• Who’s going to win the turtle race for 30th – and gain a franchise player?

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes

    If Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin are the top three amigos for the 2015 NHL draft, the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames are their top three suitors.

    Yesterday, my esteemed boss Jason Kay wrote a blog wondering if the Sabres killed their chances of winning the McDavid sweepstakes by filling out their roster with established veterans Matt Moulson, Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges, Andrej Meszaros and Cody McCormick. No need to worry, the Sabres aren’t going anywhere other than 30th place.

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  • NHL logo rankings No. 23: Winnipeg Jets

    Matt Larkin
    JetsTOP

    The No. 23 spot in the THN logo rankings belongs to the Winnipeg Jets. Popular team with its fans, not so popular among anyone predicting the 2014-15 Central Division standings, and not so popular in the logo department. That said, as we creep up toward the middle of the logo ladder, each ranking becomes more contentious and closer to split down the middle. Winnipeg’s critics outweigh its supporters, but the anti-Jet sentiment isn’t unanimous.

    We can at at least say team’s design depicts what it’s supposed to depict, unlike jumbled messes such as, say, Colorado’s. There’s no debating that a fighter jet adorns Winnipeg’s sweaters. Another plus: the logo is inspired by the Royal Canadian Air Force. Simple, understated design and a historical connection? That should be a recipe for a high rank, but “simple” is the operative word. It’s too basic. The plane is just dropped on top of the existing Air Force logo.

    Most of the THN staffers laughed this logo out of the room, comparing it to Microsoft Word’s Clip Art. Remember Clip Art images? Those stock photos and cartoony symbols you printed off your computer to take up space on your science fair Bristol boards? The Jets logo has that feel to it. The plane itself has very little detail and the Maple Leaf feels like a lazy attempt to placate fans of a Canadian team. The logo looks more like a glorified shoulder patch in the eyes of its haters.

    Do you agree the Jets logo was slapped together too quickly? Try your hand at a new design, preferably without using Clip Art. Draft up a hot new look and send it to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the conclusion of our logo rankings, we’ll share our favorite redesign submissions from readers. Don’t stop with the Jets, either. You can try your hand at all 30 NHL logos if you want.

    (All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

    HISTORY OF THE JETS LOGO

    Don’t confuse the Jets with the, er, Jets. The original Winnipeg Jets belong to Arizona Coyotes canon. The modern Jets extend from the ugly, pitiful roots of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise.

    What on Earth is a Thrasher? Even though the franchise’s horrific uniforms had an unmistakably “Xtreme” feel to them, the Thrasher name didn’t come out of nowhere. The brown thrasher is actually Georgia’s state bird, and fans voted in the team name. Second place, the Flames, would’ve been awkward for Atlanta and Calgary. Those voters had evidently never heard of the embarrassing Rough Riders/Roughriders debacle in the CFL.

    The brown thrasher isn’t an intimidating bird, but it’s elegant enough and could’ve made for a decent logo. Alas, this team was founded in the late 1990s, at the peak of ugly new-age jerseys. The result was this:

     

    Sigh. It looks like someone stuck a bird’s head in a bowl of butterscotch pudding and stirred it with a hockey stick.

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  • Rumor Roundup: Could Marc Staal join his brothers with the Hurricanes?

    Marc Staal (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes the Rangers should get busy re-signing defenseman Marc Staal. The 27-year-old blueliner is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. His cap hit for this season is $3.98 million.

    Barring another concussion for Staal, Brooks believes the blueliner could command at least a six-year deal worth $5.5 million annually. If the Rangers don’t believe Staal’s worth that much, Brooks recommends investigating his trade value.

    The Carolina Hurricanes could be among the clubs willing to pursue Staal via trade this season or free agency next summer. Brothers Eric and Jordan are already on the Hurricanes roster. Perhaps the addition of Marc could provide extra incentive for Eric – whose contract expires in 2016 – to sign an extension next summer. Read more

  • Is new Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas this generation’s Roger Neilson?

    Adam Proteau
    Roger Neilson

    The Maple Leafs’ hiring of Kyle Dubas as their new assistant GM Tuesday, and the ensuing debate and discussion about the advanced statistics revolution Dubas is a part of, has intriguing parallels to a similar hiring in Toronto 37 years ago. Back then, another young (although not quite as young as the 28-year-old Dubas) hockey mind with a different approach was brought into hockey’s biggest fishbowl to test out his theories.

    That man was the late Roger Neilson, hired as Leafs head coach July 25, 1977. His name isn’t referenced nearly enough in the advanced stats debate, but Neilson must be considered, if not the granddaddy of the advanced stats movement, then one of its founding fathers. And THN’s archives provide ample evidence of how nimble and creative Neilson’s mind was when it came to seeing the game through a new prism – and the baseless backlash it triggered in the inflexible, conservative hockey establishment.

    In 1978, THN columnist Frank Orr wrote about Neilson being viewed as “slightly bonkers” because of his “slightly unorthodox approach” and the “assorted gimmicks he employs”. Read more

  • Former Predator Patrick Cote gets 30 months in prison for bank heists

    Jason Kay
    Patrick Cote

    A one-time NHL enforcer has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to committing two bank robberies in Montreal, according to online reports.

    Montreal radio station CJAD is reporting Patrick Cote, a second-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 1995, confessed to the heists in May after police questioned him in connection with a stolen vehicle. The report says the car had broken down when police spotted it.

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  • New York Rangers are on the right path with Zuccarello

    Ryan Kennedy
    Mason-Zuccarello

    Avoiding arbitration, the New York Rangers and leading scorer Mats Zuccarello agreed on a one-year pact Tuesday that will pay the 5-foot-7 winger $3.5 million for the 2014-15 campaign.

    According to New York Post scribe Larry Brooks, the two sides continue to work on a long-term deal for the Norwegian national and that’s great news for Rangers fans.

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  • Fantasy Pool Look: Blue Jackets and Flyers off-season outlooks

    Flyers-BlueJackets (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It’s the 12th annual off-season look at each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically, but switch starting points each year. This year I’m doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. This week, we look at Steve Mason’s current and former teams.

    COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
    Gone – Nick Schultz, Jack Skille, Derek MacKenzie, Matt Frattin, Blake Comeau, Nikita Nikitin, R.J. Umberger

    Incoming – Brian Gibbons, Jerry D’Amigo, Scott Hartnell, Simon Hjalmarsson

    Ready for full-time – Hjalmarsson is a Blues draft pick (39th overall in 2007) who not only remained in Europe but also took only sideways or backwards steps in his development. That is, until St. Louis let him go. Then he started to flourish. Hjalmarsson finished this past season with 57 points in 55 games, good for fourth in Swedish League scoring. Still only 25, he’s both NHL-ready and has room to improve. I liken his situation to that of Carl Soderberg in Boston from a year ago, though Hjalmarsson may not have quite the upside offensively. Read more