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Canadian government to auction trove of hockey items (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:41:09 PDT)
The Canadian government has one for sale. A crop of hockey memorabilia is up for bids on the government's surplus website. It's a space where millions of dollars worth of seized goods - and stuff the government no longer needs - are auctioned to the public.

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Toronto Maple Leafs from A to Zed (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 27 Aug 2015 09:00:41 PDT)
(Ed. Note: August is known to be a very quiet month in the hockey world. As we wait for September to arrive and training camps to begin, let’s learn a little history about all 30 teams. Behold, our summer A-Z(ed) series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to drop some knowledge on us! Add your own choices in the comments!) By: PhyllisKessel13 , writer for Pension Plan Puppets A. Air Canada Centre The Leafs began disappointing their home fans early, with their first ever game on November 12, 1931 in Maple Leaf Gardens ending with a 2-1 loss to Chicago (although the team was established in 1917). Following an emotional ceremony during the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1999, which they naturally bookended with yet another loss to Chicago, the Air Canada Centre became the Leafs’ new home. Since the Leafs have had no reason to raise any banners for some time, the Leafs ownership group Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment decided to raise a permanent banner to honour New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi instead. I would love to say that I’m kidding, but sadly, I’m not. And opening this guide with that sentiment, it turns out, is devastatingly appropriate.

Giordano contract analysis; Karlsson's training; Byfuglien trade logic (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:22:24 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com .  

Fantasy Hockey: Ranking the best NHL defensemen for 2015-16 (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:00:25 PDT)
Dobber Hockey  launched in 2005 and Dobber and his staff have hitched their wagons to Puck Daddy to preach fantasy hockey to the Yahoo! masses since 2009. As it is in real hockey, fantasy roto hockey starts from the net out. After the truly elite forwards are gone, I make sure my defense corps are solid. And I'll never leave the draft without being 100 percent comfortable with my goaltending (three good ones at least). Why? Because it's damned near impossible to get goalies and defensemen off the waiver wire. Especially later in the season. Forwards are a dime a dozen, once you get past the elite. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: Sign up and join a league today! ] You can stream forwards who are on a hot streak in and out of your lineup via the wire all season long. But with D and G that's tough to do. Studs These guys are money in the bank. In fact, your fifth and sixth defensemen combined may not do what each of these studs will do statistically. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators - Probably the only blueliner capable of getting 80 points right now. Considered giving him his own category here, but what's the level above "stud"? PK Subban, Montreal Canadiens - He's missed seven games in four years, has at least 10 goals in each of the last three, is a consistent PIM guy and was plus-21 last year. The total package. Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets - Byfuglien's point total slipped last year but his points-per-game average (0.65) was right around where it always is and his PIM total soared back upwards to career highs (124). Your best bet for 50 points, 100 PIM among defensemen. Stars When the run on defensemen truly begins in your draft, you have to make sure you get one or two of these guys. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues - Abdominal surgery ruined what was a breakout campaign for Shatty. At the time he was in a battle for top scorer among defensemen. If he stays healthy this time, it wouldn't be shocking to see him up there with Mr. Karlsson. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames - The guy Shattenkirk was battling with for top D scorer. And Giordano's impressive run was also cut short by an injury. That's two consecutive seasons and three of the last four in which Gio has missed at least 18 games. Keith Yandle, New York Rangers - He may have been a minus-26 last year, but minus-32 was with Arizona (so plus-6 with New York, Mr. Math Wizard). He had 21 points in his last 31 regular season and playoff games, putting his slow start upon arriving in New York behind him. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning - Still only 24, Hedman is on the cusp. The problem is, he'd give Giordano a run for his money when it comes to injuries. He's missed 55 games over the last four seasons - or about 14 each year. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators - Josi outplayed and out-produced his more touted teammate Shea Weber in every way, except for fantasy. He doesn't put up the PIM and shot totals that his partner does. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators - Speak of the devil. The emergence of Josi has seemed to make Weber a much more aggressive player. He's shooting more and going to the Sin Bin a lot more too. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks - His fantasy value may be a little inflated, what with all the Cups and such. Keith is a 60-plus point player every few years. More often than not he's good for 45. John Carlson, Washington Capitals - Star on the rise finally had his big breakout campaign, posting 55 points and a plus-11 rating. At No. 67, he's the Yahoo's 13th highest ranked defenseman. And deservedly so. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings - Possibly the best all-around D in the league. In real hockey. In fantasy, much like Keith, he's very good…but not great. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues - Pietrangelo is Doughty's age and was drafted two picks after him (in 2008). And it's looking as though his "real" value far exceeds his "fantasy" value. Just like Doughty. Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks - Last year's second leading scorer (tied) among defensemen, Burns set a career high. He did what he could never do as a forward - he tallied 60 points. Boom-or-Bust Whether it's due to frequent injuries, or season-over-season inconsistencies, with these guys you could probably get later in the draft…but the risk is most definitely there. Could make or break your season, in some cases. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins - I love Letang. I think he's a great player. But as a fantasy owner, I can't take anymore. I'm like the poor dog that keeps getting kicked but keeps coming back, scared and timid. Can you just give us 70 games. Please? Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings - When a defenseman scores 30 goals and 70 points (twice!), he can ride that wave in fantasy hockey for years to come. That's why we're still so hopeful. That's why we'll still draft him high even though he hasn't had a 50-point season since 2010. Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers - McDonagh shocked us by having a 43-point season in 2013-14. He had us convinced that he wasn't just a stay-at-home guy, but can be counted on for big points too. Then he managed just 33 points last year. So now we just don't know anymore… Youngsters on the Rise These guys are well on their way to becoming perennial top defensemen in fantasy hockey, all they need to do is prove to us they can do it year after year. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes - Is probably ranked a tad high at 14 among defenseman, but certainly not due to talent. Because of the team around him, it's quite probable that OEL will post a third consecutive 43- or 44-point season. Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche - The 24-year-old led the Avs in scoring at times throughout the season and finished six points back of Gabriel Landeskog. His potential is through the roof if you think about it. If he can get 53 points when the top scorer on his team gets 59…how many can he get if Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene show up to play? Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes - Faulk is a fantastic young (23) defenseman. But just as it was with Ryan McDonagh in 2013-14, I question the offensive upside. I'd be cautious about a repeat of his 49-point year. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers - Of course the defending Calder Trophy winner belongs here. But his point totals from last season don't justify his rather high Yahoo ranking (90th). One man's opinion, but I don't think his point totals will increase too much over last year. That's not to say that he won't be a stud in due time though. Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks - There's no shortage of young, rising talent on Anaheim's back end, from Hampus Lindholm to Cam Fowler to Shea Theodore. But Vatanen has the highest offensive upside and that's reflected in the Yahoo rankings. He's the highest ranked of the four. Dougie Hamilton, Calgary Flames - The move to Calgary is a step up for Hamilton in terms of potential offense. I'm sure he'd rather pass the puck to Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler as opposed to Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson. Torey Krug, Boston Bruins - With Hamilton gone and Zdeno Chara trending downward, the PP QB baton will be passed to Krug. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars - I can't decide if I'd pick Klingberg or Trouba as the "player in this section destined to move up to the Studs section". Klingberg is awesome, and I'm certain he'll build on last year's 40 points rather than hitting a sophomore slump. Just may be the best value in the entire Yahoo rankings at 184. Nick Leddy, New York Islanders - Leddy joined the Islanders at the perfect time, as this up-and-coming team finally broke through last season. His 37 points tied a career high and there's still plenty of room to grow. Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets - I'm a huge fan of Trouba and I think he'll be a star. But he's probably going to go the route of John Carlson (six years before breakout) as opposed to Drew Doughty (two years before breakout).  Don't Overrate Here are some defensemen you shouldn't put as much stock in as other GMs in your league will. Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings - The power play used to be his domain. But with Green on the scene, Kronwall could be off the first unit. TJ Brodie, Calgary Flames - The acquisition of Hamilton pretty much eliminates Brodie from the man advantage. He had nine power-play points last season. Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks - You gotta love how he hardly misses games. You gotta love how he once had 48 points. You gotta love the Cup rings on his fingers. But the reality is, too often he's closer to a 30-point player than a 40-point player. Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins - Maatta showed promise offensively when he was a rookie. But last year's injury struggles have allowed Derrick Pouliot to get a foothold. And now Letang is back, too. Dan Boyle, New York Rangers - He's 19 points shy of 600 in his career…and I question whether or not he'll make it. So that's where I’m at with this guy. Sleepers Since the "Sleeper Picks" article was dominated by forwards (only two defensemen listed - Matt Dumba and Justin Schultz), I've come up with a few more names for you to draft and get a nice, unexpected return. Andrej Sekera, Edmonton Oilers - Sekera showed glimpses of offensive prowess in Buffalo, particularly during the last two dozen games of the 2010-11 season. And when he first arrived in Carolina he tallied 44 points that year. But he only puts up the points when the team leans on him to do so, otherwise he's a stay-at-homer. The Oilers are a team that could use him in more of a puck-moving role. Or at the very least, as a safety net for Schultz. I think 35-40 points is very much doable. Matt Niskanen, Washington Capitals - When Green was out of the lineup with an upper-body injury, Niskanen posted five points in seven games (three PP points). And in the game that Green left, Niskanen also had a PP point. So six points in 7.5 games with four of them on the power play. I just really like his outlook here. Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning - Hedman has become an offensive force and he's still getting better. Stralman is his defense partner, so the supplemental points will pile up as they did last year when he set a career high with 39. Derrick Pouliot, Pittsburgh Penguins - Not rookie-eligible because he played 34 games last season, Pouliot is said to have so much offensive talent that he rivals or even exceeds teammate Kris Letang. He's still only 21 though, so he'll need time to put it all together. Michael Del Zotto, Philadelphia Flyers - MDZ put his dating hockey struggles behind him and secured his spot in the lineup with that nice contract. He had 23 points in his last 35 games. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: Sign up and join a league today! ] MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Tampa Bay Lightning from A to Z (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 26 Aug 2015 09:00:31 PDT)
(Ed. Note: August is known to be a very quiet month in the hockey world. As we wait for September to arrive and training camps to begin, let’s learn a little history about all 30 teams. Behold, our summer A-Z series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to drop some knowledge on us! Add your own choices in the comments!) By: Achariya Rezak , Solar Bears correspondent for Pension Plan Puppets A. Amalie Arena

