Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 9:05 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The Boston Bruins entered Tuesday's game against the Winnipeg Jets as the hottest team in the NHL, and they hit the ice without the services of their leading scorer, Tyler Seguin, as a result of the 19-year-old forward missing a mandatory team meeting and team breakfast earlier in the day, according to general Peter Chiarelli.
Said Chiarelli, via Joe Haggerty of CSNNE on Twitter, "Seguin missed team breakfast and team meeting this morning, an honest mistake, but we have team rules. He has to abide by them." Chiarelli also added that Seguin "didn't take it well," but understands why the rules are in place.
Entering Tuesday's action Seguin, the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft, was leading the team with 13 goals and 25 points.
Seguin isn't the first player to be benched this season for missing a team meeting, as Washington's Joel Ward was a healthy scratch a couple of weeks ago because he overslept.
Jordan Caron entered the lineup in Seguin's place on Tuesday.
More Bruins News: Right now it's Boston, and then everybody else
Posted on: December 5, 2011 9:31 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 1:50 pm
Look what the Winnipeg Jets started.
Realignment is coming to the NHL, and as was predicted, it's of the "total" variety.
Easy but incomplete ideas were floated (swapping either Detroit, Nashville or Columbus with Winnipeg in the Southeast and calling it a day), but in the end it was the big idea that won out. With Gary Bettman pushing it, you knew it would.
Gone are the days of divisions in hockey. The NHL will return to four conferences starting next season (names undetermined as of yet, but you can bet they will likely be historic). Two of the four divisions will have eight teams, two will have seven. The first two rounds of the playoffs will be played entirely within the conference before re-seeding in the third round, or Final Four, if you will. The NHL hasn't said yet how it plans to re-seed at that point, a decision will come later regarding that part.
It will also bring a schedule where every team will play a home and away with every other team.
Here is the proposal that was passed in a little less than an hour and with a 26-4 vote.
I can hear everybody now. Why didn't they just go the easy route? The short answer: politics. Well that and time zones.
"We had a number of clubs that were unhappy with the current state of affairs," commissioner Bettman said at the news conference to announce the realignment.
The Detroit Red Wings have a lot of clout. As an Original Six team who has done a lot of winning, that comes with the territory. They have long wanted to move to the East and have been very vocal about Bettman promising as such. That's complication No. 1 and it's alleviated. The Red Wings now will only play one game at each Western Canada and California arena.
The same goes for the Blue Jackets, who don't carry the same clout but had the same concerns.
"This is a fantastic night for the Blue Jackets," Blue Jackets president Mike Priest said.
Complication No. 2 was the existence of teams like the Dallas Stars playing their road games two time zones away or in the case of the Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets, playing a lot of road games three time zones away. By this grouping, teams are grouped with much more consideration to time zones. So while the idea of an Eastern Conference and Western Conference are gone, the Red Wings and Jackets get their end goal and will play with teams in the Eastern time zone and Central time zone a lot more.
Complication No. 3? Detroit isn't in the Southeast. But you knew that.
So we end up with this layout. There are honestly a lot more positives than negatives in this. The biggest consideration, time zones, was taken care of. Now the teams out West won't feel as big of a disadvantage as they do now. Despite having more teams in their new conferences, it was an easy sell for for the 15 teams that currently call the Western Conference home.
This really does seem like the best solution to please the most teams. The biggest problems I see? First is for the teams in the two eight-team conferences. They face longer odds than the other half of the league to make the postseason.
The second? The only teams that really seemed to get jobbed by the arrangement are the two teams in Florida, the Panthers and Lightning. Not counting each other, their closest division foes are in Buffalo and Boston.
Of course, one benefit to this new design is that it allows for flexibility in the case of the Phoenix Coyotes moving East. It would be as simple as putting them in a seven-team conference with the other Canadian teams if they were to, say, move to Quebec City.
Posted on: December 4, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 6:43 pm
It's about time we start taking the New York Rangers seriously, wouldn't you say?
The view in the Eastern Conference is that it's the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins followed by every other team. While that's still the case -- I mean, they have combined to win two of the last three Stanley Cups -- there has to be a setting at the table for the Blueshirts, no? (Yes, Flyers fans, Philadelphia too.)
It's amazing to think about a team from New York being overshadowed. Teams all across Major League Baseball wish that were possible in their sport. But this Rangers team is rather quietly just chugging along. The latest steamrolling effort came in Tampa, where Brad Richards returned to one of his favorite places and helped the Rangers take down his and coach John Tortorella's former team, the Lightning, 4-2.
Since losing to the Ottawa Senators 5-4 in a shootout on October 29, the Rangers have gone 12-2-0. They won seven straight games before dropping two on the road and then have since reeled off five wins in a row since being shutout by the Panthers on Nov. 23.
