Tag:Winnipeg Jets
Posted on: June 27, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: June 27, 2011 11:20 am
 

Daily Skate: Jackets need Carter, Pens power

PUT ON YOUR JACKET:: Since Columbus went out and landed Jeff Carter from Philadelphia to finally get itself a top-line center, the All-Star has been quiet and seemingly avoiding his new home. At this point, he is yet to speak to GM Scott Howson, team officials or the media. Because of all that, fans are starting to worry that it could be another situation of a prized player coming to town and wanting out before he ever gets in. Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch stresses the importance for the franchise and its fans that Carter get on board the C-bus.

Penguins POWER: One of the factors that brought down the Pittsburgh Penguins last season -- besides the injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- was an abysmal power play. In the first-round playoff exit to Tampa Bay, for example, the Pens were just 1 of 35 with the man advantage. You don't need me to tell you that's beyond dreadful. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Dejan Kovacevic says Dan Bylsma knows as much, too, and he is already planning on multiple looks to find success. Kovacevic offers some of his own ideas, including a four-forward umbrella look.

WHO WANTS THE Coyotes?: The Coyotes, the city of Glendale, Ariz., and the NHL are still looking for a buyer to keep the team in the desert, but they have had more problems selling than Wile E. had chasing the Roadrunner. Matthew Hulsizer was close to acquiring the team in the past, and he's still in the mix. And, according to the Phoenix Business Journal so are Jerry Reinsdorf (who had seemingly withdrawn from the process) and an unknown third party. The two-year sales saga is far from over.

TWO FOR ONE: Hot on the heels of the NHL returning to Winnipeg, there is already talk of another team coming to town. The Calgary Sun suggests the idea of adding a Western Hockey League team to Winnipeg makes a lot of sense, noting that the WHL has long wanted to get back into the 'Peg and the two-team look has worked very well in Calgary and Edmonton.

WELCOME BACK: Ryan Smyth is now officially back with the Oilers and while he doesn't have his position on the team defined yet -- second or third line? right wing or left? -- GM Steve Tambellini knows what role Smyth will fill. Edmonton is expecting Smyth to come in and play the mentor role, teaching and leading by example, something Tambellini wanted to find for his young team. "I can't see any reason why Ryan won’t be a huge part of that. He's experienced. He understands this community. He understands where we are as an organization right now," Tambellini said.

SAND STAR: Tim Thomas has reached icon status in New England to the point people are making sculptures out of the guy ... in sand, that is. Check out this photo from the Master Sand Sculpting Competition of Thomas protecting the cage. It's no wonder he was almost unbeatable all year, look how big he is in the net.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL


Posted on: June 25, 2011 5:46 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2011 11:07 am
 

NHL Draft: Grading each team for the weekend

Anaheim Ducks: I like the move trading down in the first round to get another early pick in the second from the Maple Leafs, assuming they weren't absolutely in love with any prospect on the board at No. 22. With the additional pick in Round 2 they grabbed who many felt was the top goaltender available in USA's John Gibson. In time, he could be excellent. Grade: B

Boston Bruins: The Stanley Cup champions were very quiet, as you would expect. They were picking from a position of luxury at No. 9 in the first round to finally wrap up the Phil Kessel trade and had to be ecstatic that defenseman Dougie Hamilton fell to them. They closed out with a goalie in the sixth round, a good idea to grab one at some point. Grade: A-

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres only had one pick in the top 75, which they spent on Finnish winger Joel Armia at No. 16. From there they selected three centermen, in Rounds 3, 4 and 7. But their biggest move was trading for Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik for Chris Butler and Paul Byron. I think the move benefits Buffalo most with Regehr's physical presence. Grade: B

Calgary Flames: Out of just five players drafted, the biggest they picked was a goalie in the sixth round. Three of the other four picks are all less than six feet, including fourth-round choice John Gaudreau. Top pick Sven Baertschi could be a very nice pickup for offensive punch. The move of Regehr and Kotalik wasn't a great trade in its own right, but it was solid when you consider it allowed them to re-sign Alex Tanguay. Grade: C+

Carolina Hurricanes: The 'Canes weren't active shoppers, content to take their six picks in peace. Among them, they selected three centermen, two defensemen and a goalie. Would have liked to see a little more balance and somebody to play outside, but there's always a chance for position changes. Top pick Ryan Murphy is unquestionably most offensive defenseman in the draft, but he's allergic to defense. Grade: B-

Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago was incredibly busy, selecting 11 players over the weekend, including six of the top 80. First-round selections Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault are both high-character, gritty forwards, then in the second round they scooped up a slipper in winger Brandon Saad. The biggest move though was getting rid of big contracts in Brian Campbell and to a lesser extent Troy Brouwer, freeing up cap flexibility. Excellent weekend. Grade: A

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs did most of their heavy lifting on Day 1 of the draft, first sending John-Michael Liles to the Maple Leafs for a second-round pick. I don't like the move all that much, but it shows they are serious about rebuilding. But they had a big play in the first round, selecting Gabriel Landeskog at No. 2, and he'll step in right away. They also grabbed a few defensemen, including Duncan Siemens at No. 11, to fill the void. Grade: B+

Columbus Blue Jackets: Their biggest move came Thursday when they landed Jeff Carter from Philly. It did cost them a first-round pick and a Jakub Voracek, but they got a guaranteed top-notch contributor, so it's a good get. They also traded Nikita Filatov to Ottawa. Thought they might be able to get more for him than a third-round pick, but it was a good decision to move him as he was likely going to KHL instead of returning and it just wasn't working in Columbus. As for the draft, I like the pick of LW Seth Ambroz in the fifth-round best. He was the 31st ranked skater by NHL Central Scouting. Grade: A-

Dallas Stars: Everything really is bigger in Texas. The Stars' six draft picks average over 6-feet-3 and 201 pounds. The three defensemen have an average height of just over 6'5 and 212 pounds, highlighted by first-round selection Jamieson Oleksiak from Northeastern at 6'7. It will take a little bit of time, but they will soon could have the biggest blue line in hockey. Grade: B+

Detroit Red Wings: In classic Ken Holland fashion, the Wings weren't afraid to move back in the draft, trading out of the first round to grab three picks in the second. Their first selection was Saint John winger Tomas Jurco at No. 35. I'm a big fan of the kid and he is oozing with potential. They decided to get defenseman-heavy with five out of nine picks, but I'm not going to challenge Holland's track record in the draft. Grade: B

Edmonton Oilers: They came in to the draft in a great position, obviously holding the top spot, but also the 19th overall selection. Drafting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the easy, but right choice. With their second pick they grabbed Swedish defenseman Oscar Klefbom. While many point to his lack of offense as a concern, I'm very high on him as a project. They did draft two goalies, one in Samu Perhonen who most considered the top European goalie. Grade: A-

Florida Panthers: The first pick of Jonathan Huberdeau was a great selection as I will maintain he could be the best in this draft. The Panthers didn't have quite the same impact as last season, but still selected eight of the first 91 players, including 5'6 dynamo Rocco Grimaldi. The move everybody is talking about, though, is trading for Brian Campbell. It's not a bad move for Florida as it actually needs to take on salary just to get to the floor and he has some use for an inexperienced blue line. Grade: B+

Los Angeles Kings: They too hopped into the Philly salary shedding by snagging Mike Richards in exchange for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. I love the addition for the Kings as it gives them two elite centermen in Richards and Kopitar. They didn't draft until 49th overall when they grabbed who I thought was the best goalie in Christopher Gibson, but didn't get any defensive help in any of their six picks. Would have liked to see at least one D-man. Grade: B

Minnesota Wild: I thought they made the best trade of the draft itself with their deal to get Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and San Jose's first-round selection -- which they used to get centerman Zack Phillips -- for Brent Burns and a second-rounder next year. They had a big need in offense and they addressed it for the current time with Seto. They also traded up to grab local favorite Mario Lucia, one of two Minnesota high-schoolers they drafted. Grade: A-

Montreal Canadiens: They patiently waited until the 17th pick when, much to the surprise of most, puck-moving defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was still on the board. For a team that's a bit thin on the blue line, he was the first of five defensemen they brought aboard. But Beaulieu was the only pick they had until the fourth round began, so they got great value and somebody who could prove to be a great pairing with P.K. Subban down the road. Grade: B+

