Wonder Punter NHL Week 3 Power Rankings


Wonder Punter NHL Week 3 Power Rankings


With about 3 weeks in the books for all the NHL teams this week… let’s take a look at the Power Rankings throughout the league.


1) San Jose Sharks (7-0-1)- Plus-23 goal differential thus far and beating teams soundly.


2) Colorado Avalanche (7-1-0)- Unbeaten on the road and playing for a coach who truly cares.. Patrick Roy.


3) Pittsburgh Penguins (7-1-0)- The early team to beat in the Eastern Conference.


4) Anaheim Ducks (7-1-0)- Have won seven straight since being blown out their opening game by the Avalanche.


5) Chicago Blackhawks (5-1-2)- Still looking for more offense early on for the defending champs.


6) St. Louis Blues (5-1-1)- Beat their division foe Chicago, but still not ready to put them ahead of the Blackhawks just yet.


7) Los Angeles Kings (6-3-0)- All the pieces are there, just need Jonathan Quick to get back on track.


8) Boston Bruins (5-2-0)- Plus-10 goal differential thanks to goalie Claude Julien.


9) Detroit Red Wings (6-3-0)- Need to get back to a more physical style of play.


10) Phoenix Coyotes (5-2-2)- Have points in six-straight games (4-0-2).


11) Nashville Predators (5-3-2)- Are on a nice little 4-0-1 run.


12) Carolina Hurricanes (4-2-3)- Have earned points in seven of their last nine games.


13) Montreal Canadians (5-3-0)- The Habs have allowed just 15 goals early on.


14) Vancouver Canucks (5-4-1)- Need better improvement from their power-play that ranks 27th in the league.


15) Ottawa Senators (3-3-2)- Should have a better record, but have only played two-home games thus far.


16) Toronto Maple Leafs (6-3-0)- Have lost two in straight, but goalie James Reimer appears to be ok following collision last week.


17) Tampa Bay Lightening (5-3-0)- Goalie Ben Bishop is 5-1-0 between the pipes.


18) New York Islanders (3-3-2)- Are underachieving early on.


19) Minnesota Wild (3-3-3)- Have scored just 19 goals in the early season.


20) Calgary Flames (3-2-2)- Overachieved early, now have slowed down.


21) Dallas Stars (3-5-0)- Still without goalie Keri Lehtonen.


22) Winnipeg Jets (4-5-0)- Inconsistent play.


23) Washington Capitals (3-5-0)- Lack of scoring depth.


24) Florida Panthers (3-6-0)- Potential is there, but need to be more consistent.


25) New Jersey Devils (1-4-3) Goalie Cory Schneider is solid, but no help defensively.


26) Columbus Blue Jackets (3-5-0)- Only 19 goals in eight games.


27) Edmonton Oilers (2-6-1)- Goalie Devan Dubnyk having his problems in the nets.


28) New York Rangers (2-5-0)- Have given up 29 goals and are injury plagued.


29) Buffalo Sabers (1-8-1)- Just a bad team.


30) Philadelphia Flyers (1-7-0)- Fired their coach three games in and now are in a four-game losing streak.

By Mario Martinez- WonderPunter

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NHL 2013-14- Top 10 Stanley Cup Contenders


NHL Stanley cup contenders

With the start of a new NHL season, which opens today, let’s take a look at the potential contenders playing for the right to host Lord Stanley’s Cup at seasons end. The Chicago Blackhawks were last seasons winner in a strike shortened season, and as we learned from the Los Angeles Kings two years ago, getting hot at the right time may just be enough to hoist the Cup.


The next articles will be NHL Standings and the NHL Schedule


#1 Chicago Blackhawks- The defending NHL Champions have to be the favorites to return to glory, and if they do, they would be the first NHL team to repeat since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings. The Blackhawks are returning most of their core players, and let’s not forget they also won the Cup in 2010.


#2 Los Angeles Kings- The L.A. Kings who won the Cup in 2012, are bringing back pretty much the same team that took them to the finals in 2012. Solid team all around, great goaltending with Jonathan Quick, but if there is a weakness, it would be the consistency in scoring as they have been known to go into a dry spell at times.


#3 Pittsburgh Penguins- After a disappointing showing in the conference finals last year, scoring only two goals. They hope a healthy Sidney Crosby can get them over the hump and back into the Finals where they haven’t been since 2009.


#4 Boston Bruins- Last years Stanly Cup runner-up looks to get back into the Finals again. They won the Cup back in 2011, and still have their core players in tack. They are in a new division this season due to realignment, and will now have to contend with the Detroit Red Wings who were moved to the Eastern Conference.


#5 San Jose Sharks- The have the talent, and many thought were the better team last year, but year after year, just cannot get over the hump. A big blow this year is losing Raffi Torres to a torn ACL. Will he be able to get healthy enough to return in time for the playoffs in April remains to be seen.


#6 St. Louis Blues- Another solid team built much like the Kings… deep and defensive minded. However, it was the L.A. Kings who have knocked them out of the playoffs the last two years. Last year, the were up 2-0 versus the Kings, only to have the Kings come back and win four straight.


#7 Ottawa Senators- There will be more expectations this year surrounding the Senators, who last year beat the Canadians in the first round. This year, we can expect them to contend as they now have the experience and are healthy, a problem they had to contend with last year for long stretches of time. Major change this year, is their Captain Daniel Alfredsson is gone.


#8 Detroit Red Wings- How will the Red Wings adjust to their new surroundings as they are now in the new Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference? Detroit is a more finesse team in a physical conference. Biggest off season addition is Daniel Alfredsson from the Senators.


#9 Vancouver Canucks- Still a top contender for the Cup after a couple disappointing playoff appearances. They hope new former New York Ranger coach John Tortorella can bring the fire and passion he displayed in New York. The core players are still in tack, the Sedin twins, and goaltender Robert Luongo will be back in the nets after losing his starting job last year.


#10 New York Rangers- Now that ex-coach John Tortorella is gone, they hope a new coach can bring in a different style of coaching, as they felt Tortorella style was too over bearing, on and off the ice. They still may have the best goaltender in the game in Henrik Lundqvist, but scoring goals to give him a cushion will help greatly. Something they lacked last year… goal scoring.


Of course… new year, new season, new hopes. Anything can happen and anyone can win. Good luck with your favorite team!


By Mario Martinez – WonderPunter


Anaheim Ducks, 2013-14 (Puck Daddy Gold Medal Preview)

(Ed. Observe: It’s an Olympic year in the NHL. So, naturally, we determined to use the trimmings of the Winter Games to preview all 30 groups for the 2013-14 NHL season. Who takes the gold? Who falls on their triple-axel? Learn on and find out!)

In their first full season – OK, lockout shortened – with Bruce Boudreau as head coach, the Geese sprinted out to steer the Pacific Division, retaining tempo early on with the streaking Chicago Blackhawks in the conference. They completed with a 30-12-6 file and 66 points, earning the No. 2 seed in the West and a first-spherical matchup with the Detroit Red Wings.

Oh, and what a matchup it was: The teams went seven video games, together with four overtime video games, earlier than Detroit eliminated the Ducks in a collection through which Anaheim had two chances to close out the Wings.

So, in the long run, Boudreau didn’t get a extremely-seeded crew out of the first round. Again.

