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Stamkos talks loom; Penguins sale slow; Cooke wants a contract (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:27:21 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 .  

Every NHL Team from A to Zed in Puck Daddy's Summer Series (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 31 Aug 2015 07:35:19 PDT)
Another summer series has come and gone, and training camp will soon be upon us. Thank you to the 33 talented female writers who produced an amazing series. They volunteered their time and creativity for an epic task (just ask those who covered the Original 6). Plus, finding a word that starts with the letter X is not easy. Treat yo' self by taking a read through all 30 NHL teams from A to Zed: Anaheim Ducks by Liz Brownstein Arizona Coyotes by Catherine Silverman Boston Bruins by Sarah Connors Buffalo Sabres by Stephanie Delio Calgary Flames by T. Ari Yanover Carolina Hurricanes by Jamie Kellner Chicago Blackhawks by Eliza Eaton-Stern Colorado Avalanche by Cheryl Bradley Columbus Blue Jackets by Alison Lukan Dallas Stars by Taylor Baird & Erin Bolen Detroit Red Wings by Maria Camacho Edmonton Oilers by Sammi Silber Florida Panthers by Heather Cooperman Los Angeles Kings by Chanelle Berlin & Diane Phan Minnesota Wild by Donna Carpenter & Emilie Wiener Montreal Canadiens by Robyn Flynn Nashville Predators by Caroline Davis New Jersey Devils by Melissa Geschwind New York Islanders by Dee Karl New York Rangers by Beth Boyle Machlan Ottawa Senators by Michaela Schreiter Philadelphia Flyers by Mary Clarke Pittsburgh Penguins by Ashley Chase San Jose Sharks by Stace of Base St. Louis Blues by Laura Astorian Tampa Bay Lightning by Achariya Rezak Toronto Maple Leafs by PhyllisKessel13 Vancouver Canucks by Jocelyn Aspa Washington Capitals by Becca Henschel Winnipeg Jets by Cara MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS

What We Learned: Tuukka Rask and the Bruins' workload problem (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 31 Aug 2015 06:33:22 PDT)
Toward the end of the Boston Bruins’ doomed campaign last season, people seemed to be harping on Tuukka Rask's workload with some frequency. Specifically, they felt it to have been far too big. He played 70 games, 67 of which were starts, and it was the largest number of his career by a good 20-plus percent. Indeed, in the last two seasons, he nearly doubled the total number of games played he'd racked up in his career, and was in fact busier than when he appeared in 36 of Boston's 48 games in the lockout-shortened season of 2013. What's interesting about this, though, is the fact that despite the cries for a more reasonable handling of Rask's office hours, there simply isn't a lot of evidence to say that his playing 70 games was the reason his game appeared to take a step back. And indeed, let's consider for a moment the monumental ask laid at Rask's feet. Not the 70 games, but the fact that people were complaining to some extent about a goaltender “only” carrying a .922 save percentage over 70 games. On more than 2,000 shots last season, Rask allowed just 156 goals, which is just an outrageously strong number, and somehow didn't even warrant a single Vezina vote(???). Another issue here, of course, is that Rask lost nine games in a shootout, which is a very high number. It is widely acknowledged that shootouts are effectively coin flips over which no player wields a significant amount of influence, but here's the really crazy part: Those nine shootout losses came despite the fact that he carried a save percentage in shootouts of .755, well above the league average of 698. He carried more than his share of the water in the skills competition, and his teammates decidedly did not.

