- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy8 hrs ago
TORONTO – For an hour on Monday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman regaled attendees of a Canadian Club of Toronto luncheon with examples of the League’s current prosperity, its potential for growth and various other sunshine and rainbows. He was relaxed, jovial and engaging, the bringer of good news.
So, like, the complete opposite of Roger Goodell then.
Bettman counts the embattled NFL commissioner as a friend. “I know what it’s like to get intense scrutiny. It’s not always fun. But Roger’s a good man,” said Bettman.
There have been calls for Goodell’s resignation after he fumbled the investigation and punishment of Ray Rice, as well as other domestic violence incidents in the NFL.
Bettman said the NHL has tried to be proactive in educating its players about off-ice issues, from domestic violence to drug addiction.
“We’ve had education and counseling programs for more than a decade. Our security department works with the players. Our behavioral health program councilors do it with the players at least once if not more during the season. We go team by team,” he said.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
The official event announcing the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. is Tuesday, and the ballpark is already adorned with signage for the press conference.
Including what appears to be the Washington Capitals’ new Winter Classic jersey logo.
The image was captured by an tipster for Russian Machine Never Breaks, and it appears the Capitals are doing a more dramatic jersey design for their game against the Chicago Blackhawks than they did for their previous Winter Classic at the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the sense that they’re doing more than taking the “1980s red, white and blue stars” design out of mothballs.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
TORONTO -- Would Toronto fans care about a second NHL team in their city if the Maple Leafs actually won the Stanley Cup?
Commissioner Gary Bettman has considered the possibility, even as he reiterated that the NHL isn’t in an “expansion process” with analysis of potential new markets.
“If we decided that we were putting a second team in [Toronto], and the year the team was supposed to start, the Leafs won the Cup?” he asked as Canadian Club of Toronto event on Monday.
“If the Leafs won the Cup, it would be like the second team didn’t exist.”
Bettman said this is all hypothetical, of course. We assume he means expansion and not the Leafs actually winning the Cup …
The commissioner said he’s concerned about another multi-team NHL city, because ultimately there’s going to be one franchise with more gravitas than the other. It’s something he’s witnessed as a native New Yorker, with the Yankees and Mets, as well as more recently with the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
Peter Karmanos has owned the Carolina Hurricanes since 1994, back when they were the Hartford Whalers. Now 71 years old, he doesn’t intend to own them forever, which is surprising, because we always figured he was rich enough find a vampire and acquire immortality, like that guy on “The Strain.”
But Karmanos tells Rick Westhead of TSN that he’s actively looking for a new ownership partner, working with New York investment bank Allen & Co. to find someone that will commit “hundreds of millions of dollars into the team but let me control it.” Which sounds like a pretty sweet deal if you can get it.
"What I am trying to do is set up a reasonable succession plan because I'm not one of those guys who thinks I am going to go on forever," Karmanos told TSN.
"I'd like to have a partner again...but someone will have to pay dearly for it. (The Hurricanes are) a valuable franchise despite what some of your folk in Canada say about them. I don't see a basketball or baseball or football team coming here. We're going to be the lone ranger here (in Raleigh) for quite some time."
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 day ago
If you had Sept. 21 in the “When Do The KHL Contract Rumors Start For Ryan Johansen?” pool, congratulations.
TSN reported on Sunday that the Columbus Blue Jackets restricted free agent was set to receive a 1-year, $5-million offer from CSKA Moscow.
This is after agent Kurt Overhardt said Johansen has received upwards of six offers from the Russian league. No word if he also used Steven Stamkos as a point of comparisonin those contract talks …
Ah, but here’s a twist: Sergei Fedorov, the former NHL great who’s now the GM of CSKA Moscow, told Elliotte Friedman that “he did not and will not make any contract offer for the RFA to play for his club.
Fedorov told Friedman that he had to know "if there was a commitment to play by Sept. 18. He said he did not want to be seen ‘as interfering,’ since there was no agreement.”
This doesn’t mean the rest of the KHL mystery teams are out of the mix, of course.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 day ago
BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Sabres are all Drew Stafford has known in the NHL.
He was drafted by them in 2004 and has played all eight of his pro seasons with the franchise. He’s seen them contend for the Stanley Cup. He’s seen them plummet to the bottom of the League standings. He’s seen an all-star team of players leave the city for other markets, including Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek last season, signaling a rebuilding phase for Buffalo.
“I’m not going to guarantee we’re going to make the playoffs,” he said at Sabres training camp on Saturday, ahead of the 2014-15 season.
“I’m not going to guarantee we’re going to lose, either.”
He doesn’t have to. Everyone else outside of the Sabres dressing room already assumes it: That Buffalo’s rebuild would be accelerated greatly with the acquisition of a franchise player in the 2015 NHL Draft, where two such generational talents are expected to go in the top two picks.
That they’ll Dishonor for Connor [McDavid]. That they’ll win jack to win Jack [Eichel].
That they’re going to intentionally tank this season.
(The 2014-15 NHL season is nearly upon us, and attempting to handicap the winners and losers can sometimes leave us speechless. So we decided to break down all 30 teams with the next best thing to words: Emojis!)
Last Season, In Summary
For a moment, the Oilers were a preseason darling, with some predicting that Edmonton’s young core would finally earn a playoff spot.
Instead, the defense sucked to the tune of 270 goals against, the team’s depth was shallow and Nail Yakupov generated more headlines about a potential trade than anything he did on the ice.
But hey, at least they earned yet another high draft choice!
Greg Sherman began the summer as the Avalanche’s general manager-in-name-only, as Joe Sakic ran the player personnel show along with coach/VP of hockey operations/egoist Patrick Roy.
The man who used to pull the trigger on trades was demoted, internally, to being their capologist.
Now, Sherman and his red Swingline stapler have been moved all the way to the basement of Innitech. Quietly, the Avalanche added “general manager” to the job title of Sakic and added the word “assistant” to that of Sherman.
It’s a formality, of course, as Sakic has been running the show since his triumphant return to the team in May 2013 to, as the Avalanche say, “oversee all hockey-related decisions.”
But as Colorado enters this season as a defending division champion with a 112-point season in Roy’s maiden voyage, Sherman’s demotion begs the question:
How much credit should the former general manager get for this success?
There are only so many ways to present a hockey billboard promoting the new season. The standard formula: Famous player plus image of intensity plus some clichéd tagline that’s typically related to ice. (Example: “Kick Ice.”)
Which is why the Tampa Bay Lightning’s new billboard featuring Valtteri Filppula should be celebrated. Because it’s actually two billboards, on either side of the I-275.
“Be The Thunder” is the tagline on the billboard to the left.
The one on the right, which the rocket shot of Filppula has turned into tatters, features a website for a fitness company called “Flex Fitness 20” which, of course, takes you directly to a Tampa Bay Lightning “flex ticket plan” page.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 days ago
Claude Giroux left the Philadelphia Flyers’ first day of training camp with a lower body injury, just 15 minutes into his practice session.
Perhaps coincidentally, Internet searches for “draft lottery rules” and “Connor McDavid” spiked around parts of Pennsylvania and South Jersey around the same time …
As GM Ron Hextall said, “Obviously, it’s not the way you want to start.”
But he later calmed the fears of fans, explaining that Giroux’s lower-body injury – there were reports of a groin injury and/or a hip injury – would only sideline him for two weeks of the preseason. Or pretty much all of the preseason.
Boy, if it’s not his lower body, it’s someone else’s lower body causing Giroux problems this year, right?
The Flyers won’t have Giroux for a key preseason opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs in London, Ont. Random Center Who Will Be Back In The AHL In October will really have to step up his game for that tilt.