• Who won the Phil Kessel to Toronto trade…five years later?

    Jason Kay
    Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

    For a guy who doesn’t say much, Phil Kessel is the source of significant noise.

    Ever since he begged out of Boston and was dealt to Toronto for a trio of high draft picks, fans and media on both sides of the equation have been debating the merits of the blockbuster.

    The derisive “Thank you, Kessel” chants in Beantown remain alive and boisterous, while the Maple Leafs showed faith in their sniper by rewarding him with an eight-year, $64-million contract extension that kicks in this season.

    The trade officially turns five on Sept. 18 and the question is: who has had the happier returns? As part of a recurring feature in which we re-open a cold file (ok, this one still has some burning embers) from a deal that transpired five or more years ago, we re-assess the swap.

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  • St. Louis Blues get a new jersey – what do you think?

    Rory Boylen
    Image via Chris Creamer.

    Monday night, the St. Louis Blues unveiled their new jersey designs for the 2014-15 season at the Ice Breaker fan event. We’re already fans of the Blues logo, having ranked them third in the NHL in our logo rankings last week, and now we like their jerseys even more.

    The team says the “uniforms reflect a modernized version of the classic look worn by the team from 1998-2007. The uniform leaves the Blue Note unchanged, symbolizing the club’s pride in one of the greatest logos in all of sports.”

    What do you think? Read more

  • THN’s top 200 fantasy players for 2014-15

    Matt Larkin
    SidneyCrosby

    I love the Don Henley track “Boys of Summer.” It’s almost impossible to sing the chorus in karaoke, which sucks, but I dig the way it captures this time of year. Nobody on the road…nobody on the beach…I feel it in the air…the summer’s out of reach.

    That feeling – mild chill in the air, slight breeze – gets me thinking about fantasy hockey drafts. It’s that time again. Most of what you need to know for your draft is in our crackerjack THN Ultimate Fantasy Guide, which is on newsstands now. You’ll even find a sorted list of the top 300 projected scorers.

    One thing that list doesn’t cover, however, is any league not based entirely on points. What about the head-to-head formats in which you accumulate goaltending stats and penalty minutes on top of your offensive numbers? How do you know when to draft a goalie or defenseman over a forward?

    I present to you a new ranking set. This list is based on a standard Yahoo head-to-head format with the following categories: goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power play points, shots on goal, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

    Personally, I like scrapping penalty minutes for hits and adding saves to the goalie category, but I’ll stick with the standard configuration to ensure these rankings have a wider reach. Let’s get it on! Watch for updates throughout training camps.

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  • Future NHL stars excited to be on Upper Deck hockey cards

    Darnell Nurse. (Photo courtesy of the NHLPA.)

    By Michael Musalem

    The next generation of NHL stars was on full display in Toronto this past Saturday, as 33 of the league’s most promising recent draftees gathered at Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre for some serious face time.

    The event put on by Upper Deck, the league’s official trading card partner, and the NHLPA is held each year with the purpose of photographing the prospects in their official NHL team gear for the first time, giving them all the opportunity to live out any pro’s lifelong dream of having their very own hockey card.   Read more

  • Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov has Russian intelligence on Barry Trotz

    Ryan Kennedy
    Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

    There was a very distinct Russian clique at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto this weekend, with Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, Boston’s Alexander Khoklachev and the Tampa Bay duo of Vlad Namestnikov and Andrei Vasilevskiy. They hung out during media availability and on the ice, teasing Vasilevskiy as he forged through a rare English interview and cracking up when Khoklachev bailed behind the net.

    For Kuznetsov, this was clearly his element. The Capitals’ first pick in 2010 had been a highly anticipated prospect for years, choosing to develop his game with Traktor Chelyabinsk in the KHL instead of North America and for a while there, it seemed like he might never come over. But the powerful and gifted center did indeed make his debut last year, getting into 17 games with Washington once his KHL campaign was done and posting a decent nine points.

    You would think a player who had already helped his hometown Chelyabinsk squad get to a Gagarin Cup final in Russia would be a little less awed by the NHL, but that wasn’t the case with Kuznetsov and his debut.

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  • Rich Clune phones an unsuspecting Twitter tormentor and posts the video – and then tells us why he did it

    Ken Campbell
    Rich Clune  (Photo by Kim Stallknecht/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Nashville Predators enforcer Rich Clune claims a day rarely passes when some keyboard warrior out there doesn’t take to Twitter to call him a “crack head” or disparage him for his well-documented history with mental health issues and substance abuse problems. “Just this summer I made a joke about the World Cup and somebody tweeted back, ‘I hope somebody steps on your throat with a skate blade the next time you play,’ “ Clune said.

    Usually, Clune and his fellow NHLers brush the comments off and ignore them. And even if they don’t, they often have no way of responding. But when Clune received a disparaging tweet recently, he did a bit of digging and went right to the source.

    First, the backstory. Last week, Clowe became entangled in a Twitter “war” involving former NHLer Sean Avery and former world heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, who has endured his share of life travails outside the ring. What started as light banter among the three escalated, but it was all in fun, Clune said. At one point, Clune poked fun at Bowe for his weight, tweeting that Bowe, “now eats cheeseburgers for a living.” The tweet inspired some vulgarities and invective from Bowe, much of which was set up. (Clune is friends with Avery and while he has never met Bowe, the two have communicated on Twitter in the past.) Read more

  • Rumor Roundup: The latest on unsigned RFAs

    Justin Schultz of the Edmonton Oilers. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

    Entering the final full week of August, a number of restricted free agents remain unsigned. With NHL training camps opening on Sept. 18 sufficient time remains to get those players under contract, but so far there’s little indication they’re any closer to new deals.

    The most notable is Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen. The 22-year-old enjoyed a breakout performance last season, leading the Jackets in goals (33) and points (63). But his contract talks have become contentious.   Read more

  • 10 of our favorite logo redesigns from our readers

    Rory Boylen
    bluesdesignfront

    Last week, we finished up our rankings of the 30 NHL teams. The Carolina Hurricanes finished 30th and the Chicago Blackhawks finished first, with a lot of contentious picks in between. In case you missed it, you can catch the series here.

    All the while, we were asking our readers to get creative and redesign as many of the NHL’s logos as they wanted. We received a slew of art work over the weeks and are now prepared to share some of our favorites.

    Below are 10 of our favorite reader submissions. Tell us which one you like the best at the bottom. Read more