Devin Setoguchi comes to Maple Leafs with right attitude after 'wrong turn' (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:56:11 PDT)
Devin Setoguchi can weigh himself in the morning and not feel bad anymore. The Toronto Maple Leafs forward now tips the scales at just under 200 pounds, which is a milestone for him. “I haven’t been under 200 pounds in probably nine years,” he said in a candid interview with the Brady and Walker show on Sportsnet 590 in Toronto. The 28-year-old forward, who signed a PTO with Toronto , admitted he entered rehab last April. Is he ready to rediscover the form that saw him score 31 goals in 2008-09 with the San Jose Sharks? He says he has a clear mind and he’s ready to move forward with his life on and off the ice. “Around the league my rep the last couple of years and my word hasn’t really meant much. I had gotten to the point where I had pretty much diminished any kind of merit in the league,” Setoguchi said. “No one really believed what I was saying, so I still have a lot to prove this year.” Setoguchi said he had the wrong attitude the last several years in the league. After he got his first big deal, a three-year $9 million contract from 2011-12 through 2013-14, he intimated the wheels came off a bit. “Then you get really confused and cocky and overconfident in what you do,” he said.  “Your attitude is not where it should be. That was something that hit me. Then obviously along the way got into some bad decisions and hanging out with the wrong people.” Setoguchi said he took a “wrong turn” and then “Once I took that turn and knew it, I was in denial of it and it was everyone else’s problem.” He signed a one-year $750,000 contract with Calgary for this past season, and says he told the team he was sober.  “That lasted all of a couple of weeks,” he added. Setoguchi also said he had a “crappy attitude” with the Flames. He played 12 games with Calgary and didn’t notch a point. Over the last three years his career has taken him from the NHL to the ECHL with the Ontario Reign in 2012-13 to the AHL with the Abbotsford Heat in 2014-15. With a fresh outlook, the newly married Setoguchi hopes he can make the Maple Leafs happy with the opportunity they’re giving him. He said he enjoyed playing in the structured system of former Sharks coach Todd McLellan while both were in San Jose. Since McLellan is a Mike Babcock disciple – and Babs is the Toronto coach –  it was a logical fit. “They’re trying to do something there and turn that team into a great franchise,” Setoguchi said. “Not that it isn’t already, but that’s someone I’d like to (join) and push for moving forward.”  - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS        

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

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.

Flames sign Mark Giordano to 6-year contract (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 25 Aug 2015 14:54:26 PDT)
The Calgary Flames completed the top task on their summer to-do list by signing captain Mark Giordano to a six-year contract extension. The 31-year-old defenseman still has a year remaining on his deal, but Flames general manager Brad Treliving said in May that re-signing Giordano was his ''No. 1 priority'' this offseason. ''Mark has established himself over the last few years as an elite defenseman in the league,'' Treliving told The Canadian Press.

Flames re-sign defenseman Giordano to six-year extension
(Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:36:58 PDT)
(Reuters) - All-Star defenseman Mark Giordano has been re-signed by the Calgary Flames on a six-year contract extension, the National Hockey League (NHL) team announced on Tuesday. No financial details were disclosed by the team but local media estimate the deal to be worth $40.5 million. Giordano, 31, has played his entire NHL career with Calgary, recording 66 goals and 179 assists for 245 points in 510 games.

Mark Giordano signs 6-year, $40.5 million deal with Flames (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 25 Aug 2015 09:39:57 PDT)
Were it not for injuries , Mark Giordano could have been a Norris Trophy finalist (and likely winner) in each of the last two seasons. He’s a 31-year-old elite defenseman, on a Calgary Flames team that’s clearly ahead of schedule as a contender and has built a formidable blue line in front of average goaltending.  And now, he’s being paid as such: The Flames signed Giordano to a six-year extension worth $40.5 million according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, for a $6.75 million cap hit. He has one more year left at $4.02M AAV for the Flames. From the Flames: Giordano, a native of Toronto, Ontario, has been the captain of the Calgary Flames since 2013. He has played his entire NHL career with Calgary, amassing 66 goals and 179 assists for 245 points along with 466 penalty minutes in 510 games. Last season Giordano was named to the NHL All-Star Game and was a finalist for the NHL’s Foundation Player Award. Giordano was leading all NHL defencemen in scoring with 11 goals, 37 assists for 48 points in 61 games played before sustaining a season-ending injury on February 25th. The initial ask from Giordano was an astronomical $9 million annually , which is how negotiations go. This contract, which kicks in for 2016-17, makes him the highest-paid Flames player starting next season and puts him right ahead of contracts signed by Alex Pietrangelo and Erik Karlsson, who it should be said are significantly younger.   And that’s the thing with this deal: It pays Giordano what he’s worth now, and maybe for the next three seasons; but at some point in this deal, he’s going to be a 37-year-old defenseman making $6.75 million, at a time when guys like Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau could be looking to have new deals that eat up UFA years. For now, it’s a solid deal for a guy who’s been a top-five defenseman in this league for the last two seasons. They’ll make Dennis Wideman disappear within the year, and go forward with Giordano, TJ Brodie ($4.65 million AAV through 2020) and Dougie Hamilton ($5.75 million through 2021) as the heart of a very, very good defense. In front of, again, “affordable” goaltending.  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The St. Louis Blues from A to Z (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 25 Aug 2015 09:00:07 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: Laura Astorian , managing editor of St. Louis Game Time A. Al Arbour Arbour is probably best known as the coach that created a dynasty out of the New York Islanders in the 1980s, or the second winningist coach of all time. Arbour is beloved by Blues fans as well, as he was one of the first to wear the Bluenote.

