"I acknowledge my mistake, regret my action and take full responsibility. I accept the decision rendered by Brendan Shanahan on behalf of the League. I apologize to my teammates, the Flames organization and to Nicklas Backstrom. I am embarrassed for what I did. These are exactly the type of plays that need to be eliminated from hockey.”
- Calgary's Rene Bourque reacting to the five-game suspension given to him by Brendan Shanahan for an elbow on Washington's Nicklas Backstrom.
The Coyotes have one of the best prospects pools in the league and are a team on the rise. But 2016-17 will be another developmental year before a breakthrough in a year or two.
THN is rolling out its 2016-17 Team Previews daily, in reverse order of 2015-16 overall finish, until the start of the season. Today, the Arizona Coyotes.
THN's Prediction: 6th in Pacific
Stanley Cup odds: 65-1
Key additions: Jamie McGinn, LW; Alex Goligoski, D; Radim Vrbata, RW; Luke Schenn, D; Lawon Crouse, LW; Ryan White, RW; Jamie McBain, D
Key departures: Antoine Vermette, C; Boyd Gordon, C; Joe Vitale, C; Kyle Chipchura, C; Sergei Plotnikov, LW
- Will there be much of an NHL learning curve for Dylan Strome? Strome was the third-overall pick in 2015 and finished as the No. 1 prospect in Future Watch 2016. The crafty center has another season of junior eligibility, but don’t expect him to see the OHL unless he picks it up on satellite. He’s ready for the NHL.
Strome is the team’s future No. 1 center, perhaps as soon as next season. For now, expect to see him get sheltered time on Arizona’s second line behind Martin Hanzal, perhaps with Shane Doan and Jamie McGinn. It’s tempting to put Strome with young guns Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, but that won’t happen right away.
-Is Anthony Duclair a candidate for the sophomore slump? Playing with fellow rookie Domi, Duclair started off like gangbusters last season, scoring a hat trick in his third game and recording points in five of his first six games. But defenses started to hone in on the Arizona rookies and their production dipped.
Of Duclair’s 20 goals, only eight came in the second half, and he finished the year with just four goals in 26 games. Duclair will have to use his speed and smarts to find ways of beating tough defenses.
-Will we see the Mike Smith of old or old Mike Smith? After posting a .930 save percentage and finishing fourth in Vezina voting in 2011-12, Smith has been trending to below league-average numbers. He’s now 34 and has three years left at $5.67 million AAV.
Smith missed more than three months last season with a core muscle injury. But the good news is that in the 10 games he played after his return last March, he posted two shutouts and had a .944 save percentage. That sounds like the Mike Smith of old.
Player projections are based off a three-year version of Game Score (which you can read about here) weighted by recency and repeatability and then translated to its approximate win value (Game Score Value Added or GSVA). Team strength was derived from the combined value of every player’s GSVA on a team. The season was then simulated 10,000 times factoring in team strength, opponent strength and rest.
The Arizona Coyotes are a team on the rise, but this season will likely be a developmental one. While they made a lot of interesting moves in the off-season at the helm of new numbers-savvy GM John Chayka, they’re still at least a year out from contending for a playoff spot. With the depth in their prospect pipeline, it won’t be long until this team is a real powerhouse in the West.
This season will be a showcase year of what’s to come in that regard. Dylan Strome likely starts the year as the team’s No. 2 center and it won’t be long until he’s the top dog and a legit number one center in the league. And this team needs one, or any first line forward for that matter. Wingers Max Domi and Anthony Duclair have the potential to be just that, but they’ll need to take another step after a promising first season. The Coyotes lack top-end talent (they’re the only team without a first line forward) and have the worst top three forwards in the league at this juncture, but that likely changes during the season.
The bottom of the lineup isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either. Chayka has shown he’s not afraid to cut the fat by buying out Antoine Vermette, so it’s likely that once the team is actually ready to compete their depth at forward will be addressed.
