NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 1: Pick the eight teams that will advance out of the first round: Colorado vs. Minnesota, St. Louis vs. Chicago, Anaheim vs. Dallas, San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Boston vs. Detroit, Tampa Bay vs. Montreal, Pittsburgh vs. Columbus, New York vs. Philadelphia. The playoffs begin tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right.
Shanahan to Toronto: Homeward bound. Shanny takes a top job with Maple Leafs.
Of all the Canadian coaches, he's the most Russian: Grantland profiles Mike Keenan as he coaches Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL.
Roberto Luongo traded to Florida for Jacob Markstrom, Shawn Matthias: The Roberto Luongo era in Vancouver ended today, as the one-time cornerstone Canucks goaltender was traded to Florida for goalie Jacob Markstrom and centre Shawn Matthias. The Panthers will presumably take on the final eight years remaining on Luongo’s contract, which pays the goalie $6.714 million for the next four seasons but has a cap hit of $5.33 million. But it has been reported that the Canucks will pay 15 per cent of Luongo’s salary or about $800,000 per season. The Canucks also sent minor leaguer Stephen Anthony the other way in the trade.
Miller & Ott traded to St. Louis; Sabres get Halak and Stewart, prospect and two picks: In one of the biggest trades in Buffalo Sabres history and the 1st one under new G.M. Tim Murray, goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott have been dealt to the St. Louis Blues. In return, the Sabres are getting goaltender Jaroslav Halak, right winger Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 1st-round pick in '15 and a 3rd-round pick in '16.
Taro Tsujimoto's story: years before Hideo Nomo and Dice-K, Tsujimoto was a hockey wunderkind who promised to improve the Buffalo Sabres. But he never arrived because he never existed: he was one of the many pranks the Sabres' long-time PR man Paul Wielan invented.
New Year's Eve, 1975: Montreal Canadiens vs. Soviet Central Red Army. Complete video of possibly the greatest ice hockey game ever played. Introduction by Dick Irvin, Jr. Via the NHL History Channel, which has some other excellent nostalgia.
Rogers reaches 12-year broadcast deal with NHL worth $5.2-billion : Rogers Communications Inc. will be the exclusive national rights holder for the NHL for the next 12 years in a $5.2-billion deal that fundamentally reshapes the sports broadcasting landscape in Canada. Rogers will make annual payments of $300-million to the NHL, which will incrementally increase until they reach $500-million in the final year of the deal. There is also an upfront payment of $150-million. In addition to the Rogers deal, the NHL gets about $300-million (U.S.) a year from U.S. network NBC, which is also shared among the 30 teams. In total, each team will get about $25-million a season in television revenue, not including fees for local broadcast.
Buffal Sabres announce Ted Nolan as head coach, Pat LaFontaine as president of hockey operations: "Last night I relieved Darcy Regier from his duties as Buffalo Sabres general manager and Ron Rolston as head coach," Sabres owner Terry Pegula said at a press conference at First Niagara Center. Pegula announced the creation of a new title in the Sabres organization, president of hockey operations, which will be filled by LaFontaine. Ted Nolan was named interim head coach effective today.
Fan tackles Marty the Marmot mascot during musical chairs at WHL hockey game: Victoria police have launched an assault investigation after an aggressive fan tackled Marty the Marmot at Saturday’s Victoria Royals hockey game. Marty landed hard on the ice on his back and lay prone for several seconds until a staff member came over to help him to his feet. The aggressive fan was escorted off the ice to a torrent of boos from the crowd and Marty was helped away, clearly in pain.
The Bridgetown Senators?: This from Christopher Stuart Taylor of the Huffington Post tries to explain a possible bit of Canadian tax evasion on the part of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. The dodge involves setting up business relationships between Canada and Barbados. The businesses will then be taxed at the 2.5% Barbadian rate rather than the 30% Canadian rate. While the author leads with a Senators' connection, the actual investigation conducted by the CBC has nothing to do with the team. I'm sure Melnyk is clever enough to keep purely Canadian businesses out of the "Bajun" connection. Note: No matter which side (Canadian or Barbadian) is puling a fast one here, I'm on the bad side. My dad was from Nova Scotia, my mom from Barbados, and I still have family in both places.
Flyers Fire Coach After Just Three Games: After the team's 0-3 start in the new NHL season, the Philadelphia Flyers have fired coach Peter Laviolette. Rich Hofman of the Daily News calls the move a tragicomedy. "Short leash? Fine. But has anyone ever heard of a leash that has only three links in its chain?" he writes.