Off the ice, the Geese committed to both Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf with 8-yr blockbuster contracts; however the third member of that trinity of offensive stars, Bobby Ryan, was shipped to Ottawa.

The Geese have strong goaltending, stars to build round and a formidable assortment of young gamers. Does that translate into another playoff berth?

Dave Steckel is magic.

The debates about whether to commerce Bobby Ryan ended when the Ducks finally, truly, truly did trade him to the Ottawa Senators for 22-year-old forward Jakob Silfverberg, 21-12 months-previous forward Stefan Noesen and a first-round decide in 2014.

Replacing Ryan on the left facet? Why, it’s their outdated pal Dustin Penner, signing a $2-million, 1-yr deal after spending a couple of years with the LA Kings. Put area IHOPs on full alert.

Nate Guenin (Colorado) and Troy Bodie (Toronto) left by way of free company. Toni Lydman was unsigned.

Forwards: After his worst season in the NHL, Getzlaf rebounded with a dominant forty nine-level performance in 44 video games, taking part in to a plus-14 and into the Hart Trophy dialog. Perry matched Getzlaf’s aim complete with 15. Kyle Palmieri was with this dynamic duo within the postseason, scoring five factors.

Teemu Selanne showed some rust in a 12-purpose, minus-10 effort final season however stays an asset on particular groups. Plus, it’s his swan music, so anticipate a hell of an effort. Saku Koivu was re-signed for one season and was the Geese’ leading faceoff man. Penner’s a veteran, however he’s coming off two targets in 33 games.

Jakob Silfverberg is a wild card offensively: Huge talent, and he may blossom rapidly if he earns top six minutes.

As is a trademark of Boudreau teams, the grunts contributed to the Geese’ success. Nick Bonino, Matt Beleskey, Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik gave Anaheim high quality performances. Emerson Etem will build off a moderately profitable rookie season, whereas Peter Holland seeks additional improvement.

Defense: Francois Beauchemin had his finest season within the NHL, with 24 factors and a plus-22 and exceptional play till an harm slowed him. Sheldon Souray, second in ice time final season (20:fifty five), will miss not less than the first two months of the season with a wrist damage. Mark Fistric was signed as a veteran placeholder.

Cam Fowler stumbled at the beginning offensively but was a greater all-around defenseman final season. (He’ll even be enjoying for an Olympic berth.)

Luca Sbisa was abjectly horrible final season until the top. Bryan Allen was additionally a disappointment after wanting like a free-agent coup, exhibiting a scarcity of velocity. Ben Lovejoy had his moments, and earned a 3-yr deal in the summer.

Goalies: Here’s a blessing of riches. Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth each gained 15 games last season, splitting the starts. The emergence of Fasth made it seem like Hiller and his $4.5 million cap hit (with one season left) would be a goner, but both are back. Can Fasth be as effective his second time ‘round the conference? And the way lengthy will the Geese allow uber-prospect John Gibson to percolate behind them?

Boudreau remains among the best coaches in the National Hockey League, Non-Playoff Version. He activated the staff’s offensive gamers as he did with the Capitals, but once again, postseason success eluded him despite home-ice advantage.

Bob Murray went all-in to keep Perry and Getzlaf from leaving as UFAs which will affect the price range for the remainder of the roster and, frankly, have them under contract effectively into the downside of their careers. However he acquired a sneaky good return for Ryan and continues to search out diamonds within the rough for the supporting forged.

Pretty easy call when the staff has its own triumphant movie theme, no?

The goaltending. You possibly can see why Murray can be hesitant to explode this profitable tandem, as Hiller can steal games and Fasth was a revelation final season.

Getzlaf. He was maligned for one terrible season, however he’s been properly over a point-per-sport participant each season since 2006. Anyone claiming he’s not a star participant is a bald-confronted liar. (OKAY, poor alternative of phrase, contemplating Getzlaf’s sunroof.)

Selanne and Koivu. Another yr with two of the classiest veterans in the NHL on the ice is an efficient yr certainly.

The PK. The Ducks’ power play is a star-studded high 5 group when wholesome. However for the second straight season, their kill was center of the pack.

Battling for the wild card with groups like Edmonton, Phoenix, Minnesota and potentially the Canucks. The Ducks will have to overcome the lack of Ryan’s aim-scoring and hope that the goaltending overcomes the shortcomings of the defense.

But count a Boudreau crew out within the regular season? Fats chance. (OKAY, as soon as again, poor selection of phrase …)


U.S. Olympic Camp roster announced; who was snubbed for Sochi 2014?

Getty Images Now that the Canadians and Russians have released camp rosters for their inevitable Olympic runners-up in Sochi, USA Hockey has released its own 48-player pool from which the 2014 gold medal-winning team shall be plucked.

(Ed. Note: The author is from New Jersey. Deal with it.)

The roster represents 24 NHL teams, including three players – Seth Jones, John Gibson and Jacob Trouba – who have yet to appear in the League as professional players. U.S. Men’s National Team Orientation Camp is from Aug. 26-27, at Kettler Capitals IcePlex in Arlington, Va.

Of the 48 players invited to the camp, 16 have previous Olympic experience. That includes Zach Parise and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild; Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks; Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings; and Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Let’s take a look at the camp roster, shall we?


Miller was, of course, the starter for the U.S. team in 2010 in a star-making performance. Quick was his under-understudy, as Tim Thomas was not invited back.

Miller’s inclusion here makes for a rather interesting debate for U.S. starting goalie, as this is the position at which the Americans have a blessing of riches. Quick is the prohibitive favorite for the job; said Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who is part of the U.S. Olympic brain trust, last month: “Judging from our meeting, it’s certainly trending that way.”

But Ryan Miller was, uh, pretty incredible in Vancouver.

Anderson, Howard and Schneider will all push for roster spots. We’ll just go ahead and assume this is Gibson’s reward for his World Junior mastery.


Zach Bogosian Massena, N.Y. Winnipeg Jets (NHL)
Dustin Byfuglien Roseau, Minn. Winnipeg Jets (NHL)
John Carlson Colonia, N.J. Washington Capitals (NHL)
Dan DeKeyser Clay Township, Mich. Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
Justin Faulk South St. Paul, Minn. Carolina Hurricanes (NHL)
Cam Fowler Farmington Hills, Mich. Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
Jake Gardiner Minnetonka, Minn. Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Erik Johnson Bloomington, Minn. Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
Jack Johnson Ann Arbor, Mich. Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
Seth Jones Plano, Texas Nashville Predators (NHL)
Nick Leddy Eden Prairie, Minn. Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
Paul Martin Minneapolis, Minn. Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
Ryan McDonagh St. Paul, Minn. New York Rangers (NHL)
Brooks Orpik San Francisco, Calif. Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
Kevin Shattenkirk Greenwich, Conn. St. Louis Blues (NHL)
Ryan Suter Madison, Wis. Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Jacob Trouba Rochester, Mich. Winnipeg Jets (NHL)
Keith Yandle Boston, Mass. Phoenix Coyotes (NHL)

Remember: The Sochi Games will be held on an international ice surface. Does that mean someone like Brooks Orpik, a much better player on a smaller surface, might not make the cut? Potentially. But he’s also a player with plenty of experience on a team that needs it.

