Friday, July 31, 2009

VETERAN SERGEI ZUBOV RETURNS TO RUSSIA, SKA ST.PETERSBURGH (KHL)


After a 16-year NHL career, Sergei Zubov is heading home as the 39-year old blueliner has signed with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.


SERGEI ZUBOV. DALLAS STARS

Zubov, who has spent his last 12 seasons with the Stars, only played 10 games with Dallas in 2008-09 because of a hip injury that required surgery. In those 10 contests, he recorded four assists.

The Moscow-native was drafted by the New York Rangers in 1990 with the 85th overall draft pick. Known as one of the better puck-moving defenceman and power play specialists of the last decade, Zubov has 152 goals and 619 assists in 1068 career games.

He helped the Rangers capture the Stanley Cup in 1994 then helped lead the Dallas Stars to their first Cup in franchise history in 1999. He also captured an Gold medal for the Commonwealth of Independent States at the 1992 Olympics.

In the late 1990s, the Dallas Stars emerged as one of the dominant franchises in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup in 1999 and returning to the finals in 2000. Night in and night out, coach Ken Hitchcock sent out an incredible lineup that boasted goalie Ed Belfour and skaters Brett Hull, Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk, to name just a few. But it may be said that no other player has been as crucial to the team's success as its Russian defenseman, Sergei Zubov.

An offensive-minded rearguard, the 6-foot 1-inch, 200-pound Zubov adds tremendous scoring as well as consistent leadership on the power play. "He brings his great skill with him, and his performance has been so consistent," says Stars general manager.

Zubov played four seasons with Moscow's Central Red Army team, between 1988 and 1992. He represented the Soviet Union at the World Junior Championships in 1989 and 1990, when his teams won the gold and silver medal respectively. He was also a gold medal winner as a member of the Unified Team at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. He played for Russia at the 1992 World Championships a fifth-place finish, and at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, where his team placed fourth.

In 1990 the New York Rangers drafted Zubov in the fifth round with the 85th overall pick. They assigned him to their AHL farm team in Binghamton, New York, in 1992, and after 30 games he'd registered 36 points and earned a promotion. In his first 49 NHL games he generated a promising 8 goals and 31 points. His second season, 1993-94, he reached his offensive zenith, scoring 77 assists and 89 points. He added 5 goals and 19 points during the playoffs to help the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup since 1940. Hockey Hall of Fame

SCOTTY BOWMAN JOINS TOP FIFTY ALL-TIME GREATES COACHES


Chicago Blackhawks Senior Advisor, Hockey Operations Scotty Bowman has been listed at number seven in The Sporting News Magazine's Top 50 Greatest Coaches of All-Time list, which was released on Wednesday. Bowman is the highest ranked National Hockey League coach on the list, as selected by a panel of 118 Hall of Famers, championships coaches and other experts.




"I feel honored and privileged to be considered in such elite company," Bowman said. "It is a reflection on the many great Hall of Fame players that I had the good fortune to coach.

Bowman, who joined the Blackhawks Hockey Operations Department on July 31, 2008, has been a member of 11 Stanley Cup winning teams since 1973, which includes an NHL record nine as a head coach. The Montreal native is also the NHL's all-time leader with 1,224 regular-season wins and 223 postseason victories. Prior to joining the Blackhawks, Bowman has held a position in professional hockey since 1967.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1991, Bowman is the only man in the history of the sport to lead three different teams to the Stanley Cup and has reached the league Finals 13 times as a bench boss. As a head coach, he has captured the Cup with the Montreal Canadiens (1973, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979), Pittsburgh Penguins (1992) and Red Wings (1997, 1998 and 2002). He served as the director of player development on Pittsburgh's 1991 Stanley Cup winning club and most recently celebrated his 11th league title with the Red Wings in 2008.

Bowman has coached an NHL record 2,141 contests and has captured the Jack Adams Award as the league's best coach twice (1977 and 1996). He also spent time behind the St. Louis Blues' bench (1967-71) and the Buffalo Sabres' bench (1979-87), while guiding his squads to the postseason in 29 of his 30 years as a head coach. He has coached in an NHL-best 13 All-Star games, which includes his final season in 2002, when he led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup after posting 51 wins and 116 points during the regular-season. Statistically, Bowman registered his best season in 1995-96 when his Detroit team racked up an NHL record 62 wins.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

THE US HALL OF FAME NEWCOMERS


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Longtime NHL stars Tony Amonte, Tom Barrasso and John LeClair, the 1998 women's Olympic team and the late Frank Zamboni are headed to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Amonte scored the winner at 17:25 of the third period versus Canada in the deciding game of the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996. In 1,174 games over 15 years in the NHL, he recorded 416 goals and 484 assists.


TONY AMONTE

Barrasso won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins and won 369 games in the regular season and 61 more in the playoffs.

LeClair was the first American-born player to record three consecutive 50-goal seasons in the NHL and finished his career with 406 goals and 413 assists in 967 games.


JOHN LeCLAIR

The '98 women's hockey team won gold at the Nagano Olympics, beating Canada 3-1 in the gold-medal game.

Zamboni, who originally owned a plant for manufacturing block ice, patented the world's first self-propelled ice resurfacing machine in 1949. They have since become standard at rinks around the world.

Today we are introducing FRANK ZAMBONI


FRANK ZAMBONI

In 1949 Zamboni invented a device that completely revolutionized the entire ice resurfacing process. It took the 90-minute, three-man chore and reduced it to a 10-minute, one man job. That very same year he applied for a patent for the new machine and created Frank Zamboni & Company in Paramount in order to build and sell his new invention. He was granted the patent in 1953. Zamboni's ice resurfacing machines were first built on top of a Jeep CJ-3B. Then, between 1956 and 1964 they were built upon stripped Jeep chassis. As demand grew for the "Zambonis", a second factory was opened in Brantford, Ontario as well as a branch office in Switzerland. In the 1970's Zamboni created machines that could remove water from outdoor artificial turf fields, remove the painted stripes from those surfaces and rolling up/laying down artificial turf in stadiums. His last invention came in 1983an automatic edger that removes ice buildup from the edges of rinks. Two years after his wife died, Frank Zamboni lost his battle with lung caner in 1988 at the age of 87. His Zamboni company is still owned and operated by his son and grandson.



Frank Zamboni was born January 16, 1901 in Eureka, Utah the son of Italian immigrants. He grew up near the town of Pocatello, Idaho where is parents bought a farm when young Frank was just a year old. It is on this farm that he developed certain mechanical skills that would benefit him later in life. In 1920, he and his younger brother Lawrence relocated to the Los Angeles area where Frank's older brother George owned an auto repair business.

Zamboni never skated an NHL shift, but was instrumental on the game of hockey nevertheless. Born in 1901 in Eureka, Utah, Frank, along with brother Lawrence relocated to southern California in 1920 and immediately placed their footprint on the game. In 1923, Frank married and the couple went on to have three children. As the demand for their cooling devices grew into the produce industry, the Zamboni brothers built a plant that produced block ice that was used to transport the product across the country on rail cars. As the technology surrounding modern refrigeration improved, and demand for the block ice shrank, Frank and his brother Lawrence looked to other ways to make their expertise with ice pay off. After being in the industry for nine years, Zamboni got the patent for the world's first-ever self-propelled machine used to resurface ice.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ALEXANDER OVECHKIN IS READY TO QUIT NHL FOR 2014 OLYMPICS




Total Pro Sports - Winning the Stanley Cup is the goal most hockey players have when they begin playing the sport. They dream of hoisting it (and maybe throwing in an expletive while they're at it), having a pool party with it, and when that is all done, taking it to bed to spoon it while sleeping.

However, that dream is not the same for everyone. Some players look to international competition as the most prestigious brand of hockey. One of those players is Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. With the 2014 Olympics set to take place in Sochi, Russia, Ovechkin has stated that he will quit the NHL to play in the games should the league not come to terms with the IIHF on a new agreement that would allow their players to participate in the marquee international event.


This could give the NHL extra incentive to get a deal in place which would allow players to participate in the 2014 Olympic Games. The 2010 games in Vancouver will showcase the NHL's talent on an international level, and in the previous three Winter Olympics, such competition has provided extraordinary battles and great results.

