Thursday, May 28, 2009

NHL Stanley Cup Final Schedule


The NHL has released the schedule for the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals between the Detroit Red Wings & Pittsburgh Penguins.

2009 Stanley Cup Final—Detroit Red Wings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins


Date Match-up Time (ET) National TV

Saturday, May 30 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 31 Pittsburgh at Detroit TBD evening NBC, CBC, RDS
Tuesday, June 2 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Thursday, June 4 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
* Saturday, June 6 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
* Tuesday, June 9 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
* Friday, June 12 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS

* if necessary

[Link]

Looking for Stanley Cup Finals tickets? Checkout Stubhub.com, TicketsNow.com or Tickco.com. Also, perhaps the best place to check is RazorGator because they currently have a promotion...use code MAYRG15 to take $15 off of any purchase over $50 - NHL Finals tickets will be more than that ;). The offer expires on May 31st




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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rangers Sign Swiss Forward Andres Ambuhl

According to NewYorkRangers.com:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with free agent forward Andres Ambuhl.


Ambuhl, 25, skated in 50 games with HC Davos of the National League A in Switzerland (NLA) this past season, registering 17 goals and 24 assists for 41 points, along with 90 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in games played (50), goals (17), assists (24), points (41), and penalty minutes (90).

Ambuhl tied for the team lead in scoring and assists, while he finished fourth on the club in goals. In addition, he collected four goals and three assists for seven points in 21 postseason contests, including two goals in the NLA Finals series against the Kloten Flyers to help HC Davos win their fourth NLA championship in the last eight years.

The 5-10, 190-pounder has appeared in 358 career NLA games with HC Davos, recording 64 goals and 108 assists for 172 points, along with 425 penalty minutes.

In 2006, he helped HC Davos capture the Spengler Cup, collecting the game-winning goal in the final game vs. Team Canada. Ambuhl has also skated in 112 career postseason games, registering 19 goals and 14 assists for 33 points, including a career-high, five goals and eight points in 13 playoff contests during the 2008 playoffs.

Internationally, Ambuhl has represented Switzerland in several tournaments, including the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

If you are doing a search for him on the internet, you may have a problem finding what you are looking for unless you spell his name "Andres Amb├╝hl"

Or, if you want to see some of his career stats, take a look over at EuroHockey.net

The Rangers certainly need help scoring goals, but chances are this isn't the answer - at least not next season. It's very likely that Ambuhl will start the season in Hartford, if he does in fact play in North America next season.

Capitals Steroid Scandal?


There was an article posted this morning on a Tampa Bay website, reporting that a steroid dealer in Florida had been busted and claimed that he was dealing steroids to members of the Washington Capitals and other professional athletes. As of now it is unconfirmed, likely just a desperate attempt by the suspect to obtain a plea bargain with prosecutors. The dealer along with his wife were caught in possession of $200k worth of anabolic steroids, so they are definitely looking at some serious time in jail if convicted.

The Capitals Insider is now reporting on the story and is probably the best source for any updates on the matter throughout the day. I would expect a statement by the Washington Capitals about this sometime today (basically a boilerplate PR move to say they will investigate the claims but that they are not true.")

If it is true, who do you think are the most likely users?

My guess...Alexander Semin - remember that fight with Marc Staal from earlier this season? The one where Semin started playing the drums on Staal's back once they were on the ice. There is now an explanation for that - roid rage ;)

In my opinion, this is just a desperate attempt by the dealer to get a plea bargain and he's willing to say or do whatever is possible to have something working in his favor.

Update (from Kukla's Korner):
NHL STATEMENT
“The Washington Capitals have no knowledge of any aspect of this allegation. Capitals players were subjected to no-notice testing three times in each of the past two seasons pursuant to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and there was no indication of any improper conduct or wrongdoing.
“Even though there are no specifics provided in the story and we have no reason, at this point, to believe the allegations are true, the National Hockey League takes all matters of this nature very seriously and will conduct a prompt investigation.”
-- Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner
CAPITALS STATEMENT
“We have no reason to believe there is any merit to this story, but the National Hockey League and the Washington Capitals take all such allegations seriously. Capitals players have fully participated in the NHL’s random drug testing program, and at no point has a Capitals player tested positive. In addition our players have been tested at international events, such as World Championships and Olympics. We welcome and will fully cooperate with the NHL’s investigation.”
-- Dick Patrick, Washington Capitals president





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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Flukiest Goal of NHL Playoffs?

Renney Back in NHL & Other News from Around the NHL


  • As we mentioned last month, Tom Renney will be coaching in Edmonton next season. Renney will be the Oilers' new assistant coach, working under new head coach, Pat Quinn. [Link]

  • Looks like the Capitals will be losing both Sergei Fedorov & Viktor Kozlov to the KHL. [Link]

  • In other news involving the KHL, rumor has it that Nikolai Zherdev has rejected a contract offer to play in the NHL and wants to return to New York. [Link] and a look at it from a Ranger fan perspective [Link]

  • Did Montreal really offer Alexei Kovalev $6M to re-sign there this summer? Are they nuts? [Link]

  • Former NHLer Peter Zezel is fighting for his life in a Toronto hospital. [Link]
    Update: According to James Mirtle's Twitter; Peter Zezel passed away this evening at the age of 44. May he rest in peace. Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family.

Rangers Sign 2008 1st Round Pick: Del Zotto

According to the New York Rangers website, the Rangers have signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a contract. Del Zotto was a first-round pick by the Rangers in 2008 and is now one of a handful of young defensemen in the system who hopes to make the Rangers roster for next season.

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto.

Del Zotto, 18, skated in 62 games with the Oshawa Generals and London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season, registering 13 goals and 50 assists for 63 points, along with 78 penalty minutes. The two-time OHL All-Star finished the season ranked sixth among all OHL defensemen in scoring and assists, while his 50 assists tied for 11th in the league overall. He also ranked fifth in the league with 32 power play assists.

The native of Stouffville, Ontario, was the Rangers’ first round choice, 20th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The selection marked the third time in four years the Rangers have chosen a defenseman in the first round, having drafted Marc Staal with the 12th overall pick in 2005 and Bobby Sanguinetti with the 21st overall pick in 2006.

Del Zotto will participate in his second Rangers Prospect Development Camp this summer and will attend main training camp in the fall.

"The mindset I want to have is that I want to go into camp trying to make the team," he said. "That's the only way you can go into it. I'll go in there and try my hardest and hopefully give the coaching staff a tough decision to make."

Read the full press release @ NewYorkRangers.com

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Winter Classic at Fenway

According to the Boston Globe:

There will be a sheet of ice in Fenway Park for a Jan. 1 Winter Classic. It's a done deal, Bruins vs. either the Capitals or Flyers. The league will make it official at the start of July, with a splashy media event in the old ballpark. NHL free agency begins July 1, which grabs headlines around league cities (except for Phoenix, of course) for 2-3 days. The Sox play at home July 3-12. If the league wants the day for full media attention, it likely will wait for July 13-14 to make official all details, including how to purchase tickets.

Nothing from the NHL yet regarding this, so nothing is official yet.



Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bobby Holik Retires

Bobby Holik today announced that he's retiring from the NHL. Holik known mostly for his time with the New Jersey Devils, also spent parts of his career playing for the Atlanta Thrashers, the New York Rangers and Hartford Whalers.

TSN announced this afternoon:

After 18 seasons in the National Hockey League, Bobby Holik's career has come to an end.

''I'm done. I'm retiring,'' he told the New York Post on Friday. ''I miss being with my family every day. I knew when the season ended, but I wanted to leave and get home first, and not make a big deal of it.

''A player is what I was. Now I'm a husband and a father.''

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fletcher To Be Named New Wild GM

According to TSN:

Chuck Fletcher will be the next general manager of the Minnesota Wild. Sources tell TSN the formal announcement will come on Friday.

Fletcher will replace Doug Risebrough, who was fired by the team after the season. He is the son of hockey Hall of Fame member Cliff Fletcher.

Chuck Fletcher, 41, is currently the assistant GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported earlier this month that even though the Penguins are still active in the playoffs, they would not stand in the way of Fletcher being approached to take the job with the Wild.

Thankfully that means that Pierre McGuire doesn't get the job and the chance to whimpify an entire team!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rangers Sign Finnish Defenseman

According to Ranger Rants:
The Rangers have agreed to terms with 24-year-old Ilkka Heikkinen, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound Finn who had eight goals and 26 assists with HIFK Helsinski of the SM-liiga.
His stats from last season in Finland [here]

According to Blue Notes:
A free agent, Heikkinen, 24, skated in 54 games with HIFK Helsinki of the SM-liiga this past season, registering eight goals and 26 assists for 34 points, along with 22 penalty minutes. His 34 points ranked third among all SM-liiga defensemen. He led all HIFK defensemen in goals (eight), assists (26) and points, while finishing second on the team overall in assists, fourth in points and seventh in goals.
Found these videos of him on YouTube (he's #49), he had a few goals and assists in this game [video] and here's another [video]. Obviously the competition is not anything compared to the NHL, but it's just an idea of what skills the kid brings to either the Rangers or Wolf Pack.

