And let’s not forget Matt Dumba on defense, too.

The Subplot: Dave Steckel wins faceoffs. While the Wild have Zenon Konopka on the roster, Steckel is a big body they don’t necessarily have up the middle.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Carter “The Sandman” Sandlak is an OHL camp invitee who had two fights at the Traverse City tournament.

Nashville Predators (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Centennial Sportsplex (222 25th Ave N, Nashville); Bridgestone Arena.

The Storyline: Seth Jones is the storyline. The Predators’ top pick in the 2013 draft enters camp with a world of hype and expectations, but also with some practical questions about where he fits on this team. If the defenseman wants to play in the top four, it’d have to be on the left side; as Smashville 24/7 notes, it’s not the side he’s most familiar with as a right-handed shot.

The Subplot: Hey, breaking news, the Predators need to score more. That means some solid opportunities for young players who find the back of the net in the preseason to crack the lineup in the regular season. The Preds have roughly $4.6 million in cap space to add scoring in the preseason should they see fit.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Joonas Jarvinen is a fighter in the AHL with a name that sounds like something John Carter would have encountered on Barsoom.

St. Louis Blues (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Scottrade Center.

The Storyline: Who plays with Derek Roy? The Blues’ new center, in on a 1-year deal, is a playmaker unlike the team’s other two primary centers in David Backes and Patrik Berglund, who take it to the net more than dish it. Which wingers will click with Roy?

The Subplot: Without Alex Pietrangelo in camp due to contract negotiations, the Blues turned to veteran Ryan Whitney. Is he simply a place holder for Petro, or someone that could stick with the team when the star defenseman returns?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: We’re not entirely sure, but we’d like to see David Backes tune up a Canadian teammate to kick-off his pre-Olympics Inglorious Backes spree.

Winnipeg Jets (Training Camp Roster)

Where: MTS Centre and MTS Iceplex.

The Storyline: Are the kids finally ready? The Jets have been waiting for 20-year-old center Mark Scheifele and 19-year-old defenseman Jacob Trouba to be ready to snag significant ice time. In the case of the former, the team desperately needs more scoring from the center spot. Is he a true No. 1 in the waiting?

The Subplot: Dustin Byfuglien is so … fit? Gary Lawless believes the defenseman is 30 pounds lighter than when he arrived at camp last season. Wonder why oh right he wants to make the Olympics.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Evander Kane. Oh, wait, are we talking about traffic tickets?

PACIFIC DIVISION

Anaheim Ducks (Training Camp Roster)

Where: THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE (300 West Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim)

The Storyline: Life without Bobby Ryan. The forward, traded to the Ottawa Senators during the offseason, was a key offensive weapon whether he was skating as a three-headed monster with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry or starring on the second line. So who replaces him?

Kyle Palmieri probably has a job to lose. Sniper Jakob Silfverberg, acquired from Ottawa, will be given a chance to win a top six job. But could a strong camp elevate Emerson Etem into a prime time role in his sophomore season?

The Subplot: Hey, remember Kyle Cumiskey? The former Colorado Avalanche defenseman played for MODO last season in Sweden, and comes to camp with the Ducks anticipating that Sheldon Souray will miss several months of the regular season. Added to the intrigue: Cumiskey was actually Ducks property through the 2011-12 season, played 57 games in the AHL, didn’t see any NHL action and then signed with MODO with the Ducks still having his rights.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Oh hi, Zach “Huggy Bear” Stortini.

Calgary Flames (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Winsport, 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary

The Storyline: For the first time since 2003, there’s an actual goalie competition in Calgary thanks to the retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff. KHL vet Karri Ramo (of the notorious YouTube lowlights) could have the inside track, but NHL journeyman Joey MacDonald will be in the mix along with Swiss goalie Reto Berra, who came over in the Jay Bouwmeester trade. If this group inspires thoughts that the Flames might add a goalie in the preseason, it’s probably because they should.

The Subplot: Post-Iginla, who gets the ‘C’? Mike Cammalleri, who is captain material? A veteran like Curtis Glencross, who wore the ‘A’? Or perhaps someone like Mark Giordano that’ll be in Calgary for a bit?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: If Brian Burke is your new head of state, best that you all fight in camp. #Truculence

Edmonton Oilers (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Millennium Place in Sherwood Park/Rexall Place

The Storyline: Taylor Hall to center. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins injured, the Oilers appear primed to move Hall to center to start the season if RNH can’t answer the bell. The Copper & Blue spells out why this might not be a temporary move.

The Subplot: The rest of the defense. With Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry and the Schultzes taking up the top four spots and Andrew Ference filling the fifth, the Oilers have one hole to fill on defense. Jonathan Willis sees it as a competition between Denis Grebeshkov, Anton Belov, Corey Potter and Philip Larsen, with Larsen in a ‘make or break’ camp.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: IDK, Ben Eager seems the type.

Los Angeles Kings (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Toyota Sports Center.

The Storyline: The return of Willie Mitchell. The veteran defenseman with the long stick returns to the Kings after missing all of last season with knee issues. Can he make it back for LA, which could use a stay-at-home D-man after Rob Scuderi left for the Penguins?

The Subplot: Someone is going to back up Jonathan Quick. Will it be Ben Scrivens, acquired in the Jonathan Bernier trade? Will it be veteran camp invitee Mathieu Garon? Will it be some minor leaguer you’ve never heard of?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Daniel Carcillo is cray-cray.

Phoenix Coyotes (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Jobing.com Arena.

The Storyline: Who wants to be Mike Ribeiro’s friend? The Coyotes are hoping they signed a No. 1 center that’ll have instant chemistry with Mikkel Boedker and Shane Doan.

The Subplot: As the Arizona Republic notes, there is exactly one spot on defense open with Michael Stone, David Schlemko, David Rundblad, Chris Summers and Brandon Gormley in the mix to play next to Rusty Klesla. Trade winds a-blowin’?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Hey, it’s preseason for Paul Bissonnette’s fists, too.

San Jose Sharks (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Sharks Ice at San Jose (1500 S 10th St., San Jose).

The Storyline: Where does Tyler Kennedy fit? The former Penguins winger could slot with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, or could end up with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, or drop down to the third line. It’s really up to Kennedy, and his performance in the preseason.

The Subplot: Who’s behind Antti Niemi? Thomas Greiss is now in Phoenix. Alex Stalock would seem to have the inside track for the gig, but CSN Bay Area notes that Harri Sateri (great name) will battle for the job.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: We’ll go ahead and assume that Matt Pelech, of the 238 PIMs in 58 games in the AHL last season, is a feisty one.

Vancouver Canucks (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Rogers Arena.

The Storyline: John Tortorella’s bite. The volcanic coach takes over a Vancouver Canucks team with a simple mandate: Make them tougher and tougher to play against. He says the team needs “more bite.” What, having Alex Burrows on the roster isn’t enough?

The Subplot: No. 3 center. It’s Jordan Schroeder’s job to lose, but watch out for Bo Horvat, whom the Canucks would love to make the big roster, showing an immediate payoff for the Cory Schneider trade.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Maybe Zack Kassian knocks someone out off the faceoff to play to his new coach’s affinities.

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Wed, 11 Sep 2013 11:07:40 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,126a8c11-43cc-3b03-904b-0da6c4b1ae8a-l:1
Winnipeg Jets, National Hockey League of Nations (including the Atlanta Thrashers!) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/winnipeg-jets-national-hockey-league-nations-including-atlanta-211945612--nhl.html (Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)

By Ryan Blight and Arctic Ice Hockey

Disclaimer: We here at Arctic Ice Hockey struggled with the criteria for how to do this, as the Jets 1.0 hold a special place in our hearts here in Winnipeg. And to tell you the truth, if it weren’t for the Internet, most people in Winnipeg couldn’t name 10 ex-Thrashers outside of the ones that came up to Winnipeg.

So for the purpose of this effort, we will include all Jets 1.0 up until the move to Phoenix (because we still strongly dislike the Coyotes), the entire history of the Atlanta Thrashers, and the past two glorious years of the Jets 2.0.

And sorry, the WHA years don’t count either.

Canada: Dale Hawerchuk

In one that really didn’t take long to decide, Dale Hawerchuk is the best Canadian to ever lace them up either in Winnipeg or within the Thrashers organization. The 1st-overall selection of the Jets in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft won the Calder Trophy that season, and in the nine years in the ‘Peg never finished below 81 points in a season, capping out at 130 (53 goals and 77 assists) in ‘84-85. And don’t forget the assist he earned on Mario Lemieux’s GWG in the 1987 Canada Cup victory over the Soviets. Ducky was a tremendous Jet and is very deserving of this honour.

Honourable mentions: Dany Heatley, Shane Doan (who was only a rookie in Winnipeg during the final season of Jets 1.0), Marc Savard, Andrew Ladd, Bobby Hull (who had his WHA contributions disregarded).

Finland: Teemu Selanne

I was tempted to pick Olli Jokinen, just to annoy a lot of people after his less-than-stellar opening season as a Jet, but how can we not pick Teemu Selanne?! Despite playing only four seasons in Winnipeg, there has never been a bigger love affair with one single player in this city. Selanne’s magical rookie season of 76 goals and 132 points is still fondly recalled like it was yesterday, as is the infamous shooting-his-glove celebration. And any questions about how much we love Teemu in the River City should be answered by checking out the ovation he received as a member of the Anaheim Ducks just two seasons ago. On top of that, he's medalled in three different Olympic Games. We still love you Teemu! #teemubest

Honourable Mentions: Teppo Numinen, Kari Lehtonen, Olli Jokinen

USA: Keith Tkachuk

Now this was a difficult one, as there were very few Thrashers to consider and we aren’t ready to anoint Jacob Trouba with this award just yet. In the end, I chose Keith Tkachuk to be the best American player in a tough decision over Phil Housley. What clinched it for me was that Tkachuk played five seasons in Winnipeg as opposed to three for Housley, served as team captain, and for a time he was one of the premier power-forwards in the game. A 50-goal scorer in the final season of the Jets 1.0, Tkachuk put up points and penalty minutes like they were going out of style, and he represented the USA at four Olympic Games, earning a Silver Medal in Salt Lake City. Still, it should have been him traded instead of Teemu...

Honourable mentions: Phil Housley, Ed Olczyk, Jim Slater, Dave Ellett, Brian Mullen, Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian.

Sweden: Thomas Steen

Thomas Steen, who is still a local city councilor, is my selection as the best Swede. In terms of all Jets 1.0 players prior to the move, Steen put up 264 goals and 817 points, both 2nd behind Hawerchuk, but Steen is the leader in assists with 553. But perhaps more importantly, he played 14 seasons in Winnipeg and has made it his home ever since despite our horrible winters, massive mosquitoes and lack of parks. Thomas Steen, we salute you!

Honourable Mentions: Tobias Enstrom, Fredrik Olausson, Niclas Havelid, Willy Lindstrom, Johnny Oduya

Russia: Ilya Kovalchuk

This one was simple. Ilya Kovalchuk is the best Russian player to have ever played for the Jets 1.0, Thrashers or Jets 2.0, despite not having dressed as a Jet in the River City. You cannot ignore the success that Kovalchuk had with the Thrashers, and as we sit here with the Jets 2.0 he is still the franchise leader in virtually every offensive stat by large margins. Kovalchuk’s 615 points in 594 games during part of the dead-puck era is a testament to the special kind of talent he has, and the NHL is worse without him now that he’s left the NHL to play at home in the KHL. Kovalchuk has taken part in three Olympic games, winning a Bronze Medal in Salt Lake City, and will most certainly play in Sochi in just a few months.

Slovakia: Marian Hossa

The only answer here is Marian Hossa, and it’s not just because only six Slovaks have laced them up in Atlanta and zero have done so in Winnipeg. Though he only played three seasons in Atlanta, Hossa averaged over a point-per-game with 248 points in 222 games. He has also represented Slovakia at three Olympic Games already. Hossa was a premier talent who was sadly traded away for pennies on the dollar by Don Waddell in what was one of his, well, many horrible moves as GM in Atlanta...

Honourable mentions: Ronald Petrovicky, Lubos Bartecko, Boris Valabik

Czech Republic: Ondrej Pavelec

Hmm. This is a tough one. Do I go with Patrick Stefan, the first-overall selection who never justified his draft spot but still had a decent career? Do I choose Ondrej Pavelec, the current Jets 2.0 netminder with the laughable starting goalie numbers who nonetheless has represented the Czech Republic at one Olympic Games already? Perhaps Bobby Holik for being such a solid grinder? Frantisek Kaberle? Slim pickings.

In the end, I am pained to choose Ondrej Pavelec, and only do so because he has represented his country already as backup at the 2010 games in Vancouver, was the starter at the most recent World Championships and has a strong chance to start for them in Sochi as well. If his own country likes him this much, who are we to argue?

However, Pavelec has not played in one playoff hockey game in his NHL career and has consistently put up below league-average save percentages, so this selection is not based on his NHL career up to this point.

Can he improve? Hopefully, and he’ll need to if the Jets 2.0 are to be even considered a playoff team, but his international experience gives him the nod here. And while Stefan was a productive player who just simply never lived up to his draft status, could we really pick him when this is his arguably the most recognizable play of his career?

Honourable Mentions: Patrik Stefan, Bobby Holik, Frantisek Kaberle, Michael Grosek, Pavel Kubina

REST OF THE WORLD CATEGORY

Nik Antropov is very likely the best player to ever come from Kazakhstan. Not only has Antro been a very solid NHLer throughout his career, but he’s also represented his country at numerous international competitions and put his country on the map in the hockey community by being a 10th-overall selection in 1998. And to be perfectly honest, I'd like to see the big guy re-signed by the Jets sometime this summer, as he's currently a free agent.

Meanwhile, the Ukraine was represented by the likes of Alexei Zhitnik and Oleg Tverdovsky, Germany saw Uwe Krupp and Christoph Shubert lace them up, and Latvia watched as Arturs Kulda and Herberts Vasiljevs took part as well.

Finally, we wouldn’t want to leave out the legend of Rumum Ndur, the first Nigerian-born player to ever play in the NHL. Though he grew up in Canada and only played 27 of his career 69 games with the Thrashers, we felt the need to include him because it is such a tremendous story.

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Fri, 30 Aug 2013 14:19:45 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,4987cbd5-576d-3de2-8f61-d6e3f7fe659c-l:1
Phoenix Coyotes, National Hockey League of Nations (with old school Winnipeg Jets, too) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/phoenix-coyotes-national-hockey-league-nations-old-school-212508459.html (Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)

By Jaime Eisner and Five For Howling

The curious case of the Phoenix Coyotes; a franchise marred in relocation rumors in two different cities.

Phoenix and Winnipeg can’t help but be connected. Winnipeg is the city that birthed the franchise now named after a wild canine.

But Winnipeg is also the city that was the most realistic threat to remove hockey from Arizona. The fan base has since turned their back on the old Jets days and has created a “modern era” of sorts, when talking about franchise history; an era that conveniently excludes Winnipeg.

For the purpose of this article, the entire history of the Franchise in the NHL will be in play.

Canada: Shane Doan

Roll your eyes, I know; it’s the most predictable answer. Shane Doan has been the team’s ambassador for years now. He talks to each and every fan that he runs into and treats them like an old friend. When the team loses, Doan is the first one to answer media questions. The love for Doan continued to grow after he re-signed with the team, for less money than was reportedly offered on the open market, despite ownership uncertainty.

His play on the ice isn’t half bad either. Doan is currently third on the list of the all-time franchise points list; only two points behind second place. He will enter the 2013-2014 season having scored 331 goals and 815 points, all for one franchise. The combination of grit, talent and leadership has led Doan to a successful career in the NHL and internationally.

Internationally, Doan was both a captain and alternate captain for Team Canada. He captained the 2007 Gold medal winning Canadian team in the World Championships. In total, Doan boasts three silver medals and two gold medals in International play.

Plus, he beat Mantracker!

The Alberta native has captained the Coyotes since the 03-04 season, and has since become the face of the franchise after overcoming the PR nightmare of checking innocent fans from behind at the ATM.

A quick shout out to Dale Hawerchuk who received serious consideration for this spot. The Ontario native is the Franchise’s all-time scoring leader with 929 points.

Finland: Teppo Numminen

The best defenseman in Jets/Coyotes history is also the best Finn in team history. Before the captaincy was bestowed on Doan, it was property of Numminen who became only the second player of Finnish descent to captain an NHL team in 2001. He was also the second captain of the “Phoenix” portion of franchise history.

The Tampere native is ranked first in franchise history in games played, goals and points among defensemen. Numminen finished his time with the franchise with 108 goals and 532 points, good for fifth best in team history.

He also played over 1,000 games with the franchise. The only player who has donned a Jets/Coyotes sweater more times is Doan.

When he is not playing hockey, he spends his time singing for U2.

USA: Keith Tkachuk

“Walt” Tkachuk knew had to make an impact. The pride of Massachusetts walked into a new, unfamiliar market and immediately won the crowds over. Tkachuk scored 52 goals for the newly relocated, newly named Coyotes. He would go on to score a total of 323 goals and 623 points, good for fourth best in franchise history.

His name sits upon the Coyotes Ring of Honor among names like Hawerchuk, Thomas Steen and Bobby Hull.

While his time in Phoenix was brief, the 19th overall pick in the 1990 NHL Draft played parts of 10 very successful seasons with the franchise.

Tkachuk is a staple of the initial Coyotes team that invaded Phoenix, Arizona in the mid-1990s. A team that used to drive their cars, in full gear, to their practice facility several miles away; sticks in the back seat, helmets on heads, driving down the I-10.

Arizona hockey fans have only known three Coyotes captains. Tkachuk was the first.

Sweden: Thomas Steen

Steen spent all 14 years of his NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets. He was selected 103rd overall in 1979, the year the Jets joined the NHL.

A product of Stockholm, Steen is ranked second of the Jets/Coyotes all-time scorers list. He finished his NHL career with 264 goals and 817 points. His career ended a year before the franchise was relocated to Arizona.

Steen also dabbled in politics, as he was a candidate in the 2008 Canadian Federal Election in the Elmwood—Transcona region. He came in second in the race, prompting this quote from a journalist of the Winnipeg Free Press: “He is by all accounts and appearances a lovely and honourable gentleman…but he is radically out of his depth, muzzled by his party and unfamiliar with the issues.” Which, considering today’s political climate, is the most Canadian way to tell somebody off. It’s almost as Canadian as maple syrup and free healthcare.

Russia: Ilya Bryzgalov

When Mr. Universe was focused on stopping pucks and not comparing his Husky to a “hot girl”, he led the Coyotes to the greatest regular season in team history. Bryzgalov back-stopped the Coyotes to a franchise-best 50-25-7 (107 points) record.

Bryzgalov is the current franchise leader in wins with 130. He ended his Coyotes career with a record of 130-93-27 with 21 shutouts, a 2.54 GAA and a save percentage of .917. He is third in total minutes played by a goalie in franchise history with 15,071 TOI and tied for most shutouts with Nikolai Khabibulin.

After missing the playoffs for seven years (six seasons), the Russian led the team to back-to-back playoff appearances; albeit first round defeats.

Bryz may also qualify as the franchise’s best waiver claim of all time as the Coyotes snatched him up from the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.

Don’t like this pick? Why you heff to be mad?

Slovakia: Ladislav Nagy

The multi-time 20-goal scorer ended his six-year Coyotes career with 92 goals and 249 points; good for 19th in franchise history.

Nagy’s NHL career was not long, but it was productive. In his 321 games with the team, he recorded 249 points, good for 0.78 points-per-game (equivalent to 63 points over an 82-game season).

Czech Republic: Radim Vrbata

Vrbata is good, very good. He is even better than you think.

Over the last two seasons, he is the ninth best player in the NHL in goals-per-game. Ninth!

It's not surprising that a relatively quiet European player that plays his home games in Glendale, Arizona flies under the radar nationally.

While the Mlada Boleslav native has played for five NHL teams, his best years were in Arizona.

He currently ranks 21st on the Coyotes all time scoring list with 117 goals and 237 points. His career has flourished with the Coyotes as he has become the team’s only true goal-scorer. His best season was in 2011-2012 when he led the team with 35 goals and led the League (along with Steven Stamkos) in game-winning goals, with 12.

Vrbata is the proud owner of the most successful shootout move in Coyotes history, the “Vrby move.” Fake to the fore-hand, deke to the back-hand and roof the puck top shelf. Opponents know it’s coming and it still goes in.

REST OF THE WORLD CATEGORY

Mikkel Boedker (Denmark)

A surprisingly few amount of Danes have played in the NHL. Only seven have ever played an NHL game.

Boedker is one of the seven, and the only Coyote, and ranks third on the all-time Danish scoring list with 34 goals and 95 points.

The former first round draft pick is still only 23 and his game continues to grow. His two best seasons were his rookie year, and the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season. Boedker has not missed a game since becoming a full-time player before the 2011-2012 season.

The Brondby native is coming off the best season of his career, where he scored 26 points in 48 games.

His career should continue to grow and flourish as he enters his mid-20s. His weather career, just getting started.

“Monday great weather, Tuesday we are here for a little bit so 87 (degrees) is perfect. Rest of the week, don’t really care, we’re not here, we go on the road.”

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Fri, 23 Aug 2013 14:25:08 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c339e8f7-b115-3725-b515-deae954f0b0d-l:1
Phoenix Coyotes nightmare ends as NHL approves sale, out clause and all http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/phoenix-coyotes-nightmare-ends-nhl-approves-sale-franchise-192414303.html I want to believe this is over.

I truly do. I never again want to sit in front of my laptop watching a procession of freaks vent their spleens to the Glendale City Council. I never want to have to write about the Jobing.com (or whatever) arena lease, parking prices and management fees. I never want the words “Goldwater Institute” to invade a blog post or watch Gary Bettman dodge a Coyotes question during the Stanley Cup Final or email Bill Daly at 2 a.m. about a false lead or wonder when Jerry Reinsdorf’s puppet strings will be pulled back into the ownership derby.

On Monday, Aug. 5, the National Hockey League formalized what the city council had already approved: That the Ice Arizona group headed by George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc have purchased the Phoenix Coyotes and are now the proud owners of this misfit franchise.

From the NHL:

"The National Hockey League believes in Arizona as an NHL market and that these new owners can provide the Coyotes the opportunity to secure a stable, long-term future in Glendale," Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

"We thank Mike Nealy, Don Maloney, Dave Tippett, team captain Shane Doan and all the players and staff for consistently going 'above and beyond' on behalf of the franchise during this long and complex process. We thank the Coyotes' devoted fans for their patient, perseverant support. We are extremely pleased that a positive resolution has been achieved for the fans, the city, the Coyotes and the League."

From LeBlanc on Twitter:

Dear Coyotes fans, it's official and we are thrilled to be the owners of this wonderful franchise. Go Yotes! #heretostay

— Anthony LeBlanc (@anthonydleblanc) August 5, 2013

Again, I want this to be over. So I hope my cynicism is just a Pavlovian response after all these years.

It’s that damn out-clause. The one the team holds, although the city won’t. There are going to be thresholds to hit and success that needs to be maintained, and there are obviously mechanisms in place in which the city gets its losses covered if the team leaves.

But the fact is that it still can leave.

Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona talked with Gosbee about that:

Critics have noted that IceArizona, formerly known as Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, has a five-year out clause it can exercise if its losses should equal or exceed $50 million over that span, but Gosbee said those predictions don’t concern him. “Nobody in my group talks about moving or where we would move. Half the guys have financial or real estate interests in Arizona, and some are moving or retiring down there,” Gosbee said, noting he plans to buy a home in the Valley. (His Calgary home was destroyed by recent floods.)

“We think the model works, and there are lots of attributes that make Phoenix attractive. I want to own this team for the next 30 to 40 years in Arizona.”

I know, I know … raining on the parade floats and all that. Pessimism on a day of optimism. But there have been other suitors for this franchise that have sought the same escape hatch, and it’s always been a tough amendment to accept when the only way you’re going to grow the franchise was through a total, unwavering commitment to the fan base. I don’t see how an out clause cements that relationship. The sword still dangles over their heads.

(Maybe it was sweetening the pot so their other shortcomings were obscured, but the Ice Edge bid that LeBlanc was a part of was one of the few offers that didn’t contain an out clause. And, to the surprise of no one with a modicum of understanding about the human condition, they were immediate fan darlings.)

As I tried to explain to some Coyotes fans earlier in the day: You can take issue with the deal that was cut and still support the market as an NHL city. These are not mutually exclusive notions.

I want hockey to succeed in Glendale, I really do; I’m just not convinced it will under these terms.

Time will tell. In the short term, Coyotes fans get a few years without having to live under this cloud of uncertainty or with the sound of trucks backing up to the arena echoing through the desert. These are amazing hockey fans that have been defecated on from all angles. (I know, gross.) Congrats to them for sticking it through and not having to decide whether to root for Shane Doan as a Nordique.

If this is the end of this multi-year nightmare, let it be known that the Coyotes Saga remains one of the most exhilarating yet exhausting, fascinating yet tedious, informative yet mind-numbing high-stakes stories I’ve ever covered.

It began with a struggle over a renegade billionaire trying to subvert the NHL's system to steal a former Canadian team from its U.S. home and bring it back to Canada.

It ended with a hold-your-nose-and-vote-yes deal from a city council and a press release from the NHL in August.

Talk about your diminishing returns.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
NHL teams keep throwing money at their rotten cores
Red Wings fan favorite dies at 47
Is Ron Hainsey being blackballed in free agency?

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Mon, 05 Aug 2013 12:24:14 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,ccbdb7e0-099a-3c8e-9f99-c206d5c159c3-l:1
What We Learned: NHL teams keep throwing money at their rotten cores http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-nhl-teams-keep-throwing-money-rotten-cores-131838848.html 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.

About a week ago, the Winnipeg Jets got Zach Bogosian signed up for another seven years at more than $5.1 million per season, which is a lot of money and term for almost any player in the league.

There are a lot of reasons you would, if you had Bogosian as a restricted free agent, be very wise to make such a deal. He's very good in all three zones, he's young at just 23 years old and he's therefore part of what you would call your core. And where the last point is concerned, it's something that Jets worked on throughout the entire month of July. In addition to Bogosian, they also locked up Blake Wheeler for six years and Bryan Little for five.

That gave them three more good young players signed through at least the end of the 2017-18 season, in addition to Evander Kane and Tobias Enstrom. They also joined Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Grant Clitsome, Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele and Ondrej Pavelec, among players who were signed at least until the end of 2016.

These are, for the most part, big-money deals, only Scheifele, Clitsome and Trouba are making less than $3.9 million AAV against the cap during that time, and that would probably be higher if they'd done the smart thing and not let Alex Burmistrov walk to the KHL.

And it also leads neutral observers to a pretty simple question with a not so simple answer: "Why are the Jets committing a little more than $45.4 million per season to 11 guys who have wholly failed to get them into the playoffs?"

The thing I wrote last week about Blake Wheeler applies to pretty much all these guys (save for Pavelec, who is awful): These are perfectly good hockey players, and some of them are even great when they're playing to their capabilities. That you'd want to lock them up makes plenty of logical sense. But at the same time, the Jets are a garbage fire of a hockey team. They've earned just 134 points from their last 130 games, missing the playoffs in both seasons in Winnipeg, and don't seem likely to weasel their way in any time soon under the divisional realignment. It's almost impossible to think they're better than four of Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville and St. Louis, at least going into this season.

I get that teams want to be optimistic about their chances for improvement with young players especially, but a lot of these guys aren't exactly "young" at this point. Wheeler will be 27 by the time the season starts, Little's going to be 26 by year's end, Ladd's 27, Enstrom and Clitsome and Byfuglien are 28, Pavelec turns 26 at the end of the month. The point at which their production is statistically likely to increase has passed.

Certainly, even if you expect that Trouba and Scheifele can be impact NHLers in their rookie years, you're really not looking at much in the way of an improved roster around them (bringing aboard Michael Frolik and Devin Setoguchi doesn't count much) to carry you over the hump from being a slightly-better-than-.500 team, and that's not doing you any favors.

And the thing is, it's not like the Jets are alone in this strange trend.

Carolina has gone about getting everyone signed up for a good long time, and they're worse than Winnipeg. They have Eric and Jordan Staal, Alex Semin, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Gleason and Cam Ward signed through 2016 to a combined $36.025 million against the cap.

Why? Who knows?

Phoenix, too, has Mike Ribeiro, Shane Doan, Antoine Vermette, Martin Hanzal, Lauri Korpikoski, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Keith Yandle and Mike Smith making a total of $36.567 million for the next two seasons. This is at least a little interesting because of how many actual old guys there are in that group, as half of them are already north of 30, but they've at least been to the playoffs in two of the last three years, including getting their brains bashed in by the Kings in the Western Conference Finals two years ago.

Of course, past success is no indicator of future success, and it seems that Smith in particular got paid on the basis of his one career outlier season, rather than this one and the several that preceded it.

The Coyotes are interesting, at least, insofar as Ribeiro is actually considered a reinforcement despite the numbers in Washington; and that they likely view last season as a hiccup or quirk of the shortened schedule, rather than a sign things need to overhaul. This was a mistake Calgary made for the better part of a decade, and it's therefore certainly nothing new, but look where that kind of thinking generally tends to land teams.

It would be truly shocking for any of these three teams to make the playoffs under an 82-game schedule, particularly thanks to the new divisions, and for the most part it seems as though that probability will continue more or less unabated for the next few years unless they get extraordinarily lucky. And with all this money being committed to these deeply mediocre "cores," it doesn't seem probable that meaningful reinforcements are going to be on their way before the cap hits $80 million or so, by which point it'll be time to start thinking about re-signing these guys.

Which GMs will do. Because it's important to retain your core, apparently.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne could be back with the Ducks next year "if he wants it bad." If he only kinda wants it, he can take a hike!

Boston Bruins: The Bruins are probably going to have to rely pretty heavily on relatively inexperienced NHL defensemen Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug, and Dougie Hamilton on the blue line next year, which doesn't sound like a recipe for disaster at all just kidding.

Buffalo Sabres: Statistics say the Sabres will probably be the worst team in the league this season. Sabres fans say statistics are bad and dumb and wrong.

