Posted on: October 3, 2011 2:31 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 2:51 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Back in 2008 there was a quite a bit of buzz surrounding Fabian Brunnstrom and his play in Sweden, as a number of NHL teams were in the running to sign him as an unrestricted free agent.
The Detroit Red Wings, a team that covers Sweden as well as or better than any other team in the NHL, were considered one of the favorites to land the undrafted winger who drew comparisons to Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson. In the end, Brunnstrom signed with the Dallas Stars and the Red Wings came away with Ville Leino, who went on to find success with the Philadelphia Flyers
Here we are in 2011 and Brunnstrom, who was in Red Wings camp on a pro tryout contract, has signed a one-year, two-way deal with Detroit that will reportedly pay him $600,000 if he plays in the NHL and $105,000 if he plays in the AHL according to TSN's Darren Dreger.
In his two-year stay with the Stars Brunnstrom never lived up to the hype that followed him during that free agency pursuit in 2008, despite recording a hat trick in a 6-4 win against the Nashville Predators in his NHL debut, and then added a fourth goal two games later. It was pretty much downhill after that fast start and he managed to score just 15 goals over his next 96 games in the NHL.
He spent last season in the AHL with the Texas Stars and Toronto Marlies, scoring 15 goals in 72 games.
There's not much of a risk here for the Red Wings, and he had a strong preseason scoring three goals in six games, including a two-goal effort in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Also encouraging is that Detroit has had a great deal of success in recent years taking on talented reclamation projects like this and coming away with productive players. Daniel Cleary and Mikael Samuelsson, for example, were players that bounced around several different teams in the NHL for a few years, struggling to find their niche, before landing with the Red Wings during the 2005-06 season. Both players eventually become useful cogs to a Stanley Cup winning machine.
Samuelsson turned his success in Detroit into a nice contract with the Vancouver Canucks, while Cleary was one of Red Wings' leading goal-scorers last season, finishing second on the team with 26 goals despite missing 14 games.
It's not a given that Detroit will have similar success with Brunnstrom, but if there's a front office and coaching staff in the NHL capable of making it happen, this could be it.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: October 3, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: October 3, 2011 9:10 am
By: Adam Gretz
BROUWER EXPECTED TO BE CAPS' TOP LINE RIGHT WING It appears that Troy Brouwer is going to open the regular season for the Washington Capitals as their top line right wing, according to coach Bruce Boudreau. Said Boudreau, via Stephen Wyno of the Washington Times, “He's a physical presence. He hits, he forechecks well. He can make the play when he has time.” The Capitals acquired Brouwer on draft day in exchange for their first-round pick. In 79 games last season he scored 17 goals to go with 19 assists.
JULIEN: VERBAL ON-ICE TAUNTS CROSSING THE LINE We've had a couple of taunting incidents in the NHL over the past week, including fan-on-player and player-on-player. Bruins head coach Claude Julien is one person in the NHL that thinks some of the trash-talking is crossing the line. Here's what he had to say on the subject via Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com:
“Whether that's been like that decades ago, I'm not quite sure. People are going after divorces or calling people certain names that I don't even want to allude to here,” said Julien. “But there is a fine line I think that has to exist. There's gamesmanship and then there's crossing the line. I think more and more, players today are going further than they used to so.COACH ALFREDSSON Daniel Alfredsson has been the best player for the Senators franchise since it entered the NHL back in 1993, and he's starting to get closer to the end of his career. He's starting to look forward to his post-playing days and one of the idea's that's at the top of his list is being a minor hockey coach. He talks about that, as well as being a "hockey dad," with Wayne Scanlan.
DO PRESEASON RECORDS MATTER? I typically fall on the side of "No," but Adrian Dater of the Denver Post examines whether or not the 1-4 record the Colorado Avalanche put up in the preseason means anything, and concludes that for this young Avalanche team, coming off a 29th place finish, it matters more than it would for, say, the Avs glory day teams.