Nashville Predators: I like the player they drafted with their first pick, No. 38 overall, but I don't like the fit. Magnus Hellberg is a very intriguing goalie prospect who stands 6'5, but going goaltender with your first pick, and making Hellberg the top goalie selected, was a bit surprising, especially when they have a still-young Pekka Rinne. After that they added a few guys who are a bit more stout, toughening up for years of Barry Trotz hockey. Grade: C

New Jersey Devils: With their first pick they took top defenseman Adam Larsson, who became the highest defenseman they drafted since Scott Niedermayer. But that's partly because the Devils don't often draft this high. And here they got a guy who most years would have gone first or second, but offensive needs above them dropped Larsson to New Jersey and I'm sure the staff has no qualms about that. Thought this was one team that could have stood to grab a goalie late. Grade: A-

New York Islanders: A lot of smoke before the draft was that they were showing the most interest in defenseman Dougie Hamilton, but they instead went out to get a Ryan Strome, a centerman they hope can be the yin to John Tavares' yang. He has great playmaking ability so it could be a great complement down the line. They got their big-bodied D-man in the second round with a nice selection of 6'4 Scott Mayfield from St. Louis, Mo., after trading Bruno Gervais to Tampa Bay Grade: B+

New York Rangers: Another team that was very quiet in this draft, they went up the middle with centers in their first three picks, starting with American J.T. Miller at No. 15 overall. It will be interesting to see how their last two picks develop, two defensemen who stand at least 6'3 and both weigh more than 205 pounds, you have to like where those guys are starting for blue line bruisers. But all in all, not much was happening for the Blueshirts. Grade: B

Ottawa Senators: My favorite team in this draft. They had a ton of draft picks entering the weekend and they made the most of them, spending two second-rounders to move into the first round for a third pick. Their No. 1 selection of Mika Zibanejad should be a good one, he's got a lot of power and grit. They got a lot of potential scoring with the other first-round picks in Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel. They topped everything off by getting a talented but still unproven Nikita Filatov from Columbus for just a third-round pick. Grade: A+

Philadelphia Flyers: Philly did its work on Thursday with their three blockbuster moves. While they seem to have weakened the roster by getting rid of Carter and Richards, it allowed them to bring in Ilya Bryzgalov and clear some cap space to maneuver. And, the part many were forgetting on Thursday, gave them a high first-round selection, which they must be thrilled with. Sean Couturier was a preseason favorite as the best player in the draft class, so to get him at No. 8 was a great nab. Could help fill one of the holes that just opened. Grade: A-

Phoenix Coyotes: The pick of defenseman Connor Murphy in the first round carries with it plenty of risk. He missed a significant amount of time due to injury and he has a pretty long projection. This is another organization I thought would be well served to look at a goaltender, considering they are pretty thin all throughout the organization, including with the big club. It's a need they will certainly look to address via free agency. Grade: C

Pittsburgh Penguins: They really must have taken the best player available strategy as they went defense with their first two picks, starting with Joseph Morrow at No. 23. I thought they really could have used some forward depth in the organization considering they have seven defensemen under contract next year with the big club and a good amount more in the system. The last three picks (just five total) did go offense, though. Grade: C+

San Jose Sharks: I said it before and I'll say it again, I don't like the Setoguchi-Burns trade, and right after they signed Seto to a new deal? Ouch. Sure, the Sharks landed a great defenseman after losing Niclas Wallin from the back after last season, but the price is too steep for me. As a result of dealing their first pick, San Jose wasn't on the clock until pick No. 47, taking Boston University's Matthew Nieto. For a team that is in full-contention mode, the move addresses a need, but I just feel the cost was too high. Grade: D+

St. Louis Blues: The Blues sat out the first round, but had three selections to make in the second and came out alright. Their pick of Ty Rattie at No. 32 was a very good one, getting a first-round talent. He still needs to put on some weight, but I like his outlook. Their next two picks of winger Dmitrij Jaskin and 6'5 Canadian defenseman Joel Edmundson were solid. They were another team that spent two picks on goaltenders, but it's an organization that could use some reinforcement in the crease. Grade: B

