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
As the American Thanksgiving weekend approaches, the NHL trade market has slowly returned to life. The past two weeks saw the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens swing a couple of deals, including one in which the Stars shipped defensemen Sergei Gonchar to the Canadiens for forward Travis Moen. Factor in last week’s meeting of NHL GMs in Toronto and there’s growing speculation more deals are on the horizon.
A recent six-game losing skid has the Edmonton Oilers the hot topic of trade chatter. Pascal Dupuis’ blood-clot diagnosis could add urgency to the Pittsburgh Penguins search for a scoring winger, while the San Jose Sharks recent slump has generated talk of a possible roster shakeup. Read more
Things are getting ugly very quickly for the Edmonton Oilers. After overcoming an 0-4-1 start to finish October 4-5-1, the Oilers enter the final week of November having won only 2 of their last 12 games. With a record of 6-13-2, they’re mired in dead last in the Western Conference. Once again, this club is in danger of having their playoff hopes dashed before the New Year.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson called upon Oilers GM Craig MacTavish to make a trade to help embattled coach Dallas Eakins, who’s become a focal point of criticism. Matheson points out they need a second-line center and it could mean trading a winger to get one. He also notes the Oilers need better goaltending and defense, as well as players willing to compete hard for 60 minutes every game. Read more
Being an NHL player has its rewards, but also its dangers. And I’m not just talking about on-ice pitfalls. I refer to social media – which, as this issue’s editor-in-chief has shown, can be a wonderful place but can also create a massive public relations disaster. With that in mind, here are some tips to help NHLers navigate the tricky landscape of Twitter, Facebook and the social media world: Read more
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward lines suffered a serious blow when veteran winger Pascal Dupuis was sidelined for six months with a blood clot in one of his lungs. It didn’t take long for rumors to surface over how they’ll address Dupuis’ absence.
USA Today’s Kevin Allen believes the Penguins have trade options to pursue. Among them are Buffalo Sabres wingers Drew Stafford and Chris Stewart, who are both eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, and Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov. Read more
It’s been a busy day for Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill.
Earlier this afternoon, Nill and the Stars announced the re-signing of center Jason Spezza to a four-year deal worth $30 million dollars. The deal, worth $7.5 million annually, wasn’t Nill’s final move of the day, however, as a trade between the Stars and the San Jose Sharks came out of nowhere.
The deal sends defenseman Jason Demers and a third-round pick to Dallas, while defenseman Brenden Dillon goes the other way. Read more
Ever since Arizona State announced that its successful ACHA club team would be making the leap to Division 1 hockey, coach Greg Powers has been fighting a war against his inbox. See, every time the Sun Devils bench boss finishes reading an email, five or six more pop up. Powers has received about 600 emails in the past day from potential recruits, family advisors (ie agents) and other ACHA coaches who want to know how his school did it.
“We expected it was going to be big news,” Powers said. “I’ve been pushing Arizona State as the most unique college hockey experience in the country for four years.”
Arizona State has national name recognition thanks to it affiliation in other sports with the Pac-12 conference, it’s a huge school (80,000 students) and it has that great Southwestern climate to boast. The Sun Devils also had a nice model in Penn State, a similar school (minus the weather) that went from the ACHA to Division 1 just a few years ago and is already thriving in the newly-formed Big Ten conference.
“Penn State is awesome,” Powers said. “Their blueprint for success has worked. It’s real, you can do it. We did it.”
In fact, when the Nittany Lions were in their transition season, they hosted Powers’ Arizona State team and the Sun Devils came away with a win. The victory put the school on the map and that’s when the rumblings began in the greater Phoenix area.
So if other club-level schools are calling Powers, we may not be done yet with college expansion in the near future. But which schools would bring the most buzz with them? Here’s a top 10 based on national prominence, geographical uniqueness (so if your state already has a team, too bad) and conference links, if any. As a bonus, I’ve included young local players from each area.
Artrurs Irbe’s surprise appearance on the Sabres’ bench as their emergency goalie on Tuesday brought to mind his colorful NHL career, his adventurous puckhandling skills and that brilliant run he had in the 2002 playoffs for Carolina.
Based on that Cinderella performance, plus some of the other upsets he anchored as the backstop in San Jose, the now 47-year-old goalie coach for Buffalo sneaks onto our list of the NHL’s top 10 European goalies of all-time.