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.
When I look at the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, the first thing I think of is the eye-popping talent and character of the players and people. The second thing that comes to mind, oddly enough, is Martin Brodeur.
Because as the former Devils goalie floats in limbo these days, not employed by any team but not ready to say he’s retired, I hear some say he’s doing himself a disservice by not realizing what the lack of job offers is telling him, and suggest Brodeur should call a press conference as soon as possible to put his 21-season career to bed. But when you look at the careers of this year’s HHOF inductees, it becomes clear even the best of the best can’t help but play past their best due date. Guys like Red Wings icon (and 2015 lock Hall-of-Famer) Nicklas Lidstrom or Canadiens great Ken Dryden, who retire before a precipitous decline in effectiveness sets in, are the exception. The majority of the elite – including 2014 honorees Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano, and to a lesser degree, Dominik Hasek and Rob Blake – did not leave the sport at their peak. Read more
When the San Jose Sharks called up Troy Grosenick, it’s hard to imagine they could have wished for a better start from the goaltender. After posting average numbers in the American League over the past two seasons, the undrafted netminder blanked the Carolina Hurricanes in record-setting fashion.
In his debut, the 25-year-old from the NCAA’s Union College became the record holder for most saves in a shutout debut in the modern era. His 45 saves in the 2-0 victory over Carolina were four better than the previous record held by Andre Gill. Gill’s record came on Dec. 23, 1967 while he was a member of the Boston Bruins. Gill would only play five career NHL games.
After the game, Grosenick busted out a great celebration: Read more
The Colorado Avalanche are currently struggling to recapture last season’s 52-win, 112-point performance. Entering this week, the Avs have won only four games while their 13 points in 16 games left them near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
It was a matter of time until their early difficulties sparked some trade speculation. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports it’s believed Avalanche GM Joe Sakic and coach Patrick Roy could shake things up if the club fails to get its act together soon. Read more
As Saturday night’s contest between the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars wound to a close, Stars winger Antoine Roussel received a misconduct for a hit to the head of Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock.
Initially, it seemed as if Roussel, if he were to face supplemental discipline at all, would receive it for his hit on Stalock. However, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Sunday that pesky 24-year-old will instead face a hearing for the sucker punch to Sharks’ defenseman Justin Braun that followed: Read more
San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns never gave much thought to how cutting off all his hair might affect his game. In case you haven’t been keeping track, Burns is back on the blueline for the Sharks this season and is among the leaders in scoring by rearguards.
Earlier this week, he also came down from his refuge high in the mountains and had his head shaved and all his facial hair removed in the name of charity. Along with teammates Joe Pavelski, James Sheppard, Mirco Mueller and Chris Tierney, Burns raised more than $15,000 for Defend the Blueline, the Katie Moore Foundation and the San Francisco Zoo. But hockey players can be a rather superstitious lot and there must be some concern that Burns was messing with his mojo, right? Read more