Sunday, February 24, 2013

Record Making Night on Madison

It's always a little crazy inside the United Center on Madison Street in Chicago, but Friday night took the craziness to a little higher level as the hometown Blackhawks set a new NHL mark in the record books, recording their 17th consecutive game with at least one point to show for it.

The Hawks who have been tearing up the NHL since the truncated season began, had to come from behind to top the San Jose Sharks, but as the momentum built in the third period, there probably weren't many in the crowd who didn't feel that Friday night was going to be the night.

The last few games towards the record have made for some challenging times for the Hawks, they battled off a Vancouver squad that made a stand in the third period earlier this week to try and wrestle the record book away from the Hawks and Friday night it was the San Jose Sharks who gave the Hawks as much as they could handle to claim their spot in the history books.

By games end however, the Hawks by way of a 2-1 victory, were the ones getting ready to thumb through the record book, looking to insert a paragraph or two about their success.

In a season as short as this lockout delayed one will be, a quick start is key to ambitions of Stanley Cup success, the Hawks have already made their case that they would seem to be the team to beat in 2013.

And so far, while some have come close, no one has been able to launch that challenge to the Hawks domination.

All of which bodes well for more noise and more celebration at 1901 West Madison Street, perhaps well on into June.

Chicago Sun Times-- Blackhawks set NHL record for best start, repelling Sharks 2-1
Chicago Tribune-- Hawks Beat Sharks, Set New NHL Record
Chicago Daily Herald-- Blackhawks set NHL record with 2-1 win over Sharks
Toronto Star-- Chicago Blackhwaks set NHL record for best start to a season Hawks edge Sharks, extend point streak to 17 games

Friday, February 22, 2013

In the end, Longevity can't trump losing on the ice

"The hockey world knows how I and the entire Buffalo Sabres organization feel about Lindy Ruff not only as a coach but also as a person. His long tenure with the Sabres has ended. His qualities have made this decision very difficult. I personally want Lindy to know that he can consider me a friend always." -- A statement from Sabres owner Terry Pegula after the dismissal of Lindy Ruff as Sabres head coach.

Such is the legacy of Lindy Ruff behind the bench in Buffalo, that even with a struggling team on the ice, few can honestly say they expected the Sabres to bring to an end the longest running streak of coaching in the NHL. At the time of his dismissal Ruff held  the second longest tenure with one of the current four major league sports, only San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Povich, at 17 seasons has held a bench job longer.

After 1,165 games, the Buffalo Sabres and Lindy Ruff will no longer be synonymous, the Sabres announced on Wednesday that Ron Rolston the head coach of the American Hockey League Rochester Americans would be put in charge of the Sabres for the remainder of the season.

The decision to bring to an end Ruff's time in Buffalo appears to have been made after discussions between GM Darcy Regier and Team owner Terry Pegula, Team President Ted Black and Senior Advisor Ken Sawyer.

The concern of the management cadre was the Sabres 6-10-1 record, which places them well down the listings in the Eastern Conference standings, at the time of his dismissal, Ruff's Sabres were in the midst of a 4-10-1 slide and at the moment sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Conference.

Whatever malaise is stalking the Sabres, the long time coach couldn't seem to find a way through to this years version of the Sabres, a group that seems to have found new and not particularly entertaining ways to lose games since the season began last month.

With fears that the playoffs may once again be but a rumour for Buffalo fans, the management collective made their decision and the fates will deliver what they will.

The first night of the post Lindy Ruff era was not a kind one for the Sabres who fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Thursday night.

Most hockey observers suggest that should Ruff want a coaching job (and one can't imagine why he wouldn't) that he'll be back behind a bench somewhere in fairly short order, though the nature of this shortened season may make his wait just a little bit longer, perhaps into the off season.

Still, it will look strange, Lindy Ruff it seemed was one of those personalities that seemed destined to be with but one team through his career, that destiny took a detour on Wednesday, where the road goes next remains to be seen.

As for the longest serving coach currently on the books, Nashville's Barry Trotz is the guy looking to perhaps one day claim a spot in the Guinness Book of Records, though the quest for record making has taken a hit with the dismissal of the previous keeper of the flame.

