Meszaros to Tampa

What an interesting trade.....the Ottawa Senators have sent defenseman Andrej Meszaros to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defensemen Alex Picard and Filip Kuba.

Now, I know Tampa was just trying to strengthen their 'D' corps, but they may have actually weakened them. Kuba was set to be the veteran leader of the team, while Picard has the potential to follow in the steps of young defenders like Brent Burns and Mark Streit. Meszaros received heavy criticism for not being able to keep up his strong play from his rookie season after Zdeno Chara left for Boston.

Maybe it'll work out, but I doubt it....

More Short Events

It's been a little while since my last blog, with school starting and all that. But here are some more short stories out of the NHL world as of the 29th:

- Stu Barnes has officially retired, but, in the pattern of former Star Brett Hull (and in my opinion, to be followed by Mike Modano in the next 2-3 seasons), he has joined the staff of the Dallas Stars. Barnes announced his retirement yesterday, and was hired to join Dave Tippett's coaching staff as an Assistant Coach. He replaces the popular Ulf Dahlen, who was also a former North Stars and Stars winger. Dahlen left the team to take up a head coaching opportunity in his homeland, Sweden.

- Perhaps the biggest news comes from a subject I covered in my last blog; Joe Sakic has finally made a decision. The superstar center, who has spent his whole career with the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques organization, signed a one-year deal, most likely his last. A lock-in for the Hall of Fame, Sakic has remained productive throughout his entire NHL career. Although his 07-08 campaign was cut in half by injury, he still managed 40 points in 44 games. In 06-07, he became one of the oldest players to score 100 points, done in 82 games. Although he may not churn out the points near the century mark this season, there's no question that 'Burnaby Joe' will be a leader by example to give the Avs plenty of morale.

- A rumor has floated around the hockey world, that will most likely turn out true, and cause controversy regardless. Reportedly, Andrej Meszaros, defenseman for the Ottawa Senators, has agreed to an offer sheet contract with another NHL team. The team has not yet been revealed due to the unconfirmed status of the rumor, but the sheet is apparently worth $5 million a year, which is seen by many as pretty hefty for a defender who's NHL performance so far has been nothing too special. Others say that Meszaros is worth the money, but would be unwise to leave the Sens. I, for one, am none too judgmental on his skill level yet, but see this as a potential problem for the Ottawa organization. If a player who would essentially be guaranteed a roster spot next season decides to sign with another team, other UFA's and RFA's may see this as a lack of confidence in the team's strength and likelihood to make the playoffs, and depart as well.

That's all I'll say for now, I'll post as soon as I possibly can! Which might not be for a while!


Waiting for October...

Believe it or not, there actually have been a few things to write about in the NHL as of recently.

In no particular order, here are the stories I've noticed:

- Columbus Blue Jacket draft pick Stefan Legein has reportedly retired from hockey. The reaction from NHL fans across the country has been mixed. Some people respect the young man's ability to recognize his incomplete willingness to commit to hockey before starting a career, thus keeping himself out of a sticky situation. Others say he is making a brash decision that could keep him out of earning a consistent living.
The interesting point, though, is that the story has had an odd confirmation. Although it was reported in the Columbus Dispatch, which covers all things Blue Jackets, it would seem that the story has iffy beginnings. From what I have read, the original report claiming Legein was retiring was in an amatuer hockey blog. This blog's source was anonymous, and the blog was e-mailed to a reporter for the Dispatch, who reportedly confirmed the story with Legein. Oddly, Legein's parent's reportedly had no idea Legein was retiring until they were contacted by the media to confirm it.
I'm not going to criticize or support Legein, because my opinion would be biased by my own dream of reaching the NHL. I just am sad that he's decided this.

- Another story is the continuing saga of several NHL players who have yet to decide on whether or not they want to re-join the NHL for another season. Following the Niedermayer-Selanne act last summer, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Teemu Selanne, and Brendan Shanahan all remain unsigned, but have not annouced retirement. Sakic and Selanne are certain to return to their teams from last season (Colorado and Anaheim) or retire, so it's just a waiting game. No noise has come from the Shanny front since he announced he would like to return to the Rangers, and yet they weren't interested in him.
Sundin gets the most publicity. As far as I've heard, he's interested in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and the New York Rangers. Also, Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia Flyers GM) has publicly said he wouldn't mind having Sundin on his team. I'm fairly certain that he wouldn't go to Ottawa, the Sens being Toronto's biggest rival, and I've only heard slight speculation about Edmonton and Calgary. However, 5 teams in the race is still pretty big. All this waiting is getting annoying, though.