Russian players have often shown a great deal pride in their home country, which gives us reason to believe that others may follow a similar stance to that of Ovechkin. This can be especially threatening to the NHL, which has already begun to see evidence of the KHL's rise overseas. Should the matter not be settled, it could provide further assistance to the growth of their rival league. And besides, who would Don Cherry make fun of should Ovie leave?

Here is a clip of his interview where he states his intentions to leave the NHL if it means playing in the 2014 Olympic Games.

VINNY PROSPAL - LIGHTINGS: DIVORCE


The Tampa Bay Lightnings on Tuesday informed left wing Vinny Prospal that the team is buying out the remaining three years of his contract.


VINCENT "VINNY" PROSPAL

Tampa Bay general manager Brian Lawton sent a letter of intent to Prospal and his agent informing them of the team's decision. Prospal has 24 hours to request not to be placed on waivers, otherwise he automatically goes through waivers and any team that picks him up would be responsible for the remaining $10.5 million on his contract. If he elects not to be placed on waivers, Prospal would receive the buyout and become an unrestricted free agent.
Vaclav Prospal played his junior hockey with Motor Ceske Budejovice in his native Czech Republic. It was there that the long arm of the Philadelphia Flyers' scouting staff caught a hold of his NHL rights in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.

A two-time member of the Czech Republic World Junior team in 1994 and 1995, Vincent Prospal turned pro immediately upon his selection by the Flyers, joining the Hershey Bears of the AHL for three seasons of development. In his fourth year, Prospal played the bulk of the campaign with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL before making his first leap into NHL action with the Flyers just ahead of the playoffs. From that point forward, he has remained an NHL regular.

Following a career year with the Lightning in 2002-03, Prospal signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the summer of 2003. Upon his arrival in Anaheim, Prospal struggled offensively and subsequently was re-acquired by Tampa Bay in the summer of 2004. After spending a year leading the Czech Extraliga's Ceske B Ceske Budejovice hockey team in scoring during the NHL lockout, he returned to the NHL in 2005-06 and tallied a career high in goals (25) and points (80). After less of an offensive output in 2006-07, prospal recorded 29 goals and 57 points in 62 games during the 2007-08 season with the Lightning before he was dealt to the Flyers at the NHL trade deadline on February 26, 2008. His return to Philadelphia was short lived however, after only 18 regular season and 17 playoff games he was acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the day of the NHL draft.

Aside from his two World Junior appearances, Prospal has also represented his homeland at the 2000, 2004 and 2005 World Championships, as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2006 Winter Olympics.

KABERLE IS NOT HURRICANE ANY MORE


The Carolina Hurricanes are parting ways with the player who scored the goal that won them the Stanley Cup in 2006.

The Hurricanes said Tuesday they have bought out the remaining year on the contract of defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, who would have made $2.2 million. Kaberle will now collect almost $1.5 million over the next two seasons.



FRANTISEK KABERLE. 2006 STANLEY CUP WINNER

The 35-year-old Kaberle had the winning goal in Game 7 of the Cup finals against Edmonton in 2006. He had nine goals and 73 assists with Carolina from 2005-2009.

Kaberle had been the subject of trade rumors and was placed on waivers last season. His exit comes after the Hurricanes reshaped their defense by signing Andrew Alberts to a two-year deal and re-acquiring Aaron Ward from Boston.

When Frantisek Kaberle's younger brother Tomas stepped into the Toronto Maple Leafs line up and started turning heads as a solid puck moving defenseman, NHL clubs took a longer look at him. Frantisek Kaberle was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings shortly after Tomas completed his rookie season and, like his younger brother, he stepped right into the NHL without much difficulty.

In 2004-05 due to the NHL lockout Kaberle skated with Modo of the Swedish league prior to competing for his hometown club in Klando of the Czech league. When NHL play resumed, he returned for his for first full season as a Hurricane and produced his most offensive season at the time tallying 44 points. Heading into the playoffs healthy, Kaberle suited up for each of Carolina's 25 playoff games. In game seven Kaberle scored the game-winning goal which granted the Carolina Hurricanes the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Throughout his playing career, Kaberle has represented the Czech Republic at the 1993World Junior Championships as well as the 2006 Winter Olympics and is a seven-time member of its World Championship team (1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ANDY DELMORE JOINS RED WINGS


The Detroit Red Wings have signed defenseman Andy Delmore, who last played in the NHL during the 2005-06 season with Columbus.


ANDY DELMORE

Delmore spent the past two seasons in Germany, notching 19 goals and 47 assists for 66 points in 103 games during that span.

The 32-year-old veteran has appeared in 283 NHL games with Philadelphia, Nashville, Buffalo and Columbus. He has compiled 43 goals and 58 assists for 101 points.

During the 2002-03 season with the Predators, he led all NHL defensemen with 14 power-play goals.


Born in LaSalle, Ontario, Andy Delmore played Junior B in Chatham then excelled in the OHL with the North Bay Centennials and Sarnia Sting. Delmore went on to play four games with the AHL's Fredericton Canadiens in 1996-97 before returning to Sarnia for his final year of Junior. In June, 1997 he signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers and went on to score 39 points for the club's AHL affiliate in 1997-98. Delmore played another year-and-a-half before joining the NHL on a full time basis.

After looking solid in 27 games with the Flyers in 1999-00, the talented blueliner played 66 games for the club the next season. He scored five goals, played improved defence and showed signs of utilizing his shot while playing the point with the extra man.

Delmore's stay in Philly came to an end following the 2000-01 season, as he found himself with the Nashville Predators. Upon his arrival with Nashville, Delmore quarterbacked the team's powerplay for two seasons, registering 72 points (34-38-72) before being dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in the summer of 2003.

Following two strong seasons in Nashville, Delmore struggled for ice-time with the Sabres and ended up with the Boston Bruins in the latter stages of the season before heading to Germany in 2004-05. Coming off solid season in Germany, Delmore looked to regain his form with the Detroit Red Wings, however, prior to the 2005-06 season was claimed on waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Delmore spent most of the 2005-06 season with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL, recording 72 points and appeared in only a handful of games for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

On July 1, 2006 Delmore was signed as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
However, his stint with the Lightning was short lived as the team would send him to Atlanta in February, 2007. He would spend the remainder of the year with the Thrashers AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. After competing in North America throughout his entire hockey career, Delmore opted to sign as a free agent with the German League's Hamburg Freezers in 2007.

EVGENI MALKIN, OKSANA KONDAKOVA ENJOING MIAMI BEACH SUMMER


Total Pro Sports - After a tough post-season that concluded with him raising both the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy, Pittsburgh Penguins all-star forward Evgeni Malkin has been taking some time off in Miami Beach to enjoy the sun, sand, booze, and Oksana Kondakova, his incredibly hot girlfriend.



Pictures have been floating around the internet of the two, along with some friends, on the beach, by the pool, and out on the town at night. It looks as though they have been having themselves a good time, but unfortunately there is no Stanley Cup in sight. Surprising when you consider its swimming abilities. Maybe it is still in bed with Sidney Crosby.
It appears as though Oksana had a bit of trouble putting on the top portion of her swimsuit properly, or maybe that's just the way they make them in Russia, but we don't mind. Anything to get rid of the tan lines I guess.

GENO, IT LOOKS BETTER THAN MAGNITOGORSK, DOESN'T IT?

LOCAL GUY WAYNE PRIMEAU COMES TO HELP EVER-STRUGLING LEAFS


The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired forward Wayne Primeau and a second-round draft pick in 2011 from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenceman Anton Stralman, forward Colin Stuart and a seventh-round draft pick in 2012.


WAYNE PRIMEAU by 4.bp.blogspot.com

Primeau, a 33-year-old native of Scarborough, Ontario played in 24 games for Calgary in 2008-09 and registered four assists with 14 penalty minutes. The 6-4, 225-pound forward missed 58 regular season games and the playoffs this past season due to a foot injury. In 715 career NHL games with Calgary, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Boston, he has recorded 186 points on 66 goals and 120 assists with 754 minutes in penalties. Primeau was originally Buffalo’s first choice, selected 17th overall, in the 1994 Entry Draft.