Mike Keenan is Vladimir Lenin in gloriously weird KHL promo (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 25 Aug 2015 07:26:32 PDT)
Like David Hasselhoff in Germany and “Terminator: Genisys” in China, Mike Keenan is kinda a big deal in Russia. He hasn’t coached in the NHL since splitting with the Calgary Flames in 2009, but Keenan has been with Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the Kontinential Hockey League for the last three years. He won the Gagarin Cup in 2014 – the only trophy in pro sports named after a Cosmonaut – and led them to the playoffs last season. He is their coach, their leader … a revolutionary, if you will. You know: Like Lenin. Right down to the icy glare. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: Sign up and join a league today! ] So Metallurg decided to run with this comparison to its logical conclusion: a black and white promo (with jaunty piano music!) for the 2015-16 season starring Keenan as Vladimir Lenin. The plot, as far as we can tell? While boiling fishheads near Lake Razliv one day, Lenin and his assistants “revolutionize” hockey while watching some young players and configuring rocks in what we can only assume is the 1-3-1 trap. This is a reference to the 1917 October Revolution (a.k.a. Red October) when Lenin overthrew the government and established himself chairman of a new Soviet order. Like we said: Not exactly your run-of-the-mill season promo. One lingering question: What is handing these kids?

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)


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 Pittsburgh Penguins from A to Z (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 23 Aug 2015 09:29:11 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: Ashley Chase , sports broadcaster A. Affiliates