Buffalo News-- Ruffs' departure still stuns Sabres
Buffalo News-- Firing brings Ruff era to startling end
Buffalo News-- Sabres' slide costs Ruff after 26 years with franchise
Buffalo News-- Ruff and family entrenched in WNY
Buffalo News-- Fans of the Sabres deserved more than listless play Sabres relieve Ruff of coaching duties, name Rolston

National Post-- Lindy Ruff fired: Sabres part ways with longtime coach
Globe and Mail-- Buffalo Sabres fire head coach Lindy Ruff Lindy Ruff fired from Buffalo Sabres job, but where will he end up next?
ESPN-- Sabres still in shock over Lindy Ruff's firing
Yahoo Sports-- After Lindy Ruff's firing, it's time for Buffalo Sabres to take top-to-bottom inventory
The Hockey News-- Lindy Ruff firing gives Sabres chance for change
CBC-- Lindy Ruff firing analysis
CBC-- Sabres fire Lindy Ruff, name Ron Rolston interim coach
Toronto Star-- Buffalo Sabres fire Lindy Ruff
Toronto Sun-- Ruff and Leafs a 'sworded' tale
Toronto Sun-- Sabres shuffle an emotional one
Toronto Sun-- Lindy Ruff's availability might cause some concern among struggling coaches
Toronto Sun-- Buffalo Sabres fire Lindy Ruff as head coach
Sportsnet-- Lindy Ruff Turfed: What Now for the Buffalo Sabres?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hired to Be Fired 2012-13

As sure as there are wins and losses (usually associated with the latter), there also will be change somewhere along the way in this 2012-13 season.

The day eventually comes for many NHL coaches, where they receive the phone call, or tap on the shoulder to go see the GM or owner.

A summons where the usual things are said, "you gave it a good shot, but we're going in a different direction", or variations of the theme.

Of the thirty members of the NHL coaching and managerial fraternity, sometime this year, maybe early, maybe late, the word will come that their services are no longer required.

We will provide the compilation of the summoned from this spot, listing those unlucky members of the club that find themselves outsourced in this 2012-13 season. The archive of our list can be quickly referenced on our right hand side bar, in the GM's Office section.

March 24-- Tampa Bay Lightning-- It's a Tampa Bay farewell to Guy Boucher, as GM Steve Yzerman finding worrisome trends in the play of the Tampa Bay Squad relieved Boucher of his duties on Sunday Morning. A decision that seems to have split the Tampa Bay media, with some suggesting that Boucher wore his welcome out, while others suggest Mr. Yzerman look at the talent he provided for the embattled coach. Boucher's time behind the Bolt's bench checked in at just under three years, the highlight of his career in Tampa the remarkable run in his first year, which saw the Lightning run the table to the Eastern Final before falling to the Bruins in seven games.  Jon Cooper, coach of the Lightning farm club took over duties following Boucher's departure.

February 20-- Buffalo Sabres-- The longest employed coach in the NHL suddenly found himself on the unemployment lines on Wednesday, as the Buffalo Sabres dismissed Lindy Ruff, bringing to an end almost sixteen years behind the Sabres bench. Taking his place in Buffalo is Ron Rolston, the coach of the Sabres AHL farm club in Rochester. Ruff's dismissal marks the first coach to be let go so far in the shortened 2012-13 season, the two previous dismissals have been in the upper management ranks. Our HockeyNation review of the developments in Buffalo can be found here.

February 12-- Columbus Blue Jackets-- Another year and yet another change for the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets, a team which seems perpetually mired in the lower reaches of the NHL standings. To try and change some of that karma, John Davidson announced that Scott Howson would be leaving his post as General Manager of the Blue Jackets, to be replaced by the NHL's first European General Manager, Finland's, Jarmo Keklalainen, who will have a rather daunting challenge in bringing the Blue Jackets into a semblance of competitiveness this year.

January 9 -- Toronto Maple Leafs-- The ink was barely dry on the arrangements between Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, when the Toronto Maple Leafs made the spotlight grabbing announcement that they were going in a different direction in the managerial ranks. The Leafs dismissed Brian Burke from his post, handing the reins of the fabled NHL franchise to Dave Nonis, Burke's longtime friend and apparent designated replacement if the bizarre career paths of the two NHL executives is to be examined further. The Official notice on Burke's departure from the can be found here. Our Hockey Nation review of Burke's dismissal can be found here, while other items of note from our portal on the Burke firing can be found here, here and here.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Hockey Day in Canada 2013

We suspect that when Gary Bettman announced back in January that the season had been saved and hockey was coming back, that there were no more happier people in Canada than the folks that sell advertising for the CBC.

Beyond the obvious that the network's signature program Hockey Night in Canada finally had cause to return to the air (and cash return to the CBC's Accounts receivable department) hockey has become a wee bit of a culture for the network, from Coach's Corner through the panel show before, during and post game, talking hockey at times seems to be the primary focus of the TV network.

The CBC also has carved out a nice niche at the community level, their association with the Kraft Hockeyville passions showcases Canada's affection for the game far beyond the pro level.

Such is the case with the annual Hockey Day in Canada marathon, a project so successful that it has been recreated in the US for NBC's use as well, the American version comes next weekend and will capture much of the same attachment to the game that Canadians have.

The project however did start in Canada though and it is here that the day long celebration truly takes root, in fact, even if the NHL had not come to an agreement with the NHLPA, we have a feeling that Hockey Day in Canada would have moved forward, the day's review uses the NHL game merely as a backdrop of sorts to the larger celebrations in communities large and small.

