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NHL owners end-run, Jerry York’s record chase, David Courtney tribute

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Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson

The Montreal Canadiens’ owner is said to be a moderate who may be better able to find common ground with players. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

By Stu Hackel

No one should be terribly surprised that mediation in the NHL’s CBA dispute has failed (and if you are legally minded, you might want to see why it didn’t work by reading Eric Macramalla’s CBS.com blog post here). Winnipeg Free Press writer Mike McIntyre tweeted earlier in the week, “If mediation doesn’t work, will the NHL and NHLPA try meditation? Or medication?”

Well, Gary Bettman had an idea: Why not have the players and owners meet face-to-face without the negotiators or staff around?

On the surface, it sure sounded like a good idea. Below the surface, maybe it wasn’t so good.

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  • Published On Nov 30, 2012
  • Game to watch: Harvard vs. Cornell

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    Harvard vs. Cornell hockey

    Cornell forward Joel Lowry is an LA Kings draft pick; Harvard blueliner Danny Biega was taken by the Carolina Hurricanes. (Rich Barnes/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    If you miss watching live NHL games, the entertaining CHL-Russia Super Series has been a good televised substitute and now we’ll start getting a bit more college hockey on U.S. TV. Friday night brings a good match-up to NBC Sports Net: the Harvard-Cornell game, two long-time ECAC arch-rivals that are ranked in the Division 1 Top 20 by USCHO.com.

    With no NHL to broadcast, NBCSN is giving this game the full treatment with Mike Emrick and Pierre McGuire calling the action. The game was on the network’s schedule from Day 1, so it’s not replacement programming, which speaks to how much they think of it, one of the biggest showdowns in college hockey.

    Both Cornell and Harvard have sagged in recent weeks and hope to turn things around at Cornell’s sold out and always lively Lynah Rink, where hostility toward the visiting team is legendary.

    “It’s huge,” senior Harvard forward Alex Fallstrom told The Harvard Crimson while speaking of the rivalry. “It’s going to be a packed barn, loud, probably not a single Harvard fan in the stands. It’s going to be fun though.”

    “We are all excited, trying to give the freshmen a little preview of what it’s going to be like,” fellow Harvard senior Luke Greiner added. “The atmosphere is pretty incredible.”

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  • Published On Nov 15, 2012
  • Icebreaker Tournament worth seeing, even if KC doesn’t think so

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    Sprint Center in Kansas City

    Kansas City’s Sprint Center, seen as a possible home for an NHL team, hosts college hockey’s season-opening tournament. (Ed Zurga/AP)

    By Stu Hackel

    Tonight’s NHL schedule would have featured a game with great potential: The L.A. Kings’ home opener. They were to raise their Stanley Cup banner and then skate against the New York Rangers, the team many believe is poised to take a run at the chalice this season. NBC Sports Net was going to be there. You know the rest of the story.

    Fortunately, we’ll still have some hockey: the 16th annual four-team Ice Breaker Tournament, which bills itself as the traditional start to the college hockey season, on NBCSN. It would have been televised even if the NHL season hadn’t been put on hold. It’s a good field with two teams ranked in the top 20 in the USCHO.com preseason poll – Notre Dame (14th) and Maine (15th) — facing off in the first game on Friday night (7 p.m. Eastern time) and Army taking on Nebraska-Omaha in the second game (10 p.m. ET).

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  • Published On Oct 12, 2012
  • NHL lockout survival guide

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    Wells Fargo Center

    NHL arenas will be quiet and empty on the league’s originally scheduled opening night, and likely for some time as the lockout drags. But thankfully, hockey’s landscape is vast and full of alternative action. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)

    Hockey Fix Guides: MUIR: Canadian Major Juniors  | CAZENEUVE: AHL, ECHL, U.S. juniors | BAUMGAERTNER: KHL, Euro leagues | KWAK: 2012-13 NCAA men’s and women’s ice hockey

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s time for Plan B.

    Like many of you, I had planned to watch opening night of the NHL season, probably switching between the Senators-Canadiens game and the Bruins-Flyers tilt in the early evening and doing the same for the two late contests, the Canucks taking on the Flames in Calgary and the Blues battling the Avalanche in Colorado.

    Thanks to the ongoing lockout, we won’t be doing that. So the search for hockey — in person, on video screens and computer monitors, on this continent or elsewhere — is on.