NHL-National Hockey League roundup
(Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:35:16 PDT)
Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane met with investigators in New York regarding rape allegations following an extensive search of his home where the crime is alleged to have taken place. The Buffalo News first reported that Kane, 26, met with an investigator from the Erie County District Attorney's Office. A second source told the News that Kane met with both an investigator and a detective from the Hamburg (New York) Police Department.

Canadiens hire Craig Ramsay as a consultant (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:49:16 PDT)
The Montreal Canadiens have hired Craig Ramsay as a coaching consultant. Ramsay spent last season as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers. The 64-year-old has totaled more than 1,500 games as assistant coach and more than 150 as head coach with seven NHL teams.

Cataractes could be forced to get chummy with Trois-Rivieres if veto is pulled from QMJHL constitution (Buzzing The Net)
(Mon, 24 Aug 2015 15:06:31 PDT)


Max Talbot, undercover reporter, hilariously interviews Canadiens fans (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 24 Aug 2015 12:01:39 PDT)
The “undercover reporter” trend in sports is always good for a chuckle, although it’s impossible to top Matt Harvey asking New Yorkers who the hell he is.  That moment when the Mets fan puts it together that the naked guy from the ESPN Body Issue was interviewing him was priceless... The Boston Bruins unleashed Max Talbot on an unsuspecting Quebecois public this summer, and the results are pretty great. From being called a disgrace to his home province to being called a “dirty hockey player” to perhaps the most biting insult, “old,” Talbot hangs in there with his typical brand of whimsy. As for the Montreal Canadiens fans that critiqued him … well, calling a guy a “disgrace” and then asking for a photograph is what makes us sports fans, right? Hopefully the Canadiens return the favor and have P.K. Subban go undercover in Boston OK forget we ever mentioned this dear lord the streets of Beantown would run red with his blood …