Had there been no NHL games to call up on, there could very well have been other options to showcase, Junior hockey, the Canadian University game or even the Minor leagues, wherever hockey is played could have been use and perhaps it would have made for the ultimate of fan protests, a subtle gesture to the NHL that while they hold custody of the Stanley Cup, the game itself still belongs to the communities that make the game great.

Fortunately for the Commissioner, he avoids the fickle (middle?) finger of fate that an NHL less, Hockey Day in Canada would have provided for and with it, can soak up the atmosphere and bask in the celebration of the game as it should be celebrated.

Such is the success of the annual celebration, that it even has a corporate sponsor now with Scotiabank taking up the cause of the day and attaching its brand to it.

The CBC's coverage is immense, beyond a full day of NHL action featuring Edmonton at Detroit, Winnipeg at Ottawa, Toronto in Montreal and Vancouver at Calgary, there will be stop overs across the country, with the CBC's Hockey Day presentations coming out of Peterborough this year.

The rather strong winter storm that has hit Ontario and now moves east will certainly provide for challenges for many of the Hockey Day in Canada events, though one imagines a little snow won't make for much in the way of an obstacle for celebrating the game.

To get an idea of the importance of the event to the community that hosts it, a quick scan of the offerings from the Peterborough Examiner provides a glimpse into the excitement in that community over the planned activities.

Some of the things to look forward to on Saturday can be found from the Hockey Day in Canada website.

And for those that really wish to get involved in the spirit of the day, there is a live blog on the website, a collection of photos submitted by Canadians from coast to coast to coast and a twitter feed #hockeyday as well to keep everyone up to speed on how the day is going.

Mr. Kessel gets off the scoring schneid


There are probably not many hockey players that find a trip to Winnipeg in the first week of February to be something to remember (let alone look forward to) however, Toronto Maple Leaf forward Phil Kessell probably won't be among them.

The long suffering Leaf forward, who found that his lack of scoring touch had spanned two seasons and made for more than enough material for hockey writers and broadcasters alike, finally got off the scoreless schneid, scoring the first goal in 313 days Thursday night at Winnipeg's MTS Centre.

It's an occasion that has been greeted as though he and Darryl Sitler were now soulmates in scoring, coming as fate would have it,  on the anniversary of Sittler's much famous scoring outburst of the seventies.

Still, while not packing away the points, it is with relief that we see that the man has finally put all that bad karma behind him, having come close a few times in the last few weeks, a cross bar here, a deflection there, the pressure to finally put the puck in the net must have been enormous.

We imagine he perhaps picked up one of those Budweiser goal lights for the house, just to remember what the hell it looks like.

Leaf fans no doubt are hoping that Thursday heralds the beginning of goal after goal after goal for their winger, and most hockey fans probably share that sentiment as well.

Though maybe not in Winnipeg, Kessel's marker proved to be the game winner for the Leafs who shaded the hometown Jets 3-2, so while Kessel may always have fond memories of River City in the winter, the residents perhaps may carry a grudge.

Especially if come playoff time, the points in the standing between a playoff run or a long run watching on TV can be traced back to February 7th.

CBC-- Phil Kessel nets winner as Leafs ground Jets
CBC-- Did You See That? Phil Kessel finally scores
Toronto Star-- Phil Kessel scores, Maple Leafs rally past Jets
Toronto Sun-- Kessel's first of season lifts Leafs past Jets
National Post-- Phil Kessel ends long scoring drought with game-winner in Leafs' victory

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Waiting is the hardest part

The length of time that it's taking Vancouver Canuck's GM Mike Gillis to make that long anticipated Roberto Luongo trade, is apparently starting to weigh on the mind of the guy that was supposed to be the Number one guy in Canuck's colours this year.

Or at least, it's weighing on the mind of the guy who represents him, Mike Liut, Corey Schneider's agent offered up the helpful thought, that while not critical of Canuck's GM Mike Gillis, it would be nice if he could bring the migration of Bobby Lou to a successful conclusion.

While paying tribute to Luongo's professionalism, talent and apparent longevity in Canuck colours, Liut did remind everyone that the idea was for Schneider to carry the bulk of the workload this year, having been anointed number one goaltender last season in the midst of the Canucks all be it unsuccessful playoff run.

Yet, with the arrival of this shortened season, it's been the well rested Luongo who has proven the most resilient, providing stellar goaltending and finding that those fickle fans in Vancouver have him as their top Valentine pick this month.

Schneider to his credit, minds to his knitting, putting in the practice time  and tonight stands ready to take to the nets in Minnesota, after Alain Vigneault's magic coin finally flipped his way.

The conventional thinking is that Luongo is still the one who will be moved, perhaps before the April 3rd trading deadline, or  perhaps for dramatic effect, as the feature attraction for the studio panels of TSN and Sportsnet on Deadline Day itself.