Defense is the biggest strength of the club thanks to Should-Be-A-Norris-Candidate-Someday Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The addition of Alex Goligoski was Chayka’s best move of the off-season and he should provide a lot of value on the back-end. The rest of the group is rather ordinary, although it is interesting that Connor Murphy was the guy to get term this off-season and not Michael Stone.
Goaltending is Arizona’s biggest problem as Mike Smith is overpaid and overrated. Since his herculean 2011-12 campaign he’s provided mostly replacement level goaltending for Arizona which is not ideal considering his paycheque. Louis Domingue was solid in limited starts last year, but unless Smith gets injured he’ll likely only be reduced to a backup role.
The Coyotes have a very promising future and while this season likely won’t be a winning one, it will allow the team to add another high-end piece at the draft to an already stacked cupboard.
Team Europe will do anything to win – even lie to itself
By Matt Larkin
Sep 27, 2016
Europe could pack it in after its best effort couldn't trump Canada's weakest in Game 1 of the World Cup final. But Ralph Krueger's troops aren't quitting.
TORONTO – Is Team Europe the master of its own fate in the World Cup final? It's debatable.
On one hand, it's tough to dictate how you fare when you're up against the monolith that is Canada, a hockey power that, even by its lofty standards, may be in its most dominant stretch of all-time. Tuesday night's 3-1 victory marked Canada's 15th straight victory in best-on-best tournament play. In a way, Canada's uncharacteristically uneven effort is especially demoralizing for Europe given Canada seemed to flick a switch whenever it needed to. The Euros opened the game with an aggressive shift and a power play, and Canada countered with two goals off turnovers. The Euros peppered Carey Price with 23 shots in less than 30 minutes, then Canada didn't allow a shot for more than six minutes. It seemed Canada dictated how the game would go by deciding when it felt like playing.
On the other hand, Europe can look at Tuesday's result and say, sheesh, we were pretty close. We outplayed the Canucks for extended stretches. All three of their goals came off takeaways. Those are correctable mistakes. We had distinct territorial advantages for much of the game. Carey Price helped maintain Canada's lead. We weren't that far from forcing overtime.
Can you guess which stance Team Europe takes? Well, yeah, obviously.
“We definitely felt we had a chance out here tonight," center Frans Nielsen told reporters after the game. "It was a tough loss, but we can take a lot of good from it, too. Everyone in there really believes now that we can go out and win this next one and make it a one-game series.”
Anze Kopitar called Game 1 Europe's best game of the tournament. Nielsen said Canada's weakness, if it had one, was defensive play, and that Europe did a good job forcing Canada to defend. Coach Ralph Krueger suggested the opportunities were even "if you cut the goals out of the videos."
Wow. It sure feels like the Europeans are lying to themselves. But good on them. Faced with a seemingly unbeatable opponent, the choices are (a) accept that they have no hope and mail in their next effort or (b) choose to believe even if they have no business believing. Not only has Europe chosen the latter route, but the team is downright angry about Game 1, as if it deserved a victory as much as Canada did.
"We're proud of that effort, and the creation of it, but we're very frustrated, of course, with what and how we gave up the goals we did," Krueger said. "Just a little bit too much risk at the wrong times, and the power of Canada is that: to take opportunities and jam them into the net.
"What we can take out of this is a lot of courage that we played a strong game, that we had a lot of opportunity that we didn't make enough out of. We could have tested Price a lot more with the chances we had, and some of them just died on our own sticks."
Kopitar pointed out that Europe dictated the pace for much of Game 1, and even though that might've been just because Canada sat back, the statement is true. He, like Krueger, said Canada's goals were the result of Europe's mistakes.
See a theme here? Krueger's troops aren't bowing down to Canada in admiration. It's not "we couldn't stop them" or "they're such a great team." It's "we made mistakes" and "we dictated play." The Euros are taking ownership, implying they have the ability to dictate what happens in Game 2 and beyond. Even though that probably isn't true – uh, it's Canada, you guys – it's a sign of good coaching that the Euros speak with such conviction.