- The next story I'll bring up is an interestingly new (well, old, but new to my attention) point in the Alex Radulov case. Apparently, the KHL is fighting his signing with the argument that NHL teams have signed players such as Nikita Filatov, Viktor Tikhonov, Jason Krog, and Tomas Mozjis, who were allegedly previously signed with a team that was in/has entered the KHL. Now, I know Tikhonov was supposedly under contract at the time of his drafting, so there is a case to be made there. I had also heard something along those lines involving Filatov, but as far as Krog and Mozjis, I have no idea.
Either way, it's interesting to notice that the NHL said those players were free to sign with the NHL, but Radulov is not free to sign with the KHL. If Tikhonov and Co. were really under contract to Russian teams at the time of their NHL signings, it'll look a heck of a lot like the NHL is whining that they are losing a great player, while at the same time they couldn't care less whether or not other foreign leagues lose a key player to the NHL.
Take a look at this from the Russian side of things: the KHL has offered (not forced) a contract to Radulov, who accepted it, likely because he wants the money and he wants to play at home. The KHL sees this as fine, considering that teams in their league have been losing players to the NHL for years and years, and they've finally had enough. They've got to feel pretty cheated, which may be the main reason for this dragging out so long.
Maybe the NHL really should consider creating a world-wide hockey league. Yeah, yeah, travel would be ridiculous, but how about this: A superleague in each continent, with, oh, 40 teams per league. The NHL would expand into Canada and (if possible) Mexico, thus uniting North American professional teams. The KHL would expand throughout Europe (that, or the other European superleague that holds Swedish, Finnish, Czech, and Slovakian teams, among others, would overlap the KHL). I've heard of an Asian league that currently has 7 teams. This league could unite with whatever league is in Japan to create the Asian league. Now, I don't know that Africa, South America, and Australia could come up with enough teams to create their own Continent-wide superleagues, but if they each had, say, 10 teams, then they could make a collective league. Well, maybe not, for travel reasons, but, something could be figured out to include them as well.
Each of these superleagues would play out there individual seasons at whatever lengths, and have a playoff season to determine, not only a league champion, but the 4 strongest teams of the league (ex: Conference Finals participants). The 4 teams from each superleague would compete in a tournament to see who is the greatest hockey team in the world. Kind of a dramatically huge title, but it would be true, for that season.
That's my idea, anyways.

- A few more interesting notes (from 8-25-08, previous stories from 8-24-08):
+ Bryan Berard is going through his second straight year of having to attempt to make an NHL team through a camp tryout offer, rather than a contract. After making the New York Islanders on a tryout last season, the defenseman who was a high first round pick of the Ottawa Senators in 1995 has been invited offered a tryout to the Philadelphia Flyers camp. This is an interesting offer, because although Philly's blue-line is young, they definitely have 6 players who look to be locks on 'D'. We'll see how it turns out.
+ Congratulations to Vinny Lecavalier on regaining the captaincy for the Tampa Bay Lightning. This will give Vinny a much more obvious mentor role to Steven Stamkos (not that we didn't expect that anyways).
+ Ladislav Nagy has joined the list of NHL defects the the KHL, although he isn't exactly a 'defect'. Nagy did not land a contract with an NHL team this off-season, and signed with Cherepovets of the Kontinental League. However, Nagy's agent has stated that he would return to the NHL provided a team would offer him enough playing time to compete at a high level.



You know the hockey world is slow when you can find an article (http://rangers.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=379384) that is up simply to inform people that a start time for a game 4 and a half months away has changed to start half an hour later.


The name of Carle has a memorable story

I still feel sorry for David Carle, even though he appears focused on his next career.

