Posts Tagged ‘Adam Henrique’

NHL players with something to prove: mission accomplished?

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By Allan Muir

Prior to the season, the staff identified 19 players who had something on the line in 2013-14. These players faced pressures that went beyond what others had to deal with — from living up to either their hype or their fat paychecks (or both), to getting back to the qualities that made them noteworthy in the first place.

Today, with the season in the home stretch, we went back to that original list to examine those expectations and see which players met them … and which fell short, sometimes miserably so.

Bryan Bickell, Chicago Blackhawks

Bryan Bickell of the Chicago Blackhawks

Playoff hero Bryan Bickell (29) has had an up and down season for the defending champs. (Elise Amendola/AP)

What we said then: Bickell emerged as a game-breaking power forward (nine goals, 17 points in 23 postseason games) during Chicago’s run to the Stanley Cup last year, exactly the sort of player that several teams were seeking in free agency. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman recognized how hot a commodity Bickell had become and signed him at full value (four years, $16 million), though he had to trade Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik to create cap space. Even at 27, Bickell remains a work in progress. Stretches of inconsistency are inevitable, but he needs to translate that playoff magic into 25-plus regular season goals. We think he will.

The verdict now: After getting off to a solid start with four goals in October, Bickell’s season has been defined by extended periods of ineffective play. He’s been limited by injuries — a lower-body ailment cost him 15 games in November and December, and he’s currently out with an upper-body issue — but it’s the inconsistency of his physical play that’s more troubling than his weak numbers (10 goals, two assists). Coach Joel Quenneville has cut Bickell’s minutes and has even benched him, but he hasn’t been able to ignite the passion or the offensive touch that was expected from the big winger. Anything short of another magical postseason for him and his new contract will veer towards bust.

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  • Published On Mar 27, 2014
  • Top Line: Don Cherry tells Luongo to shut up; Modano’s big night; more links

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    (Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

    Mike Modano was honored in a ceremony at Saturday’s Stars game. (Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Don Cherry used part of Saturday’s Coach’s Corner to rip Roberto Luongo for his tweets during Vancouver’s 6-1 loss to Dallas on Thursday night. Clearly there was a higher road for Lu to take here, but c’mon Grapes. You can’t really blame the guy for having some fun with his former team, can you?

    • Nice job by the Stars with their lavish banner-raising ceremony honoring Mike Modano last night in Dallas. And nice job by Mo keeping his emotions in check…for the most part.

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  • Published On Mar 09, 2014
  • Devils sign RFA Adam Henrique to six-year, $24 million deal

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    Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils

    Adam Henrique cashed in nicely despite having a down season in 2013. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It took a lot longer than expected — you can blame the change in ownership for that — but the Devils finally have come to terms with restricted free agent forward Adam Henrique.

    The deal, according to Sportsnet’s Shawn McKenzie, is for six years and $24 million.

    That’s decent change for a guy who followed up a 51-point Calder Trophy-finalist season in 2011-12 with a bum campaign that saw him score just 11 goals and 16 points in 42 games. New Jersey was willing to write last season off as the result of an injury-induced slow start.

    On a team that doesn’t have a lot of talent down the middle, Henrique is being counted on to handle a heavy load this season. He doesn’t have the offensive upside to be a No. 1 center, but he could hold down the second-line job while scoring 60-65 points and chipping in with a strong defensive effort. If he can deliver on those expectations, this will be a fair deal for both sides.

    As well as Henrique made out, the real winners of this deal might be the Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri and the Rangers’ Derek Stepan.

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  • Published On Aug 26, 2013
  • Lou Lamoriello still boss of hockey as the Devils’ new owners take over

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    The new owners of the New Jersey Devils.

    The Devils’ new regime is smart enough to know a good hockey man when it sees one. (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    There really was only the one pressing question today as financial wizards Josh Harris and David Blitzer (next to Gary Bettman in the photo above) officially took control of their latest distressed asset project: the New Jersey Devils:

    Who would they trust to call the shots?

    Harris and Blitzer have a history of coming in to troubled situations and restructuring the management, but they knew right away that they wanted Lou Lamoriello, the team’s current president/GM, to remain at the helm.

    “This team has stood for excellence and we don’t want to fiddle with excellence,” Blitzer said. “I would like to think that Lou would stay with this team for as long as he would like.

    “I was joking with Lou the other day, he’s got some special sauce.”

    Hmmm…that must be one of those insider terms you pick up while attending the Wharton School of Business.

    Whatever you want to call it, Lou’s seen plenty of success in New Jersey. The Devils have been his baby since 1987. He’s built teams that have won three Stanley Cups and two others that lost in the final, and he’s ushered more than a few players on the path to the Hall of Fame. He’s one of the most respected men in the league.

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  • Published On Aug 15, 2013