Barkov Youngest NHL Player to Score Since 1942: Florida Panthers rookie Aleksander Barkov became the youngest player in 71 years to score a goal in an NHL game Thursday. The second player selected in the 2013 NHL draft, Barkov, 18 years and 31 days old, tied the Panthers opener against the Dallas Stars in a game Florida won 4-2. On Nov. 22, 1942, Jackie Schmidt of the Boston Bruins scored at age 18 years and 11 days, in a 7-6 defensive struggle against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Schmidt only played one season at the NHL level, called up to replace players called to duty during World War II.
ESPN Fantasy Hockey League Needs Teams: My ESPN Fantasy Hockey league Koharski's Donuts needs four more members. It's a head-to-head league with a snake draft taking place Saturday Sept. 28 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. So far all owners are from SportsFilter.
Never Too Early for Fantasy Hockey: The regular season is still six weeks away, but Koharski's Donuts fantasy hockey league has been set up on ESPN and needs eight more members. It's a head-to-head standard league with a live snake draft Saturday Sept. 28 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. The password to join is sprinkles.
NHL Re-Alignment:: The NHL announced the new alignment today, with two conferences of two divisions each. The Detroit Red Wings will now play in the Eastern Conference in the Atlantic Division, and the Winnipeg Jets will be in the Western Conference in the Central Division. Let the natural rivalries (Tampa-Toronto?) begin to take shape!
Nashville Predators Paint Ice Yellow: The Nashville Predators are having some fun with their home arena during the off-season, painting the ice a golden shade of yellow. They're doing it for the children.
City Council OKs multimillion-dollar deal to keep Arizona Coyotes in Glendale: The NHL still has to give formal approval to an investment group called IceArizona (RSE) to complete their purchase. RSE promised to reimburse the city millions a year based on revenue drawn from new ticket surcharges, parking fees and a split of naming rights for the arena. The city council voted not only to pay RSE $15 million a year for 15 years (a total of $225 million) to run Jobing.com Arena, but to remove an escape clause under which the city could have terminated the agreement in the event that the city incurred losses of $50 million or more over five seasons. This comes at a time when the city of Glendale is struggling to find the money to fuel its fire engines. There was a hint of irony, then, when council member Sam Chavira, a fireman himself, addressed RSE's Anthony LeBlanc just before the vote and compared the Coyotes' new owners to firemen rushing into a burning building. That remark, just before Chavira eventually cast his deciding "yes" vote (Chavira was seen as the swing vote), also seemed out of place considering the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in Arizona battling a wildfire this week.
Old Blood: an elegy for Theo Fleury, hero to undersized scrappers.
Stunning comeback gives Chicago Blackhawks the Cup: Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland goals in a span of 18 seconds late in the 3rd period propelled the Hawks to a stunning 3-2 win and a second Stanley Cup championship in four years. Bickell scored at the 18:44 mark after Toews sent a pass through the wickets of the Bruins' Zdeno Chara in front of the net, with Bickell then one-timing a score through Tuukka Rask's five-hole for the stunning equalizer to make it 2-2.
Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup Game 5: The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 3-1 Saturday at home in game 5, putting them one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup. Patrick Kane scored two goals for the Hawks and Dave Bolland had an empty netter as the Bruins scrambled for an equalizer. The series returns to Boston Monday night.
Blackhawks Win in OT to Even Stanley Cup: An 11-goal onslaught ended with a Brent Seabrook overtime goal that gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 6-5 road win over the Boston Bruins and evened up the Stanley Cup Finals at two games apiece. Boston fought back twice from two-goal deficits to tie, but never led. "We battled back many times, didn't make it easy on ourselves," said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
Boston Takes 2-1 Lead in Stanley Cup Finals: A 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals gives the Boston Bruins a 2-1 series lead. Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron scored second-period goals. Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots. "They had shots but most of them came from the outside," Rask said. "We eliminated a lot of their rebound opportunities."
Bruins Win Game 2 in Overtime: A Daniel Paille goal 13:48 into overtime gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 road win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, evening the series at 1. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 18 saves in a first period onslaught by the Hawks, letting in only one goal by Patrick Sharp.
The Boston Bruins are the toughest team in the NHL: So what is it good for, this heady melange of swagger and glower and grit and facepunching? What is it, if it's not a way to win? Consider this possibility: toughness in hockey isn't a strategy. It's an aesthetic.
Blackhawks Win Game 1 in Triple OT: In the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup Finals history, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 in triple overtime Wednesday night in game one of the championship series. Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw scored on a deflection 12:08 into the third extra period. The Bruins led 3-1 in the third but the Hawks scored two goals in a four-minute span. "We've preached it -- go to the net, you'll find a way to get a greasy goal," Shaw said.