And how about Richards, the big acquisition in the offseason? In the most recent five-game winning streak he has four goals and five assists. Looking at the team's last nine games, Richards has points in seven of them. The only two he didn't get on the score sheet? The two losses.
Don't think he didn't savor a win in his old stomping grounds. From the New York Daily News.
I don't think anybody that's in the organization or is a Rangers fan is too unhappy these days.
The problem in recent seasons in New York certainly hasn't been the goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist has been outstanding in recent seasons and could have been a Vezina Trophy winner at some point if he had a little more offensive help. Let's be honest, team success is helpful in winning individual awards and the lack of offense wasn't helping the team achieve a whole lot of success.
But things are finally clicking. It's no wonder the Rangers have won 12 of their last 14 games. In six of their last seven wins, the Rangers have scored at least four goals.
Marian Gaborik is back to scoring like he did before coming to New York. He has a team-high 12 goals. It would appear he's beginning to thrive again now that there is somebody else -- Richards -- to take a good chunk of the spotlight and expectations off of him, somebody to share those heavy burdens with.
Start spreading the news, the Rangers aren't leaving any time soon.
The other team in New York, the Islanders, have been anemic when it comes to scoring goals. The offense has been horrible all season long. So of course they became the first team this season to have one of its players score four goals in a game.
The Isles needed all four scores from Matt Moulson on Saturday in Dallas, his final tally of the night being the game-winner.
"They [John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau] really gave me some good chances, all I had to do was sweep it into an open net," Moulson said. "The win's the biggest part. Score as many goals as you want, but the win's the most important thing."
The win in over the Stars caps off a very successful four-game road trip for the Isles. They picked up seven of the eight possible points, the only point missing came in Friday's shootout loss to the Blackhawks.
Yes, there is actually a hint of optimism on the Island again after another brutal start.
Good to have Gabby back
Bruce Boudreau's debut as the Anaheim Ducks coach was eerily reminiscent of his debut with the Capitals for years ago. His team was playing the Flyers, built a three-goal lead before losing it and going to overtime. The only difference was the Capitals won that game four years ago while a double minor in overtime cost his Ducks dearly as they lost in overtime.
But Boudreau had plenty of positives to take from the game, most notably the team's effort.
However it's what he said after the game that really caught my eyes and made me grateful Boudreau is already back in coaching. Having familiarity with the Flyers from his time in Washington, Boudreau said he was anticipating what Philly would do.
“I knew exactly what Philly was going to do,” he said. ”I knew the guys that were going to dive and they did. They got away with it. The only one that didn’t get away with it was [Wayne] Simmonds. It looked like he got shot. And he went down until he start peeking and no one was calling it and then he had to get back up.
“[Scott] Hartnell looked like he’d gotten shot by a bazooka. He didn’t miss a shift and then he comes in and scores the tying goal.”
Props for dropping a bazooka reference on us, Bruce. The implication is that the Ducks didn't really deserve all of the penalty minutes they accrued to contribute to the loss.
I'm sure Philly fans will love Boudreau as much as Rangers fans after this.
While the first leg of the Flyers' back-to-back was all about the opposing team and its new coach, the second leg was about one of the Flyers players.
For the first time this season, Ilya Bryzgalov started both ends of a back-to-back, and it's probably no coincidence that it involved playing in his former city, Phoenix (or Glendale, if you'd prefer). They saw the Bryzgalov they came to know and love, too.
The Flyers goalie was sharp enough to allow just two goals and lead his new team over his old team with a 4-2 victory.
"I was walking in the building, and I can't explain what I felt, but it's something," Bryzgalov said about his return. "I played here three-and-a-half years. Winning lots of games, losing lots of games. Part of my soul is left here.
"I was surprised if they were going to boo me because I don't think I deserved it. I think I did lots of good things for this city and for this team and same thing. They did lots of good things for me. I really appreciate everything they've done for me."
He shows his appreciation by beating his old team. Nice (we kid).
This is how you make people believe you're for real.
The Florida Panthers just made a quick cross-country trip for games in Los Angeles and San Jose. While they lost 2-1 to the Kings on Thursday, they outshot and pretty much outplayed the Kings.
On Saturday they went into San Jose and fell down early to the Sharks. The Panthers stormed back in the second period and eventually won the game 5-3. It was the first time this season the Sharks lost a game when scoring the first goal.
As is becoming common again, there were even a few plastic rats on the ice, even in California.
Of course, it was the top line of Kris Versteeg-Stephen Weiss-Tomas Fleischmann doing the damage again after Versteeg missed the Kings game with a bad neck.