Lambert projected the starting six as Suter, Kevin Shattenkirk, Keith Yandle, Ryan McDonagh, Paul Martin and Dustin Byfuglien, with Jack Johnson and Justin Faulk in reserve. Personally, it’s hard to imagine Erik Johnson not making this roster, but we shall see.

SNUBS: Alex Goligoski would seem to be a glaring one, at least for a camp invite. Matt Carle had a terrible 2013 season, but many thought he’d get an invite here. Tim Gleason, Tom Gilbert and Ron Hainsey might have been deemed from another generation of American Olympian – all three are 30 or older. As for Rob Scuderi, what part of “international ice surface” didn’t you understand?


Justin Abdelkader Muskegon, Mich. Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
David Backes Minneapolis, Minn. St. Louis Blues (NHL)
Beau Bennett Gardena, Calif. Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
Nick Bjugstad Minneapolis, Minn. Florida Panthers (NHL)
Dustin Brown Ithaca, N.Y. Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
Ryan Callahan Rochester, N.Y. New York Rangers (NHL)
Alex Galchenyuk Milwaukee, Wis. Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
Patrick Kane Buffalo, N.Y. Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
Ryan Kesler Livonia, Mich. Vancouver Canucks (NHL)
Phil Kessel Madison, Wis. Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Trevor Lewis Salt Lake City, Utah Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
Kyle Okposo St. Paul, Minn. New York Islanders (NHL)
T.J. Oshie Warroad, Minn. St. Louis Blues (NHL)
Max Pacioretty New Canaan, Conn. Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
Kyle Palmieri Smithtown, N.Y. Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
Zach Parise Minneapolis, Minn. Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Joe Pavelski Plover, Wis. San Jose Sharks (NHL)
Bobby Ryan Cherry Hills, N.J. Ottawa Senators (NHL)
Brandon Saad Gibsonia, Pa. Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
Craig Smith Madison, Wis. Nashville Predators (NHL)
Paul Stastny St. Louis, Mo. Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
Derek Stepan Hastings, Minn. New York Rangers (NHL)
James van Riemsdyk Middletown, N.J. Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Blake Wheeler Robbinsdale, Minn. Winnipeg Jets (NHL)

Again, it’s going to be interesting to see how the ice surface influences the roster. There’s a lot of speed here, and some significant offense in the younger players like Galchenyuk. How many role players do the Americans take vs. how many skill players to they bring to Sochi?

Lambert’s projections seem fairly bang-on, although one wonders if either T.J. Ohsie or Kyle Okposo can finally break through. Remember, sometimes it just takes one wake-up call to get a player’s stock on the rise; how great was Okposo for the New York Islanders in the playoffs last season?

SNUBS: Jason Pominville has dual citizenship; there has to be something more to him not getting an invite. Brandon Dubinsky is also among the most prominent, but one assumes the addition of Stepan made him expendable. Hey, just like with the Rangers! Invitees from 2009’s camp that didn’t come back this year included Ryan Malone of the Tampa Bay Lightning and David Booth of the Vancouver Canucks, whose stock has tumbled at an Enron-like level. All of these players can get together at a venue of their choosing and lament the fact they’re not at camp and Trevor Lewis, inexplicably, is.


Winners and losers in NBC Sports’ 2013-14 NHL TV schedule

Getty Images NBC and NBC Sports Network will air 103 NHL regular season games during the 2013-14 season, with 13 games in NBC and 90 games in NBC Sports Network.

The NBC schedule can be found here. The NBC Sports Network schedule can be found here. If that wasn’t enough puck, the NHL Network schedule can be found here.

Among the highlights:

The 2014 NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings on January 1 at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.

The inaugural NHL Stadium Series, featuring four games played in iconic outdoor venues between January 25 and March 1, including: Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif., Yankee Stadium in New York, N.Y., and Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. Plus the NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place in Vancouver, B.C. on March 2.

The return of Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBC Sports Network. The 2013-14 NHL season on NBCSN will feature 24 Wednesday Night Rivalry telecasts — up from 15 last year.

A Stanley Cup Final rematch between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Sunday, January 19 on NBC.

So that’s fun. But what are some of the lowlights? Here is our annual look at the winners and losers in the 2013-14 NHL TV schedule on NBC.

Here is the 2013-14 NHL schedule tabulation for NBC and NBCSN. The “flex” games, which could air on NBC or on cable, are counted under NBC’s total. In parentheses on the NBCSN side are last year’s total games on NBCSN during the lockout-shortened season.

Check out Steve Lepore’s schedule fun here for more analysis.

Winner: Philadelphia Flyers. If you tally up their appearances on NBC, NBCN and NHL Network, the Flyers have 30 appearances on national television next season for a non-playoff team in 2013. The Pittsburgh Penguins, by comparison, have 27, which makes total sense when you consider that they have Sidney Crosby and the Flyers are owned by Comcast. Uh, right?

Loser: The Pacific Division. As Steve Lepore notes, “only 5 of NBC and NBCSN’s 106 NHL broadcasts in 2013-14 will be Pacific Divisional matchups.” One Anaheim vs. Los Angeles matchup on NBCSN is about two away from where that total should be.

Winner: The Sedin Twins. Finally … the Vancouver Canucks … HAVE COME BACK TO NBC SPORTS NETWORK! Mark it down: March 2, 4:30 p.m., it’s the Canucks vs. the Senators on your American television network! Granted, it took an outdoor game to get a team that actually got ratings in 2011 in the Stanley Cup Final back on NBCSN after no game last season, but hey, they’re back.

Loser: Anyone Who Wants To See The Oilers. Once more, with feeling. This is the fourth straight season the Oilers don’t have a single game on NBC, which once again boggles the mind. Terrible team? Sure. But this network (or its precursor) showed the NHL Drafts in which Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov were taken first overall. And American fans, despite their allergy to non-Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver teams, want to see the next wave of NHL stars. How can you not sell that, even if for one night against, say, the reigning Cup champs?

Winner: Carolina Hurricanes. Huzzah! The Hurricanes have one big huge whole game on NBCSN, which is a welcome change from their goose egg last season. (Who really wants to see the Staal brothers anyway, right?)

Loser: New Jersey Devils. The Devils had 11 potential appearances on NBC and NBCSN during last season’s lockout-shortened campaign. That’s down to seven in this full season, with their outdoor game against the Rangers as their only appearance on NBC. Also, Kovalchuk left for Russia, in case you didn’t hear.

Winner: St. Louis Blues. The Blues have 13 potential appearances on NBC and NBCSN this season, which is up from what they would have had in a full season in 2012-13.

Loser: New York Islanders. Nearly upsetting the Penguins, having John Tavares as a Hart candidate, and that only gets you four appearances on NBCSN? Prediction: 82 games on NBC when they move to Brooklyn. Because hipsters is why.


Chelios, Niedermayer, Shanahan elected to Hockey Hall of Fame; Shero finally gets call

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced a five-person Class of 2013, as first-time candidates Chris Chelios and Scott Niedermayer joined holdover Brendan Shanahan as player inductees; Canadian women’s legend Geraldine Heaney; and Fred Shero, the legendary (and legendarily Hall of Fame snubbed) coach of the 1974-75 Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers.

