- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy17 hrs ago
An amateur hockey player in Chicago has been banned from Johnny's Ice House, the Chicago Blackhawks training facility, after an armed robbery.
Tim O'Shea didn't commit the crime, nor was he the victim of the incident in which three other amateur hockey players were robbed at gunpoint by three men in the facility's parking garage, with one of the hockey players pistol-whipped before the trio of gunmen made off with their wallets and keys.
What O'Shea did do was reach out to the facility to express concern once he'd heard what happened, to ask how Johnny's Ice House might try to improve safety in and around the building. The response was a standard one, for the most part, with GM Kevin Rosenquist telling him the robbery was being taken very seriously. But it ended with this little jab:
"If you or your friends are questioning your association with the league due to safety concerns, then I would suggest perhaps the city is not for you and you should look into playing in the suburbs."
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy20 hrs ago
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• I love when people do this to their cars. Take a good look at The Hawk Mobile, which is tearing up the local parade scene in Chicago. [DNA Info]
• Tomas Hertl tweaked his knee at Sharks' prospect camp, which is exactly what you don't want to hear for a guy that's already had some knee problems. [CSN Bay Area]
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy1 day ago
Henrik Lundqvist earned the "King Henrik" nickname during his rookie season with the New York Rangers, when his dominant play led fans and media to adopt the moniker. Shortly after that, he seized the throne in a bloody coup, then placed the heads of his enemies and all those who opposed his rule on stakes outside of Madison Square Garden. That sealed it. He was King Henrik.
But what, exactly, is he the king of ?
New York doesn't have a king, and they won't until the unknown event that triggers the apocalypse and turns it into a wasteland. And even then, their ruler might turn out to only be a Duke, like in Escape From New York. So it's not the big apple.
It's not Sweden, either. They have a different king. His name is Carl.
Alas, the kingdom of King Henrik has been a great mystery to all for years now. But Nickelodeon believes it has solved it: voting is now open for the all-important 2014 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards, and Henrik Lundqvist is nominated for "King of Swag".
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy5 days ago
It's the fourth of July, the day Americans celebrate freedom. Freedom from tyranny. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech, which includes our comments section. And today, for our purposes, freedom from bad contracts.
When the NHL lockout ended two years ago (thanks to me, and this video), the cap dropped, necessitating the shedding of a handful of poor contracts signed before the stoppage. Now, mormally, buyouts count against the cap, but Gary Bettman took pity on his teams, and gave each club two buyouts that wouldn't.
Of the 60 possible amnesty buyouts, 28 were used, for a total of $176.9 million, although these numbers would have been way higher if teams were allowed to trade their unused buyouts to the Philadelphia Flyers. Or, in a much cooler twist, just exile all these players to a 31st team, which, for our purposes, we'll call The Las Vegas Compliance. Here is their sweater:
And here is their roster.
Martin Havlat - Brad Richards - David Booth
Ryan Malone - Mikhail Grabovski - Daniel Briere
Deryk Engelland is the newest member of the Calgary Flames, as the early stages of the Brian Burke era continue to be about the accumulation of truculence. Brian McGratton. Brandon Bollig. And now, three years of Deryk Engelland.
At $2.9M. Per year.
Trust us, we checked. When Bob McKenzie initially broke the deal, he gave no indication as to whether the number he cited was the total or the cap hit, but naturally, looking at what Engelland brings to the table -- he's a versatile guy who can play either defense or wing, but neither well -- and looking at what he made last year (about half a million), we just assumed he was making just shy of three million over the lifetime of the contract.
Nope. 32-year-old depth defenseman Deryk Engelland will earn $8.7 million dollars in the next three years, because Brian Burke hasn't changed a bit. Somewhere, Mike Komisarek smiles and nods.
One wonders if Burke's Doc Brown hair has begun to seep into his brain.
2:56 p.m. ET - The Martin Havlat signing in New Jersey reunited him with friend and fellow countryman Patrik Elias. "Hope he can be the player that he was and I believe I can help him do that," Elias said. The Czech guys really seem to stick together.
2:41 p.m. ET - Zach Redmond signs in Colorado for two years at $750k a season. It's their biggest signing of the day!