Calgary Flames: The puck from Mark Cundari's first-ever NHL goal was supposed to be framed and sent to him, but it was being kept in the Saddledome when the flood hit, so that's probably not good news. "But I haven't gotten it yet, so, maybe I've gotta call someone down there and get them to send it over if they still have it," he said. Yup, that's concern No. 1 over there.

Carolina Hurricanes: What the hell happened to Chad LaRose? After 10 years in the organization, he didn't show up for his annual exit interview with the coaching staff and hasn't answered a number of calls and texts. I knew he shouldn't have booked that summer vacation to the Bermuda Triangle.

Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Sharp recently did a commercial for the Illinois Lottery in which he pretended to be a room service waiter and brought food to a few Blackhawks fans. Incidentally, you probably have a better chance at having Patrick Sharp bring you room service than you do of winning the lottery, so that's fun.

Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene just got a massive new contract, an Olympic camp invite and is training with Sid Crosby all summer. So I guess things are going pretty well for Matt Duchene, except for that whole "being on the Avs" thing.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Well, folks, we found it. It's the most boring interview of all time, starring Jackets first-round pick Kerby Rychel. Truly a momentous day.

Dallas Stars: Here's something crazy: The 2013 Stars will only have six players on the roster who were with the team just two years ago. Six! If you can name all of them, you are Jim Nill.

Detroit Red Wings: You know who else's number they should retire in Detroit after Nick Lidstrom? Chris Osgood. Hahaha.

Edmonton Oilers: NHL.com really went out on a limb this weekend, saying that the Oilers "youthful core will be key" for this coming season. I don't know if I buy it. I mean, if Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Nail Yakupov, Justin Schultz and Devan Dubnyk don't perform to their capabilities, they could still be decent, right?

Florida Panthers: This says the Panthers' training camp will be interesting, and that will make it the only interesting thing about the 2013-14 Florida Panthers.

Los Angeles Kings: Kyle Clifford re-signed with the Kings for two years following a 14-point season, and will probably get a bigger role with Brad Richardson and Dustin Penner skipping town this summer.

Minnesota Wild: So the Wild are going to ask a lot of the young kids on their roster —your Charlie Coyles and Jason Zuckers and Mikael Granlunds and Nino Niederreiters — this season. Yeah, they're not going to make the playoffs.

Montreal Canadiens: Danny Briere is excited to join the Habs. Or, perhaps more accurately, he is excited someone is going to pay him a lot of money for the next two years after how the last season went.

Nashville Predators: The Predators All-Time Team really depressed the hell out of me.

New Jersey Devils: The Gatineau Olympiques just made a move that makes Anthony Brodeur a likely roster goaltender for next season, which may not be the best decision for him to make, from a developmental standpoint.

New York Islanders: Matt Carkner is really trying to not get injured this season because he's played just 51 regular-season games since 2011. Ah, but hey, the Islanders gave him three years anyway, so in the end does it really matter that much?

New York Rangers: Hey Ryan McDonagh, you're a 24-year-old and an outstanding defenseman who just got invited to Olympic camp so maybe you need to start scoring more points or something I guess.

Ottawa Senators: Is this the point at which newly re-signed Stephane Da Costa sticks with the Senators' big club? Maybe, maybe not. But it's almost certainly his last chance to do so.

Philadelphia Flyers: Peter Laviolette is excited and optimistic for the new season which leads me to believe he probably hasn't looked at the team's goaltending depth chart.

Phoenix Coyotes: The Coyotes are assuring everyone that they're going to complete their sale on time before the deadline. Which is to say, today. This is the ultimate "I'll believe it when I see it and not a second before" situation.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Boy isn't Sid Crosby great? Don't you just love him? Isn't he wonderful? He's still the biggest name in the sport. Wow he's the best. We can't get enough of him. Signed, The Pittsburgh Media.

San Jose Sharks: Jeepers creepers guys, One Direction all wore Sharks jerseys at a recent concert in San Jose. This kind of shameless nonsense makes the Sharks look so stupid, right? Who cares because boy bands are dumb and hockey is for real men only. Also, it's pretty cool when pro wrestlers do this same stuff in my opinion.

St. Louis Blues: The Blues say they aren't close to getting a new deal agreed with Alex Pietrangelo. They keep insisting that a "bajillionty" dollars isn't a thing they can offer him.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Nov. 27 will be Vinny Lecavalier's first game back in Tampa. Mark your calendars because, "But as far as Philly is concerned, the Flyers-Lightning rivalry is one of the most heated in Bolts team history." Did you know that? Did anyone? Is this because of that in-game 1-3-1 protest a few years ago? Conversely, on a list of rivals, where do you think the Flyers have the Lightning? A millionth place?

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are acting like they're not going to just hand Jonathan Bernier the No. 1 starter job the second training camp opens. So cute.

Vancouver Canucks: "Another 29 people, including two minors, have been charged in Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot." You get the feeling this is just what happens on a slow news day in Vancouver now.

Washington Capitals: Everyone seems to have agreed at this point that the Capitals have to be the team to make a run at Mikhail Grabovski but I wonder if it's based on anything more than "His name sounds Russian and he's a center."

Winnipeg Jets: "Why the Jets core wasn't ready upon relocating to Winnipeg." Blame Atlanta for everything! Lock up all the players that came to you from Atlanta anyway. That's the Winnipeg Way!

Gold Star Award

That Antoine Roussel story over the weekend is awesome. What a dude.
Minus of the Weekend
Had a nice conversation over the weekend about how poorly run the Leafs are. It's fun to laugh about hockey!

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "Vatican Roulette" doesn't seem to understand how hockey works.

To Phoenix: Eriksson
Kelly

For

To Boston:
Yandle
Summers

Signoff

It was one of those lady cops ya hear about.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Red Wings fan favorite dies at 47
Is Ron Hainsey being blackballed in free agency?
NHL approves sale of Coyotes

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Mon, 05 Aug 2013 06:18:38 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,0b14c59b-8a26-344e-9393-f19be9f1cea0-l:1
Timing bizarre on NHL Seattle expansion rumors (Trending Topics) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/timing-bizarre-nhl-seattle-expansion-rumors-trending-topics-140557363.html Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey, occasionally according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

The Phoenix Coyotes ordeal (more on that in a minute!) coming to and end -- or what seems to at least look kind of like a resolution if you unfocus your eyes and squint a little bit -- seemed, for a fantastical moment, to put to rest the idea of an NHL team playing in Seattle any time soon.

Motivated theoretical buyers or not, the chances that it actually happened always seemed at least a little slim considering how closely the league had held onto Making Hockey Work in a place where hockey is obviously and completely unworkable. The sale of the Coyotes to that shadowy cabal of out-of-town money men looked like it rolled a big stone in front of the cave above which was written "The Seattle Metropolitans or Whatever."

But lo, just two months later, the stone has been rolled away and out has stepped reports of Gary Bettman, gaze averted in supplication to the league's owners begging them to consider allowing the Pacific Northwest to bring into the world an expansion team, with all the fees that would come with it.

Easy to dismiss, at first blush. After all, how many local sports personalities who had pretensions of being plugged in came forth with false news of sales being signed and sealed with the blood of another Shane Doan elbowing victim, delivered by Greg Jamison and a host of others, only to have them evaporate in the hot desert sun? (Jude LaCava, we're looking at you here.)

But then the details got specific: The team would come with an expansion fee of $275 million, about $95 million more than the agreed-to Coyotes sale price. Again, this is reasonable. Expansion costs more than buying a team on the very definition of its last financial legs, and certainly the league is always looking to make current owners richer, as is its ongoing purpose despite all the hockey it plays to distract fans from that fact.

A whole new team? Despite the fact that it would bring the number of teams in the league to a cumbersome 31, that at least gets you a little closer to the 32 needed — and probably targeted — to even out the conferences from their current absurd 16-in-the-East-and-14-in-the-West format.

Back to the mundanities, such an expansion effort would require a "solid" ownership group and a new arena. Both of which we already knew about, though one wonders what, exactly, the league would consider to be "solid" in 2013 given the kind of people it has allowed to get involved in this kind of thing in the near past: actual criminals and, more recently, guys with little more backing than a hope, a history in NHL boardrooms, and an ugly suit. The group that wanted in on the Coyotes is at least one of the current interested expansion bidders.

Obviously the arena thing is theoretically taken care of, as was explored without end during the latest Coyotes ownership shuffle (which I promise I'm getting to), because some people want to build a new arena in the Emerald City that would ideally house both an NBA and NHL team. You'll recall that the Oilers were also recently linked to such a deal because Darryl Katz was being a crybaby about Edmonton's desire to finance an arena.

Oh but here's the kicker on the rumored Seattle expansion: The team would enter the league at the start of 2014-15. You know, like, 15 months from now.

I'm pretty sure you can't build an arena in that amount of time. So the team would instead play in KeyArena, with just 15,200 seats or so to its name, for what? Two seasons? Three? Even more?

Granted, no one is going to have to care about a hypothetical new Seattle team beyond, "Wow isn't it great we have an NHL team?" for at least five years, since expansion teams pretty much stink universally for the first several years of existence, and sometimes more.

While 15,200 seats' worth of revenues are better than the zero Seattle is generating now, isn't this exactly why the NHL is kind of dragging its feet on getting itself entrenched in what would likely be a far more fertile ground for adding another team — in terms of both interest and expansion fees — in Quebec City? The Colisée Pepsi seats almost the same exact number of people as KeyArena and the city is already building an arena purely on spec. Obviously, you'd have to imagine there is going to be an NHL team in this building in the relatively near future, but they will soon have more than a year's head start on Seattle, which hasn't even signed off on a memorandum of understanding for construction yet, meaning that it could be months or more before they even break ground.

But here's the weird part, which, I'm sure should come as no surprise to you, involves the current Coyotes ownership group.

The Board of Governors was supposed to sign off on the deal this week. As of this writing, that hasn't happened yet. Why? Well, according to Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal (who has been right about this kind of thing in the past despite the naysayers), citing two sources, "[S]ome financing for the sale has either not been finalized or has dropped out of the deal." Which would be a problem since the deal has to be finalized by Aug. 5. It is, as of this publication, Aug. 2.

Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona, meanwhile, says the deal is on track. Bill Daly says it's "still moving." Glendale spokeswoman Julie Frisoni says it's "moving forward." But it's starting to look like collar-tugging time is here again in Glendale.

Supposing all the Coyotes stuff goes off without a hitch, which is a hell of a supposition to make given the history, Seattle is apparently where the NHL will turn its Eye of Sauron next, in constant search for the One Market to bring everything it ever wanted in an expansion franchise, and in the Northwest bind them. Hell, that might be the case even if Glendale Deal version Who.Knows? falls through. But from the way it looks right now, there would be as many questions about that market as would exist anywhere else, perhaps more.

But then, I guess you can always count on this league to pursue something other than its most viable option available, because what's the fun in rooting for the favorite, right?

If you’ve got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via e-mail. He’ll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you’ll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you’re so inclined.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Blues bullish on Jay Bouwmeester for long term
Stars' Antoine Roussel offers to pay fans for jersey change
Tennis Canada targets youth hockey in new ad campaign

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Fri, 02 Aug 2013 07:05:57 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,b8eded97-69b0-3488-9e17-d8be2312f06d-l:1
What We Learned: On the merits and drawbacks of a ‘bridge contract’ http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-merits-drawbacks-bridge-contract-143219395.html 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.

On Saturday, the Philadelphia Flyers successfully re-upped promising forward Sean Couturier to a two-year deal with a cap hit that, at $1.75 million per season, can best be described as "bafflingly low."

This is perhaps the latest in what appears to be a re-emerging trend of "bridge contracts" that are a potentially great way for teams to keep prices low after the expiration of entry-level deals. This kind of contract all but evaporated under the previous collective bargaining agreement, largely because of what Kevin Lowe did in its early days to target players with what Brian Burke would rightly call predatory offer sheets. These essentially eliminated the ability of teams to sign good, young players to relatively affordable contracts.

It must be said that bridge contracts were never especially fair to those players because they were not getting the freight that players with similar production levels and an additional few years in the league regularly pulled simply because they were veterans. However, it was a cost-effective way for teams to keep young guys for longer periods of time, and if just about everyone in the league was getting such deals, then at least they were all in the same boat at one point in their careers. But when things went out of control, so too did expectations of payment for young guys.

One need look no further than the James van Riemsdyk contract, which was never all that good of an idea for Philadelphia, to see where the new trend in re-signing RFAs landed everyone. Teams had to run pretty tight against the cap if they wanted to keep their promising players and also have enough proven veterans to be at least somewhat competitive in the league. The simple economics of the NHL largely dictated that some teams could not do this.

But what the Couturier deal and Colorado's hardline stance against Ryan O'Reilly's demands last winter (before that Calgary offer sheet) show is that teams simply aren't going to be making such concessions to guys still on their ELCs under this latest CBA. The Couturier deal also shows that players and their agents are starting to accept it somewhat, rather than go through the holdouts of O'Reilly and P.K. Subban.

It's worth noting that lots of people value Couturier a little more than they probably should, given that he has just 42 points in 123 career NHL games, and that overvaluing him is probably because of the idea that he "shut down" Evgeni Malkin in that one playoff series two seasons ago. And the only reason anyone thinks this is any particularly great bargain now is that teams and players alike are approaching a point at which it's widely agreed that the prospect of paying for potential, which is what teams had been doing in trying to gobble up a year or two of unrestricted free agency in exchange for more dollars than the players probably earned, is now no longer en vogue.

This is, all things considered a nominal raise for Couturier, and now he has ample motivation over the next two seasons to put in some serious "prove-it" performances in his age-21 and -22 seasons so that he can cash in on a much bigger deal going forward.

But with such contracts should come a bit of caution. The counterargument to signing these types of deals, though, is the foot-stomping and breath-holding in Montreal prior to the Subban contract. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was insistent that the ultra-promising young defenseman sign for just two years, which allows him to begin negotiations again this summer, and eventually kept his cap hit at $2.875 million per season. Great savings for the team in the short term, but the long-term effects could be troubling.

Subban wanted $5 million a season for five years, and didn't get it. That's how things go in the New-New NHL. But what he got instead was a Norris Trophy, and the ability to extract at least $7.5 million a season from Bergevin and the Habs for the next five years at least, and probably more. And the thing is, Subban likely outperformed his admittedly prodigious abilities in winning the Norris — through a combination of soft competition, favorable zone starts, and a high PDO, as well as 26 of his 38 points coming on the power play — which is the risk Bergevin should have known he was running.

Teams might save a little bit of money in the near-term, especially with the cap the next two seasons likely being well below the levels to which it climbed before the latest lockout. However, player spending is going to explode two or three years from now, and these guys who got "bridge contracts" in the last season or two before that could be in line to receive almost ludicrous amounts of money.

The Subban case is the shining example of a cautionary tale here: the Habs could have paid him $25 million over the next five seasons, but once they chose not to do so, instead committed themselves to spending as much as $30 million over that same period. That's assuming Subban gets in the neighborhood of $8 million a year on his next deal, which is well within the realm of possibility.

This is not to say that every restricted free agent whose ELC expires will instantly turn into one of the best at his position in the entire world, as Subban did through a decent amount of good luck. However, the question that has to be asked is how likely it would be for O'Reilly or Couturier or anyone else who signs such a contract to start having their production go through the roof for any number of reasons when they go from 21 to 23. Forward production tends to peak around age 25, so teams can expect to pay a lot more for those age-24-through-32 seasons (assuming the max eight-year deals, which obviously not everyone will get), and it's going to be to their detriment to do so. It'll be even worse for guys who don't make the NHL at 18, because teams would theoretically pay more for post-peak years on "bridge" deals.

The idea of paying for potential is galling in some ways — the guys simply haven't "proven it" at the NHL level — but it's a great way to keep costs depressed somewhat and not overpay for years when guys are near or even into their 30s. Bridge deals therefore seem like something that should be extended only to middling young players (and maybe you count Couturier in that group).

You're always going to have to pay through the nose for stars. You have to ask yourself whether you want to pay that much for them at 24, or 30.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Emerson Etem is looking to improve in his sophomore season, and the five points he had in seven games in the playoffs is a pretty good indication that he won't be sent down again to start the season.

Boston Bruins: The Bruins re-signed Jordan Caron over the weekend to replace Rich Peverley Cap savings on that change-out is a little more than $2.6 million, but hockey savings is negative-a-lot.

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres have a lot of defensemen under contract for next season, so where does that leave late-season college free agent signing Chad Ruhwedel? Well, he and five other guys are competing for two spots to round out the Sabres' top-six, so that's a tough draw.

Calgary Flames: Calgary has been scooping up its RFAs with nice short-term deals, but not T.J. Brodie, who's by far their best young defenseman. The team's looking for a bridge contract, but there's no progress to report there.

Carolina Hurricanes: Undrafted Sergey Tolchinsky was invited to Hurricanes development camp and scored two goals in a scrimmage. Kirk Muller was duly impressed. "He’s probably the biggest surprise or explosive guy this week who made people look at him,” Muller said. “He didn’t get drafted — let’s be honest, probably people said it was his size." Also because his name is Sergey.

Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews took the Stanley Cup wakeboarding but it wasn't even on Toews Lake so I feel like that was a total waste.

Colorado Avalanche: Get ready for a lot of insufferable coverage of the Avalanche/Predators game on Oct. 4, Seth Jones' first game in Denver since the Avs didn't pick him. The coverage will likely be slightly less insufferable than the actual hockey in the game itself, however.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Who will be the Blue Jackets' rival in their new division? The Rangers, obviously. They each have so many of each other's old players I wouldn't be surprised to see guys join the rush for the other team at least a few times in that first game.

Dallas Stars: Jim Lites says Lindy Ruff is one of the best "Xs and Os" coaches alive but you'd say that too if your two most recent coaches were Marc Crawford and Glen Gulutzan.

Detroit Red Wings: Martin Frk looked really good at the Red Wings' development camp which means it'll only be another seven years before they let him play on the NHL team.

Edmonton Oilers: Taxation-wise, it might be wise for Sam Gagner to take a bit of a hometown discount in Edmonton, and possibly avoid an acrimonious arbitration hearing, but you gotta wonder whether that's how a player thinks in this kind of situation. (Hint: probably not.)

Florida Panthers: Kevin Dineen on the new schedule, which has the Panthers playing four games away from Sunrise to begin the year: "I love starting on the road." Of course, his team, which won just seven games and scored a league-low 45 goals away from home in 2013, seems to not like finishing there.

Los Angeles Kings: I know this happened before the weekend started but I'm still sitting here perplexed by why on earth the Kings would trade for Dan Carcillo.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild see "a lot to like" about their new schedule. Such as a bunch of games against bad Eastern Conference teams.

Montreal Canadiens: Does this Canadiens roster look like it's capable of repeating as a division champion over 82 games? Yeah, I don't think so either.

Nashville Predators: Matt Cullen on the top line? No thank you.

New Jersey Devils: Seriously, are the Devils going to sign Jaromir Jagr or what? Someone's gotta replace David Clarkson's production and why not have it be a 41-year-old who now fizzles out 50 or so games into the season? Hell, that's like three times longer than Clarkson lasted in 2013.

New York Islanders: Frans Nielsen thinks Peter Regin can be a star in this league, which leads me to believe that they have a different definition for that word in Denmark.

New York Rangers: You know what I always say about what makes a good NHL team win a lot? Their toughness. Gotta be tough to play against. Look how well it works in Calgary.

Ottawa Senators: The Sens recently extended AHL coach Luke Richardson and his assistants for one year but you gotta think other teams are going to come calling after Binghamton went 44-24-1-7 last season.

Philadelphia Flyers: Yeah, you can go ahead and start the doomsday clock on Paul Holmgren's career in Philadelphia.

Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan is entering his 18th season with the Coyotes franchise, making him the most tenured Phoenix-area pro athlete ever. Will Diana Taurasi, now in her 10th season with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, be able to chase him down?

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sid Crosby will have "minor" work done on his jaw later this summer. Gotta wonder if Darren Dreger will be there to show the surgeon what big meanie Zdeno Chara did to it.

San Jose Sharks: The San Jose Sharks will travel the most of anyone this season, covering 57,612 miles. In 2011-12, before conference and division realignment, they traveled just 43,994.

St. Louis Blues: Ken Hitchcock did his homework on Magnus Paajarvi before the team traded David Perron for him, including studying tape of how he did against similar teams to the Blues (i.e. good ones). Can't have watched too many Oilers games against the Northwest then.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Who's the third-highest paid defenseman on the Lightning in terms of salary? After Matt Carle's $5.75 million and Eric Brewer's $4 million, it's Mattias Ohlund at $3.75 million. (After that, it's Sam Salo at $3.5 million, and that's gotta be the worst use of a combined $16.5 million I've ever seen in my life.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The only thing the Leafs do to determine whether they've been successful is track scoring chances. In that respect, they were pretty close to the Bruins in seven games. In nearly all other respects, though, not so much.

Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks will play 32 of their games in back-to-backs this season, of which 20 will be on the road. But compared with the last Olympic season, when the team had to take all those long road trips, they're practically dancing in the streets over this one.

Washington Capitals: Here is a list of non-Ovechkin Capitals who are going to make Olympic teams: Nicklas Backstrom and Martin Erat. That's it.

Winnipeg Jets: Remember Zach Redmond, who had his femoral artery and vein cut by a skate in practice? He's re-signed with the Jets over the weekend and has been skating since about the beginning of April.

Gold Star Award

Reports circulating that Hockey Canada will name its preliminary Olympic roster today. A great chance to get an early peek at what a roster of non-medalling losers looks like. USA Hockey will also announce its roster but it's all a formality because they could win gold with just about anyone ever born in this great nation.

Minus of the Weekend

Go check out that Sharks link about travel again: It says the Red Wings will travel 35,324 miles this year. Down from 42,865. The NHL realigned the entire league so the Red Wings could travel 7,500 fewer miles. Good lord.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

I wonder what team user "bruins2011" supports.

Boychuk or mcquaid [to Edmonton] for a first round pick, a high end prospect and a 3rd liner.

Signoff

If your sorority has to sell jam to buy beer, you're drinking too much.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 22 Jul 2013 07:32:19 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,a06084cf-a4cf-3e4d-85c7-86d96845ddbc-l:1
Puck Daddy’s 2013 NHL Free Agent Frenzy Report Card http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-daddy-2013-nhl-free-agent-frenzy-report-213232584.html The NHL’s 2013 Free Agent Frenzy began at noon on Friday, July 5. Teams spent well over $400 million on contracts that they’ll either celebrate or regret for years to come.

Here are our hasty, myopic grade assessments for free-agent feast, which began roughly five days ago.

Who won? Who lost? Enjoy the hair-trigger reactions!

Anaheim Ducks

The Bobby Ryan trade was going to happen at some point – signing Perry and Getzlaf guaranteed that.

Maybe your expectations for an eventual Ryan trade where more than what the Ottawa Senators sent back to Anaheim; if so, they likely didn’t take the Ducks’ salary structure or the marketplace into account. Fact is that Jakob Silfverberg could be the fantasy darling of 2013-14 if he’s moved onto the Perry/Getzlaf line; Stefan Noesen is a former first-rounder and a tenacious player; and the Ducks get a first-rounder in 2014 as well.

Meanwhile, Ryan has two years left on his deal before a UFA bonanza. And if you think he’s going to re-sign there, allow me to point out he has an American girlfriend who has been living in California and thought Ottawa was a suburb of Detroit.

The Ducks also re-signed Saku Koivu (1 year, $2.5 million) after other alternatives at center didn’t pan out, as well as Ben Lovejoy for three years and $3.3 million on defense.

GRADE: B-plus

Boston Bruins

After a few years of consistency of roster, the Bruins saw dramatic changes around the Frenzy.

The biggest move was the seven-player deal with the Dallas Stars that saw the Bruins trade forward/former second overall pick/hater of moderation Tyler Seguin, center Rich Peverley and defensive prospect Ryan Button for left wing Loui Eriksson, young forwards Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser and defense prospect Joe Morrow.

In the short term, the Bruins win the deal. They cleared $4.75 million in cap space and acquired the best player in the trade in Eriksson, who averages around 30 goals a season. He’s a perfect fit for the Bruins’ system.

In the long term, Morrow projects to be a top four defenseman in the NHL. But the long-term success or failure of the deal rests with Seguin, who either becomes yet another cautionary tale of talent wasted on a misguided young player or the next Patrick Kane reclamation project. In the meantime, where guaranteed at least a few more months of photos depicting him sloshed at BBQs, so we all win.

The Bruins let Jaromir Jagr walk – slowly, and never at the pace of his linemates – and saw Nathan Horton leave for the “quieter” environs of Columbus, and decided to replace him with the most surreal choice possible: Jarome Iginla, who infamously chose the Penguins at the trade deadline last season over a deal to the Bruins.

He has a one year deal, an incentive-laden $6 million contract. He moves back to his natural position on the right with the Bruins, but one wonders how he’ll fit in Boston – and how much he has left as a top line player. But the sheer joy that is Bostonian sports fan brains exploding at the notion of Iginla signing with “The Second Choice” is priceless.

The loss of Andrew Ference on defense was expected but could hurt in the room and on the ice, despite the Bruins having some quality young defensive depth. Goalie Anton Khudobin left for Carolina, while the Bruins signed goalie Chad Johnson (Phoenix) and defenseman Aaron Johnson (Rangers).

They might regret it down the line, but in the short term the Bruins get …

GRADE: A-minus

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres believe Henrik Tallinder is going to help Tyler Myers figure out what the hell happened to Tyler Myers. He was his mentor before leaving for the Devils, who wanted to shed his salary. Their loss is Buffalo’s gain. Otherwise, it was quiet for the Sabres, which is a nice change of pace for Pegulaville (Population: All On 10-Year Free-Agent Contracts) Still, their inability to trade Ryan Miller as the rest of the goalie market started to settle is a little frustrating.

GRADE: B

Calgary Flames

The Flames made two small moves that have some upside. TJ Galiardi was plucked from the San Jose Sharks, and has a 1 year deal worthier $1.25 million. Defenseman Kris Russell was jettisoned from the Blues after he turned down a 1-year deal. He was a spare part there; maybe he gets his ice time in Calgary. Brian “Big Ern” McGrattan re-signed for 2 years and $1.5 million, and he’s always good for punches.

GRADE: C

Carolina Hurricanes

That Mike Komisarek is an upgrade to the Carolina defense should speak volumes, but he is: At the very least, he’s doesn’t seem like a redundancy, which has been that group’s problem for the last few years. Maybe without that contract and the Toronto media asking when he’ll be bought out, he thrives. The Anton Khodobin/Dan Ellis swap saved the Canes $100,000 and gained them someone who can push Cam Ward. GM Jim Rutherford has other irons in the fire, but for now …

GRADE: B

Chicago Blackhawks

All of the exoduses were expected for the champs, as Viktor Stalberg (Nashville), Ray Emery (Philly) and Rostislav Olesz (Jersey) all departed. That opened up salary space to re-sign Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus, so that’s a fair tradeoff. Nikolai Khabibulin as a $2 million backup goalie isn’t as risky as it sounds, especially if Corey Crawford’s ready to carry more of the freight next season in starts. They could have probably found a cheaper alternative, but we imagine Stan Bowman’s still buzzed from the parade.

GRADE: B

Colorado Avalanche

Nick Holden! Andre Benoit! J.T. Wyman! Guillaume Desbiens! Nate Guenin! If any of these names mean something to you, you’re probably an Avalanche fan. Our only surprise: That with Patrick Roy’s Ego now in player personnel, only two of these players are French-sounding. Bottom line: The Avs weren’t looking to be players in free agency, and weren’t.

GRADE: C-minus

Columbus Blue Jackets

How anyone can view the Nathan Horton contract as anything but a win for this team is baffling. Yes, he’s going to undergo shoulder surgery. Yes, he has a concussion history – funny how that’s an issue for a free agent signing but never for, say, Patrice Bergeron re-signing.

Horton is a power forward the Jackets need. The $5.3 million cap hit is actually lower than you’d expect a desperate team to hand out. The seven years are about two too long, but who cares? The Blue Jackets won a free agent derby because a guy wanted to play in Columbus and they didn’t pay significantly over market value. Two summers ago, they had to trade for Jeff Carter because no one wanted to play there; now, Horton picked them.

GRADE: A-

Dallas Stars

Well, Jim Nill certainly didn’t waste any time, did he?

The Tyler Seguin/Loui Eriksson seven-player swap puts his mark on this team in dramatic fashion. Seguin’s maturation as a star player will determine its success, because the Stars sent significant assets back to Boston. Rich Peverley adds much needed depth to the middle. So does Shawn Horcoff, acquired for Phillip Larson and a 2014 seventh-rounder. He has a relationship with Lindy Ruff and Nill, and desperately needed a change in scenery – his points per game were down to 0.39 in Edmonton, as he fell down the depth chart.

So three additions down the middle, which will allow Jamie Benn to move back to the wing, which is a good thing. Lindy Ruff said he expects Seguin to play with Benn from the start, which is either a way to further fuel his sense of entitlement or to give him a ball he shan't drop.

Dan Ellis is a nice backup to Kari Lehtonen without being threatening.

It’s tough to judge this one, because if Seguin stops pretending he’s auditioning for an E! reality show (tentative title: “Ty One On”) and fulfills his potential, this could be a banner day for the Stars franchise. As of now, a lot of needs filled by Nill.

GRADE: A-minus

Detroit Red Wings

The Wings missed on Ryan Suter last summer, then entered into a “transition year” that saw them transition right into the conference semifinal. So GM Ken Holland went into the off-season ready to spend – little did he know what opportunity would arise.

Daniel Alfredsson at $5.5 million for one season is a classic “hired gun wants to win Cup” scenario, but this gun has more than a few bullets left. He’s a perfect addition to the top six for this team. So is Stephen Weiss (5 years, $4.9 million) who costs less and might even be a shade better than Valtteri Filppula. Much like Nathan Horton when he left Florida, Weiss has been waiting years for this chance.

The Wings are losing Damien Brunner (bummer) and potentially Dan Cleary.