Tampa Bay Lightning: With their first three picks (Rounds 1, 2 and 5) they went all Russian. In the first they grabbed Vladislav Namestnikov, a center who can also play wing and was projected by many to go a little higher. They followed that up with winger Nikita Kucherov then defenseman Nikita Nesterov. One thing is for sure, though, they didn't add much size in the draft with nobody over 6'0. They know something about short guys, though. Add a little something to the blue line now in a small deal for Isles D Bruno Gervais. Grade: B

Toronto Maple Leafs: Brian Burke came out to make some moves, and he did. The first was landing John-Michael Liles from Colorado, a player he long coveted. While Toronto has a slew of defensemen already, Liles is still a solid addition. He then made a swap with Anaheim to move up for two picks in the first round, using one to grab defenseman Stuart Percy. I'm not terribly high on the guy, but he's somebody they saw a lot of in Ontario, so at least they have a conviction. The other first-round pick was Tyler Biggs, a true power forward. All in all, they added a lot of prospects to the system. Grade: B+

Vancouver Canucks: No team was treated more rudely in Minnesota than the Canucks, taking the podium each time to a chorus of boos and mocking shouts, many calling for a new goalie. I'm sure they are in no hurry to push Roberto Luongo away, but they did draft goaltender David Honzik with their second pick of the weekend. Their first selection of Dane Nicklas Jensen is a very nice selection as he possesses potential to become a potent scorer when his game is more refined. Grade: B+

Washington Capitals: Were the Caps even present in the Twin Cities? Aside from a move to get Troy Brouwer from the Blackhawks in exchange for Washington's first-round selection. Because of that trade, the D.C. brass sat on their hands until the fourth round when they spent their first pick on a goaltender. I do think the addition of Brouwer will be welcome as a power forward, but they leave the draft without taking home much in the way of restocking the system. Grade: B-

Winnipeg Jets: Well let's just start off by saying nothing is going to take away from the high in Winnipeg right now as the Jets are back and this was the first true hockey steps as a franchise in the 'Peg again. With that said, their pick of Mark Scheifele at No. 7 came as a surprise. With Couturier still on the board, they seemed to reach a little early for Scheifele, but they said after the pick they had done their homework on him. With the rest of their picks, they added great size. But we won't rain on any parades here. Grade: B+

--Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 1:49 pm
 

Reports: Winnipeg to go with Jets for nickname

J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS!

No, we aren't in the Meadowlands. That's the new (err, old) name of the NHL franchise in Winnipeg. The announcement was supposed to be made tonight prior to Winnipeg's seventh pick in the draft, but word leaked early thanks to winger Evander Kane and TSN's Darren Dreger.

There was a tremendous outpouring for the return of the Jets nickname when it was announced professional hockey was returning to the 'Peg. What is not known at this point is of the team logo and jersey will be the same, but it probably won't. Expect an updated version of the old red, white and blue logo, or maybe even a new logo and color scheme altogether.

Some of the other names thrown around included Falcons, Ice Bears and Moose, the name of Winnipeg's IHL team that's being replaced.

All in all, it's the right move for the franchise. There was probably some hesitation to go back to the Jets, instead trying to brand the franchise with a new identity. But there's something to be said for nostalgia. There are people who loved the Jets and their logo. There would be a lot of NHL fans happy to see the Jets playing the Hartford Whalers or Quebec Nordiques again.

So for those keeping score at home, the history of the Atlanta Thrashers currently resides with the Winnipeg Jets and the history of the Winnipeg Jets currently resides with the Phoenix Coyotes.

No word on how long it will take until the new logo is designed.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

Category: NHL
Posted on: June 24, 2011 10:39 am
 

Daily Skate: Winnipeg name today? Flyers not done

PEGGING A NAME: True North CEO Jim Ludlow told the Winnipeg Sun that a name for the team has to be announced very soon. Then Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted early Friday that Winnipeg was expected to release the name just before making the seventh pick in tonight's NHL Draft. Now clearly the overwhelming crowd favorite has been to bring back the name and logo of the Jets. Other names that have been floated around include the Falcons, Moose, Ice Bears and my personal favorite from the Twittersphere, the Phoenix. The question is which name would be best?

