Tag:Adam Gretz
Posted on: August 19, 2011 9:22 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 9:29 pm
 

Brian Burke talks shootout, overtime

burkesoBy: Adam Gretz

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke appeared on the Brady and Lang morning show on Fan 590 Radio in Toronto Friday morning and spent some time talking about the recent Research, Development and Orientation camp. The discussion eventually shifted toward the shootout and overtime, a topic of great debate among hockey fans.

When asked how the NHL should decide tie games during the regular season Burke said that, ideally, the two teams would continue to play until somebody scores a goal just like they do in the playoffs, but admitted that is not possible for an 82-game regular season. And he's right. Some of those playoff games end up going an two additional 20-minute periods, and that's just not going to happen over the course of a seven month regular season.

Regarding the shootout itself, Burke expressed his overall dislike for it before saying that he did vote for it and will continue to vote for it.

Said Burke, "I loathe the shootout. I hate it. I detest it. I despise it. I don't know if I can be any clearer, but our fans don't. Our fans like it, and it is a way to resolve games that shouldn't end in a tie all the time, and it's exciting. So I voted for it and I will continue to vote for it."

Whether or not all fans like it is up for debate. Purists and tradionalists that don't want to see any changes to the game likely share Burke's overall feelings toward the shootout, and probably wouldn't be as willing as he has been to vote for it to remain in the NHL. But while fans may complain about it, Burke did accurately point out that, for as polarizing as it may be among fans, you don't see any of them leaving games before shootouts take place (and of course you won't, because that's where the game is ultimately going to be decided). Look at it another way: It's probably the one of the few times other than a goal or a fight that fans, as a whole, come to their feet during a hockey game. For whatever that's worth.

One of the ideas that's been kicked around to help reduce the number of shootouts, while still making sure games don't end in ties, is an idea presented by Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland that would involve four minutes of four-on-four hockey, followed by three minutes of three-on-three hockey.

Burke likes that proposal, but also pointed out that extending the overtime period can be problematic due to the additional wear and tear players would go through having to play a potential seven-minute overtime period a number of times over the course of the season.

"Longer overtime is not an option unless the union agrees to it," said Burke.

He added that he would vote for such a proposal -- and feels most people in the league would as well -- and would also vote for anything that reduces the number of shootouts.

Even though he will also continue to vote for the shootout.

You can listen to his entire appearence on the show at Fan 590.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Debating which 80s dynasty returns first

80sDynasty

By: Adam Gretz and Brian Stubits

Even though they've struggled in recent years, the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders were the two most dominant teams in the NHL during the 1980s. Adam Gretz and Brian Stubits debate which one of these franchises with promising young talent returns to glory first.

Adam Gretz: The Edmonton Oilers and the New York Islanders were the two most dominant teams of the 1980s. How dominant? Between 1980 and 1990 they combined to win nine of the 11 Stanley Cups, with Edmonton winning five (and owning the last half of the decade) and the Islanders winning four (and owning the first half of the decade). Recently the two teams have fallen on some tougher times. Both teams are looking for new buildings, and postseason success has been few and far between, as have actual trips to the postseason. The Islanders haven't won a playoff series since 1993 with only four playoff appearances since then, while Edmonton, outside of its Stanley Cup Final trip in 2005-06, hasn't advanced past the first round since 1998.

I don't think, at this point, either one of these teams are a playoff team right now, but which one do you think returns to glory first? Or is closest?

Brian Stubits: I'm not convinced the Islanders aren't a playoff team this year. They will be in contention to the end is my guess at this point. I am really liking the nucleus they are putting together. As for Edmonton, I don't see a team that's ready to battle for the playoffs yet. In their rebuilding phases, I think the Isles are ahead of the Oilers, as you would expect considering they had a slight head start in the bad seasons department.

Gretz: I think the Islanders might be closer (or more likely) to simply earning a playoff spot this season because the Eastern Conference is probably a bit easier for them to potentially sneak in than the Western Conference is for Edmonton. But I still like Edmonton's group of forwards and think, at this point, they have a bit more upside, especially with back-to-back No. 1 overall picks in Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Hall looks like he's on his way to being a player, and assuming Nugent-Hopkins becomes the player he's expected to become, that's quite a core. Add in players Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and, heck, even an older (relatively speaking, as he's still only 28) player like Ales Hemsky who is close to a point-per-game player when he's healthy (and that always seems to be the key for him) and that's an impressive group. You win with impact players, and Edmonton has quite a few impact players up front.