They still need to address the blue line, but adding two top-six forwards makes Detroit a lot closer to that Cup Alfie’s chasing. Hey, remember when Marian Hossa went to Detroit to chase one? Good times …

GRADE: A-

Edmonton Oilers

Is it OK to really, really love what the Oilers did here?

Andrew Ference is exactly what the team needed on the back end: Veteran presence, some physicality and leadership from a guy with a ring. Some have complained that Ference hasn’t played against top competition thanks to Zdeno Chara with the Bruins, but Tyler Dellow goes the distance in explaining why that’s a bit of a misnomer. At a $3.25 million cap hit, it’s a great deal, even if four years is perhaps one too many for a player his age.

The Boyd Gordon signing is even better. He’s terrific on draws, kills penalties and isn’t an offensive black hole despite his role. Edmonton might have overpaid a bit at $9 million over 3 years, but you try convincing a guy to leave the golf courses of Glendale for Edmonton in December and see how much it takes. Jason Labarbera, also from the Coyotes, is a serviceable backup at $1 million.

They also found a taker for Shawn Horcoff’s $5.5 million cap hit through 2015.

GRADE: A

Florida Panthers

Stephen Weiss wasn’t coming back; not with Detroit and St. Louis in the mix. The Panthers added Washington Capitals fourth liner Joey Crabb for 2 years at $1.2 million and Toronto spare part defenseman Mike Mottau at 1 year and $700,000. Remember when Dale Tallon signed, like, all the free agents? We miss those days. For now, they deserve an incomplete, because other moves have to be made. But for now …

GRADE: D

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings lost The Piece, Rob Scuderi, to the Penguins and checking winger Brad Richardson to the Vancouver Canucks. They re-signed Keaton Ellerby for one year and inked Jeff Schultz, who was bought out by the Capitals, for one year. Schultz is, as they say, not good. But hey, they’re still in the “pulling Matt Frattin for Bernier” afterglow, so …

GRADE: D

Minnesota Wild

The Wild spent the gross national product of Belize on two free agents last summer, so this was quiet by comparison – but more controversial. Matt Cooke is still considered the scum of the Earth by Western Conference fans who get their news from Mike Milbury and/or morons who think he intentionally Ginzu’d the leg of Erik Karlsson. At 3 years and $7.5 million, he’s a guy who plays on the edge (like the departed Cal Clutterbuck) but is a more-than-serviceable depth player (unlike Cal Clutterbuck).

Keith Ballard gets 2 years with a $1.5 million cap hit and is another player that should thrive without the crushing weight of his cap hit smothering him. Matt Cullen (Nashville) was allowed to leave so Mikael Granlund could slide up the depth chart. Pierre-Marc Bouchard also left, for the Islanders.

GRADE: B-minus

Montreal Canadiens

The Danny Briere signing was expected but nonetheless impressive for the Habs, who get a versatile forward who’s money in the playoffs and can be an insufferable [expletive] to play against, which seems to be the only requirement for Marc Bergevin to give you money and a Montreal sweater.

Gone were Michael Ryder (NJ) and Yannick Weber (Vancouver). But George Parros has arrived to punch people with a funny mustache. Like, he has the funny mustache, we mean. We assume he’d also punch people with one too.

GRADE: B-plus

Nashville Predators

The Predators needed goals. That’s it. That was the mission for GM David Poile this summer. Find goals.

Viktor Stalberg had 22 of them for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12, so that’s promising. Matt Cullen had 14 of them that season, which isn’t bad. Eric Nystrom had 16 that season too, which is even better.

The problem is that none of these players can be counted on consistently for offense, and that they eat up $8 million in cap space. These are fine players. These are nice players. But these are not players that you enter next season with wiping your hands and saying “offensive problems solved!” Which, again, was the mission.

The Cullen signing was, I think, the best of the lot. But again: Briere went for $500,000 more. It speaks to Nashville’s inability to attract top line offensive talent, which speaks to either the market or the team’s philosophy.

Also: Matt Hendricks was one of my favorite players to watch and cover with the Washington Capitals, but a 4-year contract (even with a small $1.85 million hit) is truly bizarre for a player the Predators seem to already have five of.

GRADE: C-minus

New Jersey Devils

When Lou is good, he’s very good: Michael Ryder for 2 years and $7 million is very good. Patrik Elias back for three years and a $5.5 million cap hit shows that Lou’s Kool-Aid remains strong. Rusty Olesz for 1 year and $1 million … sure, whatever. Shedding Henrik Tallinder’s salary was a plus as well.

When Lou is bad, it’s usually in reaction to someone leaving the Devils: When Niedermayer left, it was Malakhov and McGillis. When Clarkson left on Friday, it was 5 years and $24.25 million for Ryane Clowe, a player I believe is sliding on the downside of his career like a snowboarder trying to avoid an avalanche.

GRADE: B-minus

New York Islanders

The most significant move for the Islanders was re-signing Travis Hamonic for 7 years at $27 million. In typical fashion, it was a move trashed by uppity Canadian media types that watched the Islanders for the first time in seven years during the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, which ignores the fact that Garth Snow locked up a 23-year-old minutes-eating two-way defenseman at $3.857 million through 2020.

Assuming Evgeni Nabokov gives them exactly what he did in 2012-13, it’s not a bad move to bring him back for another year, even at $3.25 million. But you’d like to see the Islanders add another goalie to that mix.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been called “tentative” and “soft” by Minnesota Wild observers that have seen his game diminish in the last few injury-riddled seasons. One year, $2 million, and the chance to resurrect his career with Tavares and Moulson? That’s a better investment than relocating to Brooklyn.

GRADE: A

New York Rangers

The Rangers decided not to buy out Brad Richards for some misguided reason, let Ryane Clowe become the Devils problem, re-signed Ryan McDonagh to a great deal, traded for Justin Falk and Danny Syvret and signed both Benoit Pouliot (1 year, $1.3 million) and Aaron Johnson (1 year, $600K). GM Glen Sather has to take care of his own – Derek Stepan needs a contract, too – before bringing in more bodies. As it stands:

GRADE: B-minus

Ottawa Senators

The Daniel Alfredsson controversy overshadows everything else the Senators did, which is a shame, because they’re a better team now than they were on July 3.

Bobby Ryan is an elite goal scorer with size – essential in the East – and one assumes he’ll keep Jason Spezza in girlish giggles for the next two years if the two find chemistry. You have to give to get, and the Sens paid up for Ryan, but he’s a star.

The Clarke MacArthur signing is great because (a) he’s an essential replacement for Silfverberg on that second line and (b) because the next two years of Leafs fans bitching about an overpaid Clarkson while Sens fans celebrate an underpaid MacArthur ($3.25 million cap hit) are going to be glorious.

Joe Corvo is back again as a spare part defenseman, while Peter Regin’s disappointment output is now with the New York Islanders.

Tough losing Alfie, but it might be his loss.

GRADE: A-minus

Philadelphia Flyers

Remember when the Flyers signed Vincent Lecavalier at $4.5 million annually for five years and everyone went apoplectic? Welp, he’s going to earn less than Iginla, Ribeiro, Alfredsson, Horton, Clarkson, Filppula, Weiss and Clowe next season against the cap.

Yeah, horrible signing, Philly, coming in under market value like that.

Oh, and what’s this: Ray Emery is back for just $1.65 million after going 17-1-0 last season with Chicago?

Adam Hall was also signed for $600,000 and one season. Which is obviously why they bought out Bryzgalov and Briere.

For some reason, these signings are being demonized as terrible. Maybe you don’t feel they needed Lecavalier; you weren’t saying the same thing when the lack of a veteran winger, in the wake of Jagr’s departure, helped sink the team during the season.

The Flyers didn’t solve all of their issues, but these were shrewd financial moves from a team we weren’t sure knew had to make them. So, with the bar set there:

GRADE: B-plus

Phoenix Coyotes

Mike Ribeiro wanted five years, got four years and signed with the Coyotes for $5.5 million against the cap annually. If you expect last year’s numbers, you’re an idiot: No Alex Ovechkin, no Adam Oates’ orchestrated power play, no contract year. Better to expect him in the neighborhood of 60-70 points, most likely playing with Shane Doan. Dave Tippett’s had Ribeiro before, and this is good reunion for the center – even if that’s a mighty high price for what amounts to a second line center.

The Coyotes will miss Boyd Gordon’s defense. Thomas Greiss backs up Mike Smith for $250,000 less than what Jason Labarbera wanted.

The major failing, thus far: The Coyotes still haven’t addressed a lack of veteran scoring on the wing.

GRADE: B-minus

Pittsburgh Penguins

Rob Scuderi is a nice, safe move by the Penguins, at four years and a $3.375 million cap hit. He still has plenty left, and folds right back into the Pittsburgh system with ease.

The Penguins let Iginla and Matt Cooke walk, traded Tyler Kennedy, and made the smart decision to bring back Craig Adams at two years and $1.4 million. Oh, and Pascal Dupuis got paid: Four years and $15 million.

GRADE: B

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks were really, really quiet during the Frenzy, dealing away T.J. Galiardi to Calgary and watching Thomas Greiss leave for the Coyotes. They re-signed Scott Hannan for one year and a million dollars, so that’s something. They flirted with Alfredsson, so that’s another thing. Also, they didn’t do anything stupid, which is the important thing.

GRADE: C-minus

St. Louis Blues

Look, Maxim Lapierre is a nice signing for a team that’s at its best when it’s at its most annoying. Re-signing Jordan Leopold is a positive move (2 years, $2.25 million). But the Blues chased Stephen Weiss, Valterri Filppula and Lecavalier and couldn’t convince them to sign in St. Louis. Instead, they spent $4 million on Derek Roy for one season, his third team in two years. GM Doug Armstrong rationalized it: “We're still bringing back the same centermen that got us home-ice advantage the last two years in the playoffs.” Yeah, that must be why you were desperately seeking an upgrade. For now, a ...

GRADE: D-plus

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning buy out Vincent Lecavalier, and everyone celebrates the end of a regrettable contract. Which leads to GM Steve Yzerman … entering into another regrettable contract.

Filppula as a $5-million player annually over five years makes Jiri Hudler seem underpaid. This is another Matt Carle signing, made worse because Yzerman was part of the Red Wings and should know better.

Cardinal rule: If the master signs a better player at $4.9 million annually over five years, best not give his castoff more money if you’re the student.

GRADE: D

Toronto Maple Leafs

By now, the Tyler Bozak (5 years, $21 million) and David Clarkson (7 years, $36.75 million) contracts have been picked apart to the cent. Bozak is the overpaid faux first liner who’s actually a drag on his buddy Phil Kessel’s stats. Clarkson’s contract promises value in the first couple of seasons, before what Mirtle believes will be a sharp decline.

The Bozak signing is nepotism; you can almost feel the tap on the shoulder to Kessel saying, “Hey, champ, see what we did for your boys? How about that contract extension?” The Clarkson signing would be a good one at the right price; but at seven years and a cap hit of $5.25 million, he will be afflicted with Chris Drury Disease – player with great intangibles seen as a hapless bust because his numbers don’t sync up with his contract – by Year 3 at the latest.

They won’t miss Komisarek. They will miss MacArthur and, especially, Mikhail Grabovski, inexplicably allowed to walk in order to pay Bozak.

GRADE: D

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks had addition by subtractions, as Derek Roy and Keith Ballard left for St. Louis and Minnesota. Vancouver will miss Max Lapierre’s particular brand of whimsy, but Brad Richardson’s a nice addition to the bottom six. Yannick Weber’s a depth defenseman on the cheap. Now, about that Luongo issue …

GRADE: C-plus

Washington Capitals

Gone are Mike Ribeiro, Matt Hendricks, Jeff Schultz and Joey Crabb. Coming in is … nobody. The Capitals were quiet during the Frenzy, keeping with Adam Oates plan to maintain consistency on the roster from year to year. Which is all well and good but who the [expletive] is playing second-line center next season?

GRADE: C-minus

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets traded for Devin Setoguchi and watched Alex Burmistrov leave for the KHL, so at least their offensive enigma quota remains sufficiently filled.

GRADE: C-minus

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Report: Hurricanes, Sabres and Habs among Jaromir Jagr suitors
Alex Burmistrov leaves Jets to play in KHL
Ryan McDonagh, Rangers agree to six-year extension

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Mon, 08 Jul 2013 14:32:32 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,2a800625-e337-3cc5-848d-f0817c9c76bc-l:1
What We Learned: Worst thing about NHL Awards? The voters http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-worst-thing-nhl-awards-voters-124804628.html

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.

Hockey fans will absolutely hate to hear this, but here it is anyway: There's one thing baseball does way better than hockey, and to which this sport really needs to switch as soon as humanly possible.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America makes a point to publish the ballots of every person who voted for Major League Baseball's awards, and that level of accountability is generally welcomed in the sports world at large. You know exactly who voted for exactly what, and writers who made some of the more absurd picks for the MVP or Cy Young awards have to try to defend those choices as best they can.

The Professional Hockey Writers' Association, however, does not publish the individual ballots of its members, and that they don't is ludicrous. This was a debate that kicked up around the end of the regular season, when some writers, in the interest of transparency and to engender discussion, said who they voted for when it came to a number of awards and often why they did so. That they were occasionally wrong in their voting is to be expected, because no one can get everything right all the time, but at least those writers in particular had the guts to say, "No, I didn't think Sergei Bobrovsky was more valuable to his team than Jonathan Toews," no matter how ridiculous such a statement was.

But that the organization doesn't do so is ridiculous and a little cowardly.

Without this accountability, the practice outwardly it lends itself to ballots for most valuable player being filled out with votes for Eric Staal, Pascal Dupuis and Evgeni Nabokov, none of whom deserve that much recognition. Writers don't have to think about why they put who where, and if they did, they would, perhaps, be a little more judicious.

Interestingly, the Alex Ovechkin pick was the wrong one even if you're going to disqualify Sidney Crosby on the basis that he was injured for the final quarter of the season, but you can at least see why the decision was made. Sometimes guys don't always win the awards they deserve (see also: Jarome Iginla losing to Jose Theodore in 2002).

This is true of Jonas Brodin or Nail Yakupov not finishing in the top three for the Calder voting, and some (presumably Boston-based) writer considering Dougie Hamilton to be the second-best rookie in the league this season. Worse, some moron considered Sheldon Souray, who wasn't the third-best defenseman on his team, to be the fifth-best defenseman in the league this year. Hell, someone else looked at Andrei Markov's season and thought he was worthy of a first-place vote.

For best defenseman in the National Hockey League.

Someone gave Shane Doan, who was suspended for three games last season, a first-place Lady Byng vote. Perhaps most absurd of all, and I swear to you that this is a real thing that actually happened, is that Tyler Bozak received not one but TWO fifth-place votes for the Selke, which last time I checked was supposed to go to the best defensive forward in the League.

These are oversights, or outright incorrect opinions, from writers, and they should have to be answered for. Professional hockey writers, as the name of their job implies, are people who are paid money to watch and think critically about hockey. Most are at the rink every day, they talk to the players, they theoretically watch other teams on television as well.

Votes like these go beyond the traditional complaints of East Coast Bias, and moves into something more insidious: Ignorance.

No one in their right minds, or with a strong understanding of the sport about which they are paid to write, can watch a season's worth of hockey and say to themselves, "Why yes, I did think Patrick Kane was the second-best defensive forward in the league." And even if they did watch that much hockey and did think so, the due diligence of actually looking at all the relevant statistics would, one might conjecture, necessarily dictate that they'd rethink such a ludicrous position.

Which is why ballots should be made public. Every rotten one of them. This way we can tell for absolute sure who is wrong, and probably glean why as well (my guess more or less across the board: Homerism).

Publishing votes might also lead the people who arrived at such decisions to write something, or anything, justifying exactly why they thought Dan Hamhuis was No. 3 among the League's top blue liners this year, as one person did.

The argument against such a move is that it opens up writers to mockery or an avalanche of questions and criticism from their hometown fans about exactly why their ballots didn't list five players from the teams they cover. That makes sense to some extent, at least from the organization's point of view, because members have to be protected from the dumber of hockey's myriad dumb fanbases.

But at the same time, writers who usually get their ballots as wrong as that seem, in general, to also be the ones who complain the most about Internet Trolls Hiding Behind Anonymous Screen Names. It would not surprise me in the slightest if these writers filled out these ballots in their underwear, perhaps in their mother's basement. We have no way of knowing for sure, because of how cloaked in mystery and anonymity this all is, so that's really the only thing that's safe to assume.

Perhaps the good thing for the PHWA, though, is that they are not alone in this. The NHLPA votes for the Ted Lindsay award, but all we know is that Sidney Crosby won it. A whopping 18 broadcasters thought Randy Carlyle was among the three best coaches in the league, and three thought he was tops. Two NHL general managers thought Scott Howson was one of the three best people at that job this season, even though he got fired from it, and another thought Ray Emery was the league's No. 1 goaltender.

We don't know who any of those idiots are either.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks were the 10th-oldest team in the league last season, so no matter who they get in the draft in a few weeks, they'll be addressing perhaps their most pressing organizational need: youth.

Boston Bruins: Just go ahead and give Tuukka Rask the Conn Smythe right now.

Buffalo Sabres: According to their director of amateur scouting, the Sabres are trying really hard to get the No. 1 pick from Colorado, which obviously isn't going to happen.

Calgary Flames: Big weekend of Flames news, each bit pretty important, so here they all are: They're not buying anyone out this summer, they're probably going to hire Brendan Shanahan as team president, and they tried to trade the No. 6, 22, and 28 picks for Colorado's No. 1 overall. You can't say they're not interesting, at the very least.

Carolina Hurricanes: Eric Staal plans to start skating again in August, and is still moving around with a little bit of difficulty. Man that knee-on-knee was brutal.

Chicago Blackhawks: David Bolland has been taking to mentoring Andrew Shaw on all things pest-like, and that seems like it'll be bad news for the rest of the league for years to come.

Colorado Avalanche: It's all in French but JS Giguere says new coach Patrick Roy "will make a big difference," largely because he is already talking about winning. That doesn't necessarily make him good at his job, but it does make him almost absurdly blind in his optimism.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Big-time shout out for Sergei Bobrovsky for winning the Vezina and then maybe bolting to the KHL this summer without a second thought. When asked about it following his award win, he simply said, "We'll see." Not encouraging.

Dallas Stars: Still no coach in Dallas, as Alain Vigneault is headed to New York instead. Not the hottest of starts for Jim Nill.

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Henrik Zetterberg won the Foundation Player Award, an honor so prestigious I didn't know what it really was. Basically, the NHL is giving him $25,000 to start three water stations in Ethiopia, so that's pretty cool.

Edmonton Oilers: Oklahoma City Barons coach Todd Nelson says he was "very disappointed" to not be named the new Oilers' coach, but did you even hear his name mentioned as a possibility? It was all Eakins all the time. And for good reason.

Florida Panthers: Well, I guess Jonathan Huberdeau wasn't an UNdeserving Calder candidate, right?

Los Angeles Kings: Slava Voynov is close to re-signing with the Kings and boy is that contract going to be a real laugh.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild's AHL affiliate is more likely to succeed than other minor-league teams in Des Moines have in the past, because of how close to Iowa is to Minnesota. This makes perfect sense.

Montreal Canadiens: PK Subban says his little brother Jordan, who's draft-eligible this year, might be better than him. Yeah, but does he Play The Right Way? This is important. Lay off the triple low fives, kid.

Nashville Predators: The Preds are going to work with the city to build a new practice rink on the site of a former mall in Nashville. Apparently it's part of the team's lease at Bridgestone Arena that it has to build more rinks that could be used for youth hockey.

New Jersey Devils: The Devils' arena finally reached a revenue-sharing deal with the city of Newark and its Housing Authority last week, which has been a major pain in the ass for all parties since about 2006. Oh but those sniper battles were fun while they lasted.

New York Islanders: How will the Islanders get prospect Kirill Petrov over to North America? By guaranteeing him a roster spot. How very Islanders-y.

New York Rangers: Hmm maybe Larry Brooks is right that a guy with literally no pro coaching experience ever wouldn't have been the right fit for a team that has designs on winning a Stanley Cup in the near future. Maybe.

Ottawa Senators: Daniel Alfredsson has yet to make a decision on what he'll do next season but the Senators aren't about to pressure him, likely because they're still wrapping up the Karlsson/Cooke investigation.

Philadelphia Flyers: "Sources: Flyers consider buyout for Bryzgalov." These sources, while unnamed, are likely Steve Logic and Will Common-Sense who both work in the team's No Kidding Operations wing.

Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 311 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. But don't worry, even despite all those Seattle plans, the team has a "framework" for the lease agreement with another new ownership group. At some point someone is going to get the team solely on the basis of their being the one-millionth group to submit a bid.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Wouldn't it be nice if Mario Lemieux also pledged his undying devotion to and love for Marc-Andre Fleury? Can't wait until the point we eventually need gubernatorial, presidential and papal proclamations that he's the starter now and forever.

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks fired two executive vice presidents and their chief financial officer late last week, and the team has had a number of front office shakeups in the last several months. On the ice, though? No changes (yet). Weird.

St. Louis Blues: How will the Blues improve next season? Sit around and let their many younger players get better. Why haven't the Oilers thought of that? Oh, wait.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Martin St. Louis has won the Lady Byng in three of the last four seasons. He probably slashed Brian Campbell's tires last year.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Pretty good rundown of the most recent dumb decisions Dave Nonis has made as the GM of the Leafs. It's amazing that an organization is being run like this in 2013.

Vancouver Canucks: Oh will the Canucks and John Tortorella just go ahead and kiss already?

Washington Capitals: Adam Oates wants to be the Bill Belichick of the NHL. Insofar as he doesn't want to scream or make a big scene to be noticed as a coach. So, essentially, Oates wants the world to see him as a quiet jerk.

Winnipeg Jets: "Did the Winnipeg Jets' coaching staff optimize their goaltenders?" Let's have a look at Ondrej Pavelec's stats here and just s… Ohhhh, no they did not.

Play of the Weekend

Overtime hero Danny Paille has an odd ring to it, but damn if that wasn't a nice shot.

Gold Star Award

Tuukka Rask is just killing it in these playoffs. It's quite unbelievable.

Minus of the Weekend

Here's a free tip for Kaspars Daugavins: Don't try to sit on your goalie.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "superhenderson13" has it figured out.

Letang

for

[Evander] Kane

Not like the Penguins need defensive help anyway, right? I can't believe there's not an overweight, embattled defenseman who might be a better fit instead.

Signoff
Now, I think you might like this next show, The X-Files. I always thought it was some kind of porno, on account of the title, but turns out it's all about two young people who don't have sex.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2013 05:48:04 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,e1181e07-0be0-3875-8696-32577b78c94e-l:1
What the hell do the Vancouver Canucks do now? http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/hell-vancouver-canucks-now-213125634.html

By the end of their sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks had descended into contemptible pettiness; whether it was Kevin Bieksa questioning the “Canadianism” of Logan Couture and Joe Thornton for embellishment or the Sedins dwelling on an admittedly poor penalty call in the Game 4 overtime, while having combined for one goal (and seven assists) in seven games against the Sharks this season.

(Never mind the Vancouver Province’s Evil Referee theory.)

Is this how the window closes? Is this how a team that was one win away from the Stanley Cup two years ago calls it a run?

The Sharks’ sweep of the Canucks would appear to signal a period of significant change for the organization, potentially from the goalie crease to the GM box.

What the hell do the Vancouver Canucks do now?

Fire Alain Vigneault

Vigneault has been on a hot seat more than a Floridian lifeguard during his time with the Vancouver Canucks, but the team’s weak divisional opponents and three years of deep playoff runs – including one to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final – gave him a stay of execution.

Now he’s guided the team to back-to-back first-round playoff losses, where the Canucks didn’t just lose but were humbled by the Kings and Sharks. In both cases, the team’s offensive went Sahara: 2.94 goals per game in the 2011-12 regular season became 1.60 GPG in the 5-game loss to LA; a 2.54 goals-per-game in the 2013 regular season dropped to 2.00 in the sweep to the Sharks.

Harrison Mooney, not exactly AV’s biggest critic, thinks it’s time for a change:

I’ve been an Alain Vigneault defender for some time now, mainly because firing a guy the year after a Cup Final appearance because he didn’t do it again would have been bone-headedly panicky, but if the Canucks don’t manage to pull off the miracle comeback, this time around it seems like a reasonable reaction.

One first-round exit is one thing. That happens, even to good teams. Hell, the Canucks were one of four Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams to be eliminated in the first round since the 2005 lockout. Not a one of them was reactionary enough to fire their coach that summer.

But two first-round exits in a row, for a team that’s supposed to be a Stanley Cup contender? That’s cause for dismissal.

If Vigneault goes, is he a scapegoat? Not necessarily. We don’t often agree with Tony Gallagher of The Province – most because his articles descend into tinfoil hat rants about the NHL conspiring against Vancouver – but he’s right about the coach not fitting the talent any longer:

Despite the Canucks being the much better team, the Bruins beat them up and won the Cup and the downhill post-season slide has accelerated in dramatic fashion. Instead of forging ahead and still trying to play offensively with the talent they have - which is really all they can do - the defensive emphasis with such a finesse roster has simply accelerated the downturn to the point where it's clear these guys aren't playing hard enough for Vigneault. How else do you lose so much to teams that finished lower in the standings?

… In reality, he's a solid coach who will work many years in this league. But he's better suited to a bigger, grittier team - with a St. Louis-like approach to trying to get the job done.

The Washington Capitals had a similar crisis of faith under Bruce Boudreau after a lack of playoff success. Two years after he was fired from what had become a defense-first team, Adam Oates jumpstarted the offense and the “window” for the Capitals was no longer closed.

That’s if you think there’s still a chance to win with this group. Or maybe you …

Fire Mike Gillis

Close the window and raise the white flag. Go for total regime change, because this obviously isn’t working anymore.

Allan Maki blames the GM:

If you’re looking for someone to blame for the Canucks’ failings, start with general manager Mike Gillis. He dithered with goalie Roberto Luongo and should have traded him for help at forward but didn’t. Instead, Gillis acquired Derek Roy at the Trade Deadline and thought that was enough. Gillis’ decision to get Zack Kassian doesn’t look good, either, but the GM will survive.

In the “construction vs. coaching” debate, Gillis carries more of the blame for this. It goes beyond the two questionable trade deadline deals: The majority of his moves to boost the team’s secondary scoring haven’t panned out. And by that we mean David Booth is closer to a buy out than a spot in the top six.

Gillis can be blamed for being too conservative with his forward group while he’s been aggressive on the blue line (Dan Hamhuis, Jason Garrison). The team’s paid for it.

Trade Roberto Luongo

This is probably going to happen whether the Canucks went out in four, seven or in a later round, but the divorce between the franchise goalie and the franchise needs to happen this summer in order for them both to move. Gillis is going to get peanuts for him from one of only a handful of teams that can afford him and to whom he’d be willing to be traded. Then again …

Trade Cory Schneider

Jim Matheson believes this is the best course of action for Vancouver: Keeping Luongo, trading Schneider. From the Edmonton Journal:

You’ll get stocking stuffers for Luongo with the $40.6 million left on his contract; you’ll get a couple of young bodies for Schneider, who is only 27.

Luongo is almost untradeable unless the Canucks pick up a whack of his salary. Schneider wouldn’t be. Call up GM Paul Holmgren in Philly, who certainly isn’t tied to Ilya Bryzgalov,32, in net; maybe the owner Ed Snider is because he’d have to buy him out at two-thirds of the $34.5 million left over seven years, but the Flyers, always looking for goalies, would jump at Schneider, who has $8.5 million left over the next two seasons.

There will be other accomplished goalies on the market this summer – Ryan Miller being the most prominent – but none are as young as Schneider. He’d bring back a better return than Luongo, due to his contract and the fact he can’t block a trade. But with due respect to Matheson, the idea that the Islanders would deal Kyle Okposo for him tells us Matty hasn’t watched much of that Penguins/Islanders series.

Realize The Sedins Are a Playoff Problem, And Vastly Change The Offense

This is really the crux of the problem for the Canucks at the moment, because if they’re going to win in the postseason they have to suss out the Sedins.

Zanstorm on Nucks Misconduct writes:

OK, so the Sedins had 3 assists each. But they were not good enough. Henrik had an assist in each of the final 3 games...but had not scored a goal in 14 games. Daniel is even more head-scratching. He is the sniper. He is the finisher. He scored 1 goal in his last 11 games and / or 2 goals in his last 17 games! WHAT? It's true. To paint an uglier picture of Daniel, he has only scored 1 goal in his last 16 playoff games. That is unacceptable. And it will have people asking: can we build a winning team around the Twins? Do other teams have the book on "How To Stop The Sedins?" Are they slowing down? Well, I can assure you that the answers will vary. Public opinion will be divided.

The Sedins will turn 33 before the 2013-14 season starts. While there may be some slowing down from them...it can't be all THAT much. I think the other teams have run the video on these guys and have figured out how to stop them. The bigger, more physical players that cover them often succeed because they will not allow them to cycle. So...either the Sedins adjust, or they will not be effective top line players for this team. Especially not in the playoffs where it matters most.Keep in mind though that next season is the final year of their contracts. And you know what they say about contract years....

Assuming the Sedins rebound … then what? Every other contending team in this league has two better than good lines offensively to roll out. The Higgins/Roy/Kesler line never did, which could speak to Kesler’s health as much as anything. They have 16 goals in their last 9 playoff games having lost eight of them.

How much would life have been different for the Canucks had Shane Doan decided to leave the Coyotes for B.C.? Or if the relationship with Cody Hodgson had been patched? Or if some of the $22.9 million committed to the blue line for next season had been used on, say, an elite power forward?

Oh right … that was going to be Booth.

Personally, I don’t believe the window is closed. The defense is solid. The Sedins will rebound. Either goaltender can provide competence in the playoffs – even after Schneider’s hiccup this season.

My head tells me to fire Vigneault and see how the team reacts. But what option out there would be an upgrade, or a short-term answer? That’s the issue.

What a disappointment. What a conundrum. What a mess.