Scott Niedermayer, Defenseman

(New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks)

From the Hall:

Scott Niedermayer grew up in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and was a member of the Kamloops Blazers 1992 Memorial Cup championship team. Selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 1st round (3rd overall selection), he went on to play 13 seasons with the Devils from 1991 to 2004, winning Stanley Cups in the 1995, 2000 and 2003 seasons. In 2005, he signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks where he was a two-time first team All-Star during his six seasons, as well as being a key part of their 2007 Stanley Cup winning team. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP that season. On the international front, Scott also won gold at the World Junior Championship in 1991, gold at the World Championship in 2004, and gold at two Olympic Games in 2002 and 2010.

The smooth-skating defenseman joins former blue-line mate Scott Stevens as representatives of the Devils’ defensive stranglehold on the NHL for a 13-year span.

Chris Chelios, Defenseman

(Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Atlanta Thrashers)

From the Hall:

Chris Chelios, a native of Chicago, Illinois, after two successful seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers (1981-83), joined the Montreal Canadiens and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 1984-85 and was also runner-up as Rookie of the Year to Mario Lemieux. He was part of the 1986 Canadiens’ Stanley Cup winning team and won the James Norris Trophy as Defenceman of the Year in 1988-89. Traded to Chicago in 1990, Chris went on to play nine season with the Blackhawks and was a five time first or second team All-Star and two-time Norris winner. Chelios continued his career in 1999 with the Detroit Red Wings, winning Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008. He finished his 26 year playing career at the age of 48 with the Atlanta Thrashers and Chicago Wolves in 2009-10.

The definition of “warrior” on the ice, his training prowess and dedication to the game were legendary.

Brendan Shanahan, Winger

(New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers)

From the Hall:

Brendan Shanahan was born in Etobicoke, Ontario and after two seasons with the London Knights (OHL) was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 1st round (2nd overall) in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. A member of the New Jersey Devils for four seasons, Brendan was signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Blues in 1991. He player four seasons with the Blues and had back to back 50 goal seasons in 1992-93 and 1993-94 – being named a 1st team NHL All-Star in 1993-94. Brendan went on to play two seasons in Hartford before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings in 1996, where he played nine seasons winning the Stanley Cup on three occasions (1997, 1998 and 2002). Signed as an unrestricted free agent by the New York Rangers, he played two more seasons before retiring in 2008. Representing Canada internationally on numerous occasions, he was a member of Canada’s 2002 gold medal winning team.

Shanahan might have had to wait in first-year ballot jail for a year, one assumes because of his role in the NHL’s Dept. of Player Safety. But he was a prototypical power forward and a key player on those Red Wins championship teams. Along with Niedermayer and Slava Fetisov, the only Devils draft picks to make the Hall.

Geraldine Heaney, Defense/Coach

From the Hall:

Gerladine Heaney was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and grew up playing hockey in Toronto Aeros – an association she would remain with for 18 seasons. As a member of Canada’s national team she won seven IIHF World Championship gold medals and was named the IIHF World Women’s Championship’s Best Defenceman in 1992 and 1994. A member of Canada’s 2002 gold medal Olympic team, Heaney also won silver in 1998.

She becomes the third woman to be elected as a player.

Fred “The Fog” Shero, Coach

(Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers)

From the Hall:

In the Builder Category, Fred Shero was elected. Shero began his coaching career in 1959-60 with the St. Paul Saints, and progressed up the ranks with a career culminating in nine seasons in the National Hockey League. His Philadelphia Flyers won Stanley Cups in 1973-74 and 1975-76, and he also took the New York Rangers to the final in 1979, where he also had the role of General Manager. In 734 NHL regular season games coached, his teams had 390 wins, 225 losses and 119 ties. Shero passed away on November 24th, 1990.

As has been noted numerous times, Fred Shero was a huge snub for the Hall of Fame until this year.

Among the snubs for his class were Rob Blake, the veteran defenseman who some felt could round out this class in his first year of eligibility; Eric Lindros, whose short span of dominance in the NHL during an injury-plagued career remains a point of controversy; and Jeremy Roenick, one of the best American-born players in NHL history but one that never won a championship or a major award in the NHL.

And of course legendary three-time coach of the year Pat Burns, whose absence from the Hall renders much of this pointless.


Puck Daddy’s 2013 NHL Free Agent Frenzy Report Card

AP The NHL’s 2013 Free Agent Frenzy began at noon on Friday, July 5. Teams spent well over $400 million on contracts that they’ll either celebrate or regret for years to come.

Here are our hasty, myopic grade assessments for free-agent feast, which began roughly five days ago.

Who won? Who lost? Enjoy the hair-trigger reactions!

Anaheim Ducks

The Bobby Ryan trade was going to happen at some point – signing Perry and Getzlaf guaranteed that.

Maybe your expectations for an eventual Ryan trade where more than what the Ottawa Senators sent back to Anaheim; if so, they likely didn’t take the Ducks’ salary structure or the marketplace into account. Fact is that Jakob Silfverberg could be the fantasy darling of 2013-14 if he’s moved onto the Perry/Getzlaf line; Stefan Noesen is a former first-rounder and a tenacious player; and the Ducks get a first-rounder in 2014 as well.

Meanwhile, Ryan has two years left on his deal before a UFA bonanza. And if you think he’s going to re-sign there, allow me to point out he has an American girlfriend who has been living in California and thought Ottawa was a suburb of Detroit.

The Ducks also re-signed Saku Koivu (1 year, $2.5 million) after other alternatives at center didn’t pan out, as well as Ben Lovejoy for three years and $3.3 million on defense.

GRADE: B-plus

Boston Bruins

After a few years of consistency of roster, the Bruins saw dramatic changes around the Frenzy.

The biggest move was the seven-player deal with the Dallas Stars that saw the Bruins trade forward/former second overall pick/hater of moderation Tyler Seguin, center Rich Peverley and defensive prospect Ryan Button for left wing Loui Eriksson, young forwards Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser and defense prospect Joe Morrow.

In the short term, the Bruins win the deal. They cleared $4.75 million in cap space and acquired the best player in the trade in Eriksson, who averages around 30 goals a season. He’s a perfect fit for the Bruins’ system.

In the long term, Morrow projects to be a top four defenseman in the NHL. But the long-term success or failure of the deal rests with Seguin, who either becomes yet another cautionary tale of talent wasted on a misguided young player or the next Patrick Kane reclamation project. In the meantime, where guaranteed at least a few more months of photos depicting him sloshed at BBQs, so we all win.

The Bruins let Jaromir Jagr walk – slowly, and never at the pace of his linemates – and saw Nathan Horton leave for the “quieter” environs of Columbus, and decided to replace him with the most surreal choice possible: Jarome Iginla, who infamously chose the Penguins at the trade deadline last season over a deal to the Bruins.

He has a one year deal, an incentive-laden $6 million contract. He moves back to his natural position on the right with the Bruins, but one wonders how he’ll fit in Boston – and how much he has left as a top line player. But the sheer joy that is Bostonian sports fan brains exploding at the notion of Iginla signing with “The Second Choice” is priceless.

The loss of Andrew Ference on defense was expected but could hurt in the room and on the ice, despite the Bruins having some quality young defensive depth. Goalie Anton Khudobin left for Carolina, while the Bruins signed goalie Chad Johnson (Phoenix) and defenseman Aaron Johnson (Rangers).

