Tag:Adam Gretz
Posted on: August 14, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 9:06 am

Daily Skate: Leighton odd man out for Flyers?

By: Adam Gretz

LEIGHTON THE ODD MAN OUT? Two years ago Michael Leighton was the unlikely goaltender that played between the pipes as the Flyers went to the Stanley Cup Finals, falling just two games short of winning their first title since 1976. Today he's potentially the odd man out in Philadelphia's goaltending situation with the presence of youngster Sergei Bobrovsky as well as this summer's high-profile acquisition of former Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post takes a look at the Flyers goaltending situation on Sunday.

CANADA WINS IVAN HLINKA TOURNAMENT: Canada's Under-18 team captured its fourth straight gold at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament on Saturday by defeating Sweden, 4-1. Coach Steve Spott accused the Swedish team of filming their practices and said that Sweden acted like it had already won the Gold Medal after beating Canada earlier in the tournament.

ZYUZIN MAKING A RETURN? Genadi Boguslavski of Sovetsky Sport reports that defenseman Andrei Zyuzin is close to making a return to the NHL after spending the past three years in Russia. He last played in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2007-08 season, and in 496 career games with Chicago, Minnesota, Calgary, New Jersey and Tampa Bay the defenseman scored 38 goals.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 1:54 pm

Scott Hannan signs with Flames

By: Adam Gretz

Veteran defenseman Scott Hannan has finally found a team after nearly a month-and-a-half on the free agent market, signing a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

The deal is worth $1 million, and helps add some physicallity to the Flames blue line that lost Robyn Regehr earlier this summer in a trade with Buffalo, and is currently made up of Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, Chris Butler and Anton Babchuk.

In 78 games last season with the Avalanche and Capitals, when he made $4.5 million, he finished with a goal and 10 assists. He was acquired by the Capitals mid-season to help solidify their blue line for a playoff run.

In a statement released by the team Hannan said he wanted to find a team that was committed to winning and could go deep into the playoffs, while general manager Jay Feaster was pleased to get him for such a reasonable salary cap number. Said Feaster, "He has demonstrated his commitment to our organization and his desire to be a part of our team by agreeing to a contract that enables us to fit him under the salary cap. We are very pleased to add him to the Flames family, and we look forward to his contributions to our success both on and off the ice."

Hannan, 32, isn't quite the player he was a few years ago with San Jose and Colorado when he regurlaly logged between 22 and 24 minutes per game, but he's still a steady player defensively and should be some solid depth for a Flames team that's trying to return to the postseason for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Along with missing the postseason two years in a row, missing last season by just a single point in the tight Western Conference, the Flames haven't advanced beyond the first round since they lost the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2003-04.

In 830 career games Hannan has scored 31 goals to go with 154 assists.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:17 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2011 4:33 pm

Islanders to hold viewing party to rewatch brawl

IslandersBrawlBy: Adam Gretz

One of the highlights of the 2010-11 New York Islanders season was a 9-3 dismantling of the Pittsburgh Penguins in mid-February. The good news was the Islanders blew out a division rival, scored nine goals and sent a message to a team that had embarrassed them during the previous meeting (that was the game Penguins Brent Johnson fought, and injured, Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro).

The bad news is that game was also the one that featured a series of ugly moments (including Trevor Gillies elbow on Eric Tangradi and Gillies yelling at him from the tunnel, Matt Martin's sucker punch on Max Talbot, Penguins enforcer Eric Godard leaving the bench to join a fight, Michael Haley and Johnson fighting), and saw the two teams combine for 342 penalty minutes and many ejections.

In the aftermath the NHL issued a number of suspensions, including nine games for Gillies and 10 games for Godard (which was automatic for leaving the bench to join a fight), while the Islanders organization was also fined $100,000 by the NHL. The Penguins, meanwhile, were furious that the NHL didn't do enough.

It was madness.

Why is this news again now in the middle of August? Because the Islanders organization has announced plans to hold a viewing party to watch a replay of the game on August 19.

Here's the invite from the Islanders official website:
The night of February 11, 2011 was memorable for Isles fans. Whether you were in the stands at the Coliseum or watching on TV, you were on your feet through all the ruckus cheering for the Islanders to beat the Penguins. 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. RSVP now and remember to there early and get a table with your friends. Stay tuned to #Isles and #IslesMeetup for all the latest and for more information.
It was certainly a memorable game, but mostly for the wrong reasons. The party has already sparked some controversy from Penguins fans and impartial observers. Right or wrong, fighting is a part of the hockey culture, and is often times celebrated (heck, think of the events during a hockey game that bring fans out of their seats: goals and fights), and yes, I myself do enjoy watching two heavyweights drop the gloves to a mutually agreed upon bout.