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Wed, 08 May 2013 14:31:25 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,d8061ebc-12f1-334c-9d96-12afa4fd5369-l:1
NHL 3 Stars: Eberle, Oilers spoil Wild’s first chance to clinch; Jochen Hecht retires http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-3-stars-eberle-oilers-spoil-wild-first-044804413.html

"Don't touch me, man."

No. 1 Star: Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers

Eberle was the first star with 1 goal and 2 assists in an unexpected rout for the Oilers over the Minnesota Wild. With the Wild needing just one win to clinch the playoffs, they instead dropped this one by a stunning score of 6-1. Taylor Hall added a three-point night, and Corey Potter, of all people, scored twice.

No. 2 Star: Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

In his 500th start for the Sabres -- and potentially his last -- Miller was fantastic, making 30 saves on 31 shots and backstopping his club to a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Islanders. Thomas Vanek scored the lone shootout goal.

No. 3 Star: Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche

Duchene picked up assists on 3 of the Avalanche's 4 goals, then scored one of their two shootouts goals in a 5-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Honourable mention: Jeff Petry finished a plus-5 for the Oilers. Nail Yakupov really worked for this one:

... Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each scored their 23rd of the season in the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames... the Islanders' lone goal was weird:

Did You Know? Jochen Hecht announced his retirement after the Sabres game. He'll be returning to Germany with his family.

Dishonourable mention: Stefan Elliott made Shane Doan eat a mouthful of crossbar... The Minnesota Wild played like a team that knew they had two chances to get one win. That said, they were let down by goaltending, primarily. Niklas Backstrom allowed 3 goals on 5 shots, and Josh Harding allowed another 3 on 12. A small pocket of Wild fans also earned a dishonourable mention for booing him. Not cool.

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Fri, 26 Apr 2013 21:48:04 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,828a4368-db12-3373-8f60-957234596d95-l:1
Here are the Masterton Trophy nominees for all 30 NHL teams http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/masterton-trophy-nominees-30-nhl-teams-202250782.html

The Masterton Trophy is an interesting award. With its somewhat open-ended criteria -- it's presented annually to the player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey" -- there are a lot of ways to justify a nomination.

Some go with the perseverance angle, nominating a player who's been through a lot. Others take the opportunity to pay tribute to a leader in the room. Others still salute an NHL veteran on a lengthy career. Either way, the result is an interesting assortment of submissions.

This year, the front-runner has to be Josh Harding, whose perseverance after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis has been an inspiration all year long. From his bio:

Harding selflessly divulged his illness because he didn’t want a distraction to affect the team during a potential shortened season. He made clear his career wasn’t over. “It would make me happy to overcome this. Not just overcome this, but to really succeed with it,” Harding said. “I want this to be a story where when we look back, it was a happy story.”

In his first start this season, Harding made 24 saves to shut out Dallas. He did have complications with a new medication that caused him to miss two months, but Harding persevered through and after a two-game conditioning stint including a win to help Houston clinch a playoff spot, Harding was recalled to Minnesota April 22.

It's tough to beat that.

Several players this year have been nominated for their work with the NHLPA during the NHL lockout, which should garner them some consideration. And Pekka Rinne is bound to get a second look, simply because his bio includes this section:

In the summer of 2006, after Rinne’s first year in North America with the Milwaukee Admirals, he was at a bachelor party in Finland when he was a victim of an assault by a pizzeria owner. The assailant fired pepper spray into Rinne’s eyes and tackled him. Rinne had to undergo shoulder surgery, which kept him out four months.

"I was still young and right away you’re thinking ‘this is it,’” Rinne said in a 2011 article about the incident. “It’s a scary feeling.” Rinne battled back from the injury and the mental scarring of the incident to become an NHL regular in 2008-09.

Having never been attacked by a pizzeria owner, I can only imagine the mental scarring. You don't ever expect pizzeria owner to nearly end your hockey career. You expect him to serve you a fresh pizza pie.

Coming up, each team's nominee for the Masterton trophy.

Anaheim Ducks - Andrew Cogliano

For his Iron Man streak of 456 games, and his Lady Byng-worthy play.

Boston Bruins - Adam McQuaid

Perseverance through several injuries and issues, including Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which was causing dangerous blood clots in his body.

Buffalo Sabres - Jochen Hecht

Hecht was advised to retire due to his concussion problems, but he returned to the Sabres' lineup this season and played every game.

Calgary Flames - Steve Begin

Begin attended Flames' training camp as a tryout and made the team, returning to the NHL at 34 despite missing all of the 2011-12 season due to hip surgery.

Carolina Hurricanes - Dan Ellis

Ellis worked his tail off to get a job this year, first rehabbing after abdominal surgery, then joining the AHL's Charlotte Checkers, and then finally earning a roster spot in Carolina when the lockout ended.

Chicago Blackhawks - Marian Hossa

For battling back from his concussion.

Colorado Avalanche - J.S. Giguere

Giguere's been nominated for his body of work -- he's the last active player to have played for the the Hartford Whalers -- as well as his work with the Jessica Redfield Foundation.

Columbus Blue Jackets - Vinny Prospal

Prospal's been nominated for his dedication and his body of work. His bio also includes this awesome sentence: "Vinny Prospal has brought an unmistakeable joie de vivre to each of the eight NHL clubs he's played for during a 16-year, 1,100-game career."

Dallas Stars - Ray Whitney

Whitney, 40, has been nominated for his body of work.

Detroit Red Wings - Patrick Eaves

Eaves worked his way back from a broken jaw and a concussion after being hit by a shot in November of 2011.

Edmonton Oilers - Ryan Smyth

Nearing 1,200 NHL games and back where his career started, Smyth has been nominated for his outstanding body of work.

Florida Panthers - Peter Mueller

Mueller missed parts of the last three seasons with concussion issues. He's managed to put that behind him this year.

Los Angeles Kings - Jonathan Bernier

He didn't ask for a trade, per se, but he would have liked one. He didn't get one. "Over the summer, Bernier told reporters he wanted to become a starter and wasn’t sure if that would be in his future in Los Angeles. He didn’t demand a trade, but merely expressed a desire to be a starter." But he kept showing up! He also missed the team's White House visit due to the death of his grandmother.

Minnesota Wild - Josh Harding

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Harding has carried on.

Montreal Canadiens - Andrei Markov

Returned to make a major impact for the Canadiens after playing just 65 games in his last three seasons while his legs were being rebuilt.

Nashville Predators - Pekka Rinne

The pizzeria owner thing! But also for taking the long road to the NHL before finally cementing himself as the backbone of the Predators.

New Jersey Devils - Stephen Gionta

For finding a home in the NHL after seven seasons in the minors and finally getting out getting out from under the shadow of his older brother, Brian.

New York Islanders - Radek Martinek

For persevering to rejoin the Islanders after playing just seven games with Columbus last season.

NY Rangers - Marc Staal

For battling back from post-concussion symptoms only to be hit in the eye with a puck.

Ottawa Senators - Andre Benoit

For leaving Europe to chase his dream to play in the NHL, then working his way up to the league this season.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Sidney Crosby

He battled back from a concussion. You probably remember. Then he had his jaw broken by a puck. Crosby's head has been through a lot.

Philadelphia Flyers - Kimmo Timonen

For his lengthy career, which reached 1,000 NHL games this season, and his perseverance through injuries.

Phoenix Coyotes - Shane Doan

Doan's been through a lot this year, between deciding where to play and eventually returning to Phoenix, his daughter suffering a dog bite to the face that called for approximately 150 stitches, and the work he did with the NHLPA during the lockout.

San Jose Sharks - James Sheppard

For working his way back into the league after tearing up his knee in an ATV accident two years ago.

St. Louis Blues - Brian Elliott

For overcoming a rough year, where he battled lockout rust, Jake Allen stealing his job, and a conditioning assignment in the AHL before finally finding his game.

Tampa Bay Lightning - B.J. Crombeen

Nominated for his hard work, his willingness to stand up for his teammates, his work with the NHLPA during the lockout. Plus he has Diabetes.

Toronto Maple Leafs - James Reimer

Reimer earned the nod for helping lead the Leafs to the playoffs despite all the uncertainty surrounding his tenure in Toronto. "Since coming to the Leafs, his ability as an NHL calibre goaltender has been constantly questioned and he has lived almost a full calendar year under constant reports the Leafs are bringing in a veteran to replace him."

Vancouver Canucks - Kevin Bieksa

Bieksa was nominate both for his charitable work during the lockout, staying in Vancouver and organizing the Bieksa's Buddies event, and for his work with Mindcheck.ca.

Washington Capitals - Tom Poti

The Capitals were inspired by Poti's improbable return to the NHL after a fractured pelvis and groin problems that had George McPhee unsure he would ever play again.

Winnipeg Jets - Ron Hainsey

Hainsey is nominated for his impressive pro career, working his way back from a shoulder injury and a skate cut last year, and for his work with the NHLPA during the NHL lockout.


NHL video from Yahoo! Sports:

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Fri, 26 Apr 2013 13:22:50 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,2cf97e5e-36ab-3be1-9c16-e2f80d3f0a27-l:1
NHL Three Stars: St. Louis nets hat trick; Blackhawks clinch Presidents’ Trophy http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-st-louis-nets-hat-trick-044520205--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

The old man still has it. The 37-year old St. Louis recorded his seventh career hat trick and passed Sidney Crosby in the NHL's scoring race as the Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Steven Stamkos scored his 29th of the season and added an assist to tie Crosby for second overall in points with 56.

No. 2 Star: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackawks

The Blackhawks downed the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 and clinched their first Presidents' Trophy since the 1990-91 season. Kane led the way with his 22nd goal of the year and two assists. Jonathan Toews also scored his 22nd goal, while Corey Crawford stopped all 14 shots he faced in relief of Ray Emery, including this one on Jordan Eberle:

No. 3 Star: Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes

The San Jose Sharks missed an opportunity to go two points up on the Los Angeles Kings as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Coyotes. Smith backstopped Phoenix to their 20th win of the season with 33 saves. First period goals by Michael Stone and Keith Yandle were the difference. Coyotes captain Shane Doan assisted on both goals.

Honorable mention: Tampa snapped their six-game losing streak ... St. Louis' hat trick was the first for the Lightning this season ... Pavel Datsyuk scored the game-tying goal midway through the second period and later setup Johan Franzen's insurance tally as the Red Wings moved into the Western Conference's No. 8 seed with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Jimmy Howard made 23 saves for his 19th win of the season. Henrik Zetterberg chipped in a pair of assists.

Did you know? Since the 2011-12 season, Phoenix is 46-1-1 when leading after two periods. (FS Arizona)

Dishonorable mention: James Reimer has allowed 10 goals in his last three starts ... Edmonton lost for the ninth time in 10 games ... Ray Emery left the game after 13:49 with a lower-body injury and according to head coach Joel Quenneville, he's "day-to-day."

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Red Wings' playoff streak isn't over just yet
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Final NFP, Shutdown Corner mock draft comparisons

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Wed, 24 Apr 2013 21:45:20 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,16591046-4ca0-36e7-87b1-c4eeb39b4ea7-l:1
Who are your NHL team’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? (Western Conference) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-team-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-western-conference-180924718--nhl.html Let’s just get it out of the way: Jonathan Toews is a Leonardo.

There’s really no discussion on this. He’s a leader. He’s confident and calm. He’s the one who manages his hot-headed partner. We’re also convinced he’s handy with Katana blades.

On Tuesday, we presented you with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle proxies for the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Now it’s time for the Western Conference.

To reset the personality types:

Leonardo (blue mask): The measured, valiant leader of the group. Strong and fearless.

Donatello (purple mask): The scientist who prefers to use intellect rather than his bo staff to solve conflicts. A bit shy.

Michelangelo (orange mask): The pizza-gobbling free spirit of the group whose “Cowabunga” launched a million T-shirts.

Raphael (red mask): The temperamental bad boy of the group. And he speaks with a New York accent!

We asked the Puck Daddy readership to check in with their choices for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proxies for all 30 NHL teams. Here are the Western Conference choices for hockey heroes on a half shell.

Chicago Blackhawks

Leonardo: Jonathan Towes because he's the leader.

Donatello: Patrick Sharp because he's undervalued.

Michelangelo: Patrick Kane because he's silly and a showboat.

Raphael: Marian Hossa because he's smart and has a long stick

- Paul Vogl

Leonardo: The leader/captain Jonathan Toews.

Donatello: The inventor, and quiet genius, Marian Hossa.

Michaelangelo: The party animal… Patrick Kane.

Raphael: The no-nonsense, dude with the 'tude Ray Emery.

For Fun:

Casey Jones: Michael Hanzdus-Former ally, left for awhile to pursue other things, now is currently back with the team to fight for another Cup

April: Any Ice-Girl

Shredder: Alain Vigneault

- Justin Dal Corobbo

Columbus Blue Jackets

Leonardo: Vinny Prospal - He's old and has been the de facto captain ever since Nash requested a trade.

Donatello: Sergei Bobrovsky - Had to mention him somewhere. He's a smart goaltender who makes saves based a lot on positional play as opposed to Hasek-like acrobatics

Michelangelo: Artem Anisimov - He's struck me as a bit of a fun lover ever since last year's 24/7 and always seems very lighthearted and has some of the best cellys in the league.

Raphael: Jared Boll - Would've been Dorsett prior to the trade deadline, but Jared Boll can be a bit of a hothead and is never afraid of a fight, even against guys twice his size.

- Mark Fairholm

Leonardo: Vinny Prospal. Measured, valiant leader? Check. Superb pointer finger? Check. Strong and fearless at age 38? Check.

Donatello: Marian Gaborik. Mad scientist with his stick. Does not engage physically, unless necessary. Unspoken best player of the group.

Michelangelo: Jack Johnson. Really...who can't see this guy as the unspoken heart and soul of just having fun and kicking ass?

Raphael: Jared Boll. Few tough guys in the NHL willingly fight him anymore. Especially after an off-season of working with MMA coaches.

Extra: Splinter... Jarmo. The new trade ninja. Dude knows what he is doing.

- Kevin Saarie

Detroit Red Wings

Leonardo: Leo is the leader so we have to go with Henrik Zetterberg although with the constant hair on his face he may be a master splinter nominee as well.

Donatello: The easiest of the four is Pavel Datsyuk as Donatello, the scientist and inventor

Michaelangelo: Michelangelo laid back surfer dude purely on looks would be Valteri Filpula.

Raphael: Raphael is the bad boy of the group. This is probably a toss up between Todd Bertuzzi and Jordin Tootoo but Tootoo gets the edge due to the fact he is actually playing. Bertuzzi as Shredder?

- Chris Breuker

Leonardo: Henrik Zetterberg. He's a natural leader, calm and collected.

Donatello: Pavel Datsyuk. He's a genius, possibly the smartest hockey player out there.

Michaelangelo: Dan Cleary. He's a bit of a goof sometimes but can come through in the clutch.

Raphael: Todd Bertuzzi. He's tough and sometimes a bit surly but he's loyal to his teammates.

Nashville Predators

Leonardo - David Legwand: old, experienced, fearless; the most veteran leader

Donatello - Colin Wilson: quiet and disciplined; talented; thinks his way around

Michelangelo - Paul Gaustad: easy-going; comic relief; at his best when it matters most

Raphael - Rich Clune: the team's bad boy; aggressive and quick to throw-down; sarcastic; loyal

- Tyler Pennington

St. Louis Blues

Leonardo: David Backes (Captain America, enough said).

Donatello: Jaden Schwartz (Least violent, hockey smarts off the charts, much like how Donatello uses his knowledge to solve conflicts).

Michelangelo: Kevin Shattenkirk (too easy).

Raphael: Vladimir Sobotka (under-appreaciated, but very gritty and aggressive).

- Patrick Spinner

Leonardo: David Backes, leader

Donatello: Alex Pietrangelo, brains

Michelangelo: TJ Oshie, jokester

Raphael: David Perron, headcase

April O'Neal: Roman Polak

Splinter: Coach Ken Hitchcock

Shredder: Barret Jackman

Footclan: everybody else

- Joe Miller


Calgary Flames

Leonardo; This is a title that would have been given to a certain #12 until a month ago, but now it falls to a reluctant Michael Cammalleri. Standing at what can generously be described as "5-9", Cammalleri still shows the tenacious and fearless leadership reminiscent of the leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That is until he gets pulled off the bench mid-game in January 2014 to abandon the sinking ship of the Calgary Flames, when he will get traded to the Dallas Stars to help them to a 9th place finish in the Western Conference.

Donatello: Just as this turtle possesses the unique skill of technical aptitude, Miikka Kiprusoff possesses the unique skill of being the only one in the locker room who can do the splits while a cigarette hangs out of his mouth. His ability to make James Reimer feel as if he is about to lose his job with only the use of a cell phone call to Dave Nonis rivals Donatello's knowledge of high-tech machinery.

Raphael: Often described as "aggressive" and "emotional", much like the Flames' resident enforcer Tim Jackman. Just as Raphael can use his anger and crazed nature to somehow slay enemies in combat, Tim Jackman is well known for using his "grit" and "sandpaper" to somehow earn Power-play time on Brent Sutter-coached teams.

Michelangelo: Seen as the younger, fun-loving member of the squad- much like Mikael Backlund. On a team that does not contain many entertaining players on Twitter, his relatively active Twitter account provides the same change-of-pace that Michelangelo's comic relief does. Michelangelo is known for coining such popular phrases as "Cowabunga!". Mikael Backlund is known for coining such popular phrases as "Whaddaya mean Brian McGrattan is one of my wingers?!"

Bonus: The role of Splinter is laid upon the portly leader of the Flames organization, Mr. Jay Feaster. Splinter is, of course, a rat. Feaster has been the metaphorical rat picking away at the corpse of fleeting Flames success from 2004, attempting to capitalize on any little bit of meat left on the bones from the last time this team won a playoff round. Oh, and speaking of meat... Jay Feaster fat joke.

- Scott Denoon


Colorado Avalanche

Leonardo: Matt Duchene - The true leader of the group, proficient in all forms of "combat", takes the serious approach.

Donatello: Ryan O'Reilly - Groomed by his father Brian O'Reilly, Ryan prefers to use his knowledge to solve conflicts (and contract disputes).

Michelangelo: Gabriel Landeskog - Young Captain with an easy-going personality and positive outlook.

Raphael: Steve Downie - The team's bad boy, he has an aggressive nature and seldom hesitates to throw the first punch.

Splinter: Jean-Sebastian Giguere - The rat of the bunch, also an adoptive father teaching his children the ways of the hockey player. No Vegas.

- Jonathan Cable

Edmonton Oilers

Leonardo: Shawn Horcoff. Wisdom of an old-pro, leads the way and gets the others to follow.

Donatello: Jordan Eberle. He just thinks and thinks, makes something out of nothing, and is good with his hands.

Raphael: Taylor Hall. Comes across as an a-hole, but is just doing what he’s doing because he wants to help the team. If you cross him, he will hurt you.

Michelangelo: Nail Yakupov. Young, spunky, zest for the game. Seems like a party dude too!

Honorable Mention:

The foot clan – Made up of dozens of Eric Belangers. Can only do one thing, and no matter how many of them you have, it will do no good. Just absolutely terrible and make no contributions whatsoever, you’d think you’d be better off without them anywhere, and you’d be right.

- Jake DesRoches

Leonardo: Taylor Hall, the natural leader.

Donatello: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he's the quiet one, his hockey IQ is rivaled only by Donatello's Bo Staff IQ.

Michelangelo: Jordan Eberle, he's easy going and everyone's favourite.

Raphael: Nail Yakupov, he's somewhat mysterious and prone to emotional extreme.

- Matt Sletto

Minnesota Wild

Leonardo: Zach Parise

Donatello: Miikko Koivu

Michelangelo: Cal Clutterbuck

Raphael: Zenon Konopka

- Justin Day

Leonardo: Zach Parise - Could have the 'C' on his sweater and definitely is the most well spoken on the team. Great leader, doesn't have the mean streak of Koivu.

Donatello: Jared Spurgeon - Only reason this guy is in the league is because what is between those two ears.

Michelangelo: Neck and neck between Cal Clutterbuck and Zenon Kenopka. Kenopka is almost too smart, but he is a goofball. I'd go with Clutterbuck, I mean take a gander at that mustache.

Raphael: Mikko Koivu - ask Michael Russo about his Surliness

- Chris Sigurdson

Vancouver Canucks

Leonardo: Henrik Sedin, leader of the pack, need I say more?

Donatello: Gonna go out on a limb and say Chris Higgins or Dan Hamhuis. They both step on the ice and are methodical with their work on offense or defense and just get the job done.

Michelangelo: Ryan Kesler for the Kesler bombs or Kevin Bieksa for fooling that reporter into thinking he was Kesler

Raphael: Max Lapierre, I think this is a no-brainer, the instigator/hot head.

- Tom Le

Leonardo: Unlike the Turtles, the Canucks aren’t led by Leonardo. They’re led by twin Donatellos. That said, the Sedins are basically inimitable aliens. I think most of us would agree that Ryan Kesler is the team’s spiritual leader, the one who leads by example. So let’s call him Leonardo.

Donatello: A player that prefers the cerebral over the physical? You just described a Sedin, my friend. I’m going to cheat and say that both Daniel and Henrik are Donatello, since they’re effectively the same person, as Daniel’s 905th NHL game demonstrated for us on Monday.

Michelangelo: Onto the wild child, and this one’s a toss-up. On one hand, Zack Kassian is beginning to get a bit of a reputation for his partying ways, and he’s certainly a free spirit. He’s weird as all Hell. But I think I’ll give this to Bieksa, who’s the quippiest interview and the most likely to spawn a catchphrase. Not to mention I think anybody who watches his game knows that he’s a bit unpredictable. We’ll give him the nod, although I suspect this is the one that will cause the most debate.

Raphael: And finally, Raphael. Now, Alex Burrows isn’t really a “bad boy”, per se. But he’s far and away the most likely to get in trouble. He’s the most antagonistic guy on the Canucks, and the one that always seems to be in the thick of things. Plus did someone say “accent”? Because Burrows’ accent is so thick, he could spread it on toast.

- Harrison Mooney


Anaheim Ducks

Leonardo: Teemu Selanne (obviously)

Donatello: Jonas Hiller

Michelangelo: Ryan Getzlaf

Raphael: Corey Perry

Bonus:

Splinter: Scotty Nieds

Krang: Boudreau

Casey Jones: Bobby Ryan

- Jen Neale

Dallas Stars

Leonardo: Stephane Robidas as Leonardo, the "leader"

Donatello: Loui Eriksson as Donatello, the genius!

Michelangelo: Vern Fiddler as Michelangelo, the "free-spirit" (see: The Bieksa)

Raphael: Antoine Roussel as Raphael, the bad boy

- Jen

Los Angeles Kings

Leonardo: Dustin Brown is Leonardo because he's the absolute leader that nobody can absolutely love. His constant tendency to seem divey and/or fall down reminds me of Leonardo's super-obnoxious need to teach me a lesson EVERY FIVE MINUTES... but still, he's the leader.

Donatello: Jeff Carter would be Donatello because he's got the pinpoint wrister accuracy that only a semi-geek would have because he practiced. Plus he looks kinda Canadienerdish.

Michelangelo: Dustin Penner is Michelangelo because he's got to be the Michelangelo of the Western Conference, if not the whole league. Most likely to say, "Cowabunga, Dude!" Plus, his bank shot empty net goal from last year shows his uncanny knack for party puck skills. Also, his twitter feed. Done.

Raphael: Jonathan Quick would be Raphael because the dude gets NUTS when he doesn't play well or has something go against him. Plus, he's too brash for his own good chasing pucks/pizza the way he does.

Bonus:

Anze Kopitar as Splinter. Veteran, been there forever, speaks with an accent.

Drew Doughty as Casey Jones. Sometimes he's there taking big swings with his stick... other times he's absolutely nowhere to be found.

- Joseph Isaac

Leonardo: Jeff Carter

Donatello: Anze Kopitar

Michelangelo: Dustin Penner

Raphael: Dustin Brown

Casey Jones: Jonathan Quick

- Paul Gofberg

San Jose Sharks

Leonardo: Leo is a brave, highly skilled leader who has the least personality of any of the turtles. Boringly does the right thing every time. That's Marleau, the Sharks former captain is extremely good at what he does, but as soon as he opens his mouth you fall asleep.

Donatello: The scientist of the group, often relying on gadgets? Well, look no further than Brent Burns and his robot sex pants.

Michelangelo: The goofy oddball of the group. I think that title goes to Couture. His random love of Bieber and other random crap from pop culture combined with that goofy smile cements his spot.

Raphael: Highly skilled loner with a temper. Now that the obvious and certifiably psychotic Ryane Clowe has moved on, that leaves Dan Boyle. Boyle has the most skill on the team and the temper to match. Often even tries to win games all on his own

- David McGuire

Phoenix Coyotes

Leonardo: Shane Doan, duh. More applicable when you think about the love/hate relationship Leo has.

Donatello: Oliver Ekman Larsson. Seems to be the smartest of our crew and is pretty good with a stick.

Michelangelo: Biznasty. Partier. Best when he is delivering one liners. Constantly has to justify why he is part of the team.

Raphael: Mike Smith. Cool but rude. Likes to stray from home and get blindsided from unsuspecting hordes of Foot soldiers.

- Shaun Guhy

Leonardo: Shane Doan. (duh) Doesn't really need any explanation

Donatello: Mikkel Boedker: He's smart. He's polite. He writes the blogs. So what if he can't find Phoenix on the weather map...

Michelangelo: Biz *IS* Michelangelo. 'nuff said.

Raphael: This has to be Mike Smith. Temperamental? Check. Attitude? Check. And if you poke him HE WILL TAKE YOUR STICK AND FREAKING BREAK IT IN FRONT OF YOU.

- Rachael

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Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:09:24 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,bb6ed6a9-643b-3b9a-b190-793e29551463-l:1
What We Learned: Which NHL general managers deserve to be fired? http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-nhl-general-managers-deserve-fired-140220914--nhl.html 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. Today’s What We Learned is written by Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski; Ryan Lambert returns next week.

By Greg Wyshynski

Watching an NHL team changing its regime is like watching the controlled demolition of a rather large building.

BOOM, there’s the trigger on a big trade, in an attempt to shake up the roster before personnel changes hit the managerial ranks. BOOM, there go the assistant coaches, as the team hopes some new voices will reinvigorate a moribund squad. BOOM, there goes the head coach, as the team still fails to meet expectations (and, ultimately, blames itself for the coach’s demise).

But the biggest blast takes a while longer. The one that finally destroys the foundation and topples the building.

The one that ends the tenure of a general manager.

These top-level firings rarely happen in-season – although Scott Howson left the Columbus Blue Jackets carrying a cardboard box with some coffee mugs and a Rick Nash jersey in February. Of the NHL’s 30 GMs, only four were hired during the regular season: Jarmo Kekäläinen in Columbus, Bob Murray in Anaheim, Jay Feaster in Calgary and Paul Holmgren in Philly.

No, most general managers are turf’d in the offseason or during the playoffs, and this year will be no exception. Here are a few GMs that might hit the unemployment line before they hit the beach this summer – and a few GMs that fans wish would join them.

Darcy Regier, Buffalo Sabres

The idea that Regier might survive (again) is floating through Buffalo, but columnists like Bucky Gleason continue to point out the obvious: That the mess the GM has created shouldn’t be his to clean up. He had a strong trade deadline, no doubt, but that should be his swan song. Now it’s just a matter of which former Sabre Terry Pegula decides to nostalgically hire for the gig. (My money’s on Rick Dudley.)

Greg Sherman, Colorado Avalanche

Total regime change would seem in order for the Avs, who have “sucked for Seth” more efficiently than many believed they could. Coach Joe Sacco is certainly gone, and Sherman could follow him out the door. Mile High Hockey doesn’t want to see this happen, but it could be inevitable, with Eric Lacroix waiting in the wings (or, in our wildest hockey fantasies, Patrick Roy for either job).

Steve Tambellini, Edmonton Oilers

At some point, the ax is going to fall on the general manager whose ineptness has led to a slew of high draft picks (that’s great!) but not to a winning team with them on the roster (that stinks). Terry Jones of the Sun writes that if the Oil are to turn the corner, it must be sans Tambo:

To get the players the Oilers need, they’re going to have to give up more than a Hemsky. You have to give up something to get something. Tough decisions lie ahead.

Is there any public confidence in Tambellini, based on his record and the performance of the pro scouting department in general, to make the deals to get the right guys to give the young talent the chance to succeed? The answer is no.

You’d just hate to see Ralph Krueger be one-and-done with him.

(UPDATE: Yep, he's toast. And in season no less!)

Jay Feaster, Calgary Flames

He’ll probably get one more trip to the buffet with the Flames, but the lack of success on the ice for Calgary and Feaster’s baffling missteps as GM (see the Ryan O’Reilly offer sheet debacle) are enough to send him packing.

Dale Tallon, Florida Panthers

It’s hard to believe that the man who constructed the most surprising team in the NHL last season – and a division champion – would be on his rump one year later, but the Globe & Mail feels that Tallon’s on the hot seat. Again, this is one that would surprise us a bit, given his work down there.

Paul Holmgren, Philadelphia Flyers

One assumes Homer is safe, as the ax would fall on Peter Laviolette before it does Holmgren (and Flyers sources say the same thing). But at some point, the construction of this team and the decisions Holmgren has made will have to be put on trial. And every time Sergei Bobrovsky pitches a shutout in Columbus, well …

Are there any other general managers that deserve a spot on the hot seat?

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks are having trouble scoring in the first period, which is usually their worst period. Period.

Boston Bruins: Carl Soderberg was cleared to join the Bruins, and the big Swede could be a boost to the Bruins’ offensive depth even if he’s not the most fleet-of-skate player.

Buffalo Sabres: Jerry Sullivan on Terry Pegula: “Fans can be very forgiving in this town. They’re not happy with the team, and for good reason. But they respect a guy who’ll take a hit and doesn’t run from trouble. Pegula is the one who made the promises and swore his allegiance as a fan. He’s not your typical owner. Fans deserve more from him.”

Calgary Flames: Max Reinhart scored his first NHL goal with his brother and mother in the stands watching. Said Theresa, his mother: “I don’t usually get that excited, but this is pretty good.” We’re sorta sad for her.

