Archive

Archive for July, 2011

Jul
10

Twenty restricted free agents are slated to enter into arbitration with their respective NHL teams, and the schedule of hearings has been announced. Often, players and teams reach an agreement prior to the hearings but in case that doesn’t occur, the meetings will take place as follows: 

Date Player Team
July 20 Lauri Korpikoski Phoenix Coyotes
  Teddy Purcell Tampa Bay Lightning
  Viktor Stalberg Chicago Blackhawks
July 21 Andrew Cogliano Edmonton Oilers
  Brad Richardson Los Angeles Kings
  Brandon Dubinsky New York Rangers
July 22 Ryan Wilson Colorado Avalanche
July 25 Andrej Sekera Buffalo Sabres
  Brian Boyle New York Rangers
July 26 Kevin Porter Colorado Avalanche
July 28 Josh Gorges Montreal Canadiens
  Ryan Callahan New York Rangers
July 29 Jannik Hansen Vancouver Canucks
Aug. 2 Shea Weber Nashville Predators
Aug. 3 Chris Campoli Chicago Blackhawks
  Blake Wheeler Winnipeg Jets
  Zach Parise New Jersey Devils
Aug. 4 Mark Fraser New Jersey Devils
  Dan Sexton Anaheim Ducks
  Blake Comeau New York Islanders

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Jul
05

As Anaheim Ducks fans expected, veteran centerman Todd Marchant announced his retirement following a 17-year career. However, the shorthanded goals specialist won’t be going far as he has accepted a position in the team’s front office as Director of Player Development.

In announcing his retirement, Marchant said, “I’ve had an unbelievable experience playing in the National Hockey League, and it’s simply time to move on. I’m excited to stay with the Ducks organization in my new role and look forward to my post-playing career. Staying with the Ducks will provide my family the opportunity to continue living in a great community, one in which we plan to remain actively involved.”

During his tenure as a player, the 37-year-old defensive forward also had stints with the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, and Columbus Blue Jackets recording career highs of 20 goals and 60 points with the Oilers during the 2002-03 season. Most notably, he won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007.

Also announcing his retirement is left winger Paul Kariya, who played nine seasons with the Ducks and last played for the St. Louis Blues. Although the speedy forward entertained the idea of returning to Anaheim this past season to play alongside his good friend Teemu Selanne, he instead sat out the 2010-11 season due to post concussion symptoms.

Kariya admits that doctors could not clear him to resume his playing career and advised him to retire. Unable to overcome the damage from numerous hits to the head, Kariya made the decision to call it a career and has become a proponent for stricter penalties for head shots and increased protection for players.

In late December 2009, Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres delivered a blindside elbow to Kariya’s head. This was the last time the forward was concussed and in discussing the incident and lack of suspension for Kaleta, Kariya said the following:

“It’s been a little disappointing that in the time I’ve been in the league, nothing much has been done to stop that. We shouldn’t be having this conversation right now. To me there’s never been enough of a deterrent not to do it.”

After beginning his professional career in 1994 with the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the 36-year-old also played with the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators before ending his 15-year career as a St. Louis Blue. As a member of Team Canada, the Vancouver, BC native won Gold Medals in the 2002 Olympics, the 1994 World Championships, and the 1993 World Junior Championships.

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Jul
05

Many trades were made prior to the July 1 opening of the NHL’s 2011 Free Agency, and media outlets have declared James Wisniewski the big winner. Just two days before the open of Free Agency, the Montreal Canadiens traded the rights to the defenseman to the Columbus Blue Jackets who had roughly 48 hours to sign him or allow him to become a free agent. The Jackets were able to lock Wisniewski for six years at a reported $33 million. In exchange for the 27-year-old, the Canadiens received a 2012 7th-round draft pick.

Follow the news on trades as it developments at NHL Trade Tracker.

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Jul
01

July 1 was the start of the NHL’s Free Agency, and on the first day there were more buyers and sellers than the league has seen in recent years. Goaltenders in particular seem to be playing musical chairs. Here are a few of the more surprising transactions:

    NHL Free Agent Transactions as of July 1

    Player

    2011-2012 Team

    2010-2011 Team

         
    Jaromir Jagr (F) PHI Flyers (1 year at $2 mil) Avangard Omsk of the KHL
    James Wisniewski (D) Columbus Blue Jackets (6 years) MTL Canadiens
    Sean O’Donnell (D) CHI Blackhawks PHI Flyers
    Ilya Bryzgalov (G) PHI Fkyers (9 years) PHX Coyotes
    J-S Giguere (G) COL Avalanche TOR Maple Leafs
    Andreas Lilja (D) PHI Flyers (1 year) ANA Ducks
    Semyon Varlamov (G) COL Avalanche WSH Capitals
    Peter Budaj (G) MTL Canadiens (2 years) COL Avalanche
    Ed Jovanovski (D) FLA Panthers PHX Coyotes
    Jose Theodore (G) FLA Panthers MIN Wild
    Raffi Torres (D) VAN Canucks PHX Coyotes
    Alex Auld (G) OTT Senators MTL Canadiens

Free Agency has gotten off to a running start, and there will surely be more intriguing signings in the days ahead. To keep up with all the developments, check back here often.

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Jul
01

Now that the dust has settled from the Annual Farce (aka the NHL Stanley Cup Final), fans can look back on the absurdity of it all. The irony wasn’t lost on this hockey fan when KTLA and its affiliates started airing “Eight Men Out” in heavy rotation the same week of the NHL Final.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, “Eight Men Out” is a 1988 movie which depicted the scandal involving eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox who conspired with gamblers to throw the MLB’s World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. At the time, the White Sox were considered to have one of the best rosters ever and was the team to beat.

Aspects of what transpired during the 1919 World Series can be compared to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Like the White Sox, the Vancouver Canucks was the team to beat. This season, the Canucks won the President’s Trophy for the most points in the league, allowed the least goals scored against them, boasted the best power play of any team, and dressed the Art Ross Trophy winner for the most points in Daniel Sedin. It was inconceivable that the first seed Canucks would lose to the third seed Boston Bruins. Granted, goaltender Roberto Luongo is no Tim Thomas, but both were finalists for the Vezina Trophy for the best goalie in the league. Despite everything the Canucks had going for them in the previous three series, during the Finals they laid down and “let” the Bruins take their lunch money. On what planet does that happen?

Since 1993, no matter how many stellar Canadian teams have gone to the Finals, in many cases they have “lost” to a much inferior American team. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said that as long as he is commissioner, no Canadian team will win the Stanley Cup, but isn’t that an admission of fixing? Can someone explain to me how that works? How does someone take another country’s national sport and its trophy and say, “You can’t have either of them back”?

Let’s review: Hockey is Canada’s national sport but in the United States, it’s only the number four or five sport. In 1892, the then Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston, donated the Cup to be awarded to Canada’s top-ranking amateur ice hockey team, but Gary Bettman took it in 1993 and decided that Canada can’t have it back. Doesn’t that constitute theft of a national treasure? I suppose making that declaration is the only way a Canadian team will ever hoist the Cup again.

Don’t get me wrong. Ever since 2004 when the Calgary Flames were obviously the better team in the Finals but “lost” to league darling/Bettman’s friend Dave Andreychuk and his Tampa Bay Lightning, I try to brace myself for the annual farce. Oh, and for those who are keeping score, as much as the league hates the Anaheim Ducks and the officials did everything they could to hinder the team in the 2007 Finals, the Ducks managed to prevail. The fact that they had Teemu Selanne and were playing against the Ottawa Senators was insurance that they’d win. That’s the only season I can think of when the league didn’t want either team in the Final to win.

— CeeCee

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