Posts Tagged ‘Derek Stepan’

Top Line: Tim Thomas hot in Panthers debut; Ovechkin’s torch run; more links

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Goaltender Tim Thomas makes his NHL debut with Florida Panthers.

Tim Thomas started and left with a 2-1 lead, but Florida lost in 3-2 in OT. (Steve Nesius/AP Photos)

By Allan Muir

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

• It’s hardly news that the Panthers lost last night. But add freshly-signed goaltender Tim Thomas to the mix and you have the evening’s top story. He stopped nine of 10 shots while playing half the game, setting himself up nicely for what could be a 60-minute effort on Saturday.

• With new owner Vinnie Viola expected to be introduced today, the climate is about to change for hockey in south Florida.

• The Capitals understand that Alex Ovechkin will be a little jet-lagged for the season opener, but they couldn’t deny him the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the first torchbearer in the Olympic flame relay next week. Big picture, this was the right call for the team and for the promotion of the game, which, after all, is what the league’s involvement in the Olympics is all about.

• A couple of unexpected names made the cut as the Blackhawks finally saw their names etched on the Stanley Cup yesterday.

• Newly-signed Rangers center Derek Stepan says he’s not far off from being game ready despite missing more than two weeks of training camp while embroiled in a contract dispute. What do you say we remind him of this assessment when he’s sucking wind during next Thursday’s season opener?

Read More…


  • Published On Sep 27, 2013
  • Top Line: Sam Gagner tweets pic of mangled face; amazing Jake; more links

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers' 2013-13 official NHL headshot

    Sam Gagner’s mug was pristine in his 2013-14 Oilers headshot. Now, not so much. (Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • This is what Oilers center Sam Gagner looked like right before the doctor prescribed a liquid diet for the next six weeks or so.

    • Edmonton moved to ensure that the next opponent who takes liberties with one of its stars will face justice long before hearing from VP of player safety Brendan Shanahan.

    • Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel is getting called to the principal’s office later today to discuss his Jedi antics in Sunday night’s brawl with the Sabres.

    • Damien Cox thinks Kessel should receive a get-out-of-jail-free card from Sheriff Shanny to send a message to NHL enforcers. He’s wrong of course–Shanahan’s job does not entail making up rules as he goes along–but as always Cox makes an interesting argument. The real problem for Shanahan is: How strictly can he punish Kessel, who took a couple of whacks at someone’s ankles, after he has already handed out a five-game regular-season suspension to Canucks’ tough guy Zack Kassian for the stick-swinging incident that left Gagner with a broken jaw?

    • James Mirtle writes that Toronto’s goon culture has come back to bite them.

    • Jason Siegel says that winger Mason Raymond could be the prime beneficiary of David Clarkson’s 10-game suspension for leaving the Maple Leafs’ bench during the melee.

    • Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price was amazed by the Ryan Miller-Jonathan Bernier scuffle. “It’s hard to get motivated to fight another goaltender,” he said. “It’s like fighting in a sumo outfit.”

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 24, 2013
  • Top Line: Pens lose Vokoun indefinitely; Barclays good, Isles not; more links

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Tomas Vokoun

    Tomas Vokoun will be out indefinitely after a blot clot was discovered in his pelvis. (Justin K. Aller/Gettty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • The discovery of a blood clot in the pelvis of Tomas Vokoun has shelved the Pittsburgh goalie indefinitely. He’ll be held off the ice as long as he’s taking the blood thinners used to dissolve the offending mass. Scary stuff, since clots can be lethal if undetected. There is however, a bright side to this for the Pens…

    • Islanders fans gave glowing reviews to Barclays Center, which hosted its first NHL game Saturday night. They probably weren’t as impressed with the efforts of the Isles.

    • Someday, someone will put one past Cory Schneider in the New Jersey net. It just hasn’t happened yet.

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 22, 2013
  • Top Line: Brodeurs denied chance at history; no fun being traded; more links

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Anthony and Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils

    Anthony Brodeur won’t be backing up proud papa Martin vs. the Islanders. (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • With Martin Brodeur scheduled to play half a game tonight, the New Jersey Devils had a chance to make history. And they’re blowing it off.

    • Here’s a great piece from Dave Lozo examining what it’s like when you’re traded in the NHL. Going by David Perron’s experience, it ain’t fun.

    • This has to be the worst hockey head shot ever, right?

    • Owner Mark Chipman has preached patience with the Winnipeg Jets. On Wednesday, he put his money where his mouth is, extending the contract of GM Kevin Cheveldayoff in a clear display of support for his slow-and-steady plan.

    • The Canucks are struggling to adapt to the new system imposed by John Tortorella. Roberto Luongo is just struggling to stop pucks.

    • Torts is looking for a different type of hockey from the Sedins, but Tony Gallagher says they can’t be all things to all people. This feels like it has the makings of a disaster in Vancouver, doesn’t it?

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 19, 2013
  • Top Line: John Tortorella at it already; Patrick Kane rumors?; more links

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Coach John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks

    Crusty Canucks coach John Tortorella don’t allow no tweetin’ around here. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • “There better be no information coming out of the locker room with that damn Twitter. It’s nothing but trouble, to me,” said Canucks coach John Tortorella, while wearing a ratty housecoat and shooing good-fer-nuthin’ kids off his lawn.

    • Will Torts force the Sedins to become shot-blocking fiends? Oh, he’ll ask, but don’t expect big numbers. It’s tough to block a shot when you’ve got the puck all the time.