That's all well and good, but they still weren't nearly good enough to beat Canada. What must they specifically do besides believe in themselves if they want to force Game 3? When I asked Krueger about that second period lull after they opened with 23 shots, he said Europe got hemmed in with some tired defensemen on long shifts, so they have to try and manage their minutes better going forward. He was pleased with the fact his team had so many takeaways and thinks his forwards' dogged forechecking will continue to create transition opportunities. The offense comes from conscientious defense.
“Ralph said from day 1 that the team with the best defense usually comes out on top of these kinds of tournaments," Nielsen said. "We’ve been focusing on a lot of that, being a frustrating team to play against and feeding off turnovers. We’ve got so many good players on the team and we’ve got speed, so when we get those turnovers we’re good enough to make teams pay.”
Now it's time to back up the talk. Team Europe still believes it has the talent and work ethic to beat Canada, but it'll have to find a way to solve Price if it does continue creating chances in transition. Otherwise, it'll be a short series.
And let's be honest. That's what we expect. Canada still looks like a team that can do what it wants out there. But bless the Europeans for refusing to accept that and keeping things interesting. They've proven us wrong time and again, so maybe they have one last miracle to unleash.
Teams like the Bruins, Coyotes, Rangers, and Oilers will make offers for Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba. Here's a look at who the front runners are.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba's trade request has set the hockey world abuzz. In a statement through his agent Kurt Overhardt, Trouba claims he wants a bigger role skating on the right side of the blueline and doesn't believe he'll get that opportunity with the Jets. He subsequently said the decision had nothing to do with the city of Winnipeg, the Jets organization or money.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff responded by saying his camp will “work diligently” to resolve this matter, adding they'll have no further comment until a resolution is reached. In other words, Cheveldayoff has no intention of discussing trade possibilities through the media.
As a promising young defenseman with a right-handed shot, the 22-year-old Trouba will undoubtedly attract considerable attention in the NHL trade market. He's also a restricted free agent coming off an entry-level contract. Last December, Overhardt denied a report claiming his client sought an eight-year deal worth $7-million annually. Still, the Trouba camp could seek a long-term deal worth at least $5-million per season.
Cheveldayoff won't just give Trouba away. Given his depth in young talent on the roster and within his system, the Jets GM probably won't want a package of draft picks and prospects. He could seek a good young left-shooting defenseman or a top-six winger as part of the return.
Chris Peters of CBS Sports lists the Boston Bruins, Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings as potential suitors. NBC Sports' Adam Gretz adds the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche to that list.
Potential destinations for Trouba depend upon salary-cap space and the Jets asking price. Whoever acquires the young rearguard must have sufficient room to sign him. Protecting Trouba in next June's NHL expansion draft will be another factor.
Cap space is definitely an issue for the Red Wings, who sit $4 million above the $73-million cap ceiling. While they'll get cap relief by placing Johan Franzen ($3.9 million cap hit) and Joe Vitale ($1.16 million) on long-term injury reserve, they'll still have to free up considerable salary to re-sign Trouba.
The Rangers ($1.4 million) and Avalanche ($1.5 million) are also squeezed for cap space. With several Rangers carrying no-movement/no-trade clauses, it's doubtful a fit can be found in New York. The Avs, meanwhile, lack sufficient depth in available assets to tempt the Jets. Having recently made a coaching change, they could be unwilling to make a significant roster move at this time.
TSN's Bob McKenzie reports the Coyotes have long been interested in Trouba and will remains a serious suitor. They have considerable depth in young assets, but only $2.8 million in cap space. While they could get cap relief with Chris Pronger and Dave Bolland (combined cap hit of over $10 million) on LTIR, it could cost them a couple of good young roster players to land Trouba.
With $5.8 million in cap room, the Bruins have some wiggle room and decent young talent on their roster (forwards David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner and the recently sidelined Frank Vatrano) and in their system to make a competitive bid. However, Cheveldayoff could ask for left-shooting blueliner Torey Krug as part of the deal.
