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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Father Backs Up Son in First Professional Hockey Start - The Goal-tending Drama Continues for the Kings Organization!

     This 2016-17 season started off badly early on.  As I am sure every one is aware, this season has already been plagued with injury for the Los Angeles Kings goaltenders.  Jonathan Quick, already out for at least 3 months with a groin injury in the opening game of the season, was replaced by Jeff Zatkoff formerly of the 2016 Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins.  Tragedy struck the Kings a second time this morning during a pre-game practice skate for the game this evening with the Vancouver Canucks.  Zatkoff had to be helped off the ice in the middle of practice, and it was later confirmed that he also suffered a groin injury.  The severity of this injury has not yet been released, but Coach Sullivan did state that Zatkoff would be out a minimum of 7 days.  This puts the formerly 3rd string net-minder Peter Budaj in the 1st line position at least temporarily.  Budaj does have both of the Kings wins this season.  One in over time in the game against the Dallas Stars on Thursday, and he managed to hang on and help the Kings get their second win of the season in a shoot out tonight against the Canucks.  Budaj, even though he was only supposed to be the 3rd line goalie for the Kings, has stepped up to the plate with confidence despite a shaky start to the season.
       Having both Quick and Zatkoff out with groin injuries has caused problems for their AHL team the Ontario Reign as well.  The Reign lost Peter Budaj to the Kings of course after that first game.  Now with Zatkoff also out on the injured reserve list, the Kings were forced to call up goalie Jack Campbell to be Budaj's back up.  This afternoon the Reign found themselves without a starting goaltender for their game against the Barracuda.  They called up Jonah Imoo, an undrafted goalie on a PTO with the Kings organization this year, to be the Reign's starting net-minder.  Imoo is 22 years old and got his first ever professional hockey start tonight.  However no team can start a game without a back up goalie, and this is where things got somewhat comical for the Reign.  Without any other options for a backup goalie they called upon Jonah Imoo's father Dusty Imoo, who filled in as back up for his son.  Dusty Imoo, is of course also affiliated with the Ontario Reign team being their goalie coach normally.  So at least he has a good amount of knowledge and experience with the position as well.  Dusty is in fact a retired professional goal tender himself, though he played the better part of his goalie career with the Japaneese League team Seibu.  The elder Imoo even played for Japan in the 1998 Olympics.  Though at this time both he and the Reign head coach Mike Strothers of course agree that, Jonah, the younger Imoo is the superior player.  Sadly for the Reign and the Imoo family they fell to the San Jose Barracuda 5-4 in over time.  Nothing quite this crazy has happened with goaltenders at the professional level since December of 2015 when the Toronto Marlies called upon David Ayers, the Mattamy Athletic Centre's operations manager and zamboni driver at the Rioch Coliseum, to back up Jonathan Bernier.  Ayres was later offered an amateur  tryout contract by the Marlies in Febuary of 2016.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Kings Finally Have a Win!

     The Los Angeles Kings came into tonight's game against the Dallas Stars with a dismal 0-3-0 record.  The Stars had been third in the Central Division with a record of 2-1-0 before tonight's game.  If anyone had asked me before the game who I thought would win, I would not have hesitated to say the Stars would take the game easily.  The Kings have been having a rough start to their season and had not been playing up to their potential even without having Jonathan Quick in goal.  The Kings however had never in their 50 year history started the season with 4 losses and thankfully for the Kings that is still true tonight.
     The Kings came out fighting and controlled the game leading from early in the game.  This was a key for the Kings to have a chance at wining tonight.  The Stars are historically a high scoring team and if they allowed them to take the lead they would have been doomed to suffer yet another loss.  The Stars still played a tough game and worked hard to tie the game first at 2 in the second and finally at 3 late in the third.  Peter Budaj stepped up to the plate and played strong holding on and trusting his team to help him out when the game was tied and went into overtime.  Another thing the Kings did well was control things on the penalty kill allowing only 1 power play goal for the Stars out of 6 power play opportunities throughout the game.  The Kings defense also played much better than they have thus far giving Budaj better protection and helping to keep the score relatively low for the Stars.
     For offense Nic Dowd got his first NHL goal in the 1st to give the Kings the early lead, in the 2nd Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson scored to keep the momentum going and hold onto their lead, and in over time Alec Martinez was the hero of the game scoring the wining goal with 1:20 left in the OT period, giving the Kings their first win of this 2016-17 season!  The win was not clean or pretty, but it was a win, and in the end that is all that matters.  They have proven that they can win without Quick.  Now they just need to keep that momentum going, and have more games in the win column than the loss until Quick is healthy again.  If they can manage this small miracle, then the Kings might be able to keep their playoff hopes alive.... only time will tell.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Two dramatic comeback wins: Jets @ Leafs, and Sharks @ Pens