Stralman split the 2008-09 season between the Maple Leafs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. In 38 games for the Maple Leafs he collected one goal and 12 assists along with 20 penalty minutes. With the Marlies he earned seven goals and nine assists along with 24 minutes in penalties. Stralman was selected by the Leafs 216th overall in the 2005 Entry Draft.

Stuart was originally acquired by the Leafs along with Garnet Exelby from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Pavel Kubina and Tim Stapleton on July 1, 2009. Stuart played for both Atlanta and the AHL’s Chicago Wolves in 2008-09. In 33 games with the Thrashers he had five goals and three assists along with 18 penalty minutes.

P.J. AXELSSON RETURNS TO SWEDEN


The agent for checker P.J. Axelsson confirmed on Monday that the longtime Boston Bruins forward will play next season in his native Sweden.


P.J. AXELSSON AND MARCO STURM

Neil Abbott told the Boston Globe that Axelsson, 34, has signed with Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League.

Axelsson has played 797 NHL games with the Bruins, beginning with his rookie season in 1997-98. He has scored 103 goals and 184 assists for Boston, with 19 shorthanded points and 14 game-winning markers.

The Bruins did not offer the veteran a contract. Abbott said Axelsson is not necessarily marking an end to his NHL career, but that the Swedish deal made the most sense right now.

Axelsson began his pro career with Frolunda and also played for the club during the NHL lockout in 2004-05.

Born Per-Johan Axelsson, P.J. as he is known by his fellow teammates played four years with Vastra Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, before joining the Boston Bruins in 1997.

Drafted in the seventh round, 177th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1995, Axelsson has become a solid, two-way player, who as the seasons went by started to show more offensive skills in his overall game. In 2002-03, Axelsson established a career high in points with 36 (17-19-36).

Axelsson has amased an impressive international resume that includes a bronze medal with Sweden at the 1995 World Junior Championships, a silver medal at the 2004 World Championship, and a gold medal at the 2006 World Championship and Winter Olympics.

Monday, July 27, 2009

BLUES DEFENSEMAN ERIC BREWER: MAY NOT BE READY TO START SEASON


The Blues are acknowledging that Eric Brewer (back) may not be ready when the season starts Oct. 2, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.


ERIC BREWER

Brewer has shown improvement with the sciatic nerve issue affecting his right leg, but he is still not permitted to lift weights or ride an exercise bike. “Progress has been made, so we’ll live with that,” Blues President John Davidson said. “If there was no progress by now, we’d be nervous. I’m a glass half-full guy, so that’s how I’m looking at it. (But) if he can’t play, the emphasis for us will be to have a good start with healthy players.”

Eric Brewer played his junior hockey in British Columbia and by the time he was in midget hockey in Kamloops, realized he may be on his way to fulfilling his dream of playing in the NHL one day. In 1995-96, he joined the WHL's Prince George Cougars and scored 14 points as a major junior rookie defenseman. The following season, he improved to 29 points and played in the mid-season CHL Top Prospects Game. In 1997-98, Brewer was a WHL West Second Team All-Star despite playing just 34 WHL games, recording 33 points. He was selected to play in the mid-season WHL All-Star Game but missed the contest with an injury. He was also an assistant captain for Canada's silver medal World Junior team in 1998.

Aside from his World Junior experience in 1998, Brewer captured gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics and has represented his country four times at the World Championships (2001, 2003, 2004 and 2007), winning gold in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and helped anchor Canada's blueline to victory at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

THE TOP TEN THIS SUMMER MOST UNDERRATED SIGNINGS


As soon as the clock struck noon on July 1, the names started coming off the board and some of them were big. However, a bulk of the summer signings came and went off the transactions page with little fanfare, even though they all could be key acquisitions.

With that in mind, we offer you NHL.com's Top 10 list of the most underrated signings of 2009.


MIKE KNUBLE AND ALEX SEMIN WILL BE TEAMMATES NEXT SEASON

1. Mike Knuble, Washington -- The Capitals learned during their seven-game series against Pittsburgh that they were lacking a net-front presence. Knuble gives them exactly that. Look for him on the right side of Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin this season, especially on the power play. That could be a lethal line, with Knuble's grit serving as the perfect complement to the European flair of Ovechkin and Backstrom.

2. Rob Scuderi, Los Angeles -- Every team that wants to compete for a playoff berth needs a gritty, gutsy, reliable, stay-at-home defender, which is exactly what Scuderi is. That he won the Stanley Cup last season with Pittsburgh and was on the ice in the final minute of Game 7 only adds to his value. Young defensemen Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty will benefit from Scuderi's presence on the ice and in the locker room.

3. John Madden, Chicago -- The Blackhawks lost checking center Samuel Pahlsson to Columbus, so they quickly went out and lured Madden, a former Selke Trophy winner and two-time Stanley Cup winner with New Jersey, to the Windy City. Madden wins faceoffs, kills penalties and plays against the opposition's top lines. He is the ideal replacement for Pahlsson.

4. Samuel Pahlsson, Columbus -- Speaking of Pahlsson, the Blue Jackets did the smart thing by gobbling him up to be their third-line center behind Antoine Vermette and Derick Brassard. Pahlsson's presence will allow Vermette to play a more offensive role, ideally alongside R.J. Umberger and perhaps Nikita Filatov. Brassard could play between Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius. Pahlsson gives the Jackets more depth at center than they had last season and a reliable two-way guy to play against the opposition's top line.

5. Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron, New York Islanders -- Last season the Islanders were forced to go with Joey MacDonald and Yann Danis in goal as Rick DiPietro sat injured. The pair played admirably, but Roloson and Biron provide the ideal veteran support the Isles and DiPietro need. Now if DiPietro's health continues to be an issue, coach Scott Gordon doesn't have to worry about the state of his net.

6. Matt Walker, Tampa Bay -- The Lightning needed to remodel their defense and landed a big score with Mattias Ohlund, but don't underestimate Walker. He's a rugged defender, something the Lightning lacked, and gained playoff experience last season while playing 17 games with the Blackhawks.

7. Mikael Samuelsson, Vancouver -- Samuelsson signed because he believes he'll be given a more offensive role in the Canucks' top-six forwards, ideally playing with the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel. They will help Samuelsson provide offense in 5-on-5 situations, and his shot from the point on the power play will be a huge lift for a team that was 17th in that department last season.


MIKAEL SAMUELSSON (SWEDEN) AND ALEX SEMIN (RUSSIA)

8. Jay McKee, Pittsburgh -- What do you do when you lose stalwart, stay-at-home defenders like Scuderi and Hal Gill? If you're Penguins General Manager Ray Shero, you go out and sign McKee. The Blues bought out the final year of McKee's contract, making him a free agent. He's not going to wow anybody in the Steel City with his offensive skills, but he'll help make up for the losses of Gill and Scuderi.

9. Paul Mara, Montreal -- The Canadiens underwent a major roster overhaul with Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, Jaroslav Spacek and Hal Gill coming aboard. The most underrated addition, though, could be Mara. He's a reliable defender with a heavy shot. He's also a likeable guy who will get along well with teammates and will become a favorite with the Montreal media. That's an underrated skill.

10. Fredrik Sjostrom, Calgary -- Sjostrom is a durable fourth-liner who is adept at killing penalties and playing a starring role in the shootout -- he scored three times, including a pair of game-winners for the Rangers last season. Sjostrom's speed allows him to pressure opponents on the penalty kill. He's also good at blocking shots and clogging passing lanes. He'll give the Flames 12 solid minutes per game.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

HOCKEY GOALIE FATE


Consider the plight of an NHL goalie. The position of goaltender is a tough one. There's constant pressure.

You're the toast of the town, and a hero if the team wins, and the goat and butt of people's jokes if the team loses. There are only 60 jobs in the NHL for a goalie, and with the salary cap in place, the No. 1 guy can count on a pretty healthy dollar sum, but the majority of back-ups collect between $450,000 US and 900,000 per year. Plus, they rarely have the long term stability of a starter.


