Top Shelf

Top Shelf: Champs still have chomp

Top Shelf: Champs still have chomp

by Ryan Dixon - February 17, 2010 2:20 PM EST

With Canada and Russia grabbing all the Olympic headlines, the defending champs from Sweden are lying low with a strong mix of young and old.
Most of the talk surrounding the blue and yellow involves the word ‘golden.’ An assortment of Swedish stars are in the twilight of their career, a golden generation defending a gold medal won four years ago on the heels of a humiliating quarterfinal defeat at the hands of Belarus back in 2002.


Top Shelf: Stepping down without significant gains

Top Shelf: Stepping down without significant gains

by Ryan Dixon - February 9, 2010 12:30 PM EST

During his five seasons at the GM post, Bob Gainey made the playoffs four times, but wasn't able to create a team that could seriously contend.
Any conversation about Bob Gainey’s time as GM of the Montreal Canadiens, in lieu of his surprising decision to leave that post, must begin with an acknowledgement of the circumstances under which he originally took the job.


Top Shelf: Time to change the trade tune

Top Shelf: Time to change the trade tune

by Ryan Dixon - February 3, 2010 12:35 PM EST

Is the change-of-scenery trade just a cop out for not putting in enough effort from both the player- and team-side?
Every hockey trade involves a few goodbye handshakes, a frantic packing job and, you have to believe, a couple internal “good riddance” thoughts based on the bruised ego of those dealt.


Top Shelf: Pony, not Stajan, one to trade for

Top Shelf: Pony, not Stajan, one to trade for

by Ryan Dixon - January 27, 2010 12:10 PM EST

GMs looking to pluck Leafs out of Toronto should focus on the big Ukrainian, whose frame and skill would be a sure asset in the playoffs.
Whether via text messaging or over a frosty beverage, you can bet trade talk is the dominant topic of conversation among NHL GMs these days. If I was at the helm of an NHL team and happened to be chewing trade with Toronto Maple Leafs boss Brian Burke, I’d be far more inclined to test the waters on left winger Alexei Ponikarovsky than center/infrequent winger Matt Stajan.


Top Shelf: Violence in our game – the battle between primal and prudence

Top Shelf: Violence in our game – the battle between primal and prudence

by Ryan Dixon - January 20, 2010 1:15 PM EST

The physical aspect of hockey is what draws many to the sport, but what happens when the line is crossed too often?
Like Kobe and Shaq during their Laker days, my head and gut play for the same team, but don’t always get along. The battle flares up every time we see a serious injury result from physical play in hockey or any sport for that matter.


Top Shelf: Joseph gives way to Joe Save

Top Shelf: Joseph gives way to Joe Save

by Ryan Dixon - January 13, 2010 12:00 PM EST

The retirement of Curtis Joseph signals the last of the keeper kind who relied more on pure physicality than proper positioning and for that he'll be sorely missed.
It was great to see one last wave from Curtis Joseph. The 42-year-old Keswick, Ont., native officially said goodbye to the hockey world – at least, the professional ranks – on Tuesday, noting he’d still be at the rink most days of the week watching his boys play the game he excelled at for so long.


Top Shelf: Re-packaging the 1-2 goalie punch

Top Shelf: Re-packaging the 1-2 goalie punch

by Ryan Dixon - January 6, 2010 1:37 PM EST

Tandem 'tenders and surging, aged veterans are a couple of things making a comeback in NHL circles... and another cool thing about hockey.
While standard calendars everywhere would have you believe we’re in the year 2010, NHL creases tell a much different story. Alternating goalies was a popular practice in the aftermath of expansion in 1967, but has kind of gone the way of the wooden stick during recent decades.


Top Shelf: Talkin’ trades on July 1 a good option

Top Shelf: Talkin’ trades on July 1 a good option

by Ryan Dixon - December 23, 2009 11:35 AM EST

Perhaps the best thing for teams to do with pending-UFA superstars is to trade them the summer before their contract runs out.
On the whole, NHL GMs are a very sharp, malleable group. And while they’re often accused of moving like molasses on issues such as head shots, they’re pretty good at changing on the fly when it comes to the manner in which their own teams are constructed.


Top Shelf: Sedins step it up

Top Shelf: Sedins step it up

by Ryan Dixon - December 16, 2009 3:05 PM EST

The Sedin Bros. – especially Henrik – have taken their game to a new level, but for them to be fully recognized as stars they must prove themselves in the post-season.
To some degree, points have stopped being the point of reference when evaluating the play of Daniel and Henrik Sedin. A player’s contribution to the scoresheet is always going to be a factor when evaluating his play, but the twins have passed the threshold where their worth is constantly assessed by clicking on their stats.


Top Shelf: When stars shoot for the GM’s chair

Top Shelf: When stars shoot for the GM’s chair

by Ryan Dixon - December 9, 2009 4:00 PM EST

The hiring of Mark Messier by Team Canada to run the 2010 World Championship team continues a trend of on-ice greats taking on off-ice roles.
Foreign jokesters must be having a field day with Mark Messier being named GM of Canada’s 2010 World Championship entry. Think about it; the face of Canadian hockey is officially a Moose.


Top Shelf: Ducks' future, shootout surprises and junior letdowns

Top Shelf: Ducks' future, shootout surprises and junior letdowns

by Ryan Dixon - December 2, 2009 2:10 PM EST

Which way will the Ducks fly?... another reason to like the shootout... and WJC success doesn't always mean likewise in the NHL.
Some new musings in honor of a new month. Hang onto your sleigh bells. • December will be a huge month in determining the trajectory of the underachieving Anaheim Ducks this year.


Top Shelf: Habs must pony up for Plekanec

Top Shelf: Habs must pony up for Plekanec

by Ryan Dixon - November 25, 2009 1:35 PM EST

After a down year in 2008-09, the skilled Czech has been the Canadiens' best this season and the team can't afford to let him become a UFA this summer.
There was a ton of free agent movement in Montreal last summer, what with the team letting several core players fly the coop and replacing them with the likes of Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta.


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