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Crosby, Pens take shutout vs. Ovi, Capitals

Penguins Shut Out Capitals

 

WASHINGTON – Even Sidney Crosby acknowledged his objective – and the lickety-cut up sequence of passes that led as much as it – was “fun” and “one of many nicer ones.”

Crosby delivered that spotlight-reel objective and an help to get the higher of a quiet Alex Ovechkin prior to now league MVPs’ first matchup as division rivals, and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended a 3-sport road dropping streak by beating the Washington Capitals four-zero on Wednesday night time.

Crosby’s one-timer from a tough angle whereas leaning on his left knee capped fairly a sequence of touches from Evgeni Malkin on the point to Chris Kunitz in the slot to James Neal slightly behind the online to Crosby in the left circle. When the puck flew previous goalie Braden Holtby with 29 seconds left within the third interval to make it 3-zero, Crosby raised his fists, threw his head again and set free a yell.

“It’s powerful to get these,” Crosby stated. “Groups know the place all people is on the ice. To get that many fast passes in – you enjoy these, because you do not see these too often. It is proper up there.”

Even Holtby sounded impressed afterward.

“For Crosby to one-time that one off his off-wing, put it the place he did – guys like which might be going to attain goals,” Holtby said, pursing his lips and shaking his head.

With Pittsburgh “smothering” Washington, as Penguins coach Dan Bylsma put it, Marc-Andre Fleury wanted to make only 18 saves for his second shutout this season and twenty fifth in the NHL.

“It was not our day at all – on power play, PK, 5-on-5,” said Ovechkin, who hit a publish early but in any other case was largely held in check. “That form of games happen.”

Pittsburgh wound up with forty pictures. Paul Martin, off a move from Crosby, and Beau Bennett, with an help from Malkin, scored lower than 5 half minutes aside to present Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead in a first interval it dominated. Neal tacked on the Penguins’ fourth goal 7:16 into the final interval.

The Penguins beat the Capitals for the fifth time in a row.

Washington had been playing its finest hockey of the season, going into Wednesday with three consecutive wins total, and six straight at dwelling.

Pittsburgh and Washington came in as the top two golf equipment in the new Metropolitan Division. The last time they played each other as members of the same division was 1993.

“It was a game you have been trying ahead to, a team that you simply want to beat,” Capitals coach Adam Oates mentioned. “A measuring stick.”

There was a time when Crosby and Ovechkin dominated the NHL – with their slick play on the ice and by drawing plenty of consideration off it – and their rivalry meant games between the Penguins and Capitals were should-see affairs. That included an exciting seven-recreation playoff sequence won by Pittsburgh in 2009, when each star scored eight targets.

Over the next few seasons, though, Crosby’s accidents and Ovechkin’s all of a sudden sporadic scoring diminished the attraction of the matchup.

Both appear to be again on the top of their powers: Ovechkin, who won his third Hart Trophy final season as NHL MVP, entered the day tied for the league lead with 17 goals, whereas 2007 MVP Crosby was tied for the points lead.

“There’s at all times these type of little matchups in the sport that as a participant you realize are there. That is simply sort of a pure factor occurring. You’re used to it. These ones, there’s a few more eyes on the video games,” said Crosby, who scored his eleventh purpose. “I do not suppose that is a nasty factor. I believe it brings out the perfect in everyone.”

Sport notes

Washington’s energy play entered the day ranked second in the NHL at 24 percent, however went zero for 3… The Capitals have been shut out twice of their past sixteen games after going with out a goal simply once final season… The Penguins gained all three games in opposition to the Capitals last season, Pittsburgh’s first sweep in opposition to Washington since 2006-07… Pittsburgh hasn’t dropped four consecutive highway video games since a skid from Dec. 29, 2009, to Jan. 3, 2010… Malkin began the game with a league-excessive 10 assists in November… Six of the teams’ previous eight video games in Washington had been decided by one purpose.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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NHL Three Stars: Hertl power; Jokinen pulls trick on Hurricanes

NHL3stars

No. 1 Star: Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks

The New York Rangers were absolutely hapless on this night time, struggling an embarrassing 9-2 to the Sharks, and Tomas Hertl had all their haps. The boxscore was Hertls all the best way down. The Sharks’ rookie scored four targets to push his total through his first three NHL games to 6. His fourth objective was an absolute thing of beauty.

No. 2 Star: Jussi Jokinen, Pittsburgh Penguins

Jokinen registered a hat trick within the Penguins’ 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, scoring twice on the powerplay and as soon as at even-strength. Paul Martin and Tanner Glass scored the other targets for the Penguins, however we won’t maintain that in opposition to Jokinen.