Fantasy Hockey: Ranking the NHL forwards for 2015-16 (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 24 Aug 2015 08:18:46 PDT)
Dobber Hockey  launched in 2005 and Dobber and his staff have hitched their wagons to Puck Daddy to preach fantasy hockey to the Yahoo! masses since 2009. By Demetri Fragopoulos Are you going to be that guy ? ?You know, the one who talks hockey all the time whether it is in the lunch room, standing in line for coffee, or while working out in the gym. Regurgitating what you heard on the sport talk radio station while driving into work or to school earlier that day. Acting like there is nothing you do not know about the game and its players. ?What comes out of your mouth sounds reasonable. Yet when it came time make your fantasy draft picks last year you looked worse than Patrick Roy did against Brendan Shanahan (see #3 in that link). When the owner in front of you had his named called for his first pick, your brain froze up much like Tommy  Salo’s did against Belarus (see #4) at the Salt Lake Olympics. Even with the fourth pick in the first round you hummed and hawed for more than five minutes to only flub your selection similar to Patrick Stefan’s empty netter (see #1) against the Edmonton Oilers. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: Sign up and join a league today! ] Like Stefan, your gaffe immediately came back to haunt you because your opponents wasted no time to capitalize on your horrible first round draft pick of Rick Nash. The continuous begging for assistance from the other fantasy owners as your draft proceeded became irritating to everyone especially those that you were sitting closest to. Did you honestly think they would give you advice to help you, the guy who knows everything? ? If you did any preparation at all, it was to print out the roster of your favorite team which happens to be the Rangers. The reality is that the other owners tolerate your behavior and you are invited to the draft every year because you are an easy out. Smarten up and don't be that guy this year. Make a list based on the scoring system of your fantasy league. It does not matter if you are in a keeper or drafting in a single year league. No list equals no chance at victory. Top 10 in Points Do you know that Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are the only players to have been in the top 10 scoring leaders in more than five of the previous 10 seasons? They’ll be there again but not where you would expect them. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins It has been four years since he was last seen in the top 10 NHL scorers but with the addition of Phil Kessel over the summer he will return to the list and be the top guy. He will still get his share of points with Crosby and on the power play. John Tavares, New York Islanders I would not say that he broke out but he did assert himself as a contender for future scoring titles. With the roster naturally improving there is more in him to give. His age and numbers are much like Seguin’s, including power play goals and game winners. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals He hits, he shoots, he scores and he does all three a lot. Out of the last ten seasons he has made the top ten point producers eight times. No one comes close to his three year goal totals and only Crosby surpassed his point totals for the same period. The only thing missing is a Stanley Cup. Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars If it were not for the Toronto-Pittsburgh deal and the two surgeries on Jamie Benn’s hips this summer I would have ranked Seguin first. His shot totals are in the elite-sphere. Goal scoring and playmaking are about even over the last three years so he is not stuck to one method to get his points, note that 29 were generated from the power play last year. Best part is that he will be turning 24 in January. Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers You might have forgotten that he has been near the top twice before. It would be easy to forget because the Oilers have been terrible. That all changes this year! No lower body injury to slow him down. He will crack the 30 goal mark for the first time and get more than six points with the man advantage. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning His recovery from that horrible leg injury seemed to be behind him even though his point production was admittedly lower than expectations. Then the playoffs came with that evil dry spell in the Finals. Doubts emerged but do not let them frighten you away. He is second to only Ovechkin in total goals over the last three years. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins Ranked second is not bad. The deal for Kessel will help the Penguins by unburdening Crosby. He is a competitor and he will not give up easily. However, individual accomplishments are not his primary focus. Winning the Cup for the second time in his career is. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers A return to the top 10 is in the cards for Giroux (ranked eighth) this year. Led the league with 37 power play points last year and had combined another 58 points in the two years before that. Even though he earns more assists than goals shooting the puck is not an issue. Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins Oh how he is going to love playing for the Penguins this year. Look for goals and more goals to come from him. He might even turn out to be a hotdog but I am sure that Crosby and Malkin will keep his new found enthusiasm in check. Just out of Yahoo's top 10 overall at number 11, but the 10th ranked forward. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars Can you call the reigning scoring champion a sidekick? The Seguin-Benn duo will prove once again that they are a formidable force. I look at their power play point totals and anticipate that an increase will be forthcoming. With Benn you also get some ancillary shorthanded goals/points as well as blocked shots and hits.

What We Learned: What should Carolina Hurricanes do with Eric Staal? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 24 Aug 2015 06:03:10 PDT)
(Hello, this is a feature that aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) It's no secret at this point that arguably the two most important players in recent memory for the Carolina Hurricanes are now major points of concern. Eric Staal and Cam Ward have long been talked about in trade rumors, largely because they are in their declining years on a rebuilding and improving team, are both UFAs at the end of next season, and cost a combined $14.55 million against the cap for a budget team that never actually comes all that close to the ceiling. A lot of this, too, has to do with the fact that Staal has slowed down in his production somewhat over the last two seasons (about 0.73 points per game as opposed to the 0.85-plus he put up every season since the 2004-05 lockout), and he's coming in at one of the highest cap hits in the league for any player, at $8.25 million. Staal will be 31 at the end of October and he's certainly not worth that much, and for a team that looks to be moving toward a future without Staal as its clear best player, the prospect of trading him while he's still carrying value in the marketplace is tantalizing. The problem with any looming Staal rumors, though, is that cap hit. Because no one has $8.5 million in space lying around. Hell, even if Carolina were to retain as much as 50 percent of his salary and cap hit, many teams would still be in tough to make $4.125 million work unless the Hurricanes took bad money back as well. And would they, given their own budgetary constraints that have little to do with the cap itself? Someone would have to make it very much worth their while. And Staal still provides significant value for the club, too. As Travis Yost recently noted , the Hurricanes were a pretty decent team in the second half of the season; better than most teams in their division by a pretty wide margin after shuffling along at roughly 50 percent possession for most of the first half. Staal was a big driver there, too: his relative possession numbers came in at plus-2.2 or so for the first half, and then a whopper plus-10.9 in the second half. That's as the entire team improved, which tells you a lot about how good he was. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: Sign up and join a league today! ] However, we cannot discount how much of that had to do with Jordan Staal's return to full health. He played just five games in the first 41 for Carolina, having been out of the lineup entirely until Dec. 29. If you break it down by that date and not the first 41, Eric Staal goes from 53.1 percent possession to a stunning 59.9 percent. Likewise, Eric Staal's scoring numbers took off when his little brother returned to the lineup; he had 20 in 31 games (0.65 per) to start the season, and then finished with 34 in 46 in the back half (.74). Jordan Staal has long proven useful on just about any team — think how much the Penguins miss him even now — and Carolina is no different. The question, on some level, is how much of the production jump is driven by Jordan, and how much of it is Eric still being a pretty damn good player. I mean, even if you accept that they're playing together for most of the year given how immovable the contract is, this is a pretty good list of comparables across 12 different statistics for players who were of roughly the same age (via Emmanuel Perry's Similarity Scores tool):

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Philadelphia Flyers from A to Z (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 22 Aug 2015 09:50:43 PDT)
(Ed. Note: August is known to be a very quiet month in the hockey world. As we wait for September to arrive and training camps to begin, let’s learn a little history about all 30 teams. Behold, our summer A-Z series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to drop some knowledge on us! Add your own choices in the comments!) By: Mary Clarke , writer and Metropolitan editor for Along The Boards A. Allen, Keith I would be remiss if I didn’t start out this A to Z Guide by mentioning the first head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and eventual Stanley Cup building general manager, Keith Allen.

