Blackhawks reacquire forward Kris Versteeg from Panthers for Jimmy Hayes, Dylan Olsen
By: The Canadian Press
Nov 14, 2013
CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks acquired forwards Kris Versteeg and Philippe Lefebvre from the Florida Panthers for forward Jimmy Hayes and defenceman Dylan Olsen on Thursday night.
The trade was announced after Chicago's 5-4 shootout win over Phoenix.
The 27-year-old Versteeg, a member of the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup championship team, has two goals and five assists in 18 games this season with Florida.
Versteeg had 20 goals and 24 assists in 79 regular-season games with the Blackhawks in 2009-10, then added six goals and eight assists in 22 playoff games during the team's run to the Stanley Cup. He had a career-high 22 goals and 53 points with Chicago in 2008-09.
"We are excited to bring Kris back to Chicago and are pleased to add a player with his experience and versatility to our lineup," Blackhawks president and general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. "This move strengthens our team depth and Kris' skill is a great complement to our current roster."
Why we should be happy Team Sweden lost at World Cup
By: Ken Campbell
Sep 25, 2016
Team Sweden came into the tournament as a favorite to make the final. And now it's out because of the way it approached the game.
Let’s get something straight here. Sweden did not lose the semifinal game in the World Cup of Hockey because of a disputed goal in overtime. It did not lose because it failed to score on the power play. It didn’t lose because all-world goalie Henrik Lundqvist dropped his stick at one of the most inopportune times of his career.
The Swedish players are heading to NHL training camp instead of the best-of-three final in the World Cup of Hockey because they decided - or probably more accurately, had it decided for them - that they were going to play chess until the third period of their 3-2 overtime loss to Team Europe. They played the game afraid to lose and that’s exactly what happened. It was a display of a dull, turgid, safe and utterly ridiculous brand of hockey given their level of talent that came back to haunt them.
And for that we should all be grateful. Even if you’re Swedish. Because perhaps the people who run the national program in Sweden will go back and realize what an opportunity they frittered by taking a bunch of thoroughbreds and forcing them to trot their way around the track. That’s not how these players play in the NHL. That’s not how they’re wired. Players such as Erik Karlsson have to go and holding them back should not be rewarded.
And it this case it was not. Had Sweden somehow underachieved its way to the World Cup final, it would not have highlighted how absolutely terrible this approach was. Swedish winger Gabriel Landeskog, who told Scott Oake of Hockey Night in Canada after the first period that, “We kind of stood around waiting for each other,” capsulized the game plan right there. Then he added: “We’re in the World Cup of Hockey semifinal. You’re not going to give them anything just to play beautiful hockey.”
Sweden was outshooting Team Europe 10-5 after the first period, then took a 1-0 lead 2:31 into the second. Perhaps thinking one goal would be enough to win, the Swedes eventually shut it down and collapsed, sending the game into a lull of ennui that made it darn near unwatchable. And if they had won, they would have been rewarded for it. But they didn’t, so that’s a good thing. Only after Tomas Tatar made it 2-1 12 seconds into the third period did the Swedes decide they needed to play with just a little more urgency. And by that time, Team Europe goalie Jaroslav Halak had found his groove. If not for a Karlsson floater that hit Roman Josi’s stick, the overtime wouldn’t even have been necessary.
The Swedes obviously saw this game a lot differently than your trusty correspondent did. When asked why with all this talent, and a brain trust that included Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson and Nicklas Lidstrom, his team could play the way it did, Swedish coach Rikard Gronborg responded by saying he thought his team played well.
“I don’t think we were passive. I think you’re wrong there,” Gronborg said. “We need to show patience, and I think we showed patience. But at the end of the day when they’re scoring six goals against us in an exhibition game, we didn’t show patience. That’s what happens. This is a very good team we’re playing against. What we wanted to do was obviously make sure we don’t get turnovers and we don’t get odd-man rushes against, and I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight. We put ourselves in a position of winning this game. In the offensive zone we don’t put reins on our players. We don’t put defensive assignments in the offensive zone. So I don’t think I agree with you there.”