They might regret it down the line, but in the short term the Bruins get …

GRADE: A-minus

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres believe Henrik Tallinder is going to help Tyler Myers figure out what the hell happened to Tyler Myers. He was his mentor before leaving for the Devils, who wanted to shed his salary. Their loss is Buffalo’s gain. Otherwise, it was quiet for the Sabres, which is a nice change of pace for Pegulaville (Population: All On 10-Year Free-Agent Contracts) Still, their inability to trade Ryan Miller as the rest of the goalie market started to settle is a little frustrating.


Calgary Flames

The Flames made two small moves that have some upside. TJ Galiardi was plucked from the San Jose Sharks, and has a 1 year deal worthier $1.25 million. Defenseman Kris Russell was jettisoned from the Blues after he turned down a 1-year deal. He was a spare part there; maybe he gets his ice time in Calgary. Brian “Big Ern” McGrattan re-signed for 2 years and $1.5 million, and he’s always good for punches.


Carolina Hurricanes

That Mike Komisarek is an upgrade to the Carolina defense should speak volumes, but he is: At the very least, he’s doesn’t seem like a redundancy, which has been that group’s problem for the last few years. Maybe without that contract and the Toronto media asking when he’ll be bought out, he thrives. The Anton Khodobin/Dan Ellis swap saved the Canes $100,000 and gained them someone who can push Cam Ward. GM Jim Rutherford has other irons in the fire, but for now …


Chicago Blackhawks

All of the exoduses were expected for the champs, as Viktor Stalberg (Nashville), Ray Emery (Philly) and Rostislav Olesz (Jersey) all departed. That opened up salary space to re-sign Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus, so that’s a fair tradeoff. Nikolai Khabibulin as a $2 million backup goalie isn’t as risky as it sounds, especially if Corey Crawford’s ready to carry more of the freight next season in starts. They could have probably found a cheaper alternative, but we imagine Stan Bowman’s still buzzed from the parade.


Colorado Avalanche

Nick Holden! Andre Benoit! J.T. Wyman! Guillaume Desbiens! Nate Guenin! If any of these names mean something to you, you’re probably an Avalanche fan. Our only surprise: That with Patrick Roy’s Ego now in player personnel, only two of these players are French-sounding. Bottom line: The Avs weren’t looking to be players in free agency, and weren’t.

GRADE: C-minus

Columbus Blue Jackets

How anyone can view the Nathan Horton contract as anything but a win for this team is baffling. Yes, he’s going to undergo shoulder surgery. Yes, he has a concussion history – funny how that’s an issue for a free agent signing but never for, say, Patrice Bergeron re-signing.

Horton is a power forward the Jackets need. The $5.3 million cap hit is actually lower than you’d expect a desperate team to hand out. The seven years are about two too long, but who cares? The Blue Jackets won a free agent derby because a guy wanted to play in Columbus and they didn’t pay significantly over market value. Two summers ago, they had to trade for Jeff Carter because no one wanted to play there; now, Horton picked them.


Dallas Stars

Well, Jim Nill certainly didn’t waste any time, did he?

The Tyler Seguin/Loui Eriksson seven-player swap puts his mark on this team in dramatic fashion. Seguin’s maturation as a star player will determine its success, because the Stars sent significant assets back to Boston. Rich Peverley adds much needed depth to the middle. So does Shawn Horcoff, acquired for Phillip Larson and a 2014 seventh-rounder. He has a relationship with Lindy Ruff and Nill, and desperately needed a change in scenery – his points per game were down to 0.39 in Edmonton, as he fell down the depth chart.

So three additions down the middle, which will allow Jamie Benn to move back to the wing, which is a good thing. Lindy Ruff said he expects Seguin to play with Benn from the start, which is either a way to further fuel his sense of entitlement or to give him a ball he shan’t drop.

Dan Ellis is a nice backup to Kari Lehtonen without being threatening.

It’s tough to judge this one, because if Seguin stops pretending he’s auditioning for an E! reality show (tentative title: “Ty One On”) and fulfills his potential, this could be a banner day for the Stars franchise. As of now, a lot of needs filled by Nill.

GRADE: A-minus

Detroit Red Wings

The Wings missed on Ryan Suter last summer, then entered into a “transition year” that saw them transition right into the conference semifinal. So GM Ken Holland went into the off-season ready to spend – little did he know what opportunity would arise.

Daniel Alfredsson at $5.5 million for one season is a classic “hired gun wants to win Cup” scenario, but this gun has more than a few bullets left. He’s a perfect addition to the top six for this team. So is Stephen Weiss (5 years, $4.9 million) who costs less and might even be a shade better than Valtteri Filppula. Much like Nathan Horton when he left Florida, Weiss has been waiting years for this chance.

The Wings are losing Damien Brunner (bummer) and potentially Dan Cleary.

They still need to address the blue line, but adding two top-six forwards makes Detroit a lot closer to that Cup Alfie’s chasing. Hey, remember when Marian Hossa went to Detroit to chase one? Good times …


Edmonton Oilers

Is it OK to really, really love what the Oilers did here?

Andrew Ference is exactly what the team needed on the back end: Veteran presence, some physicality and leadership from a guy with a ring. Some have complained that Ference hasn’t played against top competition thanks to Zdeno Chara with the Bruins, but Tyler Dellow goes the distance in explaining why that’s a bit of a misnomer. At a $3.25 million cap hit, it’s a great deal, even if four years is perhaps one too many for a player his age.

The Boyd Gordon signing is even better. He’s terrific on draws, kills penalties and isn’t an offensive black hole despite his role. Edmonton might have overpaid a bit at $9 million over 3 years, but you try convincing a guy to leave the golf courses of Glendale for Edmonton in December and see how much it takes. Jason Labarbera, also from the Coyotes, is a serviceable backup at $1 million.

They also found a taker for Shawn Horcoff’s $5.5 million cap hit through 2015.


Florida Panthers

Stephen Weiss wasn’t coming back; not with Detroit and St. Louis in the mix. The Panthers added Washington Capitals fourth liner Joey Crabb for 2 years at $1.2 million and Toronto spare part defenseman Mike Mottau at 1 year and $700,000. Remember when Dale Tallon signed, like, all the free agents? We miss those days. For now, they deserve an incomplete, because other moves have to be made. But for now …


Los Angeles Kings

The Kings lost The Piece, Rob Scuderi, to the Penguins and checking winger Brad Richardson to the Vancouver Canucks. They re-signed Keaton Ellerby for one year and inked Jeff Schultz, who was bought out by the Capitals, for one year. Schultz is, as they say, not good. But hey, they’re still in the “pulling Matt Frattin for Bernier” afterglow, so …


Minnesota Wild

The Wild spent the gross national product of Belize on two free agents last summer, so this was quiet by comparison – but more controversial. Matt Cooke is still considered the scum of the Earth by Western Conference fans who get their news from Mike Milbury and/or morons who think he intentionally Ginzu’d the leg of Erik Karlsson. At 3 years and $7.5 million, he’s a guy who plays on the edge (like the departed Cal Clutterbuck) but is a more-than-serviceable depth player (unlike Cal Clutterbuck).

Keith Ballard gets 2 years with a $1.5 million cap hit and is another player that should thrive without the crushing weight of his cap hit smothering him. Matt Cullen (Nashville) was allowed to leave so Mikael Granlund could slide up the depth chart. Pierre-Marc Bouchard also left, for the Islanders.