Or, maybe just to shake everyone up, the Vancouver GM will entertain some offers on the suddenly returned to back up duties Schneider, some suggest that the value of Schneider on the trade market may be of more benefit to the Canucks than the anchor of Luongo's long term contract.

Regardless, we imagine one of them changes uniforms on or before April 3rd, the Canucks need some help on offence and adding strength to the defensive game is something you can never go wrong with.

Last week, it seemed as though the Canucks were involved in their own personal version of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, with Mr. Gillis in the role of Carmen, there he was on TV in Washington, with rumours the next day of his arrival in Winnipeg.

From there we heard rumours of sightings in Toronto, Florida or wherever a rink could be found, the destinations popping up as fast as you could punch in GPS requests!

It seems at this point, really more a matter of finding someone to deal with and then pulling the trigger on the deal.

Towards that goal, the National Post's Sean Fitz-Gerald has provided a helpful crib sheet for the Canuck's GM, a road map to the end of the simmering goaltender controversy that never should have been.

Monday, February 04, 2013

The early season tribulations of John Tortorella

With a galaxy of star names to call on, one might be inclined to think that Rangers' head coach John Tortorella just walks into the office each morning and wonders where would be a nice place to put the variety of trophies that surely must be destined for Broadway.

But, in a season barely underway and already heading towards a playoff drive, the best plans, and even the best line combinations don't always work out as one might hope we guess.

Such is the state of the Ranger scoring two weeks into the truncated season (24th in Goals For)  that John Tortorella is already looking to shake up the line up, hoping to remove some of the lethargy from a team that coming out of the gate in a normal season, probably would have been running away to hide from the rest of the eastern conference.

However, while being only eight games in and just five points out of first is not a time to panic, their placement in the standings is it seems. giving Rangers fans a bit of a queasy feeling.

From Manhattan and the Bronx, over to Staten Island and across the bridge to Brooklyn and parts of Queens, there are rumblings of concern that the Rangers currently in ninth place are barely just holding off the Jets and Sabres below them.

As history has shown, Tortorella isn't shy when it comes to mixing his lines, looking to spark a player here or express displeasure with a player's performance there. Something that can take place in relative anonymity in the less interested of locations for NHL franchises, where a player is a player is a player is a player.

But in New York, where the payroll befits the largest market in the league, and attention to the Rangers is almost, if not equal to the Canadian cities (Financial commentator Larry Kudlow took time out from his WABC Saturday morning financial show to wonder aloud as to what's up with the Blueshirts) even ruminating on possibly having to move around the big guys makes for more than few casual observations.

Over the last few days the coach has weighed in with some thoughts on line up challenges and all of that and while he seemingly wants to keep  Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik (they ever think of calling it the G N' R line? a little Paradise City, or Welcome to the Jungle when they step on the ice...) as the premiere line combo in Blue, it would seem that if the rest of the lineup doesn't kick it up a gear or two, changes may soon have to be made.

NY Post-- Tortorella tweaking Rangers' line combos
NY Times-- Rangers' Kreider Faces Questions About Development
NY Daily News-- With Ryan Callahan out, NY Rangers finding consistency on second line ...

There are of course other issues in New York than just the line up on the ice, injuries have made the lineup a work in progress through the first few weeks of the season.

Also of concern to the coach (and the fans) is the ongoing problem of a tendency to take too many penalties, usually when momentum is there for a shift, and usually the result is a shift for the opposing team.

That's a case of focus and something that a coach has to reinforce, over and over again. Usually that's the role of a training camp and a pre-season, but in a year where just getting the game back on the ice was the goal, all of that has been left behind.

It's learn as you go time for the NHL and with it the need to adapt quickly to the obstacles that pop up as you head for the playoffs.

Saturday night the Rangers were on message.

NY Post-- Rangers' attention to detail pays off
NY Post-- Star's key goal fuels Rangers
NY Daily News-- Rangers Find balance and energy in 3-2 win over Lightning

Tuesday  in Jersey? Well who knows what the future holds.

In the case of the Rangers, keeping their head in the game and getting the supporting cast to ratchet it up is the required task ahead for Tortorella.

So far 2013 is proving to be a rather inconsistent season for the Rangers , a day to day thing, the problem is in a season as short as this 2013 campaign, you quickly find that the days to tinker with lineups and bring some focus to the game begin to dwindle.

NHL Rookie of the Month 2012-13

Our Archive of the selections of Rookie of the Month for 2012-13

March-- Los Angeles-- Jake Muzzin
February-- Florida-- Jonathan Huberdeau
January-- St. Louis -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Rookie of the Month - January

The first of the rookies to catch the attention of the NHL is the St. Louis Blues Vladimir Trasenko.

The Blues right winger a 19 year old from St. Jerome, Quebec, had a most impressive February, leading all rookies with six goals and collecting a total of 9 points over the thirteen games of the month.