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  • Published On Oct 11, 2012
  • Locked out players in offbeat places

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    Detroit Red Wings forward Drew Miller

    Red Wings forward Drew Miller is off to Scotland to play and see the sights, but will facing lesser competition take the edge off his game by the time the lockout ends and the NHL resumes play? (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    As the NHL diaspora continues to spread thanks to the ongoing lockout, we’re seeing players land in some very unusual places. Hearing about an NHLer lacing them up for the KHL is, by now, nothing new. But with the Hurricanes’ Anthony Stewart, the Red Wings’ Drew Miller, and the Ducks’ Matt Beleskey all signing with clubs in the United Kingdom’s 10-team Elite League while Brandon Dubinsky of the Blue Jackets, Joey Crabb of the Capitals and the Nate Thompson of the Lightning have joined the ECHL’s Alaska Aces, we’re now seeing guys skating in leagues that are a few levels below their abilities.

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  • Published On Oct 09, 2012
  • NHL lockout notebook: Scab threat, KHL on ESPN, and Senators weigh in

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    Alex Ovechkin of Dynamo Moscow

    Ain’t nothing like the real thing: It’s doubtful that many fans would watch replacement players in the NHL, but will they tune in on ESPN3 to see Alex Ovechkin play for the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow? (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters photos)

    By Stu Hackel

    [UPDATE: The KHL deal with ESPN to show games from that league as discussed below has not been finalized and, until it is, the scheduled games listed in the item will not be shown on ESPN3. More on that in this blog post.]

    With the NHL and NHLPA having trouble figuring out just what constitutes Hockey Related Revenue during Tuesday’s negotiations, it’s probable that the first few weeks of regular season games will have to be officially cancelled or, at least, postponed. It’s not good news.

    With that in mind, here’s a little roundup of lockout-related items.

    Picking Scabs: One of the more abhorrent rumors circulating about the current labor impasse was started by former Maple Leafs assistant GM Bill Watters who, most recently during a streamed internet program on Monday night, raised the possibility  of replacement players coming into the NHL in November as a means for Commissioner Gary Bettman to end the players’ resistance to the league’s contract offer.

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  • Published On Oct 02, 2012
  • OHL fighting bans will benefit NHL

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    Brandon Prust fights Zac Rinaldo

    The NHL is keeping an eye on the OHL’s new system that hands suspensions to players who have more than 10 fights. (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    David Branch, the president of the major junior Ontario Hockey League, has once again shown himself to be one of this sport’s real visionaries — and there are not enough of them in decision-making positions. By advocating and championing the OHL’s new rule designed to punish one-dimensional players whose main function is to fight, he’s continuing to chart a new course for hockey, one that’s leading to a better product.

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  • Published On Sep 21, 2012
  • Draft Day Rumors: Staal and more

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    Nixing a deal with the Pens made Jordan Staal a hot topic. (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Will Gary Bettman lean into the microphone at the podium during tonight’s first round of the NHL Entry Draft and utter the words so many expect to hear  — “We have a trade?”

    If you believe the rumors, lots of big names could be in different sweaters next season, but whether it happens before or during the draft, at some point afterward or never, all that’s really certain is the confluence of a few trends: the relative weakness of this year’s draft class, the desires of teams to make immediate improvements to their rosters, salary cap issues, pending free agents whose rights could be dealt, and a number of disgruntled players. These things have created a perfect storm for hockey gossip mongers.

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  • Published On Jun 22, 2012
  • Trade talk pot is boiling

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    One to watch: hot blueline prospect Justin Schultz may dodge the Ducks by not signing with them and could be grabbed by another team without having to make a trade for him. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    We wrote late last week that the trade and free agent rumor mill was heating up. Today it is starting to boil.

    There’s always talk about who might be on the move when the calendar hits June, but this gumbo of gossip has some unique ingredients. For starters, the Entry Draft starts on Friday and this year’s draft class is not considered to be particularly strong. With a number of teams holding high picks and wanting to change their fortunes sooner rather than later, dealing them for established talent might be the way to go. Throw in a few disgruntled big name players who desire new addresses and teams facing salary cap issues while trying to re-sign some of their unrestricted free agents before they hit the market on July 1, and you’ve got a buffet of  buzz.

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  • Published On Jun 19, 2012
  • Nasty Rangers-Devils series moves back to Broadway

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    If the Rangers can’t get their offense going, stellar goalie Henrik Lundqvist will have to steal another win. (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Will the Devils be able to build on their 4-1 Game 4 win when they visit Madison Square Garden tonight for Game 5 or will the Rangers frustrate, if not disrupt, New Jersey’s territorial dominance and find the offensive gear that was absent on Monday in Newark? Those are the main questions facing these two teams in what is now a best-of-three and the only series left before the Stanley Cup Final begins one week from today.

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  • Published On May 23, 2012


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