Not one, but two dramatic come-from-behind wins this week:

Jets @ Leafs

Wednesday, the Winnipeg Jets managed to turn a four-goal deficit into a win in OT against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs had two goals in the first period (Carrick, Kadri) and two goals in the second (Nylander, Kadri), and it looked grim for the Jets, but then Myers scored at 13:04 in the second. Perhaps that was all the Jets needed to rally, and then tie things up in the third with goals from Laine, Scheifele, and Laine again. Patrik Laine also ended up scoring the winning goal in OT at 2:40.

Remember last week when Leafs rookie Auston Matthews scored an unprecedented four goals in their home opener? Well, here's another remarkable rookie performance for you in Patrik Laine.

Sharks @ Pens

The Pens were down by two goals, and down to only four defensemen (Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta left the ice in the second period with injuries) when they came back in the third period against the Sharks with three epic goals on Thursday.

The Sharks scored two goals in the first period. Patric Hornqvist scored in the second period, but the goal was waved off. How did the Pens turn things around in the third? Hornqvist looked really disgruntled at the no-goal call, and must have decided that he wanted it back. His determination must have been contagious because the Pens decisively took back control, and Malkin and Wilson came through with goals in the third period to even the score. Hornqvist scored the winner with 5:28 remaining.

This third period gave me flashbacks from the Stanley Cup final this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Jonathan Quick - No Surgery

     As most of you know Goalie Jonathan Quick suffered a groin injury late in the first period of the Kings game against the Sharks last Wednesday.  Initially GM Dean Lombardi was quoted as saying that Quick would be out for a while.  In the ensuring days we heard several ambiguous follow up reports as to the extent of the injury, and Quick was placed on a week to week status.  Then late last week Coach Sutter announced that after Quick's MRI the injury was deemed to be severe and related to the same groin injury he suffered in 2013, and would likely require surgery.  Sutter provided an estimated 3-4 month time frame before we could expect to see Quick return to the ice.
     Today however the Kings organization announced that Jonathan Quick had opted to undergo a non-surgical procedure yesterday.  There has as yet been no clarification or explanation as to how extensive the injury is or what non-surgical treatment Qick received or is receiving during his recovery.  That being said, especially with his history of previous groin injury, I am concerned that Quick and or the Kings organization are trying to rush his return to play.  While undoubtedly the Kings are suffering a tremendous handicap not having Quick's leadership and goaltending skills present in the early games of the season, his overall health and long term fitness to play should be of higher concern.  If he rushes back before he is ready or tries to shortcut the treatment he could end up either right back out on injury again, or worst case scenario it is possible that with further damage it could even end his career.  At this time Lombardi is still holding firm to his assessment that Quick is expected to be out for three months, and the organization has not put him on long term injured reserve.  This not only implies that Quick is expected to return to play within the three months being quoted, but that the Kings are counting on this hypothetical timeline being a virtual guarantee.  By not putting him out on long term injured reserve they will not be able to free up any of Quick's 5.8 million dollar annual salary.  With the team already being so close to salary cap this means that they will not even be able to attempt to replace Quick or Zatkoff and Budaj with a more experienced front line goaltender even if they could find a suitable player.
     This lack of an experienced first line goalie has been one of the key contributors to the Kings 0-3-0 record so far this season.  Though Zatkoff and Budaj are certainly not entirely to blame for the losses thus far, the Kings as a team have grown dependent on the elite skills of Jonathan Quick in goal.  It will definitely take time for the defensive lines to change from the accustomed style of play that having Quick's skill set in goal has allowed them to develop.  They will need to provide more support in front of the net for either Zatkoff of Budaj to be as successful in reducing scoring chances and allowing for the team to start putting some games in the win column.  Unfortunately time is not on the Kings side as many of the teams in the Pacific Division have started the season strong.  It will be a long climb form the basement of the division back into playoff position, and the longer that Quick has to be out without the team taking any measures to reinforce the goalie position with a player more accustomed to their style of play and with more experience as a first line goaltender, the less likely it is that the Kings will find themselves in playoff contention this season.  That is of course barring the possibility of at least two or more other teams in the division having catastrophic injuries or otherwise tanking their season, which no one wants to hope for.  I still believe even having said all of this that overall in the long run the Kings would be better off to make sure that Jonathan Quick takes all the time he needs to get this injury properly treated and fully recover, rather than risk losing him into next season as well or even permanently.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Western Conference - week 1