Blackhawks Fans Cheer Over Anthem: The return of the Chicago Blackhawks to the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals brings to the spotlight an unusual tradition among the team's fans -- making noise during the National Anthem. The custom of drowning out the song with roaring cheers dates to the 1985 playoffs and a series against the Edmonton Oilers. "It gives me goose bumps," Chicago forward Bryan Bickell said. "I can't imagine a better way to start a hockey game." Game 1 between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins is Wednesday night in Chicago.
Nate Silver's analysis of Canada's 20 year Stanley Cup drought.: Just how unlikely has Canada’s Stanley Cup drought been? And is there anything in the league’s economics that might help to explain it?
As part of the cover vote for NHL14, the NHL remembers its history: sadly, some of the voters who have embraced a "Vote Early, Vote Often" philosophy can't remember important facts.
New York Rangers Fire John Tortorella: Four days after the New York Rangers lost in the second round of the NHL playoffs, the team fired head coach John Tortorella. The American-born coach with the most career wins at 410, Tortorella was hired in 2009 and took the team to the Eastern Conference finals last year. He led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup. During his time in New York, Tortorella took a courageous stand against one of the dumbest habits of sports reporters. "Ask me a question. Don't say talk about it, ask me a question," he told a reporter during a presser. "I'm not going to talk about it if it isn't a question."
Boston Bruins announcer Jack Edwards equates Matt Cooke with Sirhan Sirhan: Jack Edwards states that Matt Cooke basically assassinated Marc Savard, also that...nominating Cooke for the Masterton Trophy last season was equal to "nominating Sirhan Sirhan as the prisoner of the year."
Boston Bruins Fans Take Over the National Anthem: Last night at the first Boston Bruins game since the marathon bombing, National Anthem singer Rene Rancourt let the crowd take over the singing.
Iggy!! Part deux?: After 16 seasons, two Rocket Richard Trophies, one trip to the Stanley Cup final, two Olympic gold medals....Jarome Iginla is a Pittsburgh Penguin. The Calgary Flames announced late Wednesday that Iginla is headed to Pittsburgh for forwards Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hankowski and Pittsburgh’s 2013 first-round pick.
Greg Jamison asks for extension on Phoenix Coyotes deal:: In the most clear sign yet of the fragility of Jamison’s efforts to buy the Coyotes, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said an attorney representing Jamison called him late Wednesday night to ask for an extension on a lucrative arena-management deal. The city previously offered Jamison a 20-year deal that pays him an average of $15 million a year to manage Jobing.com Arena. However, the deal mandates that Jamison has to purchase the Coyotes from the NHL by 11:59 p.m. Arizona time today. If Jamison misses the deadline, the deal evaporates. Weiers said of extending the deadline: “Obviously, we’re not going to do that.”
Maple Leafs fire G.M. Brian Burke : The Toronto Maple Leafs new ownership conglomerate of Bell, Rogers and Larry Tanenbaum pulled the plug on Burke on Wednesday morning, shocking the hockey world on a day when most of the game’s owners – included Tanenbaum – are set to vote on the collective agreement. Burke’s firing comes just 4 days before training camps are expected to open and a week and a half before an abbreviated 48-game schedule will start for the Leafs in Montreal on Jan. 19. The curious timing of the decision came after months of soul searching by new ownership, according to MLSE president Tom Anselmi.
Game On!: After 6 long months of negotiations, it took one extremely long night to get the NHL out of the boardroom and back on the ice. A tentative deal to end the 113-day NHL lockout was reached Sunday morning at the end of a marathon 16-hour negotiating session. “We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told a news conference. “We’ve got to dot a lot of i’s and cross a lot of t’s. There’s still a lot of work to be done but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon.” “Hopefully within a very few days the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, not the two of us,” said Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players’ Association.
How The Greed Stole Hockey: A christmas tale.
Reebok signs 15-year-old hockey phenom to huge endorsement deal: The "next Sidney Crosby", only the third 15 year old allowed to play in the OHL, signs a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal with the Reeb. Hopefully there will be an NHL for him to play in before the contract term finishes.
Charles Pierce on Donald Fehr and the NHL lockout: So, when the NHL players turned to [Fehr], everyone on both sides knew they were hiring a wartime consigliere. The players came out of the last lockout with such impeccably clean clocks that it's a wonder they didn't hire someone with an RPG launcher this time around. Fehr's hiring should have come as a surprise to approximately nobody, since a lockout is always a deliberate tactic by management aimed at achieving a precise goal — in this case, clawing back what little was left after the last time Bettman fastened on this strategy.