If you need evidence to illustrate the vagaries of NHL goaltending, look no further than Roberto Luongo, the guest editor of the Oct. 20 edition of The Hockey News. One minute you’re on top of the world, winning Olympic gold medals and being talked about as a Vezina Trophy candidate. Not long after, you’re fishing pucks out of the back of the net and making self-deprecating jokes on Twitter.
Let’s start with the following premise: There is no position wracked with more instability and less sustained excellence than that of goaltender. In terms of consistent performance these days, there’s Henrik Lundqvist and then everybody else. It seems that from one season to the next, teams have no idea what kind of goaltending they’re going to get. Where have you gone, six-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek? A goaltending fraternity turns its lonely eyes to you. Read more
If it were up to Chris Chelios, he never would have left the Chicago Blackhawks.
In his new book, titled Made In America, Chelios goes into detail about the trade that sent him from his hometown Blackhawks to the rival Detroit Red Wings. With former stars Ed Belfour and Jeremy Roenick gone, it was the Blackhawks struggles of 1998-99 that rumors about Chelios began. Read more
ESPN.com’s Craig Custance recently listed his top-20 NHL unrestricted free agents for 2015. What’s notable about Custance’s list, apart from the lack of genuine superstar talent in next summer’s UFA market, is that it’s dominated by defensemen.
The notables include Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin, Boston’s Adam McQuaid, Carolina’s Andrej Sekera, Chicago’s Johnny Oduya, Pittsburgh’s Christian Ehrhoff and Paul Martin, Toronto’s Cody Franson,Washington’s Mike Green, the Rangers’ Marc Staal and the Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk. Read more
According to a TSN report, longtime Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who spent last season with the Red Wings after 17 seasons in Ottawa, is expected to officially announce his retirement from the NHL Dec. 4 in the city in which he spent the grand majority of his professional hockey life. And by hanging up his skates in Ottawa, the the 41-year-old is showing his heart never really left the city despite that year in Detroit.
Alfredsson, who leaves the game with 444 goals and 1,157 points in 1,246 career NHL games with the Senators and Wings, had been skating in the hope of playing again, but a nagging back injury prevented him from following through. And despite leaving Ottawa in the summer of 2013 after a contract dispute with the team, Alfredsson’s bond with the area remains. It’s easy to see why: Read more
My, what a difference one year and a massive TV contract can make.
In 2013, when American business magazine Forbes released their NHL franchise valuations, only one team was said to be a billion dollar organization: the Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.15 billion). That the Leafs were – and still are – the most valued team in the NHL comes to little surprise what with a fan base that continually shells out top dollar regardless of the outcome. It is hockey mecca, like it or not.
But Tuesday, when Forbes released its rankings for 2014, two franchises, the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, found themselves in the billion dollar club thanks in large part to a friendly bump from the NHL’s league-wide television deals plus some added money from local television contracts. Read more
The big stories in the prospect world lately have been college related. Specifically, players changing their minds about where they want to go. Brock Boeser was headed to Wisconsin, but the 2015 prospect has re-opened matters. And Notre Dame has been bit twice in the past couple days, first by Matthew Tkachuk (2016) and now by Brent Gates (2015). Will these talented players end up in major junior, or just elsewhere on the college scene? We’ll keep you posted, but for now let’s look at some of the other kids making noise in the hockey world right now.
Somewhat lost with the death of Pat Quinn yesterday was the passing of Murray Oliver, who died Sunday, Nov. 23 at age 77. Oliver suffered a fatal heart attack in Edina, Minn., where he resided.
In a career that spanned 17 NHL seasons, Oliver suited up for 1,127 games spread between the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Minnesota North Stars. Read more
It wasn’t all that long ago Stephen Weiss was considered one of the NHL’s brighter young talents, but he’ll be 32 in April, has struggled mightily with health issues for the past two seasons and looked to be following that pattern this year when a groin injury forced him out of the Detroit Red Wings’ lineup for 13 games. But after a conditioning stint in the AHL, Weiss made his return Monday against Ottawa – and the veteran center made people remember that talent with a two-goal performance – and a milestone in points – in Detroit’s 4-3 win over the visiting Senators.
Now in the second year of a five-year, $24.5-million contract with the Wings that carries an average cap hit of $4.9 million, Weiss scored his first of the night and season during a goalmouth scramble midway through the second period:
The goal was Weiss’ first since Oct. 14, 2013, but he didn’t have to wait nearly so long for his next one: it came about four minutes later on another close-range shot – although this one was one Sens goalie Craig Anderson would usually save: Read more