For any of you who haven't heard his sad story, it goes as follows:

David Carle was a promising draft prospect who appeared ready to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Matt (Tampa Bay Lightning). He was ranked as high as 60th by Central Scouting when he was invited to the NHL Draft Combine. It was their that he first found out that he had a medical condition in need of attention. The day before the NHL Draft, Carle was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). He was informed that it would prevent him from playing hockey.
Pained by the devastating news, Carle and his family informed all thirty teams of his condition. I won't try to describe how they really felt, because I'd either be wrong, or not quite able to explain it.
The touching part of the story comes in the final round of the NHL draft. Lightning owner Oren Koules chose Carle at 203rd, as a gesture of kindness and recognition of his skills, rather than in an expectance of a return to the ice.
As quoted from http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=379857, " "(Tampa Bay co-owner) Oren (Koules) called and told me I worked too hard in my life to not get drafted and he just said to worry about staying healthy," Carle recalled. "He told me he drafted me more for the person I am." "

Now, according to that NHL article, Carle is off to become a student assistant coach at the University of Denver, and he'll also be a writer for the university's website and for ESPN.com. What a great way for a young guy to still share his hockey knowledge around the world.

NHL Community Radio

I've heard word of a new podcast/radio show planning to surface sometime in September.

Unlike a lot of fan podcasts (no offense, fans), this one already has one event that will strongly boost popularity. The host has already managed to grab an interview with Henrik Zetterberg, at some time in October.

The show is scheduled to air on Friday's, Saturday's, and Sunday's, which of course are the days most compatible with the schedules of many people.

As far as I know, the host has also attempted to contact Rick Nash, and a company that may be able to get him interviews with Marian Hossa and Alexander Ovechkin.

This show could get pretty big, people, so I'm spreading the word now! I'll let you know of the website URL and availability on iTunes the day I get word of them.


Poor, poor, Manny

I hope I'm not the only one who's noticed that Manny Fernandez has had the worst luck of any NHL goaltender throughout his career.

No, he hasn't been stuck with a horrible team, or played behind an ultra-porous defense (as a matter of fact, he was with one of the notably stronger defense's in the NHL with Minnesota).

Poor Manny has played alongside a competitive co-No. 1 in each of his 6 full seasons with No. 1 status. From 2000-01 to early 2005-06, Fernandez was fighting to control the starting job with Dwayne Roloson. In fact, during 05-06, when Fernandez became the solid starter after Roloson departed, the 58 games played by Fernandez that year were the most he has ever played in one season.

And unfortunately for Fernandez, the Wild decided to bring over highly touted Nicklas Backstrom, a Euro standout, to be the "back-up" goalie. Backstrom promptly played amazingly in his first few starts, and, thanks to an injury to Fernandez along with his exceptional play, split the starting time in half.

Over the summer, Fernandez became a Boston Bruin. As if it were fate, he suffered a season-ending injury early into the season during which he might have actually been the clear No. 1.

Now fully healed, Fernandez will split the playing time with Tim Thomas, the ex-European-journeyman-turned-NHL-starter. Thomas proved himself to be a legit starter last season, helping catapult the Bruins into the playoffs, albeit losing in the first round. Both Fernandez and Thomas will be motivated to prove themselves in net in order to win a strong contract as UFA's next season.

Maybe if Fernandez wants a secure starting job, he can keep his eye on Columbus and Los Angeles. Everybody has their eyes on Pascal Leclaire and Jason Labarbera/Erik Ersberg to see if they can handle the pressures of being a starter.


Rangers vs. Rays (8-16-08) & Phelps' 8th Gold Medal

To stray away from hockey for a day, last night was amazing.

First of all, I went to see the Rangers game on Saturday, which was awesome. For the first time that I've been at a game (I've been to about 5 others), the boys in blue and red got a win. It was actually a really good game, 3-0 Rangers, with great performances by Josh Hamilton, Matt Harrison, and Ian Kinsler.

Harrison had a great pitching night, only allowing 3 hits for Tampa, no one making it farther than third base. He personally struck out 8, a career best for him. More importantly, he kept it up all night, until the 9th inning, when he was switched out for Eddie Guardado. Cheers of "Harrison!" and "That's how to pitch!" could be heard throughout the night, several times from me.