Time will tell whether he is expected to play in New York next season or in Hartford. He'll likely be given a shot in camp along with Sauer, Gilroy, Potter and Sanguinetti to make the Rangers in September - as it's almost a guarantee that there will be changes on the blue line before next season (ie. Morris & Mara).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Patrick Roy Offered Avs Coaching Position

According to today's Denver Post:

Former Avs star Patrick Roy has been offered Granato's job and is mulling over the offer, according to multiple NHL sources who are close to Roy. The Hall of Fame goalie could not be reached for comment Sunday night, and the Avs had no comment about the possibility of Roy replacing Granato. Granato has not yet been told he's out of a job.

Roy, the co-owner, general manager and coach of major-junior hockey's Quebec Remparts, has made no secret of his desire to move into NHL coaching at some point. He met 10 days ago with Avalanche officials to discuss the possibility of rejoining the organization.

As for the GM job, Craig Billington, the Avs' vice president of hockey operations, is a leading candidate. Billington was Roy's backup as an Avs goalie at one time.





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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Waddell: Kovalchuk Not Being Traded


Every internet messageboard that you visit nowadays it seems that there is a "Kovalchuk to ____" rumor. Well, Atlanta GM Don Waddell, has made it clear that he's not shopping Kovalchuk and that he intends to re-sign him before he becomes a UFA next summer. Did you really expect him to say anything different? Kovalchuk is one of the top goal scorers in the NHL and obviously Waddell wasn't going to announce that he was trying to trade Kovalchuk, unless it was a guarantee. But, at the same time, would he have come out and said that he wasn't trading him? This probably won't kill the internet chatter, but here's what Waddell had to say to the Atlanta Journal Constitution this week:

General manager Don Waddell told the Journal-Constitution last week that, unequivocally, Kovalchuk will remain with the team as it attempts to re-sign one of the NHL’s elite players. There will be no trade deadline move — such as with Marian Hossa — if negotiations reach an impasse.

Beyond next season, well, that remains to be seen.

The Thrashers face a franchise-defining summer with Kovalchuk entering the final year of his contract. Re-signing Kovalchuk, who will command a major contract, is unquestionably the priority. He is the franchise leader in goals, points and games played.

Kovalchuk, 26, has made it clear that to re-sign him, the Thrashers must improve a team that has missed the playoffs the past two seasons after failing to win a game in its only postseason appearance.

“If I feel like we’re in the right direction, for sure I think we’ll figure out a way to sign a new deal,” Kovalchuk told the AJC last month.

For Kovalchuk to stay, a player such as Kari Lehtonen might go.

The Thrashers’ best chance to acquire a top-six forward, their biggest need according to Waddell, is by trade. There is depth at goaltender, the only position where that is the case. Lehtonen, a restricted free agent, is the team’s top goalie, and veteran backup Johan Hedberg is signed through next season. Ondrej Pavelec is the team’s top prospect.

“If we felt we were helping our team and getting a good player back for one of our goalies, and I couldn’t tell you which one because I honestly don’t know right now, that would be something we would look at,” Waddell said.

Waddell would like to re-sign Kovalchuk before the start of the season. Once the season starts in October the trade deadline looms, and it could become a distraction. Do you trade a player to get something in return or allow him to leave as a free agent and get nothing? Such was the case two seasons ago with Hossa.

“The Hossa thing was not a distraction, I don’t think, until three weeks before the trade deadline,” Waddell said. “Then it was a huge distraction. We want to avoid that.

“I think [the Thrashers and Kovalchuk] will both know where we are way before the season starts if it is going to happen. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen once the season starts. My mission is to keep Ilya Kovalchuk here, whether that happens in July or August or we have to go out and prove that we are a team that’s going to take that next step we are fine with that.”

Waddell insists that the situations with Kovalchuk and Hossa are different. Hossa was inclined to leave, Waddell said, and there was little negotiation. He believes Kovalchuk wants to stay — if the team can win.

“If you trade every player that is going to come up to be an unrestricted free agent, the way the league is set up you are going to be a free agent at 25 [years old], so we are going to be doing this all the time,” Waddell said. “You have to look at the big picture and say this year is more important to us than years from now. Florida went through it with [Jay] Bouwmeester. They didn’t trade their big guy, but they missed the playoffs.

“You are going to see that more and more. Where a player is 25 and he’s going to get a home-run deal, but it’s more important right now to keep him and keep the franchise moving in the right direction.”

The team knows that Kovalchuk will get a monster contract. He has 297 goals in seven seasons. He scored 43 last year, 27 coming after he was named captain Jan. 11.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to keep Ilya here,” co-owner Bruce Levenson told the AJC in March. “Just look at his leadership since they put that [captain’s] “C” on his jersey, you understand how valuable he is. We really need to build this team around Ilya. As he goes, so go the Thrashers.”


[Link] to the full article

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Video of Sean Avery @ NHL Store

Sean Avery was at the NHL Store in New York this week to be interviewed by Ron Duguay and Ken Daneyko for their radio show Ice Breakers, which airs on XM & Sirius Radio.

