NHL Trade Deadline Lacks Excitement

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Yesterday was the NHL’s trade deadline. I was excited and ready for something crazy to happen. As expected there was tons of talk about Rick Nash and his desire to be traded (Blue Jackets GM, Howson, even came out and said Nash asked to be traded- see update comment on Rick Nash article). But nothing really happened.

Yes, trades were made, but was anything really substantial? No, probably not. In fact, the trade deadline ended up being so boring compared to other years, the people tweeting trades had to discuss trades that were being turned down rather than accepted. I don’t know how many times I had to hear that the Sharks were not willing to offer up Couture for the Nash trade, or the Rangers didn’t want to dissipate their young core of players by paying too much for another forward. And then their were the players reactions on twitter. These ranged from thanking the city they played in, welcoming new teammates, to tweets from players not being traded at all.

Maple Leaf’s Joffrey Lupul tweeted this:

It seemed that everyone was trying to buy star players, but no one was willing to sell. Some teams (the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames…etc.) did not make any splash in the trade-realm at all. No one was traded or added. The overall count for trade-deadline Monday was 32 players involved with 11 draft picks and 16 trades.

The team with the biggest moves seemed to be the Nashville Predators. They traded draft picks and prospects for winger Andre Kostitsyn, center Paul Gaustad, and a 4th round pick (not to mention their acquisition of the amazon-of-a-defenseman Hal Gill last week). The Preds are making moves because they want the cup now. With some of their best players’ contracts ending in the next year or two (including Shea Weber and Ryan Suter), they need to make their cup push as soon as possible. It is hard to say if the choices were really worth the price though. What happens if Weber and Suter leave and the Preds have no young prospects? This years trades were definitely fueled by short-term rather than long-term goals for Nashville.

At this point, it is also hard to tell who the winners really were this year. The consensus around the NHL is that the Canucks made some nice trades and really lucked out with their trade for Pahlsson. This was another short-term push for the Canucks who are itching for the Stanley Cup. They ended up trading off one of their best prospects, rookie Cody Hodgson to the Sabres. I am just left to wonder what will happen to these teams in the upcoming years with all these short-term goals. Are the acquired players for the Canucks and Preds good enough to take them to the Stanley Cup? To be honest, the Canucks probably have a better chance than the Preds.

Do you think any deadline day trades will be particularly successful? Were you disappointed with the lack of big moves made?

To see the other trades that took place, feel free to check out my twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/fiveforboarding where I was tweeting the trades on Monday as they were happening.

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NHL Trade Deadline- All Eyes on Rick Nash

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This year’s NHL trades have gotten off to a slow start. A couple key players people thought would be shuffled around the league have been re-signed to their respective teams (Tuomo Ruutu, Andy Sutton…etc.) But what everyone seems to be waiting for is some of the bigger trades that are bound to happen right at the trade deadline. One of the most watched candidates for a trade is Blue Jacket’s captain, and 2o02’s 1st round draft pick, Rick Nash.

Numerous teams seem to be interested in the right-winger. And who wouldn’t be? I mean, he has had 42 points this season thus far. Despite playing for the worst team in the league (and subsequently hovering at a staggering -21 +/-, yeah, ouch!) Nash has managed to look desirable to other hockey clubs.

With the potential trade, Columbus could start to rebuild their franchise with a stronger goalie and a couple promising young players. This is obviously a dangerous move for the Jackets, and no one knows just how serious they are about trading away their captain. On the other hand, another team might be willing to pay big bucks or offer a serious trade to add Nash to their team as the missing piece to a Stanley cup victory.

Offers have started to come through from San Jose (off-season deal), the Rangers, Flyers, Kings, and Maple Leafs. Some look promising (Sharks, Rangers, and Kings) and others look like they will fall through. The Flyers deal will fall-through because of the price and the fact that the Flyers have already begun to make moves with the signing of Kubina (sidenote: this is much more important for the Flyers anyway, they need to build up their defense not their offense). There is really no way of knowing if the Jackets will hold off until the off-season or start making moves sometime before February 27th.

Another interesting chance to snag Rick Nash might be the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although the Penguins do not really have the cap money left to pick up someone with such a hefty price tag, they would certainly be able to if GM Ray Shero knew that Crosby wouldn’t be able to play for the rest of the season. With Crosby on long-term injury reserve, his 8.7 million paycheck also doesn’t count into the Pens’ salary cap until Crosby comes back. The only problem with this however, is there is still no timetable for Crosby’s return. Without knowing when Sid will be able to play, this trade is not really a safe one for the Pens (unless Ray Shero knows something we don’t).

Overall, I don’t really think any of the trade propositions I have heard of so far are worthwhile for the Blue Jackets. They do need to start rebuilding their team, but I am not sure trading away their captain (who should be the glue holding the team together) is the best plan of action. Maybe something will happen closer to the deadline, but I think if the Blue Jackets are smart they will hold on to Nash unless they get a stronger offer (ex. If the Sharks went back on their rejection of the Couture/Nash trade).

Do you agree? Will Nash stay with the Blue Jackets? Who do you think is offering the Jackets the best trade?

A 2nd Period to Remember, Spotlight Pens vs. Flyers, 2/18/12

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Today’s Pens vs. Flyers game was a great spectacle. The teams have an awesome rivalry that has just grown over time. Recently adding to the rivalry was Max Talbot’s trade to the Flyers and Jagr’s decision to pursue the end of his career in Philly rather than in Pittsburgh. Fans have also learned to love each team through their up-close actions shown on HBO’s 24/7. Both teams have hosted the Winter Classic, both have made it to the Stanley Cup final in the last 3 years and this season they are both contenders despite being plagued with major injuries to some of their star players.

The game today was close with goals continuously being traded back and forth throughout the game. The first goal came from Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke only 3 minutes into the game. His goal was overshadowed by the pair of goals from Jagr that finished out the 1st period. Yeah, you can imagine how bitter Pittsburgh fans must have been about that.

With the Pens down 2-1 after the first, they fought back in the 2nd period. The first goal of the second was an impressive short-handed goal by Pens’ center Jordan Staal. About a minute after Staal’s shorty goal, Cooke managed to do the impossible. He scored on a breakaway while the Pens were down 2 men! The Cookie Monster really came out to play!

Flyers players were visibly furious on the ice. If the 2nd period wasn’t exciting enough after two short-handed goals, the Flyers ended up getting a major break from Pens’ defenseman Deryk Engelland. Engelland tripped on the ice and let Wellwood get off a quick shot near the end of the 2nd period. Wellwood ended up scoring off Engelland’s major mistake. After Wellwood’s goal the 2nd period ended at 3-3.

After the excitement of the 2nd period, the 3rd turned out to be pretty lack-luster in thrill-factor (especially if you are a Flyers fan). The Pens scored 3 goals and left the Flyers goal-less until the last minute of regulation. Pretty exciting game overall and definitely a rivalry that is worthwhile in the NHL.

I will upload the individual play videos when they go public on YouTube, but if you want to see the game recap and the goals I am talking about here is a link where you can watch it! —> http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20112012,2,865

NHL in Seattle?

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Will Seattle ever have an NHL team? It seems that the issue keeps coming up from various sources in the NHL and Gary Bettman made it sound like it was definitely possible. A couple questions arise when discussing this issue:

Why now? Well, plans are being unveiled for Seattle’s new arena that will be easily accessible for both basketball and hockey teams. San Francisco’s Chris Hansen (who is actually from Seattle and is a hedge-fund manager) is interested in bringing a basketball team back to Seattle. He has bought up land near Safeco Field (see the Seattle Times picture to the left) which is in the perfect location for a new arena. The question is, will Seattle be able to get both a basketball team (which is what Hansen and his investors seem most interested in), or will there also be opportunity for a hockey team to move into the arena?