Stubits: We think they have impact players. Hall and Nugent-Hopkins have a long way to go to get to that level. I agree, it looks like the Oilers are future impact players, but there are no guarantees of that, especially seeing as though Nugent-Hopkins hasn't skated in an NHL game yet. Don't forget the Islanders have been drafting high, including getting the No. 1 spot themselves in recent years. John Tavares is showing he too has a bright future ahead of him, leading the team in points last season with 67. The Isles had six players total more than any Oiler, who were led by Jordan Eberle at 43 points. But New York has a trio of 30-goal scorers now (well, 29-plus) in Tavares (29 last season), Michael Grabner (34 goals) and Matt Moulson (31). Plus, the organization feels like they drafted a winner in Ryan Strome earlier this summer. I know you remember his skills, Adam, considering this post you put up. There is impact on the island, too.

Gretz: Yes, potential impact, that's obviously what I meant. I mean, a lot of this is talking about upside and projection because both teams are dealing with potential and question marks. The one thing I will say is both teams seem to have some concerns on the back end with their defense and goaltending. The Islanders are locked into Rick DiPietro for what seems like forever, while the Oilers have Nikolai Khabibulin and a bunch of question marks behind him. Devan Dubynk was a first-round pick back in 2004, and had a solid sophomore campaign last season, but no matter which guy is between the pipes, the defense in front of them is going to struggle this year. It needs a serious upgrade.

Again, I don't expect the Oilers to be a playoff team this season (in fact, they'll probably be near the bottom of the conference again, which could lead to another potential impact player in the 2012 draft, which will only help the future -- and yes, eventually you want to stop picking at the top of the draft), but that's not really what I'm looking for here: I'm looking at which team becomes a true contender for the Stanley Cup, not just simply making the playoffs, and I just think their core group of forwards offers a bit more potential and upside and the ability to help turn a franchise around than the Islanders core.

Stubits: I think you might be underrating the Islanders' organizational depth. In July, puckprospectus.com proclaimed the Islanders the second best in talent in the system, highlighting Kiril Kabonov and Matt Donovan in addition to recent draft picks Strome and Scott Mayfield. I understand the concerns in net, but this is a team that has one luxury: it has three goaltenders on the payroll that there's a decent chance one of them can be good enough to play behind an improving and maturing defense.

The team's biggest obstacle right now isn't cultivating talent, it's being appealing to free agents. A team can usually build the core of it's franchise through the draft, but it's the final free-agent and trade pieces that put a team over the top. Until the Isles get their arena situation squared away, that won't happen. Nobody wants to make a commitment to an organization that they don't know its whereabouts in four years. The sooner they can resolve this issue, the better, because I believe they have a very nice foundation at this point to win. As already stated, I think the Islanders will be a borderline playoff team this year, and by following logic they grow from there. It's a very young roster. That's why I like them to get back to that elite level first, they should continue to grow together and I think there are some very talented prospects in there.

Gretz: Yes, the Islanders certainly have a strong group, and you may be right that I'm underrating what they have, but I guess at the end of the day, for me, it simply comes down to thinking the Oilers players (particularly Hall and Nugent-Hopkins as top overall picks) have a bit more upside, and we've seen with other teams how much of an impact two young players like that can make. Granted, they need the complementary players around them and an upgrade on defense, but I still really like what Edmonton is building up front and the potential they have. Maybe not this year, but soon.

Stubits: Not that I have any reason to whatsoever, but I feel like Garth Snow has built himself a solid enough core. It's shocking to type that. I guess we'll find out in a couple of years.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey, @agretz and @brianstubitsNHL on Twitter.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 5:42 pm
 

NHL '12 legends are complete

By: Adam Gretz

EA Sports unveiled the final two players for the NHL '12 legends feature on Thursday, and they are former Penguins center Mario Lemieux and Detroit Red Wings great Gordie Howe.

With these two names finally announced we now know the nine players that will be included: Lemieux, Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Chris Chelios, Ray Bourque, Jeremy Roenick, Borje Salming, Patrick Roy and Steve Yzerman. Almost all of the names are relatively recent, and it's hard to really believe something is celebrating the NHL's "legends" when it doesn't include a player like Bobby Orr, for example.

The only two players that appeared in the NHL before 1979 are Salming (he played for the Maple Leafs starting in 1973) and Howe (he made his NHL debut in 1946). Everybody else started their careers within the past 30 years. Still, it's an interesting part of the game that will allow users to add these players to any team.

You can check out the trailer featuring Lemieux and Howe at the EA Sports website.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 12:34 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Islanders party will feature different game

IslandersGame

By: Adam Gretz

The New York Islanders were in the news last week because of a viewing party that was going to take place during a rebroadcast of their brawl-filled game with the Pittsburgh Penguins -- a game the Islanders dominated 9-3 -- back in February. The game also included several fights and a number of ejections, and resulted in three suspensions (two for the Islanders, one for the Penguins) and a $100,000 fine for the Islanders organization.

