The championship game of the Traverse City prospects tournament in Michigan pitted Columbus against Dallas, with the Blue Jacket kids skating off to victory on an overtime goal scored by Josh Anderson during 3-on-3 play. Here’s part two of my filing on how the big games did, this time concentrating on Columbus, Dallas, Carolina and Detroit. I am not including Anthony Mantha of the Red Wings since he missed the last game with knee soreness and I only saw part of his prior game.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The most intriguing off-ice story of this season will be Mike Babcock’s future with the Detroit Red Wings. Until Babcock re-signs with the Detroit, the questions will continue to follow this team.
And here’s one to ponder: If John Tortorella is worth $2 million a year sitting in his barcalounger, what is the man many consider to be the best coach in the NHL worth? Will Babcock be the first to break the bank and be paid like his NFL counterparts?
The first assumption is that money will not be an object, that the Red Wings will give Babcock all the money and all the term he wants and that if Babcock leaves, it will be for a better situation. There is no salary cap on what coaches can be paid, so that begs the question, why would a superstar coach such as Babcock not make $5 million a year? Joel Quenneville, who has won two Stanley Cups in the past four years, is believed to be the highest-paid coach in the NHL at about $2.5 million, which is ridiculously low because it’s less than the average player salary.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings are, in the opinion of the deep thinkers at The Hockey News, the class of the NHL. Chicago is our pick to win the Cup, while the defending champs have, by far, the best chance of preventing that from happening.
It’s a virtual two-horse race with the co-favorites, having remarkably similar pedigrees.
But what if…we’re wrong? Unlikely, we realize, but not impossible. If both clubs get eliminated from contention, which dark horse is best positioned to come from the outside and bask in the winner’s circle?
Acquisitions: Andy Miele, Kevin Porter
Departures: David Legwand, Cory Emmerton, Daniel Alfredsson
Top five fantasy players: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen.
Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: When the Red Wings limped out of the Olympic break last season, coach Mike Babcock vowed his team would get things back on the rails in time to make the playoffs. And that’s exactly what the team did, qualifying for the 23rd consecutive time. Read more
With no signs of progress and the two sides still light years apart, the possibility of Ryan Johansen sitting out training camp, and possibly even part of this NHL season, is becoming more real with every passing day.
And as that day draws nearer, you can expect an avalanche of reports that will indicate Johansen is “holding out” on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Should they fail to reach contract terms with their respective teams, the same will go for Nino Niederreiter and Darcy Kuemper of the Minnesota Wild, Danny DeKeyser of the Detroit Red Wings, Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins and Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues.
But the fact is, not a single one of them is a holdout. In fact, the term “holdout” is antiquated and should be banned from the hockey lexicon altogether. Not a single player has held out since the collective bargaining agreement of 2005. Read more
Even the best players in the world can have slumps and it’s not fun when it happens to your favorite. But with every fresh campaign there is hope for renewal and as we approach the 2014-15 installment of NHL hockey, some players may be a little more eager than others, since last season was such a downer.
Here’s a look at 10 players who are primed for bounce-back seasons:
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser still doesn’t have a contract with the team. The 24-year-old is coming off a 23-point season in 65 games and, in all likelihood, he’ll have a new deal in place before the season starts. DeKeyser is an RFA and the Red Wings need him on the blueline – it’s a match.
But in the meantime: what to do, what to do?
How about take to the skies in an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet and pull a few G’s?
DeKeyser joined the Blue Angels, who are in town for an air show, and the selfie cam shots showing highlights from his 40-minute flight are something else. If you’re like me and aren’t particularly fond of flying, you might need a plastic bag near by. Read more
Pre-season predictions are a mug’s game at the best of times, because the truth is often far stranger than any fiction we could dream up. Well, we’re going to put that to the test, because today’s predictions are all of the…um, far-fetched variety. So sit back, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy THN’s Top 10 Wacky Predictions for the NHL’s 2014-15 campaign.
10. After hearing one too many questions about his future in Detroit, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock snaps and vows to only say, “I am Groot” in all media interviews for the rest of his career. Babcock’s inimitable speaking style translates so well into the single line of dialogue spoken by the Guardians of the Galaxy character, he replaces Vin Diesel in the sequel to the blockbuster movie.
9. In their ongoing attempt to employ every key member of the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Lightning, Rangers acquire Vincent Lecavalier from Philly and Dave Andreychuk and Fredrik Modin from retirement. John Tortorella also hired as director of dressing room security.
8. Following years of speculation, NHL announces expansion to Long Island and Atlanta in 2016. “Don’t worry about it,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says in a news release welcoming expansion franchise owners Charles Wang and Atlanta Spirit, L.L.C. Jr. into the league. “Let’s just see what happens.” Read more