I was looking on Youtube for a video of the interview and found this one that is posted below. Not the best quality and half the video has been cut up & edited by the person who produced it. I'm thankful that the guy made the video, but I really would've preferred if it was just raw footage because it isn't funny.

Anyways, here's the video (relevant part of the video is 1:32 - 3:30, the rest is a waste of time):






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Friday, May 15, 2009

Zherdev Heading to KHL?

According to the Daily News:

According to unconfirmed information, the club forward NHL New York Rangers' Nikolai Zherdev soon could move to one of the top clubs of Continental hockey league.

Zherdev who is an RFA this summer had a cap hit last season of $2.5M but his salary last season was actually $3.25M. In my opinion he won't sign in the NHL for less than he made last season, so instantly his cap hit will be at least $3.25M (that's without a pay raise). Zherdev is/was probably the most skilled player on the Rangers, but there were long spells during the season (and entire playoffs) where he was invisible. As good as he was to watch at times, he was frustrating to watch at other times (earning the nickname Alexei Kovalev Jr.) I think this could make Sather's decision a little easier; he'll sign Antropov and look for another forward to replace Zherdev.

Conference Finals Schedule

This is the schedule released by the NHL for the 2008-09 Stanley Cup Conference Finals. Gotta love the NHL Playoffs!


Pittsburgh vs Carolina
1 Monday, May 18, 7:30pm
Hurricanes at Penguins
2 Thursday, May 21, 7:30pm
Hurricanes at Penguins
3 Saturday, May 23, TBD Penguins at Hurricanes
4 Tuesday, May 26, TBD Penguins at Hurricanes
*5 Friday, May 29, TBD Hurricanes at Penguins
*6 Sunday, May 31, TBD Penguins at Hurricanes
*7 Tuesday, June 2, TBD Hurricanes at Penguins


Detroit vs Chicago

1 Sunday, May 17, 2:30pm
Blackhawks at Red Wings
2 Tuesday, May 19, 7:30pm
Blackhawks at Red Wings
3 Friday, May 22, TBD
Red Wings at Blackhawks
4 Sunday, May 24, TBD Red Wings at Blackhawks
*5 Wednesday, May 27, TBD Blackhawks at Red Wings
*6 Saturday, May 30, TBD Red Wings at Blackhawks
*7 Monday, June 1, TBD Blackhawks at Red Wings





2nd Round Predictions Not So Hot

Well, after going 7 for 8 in the first round, my picks in the second round brought me back to reality. Out of the four matchups - I was only correct in predicting that the Penguins would beat the Capitals.

My predictions Semi-Final Predictions:
Boston Bruins over Carolina in 6 - Result: Carolina in 7
Pittsburgh Penguins over Capitals in 6 - Result: Penguins in 7
Anaheim Ducks over Red Wings in 7 - Result: Red Wings in 7
Vancouver Canucks over Chicago in 6 - Result: Chicago in 6

My Conference Final Predictions:
Penguins over Carolina in 6
Detroit over Chicago in 6

Leading to a repeat of last season's Stanley Cup Final, only difference being that this season Marian Hossa is on the Wings, not the Penguins.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Funny Boston Bruins Kid on Video

Avery, Daneyko & Duguay at NHL Store Tomorrow

According to an e-mail that I received today from XM/Sirius Radio:

NY Ranger Sean Avery, former Ranger Ron Duguay and former NJ Devil Ken Daneyko host SIRIUS XM Radio show from NHL Store tomorrow

WHO: NY Rangers left wing Sean Avery, former Rangers forward Ron Duguay and former NJ Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko

WHAT: Duguay and Daneyko will host a special edition of their weekly SIRIUS XM Radio talk show, Ice Breakers, alongside guest host Sean Avery, from the NHL Powered By Reebok Store on Thursday, May 14, to discuss the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Fans in attendance will be able to pose questions directly to the hosts live on the air.

A lifestyle-themed show geared towards men, Ice Breakers airs nationwide on SIRIUS channel 122 and XM channel 143 and features Duguay and Daneyko sharing their thoughts on a wide array of topics covering health and lifestyle, relationships, sports and entertainment.

WHEN: Thursday, May 14 – 5:00 pm

v Avery, Duguay and Daneyko will be at the NHL Store from 5-7 pm ET.

v Broadcast will air at 7pm ET exclusively on SIRIUS ch. 122 and XM ch. 143

WHERE: NHL Powered by Reebok Store

1185 Ave. of the Americas (@ 47th street)

New York, NY

212-221-6375

PHOTO OPS AVAILABLE

SIRIUS XM Radio offers NHL fans from coast-to-coast comprehensive coverage via satellite radio of the 2009 Stanley Cup™ Playoffs, with live play-by-play of every match-up plus daily news and analysis on SIRIUS XM’s NHL Home Ice channel (XM channel 204 and on SIRIUS channel 208 with the “Best of XM” programming package). From the opening round through the Stanley Cup Finals, SIRIUS XM listeners will have access to every minute of every game. NHL games are available on XM Radio channels 204-209 and on SIRIUS channels 210-220 with the “Best of XM” programming package.