The Devils ($12.6 million) and Oilers ($8.9 million) have the advantage in cap room. Of the two, the Oilers have the edge in available young assets. Cheveldayoff could be interested in young defenseman Darnell Nurse, but Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli could be reluctant to part with him.
With lots of promising young players and prospects, the Toronto Maple Leafs could also kick the tires on a Trouba deal. Though they have only $2.9 million in cap room, they should free up over $10 million by placing sidelined forwards Nathan Horton and Joffrey Lupul on LTIR.
Cheveldayoff has the luxury of time to make a trade, but faces the Dec. 1 deadline for signing restricted free agents. If Trouba remains unsigned by that date, he becomes ineligible to play the remainder of the season.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky celebrate the Game 2 overtime winner at the 1987 Canada Cup.
Author: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Down Goes Brown: What was the best Game 2 in World Cup history?
By: Sean McIndoe
Sep 28, 2016
Five out of seven World/Canada Cups have been best-of-three finals, so let's take a look back at those five games, and rank them from worst to best.
Tuesday night's Game 1 of the World Cup final, which saw Team Canada earn a 3-1 win over Team Europe, sets up a do-or-die Game 2 Thursday night. A Canada win would end the tournament, and the trophy will be in the building, unless the league has come to its senses and thrown that ugly thing into a raging bonfire instead.
There have been seven World and Canada Cups in international hockey history, but we didn't get to see a Game 2 in all of those. Twice, in 1981 and 2004, the format called for a one-game final. But it's been best-of-three in the other tournaments, which gives us five Game 2 to work with. So today, let's take a look back at those five games, and rank them from worst to best.
As always, this is opinion only, and if you disagree, then you're wrong.
No. 5 – 1984: Canada 6, Sweden 5
The road there: Canada stumbled through the 1984 tournament, going 2-2-1 through the round robin and barely making the playoff round as the fourth seed. But Team Canada earned a trip to the final thanks to an overtime win over the Soviets in the semi-final, and they were facing an upstart Swedish team that had beaten them in their round robin meeting and had just embarrassed the Americans with a 9-2 blowout. The Canadians took the opener by a 5-2 final, but the second game proved closer.
Game 2: The game looked like a laugher early on, with Canada scoring four times in the first seven minutes and adding a fifth before the first period was over. A Paul Coffey goal early in the second made it 6-1, setting the stage for a furious Team Sweden comeback. They scored three unanswered goals to close out the second period, and draw to within 6-5 early in the third. But that was as close as they came, as Canada held on for the win and the series sweep.
The aftermath: This turned out to be the first of three straight Canada Cup wins for Team Canada, and remains the only finals appearance by Team Sweden.
The bottom line: What looked like a laugher wound up being a reasonably entertaining contest. But the game everyone remembers from the 1984 Canada Cup will always be that semi-final thriller with the Soviets.
No. 4 – 1991: Canada 4, USA 2
The road there: Coming on the heels of the 1987 tournament, fans were probably hoping for yet another final between Canada and the Soviets. But with the team in turmoil, partly due to the political situation back home, the Soviets failed to even make the playoff round. That left Canada looking for a new challenger, and the Americans were happy to step in for their first ever Canada Cup final appearance. The two teams met in the round robin, with Canada winning 6-3 to hand the Americans their only loss of the stage, and Canada followed that up with a 4-1 win in the opening game of the final.
Game 2: This game may best be remembered for who wasn't playing. Team Canada captain Wayne Gretzky was knocked out of action in Game 1 on an ugly hit from behind by Gary Suter. The check left Gretzky unable to suit up for Game 2, and contributed to the back problems that slowed him down for much of the early 1990s.
Looking for the sweep, Canada jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Americans clawed back with a pair of second-period goals. But Steve Larmer earned some revenge on Suter by stripping him of the puck during an American powerplay and then scoring on a breakaway for the winning goal.
The bottom line: This game, much like the 1991 tournament itself, was an entertaining one that for some reason isn't all that well remembered by many fans.
No. 3 – 1996: USA 5, Canada 2
The road there: The Americans swept through the round robin with a perfect 3-0-0 record, including an impressive 5-3 win over Canada that featured a wild early brawl. That win earned them a quarter-final bye, and after knocking off the Russians 5-3 in the semis, Team USA came into the final looking like they had a real shot to wrestle the international crown away from Canada. But Steve Yzerman's overtime winner in Game 1 in Philadelphia handed the Americans their first loss of the tournament, and left them needing a pair of wins in Montreal to take the tournament.
Game 2: Team USA jumped out to an early lead, but Canada came back to tie the game before the first intermission. Goals by John Leclair and Brett Hull gave the Americans a 3-1 lead, and Mike Richter stood on his head to keep it that way until a late powerplay goal by Joe Sakic made it 3-2 with five minutes to play. That was as close as they came, and a pair of Team USA empty net goals padded the final score to 5-2.
The aftermath: Team USA completed the comeback in Game 3, winning by another 5-2 score to capture their first (and so far only) best-on-best championship.
The bottom line: Despite the two empty netters making the score more lopsided than the game was, this was a fun matchup that featured lots of star power, some bad blood, and a raucous Montreal crowd. You can watch the highlights here.
No. 2 – 1976: Canada 5, Czechoslovakia 4 (OT)
The road there: Four years after the legendary Summit Series, the Canada Cup was born in an effort to create the first true international best-on-best tournament. There was no semi-final back then, with the top two teams heading directly to the finals. Canada grabbed one of those spots, finishing first in the round robin with a 4-1-0 record. But while many had expected a Summit Series rematch in the final, the Soviets were edged out of a spot by Czechoslovakia.
The opening game of the final was a blowout, with Canada earning a relatively easy 6-0 win. Game 2 ended up proving to be a bigger challenge.
Game 2: Canada grabbed a 2-0 lead just two minutes in, but Czechoslovakia fought back to tie the game early in the third. A Bobby Clarke goal restored the Canadian lead, but two quick Czechoslovakian goals gave them a 4-3 lead with four minutes to play. Bill Barber tied it with two minutes left, and that set the stage for Darryl Sittler to deliver the first ever Canada Cup with what still stands as one of the most famous goals in the tournament's history.
The aftermath: To this day, Sittler and Team Canada assistant coach Don Cherry are still arguing over who's idea that move was.
The bottom line: You could make a great case for this game being No. 1 on the list. I think it’s a coin flip, but I'll take the game that directly led to one of the greatest moments in hockey history.
1987: Canada 6, Soviet Union 5 (2OT)
The road there: Canada and the Soviets finished in the top two spots in the round robin, then knocked off Czechoslovakia and Sweden, respectively, in the semi-finals to set up the first best-on-best multi-game series between the two rivals since the 1972 Summit Series.
Game 2: With the Soviets looking to clinch their second Canada Cup in three tournaments, the series shifted to Hamilton for the second game. The two teams resumed the all-out offensive pace, with Canada leading 2-1 before the game was even four minutes old. Then it got better.
Canada took a 3-1 lead to the first intermission, but the Soviets tied it in the second before Mario Lemieux quickly restored the lead. The Soviets tied it again early in the third, but Lemieux scored again midway through. That set the stage for a frantic end to regulation that saw Valeri Kamensky score with a minute left to send the game to overtime.
With the trophy on the line, the two teams went back and forth through one scoreless extra period. But midway through the second overtime, Canada finally ended it. Guess who.
The aftermath: This game was so good that the hockey gods decided to re-use the same script for Game 3: A back-and-forth thriller that ends with a 6-5 Canada victory on a Mario Lemieux winner.
The bottom line: The series finale was quite possibly the greatest international game ever played. And it was made possible by this one, which was almost as good. That's enough to earn it the top spot on our list, narrowly ahead of Sittler's fakeout.
Sean McIndoe has been writing about the NHL since 2008, most recently for ESPN and Grantland. He spends most of his time making jokes on twitter, where you may know him as @downgoesbrown. He appears weekly on TheHockeyNews.com.