Goals: Patrick Marleau (9)
Assists: Martin St. Louis (11)
Joe Thornton (11)
Thomas Vanek (11)
Points: Thomas Vanek (19)
Plus/Minus: Sami Salo (10)
Penalties In Minutes: Brandon Prust (46)
Powerplay Goals: Patrick Marleau (5)
Shorthanded Goals: Thomas Vanek (1)
Tomas Fleischmann (1)
Rick Nash (1)
Ilya Kovalchuk (1)
Loui Eriksson (1)
T.J. Oshie (1)
Justin Faulk (1)
Brad Marchand (1)
Mark Letestu (1)
Michael Grabner (1)
Henrik Zetterberg (1)
Andy Greene (1)
Game-Winning Goals: Andrei Markov (3)
Patrick Marleau (3)
Wins: Carey Price (6)
Antti Niemi (6)
Goals-Against Average: Craig Anderson (1.12)
Save Percentage: Craig Anderson (.964)
Shutouts: Jaroslav Halak (2)
NHL's Three Stars
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News broke earlier in the week about NHL plans to expand to 34 (!) teams by 2017. Of the locations expected for these teams, 4 were identified.
Keep in mind, the NHL is denying any of the rumours, and states it has no plans in place, however some of the names make sense from one aspect or another. What doesn't make sense is the 34 team roster. Maybe the league is identifying it's top 4 locations to place franchises by one aspect or another , I.E. expansion OR relocation? Everyone knows teams like the Panthers and Coyotes are having a tough time selling the sport in their markets, perhaps the news was a little jumbled when it was passed on and the league has identified 2 expansion and 2 relocation sites?
In any regard, this would be huge news. 2 expansion teams means 46 new jobs in the NHL, 4 expansion teams means 92. Some people think it waters down the product, but I like to think it means more chance for the fringe guys to get in and make some noise. It could very well also mean more playoff spots come the spring. It'll be interesting to see how the NHL decides to handle this when push comes to shove.
regardless, here are the 4 locations that are rumoured and my thoughts on each as an NHL landing spot:
Vegas is the "done deal" spot that's being reported. The NHL apparently wants in, and this is a location they'll land at in 2017. It's also one of the most interesting, and hilarious problem potential locations.
If you've been to Vegas you know there's no other city like it in North America. The streets are busier at night than at day. It's legal to gamble and to drink in the streets. There are soo many distractions and potential issues in the city that it's comical. How many teams would love to have their guys show up the night before a game and let their guys go and party in Vegas? the answer is none. I'm assuming most teams would rather fly in on the day of the game and stay quarantined at the arena until after the game, then let the guys go off and blow off some steam.
Another issue is seasons tickets. The actual population of people who live in Vegas permanently must be a fraction of the people who actually live there at any given time. Most establishments have the employees home town on their name tag along with their name. Lets just say there aren't too many people with LV Nevada listed under their name. People come from all over the country to work in Vegas in some capacity. This presents a problem. How many people will want seasons tickets?
An interesting way of viewing it is that an NHL franchise is another attraction in the city, and it's smart to put it there if only because the tickets to an NHL game will probably be cheaper than to go see Penn and Teller or another attraction the city has to offer. It might add to the novelty of going to Vegas, and you may attract more hockey fans that way. It has the possibility to grow the sport from a stand point that some people might want to go watch a professional sport in Vegas to see what it's about. It'll attract a lot of visiting fans. I'd go to Vegas and catch an NHL game or two. Why not? It's a great vacation spot for young people, and maybe getting the chance to watch the Leafs play will add to the draw.
Their biggest ticket audience might only be the single game market, and they might not sell seasons tickets to individuals, but they shouldn't have an issue selling press boxes or seasons tickets to big business. I'm sure most of the Casino owners and big businesses in Vegas will purchase tickets and boxes to use to give to clients and the like.