TAKING OFF: Philadelphia still has a lot to come after Thursday's flurry. Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News says the Flyers would love to move even higher in tonight's draft (they're at No. 8 after trading Jeff Carter to Columbus) as they covet Swedish winger Gabriel Landeskog. Now he figures to go No. 2 or No. 3 overall, so Philly would have to make a move to get him. One potential could be a deal with Dale Tallon and Florida at No. 3, who have been in talks about moving up as well as down. Yesterday there was a lot of smoke building about reuniting Kris Versteeg and Tallon via trade, and Seravalli says it makes a lot of sense, especially when you swap the team's first picks. If the Flyers don't go that route ... or even if they do ... they might take a serious shot at pulling Steven Stamkos from Tampa Bay if a new deal isn't signed by July 1. Far-fetched, but a possibility.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN: When the Flyers made their two trades yesterday, it didn't really enter GM Paul Holmgren's mind that he was shipping the team captain out of town. But one of myriad questions now for Philly is who wears the C next? CSN Philly says all signs point to Chris Pronger, who is no stranger to being captain, a position he held while playing in Anaheim and St. Louis. But Danny Briere (Buffalo) and Kimmo Timonen (Nashville) have also been captains at one point in the NHL and Timonen currently wears an A on his sweater.

SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN: For the first time in the franchise's history, the Ottawa Senators begin the process of rebuilding tonight. Since building up from an expansion franchise, the team hasn't been in a situation quite like this and the Sens have an arsenal of draft picks at their disposal, having 12 spread out over the seven rounds. That means there is little to no way the Senators don't leave the draft a) having stockpiled their organization with prospects or b) having made a tremendous impact on their roster and the draft by making some moves. Either way, silversevensens makes the argument this is the most important draft in Ottawa's history.

SOCAL HAS HART: In true Southern California style, Corey Perry took his two new trophies -- those would be the Hart and Rocket Richard -- to the Santa Monica pier for a photo op. Jeff Miller of the OC Register relayed a great story from the scenes where a little boy asked if they were celebrating a championship. When he was told no, that Perry was the MVP, the boy responded, "So he's like Kobe Bryant?" Kind of, kid, especially with that killer instinct he showed in the clutch this season.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

Posted on: June 23, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Noel to take over coaching duties in Winnipeg



The new NHL franchise in Winnipeg still doesn’t have a name, but it now has a coach.

Claude Noel has been tapped to take over the team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers, The Winnipeg Free Press and other outlets reported Thursday afternoon.

Noel most recently coached this past seaosn with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, which played at MTS Center. The building will also be home to the city’s new NHL team. He went 43-30 in his lone season with the Moose, who fell in the second round of the playoffs.

Noel, whose NHL career as a player spanned seven games, coached 24 games in the NHL after he took over for Ken Hitchcock, who was fired by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2009-10 season.

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images 
Posted on: June 21, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 5:44 pm
 

NHL approves sale, relocation of Thrashers

Winnipeg cleared the final hurdle to reclaim an NHL franchise on Tuesday as the NHL's board of governors approved the sale and relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers.

North Sports & Entertainment was the only serious bidder for the Thrashers, who had been on the block for a couple years. After the ownership group sold 13,000 season seats in a matter of a few days, the approval by the NHL at a meeting in New York appeared to be just a formality.

“We deeply regret that Atlanta’s ownership was unable to secure local partners after exhausting every option and alternative,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “At the same time, we are delighted that NHL hockey is returning to Winnipeg and to a fan-base that already is showing so much support for its team. We congratulate Mark Chipman, David Thomson and True North on their patience, their preparation and their professionalism, and we look forward to the start of a new era for the franchise.”

As The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore reports, the meeting took place not far from where Atlanta --- which had lost already lost the Flames to Calgary --- was awarded the expension franchise a dozen years ago. 

The official end of the Thrashers came in a hotel conference room at the Westin at Times Square – almost 1,000 miles from the city where the team spent 11 seasons. The vote of the league’s governing body came four days shy of the 14th anniversary of a similar meeting in New York, just 12 blocks away, when Atlanta was awarded an expansion franchise. Atlanta was a shoe-in for one of four new teams, along with Columbus, Minnesota and Nashville, because its bid included solid ownership in Turner Broadcasting/Time Warner, the nation’s largest television market without an NHL team and a new arena. The Atlanta Spirit began looking to sell the Thrashers soon after buying the franchise, part of a purchase from Turner that included the NBA’s Hawks and the operating rights to Philips Arena. Reported losses of $130 million over six years, dwindling attendance and the failure to make the playoffs in 10 of its 11 seasons were major issues. As the search for an owner willing to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta failed, the Atlanta Spirit opened negotiations with True North. The deal was completed in less than a month after the NHL approved the start of talks.

