Thu Oct 03 03:05pm EDT
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.
• That probably had to have hurt.
• Patrick Roy was fined $10,000 for his antics last night against the Anaheim Ducks and Bruce Boudreau. [NHL]
• Jaromir Jagr has visited Pittsburgh many times as a visiting player. Yet this season the Penguins decided to replace an image of No. 68 from their locker room with one of Mark Recchi ahead of his visit as a member of the New Jersey Devils tonight. [Tribune Review]
• Ville Leino cracked a rib last night versus the Red Wings and is out indefinitely. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]
• Among the rules already in the rulebook that the NHL is finally deciding to actually enforce this season is the length of goalie stick paddles, which must be 26 inches maximum. [In Goal Mag]
• Henrik Lundqvist is removing himself from contract talks with the New York Rangers now that the season has begun. [NY Post]
• The St. Louis Blues open their season tonight, but Brenden Morrow may not be in the lineup, thanks to the U.S. government shutdown affecting his ability to obtain a work visa. [STL Today]
• Great read by Katie Baker on Seth Jones and living up to the pre-Draft hype. [Grantland]
Thu Jul 04 03:36pm EDT
Two days ago, Mike Heika reported that the Dallas Stars were looking to add not one but two centers, in hopes of moving Jamie Benn back to his natural position at the wing.
On Thursday, the Stars did exactly that, acquiring Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley from the Boston Bruins as part of a blockbuster, seven-player deal on the eve of free agency.
Heading back to Boston: all-star winger Loui Eriksson.
The full deal, according to TSN's Darren Dreger, sees the Stars acquiring Seguin, Peverley, and defensive prospect Ryan Button in exchange for Loui Eriksson, blueline prospect Joe Morrow, who moves for the second time this year, and right wingers Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.
It's a deal that completely remakes the Stars' forward corps, clearing the way for Benn to replace Eriksson at left wing while improving their previously decimated centre depth. From the Dallas News:
The two right-handed centers are exactly what the Stars need, as they have shed top-line centers Brad Richards, Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy in recent years and are hoping to move their No. 1 center Jamie Benn back to left wing. Stars GM Jim Nill said on Tuesday after the Stars’ pursuit of free agent center Vincent Lecavalier ended fruitlessly that he still was hoping to acquire two centers in order to move Benn back.
“That’s my thinking. I believe that’s his natural position,” Nill said.
Seguin would go a long way to making that wish come true. Listed at 6-1, 182, Seguin is a fast skater, a skilled puck handler and a right-handed shot. He has been playing almost exclusively on the wing because of Boston’s depth at center, so he would get a chance to return to his natural position, as well. While the loss of Eriksson would be a serious blow for the Stars, it would open the door for players like Alex Chiasson, Brett Ritchie or Valeri Nichushkin to play in the top six or would create an opportunity for a veteran like Erik Cole to step up.
Nichuskin is an interesting name to bring up. The Russian winger has been vocal about not wanting to come to North America unless he has a spot in the NHL, and it sure looks like this move makes some room for that. With the acquisition of Sergei Gonchar earlier this year, the Stars have a veteran, Russian-speaking mentor in the waiting for him. This could would out very well for a Dallas team in transition.
As for the Bruins, it looks like Peter Chiarelli wasn't bluffing on moving Tyler Seguin after all. Let this be a lesson to anyone else: shape up, or you'll be shipped the flip out.
Thu Mar 28 12:11am EDT
Update: Shortly after this report, the Calgary Flames stunned everyone by announcing that Jarome Iginla had been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, not the Boston Bruins. What an utterly crazy night.
On December 20, 1995, an 18-year-old Jarome Iginla was traded to the Calgary Flames, along with centre Corey Millen, for superstar forward Joe Nieuwendyk, and for the last 18 years, that's where he's been. In the nearly two decades Iginla has spent wearing the Flaming "C" -- and, for much of that time, another, smaller "C" -- he's established himself as simply the greatest player Calgary's ever had, setting franchise scoring records, and even leading the Flames to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2004.
But everything ends, and on March 27, 2013, 6308 days after he arrived, Iggy's incredible run as a member of the Calgary Flames came to a close.
Jarome Iginla has been traded to the Boston Bruins, according to TSN's Aaron Ward. It sounds like we don't get official confirmation from either club until the morning, but the deal appears to be done nonetheless.
In exchange, the Flames reportedly receive centre Alex Khokhlachev, defenceman Matt Bartkowski, a 1st round pick, which may be conditional, and a massive hole in their hearts where Iginla used to be.
For those wondering how Bruins' GM Peter Chiarelli would respond to Pittsburgh's acquisitions of Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray, your answer is, "with gusto". The Eastern Conference is going to be a dogfight the rest of the way.
Here's your snap analysis on the trade: Jarome Iginla makes the Bruins better. He's very, very good, even as he begins to slow down.
Wed Aug 15 10:05am EDT
(This month, Puck Daddy asked bloggers for every NHL team to tell us The Essentials for their franchises — everything from the defining player and trade, to the indispensable fan traditions. Here's Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Empty Netters blog, giving us The Essentials for the Pittsburgh Penguins.)
By Seth Rorabaugh
Player: Mario Lemieux
Talk about easy choices.
Instead of rehashing the laundry list of Lemieux's incredible on-ice accomplishments, which most hockey fans are familiar with, let's examine his impact to the franchise.
Prior to drafting Mario Lemieux in 1984, the Penguins were the pinnacle of irrelevancy. In Pittsburgh, they were the third team in the city's hierarchy of pro sports franchises. Throughout most of the Penguins' existence up until 1984, the Pirates and Steelers were winning championships with superstars such as Roberto Clemente and Terry Bradshaw. Meanwhile, the Penguins were barely getting in the playoffs with above average players such as Rick Kehoe. Outside of Pittsburgh, they were another team for dynasties such as the Canadiens and Islanders to pad stats against.
Lemieux arrived in 1984 via the draft and changed everything. The Penguins began selling out games. They became an opponent you circled on the calendar, if for nothing else, to watch the most spectacular individual talent since Bobby Orr. And with the Pirates and Steelers on the decline that decade, Lemieux became the city's sole superstar.
As Lemieux challenged Wayne Gretzky for the title of "best player in the game," the Penguins began to surround him with complimentary talent such as Paul Coffey and Kevin Stevens. After winning the Hart Trophy and Art Ross trophies multiple times, Lemieux would bring the one big trophy which counts the most to Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992.
A successful battle against cancer in 1993 would add to his legend. He would retire in 1997 having grown frustrated with the clutching and grabbing which had crept into the sport.
Off the ice, the franchise was struggling under owner Howard Baldwin. Lemieux saved the Penguins once again by buying them out of bankruptcy.
In 2000, Lemieux gave Penguins fans one more thrill when he emerged from retirement and became the first player/owner in modern NHL history.
After battling with politicians for more than a decade, Lemieux would help ensure the franchise's security in Pittsburgh with the construction of Consol Energy Center.
Today, the Penguins stand as one of the NHL's healthiest and most high-profile franchises due largely to the efforts of Lemieux. With out Lemieux, the Penguins would have become the Carolina Hurricanes or the Colorado Avalanche a long time ago.
Simply put, no one has ever meant more to a professional North American sports franchise than Mario Lemieux - on or off the ice.
Thu Jul 05 06:19pm EDT
If there was one surprise trend among this year's free-agent dealings, it was the complete confidence with which hockey's general managers threw money and term at the game's quadragenarians.
There was Ray Whitney, who, four decades into existence, signed a two-year deal that will pay him $4.5 million each year with the Dallas Stars. He was later joined by Jaromir Jagr, twoscore and 1-year-old next February who signed for one year at $4.55 million.
So $4.5 million is apparently just what you pay 40-year-olds now, because it's also what Martin Brodeur accepted for another year in New Jersey. He'll be backed up by 39-year-old Johan Hedberg, the Walter Matthau to his Jack Lemmon.
