Ryan Kennedy discusses the news and events around the NHL and world of hockey

Ryan Kennedy's Column

Has free agent fun come to an end with all the stars re-signing before becoming UFAs?

Has free agent fun come to an end with all the stars re-signing before becoming UFAs?

by Ryan Kennedy - November 24, 2013 2:21 PM EST

More and more big fish are opting to stay in their ponds, leaving teams with a watered-down pool of free agents to choose from during the summer's silly season.
Looking at the roster of potential unrestricted free agents this summer, a veritable treasure trove of big names could be available. Except they won’t, because if recent history is any indicator, most of those players will sign extensions long before their rights come up.


Penguins confident Olli Maatta is ready for full-time NHL duty

 Penguins confident Olli Maatta is ready for full-time NHL duty

by Ryan Kennedy - November 20, 2013 3:26 PM EST

Rather than send Olli Maatta back to OHL London for another Memorial Cup appearance, the Penguins are happy with how he's handled himself in the NHL this season and are confident their guy is ready to stay on full-time.
With the Pat LaFontaine/Ted Nolan takeover in Buffalo, the pair quickly established they were not going to let the organization’s teens drown in the suffering that was the Sabres’ season.


Go-go San Jose Sharks proving speed kills the NHL competition

Go-go San Jose Sharks proving speed kills the NHL competition

by Ryan Kennedy - November 16, 2013 3:49 PM EST

The super-charged San Jose Sharks aren’t really a puck possession team because, well, every team is on that quest. They’re the next generation Sharks and it’s all about speed, depth, pace and offense.
The first San Jose shot whizzes by Jimmy Howard’s head eight seconds into the game. Five minutes later, the hometown Red Wings finally put an attempt on the board.


The dangers of missing a season in the modern NHL

The dangers of missing a season in the modern NHL

by Ryan Kennedy - October 9, 2013 2:11 PM EDT

Tim Thomas and Paul Ranger both have taken a year away from the game recently - and both are struggling early this season.
The season started off with so much promise for Tim Thomas. Back in the NHL after a self-imposed one-year sabbatical, the Stanley Cup-winning goalie had a new team in the Florida Panthers and his first win in a season-opening 4-2 triumph over Dallas.


Nate Dogg and Jiggy get comfy

Nate Dogg and Jiggy get comfy

by Ryan Kennedy - October 8, 2013 7:43 PM EDT

Top 2013 draft pick Nathan MacKinnon is living with Colorado veteran J-S Giguere as he begins his assault on Jiggy's goaltending peers around the league.
Straight from the draft to the NHL, No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon has a lot to take in this year. Thankfully, he’s found a home in Colorado with teammate J-S Giguere and the two are very happy with the arrangement so far.


Junior hockey helped Mark Scheifele and should help Jonathan Drouin too

Junior hockey helped Mark Scheifele and should help Jonathan Drouin too

by Ryan Kennedy - October 2, 2013 5:00 PM EDT

Mark Scheifele went back to junior when he may have been ready for the NHL - but that move didn't hurt his development as a pro player.
I admit, I’ve been impatient with the Winnipeg Jets when it comes to Mark Scheifele. After making him the surprise of the 2011 draft when they tabbed him seventh overall (much higher than expected), the Jets gave the youngster a seven-game tryout before sending him back to junior with the Ontario League’s Barrie Colts.


Phil Kessel is whatever you want him to be

Phil Kessel is whatever you want him to be

by Ryan Kennedy - September 25, 2013 12:30 PM EDT

One of the league's top scorers the past two seasons, the Toronto star doesn't seek out the limelight, but often ends up in it anyway.
In the past two NHL campaigns, the following players finished among the NHL’s top-10 scorers both times: The first is Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos, winner of a couple Rocket Richard trophies and a two-time all-star already in his five-year career.


Punishment of concussion-inducing hits has limits

Punishment of concussion-inducing hits has limits

by Ryan Kennedy - September 18, 2013 12:50 PM EDT

The league decided to not punish Jordan Nolan for his hit on Rostislav Klesla - the type of hit that will likely always exist with in-their-prime players on the ice.
It’s still the pre-season, but the NHL already has its first controversial hit of the campaign in the books. L.A.’s Jordan Nolan sent Rostislav Klesla of the Coyotes off the ice on a stretcher and the only punishment went to Phoenix enforcer Paul Bissonnette, who later left the bench to engage Nolan.


Why Crawford, Hjalmarsson are worth Chicago's investment

Why Crawford, Hjalmarsson are worth Chicago's investment

by Ryan Kennedy - September 4, 2013 11:55 AM EDT

Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson both signed contract extensions, adding to the Blackhawks' talent base for another Cup run or two.
Timing is everything – just ask Corey Crawford. The Stanley Cup-winning netminder recently signed a six-year contract extension worth $36 million, keeping him in the Chi-Town crease until he’s 35 years old.


World's best hockey spreading around the globe

World's best hockey spreading around the globe

by Ryan Kennedy - August 28, 2013 3:25 PM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk going back to Russia, Evgeny Kuznetsov staying there, and movements in the junior ranks has some of the best players in Europe.
When the Kontinental League booted up in 2008-09, the most recognizable names to North American fans were Jaromir Jagr and Chris Simon. The best homegrown players were Sergei Mozyakin and Alexei Morozov, two forwards who could easily be sloughed off by the NHL as guys who couldn’t hack it in their league.


Optimism still abounds for Flames, Sabres

Optimism still abounds for Flames, Sabres

by Ryan Kennedy - August 21, 2013 1:13 PM EDT

The outlook is bleak in Calgary and Buffalo, but there's still reason to get excited about the 2013-14 season for both clubs.
No matter how the past season ended, summer is a time of hope in the hockey world. New bodies come in, fresh faces look to step up and even the teams predicted to finish in the basement can work on game plans to upset low expectations.


NHL too good for the Olympics - bring back the World Cup

NHL too good for the Olympics - bring back the World Cup

by Ryan Kennedy - August 14, 2013 11:39 AM EDT

The IOC has never had the best interests of hockey in mind, so why not end professional participation after 2014 in favor of the World Cup?
Much has been made recently about the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Russia, a country that has made some bold proclamations about how it feels about gay rights (long story short: they’re not into it).


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