- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
It’s clear, at this point, that hockey loves Christmas.
Maybe a little too much.
Now the NHL has decided to bring hockey’s painful brand of yuletide cheer into your homes, office parties and the lives of your ironic hipster friends.
Created by Forever Collectables, the NFL was the first out of the gate with ugly Christmas sweaters, because Mike Ditka must be clothed at all times. The NHL sweaters were unleashed upon an unsuspecting public later.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
The joke about Loui Eriksson was that he’s so perpetually named one of the NHL’s most underrated players that he was almost overrated for being underrated.
Next season, he gets the spotlight in Boston: Opening camp on the wing of David Krejci and Milan Lucic, where a 36-year-old Jarome Iginla notched 30 goals last season before cashing in with a 3-year, $16-million deal with the Colorado Avalanche.
“We lost Jarome, but I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year and he could be a replacement for Jarome,” said coach Claude Julien, via NHL.com.
He’s topped 30 goals once in his career, although he’s been over 25 goals four times in eight seasons. He’s never been a point per game player, even in truncated seasons due to work stoppages or injuries.
Steven Stamkos is getting the LeBron question.
It’s July 2014, and Stamkos has two more years on his 5-year, $37.5-million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then he becomes an unrestricted free agent, free to sign the NHL's first $12-million annual contract with any team named the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He’s getting the LeBron question because LeBron showed you can take your talents to Florida and then take them back home again. If you’re thinking “yeah, but Stamkos never played for the Maple Leafs in the first place, like LeBron did with the Cavs,” you’d both be correct and missing one of the singular charms of the Centre of the Hockey Universe, which is that every NHL player born in Ontario is on loan to the rest of the League until their inevitable return to lead the Maple Leafs to their first Stanley Cup since the year “The Graduate” was released.
Mr. Stamkos … are you trying to seduce us?
Joe Sacco had the good fortune of finding employment with the Buffalo Sabres last summer after being fired by the Colorado Avalanche, who hired Patrick Roy and turned their franchise’s fortunes around.
Alas, Ron Rolston, who hired him in Buffalo, was fired after winning just four of his first 20 games. Ted Nolan was hired, kept Sacco around and then turned the franchise’s fortunes around.
And then he fired Joe Sacco after the season.
Well, OK, he was “re-assigned” as a scout, although he never scouted anything but other job openings since the end of the season. He finally found a fit: Sacco was hired by the Boston Bruins to work under Claude Julien.
Normally, the hiring of an assistant coach is worth a note in Puck Headlines, but this one’s significant for three reasons:
1. It’s a former NHL head coach latching on as an assistant with a potential Stanley Cup contender.
2. He replaces Geoff Ward on the Bruins’ staff, who left for a higher-paying head coaching job with the Mannheim Eagles of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany. Ward was the architect of the Bruins’ power play, which was third in the NHL last season at 21.7-percent.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the most intriguing team in the Eastern Conference headed into next season, if only to see what Mario Lemieux has wrought after he slammed his hand on the detonation button.
We assume Sidney Crosby is on board with the hiring of Mike Johnston, or else Mike Johnston wouldn’t have been hired. Evgeni Malkin’s a different story, and Johnston clearly understands that he needs both noggins of this two-headed monster nodding in unison.
So Mr. Johnston will go to Russia, according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, who explains the importance of this trip thusly:
Malkin never has done anything but play, and playtime is over because the Penguins need more from their other future Hall of Fame center.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy9 days ago
Nashville Predators general manager David Poile usually pitches free agents on joining his team. He didn’t expect to be pitched by a free agent.
After taking a humiliating buyout from the Arizona Coyotes, in which GM Don Maloney cited “behavioral issues” in eating the last three years of their deal, Mike Ribeiro called Poile to inquire if there was a match between the team and the 34-year-old free agent. The Predators’ offensive needs, specifically in the middle, were no secret. Neither were Ribeiro’s personal issues, including problems in his marriage.
So Poile, Ribeiro and his wife Tammy all got on a Skype call and spoke candidly. Poile wasn’t sure where they left things. Ribeiro, meanwhile, made another bold move: Calling Peter Laviolette, the Predators’ new coach, to further discuss his potential role with the team. Laviolette then called Poile, and said they had a good chat.
The Nashville Predators were desperate for help at center. Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy were desperate for new homes in the NHL.
Both players signed 1-year deals with Nashville on Wednesday, bolstering a roster that resembled a donut up front. Roy signed for 1 year and $1 million; t he Preds signed Ribeiro to a 1-year, $1.05-million contract, as he found an NHL team willing to take him on after his reputation was slaughtered by the Arizona Coyotes when they bought him out.
Said GM David Poile on Roy, who played for the St. Louis Blues last season:
“Derek brings us added depth, playmaking ability and experience at center, helping complement our young, developing wingers,” Poile said. “He has played in a number of roles, averaging about 19 minutes of ice time throughout his career, and is effective on the power play. He provides our coaching staff with some added skill and maturity down the middle when putting together our lineup for the coming season.”
On Ribeiro, Poile said:
A week ago, Sidney Crosby was reportedly days away from having arthroscopic surgery on his injured right wrist.
It never happened.
According to the Pittsburgh Penguins, their star captain is going to heal himself through physical therapy and happy thoughts, rather than go under the knife, as GM Jim Rutherford said:
“After seeking additional medical advice, doctors have decided not to perform surgery on Sidney Crosby’s wrist. Sid will continue treatments and be evaluated regularly while he prepares for training camp in September.”
Crosby’s injury was labeled “terrible” by a source and no doubt contributed to the putrid one goal in 13 games performance we saw from Crosby in the postseason. (The other factors being Jack Johnson, Brandon Dubinsky, Henrik Lundqvist and a decided lack of Pascal Dupuis.)
The assault on the Washington Redskins’ name has ripped open the scab on the Native American mascot debate, with everyone from former players to President Obama asking that owner Dan Snyder change the name.
This led to some speculative (read: click-baiting) articles about whether the same debate might be sparked in the NHL over the Chicago Blackhawks’ logo; articles that (a) misunderstood the crux of the Redskins controversy and (b) didn’t understand the origins of the Blackhawks’ name and logo.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t logos of questionable taste, given the current climate, in the hockey world; and one of them may be on its way out.
We don’t want to say Mike Babcock has leverage with the Detroit Red Wings, but we understand his initial offer on a contract extension is everything they asked for in “Armegeddon”, a baby dinosaur and that no one in the franchise smiles for the next five seasons.
Assuming that’s rejected, the two sides will get down on a new deal for arguably the NHL’s best coach* as he enters the last season of his contract. But Babcock made it clear on Monday, via the Detroit Free Press, that those talks can happen before the season and then again in the spring, but not during the 2014-15 season.
"We get it done by fall, or I won't bother. I'm not doing it during the season,” he told the paper.
Helene St. James of the Free Press indicates that Holland and Babcock will talk in September about both of their deals, as Holland has one more year and an option on his contract. From St. James: