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Boston Bruins still seeking an identity

By: Mark Marino

It was just a month ago where the Bruins were looking decent – playing well enough for second-place in the Northeast Division, and fifth overall in the East. In fact, their 19-11-7 record [43 points] was just five points away from the top team in the Division – the Buffalo Sabres.

Fast forward 14 games, plus a few injuries, and the Black and Gold have tanked to their nethermost point of the 2009-10 season. After stinking up the RBC Center last night – losing 5-1 against the 29th ranked Carolina Hurricanes – the Bruins find themselves down four spots into ninth-place overall in the Eastern Conference [54 points].

The Bruins have now dropped eight of their last nine games [1-7-1] and had recorded a pitiful 4-9-1 record since the “good ‘ol days” just four weeks ago. Over this 14 game span, the B’s have managed to muster just 11-of-28 possible points, as they continue to slip down the proverbial slide. Now 51 games into the season, and the Big Bad Bruins are still searching – a little too late – for an identity to this team.

 

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  Tags: boston+bruins, claude+julien, nhl, peter+chiarelli

New York Rangers interested in Edmonton Oilers’ Sheldon Souray

According to Pierre Lebrun of ESPN, the New York Rangers are very interested in the Edmonton defenseman, who would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to help the Oilers and play in New York.

But to make it happen, as Lebrun said, the Rangers would need to create cap room by shedding the contracts of either Michal Rozsival ($5 million cap hit; will earn $4 million next season and $3 million in last year in 2011-12) or Wade Redden ($6.5 million cap hit; four more years left after this season at $6.5 million for 2010-11 and 2011-12 and $5 million per year in 2012-13 and 2013-14). The only real option on Redden is to send him to the AHL and eat his contract. A buyout next summer doesn’t solve anything because the Rangers would still carry a $2 million cap hit from him for the next eight years.

image
Sheldon Souray (Getty Images)

 

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  Tags: edmonton+oilers, michal+rozsival, new+york+rangers, sheldon+souray, wade+redden

Penguins scouting heavily Maple Leafs’ Alexei Ponikarovsky

According to Pittsburgh Insider William Depaoli, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been scouting the Toronto Maple Leafs in the past month. Head scout Derek Clancey has been seen at Air Canada Centre many times with winger Alexei Ponikarovsky being a player of interest for the Penguins.


Alexei Ponikarovsky (Getty images)

Ponikarovsky, 29, is a big winger (6′4”, 220 lb) with great hands that has 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points in 48 games with the Maple Leafs this season. Poni is in the final year of his contract that pays him $2.5 million this season; his cap hit is $2.1 million.

The Kiev-native had a career-year last season in Toronto, recording 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points in 82 games. He would surely complement well Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins’ second line who is forced to play with pluggers Maxime Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko. Talbot only has five points in 25 games this season, while Fedotenko only has 16 points in 47 games this year.

The Penguins also need help on the power play; as of today their power play ranks 29th in the league with a dismal 14.8% efficiency. You have to wonder what’s wrong in Steel Town when you have talented players like Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, Bill Guerin and Alex Goligoski on your first unit. With his large frame, quick hands and great vision, Ponikarovsky would certainly help the Penguins in that department.

Ponikarovsky, a fourth round (87th overall) pick of the Leafs at the 1998 NHL entry draft, has spent his entire career as a member of the Maple Leafs.

Does Brian Burke envision him as a core player of the Leafs’ future success or does he use him as a trade-bait to get back some of the high draft picks he traded to acquire budding star Phil Kessel from the Boston Bruins before the start of the current season?

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: burke, crosby, fedotenko, goligoski, gonchar, guerin, kessel, malkin, ponikarovsky, talbot

Georges Laraque’s demise as an NHL enforcer

Once upon a time Georges Laraque was one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL. He was even unanimously awarded the ‘Best Fighter’ award from The Hockey News in 2003. In 2008, Sports Illustrated named him the number one enforcer in the league. During his days an an Oiler, Laraque racked up the penalty minutes, 826 in 490 games, while scoring the occasional goal here and there. Also known as “Big Georges” or simply “BGL”, Laraque even scored 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 2001-01 with Edmonton.

BGL’s good old days:

Georges Laraque’s fight compilation

After short stints with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bob Gainey signed BGL to a 3-year $4.5M contract on July 3rd, 2008. Gainey needed to add toughness to a small corps of forwards as his team had been outplayed physically in the 2008 playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.

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  Tags: bob+gainey, edmonton+oilers, georges+laraque, jacques+martin, montreal+canadiens

Run an Olympic hockey pool at Armchair Pools

The Olympic season at Armchair Pools is open for business.  Olympic pools can be created now at our home page.

We have loaded the rosters for all 12 Olympic teams and we will start building the boxes for the box style pool right away.  I’ll put up a post when they are completed. Note that if box pools are not your thing, you can create a draft-style pool right now, create your teams and pick any player on an Olympic roster.