RAY EMERY

Take Ray Emery. He was exiled to Russia last season after numerous on- and off-ice incidents which aided in the collapse of the Ottawa Senators last season and his eventual buyout with the team. He had no suitors last summer from the NHL.

Ray packed his bags and headed off to make some money overseas, get his head screwed on right and prove to NHL GMs that he had learned his lessons.

Then there's Scott Clemmensen's path. He's a career back-up goalie and minor leaguer.

When Martin Brodeur got injured last November, Clemmensen came up from the minors to hold the fort for the New Jersey Devils 3 ½ months while Brodeur recovered from elbow surgery.

Clemmensen played like a man possessed. His play was far superior to veteran Kevin Weekes, and Clemmensen played a large role in getting the Devils into the playoffs and finishing first in the Atlantic Division.

Clemmensen parlayed his strong year into a three-year, 3.6 million dollar deal with the Florida Panthers. No doubt, we'll see Clemmensen more than the handful of appearances a year he made while backing up Brodeur.

This summer, there are plenty of goalies still out on the open market but few jobs remain available. Job prospects are limited, with the likes of Martin Gerber and Mikael Tellqvist signing in the KHL.


MARTIN BIRON

After being Philadelphia's starter last season, Marty Biron has taken a chance with the Islanders on a one year deal for 1.5 million dollars. New York already employs two starting netminders. The team committed to Dwayne Roloson on July 1 to back-up incumbent Rick DiPietro for 2 years and 5 million.

DiPietro, of course still has 12 years to burn off on his record making 15 year contract. Multiple injuries though have prevented the American from making a full impact with the Islanders since the massive contract was signed.

With the salary cap a factor, many teams are going with untested, affordable rookies as their back-ups. That's the route being taken by Boston, Detroit, Chicago, New Jersey and San Jose.

God help these teams if their No. 1 goalie suffers an injury that keeps him out of the line-up for an extended period of time, the way Brodeur was.

So now it's decision time for NHL-caliber goalies in contract limbo. Do you go the Ray Emery route and say goodbye to your friends and family, and your way of life in North America and take a chance and play hockey in Russia?

If it were happening to me, I think I'd suck it up and ride the buses in the American Hockey League. It's a tough pill to swallow for an NHL veteran for sure, but using Scott Clemmensen as the model, if Brodeur hadn't been able to come back in March from his injury and lead the Devils to the playoffs, it would have continued to be Clemmensen's opportunity.

When it's all said and done, hockey players are usually found to say the same thing, there's nothing like playing in the NHL, it's the greatest hockey league in the world and it's every boy's dream to win the Stanley Cup.

STILL WANT TO BE A GOALIE? Fundamentals of Goaltending DVD

Friday, July 24, 2009

SERGEY FEDOROV'S MONEY HAS GONE



SERGEI FEDOROV

Former Detroit Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov says a man entrusted to manage his money during the past 11 years swindled him out of US$43 million.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court, Fedorov says Joseph Zada of Grosse Pointe Shores also broke a promise to repay him $60 million by April 20.

The suit says Zada "acting in concert with others" and "intentionally lied to Fedorov" whenever he asked about the money.

There was no answer Thursday at a number listed for Zada in Grosse Pointe Shores.

Fedorov, the 1994 NHL MVP and three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Red Wings, has signed a two-year contract with a Russian club of the Kontinental Hockey League. He has also played for Anaheim, Columbus and Washington.

ALEX KOVALEV - NEW SENATORS ERA


OTTAWA -- While Cory Clouston introduced the newest member of his staff Thursday, talk turned to what's becoming an old story for the Ottawa Senators coach: what to do about Dany Heatley.


ALEX KOVALEV

Clouston, speaking on a conference call after the Senators announced the hiring of former NHLer Brad Lauer as an assistant coach, said he's yet to speak with his disgruntled star. It's Heatley's unhappiness over his diminished role and ice time since Clouston took over as head coach that's been cited as the reason for the left-winger requesting a trade out of Ottawa this spring.

"I'm more than willing to listen and talk to anybody, but nothing's changed at all," said Clouston, who was "surprised" at Heatley's request.

Clouston, who took over after Craig Hartsburg was fired on Feb. 2 and led the Senators to a 19-11-4 record down the stretch, has previously only spoken briefly with reporters at the NHL draft in June about the situation. Since then, the Senators have seen a proposed deal that would have sent Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers vetoed by the player. Clouston remains disappointed with the development.

"I really don't know what else to say," he continued. "(But) whatever cards we're dealt, I'll work with them. That's with or without Dany."

Earlier this week, the Senators welcomed talented-but-enigmatic forward Alex Kovalev to Ottawa for the first time since he signed a two-year, US $10-million deal as a free agent earlier this month.

Despite a reputation as not necessarily being the easiest player to work with for a coach -- a label the Senators and Kovalev himself don't feel is fair -- Clouston is thrilled about the addition of a player with talent to burn, especially if forced to enter the season without Heatley's offence.

"My first reaction was I was just very excited for the organization," Clouston said. "Alex brings something into the mix who can change a game in and of itself.

"Obviously, there's been a lot of negativity surrounding the organization (over Heatley). It's like a breath of fresh air."


ALEX KOVALEV - "A BREATH OF FRESH AIR"


Lauer moved into coaching after finishing his playing career with the Sheffield Steelers of the British Super League in 2001-02. The past two seasons, he's been an assistant with the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals.

"I appreciate the opportunity that (Clouston) has given me here," Lauer said. "I'm excited about it and I feel very comfortable making this next step.

"I've got to get to know the guys from the team. I know from watching the Senators play the last couple of years that they're an exciting team, they bring a lot of work ethic."

MARIAN HOSSA NEEDS SURGERY


CHICAGO (AP)—The Chicago Blackhawks say recently signed right wing Marian Hossa will undergo surgery Friday on his right shoulder to repair a small tear in his rotator cuff.


MARIAN HOSSA

Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement the recovery usually takes about four months, meaning Hossa probably won’t be ready for the opener against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 2.

The Blackhawks knew about the injury when they signed the five-time All-Star to a 12-year, $62.8 million contract on July 1 and were hoping to avoid an operation. But his shoulder did not respond well enough to treatment the past few weeks.

“After consulting with my family and the Blackhawks, I have no doubt that this is the correct decision,” Hossa said in a statement. “I plan on being a member of the Blackhawks for a very long time, which is why I want to get this done and begin my career in Chicago at 100 percent.”

Hossa signed with the Blackhawks after helping the Red Wings reach the Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to Pittsburgh. He led Detroit with 40 goals last season and was third with 71 points.

Hossa’s arrival coincided with the departure of Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat, who signed with Minnesota. The Blackhawks hope Hossa will give them even more punch to a team that reached the Western Conference finals last season.

“Marian is a franchise player and we want what is best for him and the Blackhawks long term,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “This was a mutual decision and one we feel very confident is the right one.”

Thursday, July 23, 2009

SMART MOVE BY DEVILS TO SIGN ZAJAC



TRAVIS ZAJAC. NEW JERSEY

NEWARK, N.J.(AP) —Center Travis Zajac avoided salary arbitration and signed a multiyear contract with the New Jersey Devils.

“During his previous three seasons in the National Hockey League, Travis Zajac has proven to be among the top young players in the game, and has developed into one of the core players on our team,” Devils chief executive Lou Lamoriello said in announcing the signing on Wednesday.

Zajac, 24, had career highs with 20 goals and 42 assists last season, and a team-leading plus-33 mark. He played in all 82 games for the second straight season, adding a goal and three assists in the postseason.

Zajac, whose arbitration was to start later this week, has 51 goals and 87 assists in three seasons.

MARTIN BIRON HAS LEFT FLYERS


UNIONDALE, N.Y.(AP) —The New York Islanders have agreed to terms with goalie Martin Biron on a one-year deal.

Biron was 29-19-5 for the Flyers last season, with a 2.76 goals-against average, and led Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh.

“Adding Marty gives us three bona fide No. 1 goalies,” general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “We learned about the importance of stability in our lineup from last year and he now allows us to have another quality starter.”

The 6-foot-3 goalie has a career 2.59 GAA in 433 NHL games with Philadelphia and Buffalo.

TUOMO RUUTU CAN RELAX IN FINLAND

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—The Carolina Hurricanes have locked up Tuomo Ruutu for three seasons.

The Hurricanes said Thursday that they avoided arbitration with the physical forward by signing him to a deal worth $11.4 million.

The 26-year-old Ruutu is coming off a regular season in which he had career highs with 26 goals, 28 assists and 54 points, then added a goal and three assists during the Hurricanes’ run to the Eastern Conference finals.

Ruutu will make $3 million this season, $4 million in 2010-11 and $4.4 million in 2011-12. He made $2.25 million last season.

General manager Jim Rutherford calls Ruutu “one of the cornerstones of our team moving forward.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

5 QUESTIONS WITH OILER DENIS GREBESHKOV


The Edmonton Oilers have signed restricted free agent defenceman Denis Grebeshkov to a one-year contract worth $3.15 million.


DENIS GREBESHKOV. LOKOMOTIVE

The signing avoids salary arbitration between the Russian defender and the club.

Last season the 25-year-old scored seven goals and 32 assists for 39 points in 72 games.

Grebeshkov made his way to Edmonton in 2007, via a trade with the New York Islanders in exchange for Marc-Andre Bergeron and a third round selection in 2008.

Originally drafted 18th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Grebeshkov has played in 176 games over four NHL seasons with Los Angeles, New York and Edmonton, talling 10 goals and 53 assists, as well as 80 penalty minutes.



Denis Grebeshkov was born October 11, 1983 in Yaroslavi, Russia. The first round, 18th overall selection of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Grebeshkov honed his skills in the Russian leagues before making his North American and NHL debut in 2003-04.

A three-time member of Russia's World Junior team and a two-time Gold medalist (2002-2003), Grebeshkov spent the better part of his rookie season in North America with the Kings AHL affiliate in Manchester while seeing his first action in the NHL during the second half of the 2003-04 season.

An offensively gifted defenseman, Grebeshkov continued to hone his skills in the AHL while seeing limited action with L.A. before having his rights acquired by the New York Islanders just prior to the NHL trading deadline in 2006. Grebeshkov's stint as a Islander was short lived as the club would send him to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Marc-Andre Bergeron and a 3rd round selection in 2008.

Internationally, aside from representing Russia at the three IIHF World Junior Championships, Grebeshkov captured a gold medal at the 2008 World Championships.

ENVER LISIN IS A RANGER OFFICIALLY


The New York Rangers Tuesday signed restricted free agent forward Enver Lisin.


ENVER LISIN. PHOENIX COYOTES

Lisin, 23, was acquired by the Rangers from the Phoenix Coyotes, in exchange for Lauri Korpikoski. He skated in 48 games with Phoenix last season, scoring 13 goals and 8 assists, along with 24 penalty minutes. Lisin established career-highs in games played, goals, assists, points, penalty minutes, game-winning goals (2), and shots (105). He tied for second on the team in even strength goals (12), tied for third in goals scored at home (eight), and tied for fifth in total goals. He posted four multi-point performances, including a career-high, three-point effort on March 30 against Dallas (2 goals, 1 assist). In addition, Lisin recorded six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in 10 games with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season.

Lisin, 6-2, 200 pounder has skated in 78 career regular season games in three seasons for the Phoenix Coyotes, scoring 18 goals and 10 assists. Lisin made his NHL debut on Oct. 14, 2006 at Nashville, and recorded his first career point with an assist in his next game on October 17, 2006 at St. Louis.

Enver Lisin was born April 22, 1986 in Moscow, Russia. Phoenix's second round, 50th overall selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Lisin honed his skills in his homeland prior to making his North American debut with the Coyotes.

An elite skater, Lisin signed his first professional hockey contract with Ak Bars Kazan in Russia. After a solid rookie year with the club, he returned and helped the team win the league championship the following season. Lisin finally made his North American debut in 2006-07, skating with the Coyotes in a few preseason games. He went on to play 17 games with the Coyotes but was asked to join the club's AHL affiliate in San Antonio. After Lisin refused report to San Antonio, the Coyotes suspended him for the remainder of the season and Lisin returned to Russia to compete once again with Ak Bars Kazan.


ENVER LISIN. SAN ANTONIO

" The guy that I was really excited with was Enver Lisin. I thought he did a great job with his growth in maturity. His off ice habits and his focus were much better. In taking the time to get to know him, I really found that he has a real purpose to himself. In San Antonio we were able to make a positive impact on him as far as getting him to be a more explosive player. When he keeps his feet moving, he is a very strong player at this level and certainly a hard guy to handle. I think both mentally and physically he was able to make huge strides. It’s interesting because I really think that as he gets more confidence and structure, he will be able to take his game to another level."
GREG IRELAND the Head Coach of the San Antonio Rampage.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

KOVALEV ASKS HEATLEY TO STAY, BUT DANY IS CONSIDERING SAN JOSE...



DANY HEATLEY AS SENATOR...STILL

Newly signed Senator Alex Kovalev says he's hoping Dany Heatley will still be wearing an Ottawa uniform this season.

Kovalev told reporters today that he knows Heatley from playing with the star left-winger in Russia during the NHL lockout. And if he had a chance to speak to him, he would urge the disgruntled winger to stay put.

Heatley has asked to be traded, giving the Sens a list of possible destinations.

Kovalev joined the Sens earlier this month from Montreal as a free agent. The 36-year-old right-winger signed a two-year deal worth US$10-million.


ALEX KOVALEV AS CANADIEN

The Sharks remain possible suitors for Heatley, the Vancouver Sun reports.

Heatley to the Sharks is pure speculation at this point, and apparently, Sharks GM Doug Wilson has a firm grip on the rules for talking about other team’s players. “I’m not talking about somebody else’s player, period,” he said to the San Jose Mercury News. “I’d be furious if another team talked about Joe Thornton or Dan Boyle, and I would file tampering charges.” You might know that Heatley, a controversial winger, has been the subject of trade talks with Edmonton, albeit discussions that are dying out. With that in mind, the Sharks are more in line with what Heatley could be seeking: A high-caliber offense that would afford him plenty of scoring chances and opportunities on the power play.

GERMANY HAS SOME BIG HOCKEY PLANS...




Not yet a super power in the mold of Canada, Russia and the United States, but never a pushover by any means, the German Ice Hockey Association (DEB) is preparing in earnest to leave its mark on the hockey world in 2009-10.

On Monday, 32 players opened a five-day summer camp in Fussen, Germany that is billed as the initial evaluation for the Olympic Winter Games as well as the 2010 IIHF World Championships, which will be hosted by the German cities of Cologne, Mannheim and Gelsenkirchen from May 7-23.

All the invitees are from member clubs of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) except for defenseman Justin Krueger, who plays in the NCAA for Cornell and was a 2006 seventh-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes. Krueger, who scored one goal and five points in 35 games as a junior for the Big Red in 2008-09, is the son of Switzerland's national coach, Ralph Krueger.

Last season, there were seven German-born and trained players in the NHL, but none will be at the Fussen camp due to insurance reasons after discussions between the skaters and the German officials. Last week, the NHL Players' Association sent a letter to national hockey federations and players expressing concern that camp participants could be at risk due to lack of insurance. The NHLPA doesn't believe the federations are providing enough insurance to cover players' current contracts. NHL teams are not responsible for insuring their players at Olympic events.

The only player in Germany's camp with previous NHL experience is Kazakhstan-born goaltender Dimitri Patzold, who appeared in three games with the San Jose Sharks in 2007-08. Patzold also played 146 contests in the American Hockey League with a career record of 55-70-5-6. Michael Wolf, a forward who scored 27 goals and 55 points in 52 games for the Iserlohn Roosters last season, is the highest scoring German-born player in camp. He placed seventh in scoring in the DEL.

