• Toronto signs Reimer for two years, but will he be a Leaf in two years?

    Brian Costello
    Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers

    The ink is still drying on James Reimer’s new two-year contract with Toronto, but the betting is Reimer won’t be a Maple Leaf in two years.

    The two sides avoided an arbitration hearing Friday by agreeing to a two-year deal that will pay Reimer $2.3 million annually. That’s probably fair market value for the 26-year-old native of Winnipeg who had a cap hit of $1.8 million each of the past three seasons. The question remains, however, $2.3 million is a steep price tag for a position expected to be backup for Jonathan Bernier. It’s not a bad salary, however, for any team out there who partway through 2014-15 decides it’s not happy with its goaltending. Did we mention Reimer is a native of Winnipeg?

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  • Hey mate, Australian prospect Nathan Walker signs NHL contract

    Brian Costello
    Hershey Bears Hockey

    It’s just a matter of time before the first Australian drafted by an NHL team gets a chance to play in the big league. Nathan Walker was selected 89th overall by the Washington Capitals in the 2014 draft and Friday signed a three-year entry-level contract.

    “He’s probably still a couple of years away, but he’s on the right track,” said Capitals director, amateur scouting Ross Mahoney. “He’s one determined guy, I’ll tell you that. He’s had an incredible journey so far.”

    Walker, 20, was born in Cardiff, Wales, and was two when his family moved to Sydney, Australia. Though hockey is a bottom rung sport in Australia, Walker became fascinated with the game at the age of six watching Hollywood movies Mystery, Alaska and The Mighty Ducks.

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  • NHL logo rankings No. 21: Toronto Maple Leafs

    Matt Larkin
    MapleLeafsMain

    Sacred cow, meet slaughterhouse.

    How dare we slot an Original Six team 21st overall in our logo rankings? A healthy faction of Leaf haters will stand up and cheer at this decision. Those who bleed blue and white, however, have likely fallen off their chairs already.

    The easiest way to understand our logic: the voting process awarded more weight to aesthetics than to anything else. “But it’s so OLD!” is not a strong enough defense. Cultural significance and understated classiness are desirable qualities, but how good does the emblem actually look? Toronto’s simplistic design fails the eye test in its modern form. it earns points for its iconography – what’s more Canadian than a Maple Leaf? – but it’s rigid, almost too symmetrical, creating a coldness that robs it of its classic feel. The leaf on Canada’s flag looks more like an actual leaf. Toronto’s earlier logos, which often featured “veiny” leaves (leafs? ugh), were warmer, more organic, and far more pleasing to the eye.

    Also, covering the symbol in big, blocky writing robs it of its romanticism. There’s no danger of mistaking you for another team, Toronto. A leaf like the one adorning center ice at Maple Leaf Gardens would be far prettier.

    Are you brave enough to carve up the famous Maple Leaf logo and design a new one for Toronto? Send your best work to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the end of our ranking process, we’ll publish our favorite submission for every team. If you enjoy drawing Toronto’s, keep the fun going and try one for all 30 NHL teams.

    (All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

    HISTORY OF THE MAPLE LEAFS LOGO

    The Leafs weren’t always the Leafs, of course. They began as the Torontos, a.k.a. the Blueshirts, a.k.a. The Arenas in their early NHL days from 1917-1919. The crest was as simple as it gets, but featured an elegant shield and the blue and white we’ve come to know so well.

     

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  • Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews & Mario Lemieux lead list of all-time most uncomfortable NHLer commercials

    Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Endorsing products has been a part of being a top talent in the NHL for nearly as long as the league has been in existence. Advertisers want the star power of hockey players, even if the low-key personalities of those players don’t make them natural public pitchmen.

    Although some players do well in the role, more often than not, NHL players hawking products on TV is an exercise in embarrassment. In reverse order, here are the five most embarrassing TV ads featuring NHLers of the modern era:

    5. Adam Oates goes dating for the NHL. When he was a member of the Boston Bruins, Oates inexplicably said yes to this commercial, which paints him as a lovelorn hockey star wearing his equipment in a restaurant, as as lovelorn hockey stars are wont to do. From the unfortunately-phrased “loose rebounds” comment to Oates’ weirdly shame-ridden “It wouldn’t be the first time” answer to getting shot down, this ad doesn’t make you want to buy an NHL ticket. It makes you want to sign him up for eharmony.com.


