Posted on: October 10, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: October 10, 2011 9:50 am
By: Adam Gretz
BETTMAN ON Oilers ARENA Gary Bettman has invited Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and Oilers owner Daryl Katz to his New York office to discuss the ongoing talks for a new building, mainly because he's a bit concerned with the progress, especially with an Oct. 31 deadline on land purchase. Said Bettman, via the Edmonton Journal, "I invited them in because I'm concerned that the framework for a deal hasn't been agreed upon and isn't there yet. Since time is now of the essence, I want to see if I can be helpful in getting the parties to speak the same language."
Panthers GET INSPIRATION FROM 12-YEAR-OLD CANCER SURVIVOR C.J. George, a 12-year-old that is currently in full remission from Lymphoma Blood Cancer, gave the Florida Panthers a pep talk following their Thursday practice. Said George, from Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel: "I told them to keep their eye on the goal and even if they get frustrated and don't want to go to practice like I didn't want to go to another doctor's appointment you have to push through."
CARLYLE DOESN'T MIND PERRY FIGHTING Most coaches don't want to see their top goal-scorers dropping the gloves. Carolina Panthers coach Paul Maurice, for example, said Jeff Skinner's preseason bout was the last one he wanted to see this year. Randy Carlyle, head coach of the Anaheim Ducks, on the other hand has no issue with Corey Perry, the NHL's leading goal-scorer last season, taking part in the rough stuff after his minor confrontation with New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky. Said Carlyle: “I see nothing wrong with two guys at the same level if they chose to drop the gloves.When there’s a mismatch as far as the level of player…Dubinsky’s a pretty good player, and so is Corey Perry. If it’s a different level of player fighting a more skilled player then I look at it differently.”
THE STANLEY CUP MADE A VISIT TO THE PATRIOTS GAME Finally, several members of the Boston Bruins -- as well as the Stanley Cup -- made a visit to Sunday's Patriots-Jets game, which the Patriots won 30-21. Gregory Campbell, Brad Marchand and Adam McQuaid didn't seem to have the best seats.
Photo: Bruins Twitter
Posted on: October 8, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 1:03 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The Washington Capitals aren't the only team that have a rather surprising opening night starter in the crease. When the Islanders open their regular season schedule on Saturday night against new-look Florida Panthers, it will be Al Montoya filling the net instead of veterans Rick DiPietro or Evgeni Nabokov.
Coach Jack Capuano said, via Newsday's Arthur Staple, that it's a "gut feeling" to go with the 26-year-old Montoya.
He appeared in 21 games last season for the Islanders and played better than anybody could have expected, posting a .921 save percentage and recording one shutout during the stretch run. He was one of six goaltenders to appear in a game for the Islanders last season, and his performance was probably the most surprising given how disappointing his career had been prior to joining the team.
A first-round pick by the Rangers in 2004, he never played a game for the blue shirts before being traded to Phoenix as part of a five-player trade during the 2008 season. The Islanders acquired him back in February after trading Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay and losing a number of other goalies to injury throughout the season. And now he's getting the opening night start, getting the call over the oft-injured DiPietro, who has appeared in just 39 games over the past three seasons, and Nabokov, who the Islanders claimed on waivers last season following his brief stint in the KHL.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 10:05 am
There are 12 teams getting their season under way tonight in the NHL. Two of them will come early in Europe as the Kings-Rangers and Sabres-Ducks battle at 1 ET. Then tonight there are four more games back in North America, including the Rick Nash/Jeff Carter era beginning in Columbus. Scoreboard
DEAL OR NO DEAL? It recently came out from Jeremy Rutherford at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Matthew Hulsizer, the Chicago man who nearly bought the Coyotes, has reached a verbal agreement to purchase the Blues. But Andy Strickland at True Hockey says not so fast, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, but at least things are promising.
EARLY RETURN: Nothing like a small sample size. Yes, the Flyers played solid defense on Thursday in beating the defending champion Bruins in Boston, but Ryan Bright says the plan of GM Paul Holmgren that saw sweeping changes this offseason already looks good. It very well could be, but remember; Matt Cooke is on pace for 164 goals, too. Time will truly tell. (Philadelphia Sports Daily)
HIS WAY OF HELPING: Ilya Kovalchuk is doing his part to raise money for the Yaroslavle Victims Families Fund. He is going to give away signed 8x10 photographs of himself to anybody who donates $17 dollars or more. To make a donation, contact PuckAgency, LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org to say you want to donate. A response e-mail will be sent to you with instructions on what to do. (Fire and Ice Blog)
TWITTER TRASHTALKING: Speaking of good causes, the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers are encouraging fans to engage in a Twitter battle for Friday's game in Sweden. The Kings have announced that for ever #GoLAKings hashtag, that follower will be entered in a contest for a free round-trip flight and the Kings will donate to the Children's Hospital in L.A. for 5,000. Safe to assume the Rangers have a similar plan. (Pro Hockey Talk)
HERE TO STAY: Last season, ballyhooed Hurricanes prospect Zac Dalpe got just a taste of the NHL, playing in just 15 games a season ago, scoring three goals and an assists. But this year he hopes to stay from beginning to end in Carolina and the 'Canes would love it if he could bring home a second straight Calder Trophy to Carolina. (News and Observer)
QUICK STARTS: The Colorado Avalanche will have No. 2 overall draft pick Gabriel Landeskog on the roster, getting meaningful minutes this season. So that begs the question: who are the best rookies in Avalance/Nordiques history? Here is a list of the Top 10. (Denver Post)
NEW AND IMPROVED: Things are finally feeling they are headed in the right direction in Columbus. The team has some Stars, the financial future seems fixed and there's real excitement for the team. Aaron Portzline previews the season that lies ahead, including one interesting cereal box. (Columbus Dispatch)
HE CAN BE YOUR HERO: Meant to include this in yesterday's Skate, but here is Kris Versteeg of the Florida Panthers being put on the spot at a preseason fundraiser after a bidding war (jacked up by GM Dale Tallon) buys a song from the crooner. Credit to Versteeg, who doesn't hesitate or shy away from a, um, rendition of Enrique Iglesias's Hero. The song starts right around the 2-minute mark.
Tags: Blues Purchase, Brian Stubits, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalance, Columbus Blue Jackets, Daily Skate, Dale Tallon, Florida Panthers, Gabriel Landeskog, Ilya Kovalchuk, KHL, Kris Versteeg, Lokomotiv, Los Angeles Kings, Matt Cooke, Matthew Hulsizer, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Paul Holmgren, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Zac Dalpe
Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: October 5, 2011 10:01 am
FRANSON FRUSTRATION: The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Cody Franson in a trade with the Predators presumably because they thought he could play on their blue line. So did he. Well as they break camp in Toronto, Franson is still on the roster, but is the seventh defenseman. "Right now I'm not too thrilled with it," Franson said. This will be worth watching. (Globe and Mail)
DEBUT DELAY? Martin Havlat is ready to begin his tenure as a member of the San Jose Sharks, but it might have to wait just a little longer. The former Wild forward acquired this summer in a trade flew to Cleveland to meet with a shoulder surgeon hoping to gain clearance for Saturday's first game. Havlat had his shoulder operated on in the offseason after getting hurt in the World Championships. (Working the Corners)
LESSON LEARNED: In September, Milan Lucic made his way into some negative publicity when he was involved in a slight confrontation with his girlfriendand pulled the "Do you know who I am?" card. The young Bruins scorer says the whole incident taught him a major lesson. As far as the "DYKWIA?" card? He says it wasn't to get special treatment, but to ask the police to think of why he, with so much to lose, would do anything to jeopardize it. (CSN New England)
CHARITABLE RIVALS: When the Capitals and Penguins get together in Pittsburgh on Oct. 13, they will be wearing commemorative patches on their jerseys for the KHL's Lokomotiv team. After the game, they will autograph then auction off the jerseys and donate all the proceeds to the families of the players killed in the plane crash. (CBSSports.com)
STILL NO. 1: TSN put out their list of the Top 50 players in the NHL for this season, so who is No. 1? It's still Sidney Crosby, even if there's no guarantee as to when he'll return from post-concussion symptoms. No surprise that he comes in just ahead of Alexander Ovechkin. (TSN)
LUCKY LINEMATE: The winner of the Marian Gaborik-Brad Richards linemate sweepstakes with the Rangers is ... Brandon Dubinsky. He'll start the Rangers' game on Friday manning the left wing spot on the top line and coach John Tortorella will "see where it goes" from there. (@thenyrangers)
NOT A SAAD STORY: The Blackhawks are loaded with talent. It's why many see them as a Stanley Cup contender this season. So that gives you an idea how much second-round pick Brandon Saad impressed as he not only has earned a spot on the roster, but is slated to start on the first line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. Not too bad for a player whose draft stock slipped. (CSN Chicago)
COUTURIER A CATCH: Saad isn't the only player who slipped in the draft that is looking like more than a player on an extended tryout. Sean Couturier was once seen as maybe the best prospect in the draft but fell to No. 8 where the Flyers were waiting with open arms. GM Paul Holmgren is willing to give up a season of control of his contract if Couturier continues to make an impact. (Philadelphia Sports Daily)
HUBYMANIA ENDS: Not all the top draft picks are going to get that extended look. The Panthers elected to send No. 3 overall draft choice Jonathan Huberdeau back to his junior team on Tuesday despite the forward leading the Cats in scoring this preseason. Interesting that a team so desparate to win and attract fans is willing to let their top prospect develop. (NHL.com)
BOUDREAU MIC'D AGAIN: This time it's clear of profanity ... because it's bleeped out. Bruce Boudrea, the Capitals coach who drew plenty of attention for his actions (and words) in HBO's 24/7 last season, was mic'd up for the Capitals' first preseason game held in Baltimore and let's just say he didn't like getting shut out.
Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Boston Bruins, Brad Richards, Brandon Dubinsky, Brandon Saad, Brian Stubits, Bruce Boudreau, Chicago Blackhawks, Cody Franson, Daily Skate, Florida Panthers, Jonathan Huberdeau, KHL, Lokomotiv, Marian Gaborik, Martin Havlat, Milan Lucic, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Sean Couturier, Sidney Crosby, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals
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 10:02 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 10:09 am
CENTER STAGE: Patrick Kane played his first game of the preseason last night, and the Blackhawks went throught with their plan to try him out at center. The reviews are in and they aren't bad. When asked if there was anything about the experiement that wasn't good, coach Joel Quenneville said “No, we liked it." COuld get interesting. (ESPN Chicago) Bonus note: Kane joined the Twitterverse on Wednesday, he can be found @88PKane and has over 14,000 followers after just two tweets.
RIPPING AVERY: Boy, this year's 24/7 will be good. The animosity continues to grow in the Broad Street vs. Broadway rivalry. Things got very ugly on the ice in Philly on Monday between Sean Avery and Wayne Simmonds. At one point, Avery was overheard on TV saying he didn't want to have to f***** kill (Claude) Giroux. So the Flyers' Danny Briere took Avery to task for being hypocritical and just seeking attention. (Philly.com)
AV APOLOGY: The Colorado Avalanche were whipped up and down the ice by the Kings on Wednesday, including a hat trick for Anze Kopitar. After last year's second-worst record in the NHL, it caused some bad flashbacks in Denver. Soon after, Matt Duchene took to Twitter to apologize: “Sorry to all the fans that paid their hard earned money tonight to watch that terrible performance of ours. We WILL be better” (Denver Post)
SLOW START: Speaking of not being pleased with preseason results, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was upset at Washington's 4-1 loss in Nashville on Wednesday. “It’s time we started to get our act in gear and start playing better.” If they don't, Boudreau's seat could be awfully warm come Thanksgiving. (Capitals Insider)
MOVING ON: James Wisniewski of the Blue Jackets received the toughest punishment from new chief Brendan Shanahan this preseason, but he's not dwelling on it. “I’m going to be around here, but I’m not going to be down about anything. No pouty face from me. It’s over. It’s done. That’s how it has to be.” (Columbus Dispatch)
SANTORELLI SETBACK: The Panthers will be missing one of their few holdovers for the first month of the season. Mike Santorelli, who had somewhat of a breakout season last year with 20 goals and 21 assists, will sit out with a shoulder injury until Halloween. (Miami Herald) Speaking of Halloween, the Panthers will give free tickets to kids who are willing to trade in candy for hockey. (Miami Herald)
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Alex Ovechkin took time before returning to the States for the season to have a lengthy sit-down interview with Elena Khanian at Sobesednik in Russia. Here's the entire transcript in English. Among the interesting parts is this bit about his taste in women: "I think I will only marry a Russian, well, I mean, a girl from Russia. Russians are sincere, understanding and cook well." I imagine an influx of Russian women to the D.C. area soon. (Alex Ovetjkin)
IS HE READ-Y? One of the big revelations from Flyers camp -- outside of the fact that Jaromir Jagr can still play -- has been Matt Read. He leads the NHL preseason list in points and is still sticking with the big club. The unsigned free agent out of Bemidji State is doing all he can to make the roster, and it's looking good. (Philly.com)
Photo: US Presswire
Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Brian Stubits, Bruce Boudreau, Chicago Blackhawks, Claude Giroux, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Daily Skate, Danny Briere, Florida Panthers, James WIsniewski, Jaromir Jagr, Matt Duchene, Matt Read, Mike Santorelli, New York Rangers, Patrick Kane, Philadelphia Flyers, Sean Avery, Shanaban, Washington Capitals, Wayne Simmonds
Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: September 27, 2011 10:12 am
WE ARE THE CHAMPIANS: Brad Marchand was one of the Bruins that celebrated the Stanley Cup victory by going out and getting inked up. Too bad the tattoo artist couldn't spell champions correctly. One of his teammates soon spotted the typo and Marchand had it corrected, but not before some photos were taken. (ESPN Boston)
STAAL STAYS BEHIND: While the Rangers headed to Europe after last night's controversy-filled game against the Flyers to finish out the exhibition schedule before the regular season begins in Sweden, Marc Staal stayed behind. The alternate captain of the Blueshirts is dealing with post-concussion symptoms, but coach John Tortorella expects Staal will join the team later and play in the games that count. (NHL.com)