No. 3 Star: Josh Bailey, New York Islanders

Bailey and the Islanders handed the Phoenix Coyotes a 6-1 drubbing, with Bailey picking up 1 aim and a couple of assists alongside the way in which. Michael Grabner had three apples, and John Tavares added two targets within the rout.

Honourable mention: Filip Forsberg scored his first NHL goal and the Nashville Predators added two more in the first interval, skating to a three-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Seth Jones performed a recreation-high 25:02… The Tampa Bay Lightning rallied for a 3-2 time beyond regulation win over the Buffalo Sabres. Alex Killorn scored the winner:

P.A. Parenteau’s aim was the difference because the Colorado Avalanche handed the Toronto Maple Leafs their first loss, 2-1… Tim Thomas left the Florida Panthers’ recreation after surrendering two early goals and looking to be in some discomfort, and that is all the Philadelphia Flyers would want for a 2-1 win, their first of the season… Daniel Sedin had a objective and an assist to propel Roberto Luongo’s Vancouver Canucks to a three-2 extra time victory over Cory Schneider’s New Jersey Devils. Jason Garrison scored the winner… It came in a loss, however Eric Staal’s deflection on this goal was amazing:

Did You Know? Hertl scored his 4 objectives in a span of twenty-two:46 – the fastest particular person 4-purpose efficiency in Sharks historical past.

Dishonourable point out: Mike Smith was pulled after allowing 5 targets on simply 20 photographs… good Lord, the Rangers had been terrible. Rough evening for Marc Staal particularly. He was a group-worst minus-4.

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Pittsburgh Penguins, National Hockey League of Nations

(Ed. Notice: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer season venture, the Nationwide Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the perfect player of their favourite team’s historical past for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Remainder of The World. It’s their standards, so long as they’ll justify it. Learn, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it is #NHLoN.)

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By Penguins Initiative

Canada: Sidney Crosby by @ChicksDigHockey

The greatest hockey participant from Canada on the Pittsburgh Penguins simply happens to be one of the best hockey participant on this planet.

By all accounts, Sidney Crosby has had a life-lengthy love affair with hockey. Stories abound of Sidney as young as age two being able to maintain a stick correctly whereas hitting a tennis ball. At age ten he scored an incredible 159 objectives in fifty five games taking part in hockey in his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. He had a season point total of 280 points. While at Shattuck- Saint Mary’s Prep School in Minnesota, Sidney set new scoring data by getting seventy two goals and 110 assists for a total of 182 points in simply 57 games. He was also the one participant under the age of eighteen to play in the Canadian Junior Hockey match and the youngest to ever rating a aim in the championship. By the 2004-2005 season, Crosby was thought of one of the best hockey prospect on the earth.

Crosby was famously drafted first in 2005 by the Pittsburgh Penguins He finished his rookie season with 102 factors, which included 39 objectives and sixty three assists. Crosby became the youngest player within the Nationwide Hockey League to attain 100 points in a single season. Crosby was additionally the primary NHL rookie to file over 100 factors and one hundred penalty minutes in a season. Because the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t make the playoffs that season, Crosby was capable of characterize Workforce Canada on the World Championships, the place he turned the youngest player ever to win a World Championship title. He recorded a tournament-greatest eight goals and eight assists in 9 video games.

His listing of awards is simply too quite a few to detail but embody: Artwork Ross Trophy 2007, Lester B. Pearson Award/Ted Lindsay Award 2007 & 2013, Hart Memorial Trophy 2007, Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy 2010, Mark Messier Management Award 2007 and 2010, and the Stanley Cup 2009. Sidney has been a star on the international stage as well. Crosby scored the successful objective in overtime towards the United States in the Olympic gold medal recreation in 2010.

During the 2007 season, the Penguins provided Sidney Crosby the captaincy however he turned it down. His explanation:

“I just thought it wasn’t proper for me. As a workforce, we had been taking part in nice and you don’t wish to disrupt issues like that. Individually, I used to be not prepared to just accept that duty quite yet. Going by means of the playoffs and having that have has most likely given me extra confidence.”

On May 31, 2007, after experiencing playoff hockey, Sidney Crosby was named captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins making him (at 19 years, 9 months, and 24 days) the youngest workforce captain in NHL historical past.

Crosby is a poised captain who’s an articulate spokesman not just for the Pens however all of hockey. He has suffered 2 main injuries prior to now two seasons but faced every restoration with drive and dedication to return to his place at the entrance of the pack. His mental toughness is surpassed solely by hockey aptitude. He sees the ice and understands the ins and outs of the game like no different. He has otherworldly puck dealing with abilities and can rating from anywhere on the ice including while lying on his back. He has that uncommon skill to let the circulate of the game decide his next move. He elevates the game of anyone fortunate enough to play on his line as evidenced by the remarkable 2013 season of Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz.

Sid is very neighborhood-minded and philanthropic. Crosby and the Pens sponsor Sidney Crosby’s Little Penguins. One thousand children, aged four to eight, have every season for the past four years acquired full hockey equipment paid for by the Pittsburgh Penguins, their 25-year-outdated captain and several sponsors. He also established the Sidney Crosby Foundation. The Foundation, created in his residence province of Nova Scotia in 2009, is dedicated to providing monetary help to charities that are useful to the neighborhood as a whole, specifically charities benefitting youngsters.

In order to be referred to as the greatest hockey participant not only do you have to have the abilities to dominate on the ice however be an amazing chief as well. Sidney Crosby greater than fills the bill.

Much like the Penguins themselves, we at PensInitiative.com are a crew from different reaches of life, both individual and parody, brought collectively to form a much bigger and larger group. Every member took one country and gave their opinion on who’s one of the best and why they’re the very best.

French Canada: Mario Lemieux by @ChrisRBarron

There was a number of inside debate amongst our group of Pens fans about whether to do only one entry for Canada or to separate the country in two: French Canada and then the rest of Canada.

Quite frankly, splitting them into two is sensible as a result of they are basically different cultures, with different languages and completely different traditions. There have at all times been a lot of nice French Canadians on the Pens roster. One need look no additional than the present roster that includes Marc Andre-Fleury, Kris Letang, Pascal Dupuis and Simon Despres for proof of that. And whereas the current roster and roster of years past has always been littered with French Canadian gamers, there’s really only one: Le Magnifique – Mario Lemieux.

Mario will not be solely the greatest French Canadian to ever don a Pens sweater, he’s additionally the greatest player – regardless of birthplace – to skate for the Penguins.

Indeed, an argument might be made – and I have made it before – that Lemieux is the greatest hockey player of all time. His stats speak for themselves: 690 career goals (ninth all time) and 1033 profession assists (tenth all time) for a complete of 1,729 profession factors (seventh all time). Even more amazing, Lemieux racked up those career numbers despite lacking 3 full seasons at the peak of his career and parts of several extra to again injuries and lymphoma. He received two Stanley Cups (as a participant + one as an proprietor), three Hart Trophies, 4 Ross Trophies and two Conn Smythe Trophies.

Not only did Lemieux put Pittsburgh on the hockey map throughout his time on the ice, he also saved the franchise as a part of proprietor of the crew helping to negotiate the deal that led to the building of Consol Energy Center.

United States of America: Kevin Stevens by @ExcitedBobErrey

Discussing the very best American player in the historical past of the Pittsburgh Penguins begins and ends with one identify: Kevin Stevens. He presently ranks 5th in franchise historical past in targets scored (260) and 7th in factors (555), while additionally being the franchise chief in PIMs (1,048). In addition to his place in workforce historical past, Stevens had some of the productive 2 year stretches ever by an American-born participant, scoring fifty four targets and 123 factors through the 1991-ninety two season and following that up with a 55 goal, 111 point marketing campaign the subsequent year. The aim totals remain the 1st and 2nd highest single season totals by an American player, while the point totals are 2nd and 3rd behind only Pat Lafontaine’s 149 points in 1992-ninety three.

Stevens also performed an enormous role in serving to the Penguins to back to back Stanley Cup championships, scoring sixty one factors over 45 video games within the 1991 and 1992 playoffs. A late begin to his profession and a bodily fashion of play limited his profession longevity, but Kevin Stevens still managed 726 factors over the course of 874 NHL video games, including 106 points in 103 career postseason video games. Whereas his numbers are some of the greatest in franchise history, it’s the greatness Stevens displayed while enjoying for the workforce in the early 1990s, along with being a major contributor on two Stanley Cup successful teams, that cements his place as one of the best American participant in Pittsburgh Penguins history.

Russia: Evgeni Malkin by @Nick422

Though not a deep or long history, the Penguins have had some extremely gifted and notable Russian players flit out and in of their line up over the previous 20 years when the inflow of Russian talent finally actually hit the NHL: Alexei Kovalev, your enigmatic methods and moonwalking captured the hearts of many a Penguins fan. Sergei Gonchar, you put the biggest exclamation point on a Corridor of Fame profession winning a Stanley Cup and being amazing. Alexander Pechurskiy… you had been a Penguin. All of you are notable, but none of you are Evgeni Malkin.