There's also Sami Salo, who's still a true whippersnapper at a young and spry 38, but he's also been injured 41 times. The man isn't exactly in mint condition any longer. He's been run through the spokes of life's bicycle several times. But that didn't stop the Tampa Bay Lightning from giving Salo $7.5 million over two years, a big raise on his one-year contract with Vancouver from last season.
Something in the NHL has changed. Two years after chasing Mike Modano out of town at 40, the Stars dropped nearly $10 million on two aging vets. They're as obsessed with 40-year-olds as Judd Apatow. And Sami Salo, the oldest 38-year-old alive, can't scare Steve Yzerman away from a two-year commitment. What's going on?
Simple. Over the last two years, the NHL has managed to do something Hollywood's actresses have been attempting to do, with little success, for generations: remove the stigma of turning 40. Here are three ways it's happened:
Mon Apr 09 10:22am EDT
The 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Wednesday evening, and there are plenty of plotlines to keep an eye on during the coming weeks. Here are 10 of the best:
1. It's been 14 years since someone's done it. Can Boston go back-to-back?
The Bruins played 107 games last season. That's a lot of hockey. With a short summer and another 82-game grind behind them, what's left in their tank? There's a reason why the Stanley Cup is so hard to win. There are even more reasons why it's so tough to win twice in a row. Everything that may have gone right for the Bruins a year ago may not fall into place this spring. Tim Thomas had the playoffs of his life in 2011. Can he repeat that? David Krejci led the Bruins in goals en route to the Cup. Can he step up again? How much will Nathan Horton's absence affect Boston? Is Brian Rolston 2012's version of Mark Recchi? The further the Bruins go, the more questions will be answered.
2. Are the No. 1-seeded New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks safe in the first round?
Since the NHL went to the 1-8 conference format, a No. 8 seed had upset a No. 1 nine times. The last coming in 2010 when the Montreal Canadiens beat the Washington Capitals in seven games. That's nine times out 36 series. That's a decent amount of upsets for what should be an "easier" matchup for the top seeds. But in the playoffs, anything can happen and one hot goaltender or the stepping up of several key players on an underdog can result in an upset.
The Rangers face an Ottawa team they went 1-3 against in the regular season. Those numbers get wiped out of the minds of Rangers' players, but the Senators will likely use that success as extra motivation, and the knowledge that despite all their success, they've proven they can hang with New York and Henrik Lundqvist. Vancouver outscored Los Angeles by 54 goals during the regular season, but allowed 19 more. The Canucks' offensive talent could easily be slowed by likely Vezina and potential Hart Trophy candidate Jonathan Quick.
Tue Mar 20 03:02am EDT
Mark Recchi should enter the Hockey Hall of Fame one day as one of the NHL's most prolific scorers and a three-time Stanley Cup champion. Not to mention his renowned medical credentials ...
Yes, the "Dr. Recchi" meme — established when he claimed the Montreal Canadiens embellished Max Pacioretty's injuries in order to leverage a suspension for Recchi's Boston Bruins teammate Zdeno Chara — has lived on well after his retirement last summer. The Province's Legion of Blog has even turned him into a reoccurring character.
On Monday night, "Dr. Recchi" popped up in an inexplicable place: During Sportsnet's coverage of the Vancouver Canucks' loss to the Minnesota Wild, as Henrik Sedin passed him on the all-time NHL Iron Man Streak list with 571 consecutive games played. As you can see, the graphic included Recchi's full medical title.
Here's the clip in question, with a little Boston Bruins-centric surprise at the end:
Kudos to the sinister techie who thought this one up. We have diagnosed you with a case of awesome. (UPDATE: Techie in question -- producer Greg Shannon, according to Dan Murphy. Thanks to Jon Cable.)
Wed Feb 23 12:00pm EST
If you put a national holiday, a low-budget three-ring circus and CNN's election night coverage into a blender, hit puree and added a dash of fan anxiety, you'd have the recipe for the NHL's Trade Deadline Day.
