Each day we see increasingly younger sports phenoms wowing us with their performances in various sports. The age of elite athletes has dropped considerably and drastically.
All of todayâ€™s superstars are younger, stronger and more developed than their counterparts of the past. Accordingly, never in the history of the NHL had there been so many young players dominating the league.
Despite the tragic news of yesterday's plane crash that rocked the hockey world, I'm going to try and change gears a little and keep things as NHL and Leafs-related as possible.
Why? Because we could probably use a few distractions for a minute, and anything I write isn't going to hold a candle to the many thoughts and tributes outpouring from friends, colleagues, journalists and teammates that have a close relationship with those involved in what is surely the most terrifying hockey story of our time.
Two former Leafs were involved in the Lokomotiv crash; Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev, both assistant coaches. Their ties with Toronto still run deep, as you'll read in a couple of the links below.
Mislav wrote a short piece yesterday that was both saddening and sincere, as you could tell he was deeply affected by the event. For someone who is more in tune with the international hockey scene than most, that sort of news has to be tough to wrap your head around. It's been an absolutely terrible year for hockey, but we'll keep going.
Eariler today, a plane containing the roster of the KHL hockey club, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, caught fire and crashed shortly after take-off, merely 4 kilometers from [more…]
We get a lot of Leafs content on the site.Â That makes a tonne of sense given the URL.Â But every once in a while, itâ€™s nice to take a look at some of the early storylines that could define a teamâ€™s success or failure over the course of the year.Â So join me after the jump for 30 insights (okay thatâ€™s a strong word) on the league and your daily dosage of links.
Ryan posted a very interesting article this morning, and it got me thinking. This isn't my response to that topic, but rather a question which has a direct relation to that particular subject. How exactly do rule changes affect our perception of player ethics?
My topic brings me back to the Scott Stevens vs. Matt Cooke scenario. In short, Scott Stevens is still considered an All Star NHL defenseman and a legend while (honourable mention to Sean Avery) Matt Cooke currently holds the mantle of the most hated man in hockey. [more…]
Matt Cooke says he's a changed man and doesn't want to hurt another player with an illegal hit. I believe him.
In fact, I doubt he's ever gone into a season with the intention of ending as many careers as possible or anything foolish like that. Though, because of his recent past he's become well-known as the dirtiest player in the NHL - until he punches a full 82 game season without incident, it'll stay that way. Makes sense.
The recent news about Cooke's "changed ways" stirred up a lot of conversation around the blogosphere and Twitter. Some seemed happy about Cooke trying to make a change, others crucified them for "supporting that monster."
One argument I've heard from Penguins fans who continue to say they're a fan of Cooke, is that it's as simple as this: "Cooke isÂ a Penguin, I'm a fan of the Penguins, I'll support Matt Cooke. You wouldÂ do the same if he played with your favorite team."
Alexander Ovechkin might be a more frightening sight coming down the left wing, Sidney Crosby may be the best player in the world, Pavel Datsyuk might be the most complete player in the NHL but as it stands now, nobody is a greater goalscoring threat than a 20 year old kid from Unionville, Ontario. His name - Steven Stamkos.
As much as Alex Ovechkin might be offended by this notion it is absolutely true. Ovechkin has, looking at the overall skillset, more natural talent, arguably because of a physical game that is a bit better than that part of Stamkosâ€™ game. But, when comparing their speed, defensive play, power play contributions, offensive play and shot there are a good number of things going Stevenâ€™s way.
The rivalries remain, but the faces change.Â For all the substantial additions that the Leafs have made, the 29 other teams in the league have not been idle.Â Though its anyoneâ€™s game any given night, itâ€™s the contemplative, patient process of adding the right pieces during the summer that allow continued success over the marathon half year regular season.Â Over the next couple of weeks, weâ€™ll be looking at all 6 divisions in the NHL team by team, how the Leafs compared to them last season, their improvements, additions, subtractions and the Leafs outlook against these revamped teams come the fall.
What a difference a week makes, eh? Last week, all the buzz was about the now forgotten and insignificant Dry Island fiasco (only jerks use the Woodward and Bernstein â€˜-gateâ€™).Â But itâ€™s August now and while itâ€™s cooling off outside, things are heating up around the league.Â Most significantly, Shea Weber and the Nashville Predators need a mediator and Ryan Kesler has gone under the knife. Join me after the jump for news, commentary on Weber and links
So, how about this nice weather? Got any plans for the long weekend? *sigh*
Well, there is virtually nothing to talk about in the hockey world. The Islanders and Devils made a little noise by swinging a deal that sent Brian Rolston and a conditional pick to New York in exchange for Trent Hunter. Rolston is nearing the end of his career, but will provide veteran experience up front and likely play the point on the power play. This move also helps the Devils clear cap space in order to re-sign RFA Zach Parise. While Hunter was a serviceable player throughout his tenure with the Islanders, they needed to move closer to the cap floor, which they accomplished by acquiring Rolston's large salary.
In other news, the Vancouver Canucks avoided arbitration with Jannik Hansen, signing him to a three-year deal.
The countdown is on until we can start talking about our beloved Leafs again. Can't wait.
I could try toÂ populate this space with filler about unimportant hockey news, or speculation over Luke Schenn that we've all discussed for four trillion hours. But I'll save us all from the boredom and keep this short.
Ryan Callahan re-signed with the Rangers yesterday, avoiding arbitration by agreeing to a three year term to stay in New York. With only Shea Weber and Zach Parise remaining as important names to head to arbitration (they surely save the best for last), we all get the sense that the offseason is winding down - and it is.
We're a couple days from August, which puts us about aÂ month out from hockey really kicking into gear again. Hold tight folks, we're only a few Thursday Mashups away from training camp.
On to the links after the jump
Stupefying. Crazy. Insane. Dean Lombardi showed some balls. Paul Holmgren did everything he said he wouldn't. Eklund kind of got something right. Does it all add up to one of the most memorable trade days in recent NHL history? When youâ€™ve got the best prospect in hockey, and two star players moving residency you might just have to get creative with the old vocabulary to find a more suitable word for it. Itâ€™s not everyday you see two star centermen dealt, let alone from the same team.
The Philadelphia Flyers traded top goal scorer Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek and the club's first- and third-round picks. I guess that wasnâ€™t enough for the Broad Street Bullies as they finished blowing up the team by dealing their captain, Mike Richards to the LA Kings in exchange for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a 2nd round pick. Then, the Flyers signed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, whose rights they acquired during this off season a third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, forward Matt Clackson, and future considerations, to a nine year, 51 million dollar deal. [more…]