But should the Islanders -- or any team -- be celebrating an event that the NHL deemed bad enough to suspend two of their players for a combined 13 games and fine the organization six figures? Even though times have been rough in recent years for the Islanders franchise, they do have some players in their young core that are worth being excited about. This just seems a bit odd coming from an organization that used to celebrate Stanley Cups.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 9:17 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 12:56 pm

Daily Skate: Khabibulin to start house arrest

By: Adam Gretz

KHABIBULIN TO START HOUSE ARREST Edmonton Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who has been serviving a jail sentence from last February's DUI arrest in Arizona, is scheduled to start serving the house arrest portion of his sentence on Sunday according to Dan Tencer of CHED 630 AM on Twitter. Khabibulin's agent says he's handled the situation "fine" and is looking forward to camp.

HARTNELL LOOKING TO BE MORE OF A LEADER The Philadelphia Flyers re-tooled their lineup this summer, and with absence of veterans and top-scorers Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Ville Leino, veteran forward Scott Hartnell is looking to be more of a leader for the young roster and all of its new players.

Free agent defenseman Lee Sweat signed a two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators this offseason, and on Friday surprisingly announced his retirement from hockey before the start of training camp. According to his agent he's looking to pursue outside business interests. The 25-year-old defenseman appeared in three games with the Vancouver Canucks last season and scored one goal to go with one assist, and scored five goals in 41 games with the Manitoba Moose at the AHL level.

GRETZKY SERVES AS AGENT The Chicago Cubs finalized a contract with Trevor Gretzky on Friday, their seventh round draft pick from this year and the son of NHL legend Wayne Gretzy. The interesting part of the story here, because the signing had been reported as likely to happen several weeks ago, is that Gretzky (Wayne) served as the agent for his son and negotiated the contract that will pay a signing bonus of $375,000.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 12, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 9:41 am

Gretzky, Bourque, Chelios to appear in NHL '12

BourqueBy: Adam Gretz

If you're a gamer and patiently waiting to pick up a copy of EA Sports NHL '12 when it hits the shelves in September, you're going to have an opportunity to use some of the NHL's greatest all-time players in this year's version of the game.

On Friday EA Sports announced the first three legends that will appear in the game: Wayne Gretzky, Boston Bruins great Ray Bourque, and Chris Chelios sporting his Chicago Blackhawks gear (he also spent many years -- and won Stanley Cups -- with the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings).

They still need to announce the remaining six legends, and based on the images they've released (blank silhouettes) there is at least one goaltender in the group, and Patrick Roy seems like he would be a solid bet.

Personally, and if EA Sports had a sense of humor about this, I would love to see Jeremy Roenick make the cut, simply because his spot in the '94 version of the game is regarded as one of the best video game players ever (yes, people track these things). It was also part of an iconic moment in 1990's popular culture in the film Swingers (adult language in this clip). Unlikely? Sure. But I can still have my sentimental dreams.

Of course, narrowing it down to just nine players (the three we already know of plus the six yet-to-be-announced) is a difficult task that will never please everybody.

You can check out a quick trailer that helps us get an idea as to what the legends will look like in action over at the EA Sports website.

Photo: EA Sports

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

Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 5:27 pm

When hockey players and food commercials meet

By: Adam Gretz

The fine folks at Sports and Food recently looked at some of the most iconic athlete food and drink commercials, including the classic McDonalds spot where Larry Bird and Michael Jordan shoot hoops for a Big Mac. When athletes appear in advertisements it's not usually pretty, and a lot of the entertainment seemingly comes from the on-camera awkardness. Still, their list needs some hockey, and because it's the dog days of the offseason, here's another look at two our favorite spots featuring hockey players.

McDonalds has re-made it's Jordan-Bird advertisement multiple times, including a hockey version with Wayne Gretzy and Mats Sundin which is featured in the video on the left.