Looks like we weren’t watching the same game. Nobody said the Swedes had to get all turnover happy and turn the game into a round of pond hockey, but at some point, don’t you realize you’re better than the other team and play to your strengths. The Swedes lost 6-2 to Team Europe in the final pre-tournament game and instead of using that game as a lesson on how to manage the puck better, it responding by thinking it couldn’t try anything creative.
“That’s what teams have done against them and that’s why they lost against this team,” Daniel Sedin said. “They’ve been playing a full-out attack and you can’t do that against this team. They want us to make mistakes and we played a patient game thinking it was going to pay off in the end and it didn’t. It’s easy to say after the game that we should have attacked more.”
Actually, it was quite easy during the game to say that. Anyone who was watching could see where that game was going. And the fact the way it went the way it did is a setback for Sweden, but a triumph for the game. Sweden teased us all tournament, telling us they still hadn't played their best game. They certainly didn't do that Sunday and now they won't have a chance to do it again in the World Cup.
Author: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Report: Maple Leafs’ Lupul unfit to play, will be sidelined to start season
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 22, 2016
Joffrey Lupul hasn’t played for the Maple Leafs since February 2016, and it appears he won’t be with the team come October after a physical exam reportedly revealed he’s not fit to suit up.
The past two seasons of Joffrey Lupul’s career have been disappointing, to say the least. The veteran winger has missed more than 60 games since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, has all but lost his top-six role when healthy and hasn’t been the same player since his 22-goal, 44-point campaign in 2013-14.
Things aren’t getting any better for Lupul, either.
According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, Lupul, 32, has reportedly not been cleared to take part in Maple Leafs’ training camp and will be placed on the injured reserve when the season begins.
The nature of Lupul’s injury is unknown, but it could potentially be tied to the sports hernia which caused him to miss the final 31 games of the past season. Lupul suffered the injury on or around Feb. 6, and didn’t suit up for a single game in the next two months.
That Lupul has been sidelined with the ailment might not bode well for the rest of his time with the Maple Leafs, unless he can battle back from the injury and find his way back onto the roster. Even while he was with the team, though, Lupul watched as his job slowly slipped out of his grasps. After starting the past season off with games of 17 or 18-plus minutes of ice time, Lupul’s final handful of games in Toronto this past season were highlighted by games of 13 minutes of ice time, and he even took part in games where he skated little more than 10 or 11 minutes.
That his job was already being taken over by younger players doesn’t bode well, but it’s especially worrisome for Lupul considering the number of young players who will be coming into camp and battling for roster spots. Players such as Kasperi Kapanen, Mitch Marner, Connor Brown, Nikita Soshnikov and Zach Hyman could all be fighting for roles on the right wing, potentially replacing Lupul in the process.
Lupul’s contract makes his playing situation more difficult, too. He is set to earn $5.25 million in each of the next two seasons, and that’s a high price for the Maple Leafs to pay for a player who seemingly doesn’t factor into either their short- or long-term plans. Lupul’s high price tag doesn’t help the Maple Leafs in their attempts to move him, either, and there has been plenty of speculation that Toronto has at least tried to send Lupul elsewhere.
The Maple Leafs will announce their official training camp roster Thursday, and Seravalli reported that it’s expected Lupul’s situation will be addressed by Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello.
Senators’ scrimmage turns ugly after MacArthur concussed by blindside hit
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 25, 2016
Clarke MacArthur’s career could be in jeopardy after he suffered another concussion, this time during a training camp scrimmage. MacArthur, 31, missed all but four games in 2015-16 while battling concussion symptoms.
Clarke MacArthur has spent nearly an entire year trying to fight back from concussion issues that have plagued him, and a blindside hit during a scrimmage at Ottawa Senators training camp could again be threatening his ability to lace up his skates this season.
During a Sunday scrimmage, the red team, which included MacArthur, was working the puck from out behind their goal when the play moved up along the boards. With the puck coming around to MacArthur’s side, he stripped an attacking player and was about to turn the puck up ice when defenseman Patrick Sieloff, who was acquired as part of the Alex Chiasson trade with the Calgary Flames, pinched down and crunched MacArthur into the boards.