QUESTIONING OVECHKIN: Here's an interesting question posed by Neil Greenberg of Capitals Insider: Is Alex Ovechkin an elite scorer or just a good shooter? The conclusion after stasticals analysis -- with charts! -- is that Ovie isn't the most skilled shooter around, he just gets more off than anybody by a large margin. (Capitals Insider)
BOOGAARD GETS A SHOT: After Derek Boogaard's death this summer, brother Aaron Boogaard was doing a lot of the speaking for the family, including explaining how his brother never quite overcame an addition to painkillers. But Aaron plays the game, too, and the former Minnesota Wild draft pick is all set to join the team's AHL affiliate in Houston. (Star Tribune)
ANOTHER WAIVER WONDER: It was about this time a year ago Dale Tallon was attempting to send Michael Grabner to the Panthers' AHL affiliate through waivers only for the forward to be claimed by the Islanders. we know how that turned out. Now another promising Panthers is on the wire, Michael Repik. While he doesn't seem to have Grabner's promise, here's one person who can't forget the gift Tallon gave them last year and would like to take a shot. (Lighthouse Hockey)
LOMBARDI AWARD: After the more high-profile cases of players sitting out after concussions such as Sidney Crosby and David Perron is Matthew Lombardi. The former Predators player who was shipped to the Maple Leafs this offseason is doing much better and looks like he'll be playing for Toronto. Feel-good story of the year candidate? Perhaps says James Mirtle. (Globe and Mail)
ANYONE PUMPED UP YET? Came across this pump-up video for the Canucks this season. Surely they should have a lot of reason for optimism in Vancouver, but this video ... doesn't seem all that inpsiring. Set to Adele's Rolling in the Deep (which screams hockey) it mostly dwells on the Canucks losing to Boston, including Marchand punching Daniel Sedin. Excited?
Photo: ESPN Boston
Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Battle of the Blades, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Brad Marchand Tattoo, Brian Stubits, Dale Tallon, Derek Boogaard, Florida Panthers, Marc Staal, Matthew Lombardi, Michael Grabner, Michael Repik, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals
Posted on: September 26, 2011 3:34 pm
After losing Tomas Vokoun in the offseason in free agency, the Florida Panthers planned to enter this season relying on a duo in net of Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen. But the plan is already falling apart.
That's because Clemmensen is going to miss the start of the season after undergoing a minor surgery on Monday on his knee. Coach Kevin Dineen was sure to stress that it was a minor procedure and it could sideline Clemmensen for "up to a month" but that the surgery shouldn't derail his season as Dineen is "very encouraged that [Clemmensen] is going to come back 100 percent healthy.
"We think very highly of all the goaltenders in our organization and that's why losing Clemmer is a tough deal for us," Dineen added. "He's worked hard all summer and I know he's disappointed right now, but I know that the month of October will slide right by and he'll be back before we know it."
While it doesn't figure to sideline him for too long, it does put a lot more of the burden on Theodore. And one of the Panthers' young netminding prospects.
The Panthers have arguably the top goaltending prospect in the NHL in Jacob Markstrom. He would seem to be the likely choice to remain with the team in Clemmensen's absence, but the Tyler Plante could earn the right to stay seeing as how the Panthers would like Markstrom to play a lot this season. In the AHL he will be able to do that, in the NHL he won't.
But the two will presumably have the remainder of camp to fight for the backup spot to start the season.
"I look at it as Mr. Opportunity is knocking on the door," Dineen said. "That opportunity will be given to [Tyler Plante] and [Jacob Markstrom] to scratch and claw and try to earn that right to stay here with the Panthers for the next stretch."
"Every day you're here is another special day," Plante said. "You work hard all summer to stay here as long as you possibly can. So, every day you're not getting a plane ticket down [to the AHL] is a day with a smile on your face."
One of them, likely Plante, will get to keep that smile on for a lot longer.
Clemmensen hasn't played too much in the past two seasons backing up Vokoun for the Panthers. What name recognition he does have came from his time as a fill-in for Martin Broudeur in 2008-09 when he was 25-13-1 with a .917 save percentage and 2.39 GAA. Last season for Florida he was 8-11-7 with .911/2.62 numbers.
Photo: Getty Images