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Seven storylines in the bigger, better new Pacific Division

For its 20th birthday, the Pacific Division got a few new playmates as the NHL's geographic realignment meant out with the East and in with the new.  After jettisoning the Dallas Stars, the Pacific added former Northwest Divisioners Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton to its existing tenants: Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose.  As the season gets under way, here are a few storylines worth following among the NHL's West-coast contingent.  

1) Will Jonas Hiller stay a Duck?

This is sort of an aside to the more obvious storyline in Anaheim: Teemu's "last season."  Hiller has never known any other home since the Ducks signed him as a free agent in 2007, but there are plenty of places that would welcome him with open arms.  With Victor Fasth proving to be a more than capable 1A goaltender and white-hot prospect John Gibson waiting in the wings, one has to wonder if Hiller wouldn't be the perfect expendable asset to help GM Bob Murray fill some gaps in the reigning Pacific Division Champs.  Hiller's stock isn't quite where it was before his bizarre, vertigo-shortened 2010-11 campaign, but he has still proven he can be a dependable backstop and could probably challenge for a starting job with any number of organizations.  There’s no immediate pressure for Murray to make a move, nor is there any guarantee he will, but Hiller represents a very playable chip if the Ducks need some pieces later in the season. 

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Filed in: | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, edmonton+oilers, los+angeles+kings, pacific+division, phoenix+coyotes, san+jose+sharks, vancouver+canucks

AHL All Star Classic to feature inter-league game with Färjestad BK

The American Hockey League is apparently looking to build on the hockey connections between Sweden and North America, and build a little rivalry in the process.

The league has announced that this year's AHL All-Star Classic in St. John's NL will feature an inter-league game between a team of AHL stars the SHL's Färjestad BK.

This is a really cool idea, and one that will probably get tongues wagging about increasing the integration between North American and European pro-leagues. No word on any reciprocation by the AHL - but one has to assume that something could be in the works that will see an AHL team head to Sweden at some point.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, Minor League, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

Bobby Ryan Asks…What do you know about Bobby Ryan?

Bobby Ryan took on the role of a 'Sens TV' reporter, and asked some Sens fans what they know about...Bobby Ryan.

 

 

If there's been good news about the Senators in the media this off season, it's mostly been about the deal the Senators made to bring in Ryan, and the positive attitude he's shown since he arrived. One of the first questions that usually gets asked when a player comes in from a place like Anaheim, where there's no natural ice, to a hockey-first Canadian market is whether they'll be able to handle the increased media attention.

Bobby doesn't seem to be shrinking from it. He may even have a lucrative ice modelling career ahead of him.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: bobby+ryan

That OTHER rookie tournament - Sens impressions.

As some will be aware, the Senators, Maple Leafs, Penguins and Blackhawks recently conducted their annual rookie tournament in London Ontario.

I had a chance to attend Saturday's games - including the Sens 4-3 shootout win over Chicago, and the Leafs 4-3 shootout win over Pittsburgh. I also paid attention to the other games, but most of my impressions come from seeing all four teams play on Saturday.

Here are one Sens fan's impressions of individual players (completely un-professional impressions, heavily biased towards the Sens, natch). Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Sens prospects Derek Grant, Matt Puempel or Shane Prince as they did not play Saturday. Prince had a great tournament despite not being in Saturday's lineup, including scoring a pair in the Sens 6-2 win over the leafs on Sunday night.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

5Hole Yahoo Fantasy Hockey League

Since Bettman has decided to grace all of us fortunate hockey fans with a full year of NHL hockey, I've decided to bring my long running 5Hole Fantasy Hockey League out of hiatus.  After taking a break last year, we're looking to fill some spots for the upcoming season, and I wanted to offer those spots to KK members first.  We've had members in the league in the past, and they have been some of the most active and competitive GMs to date.

Some of the league details are:

  • 10 team Head to Head league
  • Live Draft on September 26, 2013 @ 9:00pm EST
  • 7 Max Aquisitions/week
  • 3 Minimum Goalie Appearances
  • All Trades Reviewed by League
  • Roster Add/Drop Deadline is Daily, and Changes Take Effect the Next Day
  • Positions: C, C, C, LW, LW, LW, RW, RW, RW, D, D, D, Util, Util, G, G, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, IR, IR
  • Scoring: G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHP, GWG, Wins, SV%, SHO

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Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

Why Sam Gagner should wear the C

It was on July 5th when the Edmonton Oilers traded their captain Shawn Horcoff to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 7th round pick in 2016 and Philip Larsen. Since then, there has been some wondering as to who will be wearing the C for the Edmonton Oilers this season. One of the names that's been thrown out there quite a bit has been Taylor Hall's, who would be a solid choice, but no the best. 

It was last Wednesday when reports came out of Edmonton saying that'll Sam Gagner wearing the C for the Oilers this season. Nothing has been confirmed, nor has there been anything ceremonies to happen since the reports came out. If it is true that Sam Gagner is the next captain, that, would be the right decision. 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: sam+gagner

One On One With Coyotes Prospect Connor Murphy

Connor Murphy is a 20 year old who has spent his last two years with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. In those two season, Connor Murphy tallied 40 points with a +11. He was drafted by the Coyotes at 20th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. The scouting report on Murphy from Hockey's Future:

A rangy blueliner who is a very mobile skater, Murphy is still growing into his size and high potential. He is a smooth skater who gets around the ice and plays a smart, confident gamewith and without the puck. Plays with some good physicality and is very effective with a long reach and wing span.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

Questioning God (AKA Daniel Alfredsson)

At some point on Thursday, the Ottawa sports media will be stirred from the sleepy doldrums of summer to meet with the man who was, until recently, the longest serving captain in the NHL and the dominant face of the Ottawa Senators franchise. They'll get to question him on why he chose to break the hearts of his faithful and leave for the apparently greener pastures of the Motor City.

The thing is, in the Ottawa media, questioning Daniel Alfredsson is not exactly the natural state of things. Alfie's word has been held to be gospel truth, his actions sacrosanct, his motives pure. Even when he might have seemed to have mispoke, it would be considered the height of blasphemy to do anything less than rush immediately to his defence. A lack of faith in the cult of Alfie was enough to prove one was (at least) out of touch with reality (or worse still, a Leafs fan).  Little wonder, to those in Ottawa, that I-Phone's helpful homonculus, Siri, famously confused Alfie with God.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+alfredsson

“This isn’t philantrophy”

By now, most with any interest in the drama surrounding Daniel Alfredsson's departure from Ottawa will be aware of most of the story. Paul has linked to James Gordon's great piece in Senators Extra where he interviewed Sens owner Eugene Melnyk (insert CSI joke here...and now that that's out of the way). Gordon attempted to get some answers, and ended up with a story that was a bit different from the one that the team put out in the immediate aftermath. It was also chronicled in a fullsome and thoughtful way in the pages of the Malik Report, from the perspective of one Wings fan who happens to have a Senators' jersey with Alfredsson's name on it hanging in his closet. I thought I'd offer one Senator's fan's perspective on the evolving drama, and the evolving explainations that have come from the Sens management and ownership.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+alfredsson

A sports fan: Roster management

Florida has a number of excellent up and coming players, an area of promise but also an area of potential disappointment. These include the just drafted Barkov, said to be ready to step into an NHL lineup right away and likely to center at some point the the Calder rookie winner Huberdeau, who has the skill to be a star player for years to come. Headlining the promising young defensemen are Kulikov and Gudbranson, both developing into solid top four or even top two defensemen and both still young, especially for defensemen. Markstrom has been widely touted as a top goalie prospect for a few years and is likely to be given a legitimate shot at starting from the get go this season. Other promising young players are Shore, Bjugstad, Howden, Matthias, Matheson, and Petrovic.

In 2011 Dale Tallon stepped in as GM and made a number of moves and signings that brought in a number of overpaid players, partly to get above the cap floor. Tallon brought in and then resigned Versteeg, as well as trading for Campbell, whose contract has been criticized widely as being too much for his value. Other signings included Jovanovski, Upshall, Kopecky, and Bergenheim, and each of the aforementioned players have arguably or certainly failed to play up to their contracts. This may be due to injury, but regardless, these contracts will cripple the team's ability to spend especially through the 14-15 season and also through the 15-16 season.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

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