The final 23-man Olympic roster does not have to be filed with the IIHF until Dec. 31, so coach Uwe Krupp and other German officials will have the opportunity to scout the missing players when the next NHL season begins. But players like Marco Sturm, Jochen Hecht, Dennis Seidenberg, Christian Ehrhoff, Marcel Goc, Christoph Schubert and Thomas Greiss hardly need to vie for a roster spot. The insurance issue also means defenseman Robert Dietrich (Nashville), winger Philip Gogulla (Buffalo) and center Felix Schutz (Buffalo), all under NHL contract, will not be in Fussen.

Krupp, a defenseman who played 15 seasons in the NHL and was the first German to win the Stanley Cup (Colorado, 1996), was an Olympian at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, the first in which NHLers were allowed to participate. Sturm is the only NHL German to play in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Games. He has scored two goals and four points in 13 games.

Germany's 2006 NHL Olympians were Ehrhoff, Goc, Olaf Kolzig, Schubert and Seidenberg. Kolzig, the South African-born goaltender with 303 career NHL victories, is currently a free agent and at 39-years-old may not play again following a serious arm injury last season while with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Without these established stars, several players from Germany's Under-20 national team were added to the camp roster. The DEB Web site states the camp will include 11 on-ice training sessions which will be comprised of systems, reinforcement of individual abilities and talents and team building. Additionally, there will be off-ice activities and physicals.

"I'm looking forward to welcome the players in Fussen," Krupp said on the DEB Web site. "All the players prepared themselves conscientiously as the tests have shown, and we didn't have a single refusal. All players are committed to work hard to make the roster."

German Summer Camp roster

Goaltenders (5): Dennis Endras (Augsburg), Dimitri Patzold (Ingolstadt), Jochen Reimer (Wolfsburg), Sebastian Stefaniszin (Iserlohn), Youri Ziffzer (Hannover)

Defensemen (12): Michael Bakos (Ingolstadt), Jens Baxmann (Berlin), Nikolai Goc (Hannover), Frank Hordler (Berlin), Korbinian Holzer (Dusseldorf), Justin Krueger (Cornell University), Moritz Muller (Koln), Sebastian Osterloh (Frankfurt), Andre Reiss (Hannover), Denis Reul (Mannheim), Benedikt Schopper (Krefeld), Steffen Tolzer (Augsburg)

Forwards (15): Alexander Barta (Hamburg), Constantin Braun (Berlin), Michael Hackert (Mannheim), Kai Hospelt (Wolfsburg), Marcus Kink (Mannheim), Manuel Klinge (Kassel), Frank Mauer (Mannheim), Ulrich Maurer (Augsburg), Marcel Muller (Koln), Thomas Oppenheimer (Frankfurt), Elia Ostwald (Hamburg), Andre Rankel (Berlin), Yannic Seidenberg (Mannheim), Alexander Weiss (Berlin), Michael Wolf (Iserlohn)

Monday, July 20, 2009

DO YOU KNOW...


What year was the offsides rule introduced by the NHL?

Choose Your Answer:

A: 1926,
B: 1930,
C: 1950,
D: 1967

__________________________________________________

At the annual NHL Governors' meeting on September 27, 1930, a new offsides rule was passed, stating that: "The puck must be propelled into the attacking zone before any player of the attacking side can enter that zone."


THAT's OFFSIDE, BUDDY!

OUR GUEST FEDOR TYUTIN


Russian native Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman FEDOR TYUTIN is interviewed by Mark Malinowski - "The Hockey News" author.


FEDOR TYUTIN AGAINST DETROIT's ZETTERBERG

First Hockey Memory: “Well, my first hockey memory, when I think about my career, is, of course, how I started to play hockey. Back home we didn't have closed rink; it was open. And we skated only in the winter. It was pretty cold. So I remember how I froze my fingers."

Hockey Inspirations: "My heroes? Well, of course it was when I grow up, like (Viacheslav) Fetisov. I always was like excited to watch how he was playing. And proud of him, that we have a player like that."

Hobbies/Leisure Activities: "I like to fish, fishing in the summer. And I like cycling. And I can play soccer all the time in the summer, too."

Nicknames: "Well, ‘Toots’ I guess."

Favorite Movie: "Walk The Line.”

Favorite TV Show: "Here in America it would be Deal Or No Deal. I don't watch a lot of TV, so, it's one that I watch."

Musical Tastes: "I like techno."

First Job: "Would be hockey. I haven't worked in my life for money except hockey."

First Car: "It's Russian car - Lada (white)."

Pre-game Feeling: "Well, I just try to think in my mind who we’re playing against, what kind of players, what should I do against them. Just prepare my mind for it and just go through the basic, same routine I do for every game. Nothing really like extraordinary. Just prepare myself, my mind, for a tough game."

Favorite Meal: "I would say potato, like mashed potato, with meatloaf."

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: "I don't eat cereals; I eat oatmeal."

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Chocolate vanilla."

Greatest Sports Moment: "It's probably world junior championship (2002, 2003).”

Most Painful Moment: "Probably when we lost in playoffs 4-0 to the Devils (as a member of the Rangers in 2006), that was especially painful."

Worst Injury: "I would say that's my knee, ACL, as far as I remember."

Favorite Uniforms: "Well, I do like the Rangers shirt when you put on the (Statue of) Liberty. That would be my favorite."

Favorite Arena: "Madison Square Garden."

Closest NHL Friends: "I talk to a lot of guys my age who I play back home. I don't have like a best buddy here."

Funniest Player Encountered: "Kaspar (Darius Kasparaitis)."

Toughest Competitors: "Probably it would be Avery. (Why?) I just see how he drives nuts other people. I wouldn't want to play against him."

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "If I do something that I'm embarrassed of, I try to forget about it next day. So, I don't remember anymore."

Favorite Athletes To Watch: "I always looked at how Brian Leetch played. Few more guys, like Scott Niedermayer in Anaheim. It's pretty exciting to watch how he plays, skate and handle the puck.

Last Vacation: "Dominican Republic."

Personality Qualities Most Admired: "What I want to see in a guy? Well, I love when people are honest. Don't talk behind your back. That's most important thing I think in a personality - to be honest."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

DO YOU KNOW...


What was the first NHL team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles?

Choose Your Answer:

A: Montreal Canadiens,
B: Vancouver Millionaires,
C: Ottawa Senators,
D: New York Rangers

___________________________________________________

On April 4, 1921, the Ottawa Senators defeated the Vancouver Millionaires 2-1 in the decisive fifth game of the 1921 Stanley Cup Final. Jack Darragh scored both goals for the Senators, who became the first NHL team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.



OTTAWA SENATORS 1921 LOGO

DO YOU KNOW...


What was the first NHL team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles?

Choose Your Answer:

A: Montreal Canadiens,
B: Vancouver Millionaires,
C: Ottawa Senators,
D: New York Rangers


On April 4, 1921, the Ottawa Senators defeated the Vancouver Millionaires 2-1 in the decisive fifth game of the 1921 Stanley Cup Final. Jack Darragh scored both goals for the Senators, who became the first NHL team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.



OTTAWA SENATORS 1921 LOGO

Saturday, July 18, 2009

RYAN CALLAHAN - A BIG HIT ON BROADWAY



RYAN CALLAHAN CELEBRATES HIS GOAL

Of all his accomplishments, there was one honour in particular that summed up Ryan Callahan’s standout 2008-09 season.
In 1987-88, the New York Rangers established the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award in honour of a former New York Police Department who was shot on July 12, 1986, leaving him a quadriplegic.
Each year, McDonald personally presents a Ranger with a trophy and a cheque (in the player's name) made out to the Steven McDonald Foundation.
Last season, it was Callahan who was the recipient, a testament to all that he achieved in a breakout campaign for the 24-year-old right-winger.

“I think it was mostly about being more comfortable,” said Callahan, who scored 22 goals and had 18 assists in 81 regular season games. “I wanted to contribute more offensively, put up more numbers. I thought it went pretty well.”
Callahan likely sees it in such terms based on his past offensive output.
He played one year of high school hockey for Hilton High School and launched his junior career with the Rochester Junior Americans of the Empire Junior B Hockey League where he played for two seasons, 1999–2001, before moving on to the Syracuse Jr. Crunch and Buffalo Lightning of the OPJHL.
It was during his four-year period, 2002-06, in the Ontario Hockey League with the Guelph Storm, when Callahan, who was selected 127th overall by the Rangers in 2004, began to make serious inroads towards a career in the NHL.

