Ask Adam: Nyquist; Eakins; the trapezoid; and Panthers’ changes

Gustav Nyquist (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Another week, another bag o’ mail to sort through. If you don’t see your question here, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you taking the time to submit it. But this isn’t a perfect world. I mean, if it were, we’d have Christmas at least – at least – twice a year. Anyhow, thanks again.

Greetings, Mr. Proteau:

If the Red Wings make the playoffs, does Gustav Nyquist get any love in the Hart Trophy voting? His run over the last 25 games has been incredible, especially given the lack of supporting cast due to injuries.
Andrew Lee, Kingman, Ariz.

Greetings, Mr. Lee:

Nyquist has been a much-needed revelation for Detroit, but no, I’d say his reward for helping the Red Wings to a playoff berth would be playing in the post-season. A player would have to play multiple positions – goalie, first-line center, assistant to the GM – at an astonishing level to get the Hart Trophy nod simply because of a tremendous 25-game run. Voters have to take the entire regular season into account, which is why Sidney Crosby is the frontrunner in the minds of many.

Besides, I think you could make the argument the Red Wings’ MVP this season is not a P(layer), but head coach Mike Babcock. He’s taken a roster often indistinguishable from Detroit’s American League affiliate and kept it in playoff contention throughout the year. With due respect to Nyquist, that’s more important than any goal he’s scored.

Adam,

At the beginning of the season, you wrote enthusiastically on the Oilers’ hiring of Dallas Eakins. Have you revised your opinion – not on the man – but his readiness and/or ability to be an effective NHL coach in 2013/14 or in the next year or two? Or is this one of those prognostications you wish you could have over?
Claire Ponsford, Surrey B.C.
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Remember Bourque’s Cup? Which vet will win his first this year?

Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins

The Stanley Cup handoff is one of hockey’s warm traditions, either our final morsel of mystery in a long season or a time of uplifting sentimentality. Sometimes it’s both.

Whatever the case, it’s always an homage of respect when the captain of the winning team identifies a peer and passes the world’s most iconic trophy to No. 2 in the pecking order. Joe Sakic to Ray Bourque in 2001, Steve Yzerman to Scotty Bowman in 2002 and Scott Niedermayer to brother Rob in 2007 are some of the more indelible moments.

More often than not in recent years, the honor has gone to a veteran who’s tasting ultimate NHL glory for the first time. Last season it was 36-year-old Michal Handzus, in 2012 35-year-old Willie Mitchell got the call and in 2008 38-year-old Dallas Drake had his turn.

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Luongo gets the better of Schneider again

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images Sport)

Cory Schneider looked like he might finally exact a little revenge over ex-Canucks teammate Roberto Luongo.

Luongo beat Schneider twice early in the season when ‘Bobby Lu’ was still a Vancouver Canuck, but Schneider had the upper hand midway through their third meeting of the season, and their first since Luongo was traded back to Florida, with New Jersey up 3-1.

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Lightning win Governor’s Cup with a few firsts from Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan

Rory Boylen
Steven Stamkos

Ryan Callahan has Ondrej Palat to thank for his first goal as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The rookie brought the play into the offensive zone on his own, then made a beautiful play to get the puck out of his skates, up to his stick, and over to a streaking Callahan in the slot.

It’ll make you say “wow,” or “nice,” or, “sweet,” or some other one syllable word in awe. Read more

Fantasy Pool Look: Trade deadline impact, part II

Conacher

So much happened around the NHL last week that to effectively analyze the impact on fantasy-relevant players, I’m breaking it into three columns.

In Part 1, I looked at Ryan Callahan, Jaroslav Halak, Ales Hemsky, Matt Moulson, Martin St. Louis, Lee Stempniak, Tim Thomas and Tomas Vanek.

In Part 3 Thursday, I’ll run through the key prospects who changed organizations: Hudson Fasching, Sebastian Collberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Brayden McNabb, Chris Brown and David Rundblad.
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Backchecking: Valeri Bure

Valeri Bure

By Gareth Bush

Valeri Bure made a career out of beating NHL defenders with blazing speed. Having been retired for a decade, he hasn’t slowed down.

Bure played 10 seasons in the NHL, primarily with the Canadiens, Flames and Panthers, posting 407 points in 643 career games. After undergoing back surgery following 2003-04, he decided to retire. From the first time players lace up a pair of skates to the last time they take them off, hockey is the only thing most NHLers ever know. Understandably, many retirees choose to stay in the game, working in management, player development, coaching and anything in between. But not Bure, who had a thirst for something else.

“A few of my veteran teammates in Montreal enjoyed going out for a nice dinner and a glass of wine, so at the age of 20 I was introduced to the wine world,” he says. “From there my passion for wine just kept growing.”

Years later, Bure took an off-season trip to Napa Valley, a California-based wine region considered one of the world’s best. It was there he decided he would create his own label.

“I fell in love with the behind-the-scenes work and being able to start from the vineyard and put it into a bottle,” he says. “It’s an amazing process.”

In 2006, Bure Family Wines was born. Located in St. Helena, Calif., BFW produces five small-lot, handcrafted wines, including a cabernet sauvignon named Majesty. The title pays tribute to Bure’s great-grandfather, who was the watchmaker for the Russian czar. The company logo also symbolizes a Russian imperial seal that he placed on each watch. After six years of developing and crafting his product, Bure says business is finally starting to pick up.

“The brand is getting a lot stronger and industry critics are giving us pretty high scores,” he says. “It’s very fun to see that when I’m travelling, people know me for my wine and not so much for hockey.”

Bure describes managing BFW as a full-time job, but winemaking isn’t the only occupation Bure has added to his resume since leaving the NHL. He and his wife, Candace Cameron-Bure (best known for her role on Full House), opened a restaurant called The Milk and Honey Cafe in Florida in 2007, though it later closed when the family moved to California to focus on BFW.

Aside from his marriage to a Hollywood actress, Bure returned to the public eye in 2010 when he participated on CBC’s Battle of the Blades, a competitive reality show that pairs former NHL players with figure skaters. It was an experience he was originally reluctant to pursue and describes as the most difficult of his life.

“My wife convinced me to do it, but by the end of the show I actually started enjoying it because it gave me an adrenaline rush like hockey,” Bure says. “You’re not performing in front of 20,000 people, but this was just more cunning.”

Bure and his dance partner Ekaterina Gordeeva won the competition.
Of course, hockey is still a big part of his life. He coaches his three teenage children, all registered minor league players in California. More noticeably, Bure’s brother Pavel was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

“Watching his highlight reel at the ceremony, the hair was standing up on my neck,” Bure says. “It was super cool and I couldn’t believe my brother is in the Hall of Fame. He deserves it.”

This article originally appeared in the March 3, 2014 edition of The Hockey News. For more great analysis, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to THN magazine.

Bobby Lu perfect in Panthers debut

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty images Sport)

We can hardly wait to see what Roberto Luongo posts on his Twitter account @strombone1 after his spotless return to the Sunshine State.

A day earlier, he was playfully poking fun at the whitewashing of his former team, as the Vancouver Canucks were whipped 6-1 by the Dallas Stars in their first game without Luongo after dealing him to the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline.

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