Ken Campbell, The Hockey News' senior writer, is in his second tour with the brand after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native once tried out for the Ontario League's Wolves as a 30-year-old. Needless to say, it didn't work out.
Even though former minor league enforcer Andre Deveaux has hired a Toronto PR firm to handle his case and says he’s been in and out of emergency rooms suffering from the after effects of a severe concussion, we’re still no closer to determining whether Deveaux was suffering from impaired judgment or was intent on taking the law in his own hands to protect himself when he viciously attacked an opponent in a game in Sweden that went viral on social media in March.
That’s largely because Deveaux was so ambiguous about it Friday morning when he spoke about the incident in a Toronto news conference. On the one hand, he went to great pains to accuse his Rogle team of ignoring/misdiagnosing the fact he had a concussion he suffered when he was hit from behind by Per Helmersson of Vasteras in the previous game, an injury that three doctors in Canada have since confirmed he has. On the other hand, he claims to have been fully aware of his actions, saying he attacked Helmersson prior to the next game because he was concerned for his own safety. Read more
Should the Montreal Canadiens lose tonight, and even worse should they get swept with a whimper instead of a bang, the calls for Michel Therrien’s job will go beyond the Habs fan base and they’ll get louder. Much louder.
It probably won’t happen in the off-season, if for no other reason than the Canadiens signed Therrien to a four-year contract extension over the summer, but you can bet that Therrien’s name will figure prominently on the list of coaches on the hot seat when next season begins. Read more
The fact that we’re not discussing the Calgary Flames non-goal ad nauseam in Game 3 this morning is a good thing, and good on the Flames and coach Bob Hartley for showing a ton of composure and poise by responding with the tying and winning goals to make it all a moot point.
A thank-you card from the NHL to the Flames should be on its way. Instead of discussing a disputed goal, everyone who is not interested in politics in Calgary is talking about how their resilient group of youngsters has done it again. Read more
Andrew Hammond is a 27-year-old goaltender who has never been, and likely will never be, this close to grabbing the brass ring. He’s coming off a mind-boggling season in which he led the Ottawa Senators charge to the playoffs. And in doing so, helped make the franchise millions of dollars in playoff revenues with three playoff home dates it otherwise would have never seen.
If Hammond were not a goaltender, he’d probably be able to walk into GM Bryan Murray’s office and demand a five-year deal worth a lot of money. The Senators would, of course, acquiesce because you can’t turn away an asset that has exhibited that kind of potential. If Hammond had scored 25 goals for the Senators instead of going 20-1-2 with a .941 save percentage, he’d likely do exactly that. And if Murray were unwilling to pay it, Hammond would easily find another team that would. Read more
St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong had a front-row seat in Traverse City, Mich., last fall for the ugly imbroglio between the Columbus Blue Jackets and restricted free agent Ryan Johansen. It was during the annual prospect tournament there that Blue Jackets president John Davidson went on his epic tirade about Johansen and his agent, accusing them of trying to get the Blue Jackets front office fired.
Armstrong, at the time, was dealing with an RFA of his own in Jaden Schwartz and was openly talking about other prospects taking Schwatz’s spot if Schwartz was not signed by training camp. “We hope Jaden is there for camp, but as they say in Britain, ‘The King is dead. Long live the King,’ ” Armstrong said at the time. “Somebody is going to play if (Schwartz) doesn’t and I’ve never seen a 21- or 22-year old kid retire from hockey.”
Contrast that with Armstrong’s recent words concerning pending RFA Vladimir Tarasenko, a player the Blues took two picks after Schwartz in the 2010 NHL draft. Armstrong has made it crystal clear that while all players are created equal, some are more equal than others. A lot more equal. In hockey parlance, Armstrong might have just told Tarasenko and his camp to back the Brinks truck up to the Scottrade Center so they can all just start shoveling money into the back of it.
Armstrong made it clear that the Blues first and most pressing order of off-season business is to take care of Taransenko. That means there will be no bridge deal. You can basically use $6 million a year for eight years as the starting point in negotiations. And you guys waiting for contracts next season? Well, take your number and wait in line behind the golden boy.
“If it means allowing players to go to free agency,” Armstrong told media in St. Louis. “If it means making players sweat it on what their deals are going to be, he’s the priority.”
For those watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, there has been a subtle difference in the style of play this spring. Specifically, there has been a serious case of role reversal between the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Until this year, it used to be that the Western Conference was the battle of attrition, that series weren’t won by teams as much as they were survived. The Eastern Conference, meanwhile, provided its teams with a much easier path to the Stanley Cup final. But if you look closely enough, the Eastern Conference has all growed up and basically become the west. And after years of slugging it out with each other, the Western Conference has become a bunch of lightweights. Read more
Like Dickie Dunn, I’m just trying to capture the spirit of the thing. Now that Johnstown, Pa., has been named the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA, the most pressing question is whether or not the members of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning will have to put on a pre-game fashion show. After all, nowhere in their contracts does it say they gotta make fools of themselves. Am I right?
(Note to reader: If you’re not familiar with the 1977 classic sports movie Slap Shot, which was robbed by Annie Hall for the Best Picture Oscar in 1978, move along because the rest of this will be completely foreign to you.) Read more
Wow. I mean, wow. The Royal Baby™, The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports™ and The Fight of the Century™ all on the same day. How much excitement and how many trademarks can society handle in 24 hours?
Yes, Saturday was a day for the stars to come out. And speaking of stars and excitement, did you catch that New York Rangers-Washington Capitals game Saturday afternoon? To quote Pittsburgh Penguins play-by-play man Mike Lange, “Get in the fast lane, Grandma! The bingo game is ready to roll!” Read more