Chris Hansen and investors have talked about bringing in an NBA team to Seattle and it seems possible considering the amount of money and passion behind the idea. Hansen has continuously talked to Seattle media about how the Supersonics impacted his childhood. Hansen has his eyes on prize (which happens to be the Sacramento Kings) and seems focused on bringing the sport he loves back to the city he grew up in.

But, what does this mean for potential Seattle hockey? According to Gary Bettman, Seattle (as well as 5 other cities) seem to be options for a hockey team that might re-locate. Bettman has stipulated that definite arena plans must be made before the NHL will approve a relocation. And every other city that seems to be an option doesn’t seem very simple. Quebec would love for a new team to come up North, but the Nords’ old arena is fairly small and rundown. Kansas City was another option raised, but is mid-America really the best place to attract hockey fans and why hasn’t any team committed to the new arena since it was built in 2007?

According to the Globe and Mail, AHL Chicago-Wolves owner, Don Levin came out today and told Hansen he would be interested in getting involved with bringing a hockey team to Seattle. This is a major step in getting Hansen and his basketball-minded investors to start thinking about the dual-benefits of a multi-purpose/multi-sport arena. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that Don Levin has been interested in owning an NHL franchise for the last couple years.

And where would this team come from? It is nearly impossible to start a team from scratch in the NHL, and with realignment talks already in the works, this deal probably needs to go through fast. The only team that I think really has a chance of being relocated is the Phoenix Coyotes. Their fan base is weak, attendance is the second-worst in the league, the team is being run by the NHL, they have only won a couple more games than they have lost, and Arizona is not quite a place where ice-cold hockey fits in with the local culture. Not to mention the fact that the Coyotes have been losing money ever since they left Winnipeg to come to Arizona. But will Levin be accepted by Hansen? Will he be able to lure the Coyotes up North?

Hatty Valentine’s Day Courtesy Spezza and Kovalchuk

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Two NHL players had a ‘Hatty’ Valentine’s day yesterday night. The first hat trick was from Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators and the next was from Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils. Both teams ended up winning their games. Good Valentine day gift for fans from New Jersey and Ottawa! Here are those highlights:

Spezza’s hatty (I like the delay before the shot on the 2nd goal): 

Kovalchuk’s hatty (Check out Parise’s steal on the 3rd goal): 

Valentine’s day also proved to be fairly interesting on social media with the hashtag #nhlvalentines. People took the opportunity to create their own ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ poems, completely bashing other teams and boosting their own. Alright here are some favorites (for some of the more racy ones, just search the hashtag):

20 Consecutive Home Game Wins for the Wings

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With tonight’s Wings win over the Flyers, Detroit is starting to look unstoppable. Tonight marks their 20th consecutive home-game win. The Red Wings have never accomplished this feat in franchise history. In fact, the only other teams to ever replicate what the Wings have done over these last 20 home games, were the 1929 Bruins and the 1976 Flyers. Impressed yet? It looks like Detroit has a lot going for them. Can you imagine what it could mean if Detroit kept winning like this until the Winter Classic and 24/7?

Tonight’s 4-3 win should be attributed to the effectiveness of the Red Wings powerplay (2 goals on the PP). PP goals were attributed to Kronwall and Datsyuk. Mike Babcock (the coach of the Wings) even said, “We got credit for two power play goals, but really (the Flyers) never got out of their zone on the third one at all, so we basically had three power-play goals.” Pretty impressive. Especially because different power-play units got the goals. Overall, a major congratulations to the Wings. Now, they just have to make sure to not let the wins go to their heads and stay focused for their next home game against the Dallas Stars (shouldn’t be too tough right?)

2013 Winter Classic, Great for City of Detroit and NHL Fans

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The NHL had their press-conference at Comerica Park today to discuss the 2013 Winter Classic. It was officially announced that the game will take place at the University of Michigan’s Big House and will be an original six match-up between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. Most of us already knew this, but it was nice to get confirmation and also hear some new details about the festivities surrounding the Winter Classic.

