Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 hr ago
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are ready to get this thing going.
“I think it’s starting to get real,” said Eichel to Yahoo Sports’ Sunaya Sapurji, via Buzzing The Net. “Obviously I have to earn my spot on the Sabres – earn everything I get in the next month and a half. I’m just going to go in with an open mind and try to be positive throughout the whole process.”
As for McDavid, he says his expectations for the season aren’t “a numbers game” for the Edmonton Oilers. “It’s just doing the best that you can,” said McDavid to Buzzing The Net. “Playing the best that you can do and contributing to the team and trying to help the team win games. I think a winning Oilers season would be a great success.”
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 9 hrs ago
Jarkko Ruutu was one of the NHL’s greatest pests during his 11-season career. Two of those seasons were with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Ruutu shared a locker room with forwards Colby Armstrong and Georges Laraque, both of whom are now retired.
And now, in his new Finnish-language book “The Divine Comedy,” Ruutu shares one hell of a story about these two teammates which was excerpted on iltasanomat.fi.
From reader Krespo:
In this story he tells how, one day after practice, Georges Laraque stormed into the locker room absolutely furious, threatening to trash the place. Players gathered around and Laraque showed a picture pinned at his locker room stall – a drawing of a monkey with a banana.
So of course everybody started to freak out a bit, worried this could destroy the team. Laraque demanded to know who did it, and after a while, Colby Armstrong stepped up and admitted he did it.
Others wanted to know why would he do such a thing.
Armstrong replied: "What do you mean? He is a [N-word], isn't he?"
No word on when his book will be translated for English, but can it be, like, tomorrow?
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 18 hrs ago
(The 2015-16 NHL season is nearly upon us! Why bother watching this team? What will make or break the season? Find out as we preview all 30 teams as camps begin!)
45-26-11, 101 points. Second in the Metro Division.
Better. With due respect to the work that Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer did for the Caps, the acquisitions of Justin “Mr. Game 7” Williams and T.J. “Never Played a Game 7” Oshie make this a better team. And while they’ll miss the puck moving prowess of Mike Green, they weren’t going to hand him another $6 million cap hit over three years.
In fact, that this Capitals blue line can handle the loss of Green is a testament to how effective this group was last season. John Carlson (55 points), Matt Niskanen (31 points), Karl Alzner (always steady) and Brooks Orpik (c’mon, he was much better than any of us thought he would be) anchor the group; Dmitry Orlov is on the cusp of being mighty effective, too.
1. Alex Ovechkin, LW
2. Braden Holtby, G
3. Nicklas Backstrom, C
4. T.J. Oshie, RW
5. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 20 hrs ago
When it was revealed that Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle were selling the Pittsburgh Penguins – moments before Gary Bettman gave his State of the NHL speech at the Stanley Cup Final, no less – the speculation began about how much this glamour franchise could bring in.
The initial projections had the price somewhere between $700 million and $850 million, which is crazier than trading Simon Despres for Ben Lovejoy.
Rick Westhead of TSN, however, has zeroed in on what might be the actual asking price for the Penguins:
The owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins are asking $750 million (U.S.) for the team, but face long odds of finding a buyer who’s willing to pay that much because of the flagging North American economy and uncertainty over the future of the Canadian dollar, sports investment bankers say.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 21 hrs ago
Hey, remember Stephane Auger, who was just named the new head of the Swiss Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety? Of course you do.
He was the referee embroiled in one of the NHL’s greatest recent controversies. In Jan. 2010, Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks said Auger threatened to “get him back” for embarrassing him with a dive in a previous game, and Auger called two minors and a misconduct against Burrows in the third period of a loss against the Nashville Predators. Burrows was fined $2,500 for his remarks.
That led to the infamous 11-minute character assassination by Ron MacLean on “Hockey Night in Canada,” followed by a two-minute apology to Burrows.
As the Chicago Blackhawks ascended to the Stanley Cup, goalie Antti Raanta was dropped down the depth chart. The goalie had been seen as a potential challenger to Corey Crawford’s status as a starter; instead, he was practicing with the Black Aces, as journeyman sensation Scott Darling had won the backup job.
Naturally, this didn’t sit well with Raanta, and he spoke about it to Finnish paper Satakunnan Kansa with stunning candor: The Chicago Blackhawks goalie was rooting against the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs.
From reader Ju Pa, via Iltasanomat.fi (currently down):
“I was really hoping Nashville would beat us in four games and I could get back to Finland. I was [so pissed off] about how Chicago was treating me.”
According to Raanta, Blackhawks were suffering of weak team spirit and head coach Joel Quenneville didn't seem to like him.
Oh, I see ...
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New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador played 15 games last season, missing the glut of the campaign with a bulging disc in his back. That’s after playing just 40 in the previous season.
Read the entire piece to get a sense of just what Salvador was experience health-wise.
Salvador was another case of Lou Lamoriello handing out questionable contracts to veteran players in his final years in Jersey. There’s no doubt Salvador earned another deal with the Devils after his 2012 playoff performance; but did a 36-year-old defenseman really need a three-year deal, even if the hit was just $3.16 million annually?
Fare thee well, Bryce Salvador.
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Hopefully Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has an electric foot massager or one of those lavender scented happy eye pillows, because the stress on this guy just keeps increasing.
On top of the Slava Voynov decision, on top of his decision to terminate Mike Richards’ contract and the NHLPA fighting it, on top of trying to get a defending champion that missed the playoffs to climb back on the throne, he has to find a way to get his best offensive player under contract in a long-term-yet-fiscally-sane manner – and it’s not really going that well.
Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports that the gap between center Anze Kopitar and Lombardi is rather large as he enters the last year of a seven-year, $7.6 million contract that pays him a $7.7 million salary this season:
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43-26-13, 99 points, No. 2 Wild Card in West
About the same, although there are some changes from the group that was swept away by the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round.
Jack of all trades Michael Frolik signed a five-year deal with the Calgary Flames. Veteran energy forward Jim Slater was unsigned. Rentals Lee Stempniak (10 points in 18 games) and Jiri Tlusty (8 points in 20 games after coming over from Carolina) were unsigned.
It’s not to say these aren’t impactful losses, because they are, but they’re still role players. Balancing those departures: The return of Alex Burmistrov, back from a two-year sabbatical in the KHL and ready to bring his skill to a third-line role.
1. Dustin Byfuglien, D/F
2. Ondrej Pavelec, G
Hutchinson is back and starter-in-waiting Connor Hellebuyck is waiting to leap over both of them. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Pavelec can shut critics up for another season. OK, two thirds of a season. OK, maybe a few weeks.
3. Tyler Myers, D
4. Andrew Ladd, LW
5. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW
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