     It has definitely been an interesting week one of the 2016-17 season.  It is still very early in the season so the standing as of now don't really mean much, however there have been a few surprises.  Many teams are still getting the feel of new line ups, and newly acquired players are trying to get the rhythm of their teams.  Other teams are struggling with unexpected injuries already which have effected the standings. My focus in this post is the Western Conference and their performance in this first week of the season.
     For the Central Division right now the St Louis Blues are in the number one spot having won all three of their games last week.  They had a big win over the Chicago Blackhawks on opening day of the season, the final score there being 5-2, they then played the Minnesota Wild on Thursday with a closer game winning 3-2, and finished out their week yesterday with another 3-2 victory this time over the New York Rangers. Seeing the Blues in the top of the division is not a huge surprise as they had a strong team last year and a good playoff run.  The bigger surprise is that the bottom 2 in the division, at the end of week 1, are the Nashville Predators and the 2015 Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks.  The Predators played 2 games last week and have 1 win and 1 loss both with the Blackhawks.  Nashville played Friday night as the first game of their season beating the Blackhawks 3-2, only to turn around and play them again Saturday suffering a 5-2 loss.  The Predators have already suffered 2 notable injuries in these fist 2 games of the season.  In the first game Defenseman Anthony Bitetto was injured during a fight with Chicago's Jordin Tootoo and left the game, he is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with an upper body injury.  Then on Saturday Mikka Salomaki was hurt blocking a shot with his hand and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.  On a positive note P.K. Subban started his career with the Predators with a beautiful goal in his first shot wearing a Nashville uniform.  I believe that Nashville will finish the season much closer to the top of their division, but injuries in the first two games is not the way any team wants to start the season.  It is a bit surprising to me to see the Chicago Blackwawks dead last in their division after 3 games.  They stared off the season with a shocking 5-2 loss to the Blues on opening night.  I am not so much surprised that the Blues were able to take the win, as by the 3 goal margin that they won by.  I expected a much closer game from two talented teams that on paper I would have expected to be fairly evenly matched.  Their second game was with Nashville on Friday night, they also lost, but a much closer 3-2 game.  Then on Saturday against Nashville again they finally took their first win of the season in another high scoring 5-2 game.   The Blackhawks luckily have not had an injury plagued opening week, but it seems that their weak spot at present is with their penalty kill teams.  They gave up 3 goals in their first game on power plays by the Blues and all 3 of Nashville's goals in their Friday night loss to the Predators were made on the power play.
     On a positive note here in the central division not only did the Colorado Avalanche win their first game of the season against the Dallas Stars, but Joe Colborne also scored their first opening night hat trick in 10 years.  Colborne was an off season acquisition for Colorado, they picked him up from the fellow western conference team Calgary Flames last summer.  He seems to be a much better fit with the Avalanche, already having a better season here in Colorado than he did last year in Calgary.  Colorado currently holds the number 2 spot in the central division.  That brings us to the Dallas Stars who are in 3rd place after week one.  Dallas opened their season on Thursday with a 4-2 win over Anaheim.  The Stars had a rocky start to this 2016-17 season being out shot by the Ducks 17-1 in the first period, but still manged to keep the score tied at 1, and they came back strong in the second and third periods to win the game.  They ran into trouble again in Denver, and not for the first time.  The Stars have now lost 8 of their last 9 games in Denver after falling to the Avalanche 6 to 5 on Saturday.  What I noticed most about the Stars watching that game was the breakdowns in defense.  True goaltender Antti Niemi was pulled 12 minutes into the second period after allowing 5 goals, but in fairness to him he can not be entirely blamed for all of those goals.  The defensive lines were not able to get into or stay in positions to support Niemi for at least 3 of those 5 goals.