No matter the result of the 2004 Draft Lottery the Penguins see their Russian pick on this record. In some bizarro alternate universe the place all men have mustaches, people put on hats on their ft and hamburgers eat folks, Alex Ovechkin tops this checklist. Instead it’s Conn Smythe winner, two time MVP and scoring champion Malkin.

Though his entrance into the league took time, first extraditing himself from Russia two years after his draft and then John LeClaire’s accidentally taking out his shoulder, Malkin made a fast affect scoring a goal in his first six games. Displaying flashes of his boss Mario Lemieux, Malkin’s quantity will no doubt hang from the rafters of Consol when all is completed. At solely 26 Malkin’s numbers are impressive with 217 targets, 343 assists for 560 factors in only 458 NHL games. Perhaps a decade left in his career (at the least eight left in Pittsburgh) and he already ranks highly amongst the Penguins all time leaders in points: 7th all time in targets scored, 8th all time in assists, and 8th all time in factors.

Evgeni Malkin, one of the best Russian born participant in Pittsburgh Penguins history.

Sorry Aleksey Morozov, you left too soon.

Czech Republic: Jaromir Jagr by @MadChad412

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been lucky sufficient to make use of among the most interesting players from the Czech Republic in NHL historical past. Actually, the Pens have had 5 of the highest eight all-time NHL scoring Czech gamers in NHL play for his or her franchise. Players comparable to Petr Nedved, Martin Straka, Robert Lang, and Petr Sykora, and even Michal Rozsival, who also had a pretty good stint with the Pens.

On high of that, the Pens had the pleasure of employing the best participant from the trendy-day Czech Republic in NHL historical past, the tantalizing Jaromir Jagr. Jagr captivated the eyes and hearts of Pens’ fans for over a decade with memorizing play, serving to the Pens win two Stanley Cups. Over the course of Jagr’s tenure with the Pens, he received four scoring titles in a row, the Lester B. Pearson Award ,and won a Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most precious participant (1999).

Jagr’s superstardom in Pittsburgh was second solely to Mario Lemieux, who is the one one that scored more points than Jagr in a Pens’ sweater thus far. Jagr is at present the eighth all-time scorer in NHL historical past, and leads all Czech Republic gamers in points all-time.

Unfortunately, Jagr’s time with the Pens came to a nasty finish when he demanded to be traded in 2001. Since then Jagr has now been employed with six totally different teams, including the Pens’ arch-rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Before signing with the Flyers, Jagr stated publicly that he was “dying alive” to play for the Pens once more.

That induced a “Jagr Watch” on the web, having everybody believe the Jagr was coming again to the Pens, only to sign with the Flyers. Jagr’s history in Pittsburgh is filled with amazing recollections and accomplishments, matched only by a foul taste left by his actions off the ice. Nonetheless by far the greatest Czech player not solely the history of the Penguins, but your entire NHL.

Sweden: Markus Naslund by @ToonsBrian

While he would be the Pittsburgh Penguins’ biggest fish story, Markus Naslund continues to be, arms down, the best Swede to have donned a Pens sweater. Drafted in the first round by the Pens, as the 16th general decide in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Naslund joined the group for the 1993-94 campaign. Over the next three seasons, he used his easy skating and a wicked wrister to score sixty seven factors in 151 games (25 G, 42 A) before being sent to the Vancouver Canucks in one of the vital lopsided deals in league history, netting the black and gold only F Alek Stojanov.

Stojanov would only rating 2 objectives and four assists for the Pens whereas Naslund went on to change into an 8-yr Captain for the Canucks and later close out his 1117 recreation NHL profession with the Rangers. His leadership, skill set and production have contributed to his being thought-about one of many prime ten Swedish born gamers ever in the NHL, not to mention to play in the Steel City.

Slovakia: Marian Hossa by @Evil_Shero

The listing of great Slovakian players is lengthy and profound and the Penguins were fortunate enough to have three of the top 10 all-time Slovakian gamers to wear the black and gold. The duty was to seek out one of the best Slovakian player to ever don the Pittsburgh crest and I thought of a number of players earlier than making my determination.

Miroslav Devil who gained a Cup with the Penguins in 2009 is the fifth highest scoring Slovakian participant of all-time but his common season with the crew was unremarkable, to say the least. Not far behind was the enigmatic Ziggy Palffy, who scored at some extent-per-game tempo earlier than his sudden retirement in 2006. Each players are arguably a number of the finest Slovakia needed to supply but my choose had to be Marian Hossa.

Hossa’s time with the Penguins was quick and may very well be thought-about controversial but he is undoubtedly one of the most gifted players to move by the 412 space code.

