Jason Kay is the Editor in Chief of The Hockey News and has been with the brand since 1989. No, that's not a typo. Born in England, raised in Toronto, he arrived in his home and adopted land as a baby in 1967, just in time to see the Maple Leafs win their last Stanley Cup. A stay-at-home defenseman once upon a time, Kay knows his NHL dreams are long dead, but he hasn't given up hope of winning the Brier.
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.
As you might imagine, there were some intense discussions around our office following a free agency feeding frenzy a few weeks ago that lived up to the hype. Our staffers were dissecting the moves that were and weren’t made, the winners and losers, when someone floated the Buffalo Sabres.
On July 1 they splurged, adding Josh Gorges (via trade), Brian Gionta, Matt Moulson, Andrej Meszaros and Cody McCormick. That’s nearly $19 million towards their cap this season dedicated to five new players.
But money wasn’t the issue. The Sabres had oodles of cap space. The concern was whether they had done too much and had critically wounded their chances of landing the first overall pick in 2015, most likely Connor McDavid.
How much credit does Bobby Hull deserve for the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty of the 1980s? A fair bit, according to the Golden Jet, in this edition of Throwback Thursday.
In the July, 1988 edition of The Hockey News, Hull told Stan Fischler that Oilers’ GM Glen Sather got the idea for remaking his team when “myself, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg terrorized his Oilers in the last years of the WHA. He’d get so frustrated watching us throw the puck around that he finally vowed to build a team on our (European-style) lines.”
I can’t vouch for the state of hockey in Australia. Its men’s program is, after all, ranked 34th by the International Ice Hockey Federation, tucked just behind powerhouses Mexico and Israel.
But there are signs of shinny positivity emanating from the land down under.
A couple weeks ago, an Aussie-bred player was drafted by an NHL team for the first time ever when the Capitals spent the 98th overall selection on Nathan Walker. The 5-foot-10, 20-year-old left winger was actually born in Wales, but grew up in Sydney.
The news that Radek Bonk and Miroslav Satan had announced their retirements a couple weeks ago came as something of a surprise: not that they were hanging them up, but that weren’t already out to pasture.
Bonk, 38, hadn’t played in the NHL since 2009, when he had nine goals in 66 games for Nashville. Satan, 39, spent the past four seasons mostly playing in Bratislava, a club which eventually joined the KHL.
It was a little reminiscent of when Petr Nedved materialized in Sochi in February. We hadn’t heard from him in North America since he played out the string with Edmonton in 2007. But he was plying his trade year-in, year-out in the Czech league.
It also brought to mind a line uttered years ago by one-time journeyman Greg Adams, in which he said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Guys like Gretzky retire. Guys like me fade away.”
Thanks to the Internet and databases such as hockeydb and hockey-reference, it’s significantly easier to track the whereabouts of hundreds NHLers who do the Adams fade. At least, it’s simpler to find out when they were last active.
So I did a quick surf and played the “dead or alive” game; or more appropriately, the “retired or active” search? It was easy to get sucked into this vortex.
When Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews signed their monster eight-year extensions this week, the reviews were generally very positive. The Blackhawks secured the services of two superstars, players who are integral to their core and who would be just 34 and 35 respectively when their contracts expire.
While the cap hit is $10.5 million per year, it’s not outrageous by today’s top-player standards. What’s not to like?
Not much, but there is some risk attached to the pacts. While most expect Kane and Toews to be elite players for years to come, plenty can happen in eight years.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the gold standard of the NHL, and if you don’t believe it consider this: according to Forbes, the Leafs had the highest average ticket cost in 2013-14 at $368 per seat. If you purchased four at that price point for your family, it would have run you $1,472, just slightly more than an ounce of, you guessed it, gold.
While they aren’t as rare as Willy Wonka’s golden tickets, in-demand hockey passes can feel pretty special when you clutch them in your hands. Attending the event is naturally the thing, but the physical pieces of paper serve as proof you’re part of an exclusive club, if even just for a few hours.
According to the NHL, 32 per cent of the players selected in Philadelphia last week are from the United States, giving the country its biggest-ever slice of the draft day pie.
It’s an indicator of the growth of the game south of the 49th parallel, an upward trend that is mirrored off the ice by climbing TV ratings and burgeoning league revenue.
It’s also a good segue for us, on this 4th of July, as we recognize the greatest players ever to hail from the land of the free. Here is our top 10 (and happy birthday, America).