Posts Tagged ‘Nazem Kadri’

NHL players with something to prove: mission accomplished?

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By Allan Muir

Prior to the season, the SI.com 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: Senators upset with P.K. Subban; Leafs shopping Nazem Kadri?

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    Montreal's P.K. Subban exuberantly celebrated his overtime winner and drew the ire of Ottawa's Craig Anderson. (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

    P.K. Subban’s (76) exuberant celebration irritated Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Craig Anderson was whining about P.K. Subban’s celebration after the exuberant defender beat him for the winning goal in OT Thursday night. Yes, by all means, let’s take the joy out of the game, Craig. Next.

    • Yes, Nazem Kadri is struggling to live up to the high expectations built on last season’s success, but there’s no logical reason why the Maple Leafs should trade him.

    Pretty decent game between the Blackhawks and Ducks last night, eh?

    Read More…


  • Published On Jan 18, 2014
  • Top Line: Seguin keeps it clean; Oilers set to deal first pick; more links

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    Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars

    Tyler Seguin’s four-goal night against the Flames was suitable for family viewing. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • On the night when Loui Eriksson scored his third goal of the season for the Boston Bruins, Tyler Seguin netted four in one game against the Flames. Two thoughts: first, I’m glad it was Seguin, and not Joe Thornton, who had the big night. Second: This must be the hockey gods’ way of compensating Stars’ fans for the anguish over the James Neal trade. Neal, a good player with Dallas, became a goal-scoring machine when he was fitted with the proper opportunity in Pittsburgh. Seguin, buried behind David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron in Boston, wouldn’t be scoring like this for the B’s. But given the chance to be the go-to guy with first line/power play minutes and a star linemate in Jamie Benn, he’s taking steps toward superstardom. Funny how things work out.

    • Must have been a pretty easy night for Kari Lehtonen.

    • The Oilers are ready to up the ante in order to acquire an impact player for their struggling blueline. The team has reportedly put its 2014 first rounder in play–no small piece considering it could easily become the first-overall pick the way their season is going.

    • The league had no option but to suspend Toronto’s Nazem Kadri for a reckless hit to the head of Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom. But hey, if he has to be out of the lineup for three games, he probably couldn’t have picked a softer part of the schedule to do it.

    • Two nights after a frustrating loss to the Coyotes, the Blues put it all together in a blowout win over the Avs.

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  • Published On Nov 15, 2013
  • Top Line: Buffalo Sabres facing big change; Crosby’s slump; more links

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    Zemgus Girgensons of the Buffalo Sabres

    With a new coach, Zemgus Girgensons and the Sabres will now try to put their painful start behind them. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Bucky Gleason writes that the biggest challenge facing Pat Lafontaine and Ted Nolan will be rebuilding the bridges burned during Darcy Regier’s 16-year reign of error with the Buffalo Sabres.

    • It didn’t take long for Buffalo’s players to find out exactly what to expect from new coach Ted Nolan.

    • Zemgus Girgensons was going to be playing for Nolan this season one way or another.

    • Mike Halford looks at some potential candidates for Buffalo’s vacant GM job. I’d add Philly assistant Ron Hextall to the list.

    • Sidney Crosby has gone seven games without a goal. For Evgeni Malkin, his slump has reached 10. Is it time to worry in Pittsburgh?

    • Nazem Kadri is at his best when his game has a bit of and edge to it, but he took it too far against the Wild on Wednesday night. The Leafs can ill afford to lose another center right now, but it looks like Kadri could be sitting for a couple of games after earning a match penalty for attempting to injure Mikael Granlund.

    • Kadri’s mental lapse is symptomatic of a Toronto team that seems hellbent on making life difficult for itself.

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  • Published On Nov 14, 2013
  • Top Line: Ray Emery vs. Braden Holtby fight sparks rules talk; more links

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    Ray Emery fights Braden Holtby

    Ray Emery’s beatdown of Braden Holtby was one of the more lopsided goalie bouts of recent years. (Tom Mihalek/AP)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Gary Bettman danced around a question about Ray Emery’s beating of Braden Holtby of Friday night, but not before suggesting that it was something the league’s general managers would look at. Could a rule change be on the horizon?

    • Mike Russo says that the Wild could definitely use more scoring, but adds that with a promising group of kids on the roster, and in the pipeline, they may have more pressing needs than Islanders’ winger Thomas Vanek next summer. Maybe Russo is just throwing a little cold water on a rumor . . . or maybe Minnesota is hoping to send out a message that it’s not sitting around waiting for Vanek with bags of money.

    • Sabres enforcer Patrick Kaleta cleared waivers on Sunday. Now what?

    • Nazem Kadri has always wanted to be the go-to guy for the Maple Leafs. With forwards Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland out indefinitely, Kadri finally has his chance.

    • Toronto GM Dave Nonis admits that the Maple Leafs are fortunate to be 10-5-0, and also discusses what lies ahead for the team in this interview with Mike Zeisberger.

    • Great goaltending and a star player channeling his inner Jonathan Toews have made the Lightning the surprise team in the East.

    Read More…


  • Published On Nov 04, 2013
  • Top Line: Sabres sign Cody Hodgson to stunning, risky deal; more links

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    Cody Hodgson of the Buffalo Sabres

    The Buffalo Sabres are rolling the dice big time on Cody Hodgson’s potential. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • While teams around the league are holding the line and signing their young but unproven stars to two-year bridge contracts, the Sabres decided they’d seen enough of Cody Hodgson to ink him to a stunning six-year, $25.5 million deal. GM Darcy Regier was under no pressure to make this kind of commitment, but he clearly placed a premium on continuity over Hodgson’s limited track record — and distressingly lax attitude toward his defensive responsibilities. This deal might work out just fine over time, but it was a financial risk the Sabres didn’t need to take.

    • Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau had a ticket for one of the flights that was hijacked on 9/11. Here’s how he survived.

    • The Florida Panthers have spoken with Tim Thomas, Ilya Bryzgalov and Jose Theodore about coming to camp on professional tryout contracts. No one is happier about this news than the guy who runs the @_FloridaMan Twitter feed.

    • Patrick Roy proved he could be a winner while wearing the tools of ignorance. Now, Adrian Dater writes, comes his chance to show he can do the same while wearing a suit and tie.

    • Gotta love Doug Armstrong’s take on the Blues’ failed contract talks with Alex Pietrangelo. Teams move on without injured players all the time — he pointed to Pittsburgh’s success while Sidney Crosby was in the press box last season — and that’s exactly how the Blues will deal with their star defender’s absence. No worries here. There’s lots of time to get a deal done, but the longer it takes, the tougher it will be for Pietrangelo to get off to the strong start he needs to impress Team Canada’s brass.

    • Great news for Cory Schneider: Martin Brodeur isn’t ready to retire just yet. But hang in there, bud, because Brodeur is sure you’ll be the No. 1 guy in Jersey “within a few years.”

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  • Published On Sep 12, 2013
  • Top Line: Nazem Kadri caves and signs; training camp headlines; more links

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    Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs

    The next two years will likely determine Nazem Kadri’s future with the Maple Leafs. (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Nazem Kadri finally woke up to the reality of his situation and signed a two-year deal with the Maple Leafs that ensures he’ll be in camp as it gets underway this morning.

    • Enjoy him while you can, Toronto fans. The relationship between Kadri and the Leafs is likely to be short term, writes Damien Cox.

    • You have to think that Senators defenseman Jared Cowen will soon run smack up against the same wall that Kadri did. With no real leverage, he’s better served by getting a bridge deal in hand and going to work on getting a big payday down the road.

    • The Bruins didn’t exactly blow up their roster after losing to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, but they will nevertheless ice a very different group when the season gets underway.

    • The Penguins cap situation opens the door for a promising group of blueliners who are hoping to do more than make a good impression at camp.

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  • Published On Sep 11, 2013
  • Top Line: Patrice Bergeron still hurting; headshot definition change; more links

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    Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins

    It hurts to think about how badly injured Patrice Bergeron felt playing Game 6 of the Cup finals. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Bruins center Patrice Bergeron says he never thought twice about his decision to play Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, even though he was in perhaps the worst medical condition of any player in postseason history. Three months later, he’s still struggling. Will his heroic effort cause him to miss the start of the 2013-14 season?

    • He won’t be the only Boston player battling the effects of the club’s bruising playoff run. Center Gregory Campbell says he’s going to feel the pain of his broken leg for a while.

    • It’s not considered an official rule change, but this season there will be altered wording to the controversial head shot definition that puts more onus on the hitter and whether the contact was “avoidable” according to Elliotte Friedman. We’ll have to see it in action, but it appears that it could reduce some of the maddening inconsistencies that dog Department of Player Safety suspension decisions.

    • Larry Brooks says a two-year offer for something like $7 million might be enough to get Derek Stepan to sign on the dotted line. It’s an amount that would put New York under some financial duress, but the move has to be made before a team like the Islanders swoops in with an offer sheet for the center.

    • Anyone caught by surprise when the Isles named John Tavares captain yesterday?

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  • Published On Sep 10, 2013
  • Report: Toronto Maple Leafs closing in on deal with Nazem Kadri

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    Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs

    Nazem Kadri won’t get everything he wants, but a bridge deal should be fairly close. (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    They’re not there yet, but it sounds like the Maple Leafs and RFA forward Nazem Kadri are finally speaking the same language in their long-running and combative contract talks.

    According to Bob MacKenzie, who was speaking on TSN Radio in Toronto this afternoon, the two sides are finally both talking about a two-year bridge contract. Kadri is looking at something around $7 million, while the Leafs are countering with $5.7 million. Still a bit of a gap there, but it’s getting closer. And after versatile — but far less impactful — Senators forward Colin Greening signed a short-term deal earlier today that averaged $2.65 million per season, it’s a good bet that the final number on Kadri’s deal will be nearer to the player’s position than to Toronto’s.

    Of course, every dollar Kadri gets out of the approximately $5 million that the Maple Leafs have left to spend under the cap is a dollar less that will be available for the club to sign fellow RFA Cody Franson. The sooner Kadri grabs his share, in other words, the better.

    Unless of course this is all a bluff to drive up the bidding in the KHL…

    HACKEL: How serious a threat is the KHL?

    MUIR: RFA’s finding they have no upper hand in talks


  • Published On Sep 09, 2013
  • Top Line: New gig for Rick DiPietro?; new ugly Olympic jersey?; more links

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    Former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro

    You may not have seen the last of star-crossed goaltender Rick DiPietro in the NHL. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • Knee surgery for Scott Clemmensen means a goaltending job is opening up in Florida, at least temporarily. Could the call go out to Rick DiPietro?

    • If you were mortified by the red Team Canada Olympic jersey that leaked last week, you might want to sit down before taking a look at this rumored black third.

    • Citing a “family matter,” Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos fired his son, Jason from his 15-year gig as the team’s assistant GM. I mean, Big Tom Callahan didn’t fire Tommy Boy, so you know this story is going to get interesting. Grab some popcorn and pull up a chair, kids.

    • Wanna watch some hockey today? The Flyers-Capitals rookie game will be streamed online here at 3 p.m. EDT.

    • A trio of old guys will be the centerpiece of the new-look Flyers.

    • I don’t want to lose sight of what a nice story this is about a group of kids learning a more important lesson while playing hockey, but what’s up with Scott Hartnell wearing a bun?

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 09, 2013


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