Hossa’s arrival was the final transition for the Penguins from “younger upstart workforce” to “Cup contenders” as they battled to the Stanley Cup Ultimate with Hossa’s 26 points in 20 games leading the group with 12 objectives in the put up-season.

Hossa’s departure was not very best from Pittsburgh but he matured into one of the vital complete gamers in the NHL profitable two Cups with the Blackhawks. Hossa is now only behind the legendary Peter Stastny in all -time scoring from the Slovakian nation cementing his legacy not only for his country but for the complete NHL.

Finland: Jussi Jokinen by @KyleFourTwoOne

To be completely sincere, It didn’t take long to dissect the heaps of Finnish Hockey Legends that laced ‘em up for the Pittsburgh Penguins, principally because the heap by no means really existed. What I was in search of greater than anything while strolling by way of the forest filled with forgettable puck handlers and fewer than spectacular defensemen, was someone that brought one thing a bit more particular to the group.

After sifting through familiar names like Ville Siren, Jarkko Ruutu, and Peter Ahola, I discovered the Shootout Objective, and 10 feet behind it pumping his stick within the air was Jussi Jokinen. Although he has a restricted, albeit a powerful number of games performed with the Penguins (7 Targets and 4 Assists in 10 Regular Season video games played), we all know what makes Jussi particular to the groups he plays for.

Jokinen holds the document for all-time shootout objectives with 28, nine of which he scored on his first nine makes an attempt. His laser-guided shot accuracy coupled together with his faceoff prowess makes him the deadliest Finn to grace the ice within the Steel City, and the hero of many an everyday-season game that couldn’t quite be determined in regulation.

Korea: Jim Paek/Richard Park by @Nick422

The nice nation of Korea (South) has given us two completely different NHLers and each had been drafted and played for the Penguins. Each have a unique claim to fame. For this, Richard Park and Jim Paek are one of the best Korean born Penguins.

Jim Paek was the very first Korean born NHLer to take the ice. Drafted by the Pens 170th total within the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, Paek made his debut in 1990. He went on to play until 1994 for the Penguins earlier than being traded. Most importantly he was a part of two Cup champions, making him the primary (and solely) Korean born participant to have his name etched on to Lord Stanley.

Richard Park may not have his identify on the Stanley Cup however he had an extended and more illustrious NHL career. The 50th general pick in the 1994 Draft, Park played for six different NHL teams together with two stops with the Penguins.

Neither have been All Stars or hockey gods however both had been notable for his or her nation and for their contributions. Jim Paek and Richard Park, the perfect Korean born Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brunei: Craig Adams by @ChicksDigHockey

The Pittsburgh Penguins are proud to make use of Craig Adams, the greatest Bruneian-born hockey player in the NHL. Scratch that…..on the planet (learn in Austin Energy’s voice). The present Penguin middle was born in Seria, Brunei on the Island of Borneo in Southeast Asia whereas his father was on business with Shell Oil. Paradoxically, there aren’t any other NHL players born in Brunei. He was raised in Calgary, Alberta.

Adams also boasts the distinction of being the last participant ever drafted by the Hartford Whalers. He went in the ninth round, 223rd overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft after his freshman season at Harvard College. He has hoisted the Stanley cup twice; as soon as with the Hurricanes in 2006 and once more with the Penguins in 2009.

At 6’ 200 lb., Adams has proven himself versatile on the 4th line able to contribute at middle in addition to proper wing. He isn’t often known as a prolific aim scorer however Adams has confirmed himself as an aggressive penalty killer and fearless scrapper.

On July 5, 2013, Adams was re-signed once more to a two-yr contract and can probably retire a Penguin.

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Dallas Stars deny tampering with Evgeni Malkin, but did Sergei Gonchar?

Tampering isn’t taken calmly in the NHL. It may possibly value groups financially or, in excessive circumstances, price them draft picks.

So when Evgeni Malkin’s father informed SovSport that the Dallas Stars “provided my son a much bigger contract than Pittsburgh” when Malkin has never reached free company within the NHL, eyebrows (and crimson flags) have been raised.

It’s a serious enough cost that the Stars felt compelled to deal with it via Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning Information:

“Now we have seen the reports which have surfaced out of Russia claiming that we’ve tampered and they are completely unfaithful. The Dallas Stars organization respects and adheres to all guidelines and regulations set forth by the Nationwide Hockey League and any report that claims in any other case is false.”

Heika’s NHL supply informed him that the League isn’t trying into the fees because there’s been no aggrieved occasion that’s come ahead about it.

Still, one thing smells … “off” about this situation.

