We know our four teams for the Memorial Cup now. Thanks to Oshawa’s ousting of Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, the Generals will represent the OHL, joining Kelowna of the WHL, plus Quebec (the hosts) and Rimouski in the QMJHL. So who is favored to win it all? Ah, that’s a thorny question in a tournament that often surprises. But let’s take a look at what you should know about the four worthy squads in contention.
As we pause briefly from the Stanley Cup playoffs, let’s turn our eyes over to Europe for a second, where the World Championship is down to four teams. Canada plays the Czech Republic in one semifinal, while Russia and the United States renew hostilities on the other side of the bracket.
If Canada hopes to move on, they’ll have to stop an ageless icon. Meanwhile, the Russians will have their hands full with a powerful teenager.
Winnipeg Jets winger Andrew Ladd, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf and Chicago Blackhawks superstar Jonathan Toews are the finalists for this season’s Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, the league announced Monday.
All three finalists are captains for their respective teams, and one of the three will win their first Messier Leadership Award, which since the 2006-07 campaign recognizes one individual “who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season”. Read more
The Manitoba Moose, the AHL team responsible for the NHL’s return to Winnipeg, are heading back to the MTS Centre.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, True North Sports and Entertainment, the group that owns the Winnipeg Jets, announced the return of the Moose, including the unveiling of the updated logo, jerseys and ticket and pricing packages for the club that will begin play this upcoming AHL season.
“The opportunity to bring the American League team home, back to Winnipeg, is certainly something that I’m very proud to be a part of,” said Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. “I want to thank our ownership group, True North Sports and Entertainment, for the vision to be able to allow us to get to this point.” Read more
After two seasons in the KHL, Alexander Burmistrov is heading back to the NHL.
Burmistrov, 23, spent the past two seasons with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan, but his contract expired at the end of the 2014-15 campaign. Last off-season, in an interview with Prosports.ru, Burmistrov said he would, “almost certainly,” end up back in the NHL, with his hope being he would land in an organization that would give him playing time.
With a change in coaching in Winnipeg — the team that owns the rights to the 23-year-old restricted free agent — it’s possible this opens the door for Burmistrov’s return to Winnipeg. If not, he becomes an interesting trade chip for the Jets that other teams will certainly be calling about. Read more
One of the most vexing problems regarding the Memorial Cup is that the host teams haven’t been earning their spots lately. London, Shawinigan and Saskatoon all “backed in” to the CHL classic after bombing out early in their respective league playoffs.
So here’s a shout-out to the Quebec League, which already has its two bids sewn up this year thanks to a couple of elite teams who did what they were supposed to do.
Once again, Team USA has won the world under-18s thanks to a roster made up almost entirely of NTDP kids. Though one interesting takeaway from the tourney was goaltending. The Americans went with underager Evan Sarthou of WHL Tri-City, while Canada had a tandem of underagers in Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko and Saginaw’s Evan Cormier. Sure, 2015 looks like a thin goalie draft, but this was a pretty interesting trend. With that point behind us, let’s look at some of the other prospects making noise in the hockey world right now.
As the opening round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs draws to a close, speculation is slowly emerging over the off-season plans of several eliminated teams.
The early playoff exit of the Pittsburgh Penguins by the New York Rangers suggests significant changes could be in order. Despite rumors earlier this month suggesting Evgeni Malkin or even Sidney Crosby might be dealt this summer, Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Penguins president and CEO Ron Morehouse said the duo would return next season. So will embattled GM Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Johnston.
Morehouse cited an injury-riddled blueline corps among the factors behind his club’s first-round elimination. He said ownership intends to build around core players like Crosby and Malkin.