Carolina Hurricanes: There were three first-period fights between the Canes and Bruins – Kevin Westgarth vs. Shawn Thornton; Jay Harrison vs. Zdeno Chara; and Nicolas Blanchard vs. Gregory Campbell. Said Coach Kirk Muller: “That's just showing that guys care and they want to take this thing to the end.” Said Jack Edwards: DON’T POKE THE BEAR!

Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford was happy to see the Hawks not get intimidated by the Blues in their win on Sunday. "The most important thing is not to get frustrated when they give us a cheap shot and the ref doesn't see it. When you spend energy trying to get them back or get frustrated by a hit … that's not so legal, you're only taking away from your focus on the game."

Colorado Avalanche: Giggy was torched by the Hockey Night in Canada crew for his “Vegas” comments about the Avs, with PJ Stock believing he should have kept the criticism “in house.” Because, as you know, the house always wins when it comes to Vegas.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Artem Anisimov traveled with the Jackets to Denver after taking that nasty hit from Charlie Coyle of the Wild. No supplemental discipline for Coyle, by the way, as the NHL determined he didn’t target the head.

Dallas Stars: The good news is that the Stars are right in the mix for a playoff spot. The bad news is that they’re not exactly playing like a playoff team in these wins.

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Preservation of the Wings’ playoff streak, which is at 21 consecutive seasons, has become their rallying cry. “I think a lot of people would be happy to see us miss the playoffs,” said Jimmy Howard, speaking on behalf of the Western Conference but not NBC.

Edmonton Oilers: Taylor Hall is appearing in a Crystal Glass commercial, and took part in a casting call. “I took drama in high school, but since then I haven’t done much acting,” said Hall. Well that’s news to Chris Mason.

Florida Panthers: Kevin Dineen was sorry that Panthers fans had to settle with seeing the rest of the Penguins kick the crap out of Florida, instead of the injured Sid and Geno. "It's always a disappointment for the 18,000 people there; you always want to see the premier players,'' Dineen said. "It's kind of like spending lots of bucks on a Heat game and not getting to see LeBron. That has a little sting to it. But they've been down this road before, missing quality players and always having a response.

Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick has been a different goalie at home and on the road. From LA Kings Insider: “After stopping 19-of-20 shots, his save percentage rose to .917 at home, while his goals against average fell to 1.75. On the road, he’s .885/3.21 and will likely be the goaltender in net when the Kings travel to the Shark Tank, where he was pulled earlier in the season and where San Jose has built a 14-1-5 home record.”

Minnesota Wild: The Wild should get Matt Cullen back on Monday, which is means you might be able to cancel the Amber Alert on Devin Setoguchi’s offense.

Montreal Canadiens: Great news for Carey Price, as his coach understands it’s OK he was pulled in Saturday’s loss vs. the Leafs. “He’s a good kid, he cares. But Carey’s had a good season, he has character and I know he’s going to bounce back. I have no doubt about that,” said Michel Therrien.

Nashville Predators: Filip Forsberg, thrown to the fire. The rookie played 18:37 in his NHL debut on Sunday, finishing with a minus-2 and two shots. Kid looked good on the power play.

New Jersey Devils: Marty Brodeur doesn’t believe it’s time for a Pete DeBoer tantrum to spark the Devils. “You know what? There was never a time in these 10 games that they could be mad at us. That’s why it’s so hard,” Brodeur said. “Because usually you get in a funk and somebody goes crazy and you get the Pat Burns or the (Brent Sutter). There’s no reason. It wouldn’t be warranted for anybody to snap at a player or this or that." So no Ftoreky bench tosses? For shame.

New York Islanders: Nice work here by Andrew McDonald to save a goal vs. the Rangers.

New York Rangers: Brad Richards is still having a season from hell. Take out his 3-point night vs. Pittsburgh, and he has two assists in his last eight games.

Ottawa Senators: Here’s how Cory Conacher overcame juvenile diabetes to make the NHL. Wilfred Brimley approves.

Philadelphia Flyers: Another day, another “will Ed Snider buy out Bryzgalov?” story.

Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan on the playoff race – “If we win every game, I’m sure that we’re in, so I guess that we’re still in control, but it’s going to be tough.” Well, yeah.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin’s sunburn makes Deadspin. Seriously, if he had to miss a game due to a severe sunburn, I’m blaming the Penguins trainers for not having a sufficient supply of aloe.

San Jose Sharks: Adam Burish had a lot of questions bugging him this season. “Am I doing what they want? I don’t know if I’m doing what they want. Should I do more here? Should I do more there? Should I be more reckless? Should I be more careful? Should I be smarter? I think it’s a feeling out process with a new team and a new coaching staff you don’t really know too well.”

St. Louis Blues: David Backes tormented Jonathan Toews on Sunday with some big hits. Must be getting ready for Sochi.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Some clutch work from the Bolts and Teddy Purcell here, as they rallied to tie the Caps.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Here’s how Randy Carlyle captures the chemistry between Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak: “They’re two smart hockey players. They’ve got very high I.Q., as far as hockey is concerned. They can go out and they know where one another are; they play off of one another; they look for one another and they think the game in a lot of the same manners. And that’s what we’ve tried to find in Kadri and Lupul, but we seem to have it more with Kadri and [Nikolai] Kulemin, because of the absence of Lupul. We’re always trying to find pairs that we can feel comfortable with, trust on the ice.”

Vancouver Canucks: Derek Roy has one assist in five games since joining the Canucks. Might Ryan Kessler as his right wing get him going?

Washington Capitals: Nice snipe from Mike Green here to give the Capitals an OT win over Tampa.

Winnipeg Jets: Toby Enstrom is no longer day to day but is now week to week. So that sucks.

Play of the Weekend

This is what Thomas Vanek does. Wow.

Gold Star Award

In honor of Ryan Lambert, the college hockey geek that usually writes this column, and Katie Baker, a proud alum, kudos to Yale on their Frozen Four win.

Minus of the Weekend
Well, if Leafs fans weren’t drooling over a matchup against the Habs before …

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

“Example” has seen a lot of Jordan Eberle this season and not a lot of Slava Voynov. Just a prediction.

EDM:

Bernier
Voynov
1st 2013

LA:

Jordan Eberle

Signoff

Why are we watching a foreign movie? You'd think if it was any good they would make an American version.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

NHL video from Yahoo! Sports:

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Mon, 15 Apr 2013 07:02:20 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,3106107a-4f0d-3a9c-9ed8-8096acbd0839-l:1
Drew Doughty believes Phoenix Coyotes are whiners on a Canucks level http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/drew-doughty-believes-phoenix-coyotes-whiners-canucks-level-175905664--nhl.html It’s said that the most intense rivalries are forged in the playoffs, and the Los Angeles Kings vs. the Phoenix Coyotes are Exhibit A.

Sure, their regular season games would have a certain brutality to them; but the five-game Western Conference Final that ended with Dustin Brown’s thunderous hit on Michal Rozsival and Dustin Penner’s OT winner upped the animosity.

The Kings defeated the Coyotes on Tuesday night, 3-2, in a game that ended with Drew Doughty and Raffi Torres getting roughing minors. After the game, Doughty was still feisty, telling John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor that the Coyotes were one of the whiniest teams the Kings face:

Via Hoven, Doughty said:

“I think one is that they like to whine a lot. At times they remind me of Vancouver with their complaining and stuff like that…I don’t know if it’s one single guy or anything like that. It kind of seems like a whole team kind of thing. All teams whine, all teams complain, it just seems like this team, especially against us…Seem to do it every night. So that’s what frustrates you, and they play you hard, and they’re tough to play against. So that also is what bugs you.”

Wait, are the Vancouver Canucks the whiners or the divers or the diving whiners? We’re really having a tough time keeping up with the accusations…

Are the Coyotes whiners?

Well, they didn’t exactly help themselves by getting hysterical after Game 5 last postseason, with Mike Smith saying Brown should be “done forever” for his hit on Rozsival and both he and Shane Doan complaining about the officiating in the series. Because if the NHL was going to screw over a team, it’d be the one that it owns, right?

But like Doughty said: Everyone whines. Sometimes. As Shottsey points out, even Drew Doughty:

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Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:59:05 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,ce35798c-d7a2-3f00-98f9-b174d2deb0c4-l:1
NHL 3 Stars: Gonchar gone wild; Blue Jackets’ turn point streak up to eleven http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-3-stars-gonchar-gone-wild-blue-jackets-051205062--nhl.html

Rally baby!

No. 1 Star: Sergei Gonchar, Ottawa Senators

Legendary night for Gonchar versus the New York Islanders. On yet another evening when the Senators lost a player to injury -- this time Marc Method -- Gonchar stepped up in a big way with a three-point outing. He had 2 assists and a goal, this game-winning blast to cap off a stunning Senators comeback in the third.

What's more, he finished a plus-5 in the Senators 5-3 win.

No. 2 Star: Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

Shane Doan was incredible, scoring twice for the Phoenix Coyotes and registering an insane 11 shots and 13 hits. He wanted this one. Unfortunately, his two goals were no match for the Los Angeles Kings' three goals. Jonathan Bernier made a career-high 40 saves in the 3-2 Kings win.

No. 3 Star: Vinny Prospal, Columbus Blue Jackets

3 assists for Prospal, who led the Blue Jackets to a 4-3 triumph over the Nashville Predators, pushing their point streak to a franchise-best 11 games. Plus they're now tied for eighth in the West! It's the year of Columbus, y'all.

Honourable mention: Blake Wheeler scores the first of two goals the Winnipeg Jets would score in under a minute to take the lead versus the Boston Bruins, then added the empty netter in his club's 3-1 win. With the victory, the Jets took over first place in the Southeast Division and third in the East... The Sabres lose this game if Jhonas Enroth doesn't make this save of the night:

Daniel Sedin had 2 assists and Cory Schneider made 32 saves at the Vancouver Canucks held off the St. Louis Blues, 3-2... Matt Niskanen scored a back-breaking game-winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins killed off a four-minute penalty then rushed down the ice for the 2-1 goal versus the Washington Capitals:

Michael Del Zotto had a goal and an assist as the New York Rangers skated to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils... Jakob Markstrom made 33 saves and Filip Kuba had 2 assists for the Florida Panthers in their 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes... Steve Ott scored the first and last goals in the Sabres' 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The first was unassisted. The second was the overtime winner 2:16 into the extra frame.

Did You Know? Sidney Crosby had two assists in the Penguins' win. It was the 200th multi-point game of his career.

Dishonourable mention: The Islanders didn't just blow a three-goal lead in the third period. They couldn't even get the game to overtime, giving up the game-winner at the 19-minute mark... Buffalo really, really didn't deserve to win... P.K. Subban's high-sticking penalty in overtime was a rough call, especially since he didn't appear to even make contact... Barry Trotz wasn't happy with his club after the loss to Columbus. ""I know some guys are playing over their heads," he said, "some guys quite clearly can’t play at this level, that’s plain and simple..."

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Tue, 19 Mar 2013 22:12:05 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,29247226-a29d-3232-9efc-5689ede93baa-l:1
Phoenix Coyotes’ new championship wrestling belt is spectacular, quite shiny http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/phoenix-coyotes-championship-wrestling-belt-spectacular-quite-shiny-121537168--nhl.html Phoenix Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera is a die-hard professional wrestling fan, the kind that has his own WWE championship replica belt (and, we assume, finishing move). Back in 2011, he sent defenseman Keith Yandle, also a wrestling fanatic, a photo of his belt and the two had a brainstorm:

Instead of an old hat or a shovel or some other tired item, why not reward the Coyotes’ player of the game with the world heavyweight championship?

Players ranging from Ray Whitney to Shane Doan were given a John Cena “spinner” belt last season in honor of their efforts on the ice, with the previous holder of the belt handing it over (a.k.a. "doing the job") to the next recipient.

But this season, the Coyotes decided it wasn’t enough to wear someone else’s championship strap – it was time to customize their own.

Mikkel Boedker was the first recipient of the new Coyotes belt for his 2-goal performance against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

Look at that sweetness: The Coyotes' various logos on the front of the belt, with “Player of the Game” emblazoned on the bottom. More alternate logos on the sides, along with what appear to be nameplates for those who are awarded it.

(Oh, and how optimistic: No mention of the name “Phoenix” on the belt. As you know, when their sale is closed, the team will become the Arizona Coyotes.)

As per tradition, Boedker held the belt during all of his postgame media appearances, including an interview with NHL Network during which he explained the origins of the championship trinket:

“We got this yesterday actually,” he said. “It’s given out to the best player on a given night when we win.”

This is all very exciting. And by that we mean the idea that Paul Bissonnette, the Honky Tonk Man, The Mountie and David Arquette could have all worn championship belts in their lifetimes ...

Now, the Coyotes obviously aren’t the first team to pass around a title strap, as a championship belt was used by the Chicago Blackhawks during their Stanley Cup run. Please recall Dustin Byfuglien passing the hardware to Patrick Kane at the Blackhawks’ parade:

Like the Coyotes, the Blackhawks eventually upgraded their belt into something more customized. But seriously: Comparing their belt to the Coyotes’ is like comparing the WWE Diva’s title to a classic Ric Flair strap.

To paraphrase the great Terry Bollea: Whatcha gonna do when the Phoenix Coyotes run wild on you?!

(Besides hope that it’s not Raffi Torres running wild, that is. Ask Hossa.)

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Wed, 13 Mar 2013 05:15:37 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,301538a0-8d7d-3ca7-a844-cce709256b65-l:1
NHL 3 Stars: Similar shutouts for Dubnyk, Rinne, Peters; Sutter caps Pens’ comeback http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-3-stars-similar-shutouts-dubnyk-rinne-peters-045305657--nhl.html

Ondrej Pavelec wasn't the best goaltender on this night by any stretch, nor did he make the best save, but he took the best photo.

No. 1 Star: Devan Dubnyk, Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers were outshot by the Colorado Avalanche 36 to 31, but they weren't outsaved, as Dubnyk stopped every shot he faced for his first shutout in almost a year. Sam Gagner contributed a goal and an assist in the 4-0 win.

No. 2: Brandon Sutter, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins trailed 2-0 for over half the night versus the Boston Bruins, and were still down by that score with seven minutes remaining. But that's when they came alive. After Chris Kunitz's 18th, Brandon Sutter did the rest, scoring twice in just over three minutes to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead that wouldn't change. His second goal, the game-winner, came on a bad Bruins turnover:

Sutter also went 9-for-15 on faceoffs, making him the only Penguin above 50% against the league's best team in the circle.

No. 3 Star: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

Rinne was his usual stellar self, making 32 saves for his league-leading 5th shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Honourable mention: Justin Peters was the third goaltender to pick up a shutout in a 4-0 victory as the Carolina Hurricanes topped the Washington Capitals by that score. Riley Nash scored twice... Mason Raymond scored the shootout winner in the Vancouver Canucks' 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, though not without controversy. Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves in the loss... Marcus Foligno scored the first and last goals for the Buffalo Sabres in their 3-1 defeat of the New York Rangers. The first one was prettier. He went between the legs:

.. Chris Stewart scored twice and Jake Allen made 39 saves as the St. Louis Blues doubled up on the San Jose Sharks, 4-2... Luca Sbisa scored his first of the season to cap the Anaheim Ducks' 2-1 third-period comeback win over the Minnesota Wild... Nik Antropov led the way with 3 points for the Winnipeg Jets in a 5-2 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Blake Wheeler scored twice as well... Speaking of three-point nights, Martin St. Louis had one for the Tampa Bay Lightning, as he was in on every goal in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers... Mikkel Boedker scored twice in the Phoenix Coyotes' 5-2 beatdown of the Los Angeles Kings. Shane Doan and Raffi Torres added a goal and an assist each.

Did you know? John Tortorella was not happy with the Rangers' performance versus Buffalo: "I don't think the Sabres are a hungry team," he said. "I thought we stunk and I'm not going to give Buffalo any credit."

Dishonourable mention: Brutal collapse by the Boston Bruins, who let a two-goal lead turn into a one-goal deficit in four minutes... Corey Perry is definitely going to be suspended.

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Tue, 12 Mar 2013 21:53:05 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,511d8939-596f-3971-a7bf-6601e7b575cd-l:1
Canucks try to right ship against streaking Jackets; Bruins vs. Penguins (Puck Previews) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/canucks-try-ship-against-streaking-jackets-bruins-vs-223430788--nhl.html Back by popular demand, here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Pascal Dupuis hits Dennis Seidenberg with the rare upside-down hipcheck.

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET

Who'd have thought, coming into this game, that the Blue Jackets would be the formidable opponent and the Canucks would be the struggling group looking to right the ship? But here we are, with Columbus having won five in a row and looking to match a franchise record at six, and the Canucks mired in a four-game losing streak. The key will be the Vancouver powerplay: Columbus has killed off 26 of their last 27 penalties, and the Canucks haven't scored a man advantage goal in 8 games.

Preview: Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET

Keep your eyes on that Sidney Crosby guy, who's playing all right, with 14 points in the Penguins' 5 consecutive wins in the month of March. But Boston does have two things going for them: the Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin, and the Bruins have a great road record coming into this one: they're 9-1-2 away from Massachusetts on the season.

Preview: Anaheim Ducks at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET

Here's another one from the bizarro Western Conference, where this is a matchup of the 2nd and 3rd place teams. Who'd have predicted that? The two division leaders square off for the third time this season, with Minnesota looking to win their first of the series. They'll be motivated: their lead atop the Northwest is by virtue of wins, not points, so there's little room for error here.

Preview: Los Angeles Kings at Phoenix Coyotes, 10 p.m. ET

Amazing to think that the Kings have won eight of their last ten games and only gained one point in the standings on Pacific-leading Anaheim. The Kings will look to, hopefully, gain a little more ground by continuing their dominance over the Phoenix Coyotes this this week when the two teams play three times. It's a great way to renew the hostilities that flared up during last year's Western Conference Final. The key to this one will be the two captains: Dustin Brown is coming off a two-goal performancce versus Calgary, and Shane Doan has four goals in his last 6 games.

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight's starting goalies, check out Goalie Post.

Puck Buddy Comment of the Day: Kris, regarding Ilya Bryzgalov's claim that the Flyers could be done if they drop this week's games versus the Devils.

Bryz speakin' dat truth.

I want this on a Che Guevara-style t-shirt in the worst way.

Bold prediction: Captain fight in Phoenix!

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Tue, 12 Mar 2013 15:34:30 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,92d045e2-7fbe-3db6-bbed-92412005ac4a-l:1
NHL 3 Stars: Jeff Carter goes natural; Crosby, Stamkos duel http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-3-stars-jeff-carter-goes-natural-crosby-070125394--nhl.html

No. 1 Star: Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings

Carter’s natural hat trick powered the Kings to a 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators, giving him 14 goals on the season. He turned the trick with two goals in 19 seconds in the third period.

No. 2 Star: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Crosby set up Chris Kunitz for the game’s first goal, and then scored a key third period tally after Evgeni Malkin’s spectacular goal in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

No. 3 Star: James Reimer, Toronto Maple Leafs

Reimer gave up two goals to Marek Zidlicky but nothing else, as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated a Brodeur-less New Jersey Devils team, 4-2. Reimer finished with 28 saves.

Honorable mention: Oliver Ekman-Larsson had two assists and the game-winner in the shootout, as the Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 5-4. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists in the loss, including a shorthanded goal. … Mike Richards and Dwight King had the Kings’ other goals, while Gabriel Bourque scored his sixth for the Preds. … James Neal scored his 14th into an empty net. … Steven Stamkos had two goals in the loss, giving him an NHL-best 17 on the season. ... Nazem Kadri scored goal No. 9.

Did you know? Shane Doan's 324th career goal moved him past Keith Tkachuk into second place on the franchise's career list, trailing only Dale Hawerchuk. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Pekka Rinne was yanked after giving up five goals vs. the Kings. … Sergei Kostitsyn and Craig Smith were both a minus-2. … Mathieu Garon left the Bolts' game with an injury after giving up a goal on 13 shots.

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Mon, 04 Mar 2013 23:01:25 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,d6744c72-1050-31b6-9ef6-d7f9cc0f96aa-l:1
What We Learned: Religiously converting your non-hockey friend into a raging puckhead http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-converting-non-hockey-friend-raging-puckhead-144534053--nhl.html 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. Ryan Lambert will be back next Monday; today’s WWL is written by Greg Wyshynski.

“The Book of Mormon” is a tremendous musical, simultaneously goofing on yet embracing the trappings of that ridiculous genre, while skewering organized religion with the pointed dagger the “South Park” boys previously used on L. Ron Hubbard.

But the Broadway hit also provides us with a salient point about recruiting non-believers: It’s less about the message than the means. If the natives aren't digging the Mormon narrative, drop a bunch of "Star Wars" references into it. This is true in organized faith as much as it’s true in centuries of salesmanship: It’s about tailoring your pitch, providing a comforting environment and understanding what they’re looking to get out of the experience.

[Y! Sports Radio: Nick Cotsonika assesses the first month of the NHL season]

(It’s also a musical about maggots in male genitalia and Mormons being assailed by satanic coffee cups, but that’s less relevant to this column. At least the second example isn’t.)

As hockey fans, especially in the U.S., we’ve gone on our missions to convert the uninitiated. To grow the flock. To bring the light of puck into the dark hearts of baseball and basketball fans who have stumbled down the wrong path.

Thing is, we all need to do more of it, especially after Gary and Don drowned the NHL’s momentum with casual sports fans in a tar pit of ego. Yeah, we all came back. Sure, the numbers are strong. But we can’t be the only ones that sense the lockout took hockey off the radar for those casual sports fans that rubberneck the Winter Classic and the Stanley Cup Playoffs; or the ones that are curious about hockey but never took the plunge.

Fear not. Today’s Lambert-less edition of WWL will provide you with a six-step program for getting a heathen into our temple, drinking our holy water and then sending them out to ring more doorbells.

It all starts with getting them to the game. A reading from the Book of Gordie …

(Coming Up: John Tortorella is a meanie; Jake Allen's clutch save; the 101-year-old fan attends first game; Ryan Miller haz a sad; Mike Babcock needs a bucket; more sickness from Ales Hemsky; bombs tossed between Blues and Canucks; Viktor Fasth is humble; and where did Patrick Marleau go?)

1. Locate a potential convert.

This is more challenging than you’d anticipate.

It requires a brief interview to determine the following: Have they ever attended an NHL game before? Have they ever seen one on television? If so, did they have trouble understanding the game/following the puck/overcoming a feeling of indifference because there isn’t a basketball game’s offensive pace and/or they don’t have money on the outcome?

If they fit into any of those latter categories, explain that the visceral thrill of the live in-arena experience overcomes any difficulty they might have in connecting with the game through visual media.

Or that you’ll buy them a ticket, that there’s beer there* and hope they have nothing else better to do that night.

2. Pick the proper game.

I took a convert to a Flyers/Devils game at the Rock on a Saturday night. Granted, this kind of blood feud isn’t readily available in every NHL city. So find a game situation that you feel will best capture the essence in the in-arena experience. No mid-week games against inconsequential non-division opponents. If your team is attendance challenged, grab a game you’re sure will have a least a hint of the enthusiastic chaos in the stands that’s like crack-rock to puckheads.

(No, I have no idea how this applies to Phoenix Coyotes games. I guess just wait for Detroit to come through or something.)

3. Pick the proper seats.

Again, trust your gut on this. If they seem the type that needs to be close to the action to better understand the speed and fury of the game, then snag some tickets in the high rows of the lower bowl.

(Don’t go setting the bar ridiculously high with the tickets near the glass; that’s like giving them 25 orgasms on the first date.)

If they seem the type that will become addicted to puck because of the fan experience, get thee to the cheap seats.

Which brings us to …

4. Beer.

I’ve often felt that attendance at church wouldn’t be waning if they’d just do the wine goblet thing earlier in the mass.

Ditto beer in our temples. Beer and hockey go together like cats and YouTube. Provided there aren’t 12 steps, ahem, "reasons" why you can't do it, ply them early and often with suds.

* If you’ve done your job as a hockey proselytizer, then you’ll have worked out some sort of “you buy the first two rounds and I’ll buy the ticket” agreement with the potential puckhead. Being that the cost of a beer you’d actually like to drink runs you upwards of $9 in most arenas, you’re talking about a $36 outlay, reducing the hit from your upper deck ticket (assuming that was the play) and paying you back in beer. Which, frankly, should be our national currency anyway.

5. Point out the Ice Girls/Cheerleaders/Dancers.

Depending on your company, reactions will range from leering to cattiness to outright guffawing. Regardless, it's point of conversation between the fights.

6. Above All Else, Be Patient.

Targeted education is that pathway to obsession. Don’t get caught up in the minutia of the rulebook – explaining icing to a newbie fan is a surefire way for them to hear the Charlie Brown Teacher Voice Trombone whenever you speak.

Instead, explain the sexy. The stuff behind the play. The kinetic thrill of seeing a goal develop. The traditions on the ice, in the stands and dangling from the rafters. Why a certain team or player or referee has their name affixed to “SUCKS” during crowd chants.

In other words, all the stuff they tend to leave off the broadcast and the commercials. The things you can only see, hear and feel inside the arena. The things that lead to epiphanies whenever a potential convert enters the temple for the first time – and brings them back again and again.

There you go. A surefire way to get that guy in your office or that girl in your coffee shop to love the puck. Before you know it, they’ll be teaming up in twos to spread the gospel of the NHL to the corners of this world that know not of hockey’s joy. And after they leave Mississippi, they’ll move onto the next state …

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Viktor Fasth joins the long list of goaltenders that can’t take all the credit for how awesome they are. “I’m not going to stand here and just talk about myself. I mean, it’s a team sport. If the guys don’t play good in front of me, I can’t play good. And the other way around. It’s a team game.”

Boston Bruins: Stanley Cup of Chowder on Brad Marchand, who is putting pucks into the net like they’re fists into a Sedin’s face: “He's now shooting at 47%! Nearly half of the kid's shots are going in! Is he sapping Bergeron's mojo like some kind of scoring-mojo vampire? What gives? Enjoy it while it lasts, regression lies ahead.”

Buffalo Sabres: Jason Pominville’s turnover led to Pascal Dupuis’ tying goal in the Sabres’ loss to the Penguins. Oh, Ryan Miller, was this a good way to lose? “It’s just a [bleep] way to lose,” Miller said. “I don’t understand. Your guard has to be up at all times. They get right back in the game. And a broken play to seal it for them. Just preventable and not what we need to be doing right now.”

Calgary Flames: Bob Hartley believes that goalie Daniel Taylor may be the next Dwayne Roloson, i.e. a late bloomer. Which is great news for the 2023-24 Calgary Flames, as Taylor will be 36 a.k.a. in His Roloson Prime.

Carolina Hurricanes: Canes Country believes a certain defenseman has been Faulk’in great this season: “He usually gets the tough matchups every night, isn't getting a zone start push and is somehow managing to drive the play forward. Oh, and he is only 20 years old. Faulk was very good in his rookie season but he is playing on a completely different level now.”

Chicago Blackhawks: The Hawks are now 12-0-3, inching closer to tying the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks’ record of 16 games without a regulation loss to start the season. And Jonathan Toews couldn’t be more excited: “What’s important to us is getting home ice advantage, making the playoffs. Once you get there, the real season starts. When you get there, nobody remembers these streaks at the start of the season.” Zzzzzzzzzz....

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs talked to the New York Rangers about a Ryan O’Reilly for Michael Del Zotto and Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller swap. No word when Glen Sather stopped laughing, or if he has yet.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Scott Howson suggested the Blue Jackets hire John Davidson, who fired him last week. Just in case you were wondering if Scott Howson was capable of making a good decision as GM.

Dallas Stars: Trevor Daley left the Stars’ 4-3 loss to Calgary with an “upper body injury.”

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Somebody get Mike Babcock a bucket, as the Red Wings’ winless streak reached three games. “You have to win and get points in this league or you lose sight of everything in a hurry. Right now, we're taking on water.''

Edmonton Oilers: More sickness from Ales Hemsky, whose contract PJ Stock still thinks is terrible:

Florida Panthers: The charity point helped the Panthers win the Southeast last season, but their inability to win games in OT might keep them out of the playoff this season.

Los Angeles Kings: Keaton Ellerby’s time at the Keith Ballard School of Goalie Head Etiquette have really paid off:

Minnesota Wild: Rookie Jason Zucker, who scored his first NHL on Sunday, on his playmaking skills or lack thereof: "I'm not exactly a passer," he said. "I'm trying to get the puck on net and limit my passing."

Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens played something called “Hockey Baseball” in practice on Sunday. Finally, a way to revive the Expos! Somewhere, Youppi squees.

Nashville Predators: Dave Lozo makes the case for Pekka Rinne to be the current MVP frontrunner. “Despite getting an average of 1.8 goals of support (and zero goals in three games already), Rinne has almost single-handedly earned the Predators 11 of 20 points in his starts. Rinne has been the difference between the Predators sitting sixth in the Western Conference through Sunday's games and sinking to the bottom of the standings.”

New Jersey Devils: You know, the Devils have pretty OK goaltending:

New York Islanders: The NY Post reports that Charles Wang has been in talks with an investment bank in order to sell the Islanders for upwards of $300 million. Because Brooklyn, that’s why.

New York Rangers: John Tortorella curtly replied “none of your business” when asked about Rick Nash’s health on Sunday morning, leading members of the media to protest his behavior while once again spending time obsessing over it.

Ottawa Senators: Hell of a time for Kyle Turris to go into a tailspin, what with Karlsson and Spezza (and potentially Michalek) out. He hasn’t scored a goal since Jan. 25.

Philadelphia Flyers: Danny Briere is drawing inspiration from the past to rally the Flyers. “When Lavy took over the team a few years ago, I think we ended up being 14th in the conference at one point and we made the playoffs late in the season, and rode it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.. … So it's not too late. I really believe with the team that we have, we can come back in this race and we should be making the playoffs.”

Phoenix Coyotes: Zbynek Michalek blocks much rubber with his body. When does it hurt the most? “The worst is when you take it straight on the bone.”

Pittsburgh Penguins: We don’t want to say things are going well for the Penguins, but Paul Martin scored a game-winning goal.