Ian Kinsler had a strong offensive night, leading off by homering off the first pitch thrown to him. That definitely boosted the spirit in the building, and Kinsler, while not gaining another run, was the fan favorite that night. He caught one impressive fly foul right next to first base, nearly in the stands, and contributed to a double play later in the game.

Josh Hamilton was quiet on the offense, but made the play of the game at center field, stealing a home run away from Ben Zobrist. Michael Young RBI-ed a double, and Brandon Boggs walked with the bases loaded.

As a relatively new baseball fan (I'm only just now starting to care about stats and recognize players around the league, it stunk to miss Longoria for the Rays), I have to say, Tampa had one pitcher that confused the heck out of me. I'm sure there's a few guys like him, but Chad Bradford has one of the strangest throws I've seen in a while. It was (I think) side-arm, but he almost threw it underhand, like a softball. He still managed to throw it fast, but they only gave him one inning.

After the game, they had a few special events that I liked. A guy (can't remember his name, something like Ogie???) was raising money for a charity, and his big thing was hitting (and really swatting them out there, not just tipping them) 90 golfs balls in 70 seconds. And he did it, alright, with a good 4-5 seconds to spare. I was amazed, and it's even cooler that this guy was doing this to raise money for charity.

When he was done, they started the fireworks show, which really is one of the best in Texas. They were playing Elvis music during it, which was fun, and then they really got everyone happy when, just as the show ended, our attention was directed to the right field video board.

On the screen, they were showing the live NBC coverage of Michael Phelps' 8th Gold-medal winning race. That was just awesome for me. I only got to see a little bit of the Olympics, and that was the only live swimming race I was able to see.

Even better was just the whole USA spirit that you could immediately feel inside the ballpark. Every fan that had stayed for the fireworks was staring up at the screen, cheering and clapping. Several times people started "USA! USA!" chants, and tons of people were screaming "Go Phelps!" You could only just hear the excited announcing of the NBC crew, which basically made me feel like I was watching the movie Miracle, but Olympic swimming style. I loved it!

That was probably the most fun I've had since watching the Devils play the Kings way back when hockey season was still on, and I'll remember every moment of it.


Getting Worried (But It's Nothing To Worry About)

I've been noticing (as I'm sure everyone has) all these dozens of re-signings throughout the NHL.

It's got me thinking, are we ever going to see a strong free agency year again?

Rick DiPietro won't be up for grabs until he's long past any potential as an elite goalie. (2020-21)

Alexander Ovechkin's going to be a Capital until he might ("Gasp!") be a second-liner.

Thomas Vanek won't be able to explore his options until he's eaten at every restaurant in Buffalo (2013-14) and he'll be joined by Derek Roy (2012-13).

Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss are going to be roaming the beaches of Florida until I'm looking at college options (2012-13).

Martin Broduer will probably retire before his contract with New Jersey (2011-12) is up, and teammates Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus will outlast him by a year, contract-wise.

Trent Hunter will feel like a true veteran by the time his Isles 'tract is up after the 2012-13 season.

Scott Gomez will be at the mercy of Devils fans 6 times a year until 2013-14, providing he actually chooses to leave the Rangers at that time. Teammate Henrik Lundqvist will be "King" of New York until then as well, providing he chooses to leave.

I could go on and on, but I won't for the sake of your sanity.

Basically, quite a few NHLers on pretty much every team aren't going anywhere via the UFA/RFA market for a good while. Trades are always a possibility (and all too often a reality), but there's an ever-annoying answer to that as well, the no-trade clause. Hopefully some NHL GM's will learn from the fiasco that the Maple Leafs got into with no-trade clauses.

But that's my slightly important rant of the day, thanks for reading.

DALLAS STARS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The Underdog Calder Candidates

We all know that Steven Stamkos is all but a lock for the Calder Trophy, and his most likely competitors will be Drew Doughty and Kyle Turris.

But whatever happened to all those prospects that didn’t make the NHL in their draft year? A few of them make a good case for the Calder as well. Here’s a few:

T.J. Oshie:
The St. Louis Blues first pick in 2005 (24th overall), Oshie has garnered a lot of attention since signing an entry-level contract not too long ago. The University of North Dakota star had a career season of 52 points with the Fighting Souix, sandwiched by two 45 point seasons. In his draft year, Red Line listed his style as “comparable to John Madden.” I’m not sure how accurate that is, having never seen Oshie play, but he’s assured to be a strong NHL player.