NYQUIST SCORES TWO Gustav Nyquist scored a pair of goals for the Detroit Red Wings in their final preseason game on Sunday evening, a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and his second goal, a power play tally in the second period, came on this nice give-and-go one-timer with Johan Franzen.
Posted on: September 30, 2011 10:12 am
TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Jose Theodore, the Panthers' new starting goaltender, played the entirety of the team's final preseason game, a 7-1 shellacking in Dallas. Kevin Dineen expressed some concern over a bad camp but says there's lot of time. (Miami Herald). If he struggles, it will be Jacob Markstrom to come in as he beat out Tyler Plante for the backup job. (Miami Herald)
TRAVEL Kings: Ever wonder who does the most traveling in the NHL every season? Well this year it will be the Los Angeles Kings, who will rack up more than 55,000 miles with 15 back-to-back games and 13 one-game road trips. The Florida Panthers come in second. Surprisingly, the Winnipeg Jets are just 10th on the list. (Shark Page)
WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER?: There will be a change to the helmets in the NHL this season, but we aren't talking about player safety here. Instead, this season players will have their numbers plastered on the front of their domes in addition to the back, their jersey and shoulders. Just in case, you know, you missed it everywhere else. (Icethetics)
SECOND, BEST?: Most think if Phil Kessel when talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs and their best players. While he did lead the team in scoring last season, it just might be the second line of Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur in Toronto that really does the damage and dictates the Leafs' success. (Globe and Mail)
MIKA MAKING IT?: The Senators figure to get a lot of time to look at their prospects this season as the prospects for a good season aren't high. So on that note, the team's first pick in the draft this summer, big Swede Mika Zibanejad, has pretty much nailed down a roster spot with the Sens. (Senators Extra)
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE: Brett Connolly is the top prospect for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a ballyhooed player the fans can't wait to see skating in Tampa. The 2010 sixth-overall draft pick is having a great camp and showing he's worthy of at least a longer look, the first nine games of the season. (St. Petersburg Times)
PICK MIGHT STICK: The Pittsburgh Penguins might have found themselves a real gem in the back end of the first orund. Their top pick Joe Morrow is still hanging around camp and keeps a chance to earn a roster spot alive, especially as long as Brooks Orpik is out with an abdominal injury. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
LOOKING GOOD: Nashville, music city, has plenty of good-looking people. A few minutes watching Country Music Television will tell you that. Nashville Lifestyles put together a list of the 25 most beautiful and wouldn't you know it, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne cracked the list. (Nashville Lifestyles)
SUSPENSIONS STICK: Tom Sestito of the Flyers and Jean-Francois Jacques were each suspended by Brendhan Shanahan for action in preseason games and have both been subsequently sent down to AHL affiliates. Well the AHL announced on Thursday that it will enforce the suspensions as well. (TheAHL.com)
STILL GOT IT: Don't think Martin Broudeur has llost much yet. Check out this rob job in last night's Devils game in Philadephia, somehow keeping the puck out of a wide-open net.
Tags: AHL, Brett Connolly, Brian Stubits, Clarke MacArthur, Daily Skate, Florida Panthers, Jacob Markstrom, Jean-Francois Jacques, Joe Morrow, Jose Theodore, Los Angeles Kings, Martin Brodeur, Mika Zibanejad, Mikhail Grabovski, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, Nikolai Kulemin, Ottawa Senators, Pekka Rinne, Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tom Sestito, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Plante, Winnipeg Jets
Posted on: September 29, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 4:27 pm
For the first time since the 1993-94 season began, the reigning champion resides in the Northeast Division after the Bruins ended their Cup drought with a thrilling run through the postseason. The even better news for Boston (but not so awesome for the rest of the division) is that the Bruins are back almost completely intact.
No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champions since the Red Wings in 1997 and 98. Only two other teams have made it back to the Finals a year after winning in that time, the Stars in 1999 then 2000 and once again the Red Wings (2008, 09). There's a reason for it, the fabled championship hangover.
But in hockey, I think it plays a bigger part than any other sport. The offseason is as short as it gets, the playoffs as long and grueling as any of the major sports. The Bruins lifted the Cup in the middle of June and reported back to camp in early September. All the while they were enjoying a whirlwind of a summer that included plenty of partying and celebrating a title. The Blackhawks admittedly struggled with it last season (although the roster being ripped apart didn't help matters). If only getting rid of it were as easy as taking a couple Tylenol and drinking Vitamin Water.
If they do look sluggish and lethargic to start the season then the Buffalo Sabres will be ready to pounce on the opportunity. They are hockey hungry in Buffalo these days with hope their Sabres can become power players in the East. As for the other three in the division, the East's Canadian coalition? Well they will all be hoping to resurrect their glory days.
Now we'll just have to wait and see how the Bruins respondin their quest for another Cup.
Northeast Division (predicted order of finish)
Boston Bruins: Why mess with a good thing? That's an easy philosphy to live by when you are coming off of claiming the Stanley Cup. Really, the only new additions they have to work into the fold are Benoit Pouliot as a bottom-six forward and Joe Corvo on the blue line. With the solid support all around them of a close-knit group, they should be able to seamlessly slide in and fill the voids left by Tomas Kaberle, Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder, the only pieces to the championship puzzle missing.
One thing I'm not sure many people realize, but this team is very young in addition to being super talented. There are still five players just among the forwards who will be restricted free agents when their contracts run out. The defense is a bit more grizzled, however, and that's where a good chunk of the leadership comes from, of course including captain Zdeno Chara.
There might be a slight sense of urgency for the B's to repeat as champs as they will have a lot of work to do to keep the team together as 10 of their regulars don't have contracts beyond next season. But GM Peter Chiarelli seems to be preparing for that well, saving the B's cap space to maneuver.
Strengths: What's not to like? They are very balanced as 10 players had more than 40 points a season ago, although two of them have departed (Kaberle and Ryder). Defensively they have plenty of veteran presence and have been a very good unit under Claude Julien. Plus, you know, they have that fella named Chara.
Oh, and how can we make it this far without discussing the team's best player, Tim Thomas? He was simply superb last season and through the playoffs, posting the highest single-season save percentage in league history. It's not as if his backup is chopped liver, either, as Tuukka Rask will be expected to shoulder more of the load for the 38-year-old Thomas this year.
Weaknesses: Despite all of their success when five-on-five, Boston's special teams weren't up to snuff. Without much change in personnel, they are going to have to find a way from within to improve the 20th-ranked power play and 18th-best penalty kill units. The power play was a growing concern in the playoffs, which included an 0-for-21 streak in the opening round win over the Canadiens. They tried all sorts of remedies to fix it, including parking Chara in front of the net, but they found their groove late in the playoffs when Chara and his booming shot returned to the point. Their hope is that success will roll over.
After that, we're just getting picky here. There just aren't too many holes from a team that ranked in the top five both offensively and defensively last season and was the NHL's top plus/minus team. They will have the talk of a championship hangover looming over them for much of the season and they will have the proverbial target on their backs as the champs. Those are hurdles that will be new.
Buffalo Sabres: I'm not sure what fans in Buffalo are more excited about right now: the Bills' 3-0 start or the first full season under Terry Pegula? The Sabres' biggest (and richest) fan ushers in a new era that the fans are still trying to get used to, in a good way: Buffalo is a big spender now. Pegula will make sure of that as he is willing to put his money where his mouth is. And his mouth has expressed some awfully high expectations ... multiple championships.
On that note, the Sabres were active in the offseason, most notably signing Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino to augment the core group that Buffalo has built. But possibly the biggest acquisition they made was the less-heralded of them all, and that was bringing in Robyn Regehr. The stout defenseman should prove to be a great addition as he brings a lot of toughness and all-around defense. Not to mention he will serve as a good influence for assumed partner Tyler Myers, who is in line for a nice bounceback season with more talent with him on defense.