San Jose Sharks: How are the Sharks going to pull out of their 7-game losing streak? Getting Patrick Marleau to shoot a bit more would be a good thing.

St. Louis Blues: Ryan Reaves dropped some bombs here on Aaron Volpatti. Ouch.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Vincent Lecavalier is tied for 16th in the NHL in points, and is averaging 1.07 points per game. Party like it’s 2007!

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Buds honored the 1963 Stanley Cup champion Leafs, and used the ice as a giant projection screen, which is neat.

Vancouver Canucks: Ever after his Blues defeated the Canucks, Ken Hitchcock believes Vancouver just got a lot harder to play with Ryan Kesler healthy: “They play on the inside now, they are not a perimeter team, they are going to be awful difficult to play against.” Which is a polite way of saying the rest of the team is a bunch of floaters, I guess.

Washington Capitals: Braden Holtby was awesome against the Rangers on Sunday, despite the loss. Eric Fehr called him “Holtsy”; can a nickname be as long as the name being nicked?

Winnipeg Jets: The Jets’ 5-game road trip will make or break their season. Looking at the slate of games, we’ll go with “break.”

Play of the Weekend

Maybe Alex Burrows could have lifted the puck a bit more. Or maybe Jake Allen just had this overtime breakaway figured out brilliantly.

Gold Star Award

That’s 101-year-old Herb Dawe attending his first Canucks hockey game. Yes, put the century-old man in a place where hard rubber discs fly at your face at 100 miles per hour. Genius.

Minus of the Weekend

The Flyers dropped games in Jersey and Montreal, moving to 2-8-0 on the road. Last season, they were 25-13-3.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

No, seriously, this going to shock you, but “Hi-wayman” is in fact a Vancouver fan:

To Phoenix: Cory Schnieder, Anton Rodin, Bill Sweatt

To Vancouver: Radim Vrbata, David Runblad, Mike Smith

We eagerly await the expansion of this trade to include Shane Doan for a Jyrki Lumme O-Pee-Chee card with the corners bent.

Signoff

You know, Helen Keller was largely useless, but look how we remember her. Yep: First lady of the American stage.

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Mon, 18 Feb 2013 06:45:34 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,aa592e7c-7765-3d68-b39b-9b5d9ccd6dab-l:1
NHL 3 Stars: Tlusty’s four-point period; Blues suffer another frustrating loss http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-3-stars-tlusty-four-point-period-blues-045158291--nhl.html

When Colton Orr scores, it's not your night.

No. 1 Star: Jiri Tlusty, Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes entered the third-period of their match with the New York Islanders trailing 3-2, but then Tlusty went to work, picking up 4 points in the final 20 minutes. He tied the game 30 seconds into the third, set up two more goals, then iced the 6-4 win in the dying seconds with an empty-netter. Alex Semin had 1 and 2.

No. 2 Star: Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

Doan was in on all three Coyotes goals versus the Colorado Avalanche, scoring twice. He opened the scoring for Phoenix and he closed it as well, potting the 3-2 game-winner with a minute to go in overtime. It was a strange play, as the Avalanche tried to throw the puck around the boards in their zone, only to have it hit the referee and come right out in front. Doan didn't waste the freebie.

No. 3 Star: Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

Dubinsky was the key to two great starts for the Blue Jackets in their 6-2 trouncing of the San Jose Sharks. He scored his first of the year and the first of the game just 0:43 into the first. Then, he helped end any hopes the Sharks had of a third-period comeback, assisting on a Nikita Nikitin goal 0:21 into the final frame. Dubsinky's 19:12 was also tops among Columbus forwards. Cody Goloubef scored his first NHL goal in the win.

Honourable Mention: It's still too early to say who won the James van Riemsdyk/Luke Schenn trade, but this play, where van Riemsdyk skates around Schenn like the pylon he's dressed like and scores a beauty:

That was the Toronto Maple Leafs' 5th and final goal in a 5-2 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers. Mark Fraser was on the ice for all five goals. The only downside was that they lost James Reimer to a lower-body injury, but Ben Scrivens was excellent in relief, making 32 saves... Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise scored in the shootout to give the Minnesota Wild a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames... Jeff Carter puts the Kings on the board in the first period, then extended the lead to 2 in the second. That was all the Kings would need, but the Blues are really struggling to keep the puck out of their net these days, so LA scored twice more in a 4-1 win.

Did you know? David Backes was not happy after his team's ugly loss to the Kings (which I totally predicted, y'all). Check out this quote: "We've got too many guys out there looking at the stat sheet wondering how many goals and assists, cookies they've got rather than taking a hit to make a play and getting run over so we can get a puck out so that your teammates can have a 3-on-2."

Dishonourable Mention: Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 14 shots... Korbinian Holzer is probably going to get suspended... Rough play for the Islanders here, at this Alex Semin shot ramps up off a stick, hits Travis Hamonic, and bounces into the Isles' net:

"The bottom line is you create your own luck," says the colour man, immediately. Uh huh.

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Mon, 11 Feb 2013 20:51:58 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,688a8940-2cad-301d-ac36-34f3ccc4d0c0-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Patrick Marleau has Hart; Anderson, Crawford for Vezina http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-patrick-marleau-hart-anderson-crawford-145919434--nhl.html (Ed. Note: Thus begins a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney and Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

Until he proves otherwise, Patrick Marleau is always going to have the “gutless” thing following him.

That’s thanks to Jeremy Roenick, who called out the San Jose Sharks forward on national television in 2011 for his lack of production in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So how does Roenick feel about Marleau’s nine goal start to the 2013 season?

From USA Today:

"I think Patrick is doing the things he needs to do to score goals," Roenick said.

"He's going to scoring holes. He's going to the high-traffic areas. If you look at his goals, he's had probably more prime scoring chances than anyone else in the National Hockey League. And Joe's putting the puck on his stick. If it leads to a Hart (trophy), or a Rocket Richard (trophy) or a Stanley Cup, it's great for him and even better for the Sharks."

So … not gutless then.

Where does Marleau rank in the Puck Daddy Hart Trophy voting? Coming up, the latest ballots for the Hart, Norris, Vezina, Calder and Adams in our weekly NHL Awards voting ... plus some other stuff.

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

Hart Trophy

1. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks (20)
2. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres (9)
3. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning (6)
4. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (5)
5. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (4)

To the surprise of no one, Marleau gets the unanimous nod as the best player on an undefeated (as of Monday night) San Jose Sharks team. He scored a goal in each of the Sharks’ first five games. It took Marleau 18 games to reach nine goals last season, and he only achieved that through a hat trick on Nov. 20.

Vanek’s nine points in four games was good enough for a distant second, even if the Sabres are struggling. St. Louis gets the credit for the Lightning’s positives with 11 points. Hossa and Crawford barely edged out Patrick Kane for the MVPs of the NHL’s other undefeated team.

Norris

1. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (19)
2. Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens (16)
3. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators (15)
4. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins (5)

5. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues (3)

Pietrangelo (7 points) was second to Shattenkirk (8 points) in scoring for defensemen entering Tuesday, but is in the top five in blocked shots. Markov is healthy and has four goals on the season in four games, averaging a team high 25:18 TOI. Karlsson is playing at a point per game pace, and is a plus-5.

Chara is averaging 25:30 TOI and has five points, and is clearing keeping this spot warm until the love child of Jesus Christ and Bobby Orr (a.k.a. Dougie Hamilton) rightly takes it. More on him in a bit.

Vezina Trophy

1. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (15)
2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (15)
3. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils (9)

4. Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues (7)
5. Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks (5)

Anderson is rocking a 0.73 GAA and a .975 save percentage in four games, which by our metrics seems pretty good. Crawford has a 1.78 GAA and five victories, having faced just under 27 shots per game. Brodeur has a 1.69 GAA and yet another shutout. Halak is 3-0 and has a 1.69 GAA, outplaying Brian Elliott thus far. Niemi may be the beneficiary of the Sharks playing outstanding hockey, but a 2.01 GAA and a .933 save percentage isn’t too shabby.

Calder Trophy

1. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (20)
2. Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning (16)
3. Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers (12)
4. Dougie Hamilton, Boston Bruins (6)

5. Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens (3)

The Blues’ Russian rookie sweeps the top spot on all four ballots, with eight points in six games and for being the most exciting thing to hit St. Louis since the International Bowling Museum.

Conacher, Schultz and Hamilton were Nos. 2-4 on every ballot as well, as the Calder race someone solidified in the first week of the season. Galchenyuk earned the No. 5 spot on three ballots; Nail Yakupov was given the nod on another.

Bottom line: It’s Conacher trying to outscore Tarasenko and Hamilton trying to keep pace with Schultz at the moment.

Jack Adams Award

1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (17)
2. Todd McLellan, San Jose Sharks (15)

3. Peter DeBoer, New Jersey Devils (7)
4. Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues (7)
5. Claude Julien, Boston Bruins (4)

So the Blackhawks are undefeated because of coaching and the Sharks are undefeated because of Patrick Marleau? Poor McLellan. Dude can’t catch a break. Best advice we can share: Grow a mustache. A mighty, mighty mustache.

DeBoer has the Devils earning points in a post-Parise world. Hitchcock’s Blues remain the class of the West. Ditto Julien’s Bruins in the East.

Superlatives

Biggest Potential Playoff Absence

1. Philadelphia Flyers
2. Washington Capitals
3. Phoenix Coyotes

The Flyers have to make up ground while playing in one of the toughest divisions in the NHL, while the Capitals are still trying to find their identity two weeks into the season. The Coyotes could play themselves off this list in the next week.

Coach Most Likely To Be Canned First

1. Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche
2. Adam Oates, Washington Capitals
3. Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames

Sacco’s in Year 4 as head coach of the Avs, and might have to fall in his sword for a lineup that’s hindered by injuries and Ryan O’Reilly’s free agency. Oates is off to a rough start; and are the Flames so “win now” that they’d can Hartley for a boost?

Player Most Likely To Be Hit By a Massive Suspension

1. Tom Sestito, Philadelphia Flyers
2. Rene Bourque, Montreal Canadiens
3. Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

The first two have history, both in violent incidents and punishment from the NHL. As for Doan, Harrison Mooney writes: “Because he always does stuff that borders on suspension and the Coyotes aren't doing very well and I could just see it happening.”

Outside the Game from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
President Nixon tried to help Dolphins win Super Bowl VI
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Forde Minutes: Seven more intriguing players to watch
Lateral Hazard: Tiger Woods in the swing of things

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Tue, 29 Jan 2013 06:59:19 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,63c3d17d-cf49-36d8-a3f5-1f92d4f2d7df-l:1
Canucks vs. Kings; Jamie Benn returns for Dallas Stars (Puck Previews) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/canucks-vs-kings-jamie-benn-returns-dallas-stars-234317146--nhl.html Back by popular demand, here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET. Roberto Luongo gets the nod in this one for Vancouver. Drew Doughty expects a physical affair in the teams’ first meeting since last postseason: “You are getting banged, but at the same time, you are giving it back.” #HockeyPorn

Preview: Dallas Stars at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET. Prepare thyself for the Stars’ super mega-line of Loui Ericksson, Jamie Benn and Jaromir Jagr, which is expected to be put together for the first time all season now that Benn’s back. Will Jags turn those two into his next Giroux/Hartnell? Kari Lehtonen vs. Sergei Bobrovsky, starting for the Jackets, who have lost four straight.

Preview: Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET. Anton Khudobin is in goal for the Bruins against a Hurricanes team that was undefeated against the B’s last season. No Justin Faulk for the Hurricanes, who is out with an upper body injury.

Preview: Nashville Predators at Phoenix Coyotes, 9 p.m. ET. Huge week for the Coyotes, who have two points on the season and three home games along with a trip to Dallas on the docket. Well, and that whole "sale to Greg Jamison" thing. The Preds could use a little Honey Badger magic these days.

Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 p.m. ET. No Gabe Landeskog for the Avs, as he was injured on that Brad Stuart hit. Semyon Varlamov faces the Oilers, who made some lineup tweaks that included scratching Mark Fistric and shifting Lennart Petrell to a line with Shaun Horcoff and Ryan Smyth.

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today's games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight's starting goalies, check out Left Wing Lock.

Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: Via ‘CMoney’ on the coach that toppled over the boards:

“Even I know there’s a line you don’t cross....he happened to hilariously fall over it”

Bold Prediction: Hat trick for Shane Doan.

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Mon, 28 Jan 2013 15:43:17 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,9c51f1d4-8a66-33b1-8bcd-10c53f2d1a30-l:1
What We Learned: Despite flashes of old, Alex Ovechkin is now predictable and pedestrian http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-despite-flashes-old-alex-ovechkin-now-predictable-142932597--nhl.html 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.

A lot was made about the Washington Capitals' first four games of the season, and not just because they didn't win any of them. The defense was bad, allowing 17 goals. The offense was worse, scoring just eight.

And in the middle of it all was Alex Ovechkin, who labored through those first four games with a carousel of linemates that included everyone from Nick Backstrom and Marcus Johansson to Joey Crabb and Jay Beagle. All he had to show for it at the end of that was one measly assist, a secondary helper for Matt Hendricks in a 4-2 loss to Winnipeg.

"What," everyone wondered, "is wrong with Alex Ovechkin?"

It's become pretty common knowledge at this point that no one's ever going to put him up for the Hart again in his career barring some sort of miraculous turnaround, and even his staunchest supporters have to wonder what, exactly, happened to the guy who averaged 55 goals a year over the first five season he spent in the NHL. Not that his 38 goals last season is anything to sniff at, particularly given how much Dale Hunter seemed to delight in not giving him much of a chance offensively, and his time on ice per game dropped below 20 minutes.

It seemed the hope was that bringing in a new coach like Adam Oates, who was a power play specialist as a player and therefore knows a thing or two about juicing offense, would return Ovechkin to the form that allowed him to light up the league. But it wasn't until yesterday's game with hapless Buffalo that Ovechkin and Oates finally found that old magic for a second.

On a power play early in the third period, Mike Green fed him right in his wheelhouse at the top of the circle, and the shot was vintage Ovechkin. Low, hard, perfectly placed, unstoppable. This was the Ovechkin we want to remember, and visions of him firing home perfect one-timers from the Stamkos Spot is something most hockey fans would welcome as it danced through their heads. There was a lot of that kind of comment on Twitter as soon as the puck rippled the back of the net.

The sad fact, though, is that these flashes of olden days Alex Ovechkin seems to be just about all we'll ever get from the guy any more.

He can still hammer home one-timers every once in a while, but the Ovechkin we have now is far more pedestrian.

He's 27 now. Statistically, it's pretty safe to say he's never going to produce like he did before. Move him to the right wing or back to the left all you want, but there's simply not a magical cure to make him score 50 a year any more.

Yes, his 38 goals last season was still good for fifth in the league, and it must be stated again that there were indeed mitigating factors, but at some point the hockey world has to stop talking about Ovechkin as being the kind of elite player he once was, right?

There's nothing wrong with not topping 40 goals because most guys don't do it, but this is now officially the paradigm for the rest of Ovechkin's career, isn't it?

So the question becomes whether everyone's perception of Ovechkin catches up with reality, and when that happens. He's not worth the money he's being paid these days, and in another year or three it's going to be interesting to see just how bad that contract is. He'll be the face of the Capitals for as long as he's on the team, and one suspects that will be a considerable amount of time, but all this sitting around and clock-watching while people wait for the surge seems a colossal waste of time.

Going four games straight without a goal to start the season is the norm for Ovechkin, and shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's watching Caps games these days.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Bruce Boudreau trotted out Viktor Fasth for his first-ever game on the second night of a back-to-back and the rookie picked up his first win, stopping 19 of 21 and then blanking the Predators in the shootout. Fasth, by the way, is a rookie in experience only, given that's he's already 30 years old.

Boston Bruins: You know that stat now about how more stuff gets printed every day than mankind printed in its entirety prior to 1900, or whatever? That's how I feel about the number of fawning articles about Dougie Hamilton that will be printed by the end of this season. The kid is terribly good, but c'mon now.

Buffalo Sabres: Headed into Sunday's game sans Thomas Vanek, the Sabres had a lot of uncomfortable questions to answer about their heavily mediocre start.

Calgary Flames: The Flames finally got a win on Saturday night, beating Edmonton 4-3 at home, behind another crackerjack performance from… Lee Stempniak? That can't be right. What do you mean he's tied for the team lead in points with 3-2-5? Jeez.

Carolina Hurricanes: This standard gamer of the Hurricanes' Friday night sweep-completing win over Buffalo contained an interesting tidbit: The Hurricanes have made a trade with every team in the league except the Sabres.

Chicago Blackhawks: I feel like this is the Blue Jacketsest goal to concede, maybe ever. Oh and it was the game-winner.

Colorado Avalanche: The good news out of a 4-0 loss to San Jose is at least when Brad Stuart clobbered Gabriel Landeskog in the neutral zone, the sophomore captain didn't get a concussion. That's, like, the only good news though.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Cam Atkinson to the IR with a lower-body injury. What is this gypsy curse Scott Howson seems to have brought on his team?

Dallas Stars: The Stars are already being pummeled by injuries, but Glen Gulutzan says that despite the shortened season, he won't rush anyone back. Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy, Kari Lehtonen and Christopher Nilstorp were all at less than 100 percent for Saturday's game with St. Louis. The two forwards were scratched, and Lehtonen was supposed to get the night off, but had to come into the game when Nilstorp went down to injury. Looks like it could be troubling, too, because the team already called up Richard Bachman to replace him.

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Hey that terrible Red Wings defense? It's not as bad as it used to be! Mike Babcock is now calling games in which they give up three goals "the best." Hoo boy.

Edmonton Oilers: "Youth Fuels Battle of Alberta." Because when you think Flames/Oilers, you think of all the great young players both have on the roster. For Edmonton there's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall. For Calgary there's… well. Hmm. Sven Baertschi. So yes, youth.

Florida Panthers: Following the 7-1 beating they caught at the hands of the Flyers, the Panthers have been outscored 18-3 since opening night. Anyone who thought this team was gonna make the playoffs is a lunatic.

Los Angeles Kings: Wow the Kings actually won at hockey. However, their power play remains the worst in the NHL at 0 for 23. So, room for improvement it seems.

Minnesota Wild: Did you know Mike Yeo thinks Ryan Suter is a good hockey player? It's true. He said so.

Montreal Canadiens: Max Pacioretty is out three to four weeks after an emergency appendectomy. He better not go to any movie theaters during his time out of the lineup.

Nashville Predators: Speaking of injuries, Patric Hornqvist is out indefinitely after picking up a leg injury. Huge blow to Nashville's already-anemic offense.

New Jersey Devils: Can't tell you how much I loved the pass from Marek Zidlicky to Ilya Kovalchuk in overtime on Friday. It was magnificent.

New York Islanders: Lubomir Visnovsky's agent says the defenseman will report to the Islanders by Feb. 11. Believe it when you see it, kids.

New York Rangers: Marian Gaborik is straight-up killing it this season. Five goals in as many games, and no one seems to be able to stop him.

Ottawa Senators: Man, when Robin Lehner finally gets a full-time NHL gig, it's gonna be really hard to beat the Senators. Kid turned in another phenomenal performance in the AHL on Saturday, in a season already full of them. In 23 games this season, he as a 1.80 GAA and .948 save percentage, which isn't even fair.

Philadelphia Flyers: Yeah, the Flyers scored seven goals on 26 shots against the Panthers Saturday night, which is a lot of goals on not a lot of shots. A big portion of that shooting percentage comes from Matt Read, though, because he shot the puck three times and it went in on every one.

Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 171 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. In the meantime, here's Shane Doan laying out Dustin Brown and then dropping Mike Richards in an ensuing fight.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Effort helps teams win hockey games. This late breaking news brought to you by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who prior to last night's game with Ottawa lost to Toronto and Winnipeg by a combined score of 9-2.

San Jose Sharks: Patrick Marleau is the second player in NHL history to score more than one goal in each of the first four games of the season, tying a record set by Cy Denneny in 1917-18. I'm sure he'll keep shooting at 40 percent all season long.

St. Louis Blues: Welcome back to the National Hockey League, Wade Redden.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Finally, people actually like Matt Carle instead of blaming him for every goal the Flyers allowed last year.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Yes, it's "Blame Phil Kessel" time. The best time.

Vancouver Canucks: Actually, maybe "There's Still a Goaltending Controversy" time is the best time. It's hard to keep it all straight.

Washington Capitals: Through their first four games, the Caps took a whopping 25 minor penalties. That includes six that led to three 5-on-3s, and their opponents scored on every single one.

Winnipeg Jets: Nik Antropov has been very good for the Jets this year. Don't let the one assist in his first four games fool you.

Play of the Weekend

I think this Eberle kid has a future in this league.

Gold Star Award
Marian Gaborik please stop doing this to everyone. It's making them sad.

Minus of the Weekend
"With a deadline looming for prospective Phoenix Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison to purchase the team from the National Hockey League, Glendale officials have no idea whether he’ll complete the deal."

He has until Thursday. More Mike Sunnucks lies!!!!!

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "mindfly" really doesn't want that improving Detroit defense to get ahead of itself.

To Edmonton:
Kyle Quincey
To Detroit:
Magnus Pääjärvi

Signoff
That's my purse! I don't know you!

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 28 Jan 2013 06:29:32 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,23bdc52c-035b-395b-a114-d2751076d5bd-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Read tallies first trick; Gaborik’s 4-point night; Perron powers Blues http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-read-tallies-first-trick-gaborik-062445339--nhl.html Wayne Simmonds: just chillin' on his invisible chair.

No. 1 Star: Matt Read, Philadelphia Flyers

Read scored one in each period for his first NHL hat trick as the Flyers routed the Florida Panthers 7-1.

Tye McGinn, who scored his first NHL goal, Luke Schenn and Ruslan Fedotenko each notched a goal and added an assist. Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves and had an assist of his own.

No. 2 Star: Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers

After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, the Rangers rallied back scoring five straight to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Gaborik scored twice, including the go-ahead goal 12:57 into the third period, and added two assists. Marc Staal scored the tying goal five minutes earlier and would assist on Gaborik's first tally.

No. 3 Star: David Perron, St. Louis Blues

Down a goal in the second period Perron took over scoring twice en route to a 4-3 win for the Blues over the Dallas Stars. St. Louis scored three times in the final 10 minutes of the second period, with Perron getting things going with a great individual effort:

Wade Redden opened the scoring in the first period with his first NHL goal since March 18, 2010.

Honorable Mention: Patrick Kane would chip in two assists, including setting up Jonathan Toews' go-ahead goal 6:35 into the third period as the Chicago Blackhawks got by the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. The win ties Chicago's best start at in franchise history at 5-0-0, set in 1971-72 ... Lee Stempniak chipped in three points and Jay Bouwmeester added two as the Calgary Flames won the latest edition of the "Battle of Alberta" 4-3 over the Edmonton Oilers. ... Patrick Marleau was at it again scoring two power play goals in the first period of the San Jose Sharks' 4-0 shutout of the Colorado Avalanche. Thomas Greiss posted his first career shutout with 24 saves. San Jose now has 10 power play goals through their first four games. Rookie Matt Irwin scored his first NHL goal with 2:55 left in the game ... Corey Perry scored the only goal of the shootout and Nashville couldn't score on any of their three chances in the skills competition as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Predators 3-2. Rookie netminder earned his first NHL win with 19 saves. Daniel Winnik set a Ducks franchise record with his fifth goal in the team's first four games. ... Three goals in the second period, including a pair from Anze Kopitar helped the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, their first of the season. Jake Muzzin scored his first NHL goal. Jon Quick made 31 saves. Late in the third, Shane Doan and Mike Richards decided to drop the mitts:

Did You Know? "Marleau has scored exactly two goals in each game this season, joining Ottawa's Cy Denneny in 1917-18 as the only players to open a campaign with four multigoal games." (Elias Sports Bureau)

Dishonorable Mention: The Avalanche lost in San Jose for the seventh straight time ... Jose Theodore was pulled after the first period after allowing three goals on nine shots. Florida lost their fourth straight and have been outscored 18-2 over that stretch ... Brad Stuart laid a big hit on Gabriel Landeskog that resulted in Ryan O'Byrne earning 19 penalty minutes for answering the bell. Was the hit worthy of supplemental discipline? ... Finally, the Blue Jackets thought they had tied the game on the power play midway through the second, but the goal was somehow called off:

Nick Foligno said during an intermission interview that the referee told him he had bumped Corey Crawford and wasn't able to get set again. Huh.

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Sat, 26 Jan 2013 22:24:45 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,b9fc2c6a-af43-3044-82d7-6f70d88e98c3-l:1
Watch Mike Smith’s stick-smashing reaction to Blackhawks’ goal (VIDEO) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/watch-mike-smith-stick-smashing-reaction-blackhawks-goal-065514080--nhl.html Phoenix Coyotes Mike Smith spent the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals frustrating the Chicago Blackhawks, eliminating them and allowing more than two goals in a game just once.

But in their first meeting since the playoffs on Sunday, it was Smith who was frustrated in a 6-4 loss to the Blackhawks. Really, really frustrated:

Here's the NHL.com video, a bit crisper:

The Coyotes were down 5-2 when Martin Hanzal scored at 4:38 of the third period. Captain Shane Doan then tallied 50 seconds later, sending the large crowd in Glendale into hysterics as the home team rallied.

But 22 seconds after Doan’s goal, Dave Bolland scored his second of the night on play in which the puck bounced over a hapless Smith and into the net.

Smith’s stick-smashing reaction told you all you needed to know about his night, which also included a Blackhawks goal scored on a play in which he felt he had the puck frozen at the side of the net.

Smith had a 2.21 GAA last season as one of the NHL’s top netminders last season. In two games in 2013, he’s given up 10 goals.

"The bottom line is that we have to be better as a group in front of Smitty, and Smitty could be a little better, and we'll address that tomorrow," said Coach Dave Tippett.

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Sun, 20 Jan 2013 22:55:14 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,66633198-16ac-3ae8-b807-10783738bb63-l:1
TSN’s top 50 NHL players list: Your annual source of mental anguish http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/tsn-top-50-nhl-players-list-annual-source-163605586--nhl.html Each year before the season, TSN puts out its list of the top 50 players in the National Hockey League, also known as “Sid and 49 other dudes.”

There are some annual traditions with the list. Rick Nash is always overrated. Defensemen are always underrated. Goalies are usually limited to whoever made the Vezina top three – witness Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne as the only netminders in the Top 50 this season. Alex Ovechkin is always the second best player in the oh right he’s now No. 14.

And there are always snubs, which is natural when the list is limited to 50 players and one simply must find room for Mike Richards on it.

Coming up, the TSN top 50 for 2013, and a few critiques …

Please keep in mind that the list was “determined by a cumulative point system based on individual rankings and selected by a panel of experts.” Which doesn’t necessarily mean “James Duthie, a bottle of whiskey and a dry erase board” but it doesn’t rule it out either …

1. Sidney Crosby 26. Ryan Suter
2. Evgeni Malkin 27. Pekka Rinne
3. Claude Giroux 28. Alex Pietrangelo
4. Steven Stamkos 29. Kris Letang
5. Pavel Datsyuk 30. Martin St. Louis
6. Jonathan Toews 31. Tyler Seguin
7. Shea Weber 32. Marian Hossa
8. Daniel Sedin 33. Nicklas Backstrom
9. Henrik Sedin 34. Ryan Getzlaf
10. Anze Kopitar 35. Patrice Bergeron
11. Erik Karlsson 36. James Neal
12. Zdeno Chara 37. Jarome Iginla
13. Zach Parise 38. Patrick Kane
14. Alex Ovechkin 39. Jamie Benn
15. Henrik Lundqvist 40. Joe Thornton
16. Jonathan Quick 41. Logan Couture
17. Drew Doughty 42. Brad Richards
18. Ilya Kovalchuk 43. Dustin Brown
19. Corey Perry 44. Mike Richards
20. John Tavares 45. Marian Gaborik
21. Eric Staal 46. Jordan Staal
22. Henrik Zetterberg 47. Phil Kessel
23. Jason Spezza 48. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
24. Rick Nash 49. Duncan Keith
25. Jordan Eberle 50. Taylor Hall

A few things …

• Bobby Ryan isn't better than any of these players?

• Can we go back to the days when Henrik Sedin was clearly seen as the better Sedin? In 2010-11, he was ranked sixth while Daniel was No. 18. Last year, the two were ranked sequentially, and it happened again this year. We all know Henrik’s the Romy and Daniel’s the Michelle. Oh, crap, that was way too Milburyian a comparison, wasn’t it ...

• There’s probably an alternate universe in which Erik Karlsson is a more complete, accomplished and consistent player than Zdeno Chara. We imagine it’s always raining Skittles and cars drive people there, too.

• The Phoenix Coyotes do not exist, and if they do, then Shane Doan and Keith Yandle Mike Smith and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are all products of Dave Tippett’s system and not part of the top 50.

• All due respect to the run Dustin Brown had on the Kings’ most productive offensive line, but where the [expletive] is David Backes on this list?

• Sorry Dan Girardi, but being the best defensive defenseman in hockey isn’t good enough. NEEDZ MOAR POINTZ.

• So we can reward Jordan Staal’s potential as a player who emerged from the Sid/Geno shadow and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' potential as a sophomore player, but Gabe Landeskog has, what, hit his ceiling?

• Finally, please put Loui Eriksson on these lists. Every time you don’t, the Underrated Monster grows stronger and more ravenous …

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Tue, 15 Jan 2013 08:36:05 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,24dae537-3b4d-3bdf-a79f-013af497d25c-l:1
Penguins give fans free food; which NHL team is most ready for hot start? (Puck Headlines) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/penguins-fans-free-food-nhl-team-most-ready-210148515--nhl.html 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.

• Gary Bettman: Haunting your dreams forever now.

