Rumor Roundup: Will the Flyers trade a defenseman?

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Add the Philadelphia Flyers to the list of teams (the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks being the others) rumored to be shopping defensemen before the season opens next week. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Flyers could trade a blueliner to shed salary. McKenzie claims Luke Schenn and Nicklas Grossmann as possible trade candidates.

That prompted a swift, angry denial from Flyers GM Ron Hextall, telling CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio not to believe everything we read. A report in the Philadelphia Daily News, however, suggests the rumors are credible, claiming the Flyers hope to move out a veteran or two to make room for younger defensemen. Read more

Bruins beat Flyers in second round – does EA stand for ‘Errors Abound’?

(Image courtesy EA Sports.)

No need to play the 2014-15 season, National Hockey League. Yes, that may cut into the $4 billion in revenues you’re expected to generate, but think of the cost savings for teams that lose money.

Really, why actually play a season when a simulated NHL season has already been played, the Stanley Cup has been awarded and all the awards winners have already been determined? That’s what EA Sports, creators of the NHL 15 video game, have done. And they’ve determined that the Los Angeles Kings will become the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and ’98. Read more

Flyers’ ice girls flip flop a massive insult to female fans

Adam Proteau
Flyers ice girls (Getty Images)

When the Philadelphia Flyers stopped sending out half-dressed women to clean the ice surface at the start of this pre-season, I lauded them for it as a progressive move. But all it took for them to reverse course and abandon their plans was a few thousand Philly fans to start booing the group of young men dressed in full orange jumpsuits who replaced them.

Nothing says “the courage of your convictions” like cowering in the face of some sad males who don’t enjoy hockey enough to appreciate it without hyper-sexualized women. Do these dudes realize that, through the magical wonders of the internet, they have the option to see pretty girls in skimpy clothes any day of any week of any year for the rest of their lives? Are they so unfamiliar with the female form they require constant visual reminders of it during the three hours they spend at the rink? Did they read this Mother Jones account of the shoddy treatment/salary afforded to ice girls and think this is an issue worth fighting for?

More importantly, do the Flyers actually believe fans will stop coming to games if they didn’t have women displaying their thighs, stomachs and shoulders like dehumanized meat products on the ice? How did they ever manage to sell tickets before the franchise started their ice girl crew in 2003-04? I guess the fans who booed the male ice crew just refused to attend games before then, right? Read more

Edmonton loses a prospect while Dallas beats the system

Dallas pick Julius Honka (LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Dallas Stars assigned offensive defenseman Julius Honka to the American League’s Texas Stars. As an 18-year-old experiencing his first NHL training camp, it was no surprise that the Finnish blueliner wouldn’t make the cut. What surprised many observers was that Dallas was allowed to assign Honka to the AHL in the first place.

After all, Honka played in the Western League for Swift Current last season and conventional wisdom held that players drafted out of the CHL who still had major junior eligibility (such as Honka) had to be returned to junior; they couldn’t go to the AHL.

This is the rule that has vexed sometimes-Buffalo Sabre Mikhail Grigorenko for a couple years now, since he was drafted out of the Quebec League. But the Stars were confronted with a glitch in the system.

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Rumor Roundup: Kane, Byfuglien trade speculation will heat up if Jets start slowly

evander kane

The Winnipeg Jets enter their most critical season since their relocation from Atlanta in 2011. Counting their final seasons as the Thrashers, the Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2007. The honeymoon period is over in Winnipeg, as fans and media grow impatient waiting for the Jets to become contenders.

Apart from a coaching change midway through last season and signing third-line center Mathieu Perreault, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff responded to off-season calls for change by standing pat and preaching patience.

Left winger Evander Kane and defenseman/winger Dustin Byfuglien were frequently subject to trade speculation this summer. THN.com’s Rory Boylen recently listed Kane among his top 10 trade candidates for the upcoming season, while Byfuglien made SI.com’s Allan Muir’s list.

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Top 10 Art Ross Trophy candidates for 2014-15

John Tavares (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

In the 21 seasons between 1980-81 and 2000-01, a total of three players won the NHL scoring championship. Perhaps you’ve heard of them – Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

In the 12 seasons since then, nine players have won it and nobody has taken home the Art Ross Trophy in successive seasons. We at thn.com predict that trend to continue. And if our crystal ball isn’t defective, there will be another first-time winner this season.

With that in mind, here are our top 10 choices for the Art Ross Trophy in 2014-15, in descending order. Read more

Claude Giroux leaves practice after 15 minutes with lower-body injury

Claude Giroux (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers enter training camp with a pile of questions about the team. Is the defense too slow and old? How will they fare without Kimmo Timonen, who is out for at least the first few months of the season, and possibly the entire year? Can Steve Mason put together another strong season, or was last year a one-off?

We’re skeptical of the Flyers this season and predicted them to finish fifth in the Metro Division and out of the playoffs. There are just too many concerns around the roster. And on the very first day of training camp, another uncertainty was added to the pile: Claude Giroux left the ice after 15 minutes with a “lower-body injury.”

It’s not yet clear exactly what the injury is, or how serious it is. But this is an awful way for the Flyers to start training camp.

Flyers fans: hold on to your butts.

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