Archive for Around the League
When Lockout: The Sequel happened and wiped out the entire 2004-2005 season, the NHL was at an all time low. Too much clutch and grab, too little skill, and too many “enforcers” that couldn’t actually play the game of hockey. The game was in a bad place, and something needed to be done.
This was also the time when coaches routinely deployed their lineups in the following manner: Two scoring lines, called the top-six, one checking line, and one line of enforcers to “keep the peace.” As the game has evolved since Lockout: The Sequel through Lockout: I Can’t Believe We Are Going Through This Again, the anatomy of a lineup evolved as well.
With the season beginning, the topics of conversation are all over the place. Some interesting ones from around the league include the Avalanche start (abysmal at best, someone really needs to start a Patrick Roy bail fund for when he loses it) and the shaky starts of some elite goaltenders (Jonathan Quick and Tuukka Rask), among many great single games to discuss.
Since we’re always trying to find fun new ways to open Rangers fans eyes to league happenings, today we’re going to play Devil’s Advocate. Here, two of us (Dave and myself) will argue both sides of an issue. Perspective – it’s a hell of a thing.
Today, we discuss the NHL hiring Chris Pronger to head the Department of Player Safety.
Today marks the last day of the preseason for hockey, with just one game being played at 3pm between Carolina and Washington. The season is three short days away. The endless summer is over. Is this music to your ears yet?
It certainly has been around the league, where several teams have been forced to make moves based on what they’ve seen over the past couple of weeks. Injuries have struck, tryouts have gone decidedly well or poorly, extensions have been signed (and some haven’t been considered), and leadership moves have been made.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know before the season starts on Wednesday. Read More→
For fans of HBO’s 24/7, you were disappointed this weekend when news broke that HBO would no longer be carrying the show. For those who have HBO for that sole reason, you can cancel your subscription today. The show isn’t going away, and Scott Burnside is reporting that the NHL will produce it’s own version –without the soothing dulcet tones of Liev Schreiber– to air on EPIX.
Puck Daddy pointed out that the NHL was carrying the financial burden of producing the show, and that HBO was unwilling to do a second show for the other outdoor game (Kings/Sharks) this year.
For those of you trying to figure out what channel EPIX is, don’t you worry. I googled it for you, and have no fear, Cablevision doesn’t carry the network.
With only 23 days til the open of hockey(!!!!), the officials with the National Hockey League have, as is often done, made provisions to the rulebook. This is done to keep up with the ever-changing sport, to give referees a reason to have pop quizzes, and to confuse (and sometimes upset) the common fan. But fear not, faithful BSB reader! I have done some research for you and I’ll zero in on what you need to know.
There were only ten changes made, some having to do with penalties, some having to do with ice space, and a couple about overtime. A spark notes version of the changes is as follows: Read More→
Last year: 34-37-11, eighth in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by 14 points.
Key subtractions: Evgeni Nabokov, Radek Martinek (likely)
Franchise direction: The Islanders’ rebuild has been very slow, but it really does look like things are starting to change. The additions of Halak, Grabovski and Kulemin were major pieces and the Islanders clearly are hoping to make a splash when they begin play at the Barclays Center in 2015-2016. New York needs several of its prospects to fulfill their promise in order to become a perennial playoff team, but they certainly have the talent to make that a reality over the next couple seasons.
As discussed last week, there is much speculation to who will follow in Ryan Callahan’s nearly three season footsteps and lead the Blueshirts as their fearless captain this year. The Rangers aren’t the only team to be facing this kind of indecision. Though Tampa was able to name a captain immediately after trading Martin St. Louis, several teams who have lost their captains to free agency or trades during the offseason are currently suffering a hole in their leadership groups.
Of the 30 teams contending in the NHL, seven have no current captain, and 11 have at least one missing alternate captain. Of these teams, some have lost their captains to trades or free agency, however at least one has stripped their leaders of their letters. Let’s take a look at the six clubs besides the Rangers who are missing captains leading up to training camp.
Unless you’ve been hiding beneath a social media-free rock over the past few weeks, you’ve seen videos of people – regular Joes and celebrities alike – dousing themselves in ice cold water. Heck, you might have even taken part in these actions. So is there some sort of heat wave causing this outbreak of sudden ice showers lately? Nope: it’s just people being charitable, raising funds and spreading awareness for a disease that has taken too many peoples’ lives.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, affectionately hashtagged as #ALSIceBucketChallenge, is an event where the participant either douses themselves with a bucket of ice water or donates $100 to the ALS Association in hopes of finding a cure (or both….preferably both). The participant then nominates three friends to partake in the challenge. While this all seems fun, several people are questioning the point, and it’s really quite simple.
Last year: 36-35-11, seventh in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by 10 points.
Key additions: Tim Gleason, Jay McClement, Brad Malone
Key subtractions: Andrei Loktionov, Justin Peters, Manny Malhotra, Drayson Bowman (likely), Radek Dvorak (likely), Mike Komisarek (likely), Joni Pitkanen (likely)
Franchise direction: Like the Penguins and Capitals, Carolina elected to oust its coach and general manager rather than overturn its roster. Bill Peters replaces Kirk Muller behind the bench and Hall of Famer Ron Francis will step in for Jim Rutherford as general manager. Those could be just the first of many sweeping changes in Carolina. The players on the current roster will obviously be given another shot this season before the Hurricanes make any dramatic moves, but don’t be surprised to see Francis unload key cogs if Carolina starts slow and decides to blow up its roster to begin a full rebuild.
Last year: 38-30-14, fifth in the Metro Division. Missed the postseason by three points.
Key additions: Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters
Franchise direction: Like the rival Penguins, Washington chose to make major changes in the front office over overhauling its roster. In for George McPhee is Brian MacLellan as General Manager while long-time Predators coach Barry Trotz replaces Adam Oates behind the bench. Trotz is one of the most respected men in the business, but he’s made his living as a defensive-minded coach and faces an entirely new challenge in the nation’s capital. Trotz was surely part of the inspiration for the team’s two big signings, Niskanen and Orpik. The Capitals needed a major upgrade on defense after finishing 21st in goals against, but lobbing $67.75 million at Niskanen and Orpik was a bit excessive, especially in Orpik’s case. The acquisitions certainly don’t say much for the team’s faith in its long-time top-three of John Carlson, Karl Alzner and Mike Green. Focusing on bringing in defensemen from outside the organization does make some sense given that Washington has several talented forward coming up through the organization.