• The Pittsburgh Penguins are bribing, er, offering their fans free food and deep discounts to make nice after the lockout. [Penguins]

• The Phoenix Coyotes vow to offer “special value” games to their fans. What, are they going to pay them? [Phoenix Business Journal]

• Which NHL teams will start fast in a 48-game season? Hows about the Los Angeles Kings? “The Kings' championship run last year was a surprise, but they are a favorite this season. This is practically the same team that overwhelmed its opponents with physicality and speed, becoming the first eighth seed to win the Stanley Cup. Health, at least at the outset, is a concern, though. Goalie Jonathan Quick had back surgery, and center Anze Kopitar recently injured his knee playing in Sweden. If the Kings jell like they did last spring, watch out.” [USA Today]

• Larry Brooks is still swinging away at Gary Bettman. His latest has Shane Doan as the reason why the NHL moved on the salary cap number for next season. ALL HAIL SHANE DOAN! [NY Post]

• Patrick Kane on “coach” Jonathan Toews at practice: “He talks a little too much. We’re trying to shut him up.” [CSN Chicago]

• Tyler Seguin denies the “trashed Swiss apartment” story, blissfully unaware of how hilarious it was. [CSNNE]

• Brash, controversial Russian Nail Yakupov takes a brash number with the Edmonton Oilers. [National Post]

• Why an Ilya Bryzgalov for Rick DiPietro trade would be the best thing of all time ever. [NHL Numbers]

• Mark Spector is wondering if this CBA is all it’s cracked up to be: “Can the Blues and Sharks raise ticket prices at the same rate to keep up with salary inflation? As the salary cap rises, does payroll disparity not become an issue for owners whose GMs have budgets, while a third of the league presses up against the cap limit?  How does ownership in Colorado, Dallas and Anaheim -- big league markets where fans want nothing less than a club that competes on all fronts -- both make a profit and spend to the cap?” [Sportsnet]

• Bourne has a hunch Victor Hedman’s going to be pretty good: “Victor Hedman was drafted number two overall in 2009 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, one spot behind John Tavares, and one spot ahead of Matt Duchene. He’s been a reliable force for the Bolts on the backend, never scoring less than 20 points in any of his three seasons there, and logging big minutes for the team, including in situations when it matters.” [Backhand Shelf]

• So is Damien Brunner going to end up being a surging new star on Henrik Zetterberg’s line or the next Fabian Brunstrumm? [Winging It]

• Lepore talks to some heavy hitters in sports media journalism about the damage the NHL lockout did to the brand and what to expect from the NHL on NBC this season. Richard Deitsch’s idea for a gimmick: “Zamboni-cam, and celebrity Zamboni drivers during intermissions!” [SB Nation]

• Someone’s not exactly digging the Roberto Luongo to the Flyers rumors: “I just hope to god the Canucks just keep Luongo or let him go to the Leafs. Anyone but the Flyers. Seriously where is Pelle Lindberg and Ron Hextall when you need them?” [Broad Street Buzz]

• The NHL has made it so the Minnesota Wild can take part in Hockey Day Minnesota, which seems like the appropriate thing to do. [Russo]

• Who exactly still plays for the Minnesota Wild? [Hockey Wilderness]

• On the NHL and asterisks. [CAVE Mag]

• Great piece by Down Goes Brown on the demise of Brian Burke: “But when it comes to wins and losses, none of that matters. (And please say a small prayer for Maple Leafs fans that this really is about wins and losses, and not about Burke’s ability to play nice with his new corporate masters as some have speculated, because if that’s the case, then this franchise might never win again and wouldn’t deserve to.) Burke may be a good man, but so far in Toronto, he hadn’t been a winning one.” [Grantland]

• The Puck Buddys honor Brian Burke’s other legacy, as a social change advocate. [PBs]

• Finally, here are Brian Burke’s greatest soundbytes.

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Thu, 10 Jan 2013 13:01:48 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,7eb1c791-e57f-37a1-9ae9-397f4bf92afe-l:1
Predictions for NHL 2013; looking at the lockout drop dead date (Puck Headlines) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/predictions-nhl-2013-looking-lockout-drop-dead-date-192910741--nhl.html 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.

• Here’s Danny Briere inking a deal with Eisbären Berlin through the rest of the season (NHL lockout resolution pending), much to the shock and disapproval of a mutant Granny Smith Apple.

• Adrian Dater offers his predictions for 2013, including expansion: “Quebec and Seattle remain the two frontrunners -- both cities have plans for new arenas well underway -- and their inclusion would likely bring at least a combined $400 million in expansion fees, plus sold-out buildings for two or three years during a honeymoon period. Expansion could easily be phased in for the 2013-14 season, though teams in each new city would probably need to play in an older existing building for a year or two.” [SI]

• Lou Lamoriello called the lockout “embarrassing.” But what does he think of the Shane Doan contract? [Globe & Mail]

• Two articles on really, really shortened seasons today. Tyler Dellow dove into whether a 28-game schedule would still have integrity, and bout the Drop Dead Date: “Unless there’s something different this time than last time, something that we don’t know about, I doubt that the real drop dead date for the season is in January. It simply doesn’t make any sense to me that they’d be willing to cancel the season earlier this time than they did last time, particularly with the fear that what was excused once (when, however much I may disagree, there was more widespread support for the owners) may not be excused a second time. If you can play a schedule of 28 games that’s credible and legitimate, I don’t know why the league would cancel the season in mid-January.” [mc79hockey]

• Meanwhile, “The Book” (via Cam Charron) had this reaction take on Dellow’s bit. [The Book]

• The ladies of SB Nation believe a few female voices could have gone a long way towards solving this lockout. [SB Nation]

• Here’s a sad little look at how the lack of Washington Capitals games is killing the businesses around the Verizon Center. [Washington Post]

• Ryan Ellis of the Milwaukee Admirals dons the 1979-80 retro jerseys that the team will be wearing tonight and tomorrow as part of their 35th anniversary celebration. Ahh, brings back memories of the Quebec Nordiques. [Admirals]

• Same deal in Boston: “The National Hockey League's labor dispute is costing bars and restaurants near the TD Garden as much as $1 million for every Bruins home game that's canceled.” [AP]

• Scott Burnside on the “sting of shame” of the NHL lockout: “The league continues to be hammered in various media -- those that still care enough to turn its attention to a game that can’t help but repeat its own labor follies -- while the question of how much damage has been done to the once-thriving game looms large with the season hanging in the balance.” [ESPN]

• Cheese curd and fried milk eating Milwaukeean Alex Galchenyuk had a strong debut for the USA junior team in their rout against Germany. [Buzzing The Net]

• The Americans haven’t even settled their full roster yet. [TSN]

• Here’s a bit on Josh Gorges and his Twitter pickup game. [Gazette]

• “Today will either be one step closer to keeping the Coyotes at jobing.com for decades or possibly losing them forever. To referendum or not to referendum. That is the question.” [Howlin Hockey]

• Finally, the plays of the year via Sportsnet and HockeyWebCaster

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Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:29:10 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,103c7450-4449-3cec-a3a3-9833ebef93c5-l:1
What We Learned: Airing some NHL grievances in the tradition of Festivus http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-airing-nhl-grievances-tradition-festivus-151857858--nhl.html 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.

Even if you don't watch Seinfeld religiously, you are probably well aware of the show's made-up holiday Festivus, during which unspoken grievances are aired to those who have wronged you in some way during the course of the entire year.

And as you probably well know by now, there has been a lot about which to feel aggrieved in the NHL in 2012. Like, a stunning amount. And while I understand that today is the 24th, and not the traditional day of Festivus, which falls on the 23rd, there has been so much to complain about that you might as well stretch it to two days.

Here are the five dumbest things to happen in hockey this year ...

5. The Oilers are moving, wink-nudge.

Darryl Katz is, in theory, the kind of owner every team should have. He's a self-made billionaire from the city in which his team plays who grew up cheering for them, and he (ostensibly, anyway) doesn't really want to use the team as a money-making venture so much as he just wants to see it succeed. Evidence to the contrary on the latter point, of course, is that Steve Tambellini still runs the team.

Which makes the whole arena saga bizarre and terrible.

Okay, I get it: Rexall Place is going to collapse at any second and everyone hates it. Lots of teams are in that position with their rink. And hey, you can't even fault Katz for going out and trying to get public money to build a new one. Everyone does it! It works all the time! But when the City Council very wisely told him he was a billionaire so it wouldn't just give him more money than he originally asked for, Katz threw an hilarious hissy fit. Most of the Edmonton media, by the way, openly supported Katz throughout, with David Staples as his most embarrassing enabler.

First there was the post on the Oilers' website that was like, "Hey, this team could move and it wouldn't be our fault sorry though everyone." Then there was the breathlessly-reported trip to Seattle, which had just signed a deal to build a multi-purpose stadium in hopes of luring a basketball team. I don't blame Wayne Gretzky, who was seen with Katz at a Seahawks game that night, for running from the situation like it was on fire (even as I don't believe a word he says about just happening to have been there that night).

But none of that stuff worked, and Katz went back to Edmonton hat in hand to beg for any more money at all. He was once again denied, and now has about five weeks to close the deal, between which the city and team have a $100 million gap in what they're each willing to spend.

4. Tim Thomas: Right-wing nutbar.

Let me start by saying that whatever your politics, you have to see Tim Thomas as a complete lunatic for a whole hell of a lot of reasons.

It all started when he refused to go to the White House with his teammates to meet President Barack Obama on the grounds that The Government Is Bad, and not, as Dave Hodge jokingly suggested, because he is racist. That led to some uncomfortable moments and pretty breathless coverage by the Boston media in particular, which was all too happy to throw the guy under the bus for reasons I'm still not fully clear on. It also left his teammates to answer questions about how much of a jerk they think Tim Thomas, who at the time was widely considered the best goaltender on the planet, really is. That, in turn, caused Thomas to only become MORE of a kook. He started posting insane screeds on his Facebook page, including one particularly indefensible one about the importance of letting Chik-Fil-A continue to discriminate against gay people all it wanted.

Then, with $3 million due to him this locked-out season, he just said, "Screw it," and announced he would take the year off to live with his family in Colorado. He has become so much of a Kaczynskian recluse to the hockey media that his very participation in a union (the irony!) conference call last week made headlines.

He was likely disappointed to find that that world still existed on Dec. 22.

3. Greg Jamison's continual pursuit of the Coyotes.

The Coyotes' ownership situation has been an hilarious quagmire for years and years at this point, but we might be near the end of the tunnel, ready to emerge the other side into a Lovecraftian hellscape of endless despair (until the team very inevitably moves to Quebec City in like two years).

Greg Jamison is the latest person to lead a charge of the light brigade into the baffling wilderness of trying to buy a dying franchise based in an infertile market, with a cadre of unnamed investors at his back. At one point, early in the year, his group was one of three potential suitors for the team, but the other two eventually faded from the picture. Probably because, unlike with the Atlanta Thrashers, the league is inexplicably committed to keeping this team buried up to its neck in the hot desert sun.

And so began the long slow painful waltz between Jamison's group and the league and the City of Glendale, none of whom seem particularly interested in getting a deal done expediently or, perhaps more important, sanely. In researching this, I found that Jamison has been considered the sole suitor for the team since April or so, and now, eight months later, Jamison still doesn't own the team, though that hasn't stopped him from getting a massive and terrible lease deal from the city despite his preference to work everything cloak-and-dagger style.

Maybe this will all get resolved in 2013!

2. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter's long, strange trip.

It's not so much that their signing with Minnesota is in itself offensive (except to say that this team is not that much closer to competing for a Stanley Cup now than it was prior to their signing), but rather the process by which they did so is the concept behind basically everything that Gary Bettman says is wrong with the current CBA.

Teams were allowed to woo them for days on end while the hockey world sat and waited in anticipation, with executives flying in and out of tiny airports for a quick afternoon lemonade and to deliver some contract numbers to look over. They eventually chose their destination and got exactly the kind of deal for which Bettman fined the Devils so heavily when they signed Ilya Kovalchuk.

Both got $12 million in the first two years of the deal, and another $11 million in the third, most of that paid in bonuses rather than salary. They each will receive $2 million in the third-to-last year of the deal, and $1 million per in each of the final two. Those final two, by the way, constitute the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, because why wouldn't they? By the end of these contracts, Parise will be 40, and Suter 39.

All this from an owner who, a) openly complained about other teams giving out these kinds of deals just months before doing so, and b) is now driving the lockout, which is essentially a war on these contracts. What a hypocrite. The Wild deserve to continue to fail for years to come.

1. The lockout.

Obviously. But hey, Jeremy Jacobs really wants that extra 12 cents a beer, so can you blame him?

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Emerson Etem did okay in the closing minutes of Saturday's game with the Albany Devils, during which his Norfolk Admirals trailed 1-0 with 60 seconds left in the third period. Etem scored the game-tying goal with 33 seconds left, then struck again just six seconds into overtime to win it.

Boston Bruins: Today is Day No. 21 since Steve Burton of WBZ in Boston said the lockout could be over in two days. But it doesn't seem fair that Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and a whole host of NHL forwards get to play for Canada in the Spengler Cup.

Buffalo Sabres: Sabres prospect Jake McCabe just got the biggest honor of his life: He was named captain for the U.S. World Junior team.

Calgary Flames: If the NHL season is canceled, local sports leagues will lose about $765,000 because the Saddledome Foundation, which typically gives them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, will receive far less funding from the team itself. Cool and great stuff. Don't forget Murray Edwards is helping to drive the lockout too!

Carolina Hurricanes: You know how sometimes you hear guys call for passes from their opponents? The reason they do it is it works sometimes. Ask Brett Sutter, who did it to Jake Allen and got an easy game-winning goal out of it on Saturday.

Chicago Blackhawks: Brandon Pirri had a strong third period for Rockford on Saturday, scoring two goals five minutes apart to ease the IceHogs past the badly slumping Abbotsford Heat.

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs are apparently loving Tyson Barrie these days, and why not? He has 20 points in 29 games from the blue line in Lake Erie this season, and already surpassed his goal total from last season.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Prospect Boone Jenner should be suspended for the entirety of the World Juniors for this gross late hit, but he probably won't be.

Dallas Stars: Brenden Morrow says he hasn't really done much skating this offseason, but has done a lot of Pilates work and spin classes. Pretty good idea for a guy who's gonna be 34 soon, I'm sure.

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Mikael Samuelsson is hosting his Swedish teammates for Christmas Eve, and Niklas Kronwall will come in handy if Santa needs any help getting his sleigh up in the air.

Edmonton Oilers: I mentioned the strong forward corps Canada is bringing to the Spengler Cup, but with Devan Dubnyk starting between the pipes, I don't know how good their chances are.

Florida Panthers: Panthers coaches and staffers have been keeping busy during the lockout, coming into the office almost every day. And what do they do there, Craig Ramsay? "There are enough guys where you can come in, grab a coffee, chat with the boys and get a workout in," he said. "I've found ways to stay busy. I've repeated some of the video for sure." Great gig if you can get it.

Los Angeles Kings: Saturday was the one-year anniversary of Darryl Sutter's first game behind the Kings bench. Things went pretty okay, considering the team only lost 17 of 69 games in regulation in the regular season and playoffs combined. And that whole Stanley Cup thing.

Minnesota Wild: Mikko Koivu says he misses the "adrenaline" of games, and also probably being injured.

Montreal Canadiens: I love this headline so much I could cry. Article's good too.

Nashville Predators: Nashville fans are already dreading Shea Weber potentially becoming a free agent again if the union dissolves itself. Man.

New Jersey Devils: Chris Christie knows more than a little bit about mismanaging things, so when he criticizes the league's handling of the lockout, you know it's coming from a place of weighty expertise.

New York Islanders: With JetBlue now the official airline of the Islanders' future home rink, the chances they don't get chartered flights any more seems absurdly high.

New York Rangers: Ryan Callahan went back to his old high school on Friday. He played one season there before jumping to juniors. I'm so bummed I can't find the stats he put up in that one year because he must have scored a million goals.

Ottawa Senators: Mika Zibanejad hasn't had the best start to this AHL season. He had four wisdom teeth removed, then had strep throat, then got a "serious" stomach flu. He could be back next week unless he contracts the hantavirus.

Philadelphia Flyers: The injuries for Flyers prospects Marc-Andre Bourdon and Ben Holmstrom are not very good. Bourdon is out with a mystery ailment related to a concussion (probably) and Holmstrom, Adirondack's captain, is out between four and six months with an ACL injury.

Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 136 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. However, across the street, ABC 15 is encouraging fans to go bother locked-out Coyotes by giving out details of their four-days-a-week practice sessions on the local news. Shane Doan seems like a hell of a nice guy though.

Pittsburgh Penguins: I hope upon hope that the Penguins really are super-duper interested in bringing Sergei Gonchar back. Oh man would that be great. Not for the Penguins, mind you. But for me? Great.

San Jose Sharks: Alex Stalock is off to a pretty great start in the AHL this season, winning nine of his first 16 games after suffering debilitating nerve damage in February 2011.

St. Louis Blues: Sure, Alex Pietrangelo didn't win the Norris for some reason, but maybe Louie will win the Cartoon Network Most Awesome Mascot Award. You know Leahy's got his back.

Tampa Bay Lightning: A Bolts fan named Shawn Berger canceled two season tickets and got a $700 refund from the team. I have to believe that math isn't right because there's no way on Earth that's like $8.50 a ticket. And even if it's $700 per seat, that's $17 bucks a seat. Why don't we all live in Tampa, exactly?

Toronto Maple Leafs: Ryan Hamilton is now the Toronto Marlies' all-time leading goalscorer. With 75 goals. That first part is, like, really impressive to read. The second not so much. Granted, the team has only existed since 2005.

Vancouver Canucks: I can't believe Darren Haydar is still playing hockey.

Washington Capitals: The Caps held a scrimmage at their practice rink on Friday and Brooks Laich got the chance to spit hot truth over the damage the lockout is doing. "Hockey was on the up for seven straight years. Record revenues, record attendance, the game was doing so well. And with so many good young talented players, so many superstars. And now it's like we just discarded it all." Pretty frickin' much, buddy.

Winnipeg Jets: Here's maybe the best question anyone asked all week: Why on earth would Evander Kane even want to play in Winnipeg at this point? (And the headline on that post is pretty damn great too.)

Play of the Weekend

Here's Justin Schultz pulling within four goals of the record for an AHL rookie defenseman. He had two in the game, a 6-2 win, and both were beauties. Personally, I think he's gonna break the record, considering he has 16-24-40 in 28 games and that's not even close to fair and I don't understand it.

Pertinent clips start at around 2:00.

Gold Star Award

Real nice move from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Minus of the Weekend

Today is the 100th day of the lockout. Each day I pray for death's cold, eternal embrace.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "HockeyFan100" knows that if you're gonna have a decentish top-pairing defenseman, you gotta be giving him $6.8 million against the cap.

To Nashville:

Jay Bouwmeester
2014 2nd pick

To Calgary:

David Legwand
Kevin Klein

Signoff

Your hostility invalidates our contract.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 24 Dec 2012 07:18:57 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,60ce9b3a-1c8a-3dd1-833f-b89cbdf0dd3a-l:1
Puck Daddy’s 10 people of controversy in 2012 http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-daddy-10-people-controversy-2012-185655117--nhl.html

Through New Year's Eve, your friends at Puck Daddy fondly recall the Year in Hockey for 2012, such as it wasn't.

Looking at this list, it's a bit of a bummer that it's split right down the middle when it comes to players and non-players. Of course, in a year where everyone was a non-player for 6 of 12 months, I guess that makes sense. But still, we'd have preferred more of 2012's talking points occurred on the ice.

Still, while the year was a little short on on-ice events, it was far from an uneventful year. Thanks to in no small part to these 10 guys, who gave us something to talk about on the regular.

Of course, in many instances, we'd have preferred to be talking about someone else. In a few instances, the fact that we had to talk about these people instead of someone -- anyone else -- made us rue the day we (and they) were born.

But such is life and so it goes. Here are the 10 people of controversy in 2012.

10. Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers

Bryzgalov's relationship with the media was as fascinating as ever in 2012, as the Russian backstop gleefully dropped non sequiturs galore, turning tigers, bears and monkeys into memes. But occasionally the media would catch Bryzgalov on a bad day, and then he wouldn't be so funny, such as during this exchange with Russian reporters:

What do you want me to say? You've been writing filth about me and now you are asking for an interview. Go look around; there are so many good players. You can go talk to them.

On the ice, Bryzgalov was exactly as unpredictable as he was off it, stopping everything or nothing, depending on the day, and somehow winning a playoff round in spite of this.

9. Daryl Katz, Edmonton Oilers owner

Katz's very public battle with the city of Edmonton was a fascinating exercise in how not to do public relations. His thinly-veiled empty threat to move the team to Seattle only served to enrage a long-suffering fanbase, and the fact that he dragged the unimpeachable Wayne Gretzky into it didn't help. Furthermore, if that wasn't his P.R. bungle of the year, the ill-timed, strongly-worded letter to the media slamming the mayor, which led to city council ceasing arena talks with the Katz Group altogether, probably was.

8. Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets

It was a good year for Evander Kane on the ice, as the Jets' forward completed his first 30-goal year, leading to a hefty contract extension on the eve of the lockout. Off the ice, however, Kane was a magnet for local controversy. In Winnipeg, restauranteurs lashed out at him amidst gossip that he hadn't paid for a few meals:

In Russia, he only lasted 12 games before Dinamo Minsk decided they didn't want him around anymore, citing fitness issues.

Then, when he no longer had the benefit of the doubt, he tweeted a photo using stacks of hundreds as a phone during a time when fans were sensitive about player salaries.

Maybe it was just maturity, or maybe it was something else, but regardless of what it was, Kane was a magnet for controversy in 2012.

7. Brendan Shanahan, NHL disciplinarian

Shanahan began his first year as chief disciplinarian amidst a whirlwind of goodwill and positivity. But by the end of the season, it became clear that it was impossible to maintain a 100% public approval rate when you were making judgment calls on things that were perpetrated in the heat of the moment by players whose minds were impossible to read. Things came to a head with a headshot, when Raffi Torres launched into Marian Hossa, which garnering a 25-game suspension from Shanahan that was later reduced on appeal, a blow to his absolute power.

Year 2 of the Shanahan era is going to be a fun one.

6. John Tortorella, New York Rangers head coach

The fiery coach is a controversial figure at the best of times, but between his Rangers' participation in the Winter Classic and their run to the Eastern Conference Final, Torts had even more opportunities to stir the pot than usual. Tortorella rang in 2012 with a $30,000 fine for theorizing that NBC and the refs got together to give the Classic a storybook ending. In April, he was at the heart of another controversy when he called the Pittsburgh Penguins "one of the most arrogant organizations in the league".

Then, when the postseason began, the outspoken coach managed to turn not saying into a special controversy, with historically short, curt press conferences. Heck, even his system, with its emphasis on shot prevention, generated a great deal of controversy.

5. Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

Doan was at the heart of nearly everything in 2012. He was heavily involved in the illegal hit debate, because he dished out a few. He led the Coyotes to their first ever Western Conference Final, which culminated in some bad blood to end the series, a kerfuffle in the handshake line, and some questionable sportsmanship in the heat of the moment. And he was at the heart of the Coyotes ownership foofaraw, flirting with leaving town amidst Greg Jamison's struggles to buy the team, but eventually signing a deal before Jamison finalized his.

4. Donald Fehr, NHLPA executive director

No way the new executive director of the Players' Association was going to avoid a mention on this list. Donald Fehr's tactics may not be for everybody, least of all the locked-out fans that would probably prefer he were a little easier to break, but the former MLB union head is doing the job he was hired to do, and that job is, by its very nature, controversial.

3. Raffi Torres, Phoenix Coyotes

When Raffi Torres hit Marian Hossa up high, sending the Chicago Blackhawks forward off the ice in a stretcher, it was the last straw for many exhausted hockey fans, who were tired of debating headshots, and even more tired of debating headshots delivered by Torres. Torres's greatest hits -- and by greatest, I mean most illegal -- was a double-disc set by then. The hit on Hossa was the sixth punishable hit he'd delivered that season.

Everybody got a little caught up in hating Torres, including Brendan Shanahan, who delivered a 25-game suspension that still seemed a little light on the tar and feathers at the time. Eventually, we all calmed down, and then it seemed a little too stiff. But Torres made the entire hockey world furious in 2012.

2. Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins

Has any player's public persona shifted quite as drastically as Tim Thomas's did in 2012? It began when he controversially skipped the team's ceremonial visit to the White House, but it didn't stop there -- not by a long shot. Thomas stood with Chick-Fil-A against gay marriage. He surprised the Bruins by deciding to take a year off from hockey. He moved his family to Colorado.

You can give the man credit for voicing his convictions and sticking to them, no doubt. But that doesn't mean hockey fans have to like him for it, and by the end of 2012, far fewer did than when it began.

1. Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner

Try to look surprised.

The NHL commissioner completed the lockout hat trick in 2012, facilitating the third labour stoppage of his 20-year tenure as commish. Sure, he's just doing his job, representing the interests of the owners. But so are the commissioners in other major sports, and they somehow manage to do those jobs without shutting down the season every damn time a new CBA needs to be worked out.

Was there ever any other choice, all things considered?

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney


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Sun, 23 Dec 2012 10:56:55 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,98093d8e-88b0-3803-8251-36c936e1a463-l:1
What We Learned: So the NHL’s make-whole to players was fairy tale after all http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-nhl-whole-players-fairy-tale-144500742--nhl.html 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.

Well, the good news is that after two months of the NHL demanding that the players give and give and give some more in these CBA negotiations, Gary Bettman and Co. finally made a real and actual concession to the players.

I'm obviously not talking about the players getting something out of the League in terms of, say, contracting rights, or other givebacks, in return for the hundreds of millions of dollars they've given the league as part of this now-expired CBA compared with where they were in 2003-04, or the hundreds of millions more they'll eventually concede when they agree to the new one. This always remained a deal in which the owners got everything and the players got nothing in return for the mere potential of possibly-increased stability throughout the league. And that's if you don't allow for the "loss of momentum" teams in dying markets face as a result of this protracted and stupid lockout.

Not a very good chance of that happening, you have to figure. This is the kind of lottery Shirley Jackson warned us about.

No, what the league finally conceded in full view of the players and fans is that of course the concept of make-whole — that is, the 29 owners across the NHL paying every dollar of every contract they'd already signed with their players — was something to which they would never acquiesce.

Remember those comments Ryan Suter made about how maybe he had been a little naïve in signing his monster deal with Minnesota because it looked like Craig Leipold allowed it only knowing that he wouldn't have to pay the full value?

"It's disappointing," Suter said before running from the comments like they were on fire. "If you can't afford to [sign contracts] then you shouldn't do it. [Leipold] signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it's disappointing. A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed."

Turns out he was completely and totally and clearly right all along, even if he won't publicly admit it now.

(Coming Up: Sidney Crosby and Europe; Rick Nash leaves Davos; Braden Holtby is a fluke; BJ Crombeen spittin' hot truth; Claude Giroux on the mend; Bobby Ryan is thriving; Red Wings hold charity game; world juniors talk; Canadiens visit hospital; the Canucks could lose Alex Edler; more truth from Larry Brooks; and how to get Carey Price to the Flyers.)

Leipold, who was rightly and roundly ridiculed for crying poor about big-money, front-loaded deals just a few months before signing Suter and Zach Parise to them, has been one of the owners most involved in these CBA chit-chats (you'll recall he was on the receiving end of The Campoli Incident). It is, then, pretty reasonable to assume that's exactly what happened with those deals. Zach Parise said the same thing and, unlike Suter, because at least has the courage of his convictions, didn't back off.

The evidence of this is that the word "make-whole" went out the window when the players realized the owners were trying to "make" the contracts they'd already signed "whole" by taking money out of the players' side of the deal. Then the owners made it so that the money became "transition payments," because to call them "make-whole" means that they would have to in some way be the "whole" amount of money owed to the players. Make-partial just doesn't have that same ring to it.

This was plainly never the owners' intent and that, therefore, tells us that Suter and Parise were totally correct in their assessments: The owners approved all those deals more or less knowing that there was no way they would ever be obligated to pay the full value of them.

What's more, a handful of those deals were also signed for terms longer than what the owners want to allow under the new CBA.

They're pushing for five-year limits on all contracts, and that's probably something most owners knew well in advance of the NHL putting its foot down on the subject.

So isn't it funny that, say Taylor Hall got seven years at $6 million per, or Jordan Eberle got six at the same rate, three and two weeks before that CBA expired, respectively? Tyler Seguin also got six at $5.75 million, and John Carlson got the same at just under $4 million. (Note, by the way, that both of those were signed by teams with owners now heavily pushing the NHL agenda with regard to contract term limits.) Evander Kane's six-year deal, signed the day before the CBA expired, pays him $5.25 million a season.

That doesn't get into Kari Lehtonen's five-year, $29.5 million deal, or Milan Lucic's three-year, $18 million contract, though both were signed just days before the lockout began. What about the disbelief when Shane Doan got $5.3 million a year for four seasons on a 35-plus deal? No one's going to have to pay him that much now.

Let's not forget: In the two-day period before the lockout began, owners spent close to $200 million on players, and Capgeek says the last 50 contracts signed prior to the lockout add up to a max value of about $399.16 million. None were signed more than three weeks prior to the lockout.

There is, it's important to acknowledge, some amount of culpability on the players for accepting these deals. They had to know there was at least some chance (cynics would it was say a very good one) that they wouldn't get the full value of those deals, which is why guys like Suter and Parise and Shea Weber were smart to wrangle big up-front payments to allow them to financially float through the lockout. But even if you believed make-whole was ever on the table, which you shouldn't have, this end should also be in no way surprising.

Now that the seemingly-agreed-upon transition payments are off the table — because of, well, probably nothing in particular — it's pretty obvious those deals were pursued with full knowledge that a healthy discount would come before most of those deals paid out a dollar.

So we at least have one bit of truth from the league at this point. That's a feather in Don Fehr's cap, right?

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Bobby Ryan is playing really well with Anze Kopitar for Mora IK in Sweden. The latter has assisted on three of the former's four goals since they were put together. To be fair, though, if you can't play really well with Anze Kopitar you probably shouldn't be playing professional hockey.

Boston Bruins: Today is Day No. 7 since Steve Burton of WBZ in Boston said the lockout could be over in two days. Meanwhile, Bruins fans jonesing for live hockey action might do well to get out to a BC or BU game this winter. But for the love of god do not go see Northeastern whatever you do.