GRADE: B-minus

Montreal Canadiens

The Danny Briere signing was expected but nonetheless impressive for the Habs, who get a versatile forward who’s money in the playoffs and can be an insufferable [expletive] to play against, which seems to be the only requirement for Marc Bergevin to give you money and a Montreal sweater.

Gone were Michael Ryder (NJ) and Yannick Weber (Vancouver). But George Parros has arrived to punch people with a funny mustache. Like, he has the funny mustache, we mean. We assume he’d also punch people with one too.

GRADE: B-plus

Nashville Predators

The Predators needed goals. That’s it. That was the mission for GM David Poile this summer. Find goals.

Viktor Stalberg had 22 of them for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12, so that’s promising. Matt Cullen had 14 of them that season, which isn’t bad. Eric Nystrom had 16 that season too, which is even better.

The problem is that none of these players can be counted on consistently for offense, and that they eat up $8 million in cap space. These are fine players. These are nice players. But these are not players that you enter next season with wiping your hands and saying “offensive problems solved!” Which, again, was the mission.

The Cullen signing was, I think, the best of the lot. But again: Briere went for $500,000 more. It speaks to Nashville’s inability to attract top line offensive talent, which speaks to either the market or the team’s philosophy.

Also: Matt Hendricks was one of my favorite players to watch and cover with the Washington Capitals, but a 4-year contract (even with a small $1.85 million hit) is truly bizarre for a player the Predators seem to already have five of.

GRADE: C-minus

New Jersey Devils

When Lou is good, he’s very good: Michael Ryder for 2 years and $7 million is very good. Patrik Elias back for three years and a $5.5 million cap hit shows that Lou’s Kool-Aid remains strong. Rusty Olesz for 1 year and $1 million … sure, whatever. Shedding Henrik Tallinder’s salary was a plus as well.

When Lou is bad, it’s usually in reaction to someone leaving the Devils: When Niedermayer left, it was Malakhov and McGillis. When Clarkson left on Friday, it was 5 years and $24.25 million for Ryane Clowe, a player I believe is sliding on the downside of his career like a snowboarder trying to avoid an avalanche.

GRADE: B-minus

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New York Islanders

The most significant move for the Islanders was re-signing Travis Hamonic for 7 years at $27 million. In typical fashion, it was a move trashed by uppity Canadian media types that watched the Islanders for the first time in seven years during the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, which ignores the fact that Garth Snow locked up a 23-year-old minutes-eating two-way defenseman at $3.857 million through 2020.

Assuming Evgeni Nabokov gives them exactly what he did in 2012-13, it’s not a bad move to bring him back for another year, even at $3.25 million. But you’d like to see the Islanders add another goalie to that mix.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been called “tentative” and “soft” by Minnesota Wild observers that have seen his game diminish in the last few injury-riddled seasons. One year, $2 million, and the chance to resurrect his career with Tavares and Moulson? That’s a better investment than relocating to Brooklyn.


New York Rangers

The Rangers decided not to buy out Brad Richards for some misguided reason, let Ryane Clowe become the Devils problem, re-signed Ryan McDonagh to a great deal, traded for Justin Falk and Danny Syvret and signed both Benoit Pouliot (1 year, $1.3 million) and Aaron Johnson (1 year, $600K). GM Glen Sather has to take care of his own – Derek Stepan needs a contract, too – before bringing in more bodies. As it stands:

GRADE: B-minus

Ottawa Senators

The Daniel Alfredsson controversy overshadows everything else the Senators did, which is a shame, because they’re a better team now than they were on July 3.

Bobby Ryan is an elite goal scorer with size – essential in the East – and one assumes he’ll keep Jason Spezza in girlish giggles for the next two years if the two find chemistry. You have to give to get, and the Sens paid up for Ryan, but he’s a star.

The Clarke MacArthur signing is great because (a) he’s an essential replacement for Silfverberg on that second line and (b) because the next two years of Leafs fans bitching about an overpaid Clarkson while Sens fans celebrate an underpaid MacArthur ($3.25 million cap hit) are going to be glorious.

Joe Corvo is back again as a spare part defenseman, while Peter Regin’s disappointment output is now with the New York Islanders.

Tough losing Alfie, but it might be his loss.

GRADE: A-minus

Philadelphia Flyers

Remember when the Flyers signed Vincent Lecavalier at $4.5 million annually for five years and everyone went apoplectic? Welp, he’s going to earn less than Iginla, Ribeiro, Alfredsson, Horton, Clarkson, Filppula, Weiss and Clowe next season against the cap.

Yeah, horrible signing, Philly, coming in under market value like that.

Oh, and what’s this: Ray Emery is back for just $1.65 million after going 17-1-0 last season with Chicago?

Adam Hall was also signed for $600,000 and one season. Which is obviously why they bought out Bryzgalov and Briere.

For some reason, these signings are being demonized as terrible. Maybe you don’t feel they needed Lecavalier; you weren’t saying the same thing when the lack of a veteran winger, in the wake of Jagr’s departure, helped sink the team during the season.

The Flyers didn’t solve all of their issues, but these were shrewd financial moves from a team we weren’t sure knew had to make them. So, with the bar set there:

GRADE: B-plus

Phoenix Coyotes

Mike Ribeiro wanted five years, got four years and signed with the Coyotes for $5.5 million against the cap annually. If you expect last year’s numbers, you’re an idiot: No Alex Ovechkin, no Adam Oates’ orchestrated power play, no contract year. Better to expect him in the neighborhood of 60-70 points, most likely playing with Shane Doan. Dave Tippett’s had Ribeiro before, and this is good reunion for the center – even if that’s a mighty high price for what amounts to a second line center.

The Coyotes will miss Boyd Gordon’s defense. Thomas Greiss backs up Mike Smith for $250,000 less than what Jason Labarbera wanted.

The major failing, thus far: The Coyotes still haven’t addressed a lack of veteran scoring on the wing.

GRADE: B-minus

Pittsburgh Penguins

Rob Scuderi is a nice, safe move by the Penguins, at four years and a $3.375 million cap hit. He still has plenty left, and folds right back into the Pittsburgh system with ease.

The Penguins let Iginla and Matt Cooke walk, traded Tyler Kennedy, and made the smart decision to bring back Craig Adams at two years and $1.4 million. Oh, and Pascal Dupuis got paid: Four years and $15 million.


San Jose Sharks

The Sharks were really, really quiet during the Frenzy, dealing away T.J. Galiardi to Calgary and watching Thomas Greiss leave for the Coyotes. They re-signed Scott Hannan for one year and a million dollars, so that’s something. They flirted with Alfredsson, so that’s another thing. Also, they didn’t do anything stupid, which is the important thing.

GRADE: C-minus

St. Louis Blues

Look, Maxim Lapierre is a nice signing for a team that’s at its best when it’s at its most annoying. Re-signing Jordan Leopold is a positive move (2 years, $2.25 million). But the Blues chased Stephen Weiss, Valterri Filppula and Lecavalier and couldn’t convince them to sign in St. Louis. Instead, they spent $4 million on Derek Roy for one season, his third team in two years. GM Doug Armstrong rationalized it: “We’re still bringing back the same centermen that got us home-ice advantage the last two years in the playoffs.” Yeah, that must be why you were desperately seeking an upgrade. For now, a..

