• L’Heisenberg: Drug dealer busted for Montreal Canadiens meth

    Matt Larkin
    Habs logo

    You clearly don’t know who you’re dealing with, so let Michel Emond clue you in. He is not in danger, you guys. Michel Emond IS the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of him? No! Emond is the one who KNOCKS.

    Mandatory comparisons out of the way, Emond’s alleged jig is up. Police have apprehended the accused methamphetamine kingpin, 36, in Costa Rica after hunting him for two years. The charges indicate he ran the operation out of his home in Laval, Que. Really should’ve driven an RV deep into the Laurentians for his cook sessions, but I digress.

    Where’s the hockey hook? Look no further than the drugs themselves. The charges suggest Emond’s trademark was to shape the tablets like the Montreal Canadiens logo. If the meth is pure enough, you could call it ‘Et Le Blue.’

    Read more

  • Photos: Quebec City arena goes up, but no guarantee NHL will return

    Rory Boylen
    Quebec Arena

    In September of 2012, Quebec City’s hope for the return of an NHL team was renewed when ground was broken on construction of a new arena. There’s absolutely no guarantee from the NHL that a team, through expansion or relocation, would sprout from this effort, but the chance of a return certainly increases with a new, 18,000-seat rink in place. Part of the reason Winnipeg was able to land the relocated Atlanta Thrashers was they had an arena ready for the team to move into.

    Earlier this year, David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail wrote about the NHL’s exploration of expansion, which favored Las Vegas and Seattle, two western teams that would even the current 16-14 imbalance between the two conferences. He reported NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had met with two prospective ownership groups out of Las Vegas.

    From Shoalts:

    Bettman had this to say Tuesday, in an e-mail message, when asked about the meetings:

    “At this point, there is no ‘structure’ to any of this. We just continue to listen to unsolicited expressions of interest (which have come from a number of parties) and sometimes those expressions of interest come in meetings that the interested parties have requested! To suggest a timetable or anything else at this point is pure speculation.”

    As reported earlier in this space, Seattle, Las Vegas and Quebec City are the cities in play when it comes to NHL expansion.

    Markham, Ont., taxpayers please note: a second team for the Greater Toronto Area is not even part of the conversation.

    Right now, Quebec City and Las Vegas (which broke ground in May) are constructing new arenas. A potential new building in Seattle has long been tied to an NBA team returning to the city. Chris Hansen, who holds the rights to build a new arena in Seattle, had his bid to relocate the Sacramento Kings rejected by the NBA in 2013 as that team stayed in California. Steve Ballmer was a part of Hansen’s investment team, but he is now on the verge of purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers for $2.2 billion.

    Hansen, who would welcome an NHL franchise as a tenant in his arena, has in the past said he’s not interested in being the principal owner of a hockey team. He reiterated that point to the Seattle Times in April of this year:

    (You’ve said hockey isn’t your passion. Has that changed?) “No. That’s not the type of thing that’s going to change. You’re passionate about something or you’re not. I think every once in a while we can find new things that we’re passionate about. I would just say this is too big of a thing. You’re basically being responsible for something that means a lot to a lot of other people. We can all see success and failures in pro sports franchises and what they mean to the city and to their fans. I would rather not get involved in something I would put a half-hearted effort into. I think that’s the same for the rest of our group. I don’t dislike hockey. It’s not that. I actually watch playoff hockey. I think watching hockey in person is an incredible live-action sport. Until you’ve seen it in person, it’s a lot different. But that doesn’t mean that I’m passionate enough about it to take this on as a real responsibility.”

    And in July, Larry Brooks of the New York Post wrote that Wayne Gretzky was now part of a group trying to bring the NHL to Seattle.

    As the dance goes on, Quebec’s new arena goes up. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in September of 2015, is a beacon of hope for ravenous hockey fans in Quebec City that the NHL will one day return, even without any guarantees from the league.

    Below are some recent pictures from the arena site, showing the progress that has been made so far. There are three outside shots and one from the inside, followed by a video of the construction. All photos courtesy of Ville de Québec/City of Québec. Read more

  • Music and hockey: an all-star panel, part one

    Nathan-MacKinnon-3

    As obsessed as I am with hockey, I was once similarly preoccupied with music. I am nowhere near as plugged in as I used to be, but I still love music and since my tastes tend to run on the obscure side, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to talk about my favorite bands within the hockey community. But over the years, I’ve found some kindred spirits in the sport and it’s always fun to talk about bands and artists that we share a mutual love for.

    So in the spirit of summer fun, I hit up a few of the people who fall into that category and asked them about the current state of hockey and music. Here’s the panel:

    Nathan MacKinnon: Calder Trophy-winning center for the Colorado Avalanche, hip-hop head.

    Drew Stafford: Veteran Buffalo Sabres right winger, heavy metal fiend

    Boyd Devereaux: Stanley Cup winner with the Detroit Red Wings. Now retired, his company Waking Sound makes hockey promo videos featuring highlights set to music. He also founded the label Elevation Recordings, which put out psyche/noise/underground artists.

    Vinny Karpuszka: Arena DJ for the Pittsburgh Penguins, heavy metal enthusiast

    Sunaya Sapurji: Junior hockey writer for Yahoo! Sports and its Buzzing the Net blog

    Uffe Bodin: Editor in chief and writer for Hockeysverige.se.

    Arun Bali: Guitarist for Saves the Day, die-hard Red Wings fan now living in Nashville

    Part two of this conversation will go up tomorrow. Here we go…

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  • Armed with new contract, Robin Lehner will soon grab Sens’ starting goalie job

    Adam Proteau
    Robin Lehner (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Senators signed Robin Lehner to a $6.675-million contract Thursday morning, locking up the 23-year-old restricted free agent goalie for the next three seasons. Lehner has been hailed for years as Ottawa’s goalie-of-the-future, but by the end of this coming season – or perhaps sooner – he’ll be firmly, finally ensconced as their No. 1 netminder.