He was selected in the first round of the 2010 Entry draft, 16th overall on draft day.

You can review the month that was for Tarasenko from the archive.

The full list of rookies of the Month for 2012 can be found here.

Perhaps some remedial refereeing classes might be of assistance

Sunday afternoon's matinee pre-Super Bowl warm up act of the Senators and Canadiens provided a wee reminder that the nature of this shortened season, perhaps means not everyone is on their A game just yet.

In this case, not so much the players, though there are still the kind of mistakes being made on the ice that a helpful pre-season and training camp might have taken care of, but in the case of Sunday, we discovered that the referees too might have benefited from some more intense practice time.

Probably if you want to watch Senator's coach Paul MacLean's blood pressure rise, ask him if he has any thoughts on what is or isn't goaltender interference.

Chances are, he is a fellow that doesn't like making unwanted financial contributions to the Gary Bettman swear jar, so he'll hold his fire, but, the thousand yard stare sometimes tells all.

The Senators thought they had battled back on Sunday, with a game tying goal that suggested momentum was back on the side of the red, white and black, yet to the eyes of the officiating crew for Sunday, young Senator sensation Jakob Silfvererg had seemingly mugged Habs goaltender Carey Price, waving off the goal sending Silfverberg to the penalty box and no doubt giving MacLean cause to seek out some relaxation music.


The only problem is, that upon further review as they say, it sure looks like Price was out of his crease, which basically turns him into just another pylon on the ice to deal with.

Needless to say, the waved off goal, which helped the Canadiens thwart the comeback of the Sens wasn't a popular call in Ottawa, in fact over the course of the game, the march to the penalty box on a number of questionable calls tended to help write the sports headlines for Monday morning.

The Ottawa Citizen offers up the ever popular the of "Senators burned by officials in loss to Canadiens", where the afternoon's work of Greg Kimmerly and Brian Pochmara was described as absurd.

Over at the Ottawa Sun, we learn how Senators GM Bryan Murray is fuming over the controversial call, with the Ottawa GM apparently more than aware that his thoughts might require a collection for the inevitable fine from New York.

Not surprising, the reviews of the game in Montreal, we're a little kinder to the Canadiens (and the officials for that matter),  Habs edge Sens for weekend home sweep, go figure!

In a sport where the officiating is more or less supposed to be the background of the game not it's centre stage, Sunday's matinee seemed to reverse those roles of importance for the guy's in stripes. And in a few of those instances it seems that perhaps they might require a refresher course from the league office as to what is or isn't a penalty.

Or maybe they can just pick up some tips off the Internet, available from the NHL's website are both a hard copy of the rules of the game and some helpful video tips on the theme of penalty calls.

We suspect, judging by Sunday at least, that some attention should be given to the goaltender interference videos, it could prove helpful heading down the road.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Interesting numerology for Selanne...

Helene Elliot of the LA Times calls our attention to a most remarkable achievement this Saturday night, the occasion of Teemu Selanne's 666th career goal.

Of course, those familiar with numbers and other mysteries of our times, may find something just a little eerie about the mark, something of the  netherworld (NO, not the Board of Governor's meeting rooms).

Perhaps the Church Lady can shed some light on Selanne's now mystical goal scoring powers have evolved.

. .

For Selanne's sake, lets hope number 667 comes quickly!

Otherwise, there's going to be a whole lot of attention paid to that number and maybe a call or two to the Vatican just in case...

NHL's Stars of the Month Archive for 2013

The archive of selections for the NHL's Stars of the Month for the 2013 season.


NHL's Stars of the Month for January

The first of the NHL's three stars selections for the 2013 season have been announced as Craig Anderson, Patrick Marleau and Thomas Vanek collect the accolades for January,  the first month of the labour troubled season.

Craig Anderson -- Goal-- Ottawa Senators

Patrick Marleau -- Forward -- San Jose Sharks

Thomas Vanek -- Forward-- Buffalo Sabres

A new migration pattern for the Coyote?

I beg your pardon, 
but can I promise you a Rose Garden?
(Our apologies to Lynn Anderson)

Just two days after the Phoenix Coyotes saga recorded yet another setback (a missed deadline of course, though really need you ask?), the final chapter of the NHL's longest mystery novel may yet be in sight.

Those ever lovin' wards of the NHL may yet find some love, as reports out of Phoenix tonight have it that yet another suitor may be making tracks to the desert, ready to see what kind of deal can be had for the NHL's bargain basement dogs.

The word first spread thanks to @Spector'sHockey twitter feed which provided a quick burst of news for those that can't get enough of the never ending tales of the Desert Dogs.

With the tweet, came a link to this Fox Sports Arizona website report that outlines some of the particulars of the latest in would be owners of the Coyotes, as what is described as a deep-pocketed (that would be a handy thing in Phoenix we guess) investor out of Calgary is back in the NHL's picture.