Speeches were made by league commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners of both the Wings and the Leafs. Bettman said that extra activities would take place in Detroit including open skates on the outdoor ice and numerous other hockey games. This ‘Hockeytown Winter Festival’ that will take place mostly around Detroit and Comerica Park, will include minor league affiliate battles (Granad Rapids Griffins vs. Toronto Marlies), OHL games (Saginaw Spirit, Plymouth Whalers, London Knights and Windsor Spitfires), youth games, and the Red Wing vs. Maple Leaf alumni game. The press-conference speakers kept repeating that there will be “something for everyone” which certainly seems like it must be true if you like hockey at all.

There was also a video shown during the press conference that featured past Winter Classic games and the age-old rivalry between the Wings and the Leafs. This rivalry was also talked about by owners during the conference. One of the stats given was that the Wings have played the Leafs 644 times. The Leafs have won 276 of those games while the Wings have won 275 (I realize this does not add up, I am assuming they were not accounting for ties). Pretty close though wouldn’t you say? The rivalry was said to have peaks in the 40s and 60s.

This game will be the largest Winter Classic ever played. The Big House is said to hold 109, 901 seats for the game which is much higher than any other Winter Classic game ever played. This game also has the potential to be the biggest hockey game of all time. Yeah, pretty amazing.

Is this the best thing to ever happen to Michigan/Detroit? There is definitely a convincing argument that could be made. Detroit or “Hockeytown” as they refer to themselves, are huge hockey fans and they seem thrilled to have the chance to host the Winter Classic. And the city could really use the positive impact of the Classic (socially and more importantly economically). And the $3 million the NHL is paying the University of Michigan to rent the Big House has to be huge for students and the people affiliated with the University. What is best is there is no way we will have to worry about weather delays this year- Michigan is darn cold!

Spin-O-Ramas taking over NHL Shootouts, One Spin at a Time

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Over the last couple years, there as been an increase in the number of shootouts in professional hockey. Because of this, a new trend has begun to form amongst NHL players. 

May I introduce you to: The SPIN-O-RAMA (yes, the capital letters were needed for major emphasis).

What is the Spin-O-Rama you ask? Only a phenomenally exciting technique/move used by the best players in the league to school goalies and get their team a win after overtime. Some Spin-O-Ramas were featured during the shootout elimination challenge during the all-star game and Evgeni Malkin successfully converted one against Carey Price last night. See that video here:

Spin-O-Ramas are thrilling to watch and are way more effective than you would imagine. Who knew spinning in a circle and shooting the puck at the last second could throw off a goalie so much? You just have to make sure progress continues forward during your spin (people who play NHL ’12 and have tried this move know just how difficult this can be). Here are some of my favorites from the last couple years.

Steven Stamkos at the All-star Game: 

Todd Bertuzzi: 

Martin St. Louis:

Jason Blake: 

Best Super bowl Commercial- Potentially about Hockey?

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We have all been watching the teasers for the ever-exciting Super bowl commercials for the last couple weeks. We’ve looked forward to a new Ferris Bueller movie only to realize it is really just a Honda commercial, and we can’t wait to see what Darth Vader and Volkswagen have to offer. But, has anyone seen this commercial set to air in Canada during the Super bowl?

Is this commercial (which will be missed by hundreds of thousands of Americans) going to be the highlight of the content rather than ad commercials? I think Budweiser has hit this out of the park. It is exciting, it takes some energy away from the football grind, and it shows hockey at its finest. Watch this commercial and I dare you to not yearn for what Budweiser has just given these Rec-hockey players. Doesn’t everyone want to be recognized and cheered- and feel like a professional athlete? Makes me wanna go buy a Budweiser! How about you?

 

Credit: Video was sent in by Dave Grachnik– thanks!