Fantasy Hockey: Ranking NHL rookies, beyond McDavid and Eichel (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 22 Aug 2015 07:49:22 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 BRENDAN ROSS Drafting your favorite NHL superstar and riding his production straight to your fantasy hockey championship is the pipe dream for all poolies but the realist in all of us understands there’s much more to hoisting the league trophy than just one player’s success. Hitting on the big names is easy in the opening rounds but the real challenge is filling out your roster with valuable depth players. Every poolie loves finding that young gem - it makes them look like a pure hockey genius so why not fill out depth spots with a few valuable rookies? [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey: Sign up and join a league today! ] The key is to ensure that your rookie selections are informed ones, and that becomes the biggest challenge. Even the best youngsters can be fickle fantasy producers early in their careers, so let’s break down which ones could be worthy of a roster spot. The Favorites Introductions can be thrown aside here because these are the freshmen that your grandmothers chat about during afternoon tea time… Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers – Wunderkind junior star Connor McDavid will step right into the Oilers’ young roster and challenge to lead the team in scoring and it wouldn’t be wise to bet against him. McDavid’s shown good chemistry with high-flying winger Taylor Hall in BioSteel camp so expect him to draw top-line minutes right out of the gates and be the first rookie to post 70-plus points since Patrick Kane did it in 2007-2008. Sorry, he’s not Sidney Crosby, because he’s destined to be better. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres – Sabres GM Tim Murray was bummed for a brief second after losing out on Connor McDavid but he then shook it off and realized that Jack Eichel is the NHL’s best consolation prize since Evgeny Malkin came second to Alexander Ovechkin at the 2004. With a chip on his shoulder to out-perform Connor McDavid, soon-to-be American hero Eichel stands to be the prime contributor on a rather pedestrian offensive Buffalo squad. Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes – There’s some Jekyll and Hyde in Domi’s game but when he’s on (flashback to the 2015 World Junior Championships), Max is as exciting as they come and that’ll be important in the offensively dry Arizona desert. Don’t expect Domi to come out guns-a-blazin’ but he’ll bring fans to the edge of their seats. Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers – Edmonton opted to send Darnell Nurse back for another year of seasoning in junior giving him the opportunity to etch his legacy in World Junior history with a star-studded performance. Producing points at the junior level was no problem for the smooth skating 6-foot-4 Nurse but many are still wondering if the production will follow as easily in the pro ranks. Either way, Nurse is the star blue line pillar that the Oilers are planning on building around. Sam Bennett, Calgary Flames – A shoulder injury (with no direct link to his inability to perform a pullup at the NHL combine) sidelined the pesky skilled Sam Bennett, nixing his chance to challenge for the Calder in 2014-15. He got a taste of NHL action late in the season and even scored seconds into his debut. Bennett’s unrelenting two-way game will be endeared by Calgary’s bench boss Bob Hartley and that’ll give him plenty of opportunity to post Johnny Hockey-like numbers in 2015-16. Kevin Fiala, Nashville Predators – The Predators welcomed Filip Forsberg’s breakout season as he climbed to the top of Nashville’s scoring charts and he has help coming with the uber-skilled, and feisty, Kevin Fiala. Jumping into North American hockey with two feet, Fiala showed that his competitive drive and knack for finding offensive chances equates to fantasy value. Anthony Duclair, Arizona Coyotes – Dynamic speedster Duclair rattled off points quickly right off the hop in his first professional campaign before slowing down and eventually returned to his junior squad. He was a key member of Canada’s gold medal winning World Junior and now has the chance to create magic with WJC teammate Max Domi after he was traded to Arizona in the Keith Yandle deal. The 2015 Draftees Future fantasy lineups will eventually be littered with ’15 draftees as Mitch Marner, Dylan Strome, Zach Werenski, Timo Meier and Matt Barzal are names outside of McEichel that are destined to be fixtures on their new clubs down the road. Here are a few players to watch with the potential to step into the NHL for a taste of action as soon as 2015-16… Dylan Strome, Arizona Coyotes – With improvements in his skating still needed, all signs point to the desert dogs returning Strome to the OHL to defend his scoring title but don’t be surprised with a brief NHL stint to start the year. Most importantly, Strome stands to be a go-to offensive option at the upcoming World Junior Championships before he enters the NHL full-time in the Fall of 2016. Noah Hanifin, Carolina Hurricanes – Boston College standout Noah Hanifin plays a composed two-way game and with his low-maintenance mobile style, it’s expected that he impresses enough to stick around for the year. Expect 20ish points and feel free to fist-pump if he passes 30 points on the Canes blue line. Pavel Zacha, New Jersey Devils – Physically, Pavel Zacha is arguably the most NHL-ready offensive forward from his draft class (outside of McDavid and Eichel). The problem lies in his offensive numbers, or lack thereof, with many folks needing to see these numbers climb before he steps into NHL action. On his side of the argument, Zacha is an excellent physical forward with loads of skill to offer and after excelling at shutting down Connor McDavid in post-season action, there’s two-way versatility as well. If he’s not in Jersey this season, expect a smashing debut in 2016. Lawson Crouse, Florida Panthers – Crouse demonstrated himself as one of Canada’s premier shutdown forwards as a WJC underager and managed to produced 29 games without much help in Kingston. Offensively, the best is yet to come from Crouse and his hockey sense, two-way acumen and physical advantage could see him force his way onto the Panthers roster this Fall but it’ll be tough with a crowded left side. Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers – Less than a year after Kimmo Timonen departed Philadelphia after years of valuable service, Flyers restocked their blue line with a similar intelligent two-way defender in Ivan Provorov. This extremely intelligent Russian isn’t large and lacks the flashiness of a Karlsson but his efficiency is reminiscent of a 10-year vet. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche – Every season there’s a non-Top 5 pick who steps directly into the NHL and makes an impact. Cue Finn Mikko Rantanen to fill that potential role. He’s got professional experience under his belt and with the aging Tanguay and Iginla, plus the inconsistent Grigorenko, on Colorado’s right side, Rantanen just needs to stick around long enough for an injury or frustration to strike for his opportunity. The Goaltenders Tough to pinpoint their arrival considering most NHL teams have their bona fide starters locked into place, the following are a few young netminders waiting for their opportunity to prove themselves... John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks – Flashing back to Summer 2014 and we were hearing John Gibson’s name being tossed around as a Calder Trophy favorite. Here we are again one year later and he remains in the conversation after suffering injuries and being supplanted by Frederik Andersen as Anaheim’s starter. The book on Gibson remains status quo – he’s an elite NHL prospect and should be coveted in every format. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets – Despite an outstanding AHL debut season and World Championship showing, Hellebuyck waits patiently as the third option in Winnipeg’s goaltending platoon of Pavelec and Hutchinson. He’s pegged as the Jets’ future between the pipes and simply needs the chance to showcase his stuff. Don’t be surprised to see Hellebuyck start stealing starts very soon. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning – It’s been a few up and down seasons for prized goaltending prospect Vasilevskiy but this young puck stopper already has played four, yes FOUR, seasons of professional hockey. After a long run by the Lightning Vasilevskiy has earned valuable big game minutes so the jitters should be long gone. The future crease will be home to Vasilevskiy and he’s only an injury to Bishop away from taking the starter job and running with it. Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins – After capturing both Rookie and Goaltender of the Year honors in the AHL last season, Matt Murray has tightened the long leash on Marc-Andre Fleury because the organization now has a viable challenger for the starter’s position. He’ll concede the crease to MAF for now but he’s certainly fast tracking himself to the NHL quicker then everyone expected.