Listed here are the facts: The Dallas Stars traded for Sergei Gonchar on June 7 and signed him on June eight to a 2-year, $10-million deal.

This seemed odd because (a) it was nearly a month before free agency began, and Gonchar was the primary player whose UFA rights were dealt in June; and (b) $5 million annually for Gonchar was a fairly unusual amount on condition that he’s 39 years old and earned $5.5 million against the cap on his final contract.

Only one defenseman was given more money than Gonchar on AAV in the offseason: Mark Streit at $5.25 million, from the protection-starved Philadelphia Flyers.

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Malkin signed his contract on June thirteen, inking an 8-yr deal value $seventy six million with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The contract begins in 2014-15. J.P. Barry, his agent, labored into the evening on June 12 making an attempt to get the deal closed.

Again, let’s revisit Papa Malkin and his SovSport feedback:

“You recognize, Dallas provided my son an even bigger contract than Pittsburgh. And Zhenya replied ‘No, I don’t need [to go] there.’ And that’s when the Stars had already signed Sergei Gonchar. His [Malkin’s] best buddy [Gonchar] was there. Why not conform to go there?”

So here’s my Pelican Temporary on this case:

The Dallas Stars hoped talks between Malkin and the Penguins would go sideways. They signal Gonchar to be their energy-play quarterback, but also understanding his relationship with Malkin. (When you suppose this thing does not occur, please recall Tom Gilbert as the Minnesota Wild’s bait for Ryan Suter.)

Maybe it’s Gonchar, unprovoked or provoked, who mentions to Malkin that the Dallas Stars can supply him a max contract extension ($12 million per season) if he forces a commerce to Dallas from the Penguins, making him a really wealthy participant and getting out from underneath the Unofficial Sidney Crosby Salary Cap in Pittsburgh. Plus he gets to play along with his mentor/buddy Gonchar, which is comrade-riffic.

Would any of this be tampering on the a part of the Stars? They’d have plausible deniability even when they’d a hand in it.

Would it be tampering on the part of Gonchar? In fact, if he’s below contract, however good luck making an attempt to prove it.

The timing of issues and Papa Malkin’s comments mix to make me a little suspicious of the whole thing. Possibly it was just wishful pondering on the Stars’ half or something more, but I’m inclined to assume Gonchar and Malkin had an actual Suter-and-Parise coronary heart to heart about their future at some point.

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Florida Panthers, National Hockey League of Nations

Getty Images (Ed. Observe: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer season undertaking, the Nationwide Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to determine the best participant in their favorite staff’s historical past for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they’ll justify it. Learn, debate and enjoy! If you want to accomplish that on Twitter, it is #NHLoN.)

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By PantherParkway.com

Canada: Joe Nieuwendyk

One of probably the most adorned gamers to ever suit up for the Florida Panthers, Corridor of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk brought his three Stanley Cup rings, Olympic Gold Medal, Conn Smyth Trophy and 1,126 career factors to the Sunshine State in 2005. Though the Panthers obtained the oldest version of a skater identified affectionately “Nieuwe”, the getting older legend nonetheless managed to score sixty four points in eighty games for the Cats earlier than retiring in 2007. Nieuwendyk’s time in Florida was loads like courting an aging Playboy mannequin: Certain you didn’t get her in her prime, but you may always look back at her glory days and suppose to yourself, “Yeah, I got that.”

Finland: Olli Jokinen

Sitting on the high of the all-time leading points checklist together with fellow Finnish players corresponding to Selanne, Kurri, Sandstrom, and Koivu, Olli Jokinen has made a big mark throughout his professional years which he spent in each the Finnish Elite League and the NHL.

Before taking his talents to North America in 1998, Olli Jokinen was making a reputation for himself in his hometown league, the SM-Liiga. Kicking off his professional profession at simply 17-years-old, Jokinen found himself breaking a document for essentially the most points recorded for a player below 18 years previous (recently damaged by Aleksander Barkov), earning himself the Jarmo Wasama memorial trophy which is given to the rookie of the year. Following the success he present in Finland, Olli determined to take his abilities to the NHL where he was drafted 3rd total by the Los Angeles Kings, later being traded to the Islanders and ultimately making his approach to Florida. Although the Panthers failed to make the playoffs throughout Jokinen’s 7 seasons with the struggling franchise, he managed to seek out his personal success during his years with Florida, recording a career excessive of 85-plus points in back-to-again seasons. Jokinen presently holds the all-time points and goals report for the Panthers.