    Given that veteran Craig Anderson – who’ll be 34 years old at the end of the coming season – is entering the final year of his contract, Lehner won’t have to wait much longer to be given the starter’s job. Playing on a poor Sens squad in 2013-14, he posted a better save percentage (.913) than Anderson (.910) and his workload has increased gradually (from 12 games-played in 2012-13 to 36 last year). His new contract, which carries an annual average value of $2.225 million, is perfect for his budget-conscious franchise and won’t raise fan expectations to unattainable levels.

    What does Lehner’s new deal mean for Anderson? Read more

  • Bob Clarke didn’t want Russians in the NHL…and he wasn’t alone

    Red Alert

    Russians have had a huge impact on the NHL and the way the game is played, but their arrival in North America wasn’t without controversy.

    In the August, 1989, edition of The Hockey News, a wave of Soviet stars, riding the crest of glasnost, broke down barriers and signed to play with NHL teams. Slava Fetisov and Sergei Starikov inked in New Jersey. Alexandr (that’s how he spelled it in ’89) Mogilny officially became a Sabre. And Igor Larionov and Vladimir Krutov were brought into the Vancouver Canucks fold.

    Some natives, however, remained suspicious and opposed.

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  • NHL logo rankings No. 17: Edmonton Oilers

    Rory Boylen
    Edmonton Oilers

    By placing Edmonton at No. 17 on our list, that leaves the Montreal Canadiens with the No. 1 logo among the seven Canadian teams. Will the Habs logo rank first among all NHL logos? You’ll have to wait and find out.

    When our panel of seven THN staffers debated and argued over the Oilers design, the room was split on where it should rank against other NHL logos. Some thought the look was outdated and ugly, fit for the bottom-third of the league – a place the Oilers have become accustomed to in recent years. But others – like myself – enjoyed the design and pushed for a higher ranking than this.

    And that goes to show how much these rankings are determined by personal tastes more than scientifically breaking down the aesthetics of each one. To each his own. After our voting was done, the Oilers ended up in that mushy middle. I’ll be interested to see what the commenters below think of the Oilers logo.

    Think you can design a better look for the Oilers? Here’s your chance. Create your best logo redesign for Edmonton and send it to us at editorial@thehockeynews.com and we’ll share our favorite reader redesigns at the conclusion of our 30 NHL logo rankings.

    All logo from Chris Creamer’s website.

    HISTORY OF THE OILERS LOGO

    Did you know that, in their first year as a WHA team, the Oilers were called the Alberta Oilers? The Calgary (Broncos) team never got off the ground for the inaugural WHA season in 1972 and a provincial rivalry that was supposed to hatch that year never did. In response, the Oilers wanted to represent the province and intended to split their home games between Edmonton and Calgary. That plan never came to pass, though, as they stayed in Edmonton all season. After Year 1, the Oilers went back to calling themselves Edmonton as originally intended and, in 1975, the Calgary Cowboys joined the WHA after they relocated from Vancouver.

    The Oilers look is a throwback in the modern day. Its font screams 1970s and the droopy, thick lettering adds to the character. It’s a look that also fits with the name. The original colors were a royal blue with an orange oil drop that really popped.

    Edmonton Oilers

    Read more

  • New Jersey extends underrated Andy Greene for five years, will lead transition to younger blueline

    Rory Boylen
    Andy Greene

    The New Jersey Devils locked up 31-year-old defenseman Andy Greene to a five-year extension that will kick in after next season, the final year of his current contract. The new pact will have a cap hit of $5 million.

    Greene is a leader and underrated player on the Devils’ blueline. His 24:34 of average ice time led the team by nearly three minutes over the next highest total from Marek Zidlicky. And, according to GM Lou Lamoriello, they’d like to have him on the ice even more, if it wouldn’t wear him out.

    “He’s the top defenseman right now if you have to look at who the top defenseman is,” Lamoriello said in a conference call. “He carries the most minutes in each critical situation, whether it’s 5-on-5, in a defensive situation, or in a power play situation, or in particular penalty killing. We have to try and keep ice time away from him, that’s how important he is, to make sure late in the game he isn’t tired. That’s in indication of what we think of him.”

    Lamoriello praised Greene as an “all-situations” defenseman, a relatively rare value that left the GM confident to lock him up for five years beyond the next one. And given where the Devils are at, Greene will be the leader of the blueline as they transition to a younger core of defensemen with solid upsides. Read more

  • Rumor Roundup: Will Bobby Ryan be the next Senators player to leave?

    Bobby-Ryan Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

    The departures since last summer of Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators prompted ESPN’s Craig Custance to suggest Bobby Ryan could be next to leave town. Custance notes Ryan, 27, is entering the final season of his contract at an affordable cap hit of $5.1 million. He becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.

    Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen recently reported the Senators opened contract talks with Ryan and fellow 2015 UFAs Clarke MacArthur and Marc Methot. Of the trio, Ryan will be the most difficult to re-sign.

    The rebuilding Senators took a step back in their development last season, Ryan’s first with the club. The loss of Spezza via trade and Ales Hemsky to free agency makes Ryan their top scoring forward. How the Senators perform this season could influence his future plans.

    Another factor will be Ryan’s asking price. He’ll have a golden opportunity to cash in via free agency, where he could be the best available player. It could cost the budget-conscious Senators more than $7 million per season on a six- to eight-year deal to keep Ryan in Ottawa. Read more