Mike Bossy reunited with famous puck after eBay drama, rich guy assist (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 22 Aug 2015 05:47:48 PDT)
In the 1980-81 season, Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders accomplished something that many felt would not be accomplished again in NHL history: Scoring 50 goals in 50 games, a feat reached just once before by Maurice Richard in 1944-45 with the Montreal Canadiens.  One would assume the puck that set the record would be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, or resting in a trophy case in Bossy’s home. And it would have been, had it not ended up in the possession of a youth swimming coach. As the story goes, Jake Jacobson coached Bossy’s daughter in 1988, and as a token of appreciation she gave him a memento from her father’s playing days: The puck from his ’50 in 50’ goal, scored with just 1:29 left in a game against the Quebec Nordiques on Jan. 24, 1981. (Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull subsequently matched the achievement.) [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: Sign up and join a league today! ] Jacobson, an Islanders fan, attempted to meet Bossy to return the puck to him but was rebuffed by the Hall of Famer several times. So he decided to profit from the puck instead, placing it on eBay, where it sold in May for $6,850. The auction winner? Gavin Maloof, former co-owner of the Sacramento Kings and minority owner of The Palms in Las Vegas, which had hosted the NHL Awards in the past.  "I said, 'We need to get this puck. It means a lot to Mr. Bossy,'" Maloof told TMZ Sports."Fifty goals in 50 games. Only a handful of people have ever done that. I needed to buy this puck. I don't care how much it costs." So he purchased the puck, invited Bossy to Vegas, took him out for a steak dinner and reunited him with the puck. He said Bossy indicated that his daughter is “finally off the hook” for her too-generous gift. MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS

Matthews' excellent adventure; Hockey Moms on TV; Yakupov and McDavid (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:38:45 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com .  