Bill Gallacher as the Fox Sports report reminds us is a Calgary oil mogul, who owns the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, described by many as perhaps the most professional like junior team in the entire CHL.

Gallacher is apparently a season ticket holder of both the Calgary Flames and the Calgary Hitmen and fills in whatever spare time he has between Calgary and Portland, with a side interest  in the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL.

Clearly the guy loves hockey, the question we guess is does he love losing money, as we have seen over the rather star crossed existence of the Coyotes, profit and loss is but a one way street, making a detour down the latter most times than not.

The thinking is that Gallacher won't touch the Coyotes unless he has some kind of move out of town card to play, with Portland clearly the most likely destination for him, what with the Rose Garden an NHL ready building and his marketing team already in place with the Winter Hawks.

Portland has frequently been mentioned as an NHL destination and now with talk of an eventual return of hockey  to Seattle  (nearly there in the 70's) (Stanley Cup champs in 1916-17) a three way rivalry between Seattle, Portland and Vancouver would certainly help the NHL brand in the Pacific Northwest.

For good measure, we're pretty sure the folks of Portland would love to have an NHL franchise before those Starbuck sipping northerners were to have theirs delivered, (even better if they could scoop up the team many think may be destined for the city) the NHL could be the focal point of a pretty intense rivalry of Pacific Northwest cities, one that harkens back to the days of the PCHA.

It all makes perfect sense, so no doubt, knowing how the NHL works, it won't happen, which is too bad, as it seems like a pretty logical solution to a long running problem.

And with a bit of research we find that even with a move to Portland, the team wouldn't have to change it's name, maybe a uni makeover to move away from the desert motif, but hey Coyotes apparently roam in Oregon.

If the numbers add up (and hell at this point maybe even if they don't), it's up to Gary Bettman and his most likley very weary of footing the bills Board of Governors, to open those Arizona gates and let the Coyotes begin their migration.

Headlines Archives 2012-13

The nature of the season has out archive a little haphazard this season.  We'll pick things up with February 1st, highlighting a gap through January as we tried to figure out if a) there was going to be hockey and b) if we wanted to bother covering it.

Obviously, we were glad to see the a) and after a bit of waffling, chose to follow the path of b) in the affirmative.

So with that preamble out of the way, here's the Headline Archives.


June 18-- Stanley Cup History is not kind to the Blackhawks
June 17-- Bruins seize the day and 2-1 Stanley Cup series lead over Blackhawks
June 16-- Blackhawks set to hunker down for long series
June 15-- Bruins rebound with overtime win over Hawks in Game 2 to even up Cup final
June 14-- Bruins' Milan Lucic finds success just in time
June 13-- Blackhawks fatigued, but energized after marathon Game 1
June 12-- Hawks win Game 1 epic in 3 OTs
June 11-- Bruins, Blackhawks offer something familiar, yet completely new
June 10-- Not Hart, not Vezina... just the guy who thwarted the mighty Penguins
June 9-- Blackhawks-Bruins Stanley Cup final 'good for hockey'
June 8-- Star turn behind him, Jagr happy to be one of the boys
June 7-- Bruins finish off dismantling of Penguins in four-game sweep
June 6-- Penguins still waiting for Sidney Crosby to put imprint on series
June 5-- Kane, Toews invisible for Chicago Blackhawks
June 4-- Tuukka Rask has silenced critics with playoff performance
June 3-- Bruins put wretched Penguins in deep hole
June 2-- Penguins must harness emotions in series with Bruins
June 1-- Blackhawks draw first blood on Kings in Western Conference finals


May 31-- Blackhawks, Kings series a clash of styles
May 30-- Red Wings' future suddenly looks much brighter
May 29-- Hawks heading to conference finals
May 28-- Kings beat Sharks in Game 7 to win Battle of California
May 27-- Bruins need a new plan when it comes to Penguins
May 26-- Sharks must find way to score on power play away from home
May 25-- Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews the poster boy for team's troubles
May 24-- Like it or not, Quick's still the storyline of these playoffs
May 23-- Staying Alive: Kreider's OT goal keeps Rangers season going
May 22-- Penguins rout Senators to take 3-1 series lead
May 21-- Rangers once again look for solace at Madison Square Garden
May 20-- Third line's the charm for Red Wings
May 19-- Sens complete thrilling Game 3 comeback
May 18-- Red Wings send Blackhawks strong message with Game 2 victory
May 17-- Sharks still debating dubious late-game call
May 16-- Blackhawks dominate third period in Game 1 win over Red Wings
May 15-- Hit on Kings' Jarret Stoll by Sharks' Raffi Torres could alter playoff series
May 14-- Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson expects team will make adjustments after Game 1 loss to Pittsburgh Penguins
May 13-- Maple Leafs season choked away in Game 7
May 12-- Orpik sends Penguins to series win in overtime
May 11-- Maple Leafs forcing Bruins to face their demons
May 10-- Senators rout Canadiens to reach second round
May 9-- Canadiens Goaltender Carey Price will miss rest of Senators series
May 8-- From bad to worse: Daniel Sedin penalty was a cruel end to the Canucks series
May 7-- Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle accentuates the positive
May 6-- Rangers' offence wakes up to cut Capitals' series lead to 2-1
May 5-- Senators rout Canadiens in fight-filled affair
May 4-- Ducks' shutout of Red Wings marred by violent hit
May 3-- Canadiens centre Lars Eller left unconcious after hit by Senators' Eric Gryba
May 2-- Canucks waste Roberto Luongo's strong performance in Game 1 loss to Sharks
May 1-- Penguins must make do without Sidney Crosby in Game 1