GRADE: D-plus

Getty Images Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning buy out Vincent Lecavalier, and everyone celebrates the end of a regrettable contract. Which leads to GM Steve Yzerman … entering into another regrettable contract.

Filppula as a $5-million player annually over five years makes Jiri Hudler seem underpaid. This is another Matt Carle signing, made worse because Yzerman was part of the Red Wings and should know better.

Cardinal rule: If the master signs a better player at $4.9 million annually over five years, best not give his castoff more money if you’re the student.


Toronto Maple Leafs

By now, the Tyler Bozak (5 years, $21 million) and David Clarkson (7 years, $36.75 million) contracts have been picked apart to the cent. Bozak is the overpaid faux first liner who’s actually a drag on his buddy Phil Kessel’s stats. Clarkson’s contract promises value in the first couple of seasons, before what Mirtle believes will be a sharp decline.

The Bozak signing is nepotism; you can almost feel the tap on the shoulder to Kessel saying, “Hey, champ, see what we did for your boys? How about that contract extension?” The Clarkson signing would be a good one at the right price; but at seven years and a cap hit of $5.25 million, he will be afflicted with Chris Drury Disease – player with great intangibles seen as a hapless bust because his numbers don’t sync up with his contract – by Year 3 at the latest.

They won’t miss Komisarek. They will miss MacArthur and, especially, Mikhail Grabovski, inexplicably allowed to walk in order to pay Bozak.


Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks had addition by subtractions, as Derek Roy and Keith Ballard left for St. Louis and Minnesota. Vancouver will miss Max Lapierre’s particular brand of whimsy, but Brad Richardson’s a nice addition to the bottom six. Yannick Weber’s a depth defenseman on the cheap. Now, about that Luongo issue …

GRADE: C-plus

Washington Capitals

Gone are Mike Ribeiro, Matt Hendricks, Jeff Schultz and Joey Crabb. Coming in is … nobody. The Capitals were quiet during the Frenzy, keeping with Adam Oates plan to maintain consistency on the roster from year to year. Which is all well and good but who the [expletive] is playing second-line center next season?

GRADE: C-minus

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets traded for Devin Setoguchi and watched Alex Burmistrov leave for the KHL, so at least their offensive enigma quota remains sufficiently filled.

GRADE: C-minus


Why Daniel Alfredsson’s heel turn could be a good thing for the Ottawa Senators

“Take me with you, Sidney. Don’t tell anyone I said that.”

I’m not much for stereotypes, so in one sense, I was pleasantly surprised by Daniel Alfredsson’s decision to thumb his nose at 17 years in Ottawa and bolt for what he perceived to be the greener pastures of Detroit on Friday.

“Swedes aren’t supposed to do that!” a confused Senators fan told me shortly after hearing the news. It’s true. Swedish hockey players are the good guys, known for laying down roots and staying in one town. They’re hockey’s turtle doves, mating for life.

Alfredsson, as it turned out, was a lobster — an animal most think mates for life but actually doesn’t.

On Friday, Alfie turned heel, all but donning a black bandana and shades and hauling ass to Detroit on a motorcycle, shouting “Up yours!” at Ian Mendes as he peeled away. It was a complete shock, fully overshadowing the Senators’ acquisition of Bobby Ryan, far and away the biggest swap of the day.

The despair in the Senators’ fanbase was intense — Satan in Book IV of Paradise Lost intense. If the fall of man hadn’t already happened, you got the sense that an anguished, sorrowing Senators fan would have set it into motion yesterday. In a world without evil, today might be mankind’s first day in pants.

But while Ottawans spent Friday night in sackcloth and ashes, I couldn’t help but think that, at least in a sense, this actually worked out pretty well for them.

In their hearts, Daniel Alfredsson will be missed. This is, after all, a surprise divorce after 17 years.

On the ice, however? Not so much.

The Senators got better, and not just a little better. The acquisition of Bobby Ryan could mean the second coming of the Pizza Line. And as for Alfredsson’s lost production, Clarke MacArthur, signed for two years at $6.5 million as opposed to Alfredsson’s $5.5 million for one year, might be able to replace that for cheaper.

MacArthur may not have had the best time under Randy Carlyle, but that might be the Carlyle effect. Plugs seem to thrive under him while skill players struggle (which may be evidence that he’s bad at this, I don’t know). Plus, unlike Alfredsson, MacArthur wants you right now, Ottawa.

The Senators’ youth movement, expedited due to injuries last season, just got another boost. They’re getting a new captain, and other, younger players will be stepping up to fill the rest of the leadership void. Furthermore, no longer is the team in “Win it for Alfie” mode. Now they can continue their development into a top-tier contender without that added pressure. Plus they get the motivation of their new mode: “Win it instead of Alfie”.

Being loyal to Alfredsson may have been the goodly thing to do, but there’s a cold, clinical argument no one wanted to hear for doing exactly what Ottawa wound up doing yesterday.

Fortunately, Ottawa doesn’t have to make that argument. This wasn’t their call.

Alfredsson owned the exit completely, even dropping the “S” word in his explanation of why he’ll be playing out his career elsewhere. “It came down to a selfish decision,” he told the media. “I feel with Ottawa, they’re getting closer and closer. Definitely going in the right direction. But I don’t have the time to wait for that.”

In other words, this is all him, even amidst rumours that the Senators somehow screwed something up. From Y!’s Nick Cotsonika:

Owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray mishandled the Alfredsson situation, rejecting his opening offer and then offering a blank check when it was too late. So now Alfie, once the most popular figure in Ottawa, will chase the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings, the Sens’ division rivals next season. A shame.

Perhaps. But honestly, if we’re looking to pinpoint the moment Alfredsson decided to leave Ottawa, I’d go further back in time, say, to his odd moment of candor in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Asked if the Senators could still win the seven-game series with the Pittsburgh Penguins after falling behind 3-1 thanks to a brutal Game 4, Alfredsson replied, “Probably not.”

All of us in the hockey media tried to spin that, to make it line up with the Alfredsson we thought we knew, the one who bled red not because that’s what humans do, but because that’s the Senators’ primary colour.

It never really jibed with old Alfie. But with this new heel Alfie, who we assume will now spend 10 minutes badmouthing the city he’s in before his matches, it totally does.

In retrospect, that seems to me like the moment Alfredsson decided that he was going to have to leave Ottawa to win a Stanley Cup. He was going to have to be the badguy.

That’s where this is great news for Ottawa. This could have been an uneasy breakup. Instead, Alfredsson opted for the affair that makes the whole process that much easier. It was nasty and underhanded and a little bit shameful. But he took all the blame, and now you don’t have to feel bad about your organization going in a different direction.

I mean, I know you still will, Ottawa, but in the words of a great emperor: use your anger. It’s Alfredsson’s parting gift to you.


Bobby Ryan traded to Ottawa Senators by Anaheim; who wins the deal?

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Like surging energy bills and Marvel comics film adaptations, Bobby Ryan Trade Speculation has become a rite of the summer, mostly based around how the South Jersey native would end up on the Philadelphia Flyers.

