Long before he was a man-child in the NHL, Brandon Saad was a 15-year-old kid who was terrorizing goalies in youth hockey in Pittsburgh, dreaming of one day playing in the same league as his heroes, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Bob Mainhardt recalls sitting in the Saad family’s kitchen trying to get George Saad’s two sons, George Jr. and Brandon, to commit to playing for his junior team.
Mainhardt remembers George Sr. telling him point blank that if his two sons decided to commit to playing for the Mahoning Valley Phantoms of the North American League, Brandon would be his leading scorer. Mainhardt thought highly of Saad, but he also had a veteran-laden team that was a contender for the national championship.
He admired the father’s chutzpah but didn’t put much faith in the prognostications of a proud hockey dad. After all, Brandon would still be 15 when the season started, and he’d be playing with and against players as old as 20.
“Well, if he had been a gambling man,” Mainhardt said of the senior Saad, “he should have put money on that one. Brandon was the best pro prospect I had ever seen. I had 18 kids from that team get Div. I scholarships, and we made the national semifinals. He was our best player.” Read more
Amid the allegations and investigation involving Patrick Kane, EA Sports announced Wednesday they will be removing the Chicago Blackhawks right winger from the cover of the latest instalment in their NHL video game series.
“In light of the ongoing investigation involving Patrick Kane, he will no longer be a spokesperson for the launch of EA Sports NHL 16,” the company said in a statement.
EA Sports adopted the slogan, “Play Together. Win Together,” for NHL 16, and as such the cover was originally slated to feature Kane and teammate Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup following the Blackhawks 2015 victory. The announcement of Kane and Toews as cover athletes was made at the NHL Awards ceremony, but Wednesday’s statement and release of a redesigned cover leaves Toews as the sole representative for the upcoming release.
This summer’s pool of unrestricted free agent talent was the shallowest in recent memory, but next summer’s crop promises to be considerably deeper. Here’s a look at several NHL stars who could be available by July 1, 2016.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s assumed the Lightning will re-sign Stamkos, but it’s been over a month since his agent, Don Meehan, told TSN talks had yet to commence. Re-signing Stamkos could cost the Bolts over $10-million annually on an eight-year deal. If they can’t or won’t pay top dollar, another club will gladly do so next summer.
Both sides give the appearance a deal can be reached. However, the longer the Lightning captain is unsigned, the more speculation will grow over his future in Tampa Bay. Read more
Aside from being a three-time 20-goal scorer, Kris Versteeg is known for some rather ridiculous off-ice moments.
There’s his singing, there’s his rapping and, now, there’s this: Versteeg, alongside fellow NHLer and Dallas Stars defenseman Jason Demers, performing a bizarre, albeit hilarious, interpretive dance to Sia’s ‘Chandelier’. Better yet, the performance came at Devin Setoguchi‘s wedding.
The ‘Chandelier’ music video features a ballerina dancing through what appears to be a deserted home. Shockingly, the, uh, replication of sorts by Versteeg, Demers and Co., wasn’t cause for wedding guests to make like the Sia video and abandon their surroundings. Read more
Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane has hired an attorney as more details continue to emerge in the police investigation involving an alleged incident involving Kane and a woman in Hamburg, N.Y.
Kane has hired attorney Paul Cambria, who also represented Kane in 2009 when Kane pleaded guilty to a noncriminal charge of disorderly conduct after he was accused of assaulting a Buffalo cab driver. Cambria is known for representing high-profile celebrities, from DMX to Marilyn Manson to Larry Flynt.
The alleged incident happened early Sunday Morning, August 2. Sources with knowledge of the investigation told the Buffalo News about the alleged victim’s account. According to the report, she says Kane invited her and a friend to his home after they spent time in downtown Buffalo at SkyBar. The accuser claims that, once they arrived at Kane’s home, Kane followed her into a room, overpowered her and raped her. She reportedly called a relative immediately afterward and went to a hospital, where a rape kit was conducted. The sources told The Buffalo News the victim had bite marks on her shoulders and a scratch on her leg. A person who knows the woman described her as frantic and traumatized after the victim called her relative, the Buffalo News said. The police searched Kane’s home after the accusation was filed, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The alleged victim has also hired an attorney.
The Blackhawks have made a remarkable comeback since the days they were ranked the second-worst sports franchise in North America, ahead of only the Los Angeles Clippers. On game nights in the early 2000s, George Lemperis would look out at the Palace Grill and there might be three tables of fans.
Lemperis never gave up on the Blackhawks, even when his hometown did. But the last decade has been the salad days for the franchise and Lemperis, who owns the now-famous restaurant where you can get a pretty good salad and a sandwich before the game. The Palace Grill is an institution with Blackhawks fans and, for that matter, players. One morning in the early 1990s, Chicago defenseman Chris Chelios was out having some beverages with friends and popped into the Palace Grill at about 3 a.m. Lemperis hadn’t arrived yet, but none to worry. Chelios jumped behind the grill himself.
“My cousin came in with a bunch of his friends, and they didn’t believe I was friends with the Blackhawks,” Lemperis said. “And there’s Chris Chelios behind the grill cooking breakfast for his friends. I came in a little later and I missed it all, but they left me with a mess. Everything was dirty, but that’s OK.” Read more
Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane is the subject of an investigation by police in New York State, according to multiple sources.
Citing sources, the Buffalo News reported Thursday morning that Kane, 26, is under investigation by Hamburg, N.Y., police. The police involved with the reported investigation have refused to comment on the situation and have been forbidden to do so, according to the report.
“We can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of a criminal investigation until such a time as a person is charged with a crime,” Hamburg Police Chief Gregory G. Wickett told the Buffalo News.
Kane has not been charged and the report states it’s unclear whether Kane has been questioned by police. Read more
The Chicago Blackhawks have taken part in three outdoor games over the past six seasons, but the fourth outdoor tilt, against the Minnesota Wild in February 2016, will be the first in which legendary Blackhawks will take part in an alumni game.
And if that’s not enough, Chicago’s group of all-timers will face off against a squad composed of Minnesota Wild and Minnesota North Stars alumni in the Stadium Series Alumni Game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota.
The outdoor tilt between the two alumni squads isn’t lacking star power, either. Read more