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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are now 42 games away from the first preseason game of the year, and there is still plenty of key free agents looking for a new team. Yet, there is little to no noise. Here are my top 5 UFAs still available and which team(s) would be best fit.
I had never been much of one for sports as a child. I was small and uncoordinated, and tired easily compared to other kids. My parents quickly gave up on bringing me to play baseball as I just could not hit the ball. Along with and perhaps because of my lack of interest in playing sports, I also did not watch any sports.
Because of this, the idea of watching sports and particularly being a fan of a team or athlete was alien to me. I could not understand what the players on television had to do with me. Why should an athlete's success at a sport, which has no inherent value, influence my emotions? For every athlete that wins, there is at least one other who loses, and there was usually no reason for me to cheer on one over the other.
All the same, in 2009 I decided that watching sports would make me a more well rounded person. Sports are something you can talk to almost any male about, even when you meet him for the first time. But unlike most, I had the unique opportunity to shop around and choose which sport I wanted to watch. Most of us become interested in a sport because it's the sport we played or continue to play, and that sport is often the sport our father played. I am not one for getting into something that will take a significant amount of my time without research, and so I did my studying.
I have heard all the wild stories about the Cup's summer travels, but this one is hard to top, the Cup visits Children's Hospital of Chicago.
Photo album of the visit.
The accompanying video.
In a world filled with Footballers being arrested, LeBron addressing his haters, and other HOT news stories, this ad in today's Boston Globe deserves as much attention.
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