The fact that the hype hasn't matched the results in recent years has diminished it a bit, despite there having been more trades (31) and players moved (55) last season than on any deadline day in the past 20 years. Plus, trades happen earlier and earlier ahead of the deadline. We toss around the word "blockbuster" like we're discussing the movie box office, but there's a comparison to be drawn: Summer movie season now begins in March; the NHL trade deadline window has grown to about a month.
The following is a list of the 20 biggest, most significant trades on NHL Trade Deadline Day since 1980. It purposely leaves out trades made before the actual deadline; no Ray Bourque to the Avalanche or Dwayne Roloson(notes) to the Oilers or Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) to the Devils. It also leaves out trades that were more about great drafting than they were the trade, i.e. the Buffalo Sabres using a fifth-rounder they snagged on deadline day on Ryan Miller(notes).
These are simply the top 20 trades to shock the world or help create a champion, which should be the aim of every team at the deadline, but one that frequently takes a back seat to financial considerations.
The top 20 most significant NHL trade deadline deals. Enjoy.
Trades that resulted in a Stanley Cup are given extra weight. And here ... we ... go.
Too small-scale? Consider that Maltby would go on to become a key defensive cog on four Stanley Cup champions after pulling a minus-29 in parts of three years with the Oil. An essential building block for the Winged Wheel dynasty.
19. March 10, 1987: Marcel Dionne traded to New York Rangers by Los Angeles Kings with Jeff Crossman and Los Angeles' 3rd round choice (later traded to Minnesota - Minnesota selected Murray Garbutt) in 1989 Entry Draft for Bob Carpenter and Tom Laidlaw, March 10, 1987.
Please understand the magnitude of this deal on the "WTF?!" Scale: Dionne was 35 years old and the second-leading point scorer in NHL history. Rangers GM Phil Esposito added him in the final moments before the deadline, as Dionne and the Kings were in a contractual squabble. Espo's reasoning:
"I'm going for it this year or next year, and I think Dionne can really help. I'm doing the same thing the Rangers did when they acquired me at the end of my career."
Dionne scored 4 goals in 14 games after the deal, and then 31 in 67 the following season. By 1989, GM Neil Smith had decided he'd no longer be part of the team.
Oilers management didn't like the effort they were seeing from Satan, as his point production dipped from his rookie season. So they traded him to the Buffalo Sabres, where he was a 40-goal scorer two years later. Combined games for Barrie Moore and Craig Millar with the Oilers? Forty.
17. February 26, 2008: Brian Campbell(notes) traded to San Jose Sharks by Buffalo Sabres with Buffalo's 7th round choice (Drew Daniels) in 2008 Entry Draft for Steve Bernier(notes) and San Jose's 1st round choice (Tyler Ennis(notes)) in 2008 Entry Draft, February 26, 2008.
Campbell was one the most coveted players at the deadline (and a free-agent sell-off for the Sabres). San Jose won the derby, and he posted 19 points in 20 games for them, and then another seven in 13 playoff games. The performance would help propel him to an absurd free-agent contract with the Blackhawks that the team still can't get out from under. Meanwhile, that Ennis fellow seems like he has some potential.
16. March 18, 1997: Larry Murphy traded from Toronto Maple Leafs to Detroit Red Wings for future considerations.
The veteran defenseman was an underwhelming performer and a lightning rod for criticism during his time with the Leafs, so they shipped him to Detroit and agreed to pay part of his salary. That spring, he led the playoffs with a plus-16, did the same as a plus-12 the following postseason and drowned out any critics back in Toronto with two (more) Stanley Cup rings plugged in his ears.
15. March 9, 2006: Mark Recchi(notes) traded to Carolina Hurricanes by Pittsburgh Penguins for Niklas Nordgren, Krys Kolanos and Carolina's 2nd round choice (later traded to San Jose, later traded to Philadelphia - Philadelphia selected Kevin Marshall(notes)) in 2007 Entry Draft.
The acquisition of Doug Weight(notes) was almost as vital, but The Recchin' Ball scored seven goals and was a key leader on the ice in the Carolina Cup run during his only season with the franchise. The perfect rental.
Before there was Ilya Kovalchuk, there was another Russian sniper the Devils gave up a ton of treasure to acquire. GM Lou Lamoriello kicked his team in the tail by trading two of the franchise's best young players for free-agent-to-be Mogilny. (The Canucks agreed to foot some of his $5.2 million salary.) Mogilny would help the Devils win the Cup that season and play well in getting them back to the Finals the following season. Morrison posted 71 points as a pivot for the Canucks three years after the deal.
13. March 10, 1980: Jerry Korab traded from Buffalo Sabres to Los Angeles Kings for Los Angeles' 1st-round pick in the 1982 Entry Draft (Phil Housley).
Korab wasn't terrible in 1980, as the former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman logged minutes and played parts of four seasons with the Kings. But giving up a first-rounder for him two years down the line was nutty; the Kings were a 74-point team in 1980 and a 63-point team in 1982. Hence, the pick was in the top six, and became the legendary Phil Housley.
12. March 13, 2001: Keith Tkachuk(notes) traded to St. Louis Blues by Phoenix Coyotes for Michal Handzus(notes), Ladislav Nagy, the rights to Jeff Taffe(notes) and St. Louis' 1st round choice (Ben Eager(notes)) in 2002 Entry Draft.
Stop us if you heard this one before: Financial troubles in Phoenix. It's what necessitated the trade of Tkachuk, one of the NHL's top power forwards, to the Blues for what was a considerable return at the time. Handzus was later flipped to Philly for Brian Boucher(notes) and Nagy could never break the 60-point ceiling. Tkachuk, meanwhile, retired as a Blue nearly a decade later.
11. February 27, 2007: Ryan Smyth(notes) traded to New York Islanders by Edmonton Oilers for Ryan O'Marra(notes), Robert Nilsson(notes) and NY Islanders' 1st round choice (Alex Plante(notes)) in 2007 Entry Draft.
Significant because (a) Smyth was in talks for an extension with the Oilers right before they pulled the trigger on a stunning deal and (b) because it was an uncharacteristically aggressive move for the Islanders. He had 15 points in 18 games, helped them make the playoffs (then went out in five games) and then signed with the Colorado Avalanche in the offseason. A true deadline shocker.
10. February 26, 2008: Marian Hossa(notes) traded to Pittsburgh Penguins by Atlanta Thrashers with Pascal Dupuis(notes) for Colby Armstrong(notes), Erik Christensen(notes), Angelo Esposito(notes) and Pittsburgh's 1st round choice (Daulton Leveille) in 2008 Entry Draft.
Ray Shero's big splash as Penguins GM, as he traded two popular forwards and what was considered a potential blue-chip prospect for the Thrashers' soon-to-be free-agent sniper. Hossa helped the Penguins to the Cup Finals before bolting for a 1-year mercenary contract with the Red Wings. Dupuis, then a throw-in, is as vital a forward as the Penguins have that's not named Sid, Geno or Jordan.
9. March 19, 2002: Jamie Langenbrunner(notes) traded to New Jersey Devils by Dallas Stars with Joe Nieuwendyk for Jason Arnott(notes), Randy McKay and New Jersey's 1st round choice (later traded to Columbus, later traded to Buffalo - Buffalo selected Daniel Paille(notes)) in 2002 Entry Draft.
An aggressive move by Lou Lamoriello that shook up the Devils and laid the foundation for their 2003 Stanley Cup. Langenbrunner would later become team captain before being sent back to Dallas in 2010 (in a trade made by GM Joe Nieuwendyk, no less). It was a strange move for Doug Armstrong, as he broke up a logjam at center ... by acquiring another center. Said Richard Durrett of Stars Blog: "This one haunts Stars fans."
8. March 8, 1988: Geoff Courtnall traded to Edmonton Oilers by Boston Bruins with Bill Ranford and Boston's 2nd round choice (Petro Koivunen) in 1988 Entry Draft for Andy Moog, March 8, 1988.
A remarkable trade for two reasons. First, because it solidified the Bruins' goaltending with Reggie Lemelin and Moog, helping the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals ... where they'd meet Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers, who captured the Cup. Second, because Ranford would meet the Bruins again in 1990, this time as a starter, defeating Moog in the Finals for another Oilers' Cup.
7. March 21,1994: Mike Gartner traded to Toronto Maple Leafs by New York Rangers for Glenn Anderson, the rights to Scott Malone and Toronto's 4th round choice (Alexander Korobolin) in 1994 Entry Draft
The Rangers made several moves in constructing their 1994 Stanley Cup championship, and there's no question that the trade of Tony Amonte for Brian Noonan and Stephane "Matteau Matteau" Matteau could challenge this entry. But dealing Gartner meant dealing (a) one of the League's best offensive stars at the time and (b) a major move for Coach Mike Keenan away from Gartner's style to a more physical one at the forward slot. It worked.
6. February 26, 2008: Brad Richards(notes) traded to Dallas Stars by Tampa Bay Lightning with Johan Holmqvist for Jussi Jokinen(notes), Jeff Halpern(notes), Mike Smith(notes) and Dallas' 4th round choice (later traded to Minnesota, later traded to Edmonton - Edmonton selected Kyle Bigos) in 2009 Entry Draft.
His $7.8 million salary was too much for the Lightning, so they traded one of the "Big 3" to Dallas in an absolute blockbuster that hasn't exactly been a windfall for the Bolts. Despite not yet owning the team, Oren Koules and Len Barrie helped orchestrate this deal, despite Jay Feaster's protests. Boy, those guys were just full of win.
5. March 23, 1999: Chris Chelios(notes) traded to Detroit Red Wings by Chicago Blackhawks for Anders Eriksson(notes) and Detroit's 1st round choices in 1999 (Steve McCarthy) and 2001 (Adam Munro) Entry Drafts, March 23, 1999.
In 1999, Chelios denied asking out of Chicago, via the Chicago Tribune:
"I swear on four of my kids' heads that that's not true at all," Chelios said. "I have no interest in being traded anywhere. There is no such thing as that type of deal. As bad as things are right now, I want to be here when this thing turns around and lead the charge."
The 'Hawks had other designs, dealing him to the rival Red Wings for two first-round picks that became a journeyman (McCarthy) and a goalie who played 17 NHL games (Munro). Chelios, meanwhile, would play nine more seasons and collect two Stanley Cup rings with Detroit.
4. March 24, 1998: Bryan Marchment traded to San Jose Sharks by Tampa Bay Lightning with David Shaw and Tampa Bay's 1st round choice (later traded to Nashville - Nashville selected David Legwand(notes)) in 1998 Entry Draft for Andrei Nazarov and Florida's 1st round choice (previously acquired, Tampa Bay selected Vincent Lecavallier) in 1998 Entry Draft, March 24, 1998.
This trade, and the one that saw the Lightning acquire a third-round pick from the Flames that became Brad Richards, were the definitive moments in the franchise's history. The Richards deal ... well, finding that kind of talent in the third round is good drafting.
This swap of first-round picks was also drenched in good fortune. The Panthers gave up their No. 1 for Viktor Kozlov(notes), and that pick was then sent to Tampa Bay by the Sharks. The Bolts had the worst record in hockey, yet the Panthers "won" the lottery. So Tampa got Vinny, the Predators got Legwand with the Tampa pick and San Jose selected Brad Stuart(notes) third overall.
The most lopsided trade in deadline day history; hell, it's one of the most lopsided in sports history. Via Towel Power, a remembrance:
There simply wasn't any room for [Naslund] in a scoring capacity. So, in an attempt to shore up on toughness for the upcoming playoff run, the Pittsburgh Penguins dealt Markus Naslund to Vancouver for Alek Stojanov who, up to that point, was best known for beating the [crap] out of Eric Lindros in junior hockey.
While many considered the deal to be in Vancouver's favor at the time, nobody could have imagined just how lopsided the deal would become. Stojanov played 54 NHL games after the trade, accumulating six points before succumbing to an injury sustained in a car accident. Naslund went in the opposite direction.
That's putting it kindly. Naslund would score 756 points for Vancouver over the next 12 seasons.
2. March 10, 1980: Butch Goring traded from Los Angeles Kings to New York Islanders for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis.
That pretty much says it all. If the trade deadline is meant to add the last piece of the puzzle, then Billy Torrey found it in the gritty Goring, who won a Conn Smythe for the Isles during their dynasty. Lewis would bounce around the Kings, Devils and Red Wings until 1988.
1. March 4, 1991: Ron Francis, Grant Jennings and Ulf Samuelsson traded from Hartford Whalers to Pittsburgh Penguins for John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski.
For many, it's the trade that defines the deadline. Francis was a Whalers legend, but had been stripped of his captaincy and put on the trade block. Cullen, meanwhile, was the centerpiece of the trade: fifth in the League in scoring and just 26 at the time. Many Penguins fans weren't thrilled with the trade at first ... until it became a foundational move that helped Pittsburgh win its first Stanley Cup, as Francis scored 17 points in 24 games and was soon established as a perfect No. 2 center behind Mario Lemieux.
From Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters, here's Francis on his reaction the trade:
"I just had my daughter a couple of weeks earlier so we were dealing with that as new parents. You're leaving every body at home to come here. When I got here and played a few games with this team, I got really excited. I said to Ulf Samuelsson one night after a game, I thought this team was good enough to win."
After the trade, it certainly was. As for Cullen, the Leafs poached him from the Whale but injuries impacted his career. He eventually recaptured some of the magic with the Tampa Bay Lightning ... right around the time Francis was still putting up 90 points with the Pens.
Simply put: The trade that defines the risk and reward of the deadline.
Wed Feb 09 02:50pm EST
When Brad Marchand(notes) made the Boston Bruins roster out of training camp, he was thought to be nothing more than a fourth-line energy guy. When the team was down, send out Marchand to provide a spark and a bit of jam if the team needed it.
As we now approach mid-February, Marchand's minutes per game haven't changed drastically since October, but his production has put his name into the Calder Trophy discussion. The rookie out of Boston making headlines was supposed to be No. 2 overall pick Tyler Seguin(notes), not this third-round pick from 2006 finally taking advantage of his big break.
What's helped the 22-year old Nova Scotia native's development has been the promotion in lines and his new mates next to him: Patrice Bergeron(notes) and the ageless Mark Recchi(notes), the top two point-getters on the Bruins roster. Playing with those two veterans creates a lot of opportunities for Marchand and his ability to capitalize on his chances has given head coach Claude Julien all the more reason to have faith in him.
From the Boston Herald:
"I think he was a guy who competed hard, and last year if there was anything, I thought in his first year it was him having trouble maintaining that grit and that type of game night in and night out," Julien said. "As far as his (offensive) production, I always thought he had a great shot.
"I think he's building confidence and knows he can give a little bit more to his team, and he gets more experience. I think the grit is still there, but productively he's gotten better."
For Marchand, it seems like the bounces are finally going his way as he noted to ESPN Boston last month:
"I don't think anyone even thought that I might score 10 this year," Marchand said. "It was nice to kind of have a little offensive play here and there, but I don't care what anyone says. I have to go to work here. Whatever happens, that's how it goes.
"I thought I might be able to score 10. I knew I could make it. Last year I know I could have had a bunch, and they just weren't going in, they weren't bouncing the right way. This year, I knew if I kept getting opportunities they were eventually going to go in."
Playing in a tough city like Boston, Marchand is the type of player the Beantown crowd falls in love with easy: a hard-working grinder that'll give up the body (18 blocked shots), kill penalties, stick up for a teammate when things get chippy, and hustle his way around the rink.