It almost feels like an acquisition, but the return of Derek Roy will be a big boost, too. The front-line center missed the second half of last season due to a quad injury.
Welcome to Pegulaville. Buffalo still can hardly believe it.
Strengths: There is obviously a strong leader, for one. That's a very nice asset to have an owner so willing to win. But beyond him, there's a reason why Buffalo has moved into the conversation to crack the home-ice equation in the East, the new faces likely will make a very good group even better. In particular, the addition of Ehrhoff to the league's ninth-ranked power-play unit will make the special-teams unit a real asset for the Sabres.
Like their division rivals in Boston, as talented as they are all over the ice, their best player probably sits in the blue paint all game long. Ryan Miller didn't have the greatest of seasons last year for Buffalo, but that tends to happen when you come off a Vezina-winning season ... there's only one direction to go. He's still one of the absolute best in the game.
Oh, and the slug logo is gone, wiped away for good. That's positive for everybody.
Weaknesses: The cap situation is a bit troubling. With Pegula's desire to spend, the Sabres actually exceeded the salary cap over the summer, so they will have to be extra diligent with how they manage the roster. Unfortunately, it doesn't leave them much room to try and make any improvements midseason if need be.
Overall, it's not a roster with many holes in it whatsoever. It will just come down to how talented the team proves to be as there are multiple players capable of 50-plus point seasons.
Montreal Canadiens: Last season, without Max Pacioretty or Andrei Markov, the Canadiens captured the six seed in the East and took the eventual champions to the brink. I'm sure this team, almost al of it remains in town, is still stewing over blowing a 2-game lead to its bitter rival in Boston.
I definitely like the signing of Erik Cole in July, he is a solid (and physical) forward who could prove to be one of the bigger acquisitions of the summer for any team. He adds to a good, but not great group of forwards. They are capable, but need to be better than 23rd-best in the league like a season ago.
Where the success of this team will likely hinge is on the blue line. They have a couple of excellent young talents in P.K. Subban and Markov and some solid players behind them like Josh Gorges and Hal Gill.
A few steps toward a return to form for Scott Gomez (just seven goals last season) wouldn't hurt eiher.
Strenghts: Special teams. Under Jacques Martin, the Habs have been good in both departments of special teams, ranking seventh in both phases a season ago. If Markov remains healthy, the power play remains lethal as Subban and him both are excellent with the man up.
It's pretty Wild the goaltending this division features. Like both teams above them here, the Habs have an oustanding man living in the crease. It took fans a while in Montreal, but they finally warmed up to Carey Price, who finally lived up to his expectations last season. Playing a 72-game work load, Price posted a 2.35 GAA and .923 save percentage. The trick will be doing it again, but the safe bet is that he turned a corner and an encore shouldn't be a problem.
Weaknesses: Let's be honest, having to rely on Gomez to anchor a top-six line after a 37-point season doesn't have overwhelming talent. It showed in their scoring totals from last season when they averaged 2.60 goals per game. Cole will help as he not only brings a power game (among the league leaders in hits for forwards) but he can score. They would love to see him at least match his 26 goals from a season ago, that would have been good for second on the team.
A major concern all season will rest on the blue line and the depth there. Adding Chris Campoli after camp began was a nice addition to help with the concern, but they still can't really afford for injuries to set in, particularly for Markov. They just invested in him with a rich contract this offseason, so they are counting on him returning at full strength from the ACL tear and remaining that way.
Toronto Maple Leafs: How much longer will the fans in Toronto put up with a team that can't make the playoffs? The postseason drought stretches back to the lockout as the Leafs have been on the outside each season since. The only other team in the same boat is Florida, and let's just say the fans in Toronto take their hockey a touch more seriously than those in the Sunshine State. There's hope that this could be the season where they break through and return to playoff hockey, but that's a tall order for this group still.
