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.
With just four days to go for expansion bids to come to the NHL office, there are reportedly two applications that have been signed, sealed and delivered. One of them is from Las Vegas and the other is from Quebec City.
How much that number will rise will be determined over the next couple of days by the number of bids that will come from Seattle. There could be as many as three of them. It is expected another will come from the Toronto area, but venture capitalist Graeme Roustan, who is reportedly spearheading a bid to build an arena that would accommodate a for a second team in the Toronto area, could not be reached.
When the players who finished last season for the Dallas Stars stuck out their hands, only three Stanley Cups were to be found. Two of them belonged to Tyler Seguin and Alex Goligoski, guys who played small roles in their teams winning championships.
With his moves this summer, Stars GM Jim Nill has tripled that number, with the most recent coming in the form of defenseman Johnny Oduya, a two-time Cup winner who signed a two-year deal with the Stars worth $7.5 million. Add to that Patrick Sharp’s three Cups with Chicago and Antti Niemi’s championship with Chicago in 2010, to go along with the Stanley Cup Travis Moen won with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
When the NHL officially opened the expansion process in June, it was generally assumed that the price tag for a new franchise would be set at $500 million. But multiple sources have confirmed to thn.com that the price has not been set and, in fact, it may vary depending upon location.
Which is possibly good news for Quebec City, not so good for Toronto. Good news for Seattle, not so much for Las Vegas.
Hall of Famer Steve Shutt once famously had this description of how Scotty Bowman’s players felt about him: “You hated him 364 days of the year, and on the 365th day you got your Stanley Cup ring.” Ken Dryden wrote in his book, The Game, that, “Scotty Bowman is not someone who is easy to like.” And Dino Ciccarelli had this evaluation: “He was a great coach and a rotten person.”
Chicago Blackhawks GM and Scotty’s son Stan Bowman does not generate the same kind of derision and admiration, but as a hockey executive, he is indeed proving that the apple does not fall very far from the tree. The moves he has made since the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup, while dictated by salary cap constraints, are proving that, in many ways, the younger son has the same cold blood running through his veins when it comes to dealing with players.
As directors of amateur scouting for the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues, Joe McDonnell and Bill Armstrong constantly cross paths during the hockey season. Whether it’s at a junior game in Brandon, Man. on a Friday night or a small rink in eastern Europe for an under-18 tournament, McDonnell’s message for Armstrong is the same. “I always say to him, ‘You’re just such an asshole,’ ” McDonnell said. “I always tell him he stole my ring away from me.”
The two can laugh about the experience a quarter of a century after the fact. McDonnell was 29, less than a decade older than some of the players he was coaching with the Kitchener Rangers. Armstrong was a big, physical defenseman known more for his fists than his scoring touch, but it was his goal at 2:05 of the second overtime that gave the Oshawa Generals a 4-3 win over the Rangers and the 1990 Memorial Cup.
The Memorial Cup comes around every year, and some are more memorable than others. The 1990 tournament might have been the most compelling, exciting and dramatic tournament ever played. Of the eight games in that event, four went to overtime. Two of them, the round-robin game between the Generals and the Rangers and the final, needed double overtime. Eric Lindros, who had spurned the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and was dealt to the Generals at Christmas, was showing the world why he was one of the most hyped prospects in a generation. The Kamloops Blazers blueline featured a 16-year-old defenseman named Scott Niedermayer, and their coach was Ken Hitchcock. The Laval Titan were a big, mean team that featured Sandy McCarthy and Gino Odjick and a cast of characters who sported dyed Mohawks. Read more
Even though Max Pacioretty will be out of action for 12 weeks with a knee injury, it will not require surgery. So that means if he heals precisely according to plan, Pacioretty will be ready to go five days before the Canadiens open their season against the Toronto Maple Leafs. If he’s a quick healer, he might be ready even sooner.
So it’s probably best to save your summer angst for something else. The Canadiens announced their top scorer injured his knee – they didn’t say which one – during an off-ice workout in Florida Thursday and is expected to be out 12 weeks. That would take him to Oct. 2 and the Canadiens don’t open their season until Oct. 7. But the best news is that the injury does not require him to go under the knife.
With the news that minor league enforcer Andre Deveaux will not be charged for his on-ice attack on an opponent in Sweden in March, it looks as though the culture of violence in hockey is once again off the hook. Sometimes it seems this game avoids court scrutiny more than a Mafia kingpin.
But like the Mafia kingpin, its day will come. One of these days an assault trial involving something done on the ice is going to make it to court and the game, by extension, will be on trial.
If there were ever any question about how much real power Ray Shero will wield in the New Jersey Devils front office, it was answered emphatically Thursday afternoon when the Devils announced they would not be renewing the contract of director of scouting David Conte.
Because Conte was far more than just a scout with the Devils. First of all, he’s worked for the team for 31 years. But more than that, he was Lamoriello’s right-hand man and most trusted advisor on hockey matters. With Lamoriello being moved to the presidency and Shero brought in to be GM, there were still those who wondered whether the large presence of Lamoriello would be hovering over Shero and the hockey department.