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Top Shelf: Brian Gionta right guy to captain Montreal Canadiens

Top Shelf: Brian Gionta right guy to captain Montreal Canadiens

by Ryan Dixon - September 29, 2010 3:05 PM EDT

The Montreal Canadiens have their new captain and even though there were a few good options to choose from, Gionta was the logical move.
I came across my favorite take on the chemistry between Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez about a year ago while reading one of Elliotte Friedman’s quality columns at CBC.


Top Shelf: Average teams create Eastern Conference intrigue

Top Shelf: Average teams create Eastern Conference intrigue

by Ryan Dixon - September 22, 2010 2:20 PM EDT

There's clutter in the East with a few teams looking like they could make the post-season, or just as easily hit rock bottom.
Being called a “playoff team” in a league where almost half the squads fall short of the post-season is no doubt a compliment, but it’s far from a ringing endorsement when dealing with the utterly average Eastern Conference.


Top Shelf: Luc Robitaille still feels lucky with the Kings

Top Shelf: Luc Robitaille still feels lucky with the Kings

by Ryan Dixon - September 15, 2010 2:30 PM EDT

The all-time Kings great battled for a long and successful NHL career and is currently enjoying life in Los Angeles' front office.
Luc Robitaille is one of those people in life who, upon meeting or speaking with them, you find it really hard to believe they’ve ever endured a bad day.


Top Shelf: Aaron Ward at peace with retirement

Top Shelf: Aaron Ward at peace with retirement

by Ryan Dixon - September 8, 2010 11:44 AM EDT

The 37-year-old veteran NHL defenseman talks about his decision to hang up the skates and how he came to the conclusion.
Lingering in the hall after a game with the Vancouver Canucks late last season, veteran blueliner Aaron Ward had a question for former NHLer turned TV analyst Ray Ferraro.


Top Shelf: Ryan McDonagh ready to embrace the New York Rangers

Top Shelf: Ryan McDonagh ready to embrace the New York Rangers

by Ryan Dixon - September 1, 2010 3:35 PM EDT

The 12th overall pick from 2007 was shocked when the Montreal Canadiens traded him, however he's ready to start his professional life in New York.
Ryan McDonagh’s eyes are as wise as they are wide. On the whole, elite-level NHL prospects are a pretty groomed group these days - for every ‘aw shucks’ or shy kid you run into, there’s probably three who seem like they started dealing with microphones 10 goals after picking up a stick.


Top Shelf: From banger to boss; Cam Neely still loves Boston

Top Shelf: From banger to boss; Cam Neely still loves Boston

by Ryan Dixon - August 25, 2010 11:05 AM EDT

The former Bruin power forward had his on-ice career cut short, but he's found a new home on Boston's management team.
There’s one moment that, to me, best sums up Cam Neely’s transition from power forward to power suits. It happened in the jubilant moments following a big Game 3 overtime win for the Bruins during their seven-game loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Round 1 of the 2008 playoffs.


Top Shelf: Still searching for a Stanley Cup at 30

Top Shelf: Still searching for a Stanley Cup at 30

by Ryan Dixon - August 11, 2010 1:40 PM EDT

In what's becoming a yearly tradition, Ryan Dixon points to a few prominent players who will be hitting a birthday milestone without a Cup ring.
The Chicago Blackhawks opened a new decade by ending a 49-year Cup drought and restoring heaps of excitement to a city that had almost given up on hockey.


Top Shelf: Why the Maple Leafs can make the playoffs

Top Shelf: Why the Maple Leafs can make the playoffs

by Ryan Dixon - July 26, 2010 1:35 PM EDT

Many outlets, including The Hockey News, are writing off Toronto as a non-playoff team once again, but there's reasons to be optimistic in Hogtown.
For those associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the post-lockout era may better be described as the post-moderate-success era. The Leafs made the playoffs each of the six seasons leading up the 2004-05 work stoppage, twice advancing to the NHL’s final four.


Top Shelf: NHL GMs must take team approach

Top Shelf: NHL GMs must take team approach

by Ryan Dixon - July 21, 2010 3:15 PM EDT

The job of NHL GM has evolved over the years and can no longer be done by one individual. For a front office to be successful, it had better be diverse.
The fantasies of young hockey fans contain 100 percent more sticks than suits. That is to say, when you’re a youngster projecting a future for yourself in the game, you’re on the ice scoring series-shifting goals, not in the press box picking out who can play and who can’t.


Top Shelf: Thrashers hope Byfuglien finds consistency in regular season

Top Shelf: Thrashers hope Byfuglien finds consistency in regular season

by Ryan Dixon - July 14, 2010 2:15 PM EDT

Dustin Byfuglien has made a name for himself in the playoffs, but in Atlanta he'll be counted on to produce all season long.
A quick consultation with accepted hockey lore would have you believe Dustin Byfuglien has picked the right season to shine. Few things carry more caché in the bottom-line business of sport than being known as a player who performs when push comes to shove.


Top Shelf: Keith Tkachuk sees good things in St. Louis

Top Shelf: Keith Tkachuk sees good things in St. Louis

by Ryan Dixon - July 7, 2010 1:16 PM EDT

The recently retired Blues power forward knows first hand what's on tap in the Gateway to the West and believes the future is bright.
For the record, Keith Tkachuk liked the St. Louis Blues’ direction before they acquired the best goalie in the 2010 playoffs without giving up a roster player.


Top Shelf: Why Gonchar is a good fit with the Penguins

Top Shelf: Why Gonchar is a good fit with the Penguins

by Ryan Dixon - June 16, 2010 3:55 PM EDT

While many think the Penguins should be looking to add forward depth, it may be wiser for them to re-sign their best defenseman.
The people who manage hockey teams tend to have much longer memories than the face-painters who cheer for them. As such, some sporting Picassos in the Pittsburgh Penguins midst must have been ready to wave goodbye to Sergei Gonchar even before their team’s 5-2 Game 7 calamity against the Montreal Canadiens in Round 2 was complete.


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