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 .

New evidence in Boogaard case; Marty St. Louis pours out heart; best NHL rivalries (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 20 Aug 2015 11:18:51 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 . Zeitgeist: Adidas already preparing for 2017 NHL Advertiser Draft. http://t.co/d2Nlgv9WyZ pic.twitter.com/6pjc4cs3AC — Dan Saraceni (@cultureoflosing) August 20, 2015 • Noticeably missing from Top 10 of advertiser draft: skin tag remover and flex seal. [ @cultureoflosing ] • The family of Derek Boogaard believes they have new evidence indicating the NHL's responsibility in their son's death. [ SI ] • Martin St. Louis writes about the death of his mother and facing the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals as a member of the New York Rangers. Heart wrenching and eye opening. [ Players' Tribune ] • Meet Rudi Ying, a 17-year-old hockey player from China, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Yao Ming by opening up a relatively unknown sport to those in his homeland. [ Buzzing The Net ] • Editorial rips Calgary Flames arena plans due to 'ludicrous amount of tax payer support' required. [ Globe and Mail ] • Tyler Seguin talks about struggling to keep his mouth shut after his trade from Boston. [ Toronto 1050 ] • Good news for Jets fans: Andrew Ladd is skating after sports hernia surgery, but he's now been infected by 'playoff fever.' No word as to if more cowbell  has been prescribed. [ Winnipeg Free Press ] • Ryan McDonagh is back to skating at full-strength after breaking his foot in the Eastern Conference Final. [ NHL ] • Down Goes Brown awards the heavyweight belt for the best NHL rivalries over the decades. Find out if your team and your hated rival(s) made the cut. [ Grantland ] • Is Wayne Simmonds optimism about the Flyers this season justified? [ THN ] • If Nikolaj Ehlers doesn't make the Winnipeg Jets big show out of camp, he'll consider taking his talents to the Swiss League. [ Jets Nation ] • Arizona Coyotes winger Mikkel Boedker signed a bridge deal and has to prove he's worth the investment this season. [ Today's Slapshot ] • Least shocking news: Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel headline the NHLPA's rookie showcase. [ PHT ] • Top 30 goaltending prospects - McDavid and Eichel are automatically disqualified! [ The Hockey Writers ] • New St. Louis Blues player Troy Brouwer sits down for a fun Q & A with his new team. [ Blues ] • Celebrating the unsung hero of the Vancouver Canucks 'West Coast Express,' Brendan Morrison. [ Canucks Army ] • Analysis of goaltenders isn't as cut and dry as the skaters in front of them. [ TSN ] • One of the best female journalists in hockey, Katie Strang, is moving over to cover baseball. Big loss! [ KK ] • Detroit Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer talks his past work and future aspirations, and the future of Czech hockey. [ The Malik Report ] • Which youngsters are most likely to have a sophomore slump? [ Bleacher Report ] • The good and bad of Cody Hodgson for the Nashville Predators. [ Predlines ] • Finally, some of the NHL's best and brightest goof off at BioSteel camp. - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Calgary taxpayers; Bob Murray's summer (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:09:40 PDT)
[Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.] 6. The First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of USA Hockey Jeremy Jacobs has done a lot for the sport, it's true. Like greedily stop it from happening as scheduled twice in the last decade, probably planning to stop it again in another six years or so, and trying to block out the sun. It therefore makes a lot of sense that USA Hockey would be like, “This is the guy we like the most.” But guys what if, and bear with me here, but what if Jeremy Jacobs is actually …................... bad? 5. Retirements Happy trails to Sami Salo and Danny Briere, who called it a career this week. Salo's retirement comes as little surprise, given that he missed all of last season with an injury and will be 41 in two weeks and his contract with Tampa was up. He never piled up the points or anything (career high of 37), but he had an absolutely terrifying slap shot for a minute there. Hell, this is him even after losing his fastball: Monday came Danny Briere, a nice boy for whom the media was almost never a nuisance. And therefore all news of and reactions to his announcements was legally required to contain at least three derivations of the word “class.” (Bonus points if you could squeeze “personified” in there.) Which is funny, because Danny Briere picked up three suspensions in his career for some pretty cheap stickwork, and isn't it interesting how that doesn't get brought up, but when Steve Ott (four suspensions) retires, the hockey world will breathe a collective “good riddance.” Ah but Briere was just a little fellow and little fellows have to occasionally throw a spear out there or crosscheck someone in the head. Gotta let 'em know you won't let them check you. But hey, Briere is the same size as dirty cheater Brad Marchand and boy did Marchand never once get the benefit of the doubt for his tactics (as well he shouldn't have, by the way). So let this be a lesson to all you kids out there: Play as dirty as you want but be sure to give every media member a nice little kiss on the forehead, and you will be bulletproof. (And P.S. I actually like Danny Briere a lot. Monday morning was more than a bit over the top.) [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] 4. All Day I Dream About Sweaters Oh no in just a few years Adidas is going to fundamentally change all the great Reebok jerseys we know and love! All the classics like Anaheim and Colorado and Florida! Does this mean Buffalo and Calgary will no longer have that great piping all up and down the jerseys? God the NHL is so stupid. Ugh this is really gonna bug me for the next three seasons. Then I won't care any more. 3. Different viewpoints Toronto hired Lou Lamoriello earlier this month. To be their general manager. People were like, “Whaaaat?” and some people were like, “No way.” But some people were like, “Huh?” It was crazy. And then they went out and hired — probably at Lamoriello's request — Jacques Lemaire, who seems to have always been a pretty damn good coach and probably has a lot of wisdom to impart to everyone in the organization. While Lemaire and Lamoriello are as old-school as it gets in this sport, and the Leafs had seemed like the most forward-thinking organization on a lot of fronts for most of the last year or so, the way they see the game probably has some value. You don't want Lamoriello making player personnel decisions in 2015, of course. The last team to do that ended up going from “really good” to “really bad” pretty quickly. And okay, sure, the Leafs are already really bad, but Lamoriello has exhibited next to no talent for bringing young players into the fold either, and that's basically all the Leafs have. But he does have the viewpoint that guys like Brendan Shanahan, who's running the ship in Toronto now, support or at least supported. For all his hires in the last year, most of which have seemed quite ahead of the curve (or at least keeping up with the curve, which is a huge improvement for Toronto), those for Lamoriello and Lemaire seem at least a little regressive. But if old-school hockey ideals can be merged with the new-school of using actual useful statistics to evaluate player performance, then that's probably a good thing. It appeals to what is probably Shanahan's inherent belief that grit and leadership are good and useful and worth paying for, while also taking a skeptical look at it. In fact, there's skepticism all around, and that's what's most important in any pursuit. If there's no one saying, “Hey, this might be wrong,” then you get a situation like what you had in New Jersey, where a singularity of vision drove the franchise into the ground. No one could question Lou, and Lou stopped knowing what he was doing in the free agent market some time ago, so: Disaster. We're not yet at the point — and perhaps never will be — where front offices won't be an old boys' network where former hockey players run teams like the people who ran them when they played ran them; we don't know when or if The Nerds will be wholly in charge of a team. But in the meantime, if someone has to make Lou Lamoriello sit there and look at a chart showing forward regression by age for wins above replacement, and he doesn't think it's a total BS waste of time, then maybe this is what progress looks like. Having more than one type of voice in the room remains important. 2. Taxpayer money Memo to Calgary residents: Don't give the Flames a penny. Thanks in advance. Love, your children. Yes it's time once again to discuss the importance of not giving billionaires a bunch of public money to build stadiums, because you never get any sort of actual return on investment. If you did, team owners would do it themselves instead of trying to hold cities hostage for hundreds of millions, because they'd get to pocket everything. Why pay for something when you can get someone else to pay for it instead? Makes sense. But I'm not going to explain to you why doing this is stupid as well as John Oliver did a month ago. So just watch that instead. (Warning: I am required to tell you there are bleeped-out swears!!!!) : 1. Bob Murray's summer As if things weren't going well enough for the Ducks this summer, getting a quality third-line puck-moving option in Mike Santorelli for just $875,000 was a pretty good addition this late in the offseason. Add that to the pile with acquiring and then extending Carl Hagelin, trading for Anton Khudobin, extending Jakob Silfverberg, and getting a few cheap might-work-out/might-not UFAs, and it's hard to say that any general manager has enjoyed a better offseason. Now all they need is Cody Franson on a one-year show-me contract. (Not ranked this week: Everyone who has made a public statement about the Patrick Kane case. Hey remember that dirtbag bar owner who claimed he had no financial interest in whether a guy who was planning to have a huge Stanley Cup party at his bar was innocent, then went on a nice little victim-blaming rant that got published in the Buffalo News? Now he's been joined by a cop whom Patrick Kane employs in his off time, and therefore likewise has a vested interest in telling the side of the story that's most beneficial to helping his employer beat the accusations. And then Kane's lawyer took to Facebook to essentially say, “Hey, what these very interested parties have to say on the subject is totally relevant and good especially because it's very helpful for my client's case.” Anyway, all these people are garbage. Have a good one.) Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here . (All statistics via War On Ice unless otherwise noted. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS

Calgary mayor downplays arena plans; Hall, McDavid chemistry; Laich gettin' hitched (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:47:13 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 . @SlavaMalamud Did you see the Ovi presser from Moscow this morning?The portrait hanging on the wall makes me laugh. pic.twitter.com/xwHNPBa98F — Mr. D.C. (@DgcMr) August 19, 2015 • Our buddies at Japers' Rink attempt to make sense of this odd photo with Alex Ovechkin: "We've decided that this pic looks strikingly like The Last Supper, complete with Red Jesus in the middle." Add in Putin as celestial overlord in background photo and it makes total sense. [ @DgcMr ] • Must follow Ovi with Sidney Crosby news. He suited up as a goalie during a ball hockey game in Pittsburgh (as the Penguins held their collective breaths). [ CBC ] • City mayor, Naheed Nenshi, drops a bucket of ice cold Canadian water on the Calgary Flames new sports arena spectacular announcement. [ Calgary Sun ] • Former Anaheim Ducks assistant coach  and sacrificial lamb  Brad Lauer has been added to the Tampa Bay Lightning coaching staff. [ The Score ] • Ottawa Senators loan defenseman Mikael Wikstrand to Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League. [ Senators ] • Top 10 free agents still on the board as we near training camp. [ Along the Boards ] • "[Taylor] Hall, [Connor] McDavid building chemistry at BioSteel Camp." Just in time to amp up already unreasonably high expectations. [ TSN ] • Arizona Coyotes prized prospect Max Domi talks about playing pro-hockey with Type-1 diabetes. [ Howlin' Hockey ] • Three players who will be key in turning around the Boston Bruins this upcoming season. [ CBS Sports ] • Martin Havlat possibly coming to Ottawa Senators camp on pro-tryout. [ @SunGarrioch ] • Carey Price spent time with eight families in Kelowna, BC at a goaltending camp. Great read on his day with the kids. [ InGoal Mag ] • With all the wheeling and dealing of the Edmonton Oilers this off-season, Darnell Nurse needs to seize the opportunity available to him. [ Today's Slapshot ] • Congrats to Brooks Laich of the Washington Capitals and Julianne Hough (actress? dancer? singer?) on their engagement. [ Yahoo ] • Help contribute to the making of a documentary about the long lost California Golden Seals. [ SI ] • Rumor alert: Slava Voynov could (COULD!) be brought back by the Los Angeles Kings. [ THN ] • Did you know there are 98 other top prospects beyond Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel? Meet them! [ The Hockey Writers ] • Really like data mining and fancy stats? Put the two together and volunteer to collect passing data for this upcoming season. [ In Lou We Trust ] • Part one previewing the mask artwork of NHL goaltenders this upcoming season. [ Hockey By Design ] • Is Jimmy Howard starting for the Red Wings no longer a foregone conclusion? [ Octopus Thrower ] • Top 5 'contract year' players that could have a big impact on your fantasy hockey team. [ The Puck Exchange ] • 95-year-old hockey player (with awesome Rollie Fingers-esque mustache) shares his tips for what's kept him young. [ Today ] • Finally, 14-year-old Estonian Olev Kork shows off his puck handling skills ... on a bike, on a tightrope, hanging from a tree, etc. You know, the regular stuff. - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Kane's lawyer lashes out; Briere's influence; Burke in Ireland (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:23:02 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 .  

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Nashville Predators from A to Z (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 08:58:37 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: Caroline Davis , frame-by-frame analyst for On The Forecheck A. Anaheim Ducks Nashville earned their very first Stanley Cup Playoffs series win over Anaheim. It was a huge series for Nashville and marked several franchise milestones, two of which were captured in a “History Will Be Made” commercial: first OT win and first Game 5 win. When the teams returned to Nashville for Game 6, David Legwand drove the final nail into the coffin and the fans blasted the roof off the Bridgestone Arena. B. Balsillie, Jim The Predators Almost Move to Another City: Part I.

Brian Burke lends a helping hand to hockey in Ireland (Yahoo Sports)
(Mon, 17 Aug 2015 07:10:44 PDT)
"This is a sport that was made for this country," says the current president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames.

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

Puck Daddy's Summer Series: The Edmonton Oilers from A to Zed (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 12 Aug 2015 09:00:00 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: Sammi Silber , editor of Oil on Whyte A. Anderson, Glenn

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