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.
The NHL took a hard stand during the 2012-13 lockout when it came to maximum contract length, fighting fervently for five years, then compromising at eight (for re-signings).
Since then, up to the pact agreed to by P.K. Subban in early August, 11 players had won max term. In the big picture, it’s a small number, representing a tiny fraction of all deals. But due to the dollars and profile involved, the question remains: is eight great?
The answer depends on your perspective. If you’re demanding equal value across all seasons, prepare to be disappointed. The evidence shows that, apart from notable exceptions, returns diminish on players beginning in their early 30s.
If Scott Gomez and/or Tomas Kaberle make the New Jersey Devils this season and contribute in a meaningful way, GM Lou Lamoriello will be able to claim another feather for a cap that is already bursting with plumage. The veterans are reclamation projects, looking to revive careers that are ever-so-gently flickering.
Barring the spectacularly unforeseen, however, those potential additions won’t be able to match the magic Lamoriello performed 23 years ago.
In this edition of Throwback Thursday, we remember the incredible summer of 1991, when the Devils acquired Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer via a series of head-scratching events.
Is Australia ready for NHL hockey? Don’t laugh. It might not be as far-fetched as you’d think.
Kerry Goulet, the brains and brawn behind the awareness and charitable organization stopconcussions.com, has returned from his second exhibition tour of the nation and has been blown away by the support the games have generated.
All matches on the four-city swing this summer were sold out, including a 20,000-fan throng at Allphones Arena in Sydney. Smaller venues in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne were also jam-packed. And it wasn’t a cheap ticket; seats ranged in price from $74-$230 in Sydney.
For a guy who doesn’t say much, Phil Kessel is the source of significant noise.
Ever since he begged out of Boston and was dealt to Toronto for a trio of high draft picks, fans and media on both sides of the equation have been debating the merits of the blockbuster.
The derisive “Thank you, Kessel” chants in Beantown remain alive and boisterous, while the Maple Leafs showed faith in their sniper by rewarding him with an eight-year, $64-million contract extension that kicks in this season.
The trade officially turns five on Sept. 18 and the question is: who has had the happier returns? As part of a recurring feature in which we re-open a cold file (ok, this one still has some burning embers) from a deal that transpired five or more years ago, we re-assess the swap.
So Weird Al Yankovic fans want their hero to perform at the Super Bowl. A Facebook petition is gaining wide notoriety and going, as they say, viral. If it happens, good on them. I suppose.
If it doesn’t transpire, the NHL should pounce on the king of spoof songs like Carey Price smothers rebounds. Really, he’s a far better fit for the good, old hockey game and would be the ideal choice to belt out parodies at All-Star in Columbus, the Winter Classic in Washington or the outdoor match in San Jose.
Here are five reasons why:
Brian Boucher’s NHL career was replete with memorable, headline-making moments.
A first round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, Boucher made the NHL’s all-rookie team in 2000, led the league in goals-against average that season, set (and still holds) the league’s modern-day record for consecutive shutouts (five) and played a pivotal role in the Flyers’ march to the Stanley Cup final in 2010.
Yet, when his big league playing days fizzled, there was no major announcement. In fact, we weren’t sure if he was retired or active. After a quick Internet scan, we discovered he played five games last season for Zug in Switzerland and when that didn’t work out, he decided to pack it in.
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.
In the August issue of The Hockey News, in the wake of baseball star Tony Gwynn’s death this past June, columnist Adam Proteau wrote a critical piece about the use of chewing tobacco in hockey.
A few pages earlier, in our table of contents, we published an image of Thomas Vanek throwing out the first pitch in a Minnesota Twins game. In the front right pocket of his shorts is the outline of what appears to be a cell phone. In the front left pocket, there’s something shaped like a tin of chew.
Apparently, the picture was worth about 10,000 words. We received a high volume of letters to the editor (particularly for July), mostly bemoaning our photo choice. Here’s an example: