Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fun fact: No NHL head coaches have been fired, yet

No one sits in a hotter seat than an NHL coach. Typically, by this point in the season, one or more coaches are fired. Last season (2016-2017) was particularly brutal; five coaches were fired between November and February:

Nov. 27 - Florida Panthers fired Gerard Gallant
Jan. 17 - New York Islanders fired Jack Capuano
Feb. 1 - St. Louis Blues fired Ken Hitchcock
Feb. 7 - Boston Bruins fired Claude Julien
Feb. 14 - Montreal Canadiens fired Michel Therrien

Not every season is so turbulent, but the NHL has fired more coaches (38) in the last 10 years than the NBA, NFL, or MLB.*

So, it's unusual to see everyone who started the 2017-2018 season to still be employed with their respective teams. However, that doesn't mean that everyone is safe from the ax this year. There are a lot of reasons that a coach can get sacked, from not making the playoffs, to more unusual circumstances. You can even get fired after having a good season.**

Who do you think, if anyone, will get their walking papers this season?


081128 Claude Julien
Claude Julien, 2008
By Dan4th (via flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, December 4, 2017

Last-minute gift ideas for the hockey fan in your life

Just a friendly reminder that we have a couple of t-shirt designs that might be just the thing you are looking for, for the hockey fan who has everything. You can also get these designs printed on other things like home decor, bags, device cases, etc. Please check out my store on Redbubble.

The quality of the t-shirts and products that Redbubble prints on is very high, and we love the items that we've received from them.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fun Fact of the Day

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It's a great night for hockey!

15 games on tonight! Chances are, your team is playing on this eve before Thanksgiving (USA), unless your are a Blues fan, in which case, St. Louis is the only NHL team not on tonight.

So, why is that significant (besides the fact that it's a lot of games in one day)?

NHL history shows if you're not in position by Thanksgiving, you may go hungry at playoff time

It might seem early in the season to make playoff predictions, but at this point, division leaders have established themselves, and the wildcard contenders continue to battle it out. For the bottom teams, it is unlikely, if not mathematically impossible, for them to make the playoffs. However, there is a chance that we might see some movement in the standings after today, and the question is, "Which game to watch?"

I am personally attending the Canucks vs Penguins game tonight, which is worth watching just to see the reigning champs in action, but if there was another pivotal game happening tonight, it might be Blackhawks vs. Lightning. The Blackhawks have the most at stake as they need the win if they want a chance at a wildcard position. The Sharks are close on their heels, but they might not be that much of threat if they can't keep it together and get their win tonight, too. If the Penguins beat the Canucks tonight, that will also help the Blackhawks. The Lightning have a solid lead in their division, so if they lose tonight, it's not as much of a big deal. So, today is very important for the Blackhawks. Otherwise, don't expect much of a change in standings.

There aren't any NHL games scheduled for Thursday this week (Thanksgiving Day), but Black Friday is another full day with 14 games on the schedule, starting at 1 pm ET with Pittsburgh vs Boston (2017 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown). It will be interesting to see what the standings look like after this week!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Who's not playing tomorrow?

There are 15 NHL games scheduled for tomorrow. With 31 teams in the NHL now, which one isn't playing?
Answer: St. Louis Blues.

They are actually playing the Oilers tonight. Also playing tonight: Vancouver vs Philadelphia, and Montreal vs Dallas, which means that they are all playing back-to-back games. Except for St. Louis, that is.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hockey Fights Cancer: An update on Blues fan Arianna

I'm sorry in advance that this post is sad...

You may remember seeing stories last season about a little girl with cancer from St. Louis named Arianna. She is a HUGE fan of Vladimir Tarasenko and the Blues, and had the opportunity not only to meet her hero Vladi and his teammates... she and her mom traveled with the team on a 2 game road trip (through an auction item purchased by Tarasenko and his wife) and she was given the royal treatment by the entire team. She seemed to win over the heart of every person around her.

Well, I was looking around for updates about her tonight and I'm heartbroken to say that Ari is not doing well and her fight with cancer is nearing the end. I found the Facebook page kept by her family ("Fight Like Arianna") and they shared that her lungs are failing and all that can be done now is to keep her comfortable. And if that didn't make me cry enough, there are pictures taken within the last couple of days of Ari and her visitors, and two of the people who have spent time with her this week are her hero Vladi Tarasenko and his wife. I know this little girl made an impact on them and I'm so glad they were able to spend time with her.

If you have a chance, please send a positive thought or prayer up for her and her family and for all of the people who love her... Thank you -

#FightLikeArianna #HockeyFightsCancer #CancerSucks

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Shipachyov Drama Continues

As most of you probably know already, on October 24, Vadim Shipachyov was sent down to the Chicago Wolves for the second time in this regular season. While thus far he has not lived up to the 30+ scoring potential that he was acquired for, the demotion to the Wolves had more to do with Jonathan Marchessault returning from injured reserve. When this happened, the Golden Knights had to send a forward back down, and Shipachyov is waiver-exempt, so he was a logical choice.

It is, however, unsurprising that he was displeased with this assignment. The first time he was sent back down this season he was rumored to be ready to quit and go back to the KHL. This time, we are hearing the same stories again, but with more evidence of Shipachyov's displeasure.  On October 25, the day after he was sent back down to Chicago, his agent Petr Svoboda was given permission to start seeking a trade for Shipachyov.

Vadim Shipachyov did initially physically relocate to Chicago this time, but his stay there was short lived. He was present and participated in morning skate on Saturday October 28 prior to their game that night against the Milwaukee Admirals. However, by game time he was a no show. Head coach Rockey Thompson stated that he was unaware until two hours and fifteen minutes prior to puck drop that Shipachyov would not be playing that night.

Not only did Shipachyov fail to report for a game, at virtually no notice, he is also rumored to have left the state and returned to Las Vegas to be with his family. This unexpected absence forced the Golden Knights to suspend him without pay on Sunday. There have been no further details released as yet about the suspension. If it is similar to what happened with Jonathan Drouin and the Tampa Bay Lightning, and if Shipachyov were to return to Chicago and fulfill his obligations to the team while Svoboda continues to seek trade options, it is likely that the suspension would be lifted. I however, am not going to hold my breath and wait for that to happen, as it seems unlikely at this point.

By refusing to participate in practices and games with the Chicago Wolves, Shipachyov has damaged his chances of any NHL team wanting to pick him up. No one wants a player with these kinds of attitude problems, especially one who has failed to live up to expected performance. The Montreal Canadiens had already made public statements prior to the suspension that they were not interested in picking him up when they were approached by Svoboda late last week. I don't see any evidence of any other NHL teams showing interest in him up to now either.

This means his next likely step would be to either break or buy out his contract with the NHL and return to Russia or another KHL team, much as Illya Kovalchuk did in 2013 when he "retired" from the NHL just three years into a 17-year contract with the New Jersey Devils. This has been the most common rumor that I have heard. One thing to keep in mind though is that for any trade, or return to the KHL to happen, first the Golden Knights would need to terminate his contract or put Shipachyov on unconditional waivers, and as of this afternoon, neither of those things have happened. The unconditional waivers process is of course only needed if he chose to remain in the NHL or any of its minor league affiliates. The termination of contract would be needed to return to the KHL or another international professional league, if he chose to. The other factor that needs to be noted is that if Shipachyov were to break or buy out his contract, he would also have to pay back a prorated amount of his 2 million dollar signing bonus that he received when he joined the Golden Knights. As he seems willing to remain suspended without pay the money may not be his biggest motivating factor, but that is a sizable chunk of money he would have to come up with before he could return to the KHL.

There have been a number of different reports in the last several hours that Vadim Shipachyov is going to terminate his contract. He may well go that route. At present it seems more likely than and NHL trade, or than Shipachyov suddenly deciding to report back to Chicago and play there until a trade can be arranged. As of now though no official word has come down from the NHL or the Golden Knights organization that Shipachyov's contract has been terminated. This gives some of Shipachyov's supporters and fans hope that he may be able to work things out. Myself, given his attitude of refusing to play when he does not get his way and the fact that in the preseason as well as so far in the regular season he has failed to live up to the potential he was hired for, I would just as soon see him part ways with the team.

I believe that Shipachyov will choose to ride things out just as they are now. It seems that he is content to remain in Las Vegas with his family and accept the suspension. He appears confident the Svoboda will be able to find him a spot and a contract where he will get the level of play he wants. Most likely this will back with a KHL team. Shipachyov has a good reputation with the KHL for high level performance and two Gagarin Cups in recent years. Unless he is willing to demonstrate his ability to be a team player and fulfill his responsibilities as a team player by returning to the Wolves and playing well, I don't see another NHL team being willing to take a risk on him.

I don't believe that this will be a quick process though, it may be weeks or months before Svoboda can find him a new team to play for, unless someone in the KHL is desperate to have him back. SKA, his former team is doing extremely well without him this season though. So my guess it would have to come from a KHL team that thinks he would drastically improve their chances for the Gagarin cup. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

Right now the Golden Knights have bigger problems than what to do with the Russian who refuses to play. Goalie Oscar Dansk was injured in last night's game with the Islanders. This makes now three Vegas goalies to be out injured in just 10 games.