He's a kid who wasn't expected to contribute to the lineup like he has and took his 20-game opportunity last season to heart and adjusted his game to give him a better chance at sticking with the Bruins full-time.
Marchand's breakout season may not be enough for him to pass Carolina Hurricanes super rookie Jeff Skinner(notes) in the minds of Calder voters, but with an extended chance to produce next to Bergeron and Recchi, he should be able to boost his stats enough to potentially warrant inclusion as a Calder finalist.
Sun Jan 23 02:15am EST
Ovechkin's first hat trick of the season and 10th of his career powered the Capitals to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He crashed the crease to deflect a Jeff Schultz(notes) shot for his first goal. His second was scored from the slot. His third was an empty netter, giving him 19 goals on the season. Watch his trick here.
Marchand ended the game with an empty netter and the first 4-point effort of his NHL career (2 goals, 2 assists), as the Boston Bruins topped the Colorado Avalanche, 6-2. One of his goals was Mark Recchi(notes) has a goal and two assists and Milan Lucic(notes) had two goals.
Bobby Ryan scored his 22nd in regulation and the lone goal in the shootout as Anaheim rallied around Saku Koivu's(notes) return to Montreal with a 4-3 win over the Canadiens. Jonas Hiller(notes) made 37 saves on 40 shots and stopped all three shootout chances. Mathieu Darche(notes) and Max Pacioretty(notes) (2 goals) rallied the Habs for the tie in the third, with Pacioretty tying the game with 13 seconds left.
Honorable mention: The Pittsburgh Penguins held off a late rally by the Carolina Hurricanes for a 3-2 victory. Mark Letestu(notes) and Pascal Dupuis(notes) scored third-period power-play goals. Eric Staal(notes) had his 23rd for the Canes. Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) made 24 saves and skated out wearing a Steelers helmet (again) during three stars. ... Tremendous rally from the Columbus Blue Jackets, as they scored five unanswered goals and three in the third period to beat the St. Louis Blues, 5-2. Andre Murray, Rick Nash(notes) and Fedor Tyutin(notes) had the third-period tallies. ... Tomas Kopecky(notes) scored twice for the Chicago Blackhawks and Corey Crawford(notes) made 36 saves in their 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Cory Emmerton(notes) scored his first NHL goal for the Wings. ... Devin Setoguchi(notes) scored two goals, his first tallies since Jan. 1, as the San Jose Sharks topped the Minnesota Wild, 4-3. ... Patrik Elias(notes) scored two goals and Johan Hedberg(notes) was outstanding in the New Jersey Devils' 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. .... ... Brian Boyle's(notes) third-period goal sent the game to overtime and Mats Zuccarello(notes) (video) had the lone goal in the shootout to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win at the Atlanta Thrashers. ... Alex Tanguay's(notes) wild shootout goal gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Tim Jackman(notes) had a goal and assist; Alex Edler had two goals for the Canucks. ... Jarret Stoll(notes) scored a hard-working goal at 4:57 of the third period to break a tie and give the Los Angeles Kings a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Lee Stempniak(notes) had two goals for the ‘Yotes. ... They couldn't get him No. 1 star, but Canadiens fans gave former captain Saku Koivu a very warm reception. ... Matt Hendricks'(notes) breakaway goal for the Washington Capitals was deke-tastic:
Did you know? The Sharks posted a team-record 25 shots in the second period for the second straight game. (AP)
Dishonorable mention: Erik Johnson(notes) of the Blues had 14 penalty minutes, including a third-period misconduct. ... Craig Anderson(notes) was pulled after two periods for the Avs. ... Chris Summers(notes) was a minus-3 for Phoenix. ... Finally, tough to watch this one: Bruins center Marc Savard(notes), who suffered a devastating concussion last season, was hit into the glass by former teammate Matt Hunwick(notes) early in the second period. He left for the dressing room and will have receive a medical evaluation back in Boston soon.