A jersey Callahan, who recently signed a two-year contract with New York, is looking forward to putting on once again in the near future.
“It’s reassuring to know they want you to be here,” he said. “It shows they want me here in New York.”
Callahan is hoping the 2009-10 season brings even more success.
“The way I see my game is that I do everything I can out there to make a difference. There will be times when you’re not scoring and you have to find other ways to contribute. Whether it’s taking the body, blocking shots or providing strong defensive play, there is always something you can do. Doing the little things can make a big impact.”
It’s that extra effort that makes Ryan Callahan a big hit on Broadway.

Friday, July 17, 2009

CHRIS NILAN AND SHOPLIFTING



CHRIS NILAN

QUINCY, Mass. (AP)—A shoplifting charge against former NHL player Chris Nilan has been dismissed.

Braintree police say Nilan and another man were arrested Wednesday at a mall after Lord & Taylor security guards accused Nilan of walking out with a bathing suit under his clothes.

Police say the 51-year-old Nilan denied stealing and scuffled with the guards.

The case was dismissed Thursday after Nilan agreed to stay out of the store and paid $100 court costs.

Nilan, whose nickname was “Knuckles,” had more than 3,000 penalty minutes in a 13-year career with Montreal, the New York Rangers and Boston.

His home number is unlisted.

CHEREPANOV's DOCTORS - NOT TO BLAME


MOSCOW -- Team doctors are not to blame for the death of rising star Alexei Cherepanov, who collapsed during a Continental Hockey League game last year in Russia, investigators said Thursday.


ALEXEI CHEREPANOV

Doctors with the Siberian team Avangard Omsk had no reason to suspect that the 19-year-old Cherepanov suffered from a chronic heart problem and did not prescribe the medicine he was taking, the federal Investigative Committee said. Team doctors will not face a criminal investigation, it said.

Cherepanov, a first-round New York Rangers draft pick in 2007, died after collapsing on the bench during an Oct. 13 game in Chekhov, a small city outside Moscow. Authorities say an autopsy showed he suffered from myocarditis, a condition that obstructed blood flow to his heart and other organs.

Investigators questioned Avangard's players, coach and doctors as well as other medical specialists after Cherepanov's parents suggested team doctors were negligent in allowing him to play hockey, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

But doctors had no way of knowing about Cherepanov's condition, according to the statement -- which seemed to lay more blame on Cherepanov than anyone else.

It said medical experts suspect Cherepanov felt unwell because of his condition but hid the fact from team doctors for fear of being pulled from games.

"Avangard team doctors not only could not have diagnosed Cherepanov with chronic myocarditis while he was living, but could not have even suspected it," the statement said. It said detailed annual checkups since 2002 revealed no heart or circulation problems.

In December, the Investigative Committee said medical experts had concluded from analysis of blood and urine samples that Cherepanov "engaged in doping" for several months before his death.

But Thursday's statement said he had been taking cordiaminum, which apparently stimulates circulation and breathing as well as the central nervous system, suggesting he may have been taking it to treat his condition.

"It is impossible to determine how and with what aim this medicine was administered," it said.

Nobody has been charged in connection with Cherepanov's death.

Avangard's president, general manager and a team doctor were suspended indefinitely from positions in the league, and another Avangard doctor was suspended for two years.

The president of the host club, Vityaz, was also was suspended indefinitely amid complaints about medical services at the arena.

Nothing changed in Russia! The kid is dead - nobody to blame! Spectalular!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

RICK NASH: "HAPPY TO STAY IN COLUMBUS"


Resisting the allure of free agency was easy for Rick Nash.


RICK NASH - COLUMBUS CAPTAIN

Earlier this month, the 25-year-old native of Brampton, Ont., agreed to an eight-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets worth US$62.5 million. Nash would've been an unrestricted free agent after next season but said he always wanted to remain with the Jackets.

"It was pretty easy because Columbus wanted to get everything done and I wanted to stay in Columbus," Nash said Tuesday before opening the sixth annual Jake's House Golf Classic for Children with Autism. "It was just a matter of coming to a fair deal and we did, we got there."

The new deal will kick in after next season. The six-foot-four, 235-pound Nash will make $7 million in 2009-10.

"I had a good two months to think about it and talk with a lot of family and friends," Nash said. "I just went over my options over possible places I could go and at the end of the day after speaking with Scott (Jackets' GM Scott Howson) and the ownership at Columbus it was just the right fit.

"Columbus has become home and that's where I wanted to stay."

Nash established career and team highs last season with his 79 points (40 goals, 39 assists) in 78 games in leading Columbus to its first trip to the playoffs in the franchise's eighth season. It was also his first full season as captain.

The burly left-winger tied for the NHL lead in goals with 41 in the 2003-04 season. He was also Columbus's first overall pick in the 2002 draft and is the club's all-time leader in goals (194) and points (355) in 441 career games.

A four-time NHL all-star, Nash has led the club in goals for the past five seasons. And at last month's NHL awards in Las Vegas, he was named the winner of the NHL Foundation Player Award in recognition of his charitable work and commitment to the community.

This marks Nash's first year with the Jake's House golf tournament -- which was held Wooden Sticks Golf Course in Uxbridge, Ont. -- although he says he's been involved in the charity for the past four years.

"It's a great cause and something where I became friends with the family," Nash said. "It's nice to give back."

But Nash's summer is scheduled to come to an early end. He was one of 46 players invited to the Canadian Olympic hockey team's summer orientation camp in Calgary at the end of August.

Nash was a member of the '06 Canadian Olympic team that was a disappointing seventh in Turin, Italy. With the 2010 Games slated for Vancouver, Nash fully understands the weight of expectation that will be on this year's squad but readily accepts that challenge.

"My first Olympics was a bitter-sweet thing so if I got the opportunity to wear the jersey again it would be an honour," he said. "Just to think it's going to be in our own back yard, this one is going to be special.

"Anytime you play for Team Canada the pressure is so high to win. But I think it's going to help us a lot with our own fans behind us."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

STAN BOWMAN REPLACES TALLON AS GM

Since being named general manager of the Blackhawks in the summer of 2005, Dale Tallon worked tirelessly to put together a young and talented core of players that are supposed to bring a Stanley Cup back to Chicago.


DALE TALLON

Now it will be up to his former assistant to see it through.

The Hawks officially announced Tuesday that Tallon has been reassigned to Senior Advisor, Hockey Operations and replaced in the GM's chair by Stan Bowman, the son of legendary coach Scotty Bowman and an Assistant GM for the past two seasons.

The Blackhawks have scheduled a 4 p.m. ET news conference at United Center. It will be streamed live on NHL.com.

"We are very proud to promote Stan to his new position of general manager," Blackhawks President John McDonough said in a statement. "He brings a comprehensive knowledge of hockey, along with a tremendous intellect and methodical approach to building a successful team and sustaining success. His involvement with our organization and strong understanding of our roster and our system create a very natural and strong transition. Dale will continue to be an important part of our organization, as he has been for many years."

Bowman, who has a finance background, has been with in the Hawks for the last eight seasons. He spent four seasons as the Special Assistant to the GM, two as Director of Hockey Operations and the last two as an assistant GM. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1995 with a degree in finance and computer applications.

Scotty Bowman remains in the Hawks front office as Senior Advisor, Hockey Operations.

"It is an extreme honor to accept this promotion with the Blackhawks, an Original Six franchise," Stan Bowman said in the statement. "Over the last eight years I have been intricately involved in every facet of our Hockey Operations and take great pride in the talent and character that we have assembled. We will not rest until we reach our goal of winning the Stanley Cup and establishing consistent success for the Chicago Blackhawks and our fans."

Tallon, who has been with the organization for more than 30 years, has been credited for helping reshape the Hawks into a Stanley Cup contender. But he recently came under fire for sending qualifying offers to eight restricted free agents late.

He insisted the offers were sent out by the June 29 deadline. But eight RFAs -- Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg, Corey Crawford, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Troy Brouwer, Aaron Johnson and Bryan Bickell -- received their offers after the deadline.