USA: John Vanbiesbrouck

One of the driving forces behind the Panthers’ miracle run to the Stanley Cup in 1996, John “Beezer” Vanbiesbrouck is one of the most decorated American goaltenders of all-time. A 3-time All-Star and Vezina Trophy winner in 1986, Beezer nonetheless holds the document for all-time victories amongst American born goaltenders with 374. In 5 seasons with the Panthers, Beezer compiled 106 regular season victories and 13 postseason victories. At age 49, Beezer might nonetheless have an opportunity of creating an impact on the Cat’s questionable goaltending duo, however for now fans will have to cling to recollections of 1996.

Sweden: Kristian Huselius

Selected by the Panthers within the 2nd spherical (forty seventh overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, forward Kristian Huselius spent 4 seasons wearing Panther red. Though he didn’t make his debut with the Panthers until 2001, Huselius’ velocity and playmaking had been on full show when he lastly took the ice. In four seasons for the Cats, Huselius scored 127 points earlier than he was traded to Calgary in 2005. Though followers hope that sometime goaltender Jacob Markstrom will be seemed back on because the Cat’s prime Swede, for now the distinction belongs to Huselius.

Russia: Pavel Bure

Although his jersey is about to be raised to the rafters in Vancouver, Russian forward Pavel Bure spent 4 years raising both eyebrows and expectations when he suited up for the Florida Panthers from 1998-2002. During Bure’s four-year stint in the Sunshine State, he was able to tally 152 targets en route to winning back-to-back Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies.

Bure was able to rating 779 career factors whereas showing in seven All-Star video games and earning an induction into the Hockey Corridor of Fame in 2012.

To put it bluntly, Bure brought probably the most Russian-related hysteria to South Florida because the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Slovakia: Jozef Stumpel

While Slovakian natives resembling previous-timer Robert Svehla and current player Tomas Kopecky could also be Florida Panther fan favorites, it’s onerous not to give the “greatest Slovakian” nod to Jozef Stumpel who appeared in 957 NHL video games, recording 677 points. Stumpel saw productive years with the Florida Panthers tallying 111 factors in 199 video games until he retired in 2008.

But it was earlier in his career when Stumpel made a name for himself, notching seventy five-plus factors in back to again seasons with each the Boston Bruins and the Los Angeles Kings.

While Stumpel may not be draped in medals and NHL awards, he presently sits seventh all-time in points for Slovakian born skaters averaging a formidable zero.71 points per sport.

Czech Republic: Martin Straka

Although he solely appeared in 67 games with the Florida Panthers, Martin Straka made his mark within the NHL tallying 717 factors (257g-460a-717p) in 954 profession video games with teams such because the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers. Straka is finest identified for his dominance between the late ninety’s/early 2000’s the place he performed with the Penguins for the second time in his profession notching 346 factors in 403 games. Nestled nicely between Petr Sykora and Milan Hejduk, Martin Straka has put up the 4th highest points per game complete amongst Czech born NHL gamers (0.seventy five).

Adding to those accomplishments, Straka skated with the Czech Republic males’s ice hockey group in the course of the 1998 Olympic games in Nagano Japan, incomes their nations first and only gold medal in ice hockey.

REST OF THE WORLD CATEGORY

Latvia: Sandis Ozolinsh

A veteran of several NHL teams, 7-time All-Star defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh soaked up the sunshine with the Panthers from 2001-2003. An astoundingly gifted offensive-defenseman, Ozolinsh averaged64 factors a sport for his profession and continues to be at the moment the all-time Latvian factors chief in each the NHL and for his dwelling country. In 1996 he was in a position to hoist the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche and nonetheless holds eight individual Avalanche information. In his two seasons with the Panthers, Ozolinish earned fifty five points in 88 video games performed.

Although Latvia may be identified for producing famous folks songs, Ozolinish was able to use his stick as an instrument of offensive destruction in the NHL for a few years.

Belarus: Ruslan Salei

While he may no longer be on this Earth, former NHL defenseman Ruslan Salei’s mark left on Belarusian hockey will echo for a while. Arriving in Florida in 2006, Salei spent 2 seasons with the Panthers, recording 55 factors in 147 games played.

Sadly, Salei misplaced his life within the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl airplane crash in 2011. On the time of his demise, Salei was the NHL’s all-time leading point scorer from Belarus with 204 points in 917 video games. Though Andrei Kosititsyn has since surpassed that whole, Salei’s legacy within the NHL will reside on.

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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.

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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.

GRADE: B

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.

GRADE: C

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 …

GRADE: B

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.

GRADE: B

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.

GRADE: A-

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 …

GRADE: A-

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.

GRADE: A

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 …

GRADE: D

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 …

GRADE: D

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.

GRADE: A

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.