    • Remember when Stan Bowman thrilled Chicago’s fans by saying that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would be Blackhawks for life? Well, good ol’ 88 brought a bucket of cold water to that party. “That’s what you hope for”, Kane said. “That’s obviously the ultimate goal to win championships and then play for an organization like this, but, you know, I’m still a young kid. I’m 24, turn 25 this year. To say what’s going to happen the rest of my career, I just don’t know. I mean obviously it would be ideal to stay here, but we’ll cross that path when we get to it.” And so the crazy Kane-wants-out-of-Chicago rumors start . . . now.

    • Larry Brooks reports that free agent Derek Stepan is open to a short-term deal, but just because he’ll except fewer years doesn’t mean he’ll play for peanuts.

    • Brooks also says that backup goalie  Martin Biron will return to camp today, but there might not be a job waiting for him when he gets there.

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 13, 2013
  • Nazem Kadri, Derek Stepan and other NHL RFAs find they have no upper hand

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs

    Nazem Kadri is learning he’s not worth quite as much to the Maple Leafs as he thinks he is. (Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Everyone wants the upper hand in life, but as Jerry Seinfeld keenly observed, hand is tough to get.

    And even when you believe you’ve got it, you probably don’t have nearly as much as you think.

    If Nazem Kadri hasn’t digested that mind vitamin just yet, he will very soon. So will Jared Cowen, Cody Hodgson, Marcus Johansson, Cody Franson and the rest of this year’s crop of high profile restricted free agents.

    These players may be on the verge of NHL stardom, but their hopes of cashing in big on their second contracts are quickly fading. With training camps starting next week and their talks at a standstill, their unwillingness to recognize when they’re beaten puts their start to the 2013-14 season in jeopardy.

    The key here is timing. And unfortunately for these players, theirs is lousy.

    The diminished salary cap hurts the pool of cash that teams are drawing from, and each new signing leaves an even smaller pile. There’s no club that’s willing to risk the draft picks and blowback that come with tendering an offer sheet. And the start of camp puts the RFAs and their demands on the back burner and allows other players a chance to step up and fill whatever holes their absences create.

    It’s a miserably perfect salary-depressing storm.

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 06, 2013
  • Top Line: Patrick Kane the face of Team USA?; Staal health updates; more links

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Patrick Kane of Team USA

    Patrick Kane has two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy and an Olympic silver medal on his resume. (Susan Walsh/AP)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Has Patrick Kane become the face of American hockey? And if he has . . . is that a good thing?

    • Not sure that Herb Brooks would have liked this angle, but 14 players at Team USA’s camp were from Minnesota. And apparently, the guys were pretty proud of that fact.

    • No one has forgotten what Ryan Miller did in Vancouver, but history doesn’t count for much now, so the 2010 Olympic hero desperately needs a hot start this season to ensure that he isn’t the odd goalie out when the U.S. roster is finalized.

    • USA Hockey is well aware of its failure to medal when the Games have been held outside North America. A new approach to team building has the Americans liking their chances this time around.

    • Kyle Okposo talks about his Olympic chances and the Stanley Cup aspirations of the Islanders in this interview with Arthur Staple.

    Read More…


  • Published On Aug 28, 2013
  • Devils sign RFA Adam Henrique to six-year, $24 million deal

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    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.

    Read More…


  • Published On Aug 26, 2013
  • Team USA’s Olympic camp hopefuls and their chances of playing in Sochi

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Defenseman Ryan Suter of Team USA

    Workhorse Ryan Suter will anchor a callow American blue-line corps. (Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    In a perfect world, the 48 hopefuls who will attend Team USA’s Olympic orientation camp in Arlington, Va. (Aug. 26-27) would get at least one session together on the ice. Maybe two.

    But with insurance rates skyrocketing, and no one rushing to pick up the tab, the U.S. brain trust will have to settle for informational meetings and team-building exercises at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in suburban Washington, D.C.

    That won’t whip up fan fervor the way, say, it would to watch Patrick Kane finish off a sweet saucer pass from Zach Parise, but this week’s meetings are important nevertheless. The 25 players who make the roster, after all, must be prepared to deal with transportation, drug testing, family accommodations, ticket distribution and hundreds of other small details before they jet off to Sochi next February.

    And even though no one at the gathering will either make or be cut from the squad, there is already plenty of speculation as to how the U.S. might shape its roster as it looks to improve on a silver-medal finish in Vancouver.

    MUIR: Who are Yzerman’s 10 locks for Team Canada? |Canada’s invite list breakdown

    Team USA has enviable depth in goal and plenty of speed, if not a lot of experience (or right-handed shots) on the blueline. Up front, there are some real questions. The Americans don’t have the centers to match up with Canada, Russia or Sweden, and while there’s plenty of depth on the wings, team management faces a real challenge in determining which players will be able to make the most of the big international ice.

    Who might those players be? Here’s a look at the camp roster and how Team USA stacks up:

    Read More…


  • Published On Aug 23, 2013
  • Top Line: Tim Leiweke disses Toronto legends; more links

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Tim Leiweke

    Toronto Maple Leafs president Tim Leiweke has upset some fans with controversial decisions. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Steve Buffery echoes the opinion of countless Leafs fans who think new president Tim Leiweke is disrespecting the history of hockey in Toronto when he talks about removing photos of old players from around the Air Canada Centre. Leiweke’s clearly one of those guys who thinks he has to come in with guns blazing to prove how valuable he is to his new employers. He’s clearly misjudged his market with this tone-deaf plan of action.

    • The great Cathal Kelly offers offers his own take on the charismatic Leiweke after a one-on-one sitdown.

    • Here’s a must-read piece by Tony Gallagher explaining how former sixth overall pick Gilbert Brule hit rock bottom and he how is fighting to resurrect his once limitless career. This is a great reminder that no matter how bright the spotlight, you never really know what’s going on once a player steps off the ice.

    Read More…


  • Published On Jul 17, 2013


  •