April 2013

April 16-- NHL cannot get enough outdoor games; five more planned for 2014, including Vancouver
April 15-- Bruins game postponed after Marathon attack
April 14-- Randy Carlyle and the Leafs are pretty hot
April 13-- Leafs hammer rival Habs
April 12-- NHL meets with IOC to discuss Sochi Olympics participation
April 11-- Canucks' emergency backup goalie gets a thrill
April 10-- Ilya Bryzgalov: "I don't care if Flyers buy me out"
April 9-- Avalanche goaltender J. S. Giguere lashes out at teammates: "I'm embarrased to be here"
April 8-- Jets catch scheduling break in final push toward playoff
April 7-- Ottawa Senators drop fourth in a row to lowly Florida Panthers
April 6-- Four NHL General Managers in desperation mode
April 5-- Jaromir Jager plans to step into any role Bruins need him to fill
April 4-- Ottawa Senators leading way with NHL rookies
April 3-- Roberto Luongo's contract hurts both him and Canucks
April 2-- Big Splash at NHL treadline no guarantee of Stanley Cup success
April 1-- Flames trade Jay Bouwmeester to Blues for draft pick, prospects

March 2013

March 31-- Penguins' Sidney Crosby out indefinitely with broken jaw
March 30-- Blue Jackets continued unexpected playoff push with win over Flames
March 29-- Red Wings win Dan DeKeyser sweepstakes
March 28-- Flames deal greatest legend in franchise history to Penguins
March 27-- Canadiens rally to beat rival Bruins
March 26-- Kings hang out with Obama at the White House
March 25-- Tampa Bay Lightning name Jon Cooper new coach
March 24-- Blame Yzerman, not Boucher, for Lightning's woes
March 23-- Cory Schneider, Canucks grind down Kings in shutout victory
March 22-- Recovery expected for Rangers GM Sather
March 21-- Sharks take game away from Oilers in shootout
March 20-- Jets on right path toward playoff appearance in sophomore season
March 19-- Senators forward Milan Michalek out indefinitely
March 18-- Ducks sign Corey Perry to eight-year contract extension
March 17-- Plenty of negatives for Canucks in disappointing loss
March 16-- Blues stay afloat despite all obstacles
March 15-- Oilers finally return home to begin bulk of playoff push
March 14-- Flames GM keeping quiet on trade options
March 13-- Canadiens capture fourth straight victory in shootout win over Senators
March 12-- Canucks' Mayson Raymond seals win over Blue Jackets with 'questionable' shootout goal
March 11-- Chicago Blackhawks' reaction to losing will tell us a lot
March 10-- Alex Ovechkin wants refs to "respect" Capitals
March 9-- Vancouver Canucks, owner dragged to court by Italian soccer club sports psychologist
March 8-- A Smaller place in NHL for fighting
March 7-- Marc Staal eye injury should be another wake-up call for NHL
March 6-- Jets have enough talent, so what's missing?
March 5-- Hossa, Hawks beat Wild, extend streak to 23
March 4-- Sidney Crosby scores in orgy of offence
March 3-- Canucks feel effect of snow storm, dropping decision to Flames
March 2-- Nazem Kadri: 'It's Only One game"
March 1-- Calgary Flames' bone-headed pitch to sign RFA Ryan O'Reilly backfires spectacularly