The NHL Players Association filed a grievance, but the Hawks signed all eight players to new contracts. Barker and Versteeg, a Calder Trophy finalist, received three-year deals reportedly worth roughly $9 million; Tallon said both were "fair-market value" deals, though both were far more than the players made in 2008-09.

While that snafu and the public embarrassment it caused the Hawks certainly didn't help Tallon, there are questions in various print and online reports as to how much it really hurt him and whether he was on his way out the door anyway.

One report suggested there were disagreements in the front office about contract negotiations and style of play. Tallon was also going into the final year of his contract and while he told the Chicago Tribune he had not asked for an extension, the newspaper reported Tuesday that sources said he had twice been turned down.

Moreover, with the additions of Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky and John Madden as well as new contracts for Dave Bolland, Versteeg, Barker and the remaining restricted free agents, the Hawks are currently over the $56.8 million salary cap for 2009-10.

Stan Bowman will have until the day before Chicago's season begins in Helsinki, Finland, to put together a 23-man roster that meets the NHL's salary cap restrictions.


STAN BOWMAN

There are also serious questions as to how, with hefty contracts already doled out to Hossa, Brian Campbell, Cristobal Huet and Patrick Sharp, the Hawks will be able to re-sign core players Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith, all of whom can become restricted free agents after the 2009-10 season. Brent Seabrook and Dustin Byfuglien are due for new contracts after the 2010-11 season.

However, when Tallon announced the signings of Hossa and Kopecky on July 1, he said Hossa's 12-year contract worth a reported $62.8 million would not affect how the team handles its young core going forward.

Tallon took over the Hawks on June 21, 2005, after spending seven years as the team's Director of Player Personnel. He went about remaking the team.

He tried doing it on the fly by signing goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and trading for Sharp, but the Hawks finished in fourth in the Central Division and 14th in the Western Conference in 2005-06. They got to pick third in the 2006 Entry Draft, and Tallon selected Toews.

Prior to the 2006-07 season, Tallon brought in Martin Havlat via a trade, but the Hawks fared no better. Havlat played in only 56 games due to injuries, and the Hawks finished last in the Central and 13th in the West. They won the draft lottery and selected Kane first overall.

Tallon spent significant money in the summer of 2008, signing Campbell and Huet to long-term contracts. Four games into the season, he replaced Denis Savard behind the bench, bringing in former Colorado coach Joel Quenneville.

Of the 22 players currently listed on the Hawks roster on chicagoblackhawks.com, Tallon was responsible for signing, drafting or trading for 14 of them.

"I have been with this organization in several different capacities since coming over as a player in 1973 and although my position has changed, my goals have not," Tallon said in a statement. "In my new role as Senior Advisor, Hockey Operations I will continue in any way that will help make this a better product on the ice. I've seen Stan come up through our ranks and I'm confident he is the right person to step in. This is what is best for the Chicago Blackhawks."

Monday, July 13, 2009

NOW GRETZKY LOOKS UNHAPPY.


After remaining in the shadows for months, Wayne Gretzky has emerged and is looking to protect his interests in the Phoenix Coyotes.



WAYNE GRETZKY LOOKS UPSET

According to a report in the Toronto Star, "The Great One" has launched legal action in the Coyotes bankruptcy case to keep his personal finances private.

In court documents filed in anticipation of Monday's court hearing, the city of Glendale, Arizona has asked a bankruptcy court judge to look over Gretzky's income tax statements.

While playing the role of head coach and minority owner, the NHL's all-time leading scorer is also listed as a creditor who is owed $9.3 million.

The city is looking to strike Gretzky as a creditor and states that he is overpaid and that the money owed to him should instead be described as capital in the team.

The objection filed by Gretzky's lawyers reads as follows:

"The city has failed to even come close (in its arguments) to justify the massive privacy intrusion it seeks. The city has utterly failed to make any showing that could conceivably begin to overcome the strong presumption in favour of protecting the privacy of the personal, financial and proprietary information sought."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

VICTOR HEDMAN IS SIGHNED BY BOLTS


TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenceman Victor Hedman to a standard, three-year rookie contract on Thursday.


VICTOR HEDMAN. WOW! THE KID IS HUGE!

Hedman was the second overall pick in June's entry draft. He was rated as the top European player and one of the top two players overall available in the draft by NHL Central Scouting.

Tampa Bay general manager Brian Lawton said in a statement that the team was happy to get Hedman signed so that the rookie could focus on his development.

Hedman spent the 2008-09 season with MoDo of the Swedish Elite League.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

SAKU KOIVU: AU REVOIR, MONTREAL!


After spending his entire 13-year career in Montreal, Saku Koivu will be calling Orange County his home as the Anaheim Ducks have signed the free agent centre to a one-year, $3.25 million contract.


SAKU KOIVU

Koivu, 34, had been the Canadiens' second-longest serving captain. His nine seasons with the 'C' trailed only the legendary Jean Beliveau, who was captain for 10 seasons.

The move to Anaheim reunites Koivu with fellow countryman Teemu Selanne. The duo helped Finland earn a silver medal at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

"I'm very excited to join the Ducks this coming season," Koivu said in a statement. "I'm also looking forward to a full season with Teemu Selanne as a teammate."

Koivu, who was drafted by the Canadiens with the 21st overall pick in the 1993 draft, hoped to stay with Habs but realized if a deal did not get completed quickly, he would likely look elsewhere.

"If I'm not signed by July 1, I don't think I'll be back in Montreal," Koivu said after the Canadiens were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Bruins. "Finishing your career with one team would be awesome in a way, but it's too early to say because I don't know what the team's plan is."

Koivu, one of the Canadiens' most celebrated players in their 100-year history, endeared himself to Montreal fans for all the challenges he endured since joining the club in 1995. In the 1996-97 season, he was one of the league's leading scorers before a knee injury sidelined him for most of the campaign. For the next couple of seasons, knee and shoulder injuries kept him out of the lineup for long stretches, with many questioning his durability in the NHL game.

In 1999, the club made Koivu their first-ever European-born captain, succeeding Vincent Damphousse who was traded the previous season.

Koivu also left an impression with Canadiens fans at the start of the 2001-02 campaign after being diagnosed with intra-abdominal non-Hodgkins lymphoma. His treatment left him off the roster for all but three games that season and his return to the lineup in April of 2002 was considered one of the club's most memorable moments. In his comeback game against the Ottawa Senators on home ice, the 21,273 fans in attendance gave him an eight-minute standing ovation - a local honour shared only by the late Maurice Richard.

Koivu's courageous battle with cancer and his return to the game earned him the Masterton Trophy that season.

"Saku Koivu's character and leadership qualities are unquestioned," said general Manager Bob Murray in a team statement on Wednesday. "He is a skilled playmaker and we are thrilled to add him to our team."

In 13 NHL seasons, Koivu has suited up in 792 games and has scored 191 goals with 450 assists. He played in only 65 games for the Habs in 2008-09 after dealing with a foot injury. He scored 16 goals and posted 36 assists.

JIRI HUDLER KHL CONTRACT PROBLEMS


Jiri Hudler remains property of the Detroit Red Wings and therefore the recent contract he signed in the KHL is being contested.



The National Hockey League has approached both the IIHF and KHL, seeking their intervention.

According to the NHL, Hudler is contractually obligated to the Red Wings for next season.

Hudler, a restricted free agent filed for salary arbitration, which in the eyes of the league is acknowledgement of his intent to play in the NHL next year.

Szymon Szemberg, Communications Director for the International Ice Hockey Federation tells TSN the IIHF is fully involved in the dispute.

"The IIHF has been informed by the NHL about the Jiri Hudler case. Upon, this the IIHF has informed the Russian Ice Hockey Federation about the NHL's position and the case is under investigation. As this is a transfer to an IIHF member league the player will be needing an International Transfer Card (ITC), approved by the IIHF, to complete the transfer. Only upon the IIHF's signing the ITC, the transfer would be finalized and approved," Szemberg said.

Hudler signed a two-year contract with Dynamo Moscow on July 8