Now the Panthers begin their third consecutive week (!) as the Southeast Division leaders by welcoming Tomas Vokoun and the Washington Capitals to Florida on Monday. Still quite stunning.
This is as great of a run as we've seen in hockey in a long time. The Bruins just finished reminding the Toronto Maple Leafs who the boss of the Northeast is. After beating the Leafs earlier in the week in Toronto, the B's took care of the Leafs a second time, this time back in Boston, 4-1.
With the win, the Bruins haven't lost in regulation since Oct. 29. That's an entire month (14 games) of earning points in every game. The only non-two-point game was the shootout loss to the equally hot Detroit Red Wings on Black Friday.
There are a lot of heralded players on the team. One of them, David Krejci, just received a big extension from the club. Another guy that could soon be getting a nice new contract is Chris Kelly, and he'd be on the unheralded side.
But his goal on Saturday, the game-winner, was already his 10th on the season. He came in to Boston as more of what people love to call a "role player." (Resisting urge to rant ...) Now he is only five goals from matching his career high of 15, which he set twice with the Senators, most recently in 2009-10.
We'll have more on the Bruins later this week from Adam Gretz, but this is one helluva run
Quote of the weekend
There were a few candidates this week. We shared them already, lines from Richards, Bryzgalov and Boudreau.
Like a lot of other players this season, Kovalchuk was booed in his visit to the 'Peg. What were his thoughts on the matter?
"They should support me, maybe I'm one of the reasons they moved here." Ouch. Sorry, Atlanta.
Photo: Getty Images
Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Brad Richards, Brian Stubits, Bruce Boudreau, Chicago Blackhawks, Chris Kelly, Dallas Stars, David Krejci, Florida Panthers, Henrik Lundqvist, Ilya Bryzgalov, Ilya Kovalchuk, John Tavares, John Tortorella, Kris Versteeg, Los Angeles Kings, Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, P.A. Parenteau, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Scott Hartnell, Stephen Weiss, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tomas Fleischmann, Toronto Maple Leafs, Wayne Simmonds, Weekend Wrap, Winnipeg Jets
Posted on: December 4, 2011 12:11 pm
In the next few days, we might actually have some serious progression in the realignment talks. The Board of Governors are going to discuss that (among other things) in the next few days in Pebble Beach, Calif. ... assuming they can stay off the links.
Entering the meetings, there appeared to be two principle ideas at play in the realignment talks. The first was the simplest, moving Winnipeg to the West and putting Detroit in the Southeast, a one-way swap and that's it. Simple, clean-cut, but a bit messy when it's done. Teams in the West don't want to lose the Red Wings and they don't exactly seem to fit with the Southeast Division.
That led to a lot of people favoring a more "total realignment" in which the six-division format would be blown up in favor of a four-division look and balanced schedule. Heading into the meetings, this was considered to be the proposal for the four-division look. But the Penguins and Flyers weren'texactly on board with that one.
Now we have another idea floating, according to Elliote Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada. This one is the same concept as the previous four-conference (notice the change in language) look, it just moves the teams separately. Notice how the Flyers and Penguins stay together along with the New York-area, Atlantic Division teams while Washington and Carolina join them. That leaves the five Northeast Division teams to join the two remaining Southeast Division teams in Florida, the Panthers and Lightning.
What's interesting to notice is that, in continuing to view it as an East and a West, the West becomes the bigger "conference." The two divisions with eight teams would be made up by the teams already in the West and Winnipeg, the reason for the card shuffling.
There is only so much you can do with the teams in the East while trying to keep the ones smack dab in the middle, geographically speaking, together. It does seem a bit inconvenient to put the two teams from Florida with the Canadian and Northeast teams. They already travel a lot, this would probably only increase that.
But they might fit a little better than you would originally think. There are large snowbird populations in Florida during the hockey season, and having lived in South Florida for nine years, I can tell you a lot of them hail from Quebec. Try and get tickets the day before a Canadiens-Panthers game at the BankAtlantic Center. You can't (at least through traditional means), the game will be sold out.
So this now begins to look like a slam dunk, right? The Red Wings at least get their home-and-home series with every team in the league, the Stars get into a more time-zone friendly "conference" and the playoffs return to their old divisional format and there is flexibility for a possible move of the Coyotes. All is good, right?
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that while they don't actually have a say in the matter, the NHL Players Association isn't fond of the plan. The reason? This will increase travelling for just about every team. That's one argument.
The other is the unfair nature of two divisions of eight and two divisions of seven. The teams in the seven-division format have greater odds to make the postseason. That's one reason why baseball recently flipped the Houston Astros to the American League West, to even out the odds of postseason play.