Kyle Okposo:
There’s an assured bias coming from me when I talk about this NYI rookie, but I can back it up. Okposo has all the talent to be a high-end scorer in the NHL, although he might not become a Jarome Iginla, as many compare the Flames star and the young Isle. However, if 5 points in his first 9 NHL games doesn’t convince you of a good NHL future, I don’t know what will.

Shawn Matthias:
The Panthers prospect (the 47th overall pick of the Detroit Red Wings) has a strong chance of making the NHL for 08-09. Although he went pointless in 3 of his first 4 NHL games, he did score 2 goals in the fourth. He looks to be a second-line center who can put up points.

Derick Brassard:
In the wake of Steven Stamkos’ drafting and signing, Brassard has lost the hype of being the most exciting center to be entering the NHL. However, there’s no doubt that Brassard has enough offensive talent to be a top-line center in the NHL. His only trouble so far has been injuries, which seem to pop up during his most critical seasons. However, he’s shown that he can produce at every level.

Sorry if that looks like I copied stuff from other sites, but I definitely didn’t. I put stuff in my own words, I add my own thoughts, etc., etc. I would write about more but then it would take me a week or so. Enjoy, comment, and critique!


Player theme songs

I got this idea from a good friend of mine, Jamie, to click a player with a certain song that fits them. I would post the songs up here with each, but I'm not very good with embedding and such. Here goes!

Krys Barch: Right away, Barch came to my mind as a Bulls On Parade guy. That's cheating a little, as that's listed in his iMix in the iTunes store, but still. The song fits perfectly for a player like Krys, who spends his time on the ice hitting and fighting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-58-36lSqG4 -- Bulls On Parade, Rage Against the Machine.

Oleg Saprykin: The guy isn't popular, but he was really fast when he played in the NHL. Shockwave, from Black Tide, is a great song that just feels like speed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw4aqN0XlRc -- Shockwave, Black Tide.

Brenden Morrow: How about we go classic here, a good old Van Halen classic, Mean Street. Awesome rock, with a bit of an edge to it. Plenty like Brenden. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykUgaR6kmSE -- Mean Street, Van Halen.

Alex Ovechkin: I'm gonna stray away from rock here a bit, and give Ovie a song called Move for all his fakes. Fitting for the chorus; "Move!/If you wanna come get it just/Move!/Go ahead, turn it up and/Move!/You know what to do and you just/Move!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1V8mb--wmk -- Move, John Reuben. Pretty funny video, too.

The San Jose Sharks: Everybody (including me) thinks they're really close to winning a Stanley Cup. Why not give them AC/DC, For Those About to Rock? Perfect...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doHoE156RAo -- For Those About to Rock (We Salute You), AC/DC.

Steven Stamkos: Gotta root for the young guys! To me, Smells Like Teen Spirit is the perfect song for this kid. Even though the lyrics don't make sense, he's out there trying to prove that 18-year-olds can rock the NHL just like the vets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPQR-OsH0RQ - Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana.

Jarkko Ruutu: A super-pest sabotages the other team. I'll give Ruutu Sabotage from the Beastie Boys just for the name and the coolness of the song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sbqIyeed4g - Sabotage, Beastie Boys.

Sidney Crosby: What better for the U.S.'s young super sports star than a song titled "Youth of the Nation"? The message of the song doesn't exactly fit with boasting about how skilled Crosby is, but then again, it's hard to find a song with those kind of lyrics. I just think the title fits perfectly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF69iiGK5Uc - Youth of the Nation, P.O.D.

Niklas Kronwall: I'm gonna give him Ovie's popular song, "Boom!" from P.O.D., because the song is perfect for a guy with bone-crushing hits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EHFhc3BUms&feature=related - Boom, P.O.D.

Ilya Kovalchuk: Again, the song for him is more based from the title, but it's also an energy song fitting for a guy who scores a lot. When Kovie shoots, the goal looks like a "Supermassive Black Hole". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xsp3_a-PMTw - Supermassive Black Hole, Muse.

That's all I can think of for now, but I'll post more as I think of ideas. Be sure to check Jamie's too at her connect profile!