Minnesota Wild assistant coach Darryl Sydor has voluntarily entered a substance abuse program following drunk driving and child endangerment charges stemming from an incident this past Thursday.
Sydor, 43, was pulled over Thursday while driving his 12-year-old son to a hockey game and his blood alcohol content was reported to be .30, nearly four times Minnesota’s legal limit. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sydor is facing, “two gross misdemeanor counts of second-degree driving while impaired with two aggravating factors — the endangerment of his child and having a blood alcohol content of .16 or more.”
The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo reported Monday evening that Sydor flew himself to Malibu, Calif., where he entered the NHL/NHLPA’s substance abuse/behavioral health program. Sydor’s lawyer, Ryan Pacyga, told Russo that Sydor will spend at least 30 days in the treatment facility, but his stay could be longer depending on the treatment he requires. Read more
(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)
Success has been hard to come by for the Iowa Wild over the past two seasons and, unfortunately, there’s not much reason to believe the 2015-16 campaign is going to be any different.
For the Wild, one of the biggest troubles has been a lack of top-tier prospect talent making stops in Iowa before continuing on to Minnesota. Even in the past few seasons, when the Wild organization has had some good prospects in the pipeline, they’ve jumped over the AHL level or had shorter stays than would have been expected. And with the off-season the Wild have had, it doesn’t project to be much different this time around.
Gone is defenseman Jonathon Blum, who in only 66 games last season finished second in scoring for Iowa with 12 goals and 37 points. Also out are defenseman Stu Bickel, goaltender John Curry, left winger Jason Gregoire and veteran Stephane Veilleux.
In their place will come Maxime Fortunus, a veteran AHL defenseman with a knack for putting up points, and 36-year-old left winger Ruslan Fedotenko. Other additions will include Zac Dalpe, Tyson Strachan and Matt Carey. There doesn’t look to be a star sniper on the club, and for a team that had 50 points and were far and away the worst team in the AHL this past season, those aren’t improvements that are going to solidify the club.
The struggle is going to continue in Iowa this season and the only hope to stop it is some incredible seasons by young talents like defenseman Gustav Olofsson and center Tyler Graovac. Read more
Following the recent completion of the NHL’s 2015 salary-arbitration period, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston observed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild had a second buyout window open for a 48-hour period commencing on Aug. 5. None of the clubs, however, used the opportunity to shed a contract.
The Senators spent months last season trying to find a trade partner for winger Colin Greening, prompting some speculation the 29-year-old winger might receive a buyout. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Senators assistant GM Pierre Dorion explained that wasn’t possible, as Greening’s $2.65-million annual cap hit was about $10K short of the minimum allowable to be bought out.
Greening’s future with the Senators remains uncertain. Garrioch believes Murray will keep trying to peddle the winger, who was a frequent healthy scratch last season. Perhaps Murray will have better luck next month, as rival GMs evaluate their roster needs during training camp and preseason play. Read more
Since being drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft, defenseman Jonathon Blum has only cracked an NHL lineup for 110 games. Now the 26-year-old blueliner will be trying his hand overseas.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reported that Blum, who the Nashville Predators drafted 23rd overall in 2007, has signed a one-year contract with the KHL’s Admiral Vladivostok. The KHL deal will be Blum’s first foray into playing overseas and will see the veteran get a full season of big league action under his belt.
Over the past six seasons, Blum hasn’t been a fixture of NHL lineups, rather spending his time in the AHL between Predators’ affiliate Milwaukee Admirals and, more recently, with the Iowa Wild, the Minnesota Wild’s farm club. This past season he managed a call up for only four games with the Wild, three of which were played in January. He also watched 14 games as a healthy scratch with Minnesota in 2014-15. 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
For the past two seasons, Minnesota defenseman Matt Dumba has proudly worn No. 55 for the Wild, but the club announced Monday he would be switching to No. 24, the number he had worn for much of his junior hockey career.
Usually, there isn’t much hullabaloo about a player switching jersey numbers – it happens on a yearly basis, yet rarely does it make headlines – but Dumba’s situation is made unique by the number he’s choosing to wear.
The No. 24 is synonymous in Minnesota Wild history with cult-star tough guy Derek Boogaard, who passed away suddenly in 2011 from an accidental overdose. Boogaard, one of the most fearsome fighters in the NHL during his playing days, was a fan favorite in Minnesota. As such, Dumba wanted to make sure it was all right for him to wear Boogaard’s former number. Read more
Parity in the modern-day NHL creates such a delicate balance between teams that one year’s powerhouse is the next year’s dud, and vice versa. Just ask the Colorado Avalanche, who went from Central Division champs to out of the playoffs, or the Calgary Flames, who went from rebuilding team to round 2 of the post-season.
In all, 2014-15 swapped Calgary, Nashville, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Washington, the New York Islanders and Ottawa into the playoffs, with Colorado, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Jose, Boston, Columbus, and Philadelphia falling out. That’s seven new teams out of 16, or 43.75 percent.
With that crazy stat in mind, which 2014-15 post-season qualifiers might slide out in 2015-16? And which teams might take their places? I’ve chosen three candidates in each category.
We’ve seen plenty of turnover on NHL rosters so far this summer, setting up what appears to be even crazier parity than normal in each division. The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks made major moves in the Pacific. The Washington Capitals jazzed up their top two lines in the Metropolitan. The Chicago Blackhawks did anything but sit on their championship team, making over a quarter of their roster.
A bushel of franchises, however, have been oddly quiet so far. Some are justified in their thought process. Others have their angry fans yelling “DO something!”
Why do some of these teams appear to be deer in the headlights right now? There’s a plausible explanation for each, though some are more maddening than others.