     In the Pacific division, probably the biggest piece of news in this first week has been the opening day injury of goaltender Jonathan Quick.  His injury is obviously severe as it is reportedly requiring surgery.  This is a big problem not only for Quick himself, but also for the Kings as a team.  While they did acquire Jeff Zatkoff from the Pittsburgh Penguins over the summer, I do not believe it was with the expectation of him doing more than filling in for maybe a dozen or so games throughout the regular season.  Now Zatkoff is in the position of being the Kings first line goalie at least for the expected 3 to 4 months that Quick is currently expected to be out. While certainly no Jonathan Quick, Zatkoff is a decent goaltender, he played 35 games over 4 seasons with the Penguins and has a career 0.914 save percentage. Being called up as back-up goaltender now is Peter Budaj.  Budaj is a virtual unknown in the NHL, though he did get called up last season for a game against the Rangers,when Quick was out with a much more minor injury, and did take a win in that game.  Still one win does not and NHL caliber goalie make.  So in short the Kings will be playing with a strong backup goalie as their fist line and an unknown quantity as their back up.  The Kings are currently in the bottom of the pacific division after suffering losses to both of their interstate rivals, the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks last week.   Hopefully Zatkoff will be able to step up and carry the team until Quick can get back on the ice.
     At the top of the pacific division after week one is the San Jose Sharks.  They have started the season off strong with both a home win against the Kings on opening night and and an away win against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.  The Sharks are working hard to prove that last year's trip to the Stanley Cup Finals was not just a fluke.  It can only be hoped that they can keep up the momentum and great playing that they demonstrated in the first 2 games.  The Vancouver Canucks have found themselves tied for first in their division after the first week of regular season play.  Last week they had 2 games  one against the Calgary Flames and one against the Carolina Hurricanes, both of which they took the win on.  The Calgary game was a very close battle which the Canucks finally took in a shoot out win on Saturday night.  The game last night against Carolina was also very close, the Canucks again won this time 32 seconds into over time.  The Edmonton Oilers are in 2nd in the pacific division after 3 games last week.  They had 2 games against Calgary both relatively high scoring games and both of which they won, giving them a great start to the season.  Yesterday however they had a devastating 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabers.  Coach Todd McLellan came down hard on his team following the loss all across the board, not blaming any one player, saying that "We had guys falling all over the place.  We didn't execute.  Our passing was poor.  Positionally, from the goaltender to the defense on up to the forwards, no one was ready to play."  While definitely harsh and not what anyone wants to hear about their team in the opening week of play, it was a fairly accurate summation of that game.  The Oilers are at least as good a team as the Sabers and that should have been a much more exciting and fun game to watch.  Still every team has a bad game of two through out any given season, so do not count the Oilers out of playoff contention yet.  If they can come back and start playing again they way they did in their first to match ups of the season against Calgary they will definitely be in competition for a playoff slot come the end of the regular season.
     The Arizona Coyotes only played one game last week and it was a close one.  They played the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday and managed a 4-3 overtime win.  Not only was it an exciting game, but the Coyotes showed the team's offensive diversity having all 4 of their goals scored by different players.  One game is not much to judge by, but if they can keep the momentum going and continue to play together well as a team going forward they can certainly look to move into playoff position.  The Anaheim Ducks played 3 games last week and sadly lost all of them.  They opened their season Thursday with a 4-2 loss to Dallas, then played the Penguins Saturday and fell 3-2, and closed out the week on Sunday with an over time loss to the Islanders, also 3-2.  No one wants to start the season with 3 straight losses, but if anyone can come back from a rough start it is the Ducks.  Last year they started their season 1-7-2 and still managed to battle back to make the playoffs.  The biggest weaknesses that the Ducks have shown in week one are inconsistency on the defensive lines, breakdowns allowing some easy goals to be scored from close in, and the inability to start the game strong.  They have had a weak first period in all three games so far, and have always been trying to catch up from behind.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

NHL Opening Night - Pacific Division

     Opening night of NHL hockey, can I say I am overjoyed to have hockey season underway finally! There was a lot of excitement around the league on this first night of the 2016-17 season.  Here in the Pacific Division we had 4 teams play, the Calgary Flames played the Edmonton Oilers and The San Jose Sharks played the Los Angeles Kings.  Edmonton dominated Calgary taking that game in a high scoring 7 to 4 win.  The Kings Sharks game was much closer with the Sharks taking the game 2 to 1.
    The Oilers had a great opening night at their new arena in Edmonton.  They overtook the Flames by a 3 point margin.  Perhaps the more impressive bit about the 7 goals scored by the Oilers is the diversity of the players who scored.  There were 6 different shooters that found the back of the net tonight.  Captian Connor McDavid scored 2, the other 5 were scored one a piece by Patrick Maroon, Tyler Pitlick, Zack Kassian, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Jordan Eberle.  Calgary did put in a strong effort which included 2 shorthanded goals from Troy Brouwer and Michael Frolik, but after the penalty goal by the Oilers in the middle of the second they were just not able to come back.
     The interstate rivalry between the Sharks and the Kings was a close game.  At the close of the first period the game was tied 1 to 1.  Tyler Toffoli of the Kings scored a beautiful power play goal early in the first to give the Kings a short lived lead.  Logan Couture tied things up in the second half of the first with a disputed goal that sparked Jonathan Quick to drop his gloves and start a brawl that included everyone on the ice except for Martin Jones.  Unfortunately the big news from this game came at the beginning of the second when Jeff Zatkoff took the ice as goaltender for the Kings and Jonathan Quick did not return from the locker room.  Later in the game Kings Manager Lombardi said that Quick was out with a lower body injury and could be out for "a while".  The winning goal was scored by Brett Burns early in the third period, so the Sharks start their season on a high note with a home ice win. This is notable because in the 2015-16 regular season they had a less the 50% win average on home ice,  though they did much better in the playoffs at home.  Hopefully this opening night win will set the tone for a strong performance at home as well as on the road this year.
     Time will tell how the loss of Quick will effect the performance of the team.  He is Scheduled for an MRI on Thursday to determine the extent of the injury, so more should be known about his estimated return in the next few days.  Jonathan Quick is one of the Kings key players both due to his exceptional skill as a goalie and in psychological presence and confidence building for team moral in general.  Zatkoff performed well for the Kings tonight, but no one can replace Jonathan Quick.  We will just have to hope that Quick's injury is not severe, and that he can make a speedy and complete recovery.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Can the San Jose Sharks Make a Deep Playoff Run Again?

    As you know the Sharks made it to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in the Organization's 25 year history last season.  The question that has been asked many time since they lost to the Penguins in game 6 of the finals last season is can they make another deep play off run again, and can they do it in this 2016-17 season? My answer is a cautious yes.  I believe that the Sharks are capable of returning to the playoffs, possibly making it through to round 3 maybe even to the finals again this coming season.  However that being said a lot of things will have to go their way.
     Most importantly they need to keep their first and second line guys healthy and injury free.  Having Logan Couture out with a fractured fibula for a good part of last season hurt them.  If something like that were to happen again this season to him or Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Brett Burns, Joel Ward, or Martin Jones it could be a catastrophic season or at the very least an end to the dreams of making back to the final.  Historically one of the Sharks biggest  weaknesses has been their lack of depth.  They have generally had a great first line and a strong second line, but after that they fall flat.  In order to have a successful playoff run this season they need to put together a much stronger third and fourth lines.
     The Sharks have worked in this off season to improve their depth by adding a few new players to their lineup by acquiring Timo Meier, Marcus Sorensen, and Mikkel Boedker.  Meier is a physically dominant right winger who has been described as the Patrick Marleau the Sharks always wanted.  In other words he has the potential to be every bit as strong and effective a player as Marleau while having the advantages of being much younger, being faster on the ice, and more physical if the situation calls for it.  This is quite possibly Marleau's last season in the NHL as he is in the last year of his contract. At the age of 37 he is now on the older end of the scale for a professional athlete and his performance has been declining noticeably in the past few seasons. This being the case it is unlikely that he would be able to negotiate another contract for the same $6.67 million a year that his current contract gives him.  So having Meier on hand to step into his place could not have happened at a more fortunate time for the San Jose Sharks organization.  
    Marcus Sorensen was signed be the Sharks in May.  He is a strong left winger who played most recently in the Swedish Hockey League.  Las season he was with Dhugardens IF where he scored 15 goals and made 19 assists in the 47 games he played.  Sorensen at 24 years of age is a bit old for an NHL rookie but his success and experience in the SHL put him in a good position to compete at an NHL level.  He is described as an offensively skilled forward, a fast skater with good puck handling ability who gets involved in the game physically.  
    Mikkel Boedker is a strong and talented young forward who the Sharks signed on July 1st of this year.  He has previous NHL experience with both the Arizona Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche.  He scored a career high 51 points last season with 17 goals and 34 assists.  Boedker brings his tremendous speed and creative puck handling abilities to the Sharks, which will make him dangerous in front of the net.  Of these 3 new players the Sharks recently signed he is the only one scheduled to play in tonight's season opener.   Boedker will be on the 2nd line left wing as well as part of the 2nd power play unit in tonight's game against the Kings.  
     With the addition of Meier, Sorensen, and Boedker the Sharks have effectively added a whole new offensive line to their roster.  This fills much of their lack of depth issues from previous years.  These players also all add speed to the Sharks team, a component that they were seriously lacking in their Stanley Cup Final round with the Penguins last season.   This addresses one of their biggest road blocks to performing well deep into the playoffs, but by no means makes them a sure thing.  The main weakness I still see for the Sharks team is their defense.  Brett Burns is an excellent player but he is only one man.  Marc-Edouard Vlasic is also a strong player who has performed very well for the Sharks, but beyond that their defensive lines are still weak.  This is especially detrimental for the Sharks because they have a hard time recovering from behind if they are down by more than one goal during a game.  Even with this weakness however the Sharks were able to make it to the final round last season so I am cautiously optimistic that they can do so again provided that they stay healthy and play at least as well as, hopefully better than, they did last season.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Episode 1 is live! "Sydney Crosby, oh no, not again!"

Behold, the debut episode of our podcast. This is just the beginning folks! Stay tuned, and we'll keep it coming.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Nail Yakupov Trade

     The Edmonton Oilers announced yesterday that they have made a trade with the St. Louis Blues for Nail Yakupov.  Yakupov was the Oilers first round draft pick in 2012, but he has never panned out for them as well as the organization had hoped.  He played 252 games for the Oilers scoring 50 goals and making 61 assists in his tenure in Edmonton.  Yakupov has the skills and potential to be a strong player.  He proved his skills at a junior level playing with Sarnia, where he did well enough to become a first round draft pick for the NHL. Hopefully he will able to build on and realize more of that potential in St. Louis with the Blues organization.  He never managed to bond with any of his Oiler's team mates, rarely if ever joining in on activities planned off the ice and always declining  invitations to dinner or just to hang out with other players on the team in their down time.  Also more importantly he was never able to find the right chemistry with any of the coaching staff in Edmonton.  This I believe is the reason why he has not played at the level that was anticipated from a first round draft pick.

     Yakupov is being traded to St. Louis in exchange for the 22 year old center Zach Pochiro and either a third or second round pick in 2018.  Pochiro played for two years with the Prince George Cougars of the WHL where he ranked 3rd in the club playing in 63 games scoring 27 goals and making 39 assists while also leading the team with 123 penalty minutes.  He was then traded to the Quad City Mallards in the ECHL where he played 44 games in which he scored 9 goals and made 17 assists.  He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 4th round #112 over all of the 2013 entry draft.  Pochiro has no NHL experience as yet but performed well in the minor leagues over the past six years.  In addition to getting Zach Pochiro in the trade they also get, as it stands now, a third round pick in 2018 from the St. Louis Blues.  This conditional pick for 2018 however, becomes a second round draft pick if Nail Yakupov scores 15 goals or more for the Blues during the 2016-2017 season.  As such for both his own sake and the sake of both the Oilers and Blues organizations it is hoped that Yakpov will be able to find the right coaching staff for him as well as a better team chemistry, both of which he needs to reach his thus far unrealized NHL potential.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Lightning to retire #26

By Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Lightning will be retiring the #26 on January 13, 2017.  This will the first time the franchise will retire a number.  It belongs to Martin St. Louis.

Here are a few highlights of his career.

  • 6 all star appearances 
  • Received two Art Ross Trophy's  
  • Played on three teams.  The Flames, the Lightning and the Rangers
  • 365 career goals and a total of 953 points
  • Stanley Cup 2004
I could go on and on about all his accomplishments.   But the franchise retiring his number might be the biggest, well that or the Stanley Cup.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Youngest Captain in NHL History

This afternoon The Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid made NHL History.  The Oiler's organization announced today that Connor McDavid will be the team's 15th captain.  McDavid has only played 45 games in the NHL and is not yet 20 years old.  Though young and inexperienced in the league McDavid is undeniably one of the most talented young players the NHL has seen, and he has earned his place at the head of his team.  No doubt this is just one of many accomplishments we can look forward to in his future with the NHL.  Hopefully he can help lead his team to a successful season.  The Oilers have a lot of talent in both young and experienced players, and look to have a much better performance than in recent seasons.  Connor McDavid will have the leadership assistance of veteran players Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as his alternate captains.   This much needed infusion of strong and dedicated leadership should allow the Oilers the opportunity to shine this 2016-2017 season.  At 19 years and 266 days of age Connor McDavid is officially the youngest player in NHL history to wear the C on his sweater!  McDavid replaces Gabriel Landeskog for the title of youngest ever team captain by only 20 days.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sharks Chum

In one of the best ideas I have heard in years.  The Sharks have there own beer...  Beer, yeah a craft brew beer at that.  The Sharks have their own signature Red ale called "chum".

Beer + Hockey  = awesome!

Its a partnership with Gordon Biersch Brewing.  Its described as "dry-hopped red ale".  Has a reported ABV of 7%.  Here is how to find it.

http://www.gordonbierschbrewing.com/locator/

More teams should do this!