“It’s pretty emotional,” Thrashers president Don Waddell said. “You know it’s coming and you try to prepare for it but this is the final straw that broke the camel’s back. We have to find the positives and move forward but it’s difficult.”

Winnipeg will play in the Southeast Division ---  along with Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay and Washington -- next season. The NHL will undergo realignment before the 2012-13 season.

The Winnipeg franchise next must pick a team name and tap a new coach.

The NHL holds the rights to the Jets --- which adorned Winnipeg’s previous NHL franchise before it moved to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996 --- and there’s been a major push in Manitoba to bring back that name back. new Winnipeg GM Kevin Chevelday is currently in the process of hiring a new coach since Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay will not be retained.

-- A.J. Perez

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter

Posted on: June 20, 2011 9:26 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 10:00 pm
 

Ramsay, MacTavish out of Winnipeg coach search?

You can officially call the Winnipeg coaching position open.

On Monday, the yet-to-be-named Winnipeg team informed now ex-Thrashers coach Craig Ramsey as well as Craig MacTavish, thought my many to be the favorite for the job, that they have been eliminated from the coaching search, according to Darren Dreger of TSN. That leaves Mike Haviland and Claude Noel as the two finalists.

Ramsay had been in a bit of a limbo since the team relocated north of the border as he was never told he would be retained in his position, but instead would be given an opportunity to interview with the job like the rest of the candidates. His chances seemed long from that point on. In the end he joins a long list of former employees in Atlanta that were not brought back with the organization.

Ramsay's track record as a head coach is certainly an odd one. He coached his former team Buffalo for 21 games at the end of 1987, was fired after 28 games in Philly in 2000-2001 then was let go after one full season by the Thrashers/Winnipeg.

MacTavish has been out of hockey since he was let go by the Oilers after the 2008-09 season. He coached in Edmonton for eight seasons that included a loss in the Stanley Cup Finals to Carolina in 2005-06. Since then he has served as an analyst for TSN in Canada. As a player, he's remembered as the last to play without a helmet.

Haviland is one of the hotter names on the coaching market, currently serving as an assistant under Joel Quenneville in Chicago. As a head man for the Norfolk Admirals, he earned AHL Coach of the Year honors. Don't forget former Blackhawks executive VP Kevin Cheveldayoff was recently hired as GM of the organization, so there's a connection in the works.

As for Noel, his only head coaching experience in the NHL was 24 games with the Blue Jackets in 2009-10. After that he took over for the Manitoba Moose, who are now being replaced more or less by the new NHL team in Winnipeg, so the owners are more than familiar with Noel's work.

-- Brian Stubits

Category: NHL
Posted on: June 11, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Report: No Heritage Classic in 2011-12 season

Sorry to the Canadians out there, but according to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun there will be no Heritage Classic next season.

With the introduction of the Winter Classic in recent seasons, the NHL had returned the Heritage Classic to give the Canadian teams a shot at playing outdoors themselves. The first of the outdoor-game fad was played in 2003 when Edmonton hosted Montreal. That game helped spawn what has become the biggest regular-season game in the NHL today, the Winter Classic held on New Year's Day.

This past season the Heritage was revived with Calgary welcoming Montreal to McMahon Stadium.

It's Hockey Night in Canada on aesthetic steroids. The outdoor games have provided an intriguing viewpoint to games and have made for good television. Since Canadian teams won't be picked for the Winter Classic, which the NHL markets to an American audience, the Heritage is designed to have two Canadian teams.

With the return of Winnipeg to the league this year, it would have been great to see the still-unnamed team play outdoors in Canad Inns Stadium.

While there will be no Heritage Classic this upcoming season, it could make a return in the 2012-13 season. I'm all for it as I've found the outdoor games have been a treat to watch, both the U.S. and Canadian editions.

-- Brian Stubits

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com