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

End of Game Detroit/Ducks Festivities

I always wonder why more teams don't do this when they play the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings are probably the softest team in the NHL every season and refuse to dress a legit fighter. Not that I have any particular animosity towards Marian Hossa, but I loved seeing Getzlaf go after him at the end of the game. If a team refuses to protect their star players, why allow them to get away with it?

I know that in the NHL nowadays the NHL does a fair amount of their enforcing, by making sure that if much more than what went on last night went on there would be suspensions galore. Still - if Detroit does advance (which I hope they don't), this is what other teams must continue to do to get them off of their game. They dress Darren McCarty like once every 6 months, make them protect their star players. It's for the good of the game!

Rangers Offseason Plans: Roster Moves


As soon as the Rangers were kicked out of the playoffs I immediately started thinking about what players the Rangers should be re-signing this summer, considering that they have quite a few free agents (both UFAs & RFAs). [Link]

Here are a list of a few of the top UFAs (with their 08/09 salary next to them), that the Rangers may have interest in this summer (not advocating for any of them unless I specify it in my analysis below):

LWs
Martin Havlat - $6M
Erik Cole - $4M
Marian Gaborik - $6.33M
Daniel Sedin - $3.575M

RWs
Marian Hossa- $7.475M
Alexei Kovalev - $4.5M
Brian Gionta - $4M
Chris Neil $1.1M
Mike Knuble - $2.8M
Bill Guerin - $4.5M
Petr Sykora - $2.5M

C
Mike Cammalleri - $3.35M
Henrik Sedin - $3.575M

D
Francois Beauchemin - $1.65M
Scott Niedermayer - $6.75M
Jordan Leopold - $1.5M
Jay Bouwmeester - $4.875M
Mike Komisarek - $1.7M
Marek Malik - $1.25M (just kidding!)

Obviously we all know that the Rangers won't be going crazy signing a lot of players who are UFAs because they don't have much cap room. According to Ranger Rants the Rangers have "between $37-38 million committed to nine players, meaning about $20 million to fill out the roster." Meaning that the Rangers have just $20 million in cap space to sign 11 players for their roster.

Forwards
Drury, Gomez, Avery, Dubinsky, Callahan, Korpikoski - in my opinion those six players are guaranteed to be back next season (unless by some miracle Sather is able to trade Drury or Gomez). There have been a lot of rumors circulating on the internet recently that Colton Orr is not in Tortorella's plans for next season (which absolutely pisses me off!). In my opinion Orr is one of the first players that Sather should be calling this summer. He's a top 3 enforcer in the NHL (best young one) and he's basically guaranteed to get other offers this summer from other teams (i.e. Brian Burke is licking his chops at the thought of signing Orr!) Unfortunately, it doesn't look good for us fans in New York who want Orr to stay. I think that if Orr goes that Sather will look for a player to replace him with more offensive upside, maybe Chris Neil.

The Rangers will have to make important decisions regarding Antropov & Zherdev - will either or both be back? If the Rangers decide to look elsewhere then that means they'll have some money to hit the free agent market with.

I wouldn't be surprised or disappointed if Betts & Sjostrom were brought back - the best penalty killing unit in the NHL last season. But, Sather may choose to only re-sign one of them, especially with the depth that the Rangers have at center (Dubinsky, Gomez & Drury) and the liklihood that Anisimov will make the team out of camp.

Hopefully Sather doesn't decide that he wants to throw a few dollars at Brian Gionta (NJ Devils UFA) because he wants to re-united him with Gomez. The Rangers have enough small forwards, the Rangers have to add someone who can score and add some size up front. It's true that now more than ever smaller players can be a force in the NHL, but you can't have a team full of small players -- no matter how good they are. Also, under no circumstances do I want Kovalev Part III - good player, but past his prime & in my opinion an older version of Nik Zherdev.

Many Ranger fans are saying Hossa's name, but he wants to play for a Cup contender, so he isn't coming to New York this offseason. Also lots of rumors surrounding Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk (UFA next season), who would certainly solve the Rangers goal scoring problem, but it would take a lot to acquire him in a trade and he also has a hefty salary cap hit.

Defensemen
Redden, Rozsival, Staal, Girardi and two young prospects battling it out for the final defensive spots. Prime candidates are Bobby Sanguinetti, Mike Sauer, Matt Gilroy or Corey Potter. If Sather is able to sign Mara to a similar deal to the one he signed last season then he's a possibility. But, chances are Sather will choose to go with a young player on his first NHL contract because of the lower cap hit. I also think that Sather will be actively shopping Redden and Rozsival, but I don't see any interest in either. If somehow he is able to unload one of those two major contracts, then Sather will look at a possible UFA. I think that Beauchemin (Ducks) would be a very serviceable defenseman and since he's underrated, he might not garner much interest from other teams.

Goalies
Lundqvist, Valiquette

As usual, it all boils down to what major contracts (if any) the Rangers can get off of their books. Trading either Gomez, Drury, Redden or Rozsival would clear up some room to add a free agent. But, unless that happens (which I doubt it will), I don't see Sather making many changes for next season.


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Monday, May 11, 2009

Penguins Fail to Clinch - Chicago On The Verge

Chicago just under 3 minutes away from clinching this series against the Canucks. Patrick Kane with the hat trick late in the 3rd. Luongo has been lit up in this one, seven goals getting past him so far. [Box Score]

In tonight's other game the Penguins had the chance to clinch the series at home, but couldn't get it done as they were beat in OT. That series now goes back to Washington for game 7. [Box Score]

Ward Has Possible Broken Orbital Bone After This Punch

According to Bruins coach Claude Julien, Aaron Ward might have suffered a broken orbital bone when he was sucker-punched by Scott Walker at 17:13 of the third period. [Link]



Update (4:10pm): According to Canes Now Walker will not be suspended for the punch, but will be fined $2,500. It was expected that Walker would be suspended at least one game because of the fact that he received an instigator penalty with less than five minutes remaining in the game and in those circumstances a one game suspension is automatic. However, the NHL rescinded that one game suspension. I'm very surprised based on the way the NHL is run nowadays that they decided to rescind that one game suspension. I personally thought that it was a sucker punch, but I actually don't like the stupid instigator rule, so for the first time in a while I'm happy with the NHL's punishment under the circumstances.


SportsAuthority.com

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gonchar Injured & His Agent Calls Out Ovechkin

According to TSN:

Sources tell TSN Pittsburgh defenceman Sergei Gonchar suffered an apparent knee injury and will miss the next several weeks, perhaps the remainder of the season.

Gonchar was injured following a knee-on-knee collision with Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, who received a minor penalty on the play.

During a Washington power play in the first period of Game 4, Gonchar skated out from behind the Pittsburgh net and Ovechkin appeared to stick out his right knee a moment before the two collided. The Penguins defenceman was unable to put any weight on his right leg and was helped off the ice.

The National Hockey League has ruled out the notion of supplemental discipline which has prompted reaction from Gonchar's representative, JP Barry.

''We now have Exhibit A of the extreme double-standard that exists in the NHL's approach to discipline. Alex clearly cuts back with his knee after missing his check with devastating results. But of course, because it's Alex, its all Sergei's fault,'' Barry told TSN.

''It was a extremely negligent hit and if anyone else in this league does the same we all know they will face serious discipline,'' Barry continued. ''Part of being 'great' means playing with respect. He is wreckless and this isn't the first or last time he will get a free pass from the NHL, and the best part is he knows it.''

Friday, May 8, 2009

Drunk Canucks Fan Singing {Video}

Found this video of a drunk Vancouver Canucks fan singing & thought I'd share it with you.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

So Who Is This Jim Balsillie?

You know that you're wondering who this guy is and why he's making so many headlines over the past couple of days. He's tried unsuccessfully in the past to purchase the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins and move them to Southern Ontario.

Here's a little snipit from the Research In Motion website about Jim Balsillie:

Since 1992, Jim Balsillie has been co-CEO at Research In Motion (RIM), maker of the world renowned BlackBerry wireless solution. At RIM, Jim is responsible for driving corporate strategy, business development, marketing, sales, and finance.

In 2002, Mr. Balsillie founded The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a world-class global research institute focused on the restructuring of international governance. In 2007, Mr. Balsillie announced the creation of the new Canadian International Council (CIC) of which he is the Chair. In 2008, he founded the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Mr. Balsillie is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He is a chartered accountant and a fellow of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants. He also holds numerous honorary doctorate degrees.

I just don't understand what it is exactly that Gary Bettman and the NHL have against this guy? The guy has a bag full of money, he's dying to get his hands on an NHL franchise (even the ones that are bankrupt!) and yet they are avoiding him like the plaque. Who else is going to pay more than $200 million for the Phoenix Coyotes? Can Hamilton support an NHL franchise? Hell, it can't fare much worse than Phoenix!

Want to read some more about this whole mess? Check out Bob McKenzie's article, which was a pretty decent explanation. Or, check out the MakeItSeven.ca website, which was set up to provide updates regarding the sale of the Coyotes.

Rangers for Sale?

From the Hockey News:
If blowing a 3-1 series lead and getting knocked out of the first round wasn’t enough incentive for the New York Rangers to shake things up, a franchise sale might be.

Cablevision Systems Corp., who owns the Rangers as well as the NBA’s Knicks, Madison Square Garden and a regional sports network, has said it would “explore the spinoff of its Madison Square Garden business.”

Occasionally a company will announce their intentions to spin off as a way to gauge the company’s market value. While it’s unclear whether Cablevision intends to sell or not, the news, which was revealed in the last line of the company’s first-quarter earnings report, could potentially put the Rangers in new hands.

Industry analysts have also speculated Cablevision may eventually sell the entire company to Time Warner Cable, or that they may sell just their sports entertainment group to raise extra money to compete in the cable business.

Cablevision, which supplies cable television, broadband lines and Internet phone service across the New York metropolitan area, has faced tough competition as of late from Time Warner and Verizon Wireless.

Another possibility is the Dolan family, Cablevision’s principal owner, selling its cable business and putting its focus on running the Rangers, Knicks, MSG network and its venues.

“Cablevision watchers (and we’d put ourselves in that category) have long pondered possible endgames,” Craig Moffett, a senior analyst at Bernstein Research, wrote in a report Thursday morning after Cablevision’s earnings were released. “And the notion that the Dolans would retain ownership of MSG and the New York sports teams long after the rest of the assets had been divested has always been viewed as among the most likely outcomes.

Ranger Rants also discusses the possibility [Link], as does Blue Notes [Link]

Any thoughts?

Ovechkin Getting Death Threats

According to Pittsburgh's Channel 11 News:
Pittsburgh Police are investigating a threat made against Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.Penguins' spokesperson Tom McMillan told Channel 11 that the Penguins are aware of the threat and will be releasing a statement shortly.The Capitals star forward has scored in every game in the playoff series against the Pens, including the first goal in Wednesday night's game.
Pretty pathetic...it's hockey people. I love the game as much as anybody else, but threatening someone's life? I mean, chances are the person had no intent to follow through with the threat, but still, what the heck are they thinking? It's obvious that if the police catch you (which they likely will) that you're going to jail for a lot longer than a few playoff rounds.

I don't really care who wins the Penguins/Capitals series but I'd love nothing more than to see Ovechkin go out and get a hat trick in this guy's honor.

Update: Now Puck Daddy is on the story and has found out the exact details. Supposedly, the threat was made on the Pittsburgh Penguins official message board during game 2 of the Penguins/Capitals series. The news made this sound a lot more severe than it actually is in my opinion. This is probably just some 13 year old sitting at his computer typing away without thinking about how much trouble he could get it. Sounded like another incident similar to the Flames fan who made a threat to Steve Mason this season. Image of the threat

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How Can You Not Like This Guy??

Ovechkin chanting along with the Capital fans during their playoff series against the Penguins. "You Suck!" - funny stuff




Even Charles Barkley thinks he's the greatest athlete



[H/T to Puck Daddy]

Potvin Sucks! Florida Panthers Agree

You know the chant that you hear at every single New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden? Well, apparently Rangers fans aren't the only ones who think so :)

Well, not exactly, but you have to expect a headline like that from a Rangers fan. Right?

According to the Florida Panthers website today:
Sunrise Sports & Entertainment and the Florida Panthers announced today the restructuring of the hockey club’s broadcast teams on FOX Sports Florida and Sports Talk 790 the Ticket for the 2009-10 NHL season. Steve Goldstein, Billy Lindsay and Randy Moller will return to the broadcast booth in 09-10, while Denis Potvin will not be retained. Goldstein will continue to handle television play-by-play duties with Lindsay joining him as color analyst, while Moller will call Panthers radio broadcasts on 790 The Ticket.

“We look forward to teaming Steve “Goldie” Goldstein and Billy Lindsay on our television broadcasts and we are confident that they will provide entertaining and insightful commentary that will resonate well with our fans. Meanwhile, Randy Moller has done a superb job in the radio booth over the last two seasons providing our fans with exciting and colorful broadcasts that have gained attention on a local and national level.” said SSE president & chief operating officer Michael Yormark. “Finally, the entire Florida Panthers organization would like to thank Denis Potvin and his family for their service to our club, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
According to the Sun Sentinel in Florida who spoke with Potvin this evening, the move is nothing personal. The Panthers have decided to eliminate one of the radio positions and instead rotated Bill Lindsay from his radio position to the TV role previously filled by Potvin.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rangers Sign Jordan Owens

In an official New York Rangers statement today:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with forward Jordan Owens.

Owens, 23, skated in 67 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season, registering 12 goals and 25 assists for 37 points, along with 66 penalty minutes. He established career highs in goals (12), assists (25), points (37), and penalty minutes (66). Owens ranked fifth on the Wolf Pack in assists, tied for eighth in points and tied for ninth in goals.
He also finished fourth on the team with a plus-17 rating. The Toronto, Ontario, native recorded a career-high, seven multi-point performances, including a three-point effort on April 3 at Providence (three assists). In addition, Owens tied for fifth on Hartford in playoff scoring, registering one goal and two assists for three points in six post-season contests.

The 6-0, 189-pounder has skated in 110 career AHL games with Hartford, recording 19 goals and 32 assists for 51 points, along with 110 penalty minutes. Owens notched his first professional point with a goal on October 6, 2007 vs. Bridgeport. He also recorded three goals and 10 assists for 13 points, along with 28 penalty minutes in 20 games with the Charlotte Checkers of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) during the 2007-08 season.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Naslund Retires - It's Official

According to TSN:

New York Rangers forward Markus Naslund has announced his retirement after 15 seasons in the National Hockey League.

The 35-year-old veteran signed a two-year, $8 million contract as a free agent with the Rangers last summer, and still had one year remaining on the deal, worth $3 million.

"I would like to sincerely thank Glen Sather and the New York Rangers for giving me the opportunity this past season in New York," said Naslund in a statement. "I would also like to thank the Vancouver Canucks and all of their fans for their support over the 11-plus seasons I was a part of their organization, as well as to the Pittsburgh Penguins where I began my NHL career."

Don't Like a Goal your goalie let in? Take His Head Off!




[H/T to Puck Daddy]

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wang Regrets Buying Islanders & Other News

  • Always a good thing to hear when the owner of your team says he regrets buying them. When asked about buying the team, Charles Wang, owner of the Islanders said, "If I had the chance I wouldn't do it again." [Link]

  • Richard Zednik won't be back in Florida next season, opting to play in Russia instead. [Link]

  • An NHL mock draft already - always interesting to get an idea what will happen in June. [Link]

  • The Manic Ranger with Glen Sather's report card for his free agent signings of last summer. [Link]

  • Is Hemsky on his way out of Edmonton? [Link]

  • Do the Leafs really have a shot at getting Tavares? [Link]

  • Puck Daddy with Saturday's 3 Start of the Day & the Conn Smythe watch. [Link]

  • Warning, non-hockey related link: Video of Manny Pacquiao knocking out Ricky Hatton last night, one of the best knockouts you'll ever see! [Link]

Markus Naslund To Retire

The rumor has been circulating ever since the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Capitals earlier this week that Markus Naslund was going to retire. Honestly, it's sad to say, but this is a great thing for the Rangers, since it frees up some much needed salary cap room. That is exactly why I assumed that there wasn't much to the rumor - especially because Naslund was guaranteed one more year at $3M by the Rangers. Not many players will walk away from a guaranteed contract. But, according to Larry Brooks of the NY Post today, Naslund has made a very classy move and will be walking away from the final year of his contract.

According to Brooks:

Proud and classy to the apparent end, Markus Naslund has told his Rangers teammates he is retiring despite having one season at $3 million remaining on the two-year, $8 million free agent contract he signed last summer, The Post has learned.

It is believed that the 35-year-old Naslund, who wore down dramatically as the season and then the seven-game series against the Caps progressed, notified GM Glen Sather of his decision at his exit interview on Thursday, though The Post has not been able to confirm that......

Without Naslund, the Blueshirts have approximately $37.87 million committed to nine core players under the cap that is expected to come in between $56-57 million if the NHLPA exercises its 5-percent bump.

We'll wait for an official confirmation from either the Rangers or Naslund, but the rumor has now hit a boiling point.

Now if only Wade Redden would do the same.....


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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Save of the Playoffs! - Video

Capitals goalie Varlamov robs Sidney Crosby in game one of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Interesting Bruins Fan Haircut


[Found Here]

Rangers Re-Sign Backup Steve Valiquette

The Rangers have re-signed backup goalie to a contract for next season, that will pay him the same exact amount if made this past season, $725k. [Blue Notes]

Yesterday, I did an in-depth analysis on each of the Rangers' Restricted and Unrestricted Free agents and who the Rangers should re-sign this summer. [Link]

I wrote:
Vally knows his role and is a very capable NHL backup goalie. He had a one year deal for $725k and Sather should be able to sign Valiquette to another deal with similar financial terms. It seems like Lundqvist and Valiquette have a good relationship, which is important. I see no reason why Valiquette wouldn't be back, unless Sather thinks there is a better option out there for similar money.
Thank you Mr. Sather for reading my blog and getting to work right away! :)