Buffalo Sabres: Mikhail Grigorenko is expected to be a major presence at the upcoming World Juniors tournament, as you might expect from a 28-year-old.

Calgary Flames: Mike Vernon and Miikka Kiprusoff are Calgary's two great goaltenders of all time, and man was Roman Turek devastated to get the news.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jay Harrison on the latest NHLPA conference call: "It was informational, about the nature of how things had gone," Harrison said of the players' conference call. "A lot of things had happened in the last week that the guys as a membership hadn't been privvy to." SEE? Fehr is keeping information from the players! I knew it!

Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago's affiliate Rockford IceHogs recently saw their four-game winning streak snapped by… Chicago? This AHL stuff is confusing.

Colorado Avalanche: Really hilarious to me that arguably the Avs' best player just signed in Russia for two seasons because Colorado couldn't get him signed before the lockout, but at least he did it to play with his brother.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Something to which Ryan Johansen must be unaccustomed as a professional hockey player: His Springfield Falcons are the best team in the AHL. They've only lost four of 21 in regulation.

Dallas Stars: "Are Cities Like Dallas To Blame For The Hockey Lockout?" I mean, basically yes. (This is actually a very interesting interview with a sports economist.)

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Dan Cleary and other Red Wings held a charity game of their own and drew 4,500 fans in Windsor. They wanted to get Sid Crosby, but his insurance for a one-off, no-contact charity game would have cost $100,000.

Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will indeed go to Canada's World Junior camp in Calgary as planned because his shoulder is in good enough shape after all. Maybe.

Florida Panthers: Hey guys don't worry, the Panthers not having games isn't really hurting Sunrise Sports and Entertainment all that much. The company makes money most years as a result of non-hockey events. Wow cool so why are they helping to drive the lockout again?

Los Angeles Kings: AEG, the Kings' parent company, held a Hanukkah event over the weekend and had a lighted ice menorah. On hand to light the sculpture was the biggest celebrity they could get, David Arquette. This lockout's a killer, man.

Minnesota Wild: Craig Leipold will speak at a MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, but really only plans to give 85 percent of his prepared remarks.

Montreal Canadiens: This one of the really great things about the lockout: Canadiens players had to make their own visit to Montreal Children's Hospital because they are obviously not allowed to go during the team's annual official trip to visit with sick children. But on the other hand, what kid isn't psyched to meet the Habs' assistant scouting director?

Nashville Predators: The Preds who remained in Nashville during the lockout really started to step up their workouts this week before the NHL theatrically dashed hopes for the season to start any time soon. Bet they feel stupid now.

New Jersey Devils: Two Devils prospects, Stefan Matteau and Blake Pietila, are on the US World Junior preliminary roster and, if they make the team, are guaranteed gold medals because America is the best!

New York Islanders: It never fails to make me laugh when I read, "New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky…" I bet he tries to fake his own death when the lockout ends just so he doesn't have to go to Nassau Coliseum.

New York Rangers: Rick Nash left Switzerland to get an injured groin looked at, but I'm sure that's not a cause for concern at all, every Rangers fan on Earth hoped at the same time.

Ottawa Senators: Hugh Jessiman is playing well for the Binghamton Senators. Meaning he has eight points in 20 games but hasn't been traded yet. He gets traded pretty much every year these days.

Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux is skating again after his, ahem, "neck" injury three weeks ago, but had to take it easy out there. Yes, his "neck" still isn't 100 percent. "Neck" injuries are tough to come back from.

Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 122 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. Fortunately, Greg Jamison believes he has completed a "17-month odyssey" in attempting to buy the team with his shadowy cabal of investors. Hey, doesn't he, like, not own the team yet?

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sid Crosby to Europe is looking like a very done deal. I expect Gary Bettman to come running into the room seconds before Crosby puts pen to paper and say, "Haha the lockout is over Sid don't worry we'll agree to whatever you want."

San Jose Sharks: Joe Pavelski had a pair of helpers in Dynamo Minsk's win over Dinamo Riga. Dynamo Moscow could not be reached for comment, but the Ottawa Rough Riders and Saskatchewan Roughriders nodded knowingly.

St. Louis Blues: You might not believe this but Alex Steen is really doing well in the Swedish Elite League during the lockout. He has 8-15-23 for Modo in just 20 games. He had 15-13-28 in 48 for St. Louis last season.

Tampa Bay Lightning: BJ Crombeen spittin' hot truth on the CBA: "We moved drastically in almost every area, and their big gift was to give us back free agency and salary arbitration and entry-level contracts to what they are right now." Yup, pretty much dude.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Marlies are the best place for Jake Gardiner to play this season? I'm sure his bank account disagrees.

Vancouver Canucks: If the lockout erases the whole season, the Canucks might lose Alex Edler, since he's a free agent next summer and they're not going to have the cap space to re-sign him. Yeah, that's the big tragedy for Canucks fans in all this.

Washington Capitals: Braden Holtby's actual GAA in the AHL is 2.71. That Bruins series was a fluke after all!

Winnipeg Jets: I linked to it above with respect to the Campoli Incident but here it is again: Ron Hainsey might face the prospect of never getting an NHL contract again because he has been vocal in his support for Don Fehr and the union. What a load of crap. Don't sign him if you don't think he can help your team, sure, but to blacklist him for maybe getting into it with Jeremy Jacobs in CBA meetings is ludicrous. If that happens, I hope every NHL free agent, restricted or otherwise, refuses to sign with Boston forever.

Play of the Weekend

Skip to 1:19 of this video to watch Boston College freshman defenseman and Florida Panthers first-round pick Michael Matheson create a turnover in the neutral zone, pick up a loose puck at the attacking blue line, then go through a defenseman and score from his knees to get his second of the game. The kid is incredible.

Gold Star Award
Another great column by Larry Brooks on the shameful way in which the league continues to lie its way through orchestrated denials of a potential CBA agreement, because it's trying to use the same blueprint now that it found worked so well in 2005. Shameful stuff from the guys in charge, who will acquiesce to PA demands as if by magic once their actual drop-dead date hits in a few days.

Minus of the Weekend
Say, have you noticed the league still hasn't canceled games after Dec. 14? CURIOUS.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "CL SMOOTH" is just that.

To Philadelphia:
Carey Price
Dalton Thrower
David Desharnais
3rd Round pick

To Montreal:
Ilya Bryzgalov
Brayden Schenn
Scott Hartnell
2013 First Round Pick
2014 First Round Pick

Wow.

Signoff
Boil up some Mountain Dew; it's gonna be a long night.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 10 Dec 2012 06:45:00 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,bfebc807-d456-3fa2-a2da-61ad88f6e017-l:1
Roberto Luongo Toronto Maple Leafs jersey on sale in Ontario; why, exactly? http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/roberto-luongo-toronto-maple-leafs-jersey-sale-ontario-215354644--nhl.html When the NHL lockout finally ends, the next phase of Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo's career begins. It's expected he'll be traded as Cory Schneider inherits the team's starting goaltender gig. The most widely speculated destination? The Toronto Maple Leafs.

That said, isn't selling a Luongo Leafs jersey in an Ontario sporting goods store just a little presumptuous?

That photo was captured by Andrew (@manbearpiglpu) at Pro Image at the Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, and quickly spread around social media networks — including on Luongo's unofficial (but frequently confirmed) Twitter feed:

Well-played.

The presumptuous jersey has been seen here and there in the NHL's history. Vincent Lecavalier Montreal Canadiens jerseys were seen for sale around the NHL All-Star Game. The Philadelphia Flyers most recently had jerseys for Shane Doan created before he re-signed with the Phoenix Coyotes, although they weren't for sale.

Why did Pro Image decide to start selling Roberto Luongo Leafs jerseys before the team can even trade for him? We decided to find out.

First off, it's a Luongo jersey, rather than jersey(s). And you can thank the lockout for it.

It went up about two weeks ago, as Leafs jerseys (or really anything hockey) haven't been moving during the work stoppage. One of the store's owners decided to create something to garner a little buzz and attract some eyes to the hockey merch: a sweater for Roberto Luongo, No. 1, Leafs goalie.

"It's just like a conversation thing we got going on. Trying to get people to talk about something other than the lockout," said Luigi Taddeo of Pro Image.

So they created one jersey and stuck it on a rack of non-Luongo jerseys to make it look like a full shipment had arrived. Soon, they had customers coming in uttering "Did Luongo just get traded to the Leafs?!"

"It's pretty easy to change if things don't work out," said Taddeo.

It is actually for sale, although they haven't sold one yet. Leafs player sweaters run $179.99 on the Pro Image website — and they're in-store for 30-percent off the retail price, like the other NHL jerseys available.

The discounts are a necessity to move product, as the lockout's been particularly frustrating for Toronto-based sports retailers. The 2013 Winter Classic was to feature the Leafs in a new sweater for the game — which would have been a windfall for places like Pro Image.

"Last year, we had record sales in October. The Leafs had just released a retro third jersey," said Taddeo. "People like to make fun of Leafs fans, but there are no other fans that support their team like Leafs fans do."

Hence, when the lockout ends, Taddeo's hoping that Roberto Luongo's tenure with the Leafs begins.

"If Luongo were to ever be traded to the Leafs, it would be one of the better selling jerseys that we've had," he said.

And just imagine how many they'll move when he leads them to the Cup! (Just carrying the theme of presumption to its illogical conclusion here ...)

s/t to Andrew (@manbearpiglpu)

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Mon, 03 Dec 2012 13:53:54 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,974bc371-196b-3de2-aa19-722f03f1aecb-l:1
What We Learned: Here’s what the NHL lockout’s stolen from fans http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-nhl-lockout-stolen-fans-152324530--nhl.html What We Learned is written by Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski this week, as Ryan Lambert shall return to this very column space next Monday.

By Greg Wyshynski

I've steadfastly avoided wearing an NHL jersey for the last few months, a personal protest born out of complete agitation and exasperation with the lockout.

Two-and-a-half year olds, however, have no respect for such personal politics. So after I put a Hello Kitty holiday shirt on my daughter this weekend, she instructed me on what I needed to wear that day.

"Daddy … Debbuls shirt."

This is child speak for digging one of my New Jersey Devils sweaters out of the back of the closet.

Bypassing the Claude Lemieux jersey — no father wants to turtle in front of his daughter — I picked out my old school green-and-red Scott Stevens throwback jersey, and received proper approval from my fashion consultant. (Keep in mind I could have worn a pancake as a hat and still received the same approval.)

And so we embarked on our day of Christmas-y stuff, as I wore my wholly appropriate Christmas tree jersey. The last time I rocked an NJD sweater was the day after the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup — a show of fan solidarity and respect for your team's effort, flying the colors one last time before they're buried for the summer months. It had been far too long.

Yet at the same time, it felt different. Disgustingly different.

One of the great things about rocking NHL gear, at least in the States, is that it's a clarion call for other hockey fans to engage you in conversation. Keep in mind that in certain parts of the U.S., there's no guarantee that two hockey fans are occupying the same space at the same time; hence, there's always a danger that you reveal yourself as a hockey fan and the other person dismisses it with "I like that outdoor game" before changing the conversation to the BCS or Dwight Howard.

So wearing the NJD jersey over the weekend was a bat-signal to other puckheads to strike up conversations, and herein lies the disgust — we have nothing to talk about anymore.

The lockout has stolen a lot from us — money, jobs, distractions — just it's also stolen that connectivity we have as fans. What once were conversations about our teams challenging for the Stanley Cup are now conversations about if there'll be a season. Bitching about the coach is replaced with bitching about federal mediators. Debating whether or not the team goat is giving 100 percent has been replaced by percentage of hockey related revenue. Lamenting the commissionership of Gary Bettman has been replaced … OK, that one's a constant.

I bumped into a handful of hockey fans over the weekend. One dude at Target was an Islanders fan that had suffered the double body blows of the team leaving Long Island and the lockout depriving him of his team. A Capitals fan as a party couldn't bring himself to talk puck, as he was so despondent over the lockout. Another fan said he was done with the League, not spending another dime on tickets.

All of these conversations are happening across the hockey world, and they shouldn't be. It's December. We should be talking about the Winter Classic, the looming playoff picture, who's rigging the All-Star Game voting and Brian Burke's bizarre advent calendar on when not to make a trade.

But the NHL and the NHLPA had literally stolen that dialogue from us, chaining it up like the doors of a darkened arena on game night.

In turn, they've stolen a part of our identity. I don't know anyone that still doesn't self-identify as a hockey fan. But I know many that can't say they're proud to be one at this moment.

One of them wore a Scott Stevens Christmas tree sweater at the behest of his daughter over the weekend.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks Daily Blog's EA Sports simulation of the season finds the Ducks with a 3-12-5 record. Virtual Bruce Boudreau seen reaching for his 25th pint of virtual Haagen-Dazs.

Boston Bruins: Daniel Paille inked a deal with SM-liiga, bringing the total number of Bruins overseas to 12, while the number of Bruins holed up in an underground bunker stockpiling canned goods and weapons remains at one.

Buffalo Sabres: Jason Pominville is excited to play for Adler Mannheim, saying, "I think it's one of the best places to play in Germany." Iserlohn Rooster weeps silently.

Calgary Flames: Bob Hartley is interviewed by The Coaches Site by a guy who holds the microphone incredibly awkwardly, like he's speaking into a turkey leg. Hartley said he used to work at a windshield plant.

Carolina Hurricanes: "Failure to see teams like the Hurricanes will be hurt by another stoppage is mind-boggling and economically irresponsible," writes Mike Maniscalco about some fantasy creation that doesn't think teams would be hurt by another cancelled season.

Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews is still waiting for something in the lockout to push him to Europe. Here he is wearing your grandmother's hair:

Colorado Avalanche: Ryan O'Byrne scored his first goal for the ECHL Florida Everblades and was startled when the fans started pelting him with stuffed animals.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Senator Sherrod Brown is fighting to get Columbus its cancelled All-Star Game back in 2015. Hey, crazy thought: Why not wield some of that political clout to make sure there's actually, like, NHL hockey in 2015.

Dallas Stars: The Stars held a meeting and informed their employees that layoffs and paycuts won't be coming in the "foreseeable future", even if those 4-day work weeks will continue. One reason? The team's execs have taken a paycut.

Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: The Wings are salivating over the chemistry Damien Brunner has with Henrik Zetterberg. Said Ken Holland: "We're hoping that eventually they can bring that chemistry back to North America.''

Edmonton Oilers: Justin Schultz has 31 points in 20 games. For perspective's sake, T.J. Brennan is the second-highest scoring defenseman in the AHL with 18 in 19 games.

Florida Panthers: Team George Parros beat Team Mike Brown in their Movember competition by $2,527. Leafs still losing during the NHL lockout. Go figure.

Los Angeles Kings: The 10 greatest LA Kings of all-time? And Wayne Gretzky is number … three?

Minnesota Wild: Not to get all Bob Costas here, but we really needed Josh Harding's MS diagnosis to put the lockout in perspective?

Montreal Canadiens: PK Subban wouldn't go to Europe to take someone's job, but clearly has no problem keeping some Sportsnet drone down. Hypocrisy!

Nashville Predators: Shea Weber thinks there are too many hurdles for him to play in Europe. "I definitely want to play, too, but it's harder than you think," he told The Tennessean. "There's probably not a lot of teams over there that have a lot of spots for imports, but with insurance and a number of other aspects it may not be so easy." Please notice drawing a salary is not among these considerations.

New Jersey Devils: Adam Henrique had surgery Thursday to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. He'll miss up to six weeks, which means the next time Devils fans see him play will be … well, who the hell knows, right?

New York Islanders: That Bruce Ratner is helping to determine what to do with the Nassau Coliseum is fairly comic/tragic and so very, very Islanders.

New York Rangers: James Dolan wanted in on the Players/Owners meeting, and there was much rejoicing. Who else could offer a fair and equitable solution to issues like revenue sharing than a man whose team preys upon financially unstable teams to poach talent?

Ottawa Senators: Ottawa fan Sebastien Fortin and his brother pulled their $4,000 in half-season tickets from the Sens, making a strong statement that will last roughly until Ottawa wins a playoff round.

Philadelphia Flyers: What happens when Ed Snider is no longer chairman of the Flyers?

Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan believes the new lease agreement is "good for the city of Glendale and obviously there are people that disagree." We call them "Seattle" and/or "Quebec."

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby will be on the NHLPA side of the table in that owners/players meeting this week, mouthing the words "can you believe this [expletive]?" to Ron Burkle over and over again.

San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture said he's leaving his Swiss team for "family reasons" but has no plans to return to Geneve-Servette. So he's back, Niemi's back, Galiardi's back … paging Joe Thornton …

St. Louis Blues: Defenseman Taylor Chorney has played 20 games for the Peoria Rivermen. He's a minus-16, worst in the AHL. Ouch.

Tampa Bay Lightning: In the latest edition of "Not MY Owner's Fault", Marty St. Louis on Jeff Vinik: "Because of everything he's done in the past few years, I have a hard time believing Mr. Vinik doesn't want to play." One thing he did in the last few years: Buy a hockey team that Gary Bettman sold him.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Rob Longley thinks the pressure's on Brian Burke to ice a winner next season: "The biggest criticism of Burke -- and his personality precludes him from being anything but a lightning rod -- it's that he has been unable to live up to the big promises made on his hiring four years ago." Hey, the team had pugnacity. Give him that.

Vancouver Canucks: Don't worry fans — David Booth is finding time to train in between slaughtering defenseless animals.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin scored an Ovechkiny hat trick in the KHL on Sunday, with two goals and an empty netter vs. Donbass.

Winnipeg Jets: Even in the later stages of a bitter lockout, Winnipeg Jets stuff is still flying off the shelves.

Play of the Weekend

Counting Thursday night as "the weekend", here's Justin Schultz doing his Justin Schultz thing for OKC.

Gold Star Award

Congrats to the Arizona State Sun Devils on defeating Penn State for their first ever win over a D-I program, proving that along with being a bro-tastic party school where academics take a back seat to butt-chugging, ASU also has a hockey team.

Minus of the Weekend

Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports that KHL team Automobilist "is having HUGE financial problems, can't pay some of its players, and could end up folding."

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User Red Haired Shanks would like to help the Red Wings' blue line:

Van: D Alex Edler, LW Bill Sweatt

Det: C Daren Helm, D Kyle Quincey, LW Tomas Tatar

"Det needs a good replacement for Lidstrom (not saying Edler is as good as him), Edler is a big upgrade on Quincey, Sweatt is a speedy forward prospect with decent defensive skills."

Signoff

But … you got the short hair.

Ryan Lambert will return on Friday with Trending Topics and on will be back with What We Learned next Monday.

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Mon, 03 Dec 2012 07:23:24 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,9df5b0a8-d3f3-3596-914c-f72fe5f64fa0-l:1
Phoenix Coyotes lease approved by Glendale City Council, clearing way for Greg Jamison purchase http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/phoenix-coyotes-lease-approved-glendale-city-council-clearing-060833887--nhl.html Is the strange, sad, frequently stupefying ownership saga of the Phoenix Coyotes finally reaching its finale?

The Glendale City Council voted 4-2 on Tuesday night to approve a 20-year, $320 million arena lease management agreement that should clear the way for former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison's ownership group to purchase the team from the National Hockey League.

Who's in that ownership group? No one knows. But that argument has been that getting his financial team in order was difficult with the uncertainty over the Jobing.com Arena lease deal.

He's got his deal. The Coyotes, through all this madness, appear to be remaining in Phoenix under new ownership, putting an end to the constant relocation talk that's haunted the franchise and stunted its momentum even as the team thrives on the ice.

And Shane Doan breathes a sigh of relief.

This saga stretches back to May 2009, when owner Jerry Moyes placed the Coyotes into bankruptcy for a dastardly reason: To allow Research In Motion co-founder Jim Balsillie to purchase the team for $212.5 million; and, in the process, get around the approval of the NHL to make the sale — Balsillie having run afoul of Gary Bettman and the league after a botched purchase of the Nashville Predators.

A court battle — remember Judge Redfield T. Baum? — raged through the summer and finally saw Balsillie drop out of the bidding for the team in September after the court rejected both his bid and that of the NHL to own the team. Two months later, the NHL purchased the Coyotes for $140 million at auction.

Then came a parade of potential buyers. Ice Edge Holdings, an investor group that sought to play some Coyotes games in Canada, couldn't close a deal. Matthew Hulsizer, a Chicago-based businessman, nearly had a deal but local politics in Glendale forced him to pull his bid. The NHL had Jerry Reinsdorf in the mix at several junctures, before Jamison stepped to the plate.

There was talk all year that Jamison had been approved by the NHL as a Coyotes owner, and that it was just a matter of pulling together an ownership group and settling a lease deal with Glendale. There were several false starts along the way, including back in June when it appeared an arena lease deal was in place.

That hurdle was cleared on Tuesday night in the 4-2 vote by the Glendale City Council.

"I don't believe this is a sports issue; I believe this is an anchor tenant issue," said Councilwoman Yvonne Knaack, citing the shopping district where Jobing.com Arena is located. "Westgate is only 50 percent occupied, and I think people are waiting in the wings to see what this decision is going to be."

According to the Arizona Republic, here's what the council considered in making the vote:

Glendale would have to cut $20 million from the general fund if the deal is approved and must trim $12 million without it. Making $20 million in cuts could mean cutting about 200 positions in the next five years, [interim City Manager Horatio] Skeete said.

The fund pays for core city services, including public safety, parks and street repairs.  In 20 years, the city would have a negative general-fund balance of $144 million with the team vs. $238.5 million without the team.

With or without the Coyotes, projections are showing the city in a hole, Skeete said.

The newest version of the agreement helps Glendale because it lowers payments in the early years of the 20-year deal, saving the city $4 million.

Now, some penalties and incentives have been added to encourage Jamison to book more non-hockey events. Also, the new deal gives Glendale opportunities to get some advertising revenue and naming rights.

Via the Arizona Republic, on Tuesday's vote:

Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Councilwoman Norma Alvarez had opposed the deal, calling the payments to Jamison to manage the city-owned hockey arena, which average $15 million annually, a subsidy.

Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete has said that keeping the Coyotes might be in the long-term best interest of the city, but it requires too many cuts in the near term. it would require the city to lay off employees to cut $17 million within five years. Without the team, Skeete estimates the city would need fewer layoffs to cut about $10 million. He estimates the city would lose money either way.

Is the saga over? No one is going to believe it until the ink is dry on the lease deal and Jamison's contract to buy the team from the NHL — a deal that will require him to secure investors, which again remains a mysterious part of the equation.

For better or worse, this is as much a part of Gary Bettman's legacy as any of his lockouts. It was a personal crusade to thwart Balsillie, and then to overcome the political obstacles in Glendale to justify the time and treasure it took to keep the Coyotes on life support. If Jamison closes the deal, it's a victory for Bettman; heck, based on the expansion fees the NHL will suck out of Seattle and Quebec City alone, it might be a win.

But if this deal financially devastates the city, as its critics contend, it becomes a Pyrrhic victory.

Bottom line: The Coyotes appear close to remaining in Glendale, even if that's the 100,000th time we've written that statement in the last three years.

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Tue, 27 Nov 2012 22:08:33 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,6cee4aba-6446-3652-8a22-479d4985cc32-l:1
Ryan Murray to miss season; Sidney Crosby thinking about Europe; Coyotes lease agreement vote Tuesday night (Puck Headlines) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/ryan-murray-miss-season-sidney-crosby-thinking-europe-205722731--nhl.html 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.

• The Grey Cup was on Sunday in Toronto and these fans just had to remind us all about the current hockey situation in the city. [Reuters]

• The Columbus Blue Jackets just can't catch a break, can they? Tuesday morning the team confirmed that Ryan Murray will have shoulder surgery next month and miss the rest of the season, meaning he'll also be gone from Team Canada's squad for the World Juniors. [Buzzing the Net]

• Aaron Portzline spoke with a disappointed Murray. [Columbus Dispatch]

• While it didn't work in 2004-05, why could mediation be the key this time around for the NHL and NHLPA? According to a source speaking to Pierre LeBrun, "Perhaps it can help focus the parties on the differences, perhaps things can be said to the mediator that cannot be said directly across the table." [ESPN]

• With the lockout dragging on, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is leaning closer and closer to making a decision to play in Europe. "I probably hadn't thought about it quite as much as I have the past few days." [Post-Gazette]

• The Glendale City Council will vote Tuesday night on the proposed 20-year, $308 million revised lease agreement that will move along the process of Greg Jamison purchasing the team. [Phoenix Business Journal]

• Just how close was Shane Doan to signing with the the Philadelphia Flyers? So close that the team made up two different Flyers jerseys for the Coyotes captain (since No. 19 is taken by Scott Hartnell), as per his agent's Instagram account. [CSN Philly]

• Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson participated in a skate with teammates on Tuesday for the first time since September. He had injured his shoulder wakeboarding. [Miami Herald]

• A few more charity games are coming up in the next few weeks. First, employees of Carhartt will take on some Detroit Red Wings alumni on Dec. 7 in their eighth annual game benefiting local residents with disabilities. The next day, Dec. 8, Steve Ott, Dan Cleary and Shawn Horcoff are hosting a game featuring a number of NHLers like James Neal, Keith Yandle and Brenden Morrow that will help local charities in Windsor, Ontario.

• NHL.com has had some very interesting polls of late. [Battle of California]

• Kevin Allen gives you 10 hockey storylines in leagues that are actually playing right now. [USA Today]

• A look at past NHL drafts and where NCAA players have landed. [NHL Numbers]

• The ECHL's All-Star game jerseys will remind you a lot of the Colorado Rockies ... the baseball team. [Icethetics]

• A good recap of the Operation Hat Trick charity game from Saturday night. [The Hockey Writers]

• What are some benefits of there actually being a lockout? [Mile High Hockey]

• Finally, a Blackhawks fan takes to the streets of Chicago during Black Friday to lament the lockout. Also, Jesus loves hockey:

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Tue, 27 Nov 2012 12:57:22 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,dd1e9b1b-68fb-3335-8bd2-b3c049c9e9b9-l:1
When Mickey met Stanley; Denis Potvin has a sad; Roenick on lockout (Puck Headlines) http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/mickey-met-stanley-denis-potvin-sad-roenick-lockout-194147769--nhl.html

• The deejay at the Islanders' new digs in Brooklyn: Pitchfork's Ryan Schreiber. He's already chosen Neutral Milk Hotel's "Communist Daughter" as the goal song. [Reddit]

• The Islanders' move to Brooklyn is upsetting to Denis Potvin. "The more I think about this, the more it makes me sad." [The Hockey News]

• Gary Bettman is also sad: "Unfortunately, an 82-game season does not seem to be a reality... [The] union has chosen not to engage." And after he put on a suit and got down on one knee... not cool, union. [Sporting News]

• Why the Edmonton Oilers should absolutely be interested in Roberto Luongo, and not just because he's old enough to buy them beer. [Edmonton Journal]

• Jeremy Roenick appeared on Costas Tonight Tuesday to talk lockout. Here he is on 2004-05: "Let's just go to brass dollars. I lost $8.5 million of money that I will never ever see again and I know nobody's crying in pity for me, but it's still money that's lost out of my pocket." [PHT]

• Ken Holland will be named Detroit's executive of the year. Said Holland: "I am the danger." Okay, no he didn't. He said, "I look on it as a Red Wings honor," which is way lamer. [Detroit Free Press]

• MSG Networks will be airing two KHL games this month: Dinamo Minsk versus Barys Astana on the 26th and SKA St. Petersburg vs. Dinamo Riga on October 31st. [@MSGNetworks]

• In other television news, in November, the Discovery Channel will begin running a documentary that focuses on advancements on science and technology in the NHL and it features shots from a super high-tech super slow-motion camera. I will be watching this. [Mediacaster]

• David Clarkson has signed with EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian Hockey League. [Fire & Ice]

• David Staples has an issue with being fingerprinted to make sure he's not a sex offender before he coaches youth hockey. It is an inconvenience, although I'd argue so is being molested because no one checked to make sure your coach isn't a sex offender. [Ottawa Citizen]

• The best part of the Stanley Cup's visit to Disneyland: when Ron Artest ever asks if Mickey Mouse has touched the Stanley Cup, and he will, no one will have to disappoint him. [Disney Parks]

• Loui Eriksson's house is for sale for $2.5 million. It's the most underrated house in Dallas! [Pegasus News]

• Wherein Shane Doan pulls a full-blown heel turn and helps to defeat the Coyotes. [Five For Howling]

• On tall kids playing hockey. I don't know what this is, but I sort of loved it. [Pension Plan Puppets]

• Rogers' first quarterly statement as owners of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment includes an $8 million loss because of, you know, no hockey. [The Globe & Mail]

• Ryan Lambert: "If you can pick Sergei Kostitsyn out of a lineup, you are either the die-hardest Preds or Habs fan on the planet, or Andrei Kostitsyn." [Backhand Shelf]

• James Van Riemsdyk is considering playing in Finland. So am I, incidentally. [Toronto Sun]

• Malcolm Subban's spooky new goalie mask is pretty cool. [25 Stanley]

• Jay Feaster does not derive amusement from the fake Canucks season: "Calgary Flames' GM Jay Feaster somehow caught wind of the running gag (perhaps because the Province has run stories on it) and, well, gagged. Not long after the Canucks played the Flames in the fake opener, Feaster visited the Lower Mainland to watch the Abbotsford Heat play the Chicago Wolves and, amidst rumours that fake Roberto Luongo was going to be traded to the video game version of his team, he made it clear that he would have no part in the shenanigans. Vancouver media members were actually told up front — I'm not making this up — that he will absolutely not under any circumstances answers questions about the fake season." [Pass it to Bulis]

• Citing rising allowance costs, Gary Bettman locks his children out his his house. [Beaverton]

• BizNasty arrives at BioSteel Camp and the staff pretends not to know him. Best part: after he claims he plays for the Phoenix Coyotes, the lady checks, then says, "I have the last game they played, and you're not on the roster." Lovely.

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Wed, 24 Oct 2012 12:41:47 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,ee417b3f-ae08-3b9b-a794-ef582e91da5e-l:1