Over the summer, GM Brian Burke really coveted center Brad Richards, but his staff was unable to convince the top free agent to head to Toronto. So as a backup plan he signed Tim Connolly from Buffalo to anchor the team's top line. If healthy, a very big if, Connolly can prove to be a good addition, the Leafs had to get deeper at center. Also, I really liked the quiet addition of John-Michael Liles to the defense.
But not much else will matter if the goaltending situation isn't solved. That has been the achilles heel for years in Toronto, but they think -- or hope -- the answer lies in James Reimer in his first full season in the NHL.
Strengths: As you'd expect for a team built by Burke, they have become a physical bunch in Toronto. The team captain, Dion Phaneuf, is one of the toughest hitters in the league. But there is obviously a danger of that being a weakness if the team is getting sent to the sin bin (or being Shanabanned with the new emphasis on safety) too often.
The second line is probably good enough to be Toronto's No. 1 group. The combination of Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin placed second, third and fourth in the team scoring, respectively. Each had at least 21 goals.
Weaknesses: The problem is, the skill on the team doesn't go much deeper. Only six players on the team last year reached double digits in scoring. The fact is the Leafs have two lines that can hold up with most in the league, but the third and fourth lines are where they feel the drop.
The center position remains a concern. Sure, Connolly was brought in to help that and same with Matthew Lombardi, but you can't be sure what you are getting from either guy from a health standpoint. As mentioned, Connolly has a history of injury issues. He has only played more than 70 games once (2009-10) since the 2002-03 season. With Lombardi, he's coming off a concussion that cost him all but two games last season. If either or both goes down, then Toronto is right back to being razor thin down the middle.
Ottawa Senators: This is odd territory for the folks in Ottawa. Never in the franchise's history have they had to actually rebuild. Since originally building the team in the early 90s, the team had a long, successful run that included a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006-07. A couple of the members from the old guard are still around -- Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, but the majority of the team is in place to win in the future, not necessarily now.
Expect to see a lot of the kids getting burn this season. It appears as though the team's top draft pick this summer, Sweedish center Mika Zibanejad, is going to make the team out of camp. Another coveted prospect, Jared Cowen, is also making a bid for the roster and join David Rundblad among the defensive corps. Nikita Filatov, who hadn't lived up to his perceived potential in Columbus, will also be given a shot to show what he can do. If he fits in and focuses on his game, his addition could prove to be a steal for Ottawa.
While new coach Paul MacLean and GM Bryan Murray are saying all the rights things about this team being competitive this season, it will serve as a good opportunity to get a glimpse of the future.
Strenghts: They didn't score much at all or play defense particularly well, but they were alright on special teams, particularly on the penalty kill, which ranked ninth in the league. Sergei Gonchar can help keep that ball rolling. That will qualify as a positive here.
We'll also throw goaltender Craig Anderson into the category. He wasn't spectacular last season split between Colorado and Ottawa, but he's shown before what he is capable of when he starred for the Avalanche two seasons ago. And his stint with the Sens was encouraging as he was 11-5-1 with his new team.
It speaks well for what is in the system that the team's AHL affiliate in Binghamton won the Calder Cup.
Weaknesses: This says a lot: No player that participated in more than 30 games for the Senators had a plus-rating last season. Chris Phillips was the lowest of them all at minus-35.
This team struggled mightily to score last season and that is unlikely to get easier this time around. Right now there just isn't a heck of a lot of talent to talk about. Spezza was the only player to top the 20-goal mark last year and he barely did so with 21.
The youth is a weakness for now as it will be error prone and show it is green, but the hope is that it turns into a strength down the line.
Photo: Getty Images
Tags: 2011-12 Season Preview, Andrei Markov, Benoit Pouliot, Boston Bruins, Brad Richards, Brian Burke, Brian Stubits, Bryan Murray, Buffalo Sabres, Carey Price, Chris Campoli, Chris Phillips, Christian Ehrhoff, Clarke MacArthur, Claude Julien, Craig Anderson, Daniel Alfredsson, David Rundblad, Derek Roy, Dion Phaneuf, Erik Cole, Hal Gill, Jacques Martin, James Reimer, Jard Cowen, Jason Spezza, Joe Corvo, John-Michael Liles, Josh Gorges, Mark Recchi, Matthew Lombardi, Max Pacioretty, Michael Ryder, Mika Zibanejad, Mikhail Grabovski, Montreal Canadiens, Nikita Filatov, Nikolai Kulemin, Northeast Division, Northeast Division Preview, Ottawa Senators, P.K. Subban, Paul MacLean, Peter Chiarelli, Robyn Regehr, Ryan Miller, Scott Gomez, Terry Pegula, Tim Connolly, Tim Thomas, Tomas Kaberle, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Myers, Ville Leino, Zdeno Chara
Posted on: September 28, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 6:45 pm
By: Adam Gretz
During the third period of Toronto's 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night Chris Neil and Mikhail Grabovski were involved in a colission in the neutral zone that drew the attention of Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's director of player safety.
Grabovski, who scored a shorthanded goal and added two assists during the Toronto win, left the game briefly following the hit but was able to return after being examined for concussion-like symptoms.
On Wednesday it was reported, via TSN, that Shanahan did in fact review the play, but ultimately decided that it was not a violation of rule 48 and will not hand out any punishment to Neil, who was not penalized during the game.
The play occurred mid-way through third period while Grabovski did not have possession of the puck. It was certainly a borderline play that is open to debate as to whether or not Neil intentionally hit Grabovski, or if it was simply an accidental collission.
Grabovski was Toronto's third-leading scorer last season finishing with 29 goals and 29 assists in 81 games.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:31 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 10:37 pm
By: Adam Gretz
During the third period of the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night Chris Neil and Mikhail Grabovski were involved in a collision that will very likely get the attention of the NHL's new player safety boss, Brendan Shanahan, who has been giving out suspensions like they're burning in a hole in his pocket over the past week.
Based on what we've seen so far from Shanahan it's clear there is a new level of transparency when it comes to discipline from the league, with each suspension being accompanied by a video describing the play in detail and why he issued a certain punishment. The response from fans and media has been overwhelmingly positive, but there's also been a sense of, let's wait and see until he has to deal with something that's borderline.
The Neil-Grabovski play, which you can see below, might be that type of play depending on which team (or group of fans) that you ask.
Neil was not penalized for the hit, even though it took place while Grabovski did not have possession of the puck. The question becomes whether or not this was an accidental colission, or if Neil targeted Grabovski's head and violated rule 48.1, which could result in him becoming the next player to get a couple of games off without pay.
Grabovski left the game briefly and went to the locker room, but eventually returned to the Maple Leafs bench. He scored a shorthanded goal and added two assists during the game.
Posted on: September 26, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: September 26, 2011 3:37 pm
LOSING THE YIPS: The Colorado Avalanche will be opening up the regular season with Brandon Yip on the sidelines after breaking a forearm this weekend against the Blues. He will miss 4-6 weeks. Avs defenseman Jan Hejda is also dealing with a setback, 2-4 works after suffering a knee injury in the same game. (Denver Post)
WHAT'S HIS NAME: Tomas Fleischmann is new to the Florida Panthers, and it showed over the weekend. Check out the jersey that he was sporting in the team's home game against the Lightning. (For those who can't see, it spells F-L-E-S-I-C-H-M-A-N-N) I guess the people in charge of putting names on jerseys didn't brush up on their offseason acquisition list. (Getty Images via Litter Box Cats)
SCOTT'S SCARE: Scott Hartnell played only nine minutes of the Flyers' game against the Red Wings over the weekend because of a heart scare. During the intermission it was discovered he had an elevated heart rate that didn't slow down during the break. A checkup on Saturday showed things were normal, but he will still be evaluated by a cardiologist. (flyers.nhl.com)
SUTERWATCH STARTS: It's almost another full year before free agency begins again, but fans in Nashville are already holding their collective breath. In addition to Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber, Ryan Suter doesn't have a deal for 2012-13 and LeBron James-like quotes aren't helping soothe the anxious Predators fans. (Pred Gold)
HEIDI STRIKES AGAIN: While it wasn't exactly the movie interrupting a regular-season NHL game, but it's close enough. In Montreal the television feed pulled away from the game just moments before Scott Gomez scored the winning goal. It is the latest positive step in a good preseason for the much-maligned Gomez. (Montreal Gazette)
MORE, PLEASE: The biggest concern for this season in Columbus has to be the situation in net for the Blue Jackets. Chris Mason hasn't exactly kept up his rookie form that saw him win the Calder Trophy in 2008-09. But optimism is rising in camp that a return to form might be coming for Mason. (Columbus Dispatch)
MEET MIKA: Branding is the big thing for athletes these days, you have to find a way to sell your "brand." Well Senators rookie Mika Zibanejad is already getting started. Take a look at his personal web site. Not too bad for a guy who hasn't played a game in the NHL yet. (Senators Extra)
OH BOY O'BERTO: Red Wings veteran Todd Bertuzzi is becoming a shootout star. Just check out his latest move on a hapless goaltender, going between his legs to pass it back up to himself and back-handing the puck into the net.
Tags: Brandon Yip, Brian Stubits, Chris Mason, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Daily Skate, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Jan Hejda, Mika Zibanejad, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, Pekka Rinne, Philadelphia Flyers, Ryan Suter, Scott Gomez, Scott Hartlnell, Shea Weber, Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Fleischmann
Posted on: September 22, 2011 10:00 am
ANOTHER ISLAND IDEA: Hope is not lost for the Islanders to not only stay on Long Island, but to remain in Nassau County. Since being turned down by a public vote, the team has been solicitin proposals for the land and they unveiled one on Wednesday that calls for a minor-league baseball park, outdoor ice rink, shopping and renovations to the Nassau Coliseum that would include raising the seat capacity. (Newsday)
BACK TO THE U.S.S.R.: Or at least Russia. After a summer of flirtation and rumors about rejoining the New York Islanders, Alexei Yashin will be returning to the KHL this season. Once he passes a physical, Yashin will be the newsest member of HC CSKA Moscow. (The Score)
DEEPER LOOK INTO ENFORCERS: This summer has illuminated the life of enforcers more than ever before with former fighters coming forward to tell their stories. Here's another player sharing his experiences as Brent Severyn. One of the most interesting parts for me is how no matter if he won or lost a fight, he was upset, either by his own embarrassment or knowing the embarrassment the other fighter is going to endure. (SI.com)
CHANGED MAN: Jordin Tootoo was once an up-and-coming prospect for the Predators who surprised everybody when he checked himself into the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program in December. Now he's back in Nashville camp and looking like a brand new player. (The Predatorial)
MIKKO READY TO WIN: This summer Mikko Koivu got a taste of winning, seeing his native Finland win the world juniors resulting in a massive party in Helsinki. Now the Wild captain is looking forward to bringing that same kind of success to Minnesota, where they haven't been to the playoffs since 2008. (Star-Tribune)
SIGNING SEAN: The Philadelphia Flyers got what some considered a gift when Sean Couturier fell to them in the NHL Draft, a top-5 talent slipping to No. 8. On Wednesday they gave him a gift of their own, signing him to a three-year entry-level contract. (NHL.com)
YEARNING FOR THE OLD DAYS: One of the best parts about franchises taking a turn for the worst is the hilarity that can come from grieving fans. Returning to their successful days at the beginning of last decade, a couple of Senators fans channel their inner Backstreet Boys below. (Senators extra via Puck Daddy)