Longtime Chicago Blackhawk, former NHL all-star Chico Maki passes away at 76

Jared Clinton
Ron 'Chico' Maki played his entire career with the Chicago Black Hawks. (Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks have announced Ron ‘Chico’ Maki passed away Monday at age 76 while at his home in Port Dover, Ont.

With Maki’s passing, the Blackhawks family has lost one of the longest tenured players in the franchise’s history. Over his 15-year career, Maki suited up for 841 NHL games — all with Chicago. Only eight players in the history of the franchise have represented the Blackhawks in more games than Maki, and he is one of fewer than one dozen players to play 14 years in the Chicago organization.

Over his career with the then-Black Hawks, Maki was selected to the NHL all-star team three times and registered 143 goals and 435 points. While in Chicago, Maki played alongside Hall of Famers Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and Pierre Pilote. Read more

Reebok catalog shows off potential Avalanche, Red Wings logos for Stadium Series

Potential logos for the upcoming Stadium Series between Detroit and Colorado. (via Conrad Burry/Twitter)

Fans itching to get a look at what the Stadium Series jerseys might be when the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings face off in Denver this season got a preview from an unlikely source.

In a Reebok catalog promoting new merchandise for the upcoming season, the logos for both the Avalanche and Red Wings for the Stadium Series contest adorned two sweaters.

Graphic designer Conrad Burry first posted the image to Twitter, which has since been picked up by hockey design blogs such as SportsLogos.net and Icethetics.info. Read more

Capitals’ Backstrom says hip surgery could keep him sidelined to start season

Jared Clinton
Nicklas Backstrom. (Photo by Patrick Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

There isn’t any reason for Washington Capitals fans to panic quite yet, but star center Nicklas Backstrom told Swedish media Tuesday that he may be forced to miss the beginning of the 2015-16 season following off-season hip surgery.

Backstrom, 27, is currently in the midst of training for the upcoming season, but in an interview with Arbetarbladet’s Daniel Sandstrom, the Capitals pivot said he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to play when Washington opens their campaign Oct. 10.

“No, I do not (know),” Backstrom said when asked if he would be ready for the season. “It is very difficult to answer. We will see here now (after evaluating) with the coach and fitness coach.” Read more

Sundin, Lidstrom, Alfredsson join Swedish national team in advisory roles — free of charge

Swede Daniel Alfredsson watches his backhander in the final Olympic game of his career (Getty Images)

The Swedish men’s national team is one of the most successful programs in international hockey history, and now three of the country’s greatest players are now joining the front office staff.

The Swedish Ice Hockey Association announced Tuesday that Mats Sundin, Nicklas Lidstrom and Daniel Alfredsson will all be aiding Sweden’s men’s national program going forward — and they’ll be doing so free of charge. Reason being, said the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s development chief Tommy Boustedt, is the three legendary national team members want to give back to the program.

“We have not talked about any compensation whatsoever,” Boustedt told Swedish news outlet Aftonbladet. “All three have said they want to be involved and give back what they have received from the Swedish ice hockey.” Read more

Wild assistant coach Sydor enters substance abuse program following drunk driving charge

Jared Clinton
Darryl Sydor (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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

Mark Giordano signs monster 6-year, $40.5 million extension. Is Norris Trophy next?

Jared Clinton
Mark Giordano (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The Calgary Flames have locked up their captain and all-star defenseman to a long-term extension.

It was announced Tuesday afternoon that Mark Giordano has inked a six-year extension with the Flames that will keep him in Calgary until the 2021-22 season. According to multiple sources, including TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the six-year deal carries an average annual value of $6.75 million. How exactly the salary is broken down hasn’t yet been reported, however.

Initial details of Giordano’s extension talks said the veteran defenseman was looking for somewhere in the $9 million range on an extension, which would have made him one of the five highest-paid defensemen in the league. At $6.75 million — an outstanding price for the Calgary Flames — Giordano will come in as one of the 10-highest paid defensemen, edging out the likes of Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo.

Giordano, 31, has spent the past seven seasons with the Flames and has been the club’s captain since the 2013. His play over the past few seasons has been a blessing for Calgary, as he has turned the corner from consistent top-pairing defenseman to legitimate Norris Trophy candidate. With his ability, he would have been one of 2016’s top free agents were he to hit the open market. The six-year extension assures Giordano won’t be going anywhere, though. Read more

Red Wings’ Franzen says he’ll be ready for season, but where does he fit?

Jared Clinton
Johan Franzen (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

By the time the Red Wings hit the ice for their first game of the 2015-16 season, it will have been more than eight months since winger Johan Franzen suited up in an NHL contest. But the 35-year-old could be ready to go when the upcoming campaign gets underway.

There has been uncertainty about Franzen’s future and whether he’d ever suit up in the NHL again. Concussion issues have plagued him throughout his career — his latest head injury was his fifth documented concussion — but the 10-year veteran says he’ll be ready when the Wings hit the ice in October. At the Ilitch Charities Golf Classic at Oakland Hills, Franzen said he’s already been back on the ice.

“I’ll be ready,” Franzen told ABC Detroit’s Brad Galli. “I’ve been skating for a week.” Read more

Mikko Koskinen hits highlight reel with huge glove stop on KHL opening night

Jared Clinton
Mikko Koskinen robs Alexander Radulov (via KHL/YouTube)

No, it’s not October yet and the NHL season is still more than a month away. However, that we’re approaching the end of August means the KHL season has begun. And it only took one day for SKA St. Petersburg netminder Mikko Koskinen to make a point blank stop that will be remembered all season.

With the score knotted at 0-0 with little more than six minutes remaining in the first period, CSKA Moscow worked the puck in behind the St. Petersburg goal and the SKA defense collapsed on the attacking forwards. That’s when Alexander Radulov snuck into the empty room in front of the net and was given a golden opportunity on the doorstep — a golden opportunity that was snatched away from him by the quick glove hand of Koskinen. Read more