The video on the right -- which is by far my favorite -- involves former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall selling Canada Dry Ginger Ale in what is perhaps the creepiest athlete endorsement ever.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 8:45 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 4:23 pm

Kostitsyn not happy with Jacques Martin

KostitsynBy: Adam Gretz

Andrei Kostitsyn has never been a model of consistency in the NHL, but he did manage to score 20 goals in 81 games for the Montreal Canadiens last season, good enough for the third best total on the club, trailing only Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec. Not a great season, but definitely not a poor one as a 20-goal effort in the NHL is nothing to look down on.

Still, the 25-year-old Kostitsyn appears to be unhappy with his head coach, Jacques Martin, and recently sounded off on his role with the team that drafted him in the first-round (10th overall) back in 2003.

In an interview with Goals By, a publication out of Belarus, Kostitsyn said his relationship with Martin is "not too good," and added "It wasn't me who started to play badly, it's just that I was being put into (the) third and fourth line. I've tried talking to (Jacques Martin) more than once. But he doesn't care."

Of course, Kostitsyn spent a great deal of time this past season playing on Montreal's top lines, skating alongside Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec, as well as Brian Gionta. All three of those guys were among Montreal's top-scorers and offensive threats last season, and not exactly chopped liver when it comes to talented linemates. Granted, he did see time with bottom-six players like Travis Moen and Lars Eller, but the majority of his time was spent with top-line talent and with top-line even strength minutes.

Kostitsyn's younger brother, Sergei, was also a member of the Canadiens organization for a number of years, and also had his share of problems with Martin. He was ultimately traded to Nashville last offseason where he went on to to lead the Predators with 23 goals in 2010-11, his best season to date in the NHL.

It should be interesting to see how the Canadiens organization decides to deal with the oldest Kostitsyn brothers given his apparent problems with the teams coach.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 6:25 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 8:38 pm

Nikita Filatov as a top-6 forward in Ottawa

FilatovBy: Adam Gretz

When the Ottawa Senators traded for Nikita Filatov earlier this summer it was a nice gamble by an offensively starved team. They were buying low on a gifted young player that's yet to find his role in the NHL. For a rebuilding team, that's not really a surprising move. Actually, it's the type of move a rebuilding team should always be looking to make.

What did turn out to be a surprise was the word from Dmitry Chesnokov on Wednesday that Filatov claims he was promised (that's the key word) top-six ice-time, as well as power play time, for the Senators this upcoming season by general manager Bryan Murray. Assuming that's how it went down between Filatov and Murray, that seems, on the surface anyway, to be a bit extreme for a player that has managed to score just six goals In 44 career games, and hasn't put one in the net at the NHL level since Nov. 7, 2009.

Four of his six career goals came during his eight-game debut during the 2008-09 season, with only two coming over the following 36 games. Over the past three years he's also spent time in Russia and the AHL, where he scored nine goals in 36 games with the Springfield Falcons this past season.

Once you dig a little deeper, I don't think it's as crazy as it initially sounds for two reasons.

First, Filatov is probably one of the last players you want skating on your third or fourth lines, whether you're a rebuilding team or a stanley cup contender, because he's simply not that type of player, defensively or physically. If he's going to play in the NHL and become a useful player, it's going to be as a first or second line player.

The other reason: the Senators should be absolutely desperate for anything that resembles offense or the potential to create offense. While Filatov hasn't exactly shown he can be a consistent scoring threat at the highest level of competition, he at least possesses the type of skill and talent that could eventually lead to him becoming that sort of player. The type of player he was supposed to become after the Columbus Blue Jackets selected him with the 6th overall pick in 2008.

The Senators were 29th in the NHL in goals scored last season with just 192, finishing ahead of only the New Jersey Devils. Only one player on the roster, Jason Spezza, managed to score more than 20 goals, while Milan Michalek was the only other player to score at least 15. This team needs somebody that can score.

The return of a healthy Daniel Alfredsson should help (he appeared in just 54 games last season due to a back injury) but there's not much else coming in as far as potential difference-makers. Filatov may be a huge disappointment to this point in his career, but he's still only 21 years old and doesn't turn 22 until May, and at least has the potential to make some sort of an impact.  For a team like the Senators it's definitely a gamble worth taking.

They're probably not going to compete for a playoff spot anyway, and if he can find a way to blossom in Ottawa the way he never did in Columbus they get a useful player for almost nothing. And if continues to play like the Nikita Filatov that played his way out of Columbus? Well, it only cost you a third-round pick to take the chance, and there's nothing forcing you to keep playing him in the lineup or keep him on the NHL roster.

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