Fantasy Hockey: Which goalies should you draft or completely avoid? (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 21 Aug 2015 07:52:06 PDT)
Dobber Hockey launched in 2005 and Dobber and his staff have hitched their wagons to Puck Daddy to preach fantasy hockey to the Yahoo! masses since 2009. As in real hockey, goaltending is the most important position in fantasy hockey. In many formats, goalies make up close 10 percent of your roster but account for 40 percent to 50 percent of your categories. If you get stuck with a below average group your chances of success are slim. I’ve been using a tiered system for years and most of the time goaltending has been an asset to my team. Sure, there are some years where injuries kill me and that just can't be helped (thanks Craig Anderson). But if you employ a tier system and come away with three reasonably strong goaltenders, you can protect yourself against that. The main thing to remember when setting up your 'Tiers' is that it's not just about skill and production. Often, it’s about opportunity and team strength. Jonathan Bernier is a talented goalie, but splitting starts with James Reimer on a team that will struggle for even 30 wins makes him next to fantasy useless. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: Sign up and join a league today! ] Never start drafting goaltenders until there is a chance that you will miss out on all of your Tier 1 goalies. Then make sure you get one. After that, go back to forwards and defensemen until there is a chance that the Tier 2 goalies will be scooped up. Whatever happens - make sure you have at least one from Tier 1 and one from your Tier 2 (or a second from Tier 1 if one of them falls too far). Or if you really want to protect yourself as I should have last year, get one Tier 1 goalie and two from the second tier. Tier 1 The cream of the crop. Posting 35-40 wins should be in the cards for this group as well as some great GAA and SV% totals. Unless something happens like a major injury, or they get traded to Arizona. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators  - Between his health (hip surgery) and a new coach, fantasy owners were wary of Rinne last summer. He played 64 games last season, tied for second most in his career, so those fears were definitely laid to rest. A safe bet for 35 wins and a good bet for 40. Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders - After so many years of sharing the net in Montreal and St. Louis, Halak has emerged as the undisputed No.1 starter - and for a team that is now quickly moving up among the elite. If he can stay healthy, he'll start close to 70 games. But he can't, so bank on 60 (which could still mean 40 wins). Carey Price, Montreal   Canadiens - The cream of the crop. The one goalie who is so good that you may want to break the 'tier' strategy above and just go ahead and draft him in the first round before anyone else can. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins - Despite the Cup ring, Fleury is still trying to find his way in the postseason. That's not the case in the regular season where he has 34 or more wins in seven seasons, and added 10 shutouts in 2014-15. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals - The magic of Barry Trotz continues on this new team as he's created another 40-win elite fantasy goaltender. Bank on Holtby to repeat, barring injury - it's Trotz's M.O. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay   Lightning  - As a starting goaltender Bishop has averaged 62.5 starts and 38.5 wins per season over two years. That kind of success ensures that he'll continue to be 'the guy' no matter how great the wunderkind (Andrei Vasilevskiy) is. Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks - The Ducks removed any lingering doubt about Andersen's status by acquiring Anton Khudobin. It essentially puts the star prospect John Gibson in the AHL for a full season so Andersen can do his thing. Tier 2 Many goalies from my Tier 2 could jump to Tier 1 if they can stay healthy. By the same token, it wouldn't take much for them to slide down to Tier 3 either. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins - A former Tier 1 - hell a former elite - goalie, Rask takes a bit of a tumble. A little of this is due to his subpar season. But the bigger part is due to Boston's non-playoff season and subsequent offseason moves. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks - Crawford should be a shoe-in as a Tier 1 guy because Chicago is awesome and he's the No.1 goalie. But backup Scott Darling was good enough to not only chase Antti Raanta out of town, but also steal a couple of playoff starts from Crawford. The concern here is how much Darling will cannibalize Crawford's starts. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche - His 28 wins on a mediocre Colorado team should push him to the third tier. However, Varly is just a year removed from a 41-win campaign so we know what he's capable of. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets  - The Blue Jackets are primed to take the next step. So if Bobrovsky can just stay healthy for a full season, he'd take a run at 40 wins. A big if. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers - What a great comeback year for Luongo. Though he had just 28 wins, his stats were stellar. If you subscribe to the theory that Florida is slowly getting better, then Luongo crossing the 32-win barrier for the first time in five years should be a snap. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings - Coach Darryl Sutter has shown us time and again that he'll play Quick 70-plus games if he's healthy, no matter how good the backup is. That makes Quick gold. But the Kings are barely a 40-win team, which pushes Quick to the second tier. Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild  - I really like Dubnyk and have completely bought into him being the 'real deal'. On my personal list, I'd probably push him up to the first tier. But since he's only been this prodigy for about 10 months…I'll play it safe with my public advice and call him a Tier 2 guy. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers - The King has spent time on the IR in each of the last two seasons, which pushes him from being a safe guy you can count on 100%...to a guy you can probably count on and hope for the best. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators - Anderson had a nice bounce-back season last year. Too bad he was only healthy for half of it. The injuries are such a concern that many of you would (rightfully) consider pushing him down to the third tier. Depends on your risk tolerance. But don't kid yourself into thinking that Andrew Hammond is a threat here. Injuries are a threat. Hammond is just a nice story. Tier 3 Here are a group of quality goaltenders who take a fantasy hit because they are either injury prone or they will be sharing starts. Great to have as your No. 3 goalie because they will have certain weeks throughout the year in which they are white hot. Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller, Calgary Flames - This year will be interesting because both of these goalies are making a lot of money and both goalies could become unrestricted free agents next summer. Either one could seize the starting job. My money is on Ramo eventually taking it, but by the time it happens the two of them will have completely cannibalized each other's starts. Eddie Lack, Carolina Hurricanes - I have Lack here and I'm not including Cam Ward because I think Lack is the better goaltender (by far). You can disagree, and slot Ward here as well, that's your call. But Ward's contract is up after this year so there is little incentive to keep starting him if he's not winning. Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars - Another split-start situation in which I doubt either goaltender gets 50 starts. Maybe that works out for the team - and it might, because Dallas looks so much better for the season ahead what with Patrick Sharp and Valeri Nichushkin added. But it doesn't help fantasy teams. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings - Howard could be a Top 12 goalie in terms of wins and stats, were it not for Petr Mrazek. The youngster stole the starting job from Howard late last season and into the playoffs. Howard's contract should still ensure that he gets 50-plus starts, but that won't be enough to put him among the top fantasy owns. Cam Talbot, Edmonton Oilers - The Oilers are going to be a much better team in 2015-16 and Talbot is probably going to be the runaway starter. How many more wins will they get? Will Anders Nilsson or Ben Scrivens outplay Talbot? Those two questions keep Talbot in the third tier. Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils - Schneider had 69 starts last year and managed just 26 wins. In the season ahead, I can see him getting 72 starts or more…but he'll be lucky to get 26 wins. The Devils are just that bad. Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers - I'm actually a believer in Mason and of all the Tier 3 goalies, he'd be the one I'd prefer to end up with. But he keeps getting hurt, and usually at the worst possible time (during a hot streak). Jake Allen and Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues - As noted with the Dallas and Calgary situations above, this 1A/1B stuff is for the birds. In weekly leagues, all these types of goalies are good for are occasional starts when they're hot or when their partner is sidelined with an injury. Martin Jones and Alex Stalock, San Jose Sharks - Unlike the other 1A/1B situations above, this one I think will result in a winner by December. And that winner will walk away with it, shouldering much of the load from that point forward. Who? If I knew, I'd put him in the second tier (and the loser would drop to Tier 4). Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs  - Bernier's numbers will improve this season, but his win total may not. That being said, like everyone else in Tier 3, he'll have his useful weeks where you can activate him. Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks - The Canucks saw to it that Miller would be undisputed as the top goalie this year, electing instead to move the superior netminder Eddie Lack to Carolina. I don't know if you like what the Canucks did this summer, but I sure don't and I'll be surprised if Miller matches the 29 wins he got last season. Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets - Kudos to Pavelec for a career season last year. The timing couldn't have been better for him as he has a pair of good goalies looking over his shoulder. Just 22 wins in each of the last two seasons. Tier 4 Here are a handful of goaltenders with the ability to enjoy an extended stay as the team's No.1 goalie thanks to an injury to the guy ahead of him. Or from just plain outplaying him. If you have room for a fourth goalie, or you have little faith in your first three - then one of these guys will be around late in your draft and are worth sitting on. Robyn Lehner, Buffalo Sabres - The No.1 goalie in Buffalo is a No.1 goalie. But it's Buffalo. Still, a great option to stick on your bench in a deep round. Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes  - As much as I like Lack, the fact of the matter is that Carolina's loyalties are with Ward so he'll get first dibs. I think he'll slip, but if he doesn't he'll obviously have a very productive year. That's worth a depth pick for sure. Scott Darling, Chicago Blackhawks  - Darling put a scare in Crawford owners late last season. Who says he can't do it again? Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings  - Of all the Tier 4 goalies, Mrazek is the one I'd target. Not only because Jimmy Howard is a Band-Aid Boy, but because Mrazek has already shown us that he's better. Ben Scrivens and Anders Nilsson, Edmonton Oilers - Nilsson is coming off a lights-out performance in the KHL and Scrivens is coming off a…light performance in Edmonton (but two years ago he was awesome). Either one could theoretically steal the job from Talbot. If I could get one as a fourth goalie with my last pick, I'd do it and then drop him in November when it's clear that my gambit didn't pay off. Andrew Hammond, Ottawa Senators - Because Anderson is so injury prone, Hammond has a lot of value as Ottawa's backup. And who knows, maybe he has another 15-game unbeaten in regulation streak in him.   Dobber launched DobberHockey back in 2005 and his 10th annual Fantasy Guide can be found here . That's right - 10th annual. He's been around the block. Follow Dobber on Twitter @DobberHockey. And to get up-to-the-minute - free - starting goalie information, look no further than  Goalie Post .

