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
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
The last time Jay Bouwmeester missed a game, soccer superstar Lionel Messi had just played his first contest, Steve Bartman was still fresh in the minds of the Chicago Cubs and their fans, and neither Anchorman nor Napoleon Dynamite had hit theatres.
Now, 737 games later, Bouwmeester’s streak is coming to an end. It was the longest streak in North American pro sports. Read more
In the Swedish third league on Wednesday, one of the most incredible comebacks in hockey history happened.
Down 3-0 in the third period, IFK Arboga scored with just under 12 minutes left in the third period. Then they scored again 20 seconds later. And again nine seconds after that. And once more 30 seconds following their third goal. In less than two minutes, Arboga had erased a three-goal deficit to Grastorps, and held on for a 4-3 victory.
While there are no four-goals-in-two-minutes comebacks in NHL history, these are the five best. Read more
Earlier this month, Jake Allen and the St. Louis Blues asked fans to submit their designs for the goaltenders second mask.
The fans answered in droves. Now, after sifting through over 400 submissions, the St. Louis Blues goaltender has whittled the voting is down to three finalists. You can see all three potential masks below: 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.
Ottawa Senators defenseman Marc Methot is making some progress in his recovery from the back and hip ailments which have sidelined him since training camp. The Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan reports Methot has resumed skating with his teammates, but he’s taking things day-by-day and there’s still no timetable for his return to action.
Methot is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. His average cap hit is $3 million, while in real salary this season he’s earning $3.75 million. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports there’s no sign of progress in contract talks between Methot’s agent and Senators management, fuelling trade speculation. He claims the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers are among the interested clubs. Read more
People are beginning to compare Vladimir Tarasenko to Alex Ovechkin (in a good way), the STL Line is producing at a mind-boggling rate, T.J. Oshie is back in the lineup and the St. Louis Blues are starting to sell out their games. Things are truly looking up in the Show Me State.
Whether or not the Blues can parlay that success into the franchise’s first Stanley Cup remains to be seen, but if the playoffs started today, they’d be a consensus choice to win it all. That’s why they’re at the top of thn.com’s Power Rankings for this week. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses).
1. ST. LOUIS (6): The Blues start a four-game road trip Tuesday night coming off a stretch in which they’ve won 10 of their past 11. They’ve scored 49 goals this season and the line of Jori Lehtera between Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko has accounted for 24 of them.
2. PITTSBURGH (1): Penguins coach Mike Johnston told me last Friday night that the Penguins are far more comfortable in tight-scoring games than they were early in the season. That was after they defeated Toronto 2-1 and the night before they vanquished the Rangers 3-2 in a shootout. Power play, good.