The hit caught an unsuspecting MacArthur and, in a scary scene, left the veteran winger down in the corner. Senators winger Bobby Ryan immediately went after Sieloff, dropping the gloves and fighting the defenseman. Video of the hit and the aftermath can be seen below, via Sportsnet:
The fracas continued after Ryan and Sieloff were separated, and Chris Neil came after the blueliner shortly after he and Ryan had fought. According to Murray Pam, Senators development coach Shean Donovan asked Sieloff to leave the scrimmage, in what seemed to be hopes that order would be somewhat restored.
Following the scrimmage, Senators GM Pierre Dorion confirmed that MacArthur, 31, did suffer another concussion on the play, which is devastating news after he worked so hard to get healthy and return to action. Dorion said MacArthur was driven home from the arena.
“There’s a level of concern any time anyone has a concussion,” Dorion said in an interview provided by Murray Pam. “In Clarke’s case, he’s had a history. We held him out last year even though he was cleared just to make sure that he’d be OK for this camp…We’re at a point where we’re heartbroken here. It’s a human being, it’s his life and that should be the biggest and the foremost priority today.”
Dorion added that MacArthur would be re-evaluated Monday, and the Senators will continue to monitor his progress.
The concern is that another concussion for MacArthur could be enough to put an end to his career. His last NHL game came on Oct. 14, 2015 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and MacArthur told the Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren in March that he had thought his career could be over.
“At one point in late November, early December, I was thinking I was done, maybe this is it,” MacArthur told Warren. “I had to get out of there. Every day you’re coming to the rink and you want to go on the ice. It’s like going to Disneyland. Everyone else goes on the rides and you’re outside the doors, watching.”
MacArthur signed a five-year, $23.25-million contract extension with the Senators in August 2014, but has played only four games of his new deal, which kicked in ahead of the 2015-16 season.
Tomas Tatar is swarmed by his Team Europe teammates.
Author: Chris Tanouye/Getty Images
Team Europe shocks Sweden in overtime, will meet Canada in World Cup final
By: Ken Campbell
Sep 25, 2016
Team Europe looked like an awful idea early on, but Ralph Krueger's group shocked Sweden -- and almost everyone else -- by battling their way to a berth in the World Cup final.
Organizers of the World Cup of Hockey might want to get some kind of anthem together for Team Europe. You know, just in case.
Chances are, even after Europe’s 3-2 overtime win over Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey semifinal Sunday afternoon, the team with no country will not be able to beat Team Canada twice to take the title next week. But given that almost nobody predicted it would get this far, well, you never know.
Who would have thought that eight days after the tournament began, Team Europe would be in the semifinal and Tomas Tatar would score at the 3:43 mark of overtime to send it to the final? Just shows that anything can happen in this game, and sometimes does.
Give Team Europe its due credit. It was taken to the woodshed by Team North America in its first pre-tournament game, then found itself behind 5-1 to the kids after the first period of its second pre-tournament game. But since then, Team Europe has been a consistent, if unspectacular, force in the proceedings.
Against Sweden, Team Europe played the way it had to in order to be successful. It played a cautious style, waiting for its opportunities to create offense off the transition. And it worked, with Marian Gaborik tying the score 1-1 in the second period, then Tatar scoring the winner just 12 seconds into the third period.
The Swedes, on the other hand, have no excuse for the way they played. This is a squad whose senior advisors are Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson and Nicklas Lidstrom. It has some outstanding offensive talent and an explosive defense corps. And it played a style that was passive and boring and, ultimately, destined to fail. And when it happened, anyone who enjoys the more creative side of hockey should have cheered. Loudly.
During an intermission interview with Scott Oake of Hockey Night in Canada after the first period, Gabriel Landeskog summed up the Swedes’ approach to the game, along with pretty much everything that is wrong with hockey. “We kind of stood around waiting for each other,” he said. “But this is the semifinal of the World Cup of Hockey. You’re not going to give them anything just to play a beautiful game.”
It was anything but a beautiful game, but it was enough to send Team Europe to the final of a tournament and put itself in a position almost nobody thought it would be when the tournament started.