2:37 p.m. ET - It's been two and a half hours and $412 million has been handed out. Actually, make that $412.6 million, as Steve Bernier has re-signed with the Devils for $600k.
2:32 p.m. ET - Anton Stralman signed a five-year, $22.5 M deal to join the Tampa Bay Lightning. With Hedman, Stralman, Garrison and Carle, the Lightning have a pretty nice top-four now. It's a great deal, especially juxtaposed with that awful Orpik deal. For the same term, the Lightning got Stralman for $5M less.
2:27 p.m. ET - Jiri Tlusty has re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes for one year at $2.95M.
1:49 p.m. ET - Tanner Glass's new contract with the New York Rangers will pay him $1.45M a year for the next three. That's a bad deal for a replacement-level player, but I played Scrabble with Tanner Glass once and he's nice, so good for him. Glass will slot in alongside Dominic Moore on the fourth line, as Moore has also recided to remain in New York at $1.5M over two.
1:48 p.m. ET - Stephane Robidas signs with the Leafs, who have been stocking up on right-side defensemen this offseason. It's a three-year, $9 million deal.
1:41 p.m. ET - The Thomas Vanek sweepstakes are over, and after all that, he signs, shockingly, stunningly, exactly where everyone thought he would sign. The winger is headed to Minnesota, to rejoin his buddy Jason Pominville for the next three years. He'll make $6.5 million per year. That's a reasonable signing for the Wild. It's probably too high, but it's not for too long, and according to Mike Russo, Vanek turned down more money and more term elsewhere.
Assuaging fears that the Leafs were going to "Bozak" hard once again this summer, where Bozakking is like Tebowing, except instead of striking a vaguely religious pose, you overpay a centre for his intangibles, while ignoring his mediocre underlying numbers, Dave Bolland has signed instead with the Florida Panthers.
It's a five-year deal that will pay Bolland $5.5 million per year, which is over half a million higher than what the Leafs were willing to give.
But Bolland has other reasons for going to the Panthers beyond the money. The weather, for one thing. That's what he told TSN.
But there's also the Dale Tallon connection. Tallon and Bolland worked together in Chicago when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, and Bolland told Sportsnet that their history was a big part of his decision to go down south.
"I was drafted by Dale," he said. "He built that team to win that first Stanley Cup in Chicago. I feel Dale has that same chance here to build this team to be like that Chicago team."
Bolland knows he's not going to Florida to be a no. 1 center (although for that money, he should probably try to score a few goals).
One of the biggest name free agents of 2014 is off the market, as Paul Stastny has signed with the St. Louis Blues for four years, at $7 million per year.
Pardon the truism, but that's a lot of money. It's a lot of money for a guy that was never really worth the $6.6 million cap hit on the deal he had in Colorado over the last five years. And it's a lot of money for a guy that really only started to look even close to worth it in the playoffs, while skating alongside wingers superior to the ones he'll have in St. Louis.
But that's what it takes to snag the best guy, and the Blues wanted the best guy badly. This is a team desperate to improve, desperate to get over the hump, and desperate to be more offensive in order to hang with and, ideally, defeat the friggin' Chicago Blackhawks.
David Backes has been carrying the load in St. Louis for years, but he's a two-way centre, which means he's got some other stuff to do besides score goals, and there hasn't been anyone behind him that can pick up the scoring slack when he has to go into shutdown mode.
For years now, the best battle in Edmonton has been the one between the Oilers front office and their blogosphere -- a bunch of old-school hockey guys making moves based on ideals like character, heart, and "toolsiness" versus a bunch of new-school guys crying out in the online wilderness for moves based on possession metrics and other quantifiable, non-magical elements. It's been fun.
But on the first day of free agency, the Oilers reached across the gap, signing advanced stats darlings Benoit Pouliot ( at $20 million over five years) and Mark Fayne (at $14.5 million over 4 years).
Pouliot spent last season with the New York Rangers, skating on their third line and doing what he does best: driving possession, chipping in timely goals, and generally being an effective forward.
He's a "bust who can play", as Tyler Dellow put it. Pouliot was drafted fourth overall in 2005 by the Minnesota Wild, and never really materialized into the sort of player that you expect to get with such a high draft pick. But he's remained in the league because, while he's not a superstar, he tilts the ice in his team's favour, and does a lot of little things well.