Seattle presents an interesting scenario. Seattle has an NFL franchise, an MLB franchise and an MLS team, however they lost their NBA in 2008 when the Supersonics left for Oklahoma City. The city is building a new arena in an attempt to bring back the Sonics and an NHL franchise. The Seattle area already has a WHL franchise (The Everett Silvertips), which has had attendance steadily decline in recent years. The Silvertips averaged 4900 this past season, down from 5000 on average the year before.
Seattle is a location that has been discussed as a possible relocation site for years, but I think it's probably the least likely to succeed of the 4 locations in question. I've listed it twice here because it doesn't have an NHL team currently, and nor has it had an NHL team (or at least one close enough) in almost 100 years. It presents the exact opposite of a night life as Vegas did. Seattle has a cold damp climate and is known for heavy rainfall. Can't imagine too many NHLers wanting to move their families to Seattle.
Make no mistake. The Nordiques will return in due time. Quebec City is a very different place from Vegas. QC is one of the oldest cities in Canada, founded in 1608. The city is gorgeous and the people there are aching for the return of the NHL. The Nordiques left for Colorado in 1995 and responded by winning a Stanley Cup in their first season. They currently have a QMJHL franchise in town (which was coached by Patrick Roy until recently) which draws amazingly well for a CHL franchise. While the silvertips drew on Average 4900 this past season, the Remparts claimed 9974 on average. And that was down from the years before when they averaged 11,000 from 2010-2011 (when the franchise was placed in QC). I imagine losing Patrick Roy as coach had as much to do with the decline as anything. Buy I firmly believe that team will have no issues drawing crowds.
Corporate sponsorship on the other hand, will be another problem. Opposite from Vegas the team will have no problem selling individual tickets and seasons tickets to the common hockey fan, however you have to think selling boxes and bringing in corporate money will be another issue.
It is an interesting place to see hockey again. Their natural hatred for the Canadiens will be fun to see in full flight once again.
Yeah, you read that one correctly. The NHL is considering putting a second NHL franchise in the GTA. Word is that Markham is the targetted area where the TTC doesn't go, and the city will be near impossible to get to. Try driving into Markham on a weeknight in the city and see how long it takes you. Placing a team in the north end of the city will put more stress on the already crammed hwy400, and plug all the arteries leaving the city. Toronto also has a hard enough time attracting talent as is. How much would the second fiddle draw?
Toronto has always been a Leafs town. Ever been to a Marlies game? They don't draw badly per se. But you can commonly buy tickets on the day of the game, and there's always empty seats. People pass on the Marlies all the time. Will the next team in the city be the same?
I don't think seasons ticket sales or box sales will be an issue. I have to wonder how popular the team will be. I have to assume when the Leafs are in town they'll draw a sell out, but the real question is if the second fiddle can sell out on their own. That's the real test.
August 28th, 2014 @ 11:10 AM (EDT) | Reply
News broke yesterday that the Sharks have decided to strip their Captains of their letters and go into camp with a clean slate and give everyone a chance to wind up with an extra letter on their jersey.
People had talked in the past about the Sharks being interested in shipping Joe Thornton out of town, and I have to wonder if this is step 1. Thornton expressed his desire to stay in San Jose saying he likes it there. Now he's no longer the Captain of the team, and it wasn't his choice. He didn't seem happy about it from everything that came out yesterday.
Have to think this is a way to change the core of the team over to Logan Couture. Will be interesting to see how things pan out.
August 21st, 2014 @ 10:14 AM (EDT) | Reply
March 8, 2004. I remember where I was. If you were watching hockey in 2004 you probably remember where you were too. In the sporting world a date like that carries significance. People remember it.
Like where you were on October 23rd, 1993 when Joe Carter won the World Series for the Blue Jays on a walk off 3 run home run, or on October 6th 1993 when Michael Jordan retired (for the first time). Or July 13 2005 when the NHL and the NHLPA came to an agreement that would end the lockout and July 22nd when the new CBA was ratified and only 8 days after on July 30th, 2005 the Pittsburgh Penguins selected Sidney Crosby first overall. These moments in sports stick with you. They mean something. You can see the changes they’ll have on the game, and you can almost tell the lasting effects that will be felt for years to come.
All of which brings me back to the night of Monday, March 8, 2004. I had gone back to school, making the trek from Brampton to Peterborough on Sunday night (as I always did), so I could make Monday classes. Monday was normal except for the fact that my roommate, a very devoted Vancouver Canucks fan, was looking forward to a rematch between the Canucks and the Avalanche that night. The interest in the game stems from the events that took place between the two teams on February 16th. Steve Moore leveled Canucks Captain (and good friend of Todd Bertuzzi) Marcus Naslund with a questionable hit. It was nothing more than a fourth liner I had never heard of before targeting a star player.
The league practically asked for shenanigans to ensue, to be honest. It happened in the second period when Naslund was reaching for a loose puck and Moore targeted his head on a dangerous hit. The ref didn’t call a penalty on the play. The league backed the decision by the referee. Naslund suffered a minor concussion and a bone chip in his elbow. Naslund missed 3 games before he returned to the lineup. Keep in mind we can see the ripples from the decisions of these actions from the league even now. Head shots are suspended almost immediately. Concussion protocols are adhered to so guys don’t come back 3 games after suffering a concussion. But here we were. Steve Moore knocked Marcus Naslund out of the lineup for 3 games and no action was taken against Steve Moore. The Canucks players decided something had to be done and if the league wasn’t going to do it, they were.
Brad May issued a bounty on the head of Steve Moore, Bertuzzi was livid, being quoted as calling Steve Moore a “piece of shit”. It was on. The next time these two met, Steve Moore would suffer the consequences. March 3rd came around and the Canucks and Avalanche met for the first time after the incident. Most people watched expecting something, a line brawl, a bench clearing affair, anything. I watched the entire game with my roommate, which wound up being a 5-5 tie (when those still existed) with Gary Bettman in attendance. The game went by without incident, and we figured most players on the two teams knew better. It was behind them, time to move on.
5 Days later, on March 8th I had come home from class at about 9pm and tried to finish some last second home work for the next day. My roommate came to tell me that the Canucks and Avalanche game was starting soon but I declined to watch. It was March and final exams started in April. It was March and I had been procrastinating on the final essays of the semester. My roommate came over after the first period was done to tell me that the Canucks were losing 5-0. Apparently I had made a wise choice in not watching, since the game wasn’t much of a contest anyways. I had already been working for a few hours and decided to take a break to play some video games. While I was replaying Final Fantasy VII (I was a poor University student, so all I had some old school PS1 and old games), my roommate swore out loud. He called me to come to the room quickly “I think Bertuzzi just killed Moore”.
I saw carnage. I’m sure you remember what you saw. Moore sprawled lifelessly on the ice with players piled on top of him trying to get at Bertuzzi and get guys off Bertuzzi respectively. I’m sure you remember hearing the crowd going from cheering Bertuzzi’s actions, to going almost completely silent over witnessing Moore’s lifeless body. I’m sure you recall Moore being lifted onto the stretcher and carted off the ice. The game being finished, even though reports afterwards indicate Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix asked the league to end the game right then and there. And then the endless stream of commentary over it. Condemning Bertuzzi for his actions, Marc Crawford for putting Bertuzzi out on the ice in a game the Canucks were losing 8-2 when Steve Moore was already on the ice, Steve Moore himself for his actions on February 16th which led to all of this. The commentary was endless; it was the only thing the hockey world talked about.
Ten years later here we are. For ten years Steve Moore and Todd Bertuzzi were wrapped up in legal proceedings. For ten years it appeared that the only logical conclusion was a huge court proceeding with the entire hockey watching world focused on how it would play out. The proceedings would be long felt in hockey, to be honest. Bertuzzi had missed the last 20 games of the season (13 regular season games and 7 in the playoffs). The lockout cancelled the NHL season, and the IIHF didn’t want Bertuzzi’s narrative following him to Europe. His suspension would carry over to Europe as well. Bertuzzi was officially reinstated for NHL play on August 8, 2005. He had lost over $800,000 in revenue personally from salary he forfeited because of the suspension and lost endorsement deals.
Steve Moore lost so much more. The incident cause 3 fractured vertebrae, vertebral ligament damage, stretching of the brachial plexus nerves and his livelihood. Steve Moore would never play professional hockey again. Sure Bertuzzi became a shell of his former self, and never had the same success he had previously. Moore was out of a job, and in serious medical distress. His life would be changed forever.
The list of lawsuits that followed were too numerous to mention. Bertuzzi counter sued the Canucks and Marc Crawford. Steve Moore continued to pursue legal action, even though settlements had always been a possibility. Let’s be honest here; Steve Moore didn’t want any of that. He wanted this thing to go to court and expose the violent hockey culture that existed beneath the surface. He wanted to explore the ancient laws of perceived manhood that existed within the ranks of hockey, where exacting vengeance was acceptable, and praised. He wanted to expose the inherent issues that were percolating beneath the surface of the game, and threatened the health and livelihood of others like him. More than that he wanted to be whole again, and see justice played out.
Yesterday news broke of a settlement in the case. A mere 3 weeks before it was to go to trial. A shocking development in a case where we waited 10 years to see a resolution, and expecting the whole time for it to play out in the court system. To witness the end of this debacle as publically as it’s moment of conception was.
But the lawsuit is settled. Moore has accepted a cash settlement rumoured to be in the high 60 Million dollar range. His families livelihood is now safe, and he is now financially sound for as long as he should live. The game itself? The game is much different now as it was then. The use of players specifically for fighting is declining. Questions as to the impact of such a practice have been raised and discussed after the deaths of known pugilists Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak. But make no mistake; Steve Moore was at the heart of this exploration into our game. The new CBA focused on ways to improve players’ lives after their days were done. Players became concerned about income for guys who were seriously injured, and the game was cleaned up. Head hunting is now outlawed, and severely punished. Concussion protocols are in place to try and help players fully recover in order to lengthen their careers. The focus switched to trying to protect the player himself, and that has a direct line to origin to this event. Whether Steve Moore is the starting point for the player safety movement, or simply one of the beginning points is irrelevant. He’s as important to it as anyone else is. He’s had his impact.
March 8th 2004 was one of those days in sports. You remember where you were, you remember what you were doing. We didn’t know what the game would look like 10 years later, two lockouts later. I’m sure his name was mentioned in those CBA discussions between both sides. I’m sure the foundation of the two CBA’s we’ve seen in the NHL since have been influenced in some way by this incident. I’m sure we all knew in some way how important it would become. And now it’s come full circle. Where were you on March 8th 2004?
August 20th, 2014 @ 10:35 AM (EDT) | Reply
Today some news broke about the Leafs in a big way.
The team hired Brandon Pridham as the assistant to Dave Nonis, was the senior director of central registry and central scouting for the NHL head offices will be responsible for assisting with salary cap analysis, contract negotiations and collective bargaining agreement interpretation. Many people in the league are praising this as a great hire since Pridham worked at the NHL for the last 15 years.
The Leafs also laid the foundations of their advanced statistics department by bringing in some big guns from the advanced stats community to front their advanced stats department in house.
Darryl Metcalf owned and operated Advanced Stats Mecca Extraskater.com. A source for a lot of the advanced stats community to feast on. The site had been shut down recently and the community of bloggers on-line figured the site was either purchased by an NHL team or that the owner was hired under the condition that the sit come down. By hiring Metcalf the Leafs have an individual who collected alot of data and made it available for anyone (including other NHL teams).
The Leafs also hired Cam Charron from theleafsnation.com, who is widely known to be an individual who has openly criticized the moves the Leafs have made in the past, and had posted some amazingly detailed and informative articles over the past few years, aimed at the Leafs. He's known for being great at interpreting data and juding how to use it moving forward.
These two hires are massive wins for the Leafs who didn't even want to hear anything about advanced statistics and openly rebelled against it's use last season. For a Leafs team who openly decried the use of Advanced Stats last season to hiring Dubas, Metcalf and Charron this off-season is a huge about face in the direction of everything they did up until now. For the advanced stats community and people who frequent blogs it represents an interesting Conundrum . On one hand, the people who you have read over the past couple season and come to respect the ideas of are moving on to the big leagues to help some of our favourite teams to try and win a Stanley Cup. On the other hand it leaves a void of information available to consume on the internet.