But something has to get done. No plan will sit well with every team involved, that's obvious. Remember, they just need to get a 2/3 majority among the BOG to push through a plan.
This one here seems as good as any. You could be looking at the future alignment of the NHL.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 2:57 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Monday turned out to be a bad day to be a head coach in the NHL's Southeast Division. Not long after the Washington Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with Dale Hunter, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they have fired Paul Maurice.
He will be replaced by former NHL player Kirk Muller, who was previously the head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.
This was Maurice's second stint with the Hurricanes franchise, also coaching the team from 1995-96 (when it was still based in Hartford) through the 2003-04 season, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Finals during the 2001-02 campaign where they would ultimately lose to the Detroit Red Wings. Following a two-year stint behind the bench in Toronto, Maurice returned to Carolina during the 2008-09 season and guided the Hurricanes to the Eastern Conference Finals. This was Maurice's 15th season as a head coach in the NHL, having compiled a 460-457-99-68 record (the 99 are ties from his pre-lockout coaching days) and qualifying for the postseason just four times.
Through the first 25 games of this season the Hurricanes have struggled out of the gate, winning just eight games and currently occupying the bottom spot in the division, while the team's best players, Eric Staal and Cam Ward, have been mired in early season slumps.
If nothing else, the division is a nice illustration as to just how short the shelf life is for a head coach in the NHL.
Muller was previously an assistant coach at the NHL level with the Montreal Canadiens, and was in his first year as a head coach in the American Hockey League. The No. 2 overall pick in the 1984 draft, he played 19 seasons in the NHL with New Jersey, Montreal, the New York Islanders, Toronto, Florida and Dallas, scoring 357 goals and was always one of the better defensive forwards in the NHL.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: November 25, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 9:10 am
By: Adam Gretz
Brendan Shanahan had a pair of disciplinary meetings on Thursday due to hits that took place on Wednesday night. We're still waiting to here what comes out of the hearing that involved New York Rangers defenseman Andre Deveaux for his hit to the head of Florida Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann, but the NHL did announce that Winnipeg Jets defense Zach Bogosian will not face any supplemental discipline for his hit on Washington Capitals rookie Cody Eakin.
This is what the play looked like midway through the second period of Washington's 4-3 overtime victory on Wednesday night:
According to the disciplinary board in a statement released by the league, "in spite of the fact that there was contact with the head, when Bogosian committed to the check, he was coming for Eakin's shoulder and Eakin's change of direction and opening up after his dump-in just prior to the contact contributes enough that there will be no supplementary discipline."
More NHL Discipline News Here
Posted on: November 23, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 12:13 pm
By: Adam Gretz
During their most recent home game, 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, Alexander Semin was a healthy scratch for the Washington Capitals following a recent of stretch poor play.
When the team takes on the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night Semin will be back in the lineup. The bad news? Taking his place in the press box will be forward Joel Ward, who will be scratched for sleeping in on Tuesday and missing a team meeting.
Said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, via Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, “You don’t want to do it. He’s a good player but the rules have got to be the rules for everybody. It’s an unfortunate thing he overslept but he missed it. He understands the rules. He’s a good team guy. He feels bad about it but he knows the rules."
He had been sick earlier in the week.
Ward was one of the Capitals' biggest offseason additions, signing him to a four-year, $12 million contract after he spent the previous three seasons playing for the Nashville Predators. In 19 games with the Capitals he's scored four goals to go along with four assists. Even if it's for just one game, his absence will hurt the Capitals as he's an excellent defensive forward and generally plays in some of the toughest situations -- as he did in Nashville -- and tends to draw assignments against the other team's best players.
Posted on: November 19, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 11:41 am
By: Adam Gretz
We were all kind of curious to see how the Jets faithful would welcome Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on Saturday afternoon after his comments last year about not wanting to play in Winnipeg (comments he apologized for heading into the game). As it turns out, Bryzgalov did not play during Philadelphia's 6-4 loss, but Jets fans were prepared to give him a hard time anyway.
One young fan held a homemade sign during warmups with the words "Boo Bryzgalov" written in big, bold letters. After seeing the sign on his way off the ice to the locker room, Bryzgalov responded by giving the young man a hockey stick.
Said eight-year-old Donovan Collier to the Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press, "I made the sign because he said we have no parks and we have terrible winters. I think it was very nice of him to give me his stick."
Indeed it was.
Sergei Bobrovsky ended up getting the start between the pipes for Philadelphia and allowed five goals on the 39 shots he faced. Winnipeg's sixth goal was scored an empty net. The Jets raced out to an early 5-1 lead but had to hold on in the closing minutes. In the two games these two teams have played this season they've combined to score 27 goals, with the Jets also taking the first game in a 9-8 thriller back in October.