Fantasy Hockey: Yahoo Sports top 100 NHL player ranking for 2015-16 (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 20 Aug 2015 15:48:42 PDT)


Who's the best player in the NHL for 2015-16? (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 19 Aug 2015 10:09:25 PDT)
The Hockey News released its 2015-16 NHL Yearbook, which our own Sean Leahy carries around like a kid at seminary school clutching his Testaments.  Within its pages is the annual Top 50 player ranking, and SwissHabs has captured part of the list for 2015-16 ; we’re guessing it caught their eye because a certain Montreal Canadiens goaltender is ranked No. 1. Carey Price is the best player in the NHL entering the 2015-16 season, according to The Hockey News. He was No. 25 (!) last season. Winning the Hart and Vezina trophies will do that for a guy.  Said THN: “No team relies on one player more than the Canadiens do on Price. Duplicating his performance from last season will come down to whether he can handle that kind of pressure and workload. There’s nothing to suggest he won’t.” So Carey Price is the NHL’s best player because the Canadiens suck without him? Because we thought that was just the Hart’s criteria … Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks moves up from No. 3 to No. 2, while Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins drops from No. 1 to No. 4. New to the Top 20 are Victor Hedman (No. 45 last season), Erik Karlsson (No. 27, somehow, last season) and Pekka Rinne, who was unranked due to injury last season. Here's a scan of the top 20, via SwissHabs:

Blake Wheeler says advertising would desecrate NHL jerseys (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 19 Aug 2015 06:43:25 PDT)


'Family first' for NHL All-Star Briere in retirement (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 18 Aug 2015 14:49:10 PDT)
Danny Briere could have scraped by for one more NHL season, hung on as fourth-line center and provided veteran leadership for a team needing an extra push toward a Stanley Cup. At 37, Briere knew his best days as a player were behind him. Flanked by three sons that he rarely saw the last two years as he bounced from team to team, Briere made his retirement official Tuesday, ending the career of an undersized center who often came up big in the playoffs.

Kane's endorsements; Stars' future success; Fleury Mr. Nice Guy (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:25:31 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com .   

Philadelphia Flyers star Briere retires after 17 years
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 13:36:24 PDT)
Former Philadelphia Flyers star Danny Briere brought the curtain down on his 17-year professional hockey career on Monday, confirming his retirement from the sport after nearly 1,000 NHL games. Briere, 37, a member of Canada's World Championship-winning teams in 2003 and 2004, said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family. "After taking a few weeks to think about it, it's time to hang them up and spend a little more time at home with the family," Briere said in a statement.

Briere retires after 17 NHL seasons but without Stanley Cup
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:03:46 PDT)
(Reuters) - Daniel Briere, a two-time world champion for Canada, has retired after 17 seasons in the National Hockey League, he announced on Monday. Quebec-born Briere, 37, a single father, cited as the main reason for his decision a desire to spend more time with his three sons. The forward scored 307 goals and 696 points in 973 regular-season games for five NHL teams, the Phoenix Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche.

NHL-Briere retires after 17 NHL seasons but without Stanley Cup
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 11:32:05 PDT)
Daniel Briere, a two-time world champion for Canada, has retired after 17 seasons in the National Hockey League, he announced on Monday. Quebec-born Briere, 37, a single father, cited as the main reason for his decision a desire to spend more time with his three sons. The forward scored 307 goals and 696 points in 973 regular-season games for five NHL teams, the Phoenix Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche Briere was at his best in the postseason, scoring 53 goals and 116 points in 124 Stanley Cup playoff games.

Former NHL All-Star Briere retires after 17 season (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:51:19 PDT)
Danny Briere, the undersized center who went on to become an NHL All-Star and keyed the Philadelphia Flyers' run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, has retired. Briere ended a 17-year career on Monday that saw him play for the Phoenix Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Flyers, Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche. Briere spent the bulk of his career with the Sabres and Flyers and earned All-Star nods playing for both franchises.

Danny Briere retires: The character, the contract and the clutch (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 08:24:38 PDT)
Danny Briere, 37, officially retired on Monday after 17 years and 973 NHL games. The Philadelphia Flyers appropriately made the announcement, as the forward played the majority of his games with them and their appreciation was always quite mutual.   “After taking a few weeks to think about it, it’s time to hang them up and spend a little more time at home with the family,” Briere said. “I’ve been very, very fortunate to have had a chance to play with some great organizations, but at this point the family becomes a priority. The Flyers are where I played the bulk of my career. I’ve had a great time in Philadelphia and have been very, very fortunate to have the chance to play here. I would like to thank Mr. Snider, Paul Holmgren and Peter Luukko along with the coaches, staff, the fans and all my teammates. It’s been a great ride in an area that I still call home.” [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] Briere scored 307 goals and 389 assists for 696 points in his career. It began with the Phoenix Coyotes (258 games) before he was moved to the Buffalo Sabres in a trade for Chris Gratton. It was there that he blossomed, and endeared himself to the local fan base with 230 points in 225 games. Then it was off to the Flyers with that infamous contract; post buyout, he played single seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche as a depth forward. I wrote about Briere’s legacy earlier this summer when the retirement talk started, but I think it boils down to three essentials: The character, the contract and the clutch. The Character A cursory search on Briere reveals that the term “fan favorite” was applied to him in Phoenix, Buffalo and especially Philadelphia. This is not a coincidence.  Briere was listed, generously, at 5-9 and 174 pounds. While he wasn’t Nathan Gerbe, he wasn’t exactly of the size and stature that was required for most offensive stars of his generation.  There’s always something enthralling about a player that plays so much bigger than his god-given frame, and Briere was a tough bugger. He went to the danger zones, he had that same human pinball quality as Marty St. Louis and he didn’t hesitate to nefariously mix it up with opponents. Which frequently meant he was something less than a fan favorite for the other 29 teams facing him each season, but that tends to happen when your signature face-off move is a stick knob across the other guy’s jaw.  But Briere was a fan favorite because he, well, favored the fans. He didn’t join teams, he joined communities. He made time for the fans, and made time to help them any way he could: The Daniel Briere Foundation is over a decade old, and its annual charity golf and poker tournaments have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in Canada. He was involved in Ed Snider’s youth hockey initiatives. Just this summer, while contemplating retirement, he took part in a charity hockey tournament in South Jersey.  All of it humanized Briere in ways that don’t always happen for star players. So you couldn’t help but feel for the guy when his divorce was public to the point where it became chirp fodder for Pat Kaleta,  leading to that memorable "HBO 24/7" subplot where single dad Briere had Claude Giroux as a ‘cool uncle’ house guest for his kids. You couldn’t help but shed a tear reading about the sudden loss of his mother, either.   There was a logo on the front, a name on the back and a heart on the sleeve of his jersey. The Contract The eight-year, $52-million contract Briere signed with the Flyers as a free agent in 2007 defines him as much as anything else. It was a ridiculous jackpot orchestrated by Pat Brisson, and a harbinger of cap-friendly contracts to come: $10 million up front, tapering down to $2 million in 2013-14.  The Summer of 2007 was ripe for player criticism, and Briere’s contract was sometimes hit with the rotten tomatoes aimed at those of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. But he was better than a point-per-game for the Sabres during his time there. The only thing wrong with the contract, as I said at the time , was the no-move clause.  The biggest fallout from the contract was in Buffalo, where GM Darcy Regier and owner Tom Golisano were made to look like petty fools.  Buffalo News columnist Bucky Gleason said the mishandling of Briere and Chris Drury was “ the biggest personnel blunder in the history of the franchise ,” and it’s hard to argue the point when Regier himself basically said he wanted a do-over in his July 2007 press conference .  (For an alternative take on the players’ departure, check out Buffalo Wins .) Like every other NHL deal, the contract was a good one until it wasn’t. The Flyers bought out the final two years of his deal in 2013. Brier’s numbers were declining and his injuries were piling up. Two years later, he’s retiring.  There will be those who say Briere wasn’t worth the money, but none of them are really worth the money, are they? What the Flyers got out of him, however, was 283 points in 364 games … and 30 points in 23 games in the 2010 playoffs.  The Clutch Any discussion of Briere has to include his most inexplicable attribute: An ability to pile up points when it “mattered the most.” Toss out his last run with the Canadiens in a spare-part role (16 games, seven points) and Briere had 109 points in 108 playoff games. That included an NHL-best 30 points in the Flyers’ 2010 run to the Stanley Cup Final, scoring 12 goals. That included 19 points in 18 games for the Sabres in their 2006 run to the conference final.  There’s just over 30 players in NHL history that have averaged a point per game during the playoffs. Until his final playoff appearance, Briere was among those names: Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier, Orr.  “In my mind, a lot of it is mental. You see guys that sometimes, they become a little afraid to make a mistake,” said Briere . “And you see other guys, they just thrive.” For 17 seasons, through ups and downs both professional and personal, that’s what Briere did.  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

