• 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 Some thought the look was outdated and ugly, fit for the bottom-third of the league – a place the Oilers have become accustomed to in recent years.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

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  • 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

  • Brad Marchand says he HATES Tomas Plekanec

    Rory Boylen
    Brad Marchand

    The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins rivalry is…heated you might say. It’s one that dates back to the early days of the NHL, of course, and it’s never really let up.

    The two teams have met in four of the past seven post-seasons, with each winning two series. But the styles of these two couldn’t be much different. Boston is a team that always tries to play on the edge and gets the most out of its players when they’re physical and able to get a retaliatory rise out of their opponents. The Habs, a smaller team, didn’t let the Bruins get to them in their second round series this past spring and ended up winning in seven games that were still all very heated contests.

    You’ll remember the series ended with Milan Lucic’s epic meltdown in the handshake line, where he apparently threatened to kill Dale Weise and inspired an incredible T-shirt, to say nothing of the backlash to his offenses on twitter and other social media platforms. Lucic may have been a cheap crotch-seeker too often last season, but I find entertainment in the kind of over-the-top explosiveness he showed at the end of the series.

    And it appears those hateful feelings still linger amongst Bruins agitators.

    At the Phoenix House Champions for Change dinner in Halifax on Tuesday, American League president Dave Andrews asked Brad Marchand which NHL player irritated him the most. Which is ironic, considering Marchand would probably top the list of most other NHLers if they faced the question.

    “Tomas Plekanec from Montreal…I hate him. I can’t stand him. No, I probably shouldn’t say that. I dislike him very much. Somebody is going to call and get mad at me tomorrow.”

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  • Another former NHLer sues league over concussion-related issues

    Adam Proteau
    Jon Rohloff

    In less than a year, there have been three concussion-related class-action lawsuits launched against hockey’s top league by former NHL players. In the previous two lawsuits launched against the NHL (one in November of 2013, and another in April of this year) the plaintiffs were groups of retired players. But in the newest suit – which was revealed Wednesday – there’s only one ex-player involved: former Boston Bruins defenseman Jon Rohloff.

    Rohloff’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in a Minnesota court, alleges he suffered “multiple head traumas during his NHL career that were improperly diagnosed and treated by the NHL.” Rohloff further alleges he was never warned of negative health effects of head trauma, and that the NHL has known about a scientific link “between sub-concussive blows and brain trauma” for 85 years.

    There is no word as to an amount of money Rohloff is seeking in the suit. But Rohloff is speaking out with a message that goes against the long-held notion NHLers “know what they’re getting into” when they choose to play what can be a vicious game:

    “Former NHL players are uniting to send one resounding message: they signed up to play hockey knowing that they might get injured and dinged, but they did not sign up for brain damage.” Read more

  • What retirement? Teemu Selanne may sign with Jokerit in KHL

    Matt Larkin
    TeemuSelanne

    How much has Teemu Selanne driven us wild flirting with retirement over the last decade? Even when he’s “gone,” he may not be really gone.

    Finnish team Jokerit has offered the future Hall of Famer, 44, a contract. It would mean playing in his home city of Helsinki and with the Finnish League team that developed him. It would also mean helping Jokerit transition to the Kontinental League, as this coming season the franchise will become the circuit’s first Finnish entry.

    Selanne told sports.ru he’s considering the offer from team owner Roman Rotenberg, and that he’ll make a decision in the next three weeks.

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  • At what point this summer do we change the “U” in UFA to unwanted?

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Washington Capitals

    For those NHL players who don’t step willingly into retirement, there eventually comes a day when UFA stands for unwanted free agent rather than unrestricted free agent.

    As July ends and August begins, we’re now closer to the start of NHL training camps than we are the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. For unsigned UFAs, that’s an added layer of anxiety. What if nobody wants me and I’ve played my last NHL game?

    Take a browse through capgeek.com and you’ll see half the NHL teams are already at the 23-man NHL roster limit. Another nine teams are at 22 players. And that doesn’t even include the several dozen or so non-roster rookie prospects who will surely make big-league rosters in October.

    So not a lot of roster openings remain.

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