All Olympic pools are only $5 but come with a free trial that lasts from now until a few days into the Olympics so come check it out for free. If you find any roster issues, please let us know. But please keep it clean. We had one user tell us to go f%k ourselves because he could not find Mikael Samuelson on Team Sweden ...

If there are any questions about our Olympic pools, feel free to send us an email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or leave a comment on this blog post.  I am here regularly and will answer any questions that are posted.

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: hockey+pool, hockey+pools, olympic

Candidates for Team USA’s roster for Vancouver 2010

Brian Burke, Team USA’s GM, is planning on making the announcement of USA’s final roster on January 1st, 2010, during the Winter Classic. Burke will name his 23 man roster at Fenway Park, during the Flyers vs. Bruins game.

Below you will find the three groupings for the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament:

GROUP A: Canada, United States, Norway, Switzerland

GROUP B: Russia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia

GROUP C: Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belarus

The countries in bold are the four tournament favorites, without disrespect to the other eight countries.

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: alex+goligoski, andy+greene, bill+guerin, bobby+ryan, brian+gionta, brian+rafalski, brooks+orp

Candidates for Team Canada’s roster for Vancouver 2010

Steve Yzerman, Team Canada’s GM, is planning on making the announcement of Canada’s final roster on December 30, 2009, a little more than a week from now. Yzerman will name his 23 man roster during the World Junior tournament in Saskatoon, Canada.

Below you will find the three groupings for the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament:

GROUP A: Canada, United States, Norway, Switzerland

GROUP B: Russia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia

GROUP C: Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belarus

The countries in bold are the four tournament favorites, without disrespect to the other eight countries.

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  Tags: brad+richards, brendan+morrow, brent+burns, brent+seabrook, cam+ward, carey+price, chris+prong

Benoit Pouliot recalled and Halak starts for Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens announced earlier today that they have called up left winger Benoit Pouliot from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. Pouliot will join the Canadiens today for tonight’s game against the Thrashers in Atlanta.

Pouliot, who was sent down last week for a condition stint, recorded three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in three games with the Bulldogs, which were all recorded in yesterday’s 5-4 win against Rochester.

The 6’3’’, 199 lbs forward has yet to play a game with the Habs due to a wrist injury. Pouliot played 14 games earlier this season with the Minnesota Wild, recording only four points (2 goals, 2 assists), along with 12 penalty minutes, playing only an average of 11:56 minutes per game under head coach Todd Richards.

The Canadiens acquired Benoit Pouliot from the Wild on November 23 in exchange for disgruntled forward Guillaume Latendresse. Latendresse has recorded three goals and one assist in 11 games with the Wild since the trade. However, he missed Saturday’s game in Ottawa with the flu.

On another positive note, rearguard Roman Hamrlik has begun skating again, the first time since he injured his right knee against the Devils last Wednesday. No date has been established for his return, but a return on December 26 against the Toronto Maple Leafs is conceivable.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: benoit+pouliot, jaroslav+halak, johan+hedberg

What will Comcast aquiring NBC mean for the NHL?

A very interesting tidbit of news came across the news wire today: Comcast aquires a 51% share of NBC, with GE able to force the sale of another 24.5% in 3.5 years, and the rest in 7.

As a former employee of an NBC affiliate in northern Michigan and a rabid hockey fan, I’m very interested in the repercussions to both the NHL and NBC in this deal.  Comcast owns Versus, which has been hitched to the NHL’s bandwagon for some time now.  Comcast has long shown an interest in hockey in general - during the ‘04-‘05 lockout, Comcast aired a few other hockey-related broadcasts on their own cable channels, including the Larionov retirement game (imagine the Red Wings vs. Russia—Yzerman scored a couple of goals for Russia that game as I recall, and yes, Igor got a goal too).  It feels natural that the NHL and Comcast should take care of each others interests, and I am excited to see what might happen in the future now that Comcast owns a controlling share in NBC.

Could we see more regular season and playoff NHL games on the major network?  I sure hope so.  I don’t really see NBC as a potential competitor to Versus, but rather as a nice complement.  Let’s hope that this might function as a workaround for those of us DirecTV customers who presently miss out on some programming due to the Versus/DirecTV impasse.  Let’s hope that this will bring the NHL to a broader audience and fuel a ratings and revenue resurgence for the game.  ESPN Who? 

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
 

Novice Petes Capture Barrie Ball Hockey Fall 2009 Championship in Overtime Thriller

William Lowe scored at the 4:59 mark of the first overtime period to win the Fall 2009 Championship for the Novice/Minor Atom Petes at the Barrie Ball Hockey Club this past weekend.  Jackie Couture and Ciera Winterkorn assisted on the championship winning goal.

 

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Filed in: | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: ball+hockey, barrie, championships, youth

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