In any respect, this is another one of those days when Leafs fans can hold their heads a little higher and be optimistic about the future.
August 19th, 2014 @ 3:18 PM (EDT) | Reply
The Colorado Avalanche and Ryan O'Reilly have agreed to a 2 year deal worth 6 Million per season. (5.8 in year one, 6.2 in year two).
They avoid team elected arbitration.
July 23rd, 2014 @ 10:58 AM (EDT) | Reply
The Toronto Maple Leafs have let go of Claude Loiselle and Dave Poulin and hired 28 year old Kyle Dubas as assistant GM.
Dubas was the GM of the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL since 2011 and is known to be a fantastic talent evaluator and proponent of advanced statistics. He is also known for his belief in skill among all forward lines, and believing that lines 1-4 should provide offense. He is also a big time believer in puck possession, and is seen as an innovator and one of the largest driving forces in bringing advanced stats to the OHL.
Claude Loiselle was recently the Leafs "Capologist", in which he had done a suspect job. The Leafs operated at close to the cap last season and even had problems recalling players late in the season due to cap space issues. Dave Poulin was VP of hockey operations.
July 22nd, 2014 @ 11:13 AM (EDT) | Reply
Buffalo locks up former 2008 first round pick Tyler Ennis to a 5 year deal worth a reported 4.6 million a season.
Ennis has scored 20 goals twice in his 4 full NHL seasons up to this point (in 2009/2010 he split time between the NHL and AHL only playing 10 games for the big club).
His best statistical season was in 2010/2011 when he put up 49 points in 82 games.
Last year he scored a career high 21 goals and added 22 assists for 43 points in 80 games played to go along with a -25.
July 17th, 2014 @ 10:30 AM (EDT) | Reply
Brandon Dubinsky (who still has 1 season left on his deal for 4.2 million) has re-signed with Columbus for 6 more years with a contract that starts on July 1st, 2015.
The contract holds an annual average value of 5.85 (meaning Dubinsky will make 35.1 million over the life of the deal). TSN is reporting the deal includes a No-Movement and No-Trade clause.
Dubinsky had 16 goals and 50 points in 76 games to go along with 98 PIMS. He was also a very big factor in helping the Blue Jackets win their first playoff game in franchise history this fall. Dubinsky had 6 points in 6 games for CBJ.
July 11th, 2014 @ 11:26 AM (EDT) | Reply
Apparently the talks between the Colorado Avalanche and Ryan O'Reilly have broken down to the point where both sides will likely head to an arbitrator to settle on a contract (the Avalanche elected arbitration back on June 15th.
July 10th, 2014 @ 2:45 PM (EDT) | Reply
Steve Ott was re-signed with the St. Louis Blues. 2 years 2.6 million a season.
July 10th, 2014 @ 10:58 AM (EDT) | Reply
1 year deal worth 1 million.
Could be a great low risk signing for the Ducks to shore up even more scoring in their lineup.
July 10th, 2014 @ 8:21 AM (EDT) | Reply
Each getting 8 years 84 million.
The deals carry an annual average of 10.5 million a season.
July 9th, 2014 @ 1:08 PM (EDT) | Reply
The Sens announced that President and GM Bryan Murray has been diagnosed with cancer and will undergo treatment immediately.
July 7th, 2014 @ 1:11 PM (EDT) | Reply
The Centerman is a former Hawks 7th round pick is said to be signing a 1 year deal to come to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He scored 15 goals and 22 assists in 53 games for Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL to lead the team in scoring. Same team that had Andrei Kostitsyn and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
UPDATE: Signing is official. 1 year, 1.1 million.
July 3rd, 2014 @ 9:34 AM (EDT) | Reply
1 year, 1.2 million dollars.
July 3rd, 2014 @ 9:23 AM (EDT) | Reply