GRADE: B

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.

GRADE: D

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.

GRADE: D

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

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Penguins come to terms with Kris Letang; also sign him for eight years, $58 million

Kris Letang and the Pittsburgh Penguins hit that relationship wall. You know the one. After some great years together, it was time for something more. They could take the next step, accept one another for who they both were, and commit to one another long-term. Or they could break up.

They chose the former. On Tuesday, the Penguins announced that they and Letang have agreed to an eight-year, $58 million extension. Expect the “save the date” in the mail.

From the Penguins:

The deal begins with the 2014-15 season and runs through the 2021-22 campaign, and has an average annual value of $7.25 million.

Letang, 26, is coming off his best season, finishing third in balloting for the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL. Letang led all NHL blueliners in both points (t-38) and assists (33) while posting a plus-16 rating and in 35 regular-season games. His 1.09 point-per-game average led all defensemen.

The 6-foot, 201-pound defenseman established careers highs during the postseason with team-leading totals of 13 assists and 16 points in 15 contests. Letang’s 16 points were tops among league defensemen, while his 13 assists were second in the entire NHL behind only Boston’s David Krejci (17).

I hate to be too obvious here, but that’s a whole lot of money, especially for a defenceman that seems to occasionally struggle with what one assumes is his primary responsibility. Letang isn’t always the most reliable guy in his own zone, is what I’m saying.

Earlier in this process, it was reported that, due in large part to this one little glitch in Letang’s programming, Ray Shero didn’t believe Letang was worth more than $6 million per year. But Letang’s cap hit will stand at a gaudy $7.25. What happened?

I’d say reality set in, and they came to terms with the new CBA, as well as who their guy is. It’s tough to argue with what Letang can do offensively, and a player that can start the breakout and get the puck to the stars in dangerous areas the way he can is going to get paid handsomely, especially if the negotiations begin after a Norris nomination. (Meanwhile, as @BonksMullet points out, the Norris winner is probably doing this right about now.)

Letang’s ability to feed the stars is, I think, the big thing to remember about this massive contract: The Penguins now have Malkin, Letang and Crosby locked up through 2022, and while Letang can be a bit shaky defensively, there’s no doubting that his presence boosts production from the Penguins’ two star centres. If you want to get full value from your two scoring champions (and you’ve got $180 million committed to them, so it certainly behooves you to do so), you keep your best puck-mover around.

There’s a concern here, of course. When Malkin and Letang’s deals kick in, the Penguins will have $25.45 million of the cap — about 40% of this year’s — committed to three guys for a long, long time. That’s crazy, and it’s going to impede flexibility at times.

The good news: if Letang can tighten up, the Penguins are set for just shy of a decade. But if he can’t — if he continues to be a somewhat punchier version of Brian Campbell (who, it should be noted, got a similar contract in 2008) — Letang could turn out to be both a Penguin and an albatross for the next eight years.

UPDATE: For the Post-Gazette, “Letang’s contract allows him to stipulate 12 team before each season to which he CANNOT be traded.”

NHL video from Yahoo! Sports:

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Pascal Dupuis foregoes free agency, re-signs with Penguins for four years, $15 million

Ray Shero continues to establish his reputation as this summer’s Oprah of extensions. Only hours after signing Kris Letang to a whopping eight-year deal, the Penguins have announced a much more reasonable four-year pact with Pascal Dupuis worth $15 million.

From the Penguins, who are excellent for disclosing the financial details in all their releases, by the way:

The deal runs through the 2016-17 campaign, and has an average annual value of $3.75 million.

Dupuis, 34, was one of the Penguins’ top offensive threats in 2012-13, ranking third on the team in both goals (20) and points (t-38), while placing first with 140 shots and a plus-31 rating. Dupuis’ plus-31 rating led the NHL, making him the first Penguins player to accomplish that feat since Ron Francis in 1994-95. His 17 even-strength goals tied for sixth-most in the NHL.

Slightly more important than all that stuff: Dupuis plays on Sidney Crosby’s line, and he’s effective there. The Penguins now have both of his 2013 linemates in Dupuis and Kunitz signed through 2017, and each for under $4 million.

Shero got great value here, especially after previous reports that the negotiations with Dupuis were going poorly enough that the winger might hit the free agent market.

He could probably have made over $4 million there, but instead he chose to take less to stay in Pittsburgh, perhaps because Shero is on a extension roll, having locked up Letang, Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, and now Dupuis in the last few weeks. He’s got the touch.

The real question, of course, will be whether he still has it next season, when he has to fill out the rest of his lineup with $44 million already invested in just nine players.

But that’s later. For now, this is a good deal.