Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 7 hrs ago
If you’re a St. Louis Blues fan, these are strange days.
How many conference finalists bid farewell to their team captain and starting goaltender in the following summer? How many general managers of conference finalists are willing to admit that to get over the hump, they might need to scurry back a few yards and get a running start?
“We don’t want to take any backwards movement in our organization. But sometimes you do expose yourself to maybe taking half a step back to take a couple steps forward,” said GM Doug Armstrong, to the Boston Globe.
Essentially what he’s talking about is transferring the leadership responsibilities – and in some cases, ice time – to the large collection of under-30 players that now dominate the Blues’ roster.
This is the team of Alex Pietrangelo, who could be the next captain. It’s the team of youngins Colton Parayko, Robby Fabbri and Jaden Schwartz. It’s Vladimir Tarasenko’s team, of course, and now it’s Jake Allen’s team.
From Fluto Shinzawa:
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago
I’m sitting at the same table that I was one year ago, laptop next to coffee mug, early hours of a summer morning. Except this time, as I write about Lou Lamoriello, there’s considerably less shock, awe, Eastern Conference plate tectonics and bafflement.
Growing up as a New Jersey Devils fan, imagining that Lamoriello would leave the general manager’s chair wasn’t too outrageous. We all get old. We ride off into the sunset, content that we’ve left a legacy behind, which in his case was three Stanley Cups, five conference titles, and the basic survival of the franchise through frequency of playoff appearances. Not too shabby.
What I never imagined was seeing Lamoriello step down from the Devils to become another NHL team’s general manager. Sure, he could slide into some NCAA front office or USA Hockey role. That made sense. But seeing Lamoriello running another franchise was like seeing your franchise player wearing another sweater before retirement.
Here’s how we’d answer them after his first year at the helm.
Kris Versteeg was one of those names still floating in the unrestricted free-agent pool that surprised you.
He split last season with the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings, amassing 15 goals and 23 assists in 77 games, playing an average of 15:23 per night. (His Kings average brought that down, as he was a spare part after the deal.)
Versteeg is a serviceable and versatile winger, having bouncing around six different teams since 2007, including two different stints with the Chicago Blackhawks. He could have helped someone’s top nine, but perhaps that’s the issue: Versteeg, 30, might not want to latch on with a lottery team, and many contenders that could use him are pushed up against the cap.
Plus there’s that whole “seemingly traded every season” thing, which must get tiring.
Rather than wait on PTO season, Versteeg is taking his talents to Bern.
According to Darren Dreger, Versteeg is expected to sign with SC Bern of National League A, a.k.a. the Swiss League.
Just speculating here, but we wonder if Devin Setoguchi might have put a bug in Versteeg’s ear about this move.
Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres has been arrested for “misdemeanor criminal trespass” among other charges, according to the Buffalo News.
Police sources had said that Kane was facing “non-criminal harassment charges” after a June 24 incident involving two women at a local club called Bottoms Up. (A third woman involved in the incident had yet to come forward to police as of early July.
Kane had been in Canada, and voluntarily turned himself in when three Buffalo police detectives met him outside City Court around 11 a.m. on Friday.
— Aaron Besecker (@AaronBesecker) July 22, 2016
This is what the New York Rangers and Chris Kreider do. They wait until the door to the arbitrator’s office is nearly open and then end the drama with a new contract before walking in.
Two years ago, it was a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $2.475 million. On Friday, it ended up being a four-year contract with an annual cap hit of $4.625 million.
After a controversial trade earlier in the week, this one is a slam-dunk for GM Jeff Gorton and the Rangers.
First off, it was imperative to head off arbitration, which would have resulted in a one-year deal that would have really given Kreider, 25, some leverage on his next contract, with unrestricted free agency looming.
Recently, Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues received five years at $5.35 million per season. Alex Killorn of the Tampa Bay Lightning went seven years at $4.45 million. So Kreider falls in between those recent contracts, despite the Rangers getting a shorter term on it.
That’s a win.
DENVER, CO – FEBRUARY 27: Detroit Red Wings center Brad Richards (17) celebrate his game winning goal with Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening (41) during the third period February 27, 2016 at Coors Field. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Brad Richards had 932 points in his NHL career, which began in 2000 and ended officially this week with his retirement. He’s one of those offense stars who straddled two eras – the methodical trap years before for the 2005 lockout, and the NHL 2.0 rules changes that stretched the ice and mandated speed.
“The game has changed so much from when I came into the League,” Richards told TSN Radio 1050. “I don’t want to sound older, and ‘everything that’s better back in the day,’ but a little bit of creativity is gone from the game.”
Here are Richards’ full comments on the state of the game:
Richards said the most fun he’s had in recent years is playing 4-on-4 and 3-on-3, which is very much not “get pucks to the net/create rebounds.”
But that said: Isn’t that, like, hockey?
NBC Sports Group announced its 2016-17 NHL schedule on Thursday, with 106 NHL regular-season games spread between the networks.
Some teams made out great. Some teams … not so much. Here’s a look at the winners and losers in NBC’s 2016-17 TV schedule. (And here is a look at last year’s winners and losers.)
WINNER: Wednesday Night Rivalry Night
It does appear that most, if not all, of the games scheduled for Rivalry Night feature honest-to-god rivalries.
Although that Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks one is a little suspect.
LOSER: Nashville Predators (and by proxy, us)
You can’t always account for late-breaking news when constructing a broadcast schedule, but what a bummer that the Preds get a chance to bring P.K. Subban to American TV audiences and their total appearances are actually cut in half from four to two.
WINNER: Boston Bruins
The Bruins go from 12 games on NBC and NBCSN last season to 17(!) this season, as obviously the acquisition of David Backes means eyes on glued to the B’s. Or maybe they’re just a gigantically popular regional team.
Phil Kessel winning the Stanley Cup is glorious for so many reasons. One of the primary ones, of course, is that he was able to take his time with the Stanley Cup and make the most of it.
Last Sunday, Kessel had the Cup in Madison, Wisconsin. He took it to a children’s hospital. And then he partied with friends and family, which meant a chance to drink from the Cup, as his sister Amanda Kessel of the NWHL’s New York Riveters did.
But she wasn’t the only one.
Grandma Kessel, get over here!
Are the New York Islanders planning their escape from Barclays Center?
The Islanders are in talks with the Wilpon family, owners of the New York Mets, about building an arena adjacent to Citi Field in Queens, according to sports columnist Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News, who is the first mainstream source to report rumors that have been kicking around New York recently.
Willets Point is emerging as a persuasive alternative to the team’s current home at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center if the Islanders’ owners and arena officials can’t agree on a series of hockey-specific improvements, said the people, who asked for anonymity because the negotiations are private.
The Islanders, who are owned by Value Retail Plc founder Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky, and Sterling Equities, which owns the Mets, have been discussing a possible move to Queens for months, said the people.
Now, there’s a lot to unpack here.
So, do the math.
James Oldham has been the neutral arbitrator for the NHL and NHLPA for over a decade, hired to preside over grievances concerning the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
But he no longer will. Oldham confirmed to Sports Business Daily’s Liz Mullen that the NHL had dismissed him after he overturned Gary Bettman’s ruling on one of the most controversial cases in NHL disciplinary history: Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension last season for attacking an official.
When the League and the players agreed to a new suspension appeals system in 2013 – giving players who are suspended six or more games the chance to appeal to an arbitrator if Bettman rubber-stamped the suspension his League handed out – Oldham’s role became more prominent. Or, at the very least, we heard his name with more frequency.
Oldham said that was the wrong conclusion, in his summary statement on the suspension reduction:
And then Oldham was dismissed.