February 2013

February 28-- Gordie Howe's one-of-a-kind ferocity a distant memory for present NHL
February 27-- Canadiens-Leafs is not your average rivalry
February 26-- Rangers remade for Nash, now lack identity without star
February 25-- Ben Bishop stands tall in Senators win over Canadiens
February 24-- Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Hall agrees to disagree with suspension
February 23-- Colin Greening scores in final minute to give Senators win over Leafs
February 22-- Cult of Hockey - Hall's hit sends a message: Stop messing with us
February 21-- Tavares coming into his own, on and off the ice
February 20-- Buffalo Sabres fire Lindy Ruff as head coach
February 19-- Canadiens net fifth straight win against Rangers
February 18-- Taylor's first NHL start ruined by Coyotes
February 17-- Chicago Blackhawks close in on record with win over L. A. Kings
February 16-- If at first you don't succeed, get worse
February 15-- Senators' owner Eugene Melnyk takes aim at Matt Cooke over Erik Karlsson injury
February 14-- Sharp skates, no kevlar socks cost Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson
February 13-- Blue Jackets hire Kekalainen as GM
February 12-- Columbus Blue Jackets fire GM Scott Howson
February 11-- Mikhail Grabovski won't be suspended for allegedly biting Canadiens' Pacioretty
February 10-- Leafs-Canadiens ugliness shows NHL is truly back
February 9-- Bruins' Snow Day Against Lightning Joins New Jersey's '334' Game in NHL lore
February 8-- Want Roberto Luongo? NHL teams must 'pay a price': Canucks GM Mike Gillis
February 7-- New CBA bringin' on actual NHL hockey trades
February 6-- Vancouver Canucks buddies face up to no more roomies on the road
February 5-- Flames coach Bob Hartley does not think much of Calgary's slow start
February 4-- Canucks come back to defeat Oilers in overtime
February 3-- Senators burned by officials in loss to Canadiens
February 2-- Habs explode for six goals against Sabres
February 1-- Best of NHL's goalies playing like 'we're still in pre-season'

June 2012-December 2012

Cancelled, Cancelled, Cancelled: Labour talks timeline

Features of the 2012-13 Season

Our Archive of Items from the 2012-13 Season

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013
Memorial Cup Championships 2013
Trade Deadline 2013
World Juniors (Ufa, Russia) 2012-13
Spengler Cup 2012-13

NHL Awards Winners 2013
NHL Rookie of the Month Archive 2013
NHL Stars of the Month Archive 2013

The Owners Box 2013
Attendance Watch 2013

NHL Suspensions 2012-13
The Trading Post 2013
Hired to Be Fired 2013

NHL Entry Draft Page

2012 Free Agents Signing Tracker
Free Agents List

Friday, February 01, 2013

Markham arena project moves forward by slim margin

After seven hours of discussion and a meeting that involved over 500 residents, the city council in Markham, Ontario (a community north of Toronto) approved plans to move forward with a controversial 325 million dollar arena, the first step that those wishing for a second NHL team for Toronto hope brings that goal a little bit closer.

The vote split is indicative at just how controversial the GTA Sports and Entertainment project is in the community, the motion to move ahead passed by a margin of 1 in 7 / 6 split.

The proposed 20,000 seat multi-purpose arena is to be located the Highway 407 and Kennedy Road area of the community, the focal point it would seem of a proposed new downtown for the community.

The concept of if we build it, they will come, seems to be one of the guiding forces in  getting the plans developed and eventual footings in the ground, rumblings in NHL circles have it that Gary Bettman is offering up the lure of expansion fee money to his employers, the NHL Board, with Toronto's long desired second franchise apparently a tantalizing prospect.

Though Bill Daly who at times takes on the role of consigliere, was pretty quick to offer the hold onto your hats declarations on that prospect, suggesting that the NHL wasn't ready to expand, for now.

Considering the attendance figures of some of the member clubs, one has to wonder how expansion would ever fly in these teams, especially if ready to move in franchises seem to always be available for those willing to purchase.

Undaunted by the failure of the public funding concept as delivered in Glendale, Arizona, the proponents of the GTA centre of which Mayor Frank Scapitti is heading the parade, suggest that the prospects forToronto are very different situation than the one in Glendale.

The financials of the project would have the city borrow $325 million dollars which would be paid back over the course of twenty years by the Remington group, the backers of the project.

The project would offer up much of the new apparent necessities of such developments, along the lines of the LA Live complexes adjacent to the Staples Centre. Glendale also constructed a similar themed development, the only problem being that it's place on the Greater Phoenix sports map a hasn't provided for the kind attendance figures (for the hockey team at any rate) required to make the complex successful.

The folks in favour of the project in Markham are no doubt banking on the prospect that hockey fans in Greater Toronto are willing to travel a bit to watch a game.

Should the Markham project move forward and Gary Bettman turn over the deed to a new NHL franchise in the future, many feel that the dreams of Hamilton fans for their own NHL franchise would the be dashed.

Giving cause no doubt for more dislike of the neighbours to the east, something that doesn't take much to stoke at the best of times.

Toronto Star-- Markham arena to proceed with plan for public funding
Toronto Star-- Ex-Canadiens owner George Gillett noses around Markham arena deal
Toronto Star-- Markham arena risky proposition without guarantee of NHL team
National Post-- Markham's plans for NHL-ready arena live on, for now
National Post-- Markham's proposed NHL arena would come with no guarantees
Toronto Sun-- Markham council approves public funding for NHL-size arena