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Top Shelf: Well-rounded Rolston should top GMs' UFA shopping lists

Top Shelf: Well-rounded Rolston should top GMs' UFA shopping lists

by Ryan Dixon - June 27, 2008 10:58 AM EDT

The Wild's Brian Rolston is poised to hit the open market July 1, and any GM worth his salt should be trying to lure the vet to his team.
If free agents pitched their services on late-night infomercials, Brian Rolston would be positioned as the amazing all-in-one player who can take care of every household need before folding up compactly to be stored out of sight.


Top Shelf: No goalie dominated like the Dominator

Top Shelf: No goalie dominated like the Dominator

by Ryan Dixon - June 20, 2008 12:28 PM EDT

There was a period when the recently retired Dominik Hasek held court over hockey like no one in the game's history.
For all the hardware Dominik Hasek is taking with him as he exits crease left, the one thing I wish he’d leave behind is his nickname. In an era where made-up monikers rarely go beyond adding a few letters to a player’s last name, ‘The Dominator’ stood out as a truly original, apt handle.


Top Shelf: Caught up in UFA play

Top Shelf: Caught up in UFA play

by Ryan Dixon - June 6, 2008 1:14 PM EDT

It's a ways away from July 1, but it's still plenty of fun to project which free agents may end up in what markets.
When it comes to delighting senses in summer, only one thing trumps the smell of barbeque smoke - rampant free agent speculation. Typically, the Stanley Cup winners are still floating from their parade when fans and media get all wrapped up in dreams of what potential wardrobe changes July 1 might bring.


Top Shelf: Belanger helping players move with ease

Top Shelf: Belanger helping players move with ease

by Ryan Dixon - May 16, 2008 11:59 AM EDT

When a player gets traded fans simply ask what it means for their team, but for the players and their wives it's a lot more difficult.
Everything about Ken Belanger’s frame suggests he’s a great candidate to move a house. After all, the former NHL pugilist stands 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, affording him the kind of look that makes you think he could move just about anything he put his mind to.


Top Shelf: Small moves, big playoff payoff

Top Shelf: Small moves, big playoff payoff

by Ryan Dixon - April 25, 2008 5:07 PM EDT

Swaps and signings of big-name players get all the ink, but it's the tinkering and tweaks that can make the difference.
In case you haven’t heard, little things make a big difference in playoff games. On a macro level, little moves can make a huge difference for a team in its attempt to drink champagne (and who’s kidding who, probably some beer, too) from the best Cup in the world.


Top Shelf: Richards will be key to Philly's playoff future

Top Shelf: Richards will be key to Philly's playoff future

by Ryan Dixon - April 11, 2008 4:02 PM EDT

If the Flyers are to upend the Capitals in Round 1 and make a series run, their well-decorated future captain will have to be the spark.
Mike Richards knows a thing or two about opportunities. From a young age, they seem to have landed in his lap. Now, with his Philadelphia Flyers having turned a corner and returned to the post-season, another door is opening in front of the young center.


Top Shelf: Rangers back, minus the razzle

Top Shelf: Rangers back, minus the razzle

by Ryan Dixon - April 4, 2008 2:45 PM EDT

The Blueshirts have as good a chance as any team to come out of the East, but if they do they'll do it with a different style than '94.
By definition, Broadway isn’t the place to find under-the-radar things. Dark horses have typically become darlings by the time their name hits the marquee.


Top Shelf: Lucic on the loose in Boston

Top Shelf: Lucic on the loose in Boston

by Ryan Dixon - March 28, 2008 12:44 PM EDT

Milan Lucic already has a reputation for his nasty disposition, but off the ice, he is one of the most fan-friendly players.
A banger from British Columbia is making a big impression with fans in Boston. Heard that story before? Let me clarify. This isn’t the one about the guy who gets traded to the Bruins on his 21st birthday, immediately becomes a genre-defining power forward and leads Boston to a couple Stanley Cup final appearances before being pushed into early retirement because of serious hip injuries.


Top Shelf: Reasonable doubt gets Pronger off the hook

Top Shelf: Reasonable doubt gets Pronger off the hook

by Ryan Dixon - March 14, 2008 1:38 PM EDT

Many fans are up in arms over the league's decision not to ban the Ducks defenseman after his stomp job against the Canucks, but proof must be positive.
To simplify one of Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of physics, every action has an opposite and equal reaction. But some irate Vancouver Canucks fans would have you believe in the NHL, the same action can produce opposite and completely unequal reactions.


Top Shelf: Godzilla's end in Washington far from storybook

Top Shelf: Godzilla's end in Washington far from storybook

by Ryan Dixon - February 29, 2008 11:18 AM EST

The deadline acquisition of Cristobal Huet puts the clock on Olaf Kolzig, and the 37-year-old netminder can't be too pleased about it.
Ticking off Godzilla might be dangerous, but it had to be done. Washington Capitals GM George McPhee enhanced his team’s goaltending situation by acquiring Cristobal Huet from the Montreal Canadiens at the trade deadline.


Top Shelf: Visors will never win when players have choice

Top Shelf: Visors will never win when players have choice

by Ryan Dixon - February 15, 2008 4:33 PM EST

It's tough to get players to choose protect themselves when they grow up in a culture that teaches them toughness and safety don't equate.
In so many respects, professional hockey players are incredibly privileged. There’s the gaudy pay stubs, calling a game ‘work,’ experiencing the camaraderie found only in smelly dressing rooms and a whole world of ancillary benefits I either can’t or, for the sake of not torturing myself, don’t want to imagine.


Top Shelf: Erik Johnson on the road to stardom

Top Shelf: Erik Johnson on the road to stardom

by Ryan Dixon - February 1, 2008 9:16 AM EST

Defensemen generally take longer to reach their full potential, but Erik Johnson has a lot of experience surrounding him that is helping his development.
Erik Johnson is likely the only defenseman in the world who’s thankful for Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. Sixth months into his NHL career, the St.


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