Islanders fans, for the most part, seemed to love the idea, while Penguins fans and others around the league weren't quite behind it. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Kevin Allen of USA Today that the league "did not approve of the use," while they were also looking into the promotion of it.

It seems as if the league ended up convincing the Islanders and the MSG Network to feature a different game.

On Thursday, the Islanders sent out a new invite to their fans for the viewing party, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, announcing that instead of watching the Feb. 11 brawl, they will instead be watching a rebroadcast of their 7-6 overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 13. That game featured a hat trick from Michael Grabner, including the overtime winner.

Here's the updated invite from the Islanders:
Join us for a replay of the high-scoring OT win from February 13th vs the Buffalo Sabres.

Michael Grabner stealing the spotlight netting two goals in regulation and then adding a third (his first #GrabTrick for the Isles) in OT is worth celebrating again.

On Friday August 19th, MSG Plus will re-air the game and we want the fans to join us for a viewing party at Champions.

Same awesome deal as usual, raffles, prizes and more.

All raffles benefit the Islanders Children's Foundation.

RSVP now and remember to get there early and get a table with your friends.

Stay tuned to #Isles and #IslesMeetup for all the latest and for more information.
Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Evander Kane sticks with No. 9

Kane9By: Adam Gretz

Finally, the debate as to which number Evander Kane will wear this season in Winnipeg is over.

Kane, the Jets 20-year-old forward, will continue to wear the No. 9 he's been wearing for his entire career after former Winnipeg great Bobby Hull -- who had previously worn the number with the original Jets franchise -- gave him the permission he was looking for. It's been a hot topic of discussion for much of the offseason and was made complicated because the current Jets franchise (which has its roots in Atlanta as the Thrashers) has no connection to the previous Jets franchise (the one that currently plays in Phoenix) that retired Hull's No. 9.

Still, Kane wanted to get permission from the Hockey Hall of Famer before he continued to wear the number, and according to the Winnipeg Free Press, that persmission finally came.

Here's what Kane had to say during an interview with Ed Tait of the Free Press:
"It's very cool to be able to wear No. 9," Kane said Wednesday night in a phone interview from Vancouver. "Bobby was an outstanding player who represented the city and it's definitely a real honour to be able to wear that number. You know, I was just checking about what the organization's plans were for No. 9 and then this story seemed to become a lot bigger than I thought it would."

"And I did get the feeling from a lot of people on Twitter and others that many were encouraging me to wear it.

"I'm pretty excited just to see a jersey let alone to pull one on," Kane added with a chuckle. "It's going to be fun for all the guys that first day in the dressing room pulling on that jersey for the first time. That opening night against the Montreal Canadiens (Oct. 9)... it's a little bit away still, but it's hard not to think about it. It's going to be a real special moment in which history will be made. I can't wait."
Tait also adds that Kane had originally offered to switch to No. 91, but that the Jets encouraged him to continue wearing the No. 9.

One of Kane's teammates, forward Bryan Little, had a similar situation regarding his No. 10, which had also been retired by the original Jets franchise after it was worn by Dale Hawerchuk for much of the 1980s during what was a Hall of Fame career. Little ended up switching numbers and will wear No. 18 this season.

I understand why it was such a big deal, but at the end of the day neither one of these guys should have felt any obligation to switch numbers. Or to even get permission, which makes Kane's desire to get Hull's blessing seem like an extremely nice gesture on his part. Because he didn't have to do it. Even though the team has the same name, the franchise history that was created by players like Hull, Hawerchuk and Thomas Steen (his No. 25 was retired by the Jets in 1995) belongs to the Coyotes. There's no connection to this current team or its history.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 9:13 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 10:44 am
 

Daily Skate: Nylander invited to Flyers camp

By: Adam Gretz

NYLANDER GETS AN INVITE: Michael Nylander last played in the NHL during the 2008-09 season, and he's going to have a chance to make a return this season as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers announced on Wednesday that they've given Nylander an invite on a pro tryout contract. He's played 15 seasons in the NHL for seven different teams and scored 209 goals. During his last appearance in '08-09 he scored nine goals in 72 games as a member of the Washington Capitals. Over the past two seasons he's spent time in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rochester Americans, as well as some time in his native Sweden playing for Jokerit.

SMITH WILL GET A CHANCE IN DETROIT: The Detroit Red Wings lost Brian Rafalski to retirement this offseason which is a rather large blow to their defense. Nicklas Lidstrom is returning for another year, and as good as he still is, he's certainly not getting any younger. It's time for some of the young guys to make their presence felt, and one player that's going to get a long look in training camp is Brendan Smith, the teams first-round pick in 2007. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press takes a look at whether or not he'll be ready for the NHL this season.