What We Learned: Why give Sergei Gonchar a tryout deal? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 06:58:24 PDT)
(Hello, this is a feature that aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) As NHL signings go, any one involving a guy who turned 41 in April comes across as a pretty big red flag. But the Sergei Gonchar deal Pittsburgh signed is extremely low-risk, being that it's only a professional tryout contract. It's basically a way to assess a player exclusively for a little while and, if things go well, they can sign him to a real deal shortly thereafter. If not, he's gone and they face no penalty. This is basically the first of the training camp tryout invitees to make things official, but it's still one that can be a little confusing to understand from the team's point of view. Why not sign someone else — or rather, someone younger and better — to a tryout deal? Simply put, this locks Pittsburgh into at least one guy they think might still have some gas in the tank and tread on the tires (even if the latter is getting really, really bald and the former has been red-lining for the last 50 miles), which should't be that big of a deal at this point. Meanwhile, it seems very likely that Gonchar, at his age, probably didn't expect too many offers to come through the door in the month or so before camps open. Though it may not seem it on the surface, this is a mutually beneficial deal. No-risk quality assessment is a perfectly reasonable approach for any sort of a player, even one like Gonchar who doesn't come across as a big threat to make the roster, and hey, it just might get him a job. In fact, when it comes to Pittsburgh's particular situation, the idea of signing a 41-year-old who basically doesn't appear to be able to play the sport at a competitive level any longer might not actually be a bad one. Gonchar got roughly average usage across his time with Dallas and Montreal as a 40-year-old, not playing a ton of minutes.  And predictably, he got run over. In terms of numbers relative to what his team did when he was off the ice, here is how Gonchar ranked among all 12 defensemen getting 700-plus minutes for both Dallas and Montreal last season: Fourth-bottom in possession, fifth-bottom in scoring chance differential, and third-best in goals-for. But given that last number, would it also surprise you to learn he likewise had the third-highest PDO for these teams? It shouldn't. Now, could the Penguins theoretically use a guy who can drive goals? Sure. But unless he's being used in an extremely limited role, Gonchar doesn't really come across as a guy who can actually do that. He was close to 57 percent on the goal front at 5-on-5 last season, but that followed seasons of about 46.4 percent, 50.8 percent, 47.4 percent, and 41.8 percent since he turned 36. In short, he has done what a lot of defensemen over the age of 35 do: Deteriorate. Look, 40-year-old players are rare in the league to begin with. Since 2002-03, a defenseman has started the season north of 40 four times: Nick Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Teppo Numinen, and Gonchar. Obviously Gonchar and Chelios played seasons beyond that, while Numinen retired after that 2008-09 season. That Gonchar didn't find himself getting healthy-scratched almost every night tells you a lot about his quality in some areas of the ice and reputation. But of this group of four, his usefulness was by far the lowest. But let's just sit here and think about the Penguins' blue line depth for a second.  Jim Rutherford has done a really good job of improving the team's forward depth this summer, not only in getting Phil Kessel, but also shoring things up down the middle. But all that attention seems to have made him forget there's a blue line to worry about. Kris Letang is there, sure, but if your next-best defenseman after that is Olli Maata, well, that's a big drop-off. Especially because Maatta didn't play a single game after December of last year. He's probably match-fit at this point, but given his resume of 111 games in the NHL between the regular season and playoffs, banking on him as your No. 2 doesn't seem prudent. But then again, that's what's going to happen. Because the other guys in the Penguins' defensive depth chart are Rob Scuderi (no thanks), Ben Lovejoy (underrated but not great), Ian Cole (meh), Derrick Pouliot (promising), and Brian Dumoulin (basically no NHL experience). Tim Erixon is also in the mix back there, but who knows with that guy. Where does a defense that looks like this rank in the division? Even with the acknowledgement that this is a division with pretty bad D corps in general — Philadelphia, Carolina, and Columbus are all dire here — you have to say both New York teams are definitively ahead of Pittsburgh, as is Washington, and maybe New Jersey. So let's say they're fourth at best, if you acknowledge that a healthy Letang, which is certainly no guarantee (he's missed more games than he's played the last two seasons), does a lot of good back there. That’s really not a great group and, sad as it is to say this, Gonchar might actually provide decent cover as a No. 7 given the overall quality of the D corps and the other options that are therefore available. The Penguins have serious cap constraints (a little more than $2 million in cap space with 21 contracts on the books), and therefore probably can't afford even a looked-over guy like Andrej Meszaros or Eric Brewer if they want to keep any sort of flexibility for the remainder of the season. Maybe Rutherford is hoping to be able to lure some more guys on training camp invites, but that's a bit of a guessing game. The fact that Gonchar is any sort of option for an NHL team at this point in his career speaks mightily to the problems that team currently has on the blue line. But again, there's no risk here, and if he does earn a contract, it's probably because they think he can provide something that an AHL call-up cannot. They might be wrong about that, but it may be worth finding out. What We Learned Anaheim Ducks : If Carl Hagelin ends up as the guy who plays with Getzlaf and Perry for the next four years, this contract is going to be a mega-bargain. His speed could really be a difference-maker on that line. Arizona Coyotes : Shane Doan says he has no plans to retire . A fun fact about Shane Doan is that even after all this time with the organization, he only leads it in one statistical category: Games played. He has a way-outside chance of breaking Dale Hawerchuk's goals-scored record (25 back) but he probably won't hit Thomas Steen's assists total (45 back) or Hawerchuk's points record (67 back). When he plays six more games, he will be one of only two forwards in NHL history to play 1,400 career games and have fewer than 1,000 points. The other is Scott Mellanby.  Boston Bruins : When I think of “Torey Krug,” the word “ undervalued ” is not exactly springing readily to mind. Buffalo Sabres : Buffalo sports fans now have an official beer into which they can sob when their teams stink year after year. Calgary Flames : Hahaha. Oh boy . Carolina Hurricanes : The Hurricanes only have four road trips of three or more games this season? That seems quite low. Chicago : In the Patrick Kane case, why WOULDN'T you take the word of an off-duty cop and family friend who often is employed by the accused, and drove Kane and his alleged victim that night, at face value? Good thing he was able to get more victim-blaming quotes out there. Colorado Avalanche : This all seems to be in order . Columbus Blue Jackets : Is this new slogan because March is when the team's season will effectively be over? Just kidding, they're a bubble playoff team. But this is the kind of slogan that invites that kind of joke. It's not my fault. Dallas Stars : The Stars' goaltending probably can't be as bad as it was last year, so that's almost certainly gonna win them like 10 more points in the standings right there. They really didn't need to spend all the extra money on it. Detroit Red Wings : College free agent Robbie Russo signed a two-year deal with Detroit on Sunday. Big-bodied player with lots of offensive talent, but if you aren't out for most defensive-zone faceoffs for your college team, that seems like a major point of concern. He was basically what people think PK Subban and Erik Karlsson are. Edmonton Oilers : Ryan Nugent-Hopkins thinks the Oilers' power play will be better next season . Given the talent level they have on their top power play units these days, you'd think their 12.2 percent shooting will rise at least a little there. Florida Panthers : You really shouldn't say stuff like this . Los Angeles Kings : Tyler Toffoli, Blake Griffin, Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw were all at an event to hand out school supplies — including book bags, pencils, and notebooks — to kids in underserved schools around LA. Good job. Minnesota Wild : Just as an aside from this , isn't it weird how we all act like Thomas Vanek stinks now? Yeah he's overpaid (which isn't his fault) and his possession numbers aren't great, but he had 52 points in a down year. If he threw the body around a bit more everyone would be falling all over themselves to defend him. “One-dimensional player,” yeah. If that one dimension is putting up 50-plus points every year, I don't really care. Montreal Canadiens : Doooooooon't . Nashville Predators : Real nice article on the growth of hockey in Nashville . New Jersey Devils : A ton of guys that New Jersey allowed to walk as UFAs this summer haven't been signed yet . Try to find a less shocking fact this week. New York Islanders : Matthew Barzal threw the first pitch before Hisashi Iwakuma threw a no-hitter last week. This is what qualifies as hockey news in August. New York Rangers : The answer to this question - Dan Girardi. Ottawa Senators : How many “ guy who had a bit of an off season looks fully fit and will play better next year !” articles do you think we see every summer? Philadelphia Flyers : Two of the four Flyers who will “ bounce back ” next season are Andrew MacDonald and Vinny Lecavalier. Good luck to you all!!!! Pittsburgh Penguins : The Pens have a new practice rink and medical center that cost $70 million. Given the ownership rumors, though, maybe naming it after Mario Lemieux wasn't too wise. San Jose Sharks : To answer the headline - Pretty much everything. St. Louis Blues : There's being a homer and then there's this . Tampa Bay Lightning : Tyler Johnson has turned his hometown of Spokane, Wash., into an outpost of Tampa fans. Maybe try to get an expansion team there. Fertile hockey market. Toronto Maple Leafs : Well, they couldn't survive even with Phi Kessel's offense, so you get to make up your own mind there. Vancouver Canucks : If you have an hour and a half, check out this hilarious Trevor Linden interview. The team doesn't want to pursue a big rebuild. Why? I don't know! Washington Capitals : The Caps could soon sign KHL-based Russian defender Ilya Nikulin. Not a bad idea. Winnipeg Jets : Almost nothing going on in Winnipeg this week, so yeah, the team looks ready to bid Jim Slater adieu. He was a Thrashers draft pick in 2002 and stuck around this long. Gold Star Award Just answering some fan mail from a big fan...... pic.twitter.com/XHNVAUHuys — Strombone (@strombone1) August 14, 2015 Roberto Luongo is pretty great . Minus of the Weekend

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Montreal Canadiens from A to Zed (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 16 Aug 2015 10:05:56 PDT)
(Ed. Note: August is known to be a very quiet month in the hockey world. As we wait for September to arrive and training camps to begin, let’s learn a little history about all 30 teams. Behold, our summer A-Z(ed) series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to drop some knowledge on us! Add your own choices in the comments!) By: Robyn Flynn , Montreal radio personality A. And now, a 24th Stanley Cup banner will hang from the rafters of the famous Forum in Montreal. Chances are if you’ve ever met a Habs fan, you’ve been dealt the ‘24’ trump card in a hockey debate. The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup 24 times, more than any other team in the National Hockey League (and Habs fans will never let you forget it!) You can thank (or blame) Bob Cole for the immortal call of the Canadiens last championship (which was in 1993.) B. Boom Boom

Penguins open new practice facility in Pittsburgh (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:11:40 PDT)
The Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled a new practice facility Friday that also serves as a sports medicine center for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The team thinks the facility will give the team an advantage in injury recovery and rehabilitation, Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan said. Pittsburgh's new practice locker room is identical to the one found at Consol, its home arena.

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