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  • The goalie who became famous for robbing banks

    Jason Kay
    Ambrus

    The news of Patrick Cote’s sentencing for two bank robberies the other day was in parts sad, shocking and curious. What happened to lead to his descent from one-time NHL enforcer to a life of crime?

    The tale also brought to mind Attila Ambrus, the most notorious and engaging thief hockey has ever known.

    If you’re not familiar with Ambrus, he was a Hungarian hard-drinking, womanizing, puck-stopping (sometimes) goalie whose legend reached iconic status. His adventures were expertly told in the 2004 book The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber, written by Julian Rubinstein.

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  • NHL 15 promises dangles galore with Superstar Skill Stick

    Matt Larkin
    NHL 15

    If you’re a hardcore fan of EA Sports’ NHL video game series, you remember the transition from button deking to joystick deking vividly. It was like taking the training wheels off. It felt weird and wobbly at first, but once you got the hang of it, there was nothing holding you back anymore.

    The Skill Stick, popularized in NHL 07, turned the right analog portion of a controller into your hockey stick, with the left analog functioning as your body. You could deke and improvise like never before. You could shame your friends by undressing their goalies on breakaways and there was a new degree of “ownership” to your goals, as they reflected your ability to maneuver the stick.

    Flash forward to the upcoming NHL 15, which launches on PlayStation 4 and XBox One Sept. 9 (Xbox 360 and PS3 as well, but the hype is all about how the game will look in a new generation of consoles). Early footage of the game suggests new leaps in graphics, facial detail, hitting and general gameplay. The latest teaser trailer unveils the Superstar Skill Stick, which takes dangling to a whole new level. Check it out:

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  • New deal for Lars Eller is another reasonable gamble by Habs GM Marc Bergevin

    Adam Proteau
    Lars Eller (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Canadiens locked up center Lars Eller to a four-year, $14-million contract extension Thursday, avoiding a Friday arbitration date that could’ve poisoned the waters between the team and the 25-year-old center. It’s not a bargain signing at this stage in Eller’s career, but it’s another one of GM Marc Bergevin’s reasonable gambles.

    Eller’s $3.5 annual average value is a massive raise on the $1.325-million he earned in each of the previous two seasons – and far more than the $1.65 million salary the Habs suggested he receive prior to the arbitration meeting – but Bergevin had to do it if he was going to buy the first two years of unrestricted free agency away from Eller. Bergevin has given Eller the same contract he gave to Montreal center David Desharnais last summer and is clearly projecting bigger and better things for the Danish native, who struggled during the regular season (12 goals and 26 points in 77 games) but was a solid contributor for the Canadiens in the playoffs, finishing second in points (13) behind P.K. Subban.

    Once again, an NHL team has shown arbitration is a true last resort. It would’ve been more financially prudent to put Eller through an emotional wringer and come away with a smaller salary for him, but the damage it would’ve inflicted on his psyche wouldn’t be worth it. Now they have a happy player determined to atone for his poor regular season – and if he doesn’t fit into their long-term plans, the contract isn’t outrageous enough for him to be untradeable. Read more

  • Remembering the summer the Canada Cup stayed in Canada when it should have gone abroad

    Brian Costello
    Cover

    The summer of 1981 was a particularly busy time in the hockey world because of the building anticipation for the Canada Cup. After wins by Canada at the 1972 Summit Series and the 1976 Canada Cup, interest was high north of the border and fans were hanging on every word and declaration made by then-renowned tournament organizer Alan Eagleson.

    Oh, how innocent we were.

    In this edition of Throwback Thursday, let’s look at some of the things we featured in the August edition of The Hockey News. Our cover featured six hockey gloves – one for each nation participating – reaching out to take ahold of the Canada Cup. Inside was a 24-page special section.

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