EHRHOFF IS READY TO HANDLE THE EXPECTATIONS: Who is the highest paid defenseman in the NHL this season? That would be Buffalo Sabres rearguard Christian Ehrhoff, who is set to pull in $10 million this season. That makes him not only the highest paid defenseman, but also one of the highest paid players in the league. With that comes plenty of expectations, and the veteran seems ready for all of it according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.

BOEDKER REPORTEDLY RE-SIGNS IN PHOENIX: The Phoenix Coyotes re-signed Mikkel Boedker on Wednesday night according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. In three seasons the former first-round pick has scored 16 goals and recorded 45 points in 126 games.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 9:09 am
 

More EA Sports legends: Roenick, Roy, Yzerman

NHL12

By: Adam Gretz

Last week EA Sports announced the first three players that will be included in the NHL '12 legends feature, and they were Wayne Gretzky, Ray Bourque and Chris Chelios. On Wednesday a few more names were revealed, including Patrick Roy, who appears to be the only goaltender among the nine legends, Steve Yzerman and, yes, Jeremy Roenick. It also appears that former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Borje Salming will be in the game, even though his name hasn't officially been announced (he appeared in a video featuring Yzerman).

The announcement of Roenick comes just one day after he showed up in a video reenacting the classic Swingers scene that included his dominating appearance in earlier versions of the EA Sports hockey games. I suggested Roenick last week not knowing he was actually going to be included (and yes, I am happy he's included).

The selection of Roy is probably expected, and it's not really a shock to see Yzerman included as well (the trailer even shows him a Tampa Bay Lightning uniform skating next to Steven Stamkos). The surprising name appears to be Salming. He was an excellent player for the Maple Leafs in the 1970s and 80s, and was probably one of the first European players to become a star in the NHL. He's a Hockey Hall of Famer (class of 1996) and had four straight seasons with at least 71 points between 1976 and 1980, so it's not like he wasn't an important player, or an outstanding one. But it's still a surprising addition. Heck, if you told me a former Maple Leafs player from Sweden was going to be in the game, Salming wouldn't have been my first guess (that would have been Mats Sundin).

Check out the trailer featuring Roenick and Roy over at EA Sports. There are still two more legends to be named.

Photo: EA Sports

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 4:06 pm
 

Matt Bradley calls out Alexander Semin

SeminBy: Adam Gretz

Matt Bradley, one of the Florida Panthers many offseason additions, appeared on TEAM 1200 radio in Ottawa this week and spent some time talking about his former team -- the Washington Capitals -- and what went wrong in the playoffs last season, particuarly why they were swept in the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 33-year-old Bradley said there were a few players that didn't show up in the playoffs, and that the locker room may have been a bit too nonchalant and undisciplined. He also added that some of the players that weren't playing well were getting the majority of the ice time.

His strongest words went in the direction of the supremely talented Alexander Semin, basically saying that he doesn't care to be one of the best players in the world (which he certainly has the talent to be).

Said Bradley, “I don’t mind saying Alexander Semin’s name because he’s one guy who has so much talent, he could easily be the best player in the league, and for whatever reason just doesn’t care. When you’ve got a guy like that you need him to be your best player, or one of your best players, and when he dosen’t show up, you almost get the sense that he wants to be back in Russia. That’s tough to win when you’ve got a guy like that who’s supposed to be your best player not being your best player. Or one of your best players."

After scoring 28 goals in 65 regular season games for the Capitals last season, Semin scored three goals in the Capitals five-game series with the New York Rangers in the opening round, before being limited to just one goal and an assist in the four-game series with Tampa Bay. He had just two assists for the Capitals during the first-round exit in 2009-10, but was also a point-per-game player in the playoffs during his first two postseason appearances in 2008 and 2009.

But the focal point of Bradley's comments were last season, where he was also asked if coach Bruce Boudreau maybe stuck with some of his star players a bit too long.

"There were a lot of guys who played well that didn’t probably play as much as they needed to," said Bradley. "But I love Bruce and Bruce is a great coach. He was in a very tough position there because in Washington our top guys are definitely the Stars and the guys that people want to see on the ice, so I totally understand. That just doesn’t happen on our team, it happens on a lot of teams. When you’re paying your top guys a lot of money and those guys carry you through the whole season, and if one of them isn’t going, it’s very hard not to play them. And I understand that’s tough. But I think in the end if you want to win, sometimes you have to sit some of those guys down and maybe send a message and try to get them going."

It wasn't all bad, however, as Bradley said he never worries about Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and insisted that he's "all in" as far as winning. He did add that Ovechkin may need to grow up a little in terms of taking care of himself (perhaps he was referring to this?), but that he also simply wants to win hockey games.

You can listen to the interview in its entirety by clicking here.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com