But on July 5, in the midst of the NHL Free Agent Frenzy, it finally happened: The Anaheim Ducks traded their star forward to the Ottawa Senators, who only hours earlier saw their star captain Daniel Alfredsson depart for the Detroit Red Wings.

(We don’t want to say it’s been a confusing day for Senators fans, but their heads are spinning with such velocity it runs the risk of sending the Earth off its axis.)

According to multiple reports, the Ducks sent Ryan to the Senators for right wing Jakob Silfverberg, a first round pick in 2014 and young winger Stefan Noesen, the Sens’ first rounder in 2011. The deal was first reported by the Ottawa Sun.

So who wins this trade?

Ryan makes $5.1 million against the cap for the next two seasons. Silfverberg is a restricted free agent next summer, while Noesen is on his entry deal through 2016.

Ryan has four seasons of 30 goals or more, but slumped to 30 points in 46 games last season – a season that came after Ryan made his displeasure with the Ducks putting him on the trade block.

He comes to the Senators after Alfredsson left for a $5.5 million deal with Detroit. Did Ottawa low ball him in the hopes of acquiring Ryan? Did one more lead to the other? GM Bryan Murray has some mysteries to solve. One thing’s clear: The conversation for bitter Sens fans was changed immediately when the Ryan trade broke.

I think both teams won here.

Ryan’s as elite a goal-scorer as there is, and the Senators aren’t locked into him if things don’t work out (ala Dany Heatley).

The price is high: Silfverberg could be a 30-goal scorer playing with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. He’s got that upside. Noesen is a great, pesty forward and a former No. 1 pick, and Anaheim gets another in the deal. Anyone who thinks this is “Bobby Ryan for a bag of pucks” is either completely ignorant of the return and/or a dabble in “West Coast Bias.”

Ah, yes: Getzlaf and Perry. The two Ducks stars signed their 8-year, $66 million contracts, and that was pretty much that for Ryan in Anaheim. Anaheim couldn’t sign all three offensive stars. Ryan was the odd-man out. Moving him now was smart; the return was considerable.

(Where were the Flyers on Ryan, by the way?)

Now Bobby Ryan’s in Ottawa, for what could be the most must-see season in the history of the Senators – and, without question, in Bryan Murray’s tenure as general manager.


Boston Bruins finally win the Jarome Iginla sweepstakes

Getty Images Jarome Iginla has decided to join the Boston Bruins.

No, seriously this time. Iginla signed a 1-year, $6-million deal with the Boston Bruins on Friday, bringing his bizarre saga with the team full circle.

Back in March, Iginla was practically a Bruin. The Calgary Flames captain had requested to be moved as that team entered a rebuilding phase, and GM Jay Feaster had a deal in place with Boston for two prospects in exchange for Iginla. The trade was reported in the media; Boston GM Peter Chiarelli felt Boston had “won the sweepstakes.”

Insert scratching record noise here: Iginla refused to waive his no-movement clause for Boston, even though the Bruins were one of his preferred destinations. Instead, he forced Feaster to deal him to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“This kind of stuff happens all the time. It shouldn’t, but it does,” said Chiarelli back in March. “That was a good player; that was a real good player.”

The Bruins reacted by trading for Jaromir Jagr, who used to be a star for the team that had just stolen Iginla from Boston’s clutches.

Things got surreal when the Bruins and Penguins met in the Eastern Conference Final, with Iginla having the opportunity to prove he made the right decision by picking the Pens over the B’s.

“I knew Boston was a great team,” Iginla said before the series. “It was one of those situations when I (chose Pittsburgh) that I knew there was a big possibility we’d be in this situation, and here we are. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

He didn’t score a point in the 4-game Bruins sweep, going minus-4, and Milan Lucic said Iggy’s choice lit a fire under them.


Well, if you can’t beat’em, join’em, apparently.

The Bruins had a need on right wing, with the losses of Nathan Horton and Jagr (one assumes) to free agency. Daniel Alfredsson had been a possibility before he signed with the Detroit Red Wings.

Instead, it’s Iginla that finally joins the Bruins, potentially has the top line winger.

Oh, and the best part: Chiarelli somehow convinced him to make the contract performance based. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, Iginla has a $1.8 million base salary, $3.7 million games played bonus, $500,000 goal scoring/team playoff performance for a total of $6 million.

That’s genius.

Will those fans that booed Iginla as a Penguin cheer for him now? Was the humbling sweep the penance he had to pay? Have Bruins fans lost some respect for Iggy through that ordeal, and then when he disappeared in the conference final?

So when does Jagr become a Penguin …


Viktor Stalberg on shaving playoff beard: ‘I may be too drunk tonight’ (Video)

Getty Images BOSTON – Michal Handzus and Jamal Mayers have played a combined 1,865 games in the NHL. The furthest both had gone in the Stanley Cup playoffs was the Conference Final before this season. Now, the pair who spent their first two full NHL seasons together in St. Louis are celebrating a first Cup victory after the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a dramatic Game 6.

Mayers did not play a game in the playoffs for the Blackhawks. He may not have contributed on the ice during their Cup run, but he did provide a spark in the locker room after Chicago fell behind 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings in the second round. His passionate speech the day after helped wake up the Blackhawks as they would go on to win the next three games.

On the ice at TD Garden Monday night, Mayers was at a loss for words.

“Unbelievable,” Mayers said. “Can’t even describe it. Surreal right now.”

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who accepted the Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman, planned it out so that Handzus and Mayers, the two who have waited the longest for this moment, got to raise it second and third.

“Pretty much my mind was empty,” he said about the Cup raise. “I kind of want to do it again. That’s what everyone always says. But what a great gesture and honor for Tazer to set it up so I would get it third. It’s just a great group of guys and I’m speechless.”

Handzus didn’t join the Blackhawks until a deadline day deal that brought him back to Chicago, where he spent the 2006-07 season. Back then, things were different, but the seeds of this team’s success were just being planted.

“That was a long time ago. It was a different organization,” said Handzus. “They’ve been great the last five, six years. It shows [that it’s a] great city. It shows it’s a great organization from top to bottom. A lot of guys deserve it.”

He was brought in for depth reasons and to win faceoffs. At first he wasn’t even sure he’d see the ice in Chicago.

“I thought I’d have a hard time cracking the lineup, honestly, because they’ve been playing great,” he said. “They’ve been on the top from the beginning of the season and I just tried to fill in and help as much as I could. It was either fourth line, faceoff, whatever. I got a chance to play second line with great players and the coaches trust me, the players trust me and I just tried to do as much as I could.”

Two goals in 17 seconds late in the third period completed the wild Blackhawks comeback. It was a turnaround that Handzus said he had only seen in the Champions League soccer tournament in Europe.

“It shows the team, the leaders, the characters,” he said. “The whole team just believed in each other, battled for each other. Obviously we got bounces, but every champion needs them. We got it in the end.”

A 24-game point streak to open the season set the tone for what would end with the franchise’s fifth Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks also became the first team to win both the Presidents’ Trophy and the Cup in the same season since the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings. Despite the litany of stars on the roster, everyone chipped in.

“I tried to just play as best I could, but we were a team,” said Handzus. We weren’t individuals. We battled for each other and that’s why we won. You can’t win with one, two, three guys.

“You’ve got to win as a team and that’s what we did.”

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy