The latter half of summer seems to drag on forever in the hockey world. Sure, you’ll have the occasional event pop up, but free agency has long lost its luster, no big trades are happening and in general, it’s a quiet time.
So if you’re a Buffalo Sabres fan, take solace in the fact that the season is almost here. And with it comes rookie center Jack Eichel, the type of prospect that can change a franchise’s fortunes.
The Swedish men’s national team is one of the most successful programs in international hockey history, and now three of the country’s greatest players are now joining the front office staff.
The Swedish Ice Hockey Association announced Tuesday that Mats Sundin, Nicklas Lidstrom and Daniel Alfredsson will all be aiding Sweden’s men’s national program going forward — and they’ll be doing so free of charge. Reason being, said the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s development chief Tommy Boustedt, is the three legendary national team members want to give back to the program.
The Russian national team has been hit with an CHF 80,000 fine — roughly $85,000 USD — as the result of their actions following the gold medal game at May’s World Championships in Czech Republic.
During the post-game ceremony, the Russian team, including staff and players, left the ice before the Canadian national anthem had been played and the flags of the three medalling countries were raised in celebration. Following the incident, IIHF president Rene Fasel told Russian news outlet TASS he was, “deeply disappointed,” and that it was the first time he had seen such actions at a World Championship.
Following the incident, Andrei Safronov, Team Russia’s GM, was apologetic about the incident, saying it wasn’t the fault of anyone but the team. Read more
Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon have been spending part of this off-season running the first Sidney Crosby Hockey School in Cole Harbour, but the hockey camp isn’t the only way the two NHL stars are giving back to their hometown.
Crosby and MacKinnon, who were both part of the Canadian squad that won gold at the 2015 World Championship, have donated their shares of the winnings to the Cole Harbour Hockey Association. According to the Chronicle Herald, Hockey Canada’s Tom Renney presented Crosby and MacKinnon with checks Wednesday for their participation, and the pair of first overall picks saw it as a way to give back to the community in which they played the game as children. The value of the checks was not disclosed.
“Obviously this is where Nate and I started so to have the opportunity to give back and…to be able to have it go directly to the minor hockey associations that we were apart of means a lot to us,” Crosby told the Chronicle Herald. “I’m sure it’ll go a long way so we certainly appreciate (Renney) taking the time to come here and share his experience and wisdom with people here, and educate them. For the parents who were here and listened to him, I’m sure it means a lot that he would take time out of his busy schedule to come here.” Read more
Thanks to the (literally) tireless efforts of Conn Smythe winner Duncan Keith, the Chicago Blackhawks claimed their third Stanley Cup in six seasons, dusting off the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
Keith, who played an otherworldly average of 31 minutes per game in the post-season, scored the game-winning goal by following up his own rebound on Bolts goalie Ben Bishop. Patrick Kane, who always seems to come through in big contests, added the dagger on a beauty feed from Brad Richards.
In terms of sentiment, it was hard to beat captain Jonathan Toews passing the Cup off to Kimmo Timonen, whose career and life almost ended in the summer due to blood clots. Instead, the Finnish D-man ended his career a champion.
Women’s hockey is continually growing in popularity, thanks in large part to league’s such as the CWHL and the upstart NWHL, and Elite Prospects is keeping up with the addition of more than 700 women’s players to its database.
The hockey statistics website announced Tuesday that they are undertaking a massive project to add women’s players throughout the world, which began with Swedish winger and Olympian Erika Grahm, who plays club hockey for MODO in Riksserien, Sweden’s women’s elite league.
In an interview with Sweden’s Expressen, Grahm said it was a great honor being the first women’s player to have all her stats added .
“There are many who asked why we are not with (the men) and (I would have) really have liked to answer it,” Grahm told Expressen. “I wondered, too. But it is a step in the right direction.” Read more
When the braintrust for Canada’s World Cup of Hockey team met Monday to begin the task of assembling the Canadian team for the tournament, each member of the management team was asked to present a mock roster based on the playoffs and recent World Championship. And the way GM Doug Armstrong sees it, everybody’s first list probably has the same 15 or 16 players on it.
Prospects are the lifeblood of the NHL, especially in an era where free agency is dying thanks to talent retention of top stars. But who really stood out this season? Welcome to the first-ever Prospect of the Year awards.
To qualify, a player must still have Calder Trophy eligibility for next season, so excellent youngsters like Detroit’s Teemu Pulkkinen or Boston’s David Pastrnak don’t count. The winners below have impressed me with what they accomplished at their particular level of development – otherwise, it would just be a list of older prospects from the AHL who are on the cusp of NHL jobs.