Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wild still trying to re-sign Kuemper



The Minnesota Wild are having a tough time getting their top goalie prospect signed. Eventually, he's going to have to sing, because he's a restricted free agent. I don't think the Wild want this to drag out  much longer.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune --- A path toward a possible arbitration date would have at least guaranteed a settlement on a one- or two-year contract and would have assured that Kuemper would be signed by the commencement of camp Sept. 18. Now, a holdout — or at least the threat of one — is a possibility.

“Darcy has great potential and played very well in stretches for us [last] season, but at the end of the day I think he’s played around 30 games in the NHL,” Fletcher said. “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract. We feel Darcy right now is trying to establish himself in the league, and once he does that it’ll be a little simpler to come up with terms.

“Our focus right now is on getting good deals with both [Kuemper and Niederreiter]. If we can get the right deal for the player and for the team, then it’ll give us a chance to be competitive. If we spend too much money on players before they’re ready to get the money they feel they deserve, it impacts a lot of other things down the road. If we can get a deal done tomorrow, great. If it takes even into training camp, it’s really not a big deal. We’ve got great depth, we got lots of players. We’re going to have to do what’s right financially to keep this thing going forward.”

Kuemper, 24, went 12-8-4 last season with a 2.43 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. He came to the Wild’s rescue when goalies Niklas Backstrom (abdominal injury) and Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) were sidelined. Kuemper’s camp, which battled the Wild three years ago before Kuemper signed his entry-level contract, appears to feel it has leverage because the Wild again plans to rely on Backstrom and Harding to be healthy next season.

TSN, Subban Seeks $8.5M in Arbitration, Habs Offer $5.25M



I have been following this story with great interest, I actually can't believe that Subban is locked up with a long term deal, already. I think it’s insulting that the Habs want to play their former Norris Trophy winner 5.25 million a year. Talk about being low balled. In my opinion, Subban is definitely worth 8 million a year, if not 10 million a year.
TSN.CA -- With both sides scheduled for their hearing on Friday, the Montreal Canadiens and restricted free agent P.K. Subban have set up their respective asking prices in salary arbitration.

According to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, the Canadiens submitted an offer of $5.25 million on a one-year contract, while Subban - represented by agent Don Meehan of Newport - is asking for $8.5 million.

The one-year offer from both sides would still make Subban a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.

Subban, who signed a two-year deal worth an average annual value of $2.875 million contract prior to the 2012-2013 season, scored 10 goals and added 43 assists in 82 games with the Canadiens in 2013-14.

He also added five goals and 14 points in 17 playoff games and was part of the Canadian men's Olympic team that won gold in Sochi in February.
If Subban was an UFA, it would be interesting to see what other teams would be willing to offer him in the way of a contract. But Subban has stated that he wants to remain a Hab.

2015 Frozen Faceoff tickets renewals to be mailed 8/1

Time to reserve those seats for next year's Frozen Faceoff. I also recommend the Minneapolis Marriott City Center.I stayed there last March and it was an amazing hotel.

USA's Justin Abdelkader Suspended by the IIHF for hit on Vladimir Sobotka



Former Michigan State Spartan Justin Abdelkader has been give a three-game suspension by the IIHF for a hit to the head of Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka (video include above). My youtube video also made the USA Today Sports page.
Helene St. James, USA TODAY Sports -- The tournament showed both the good and ugly in Abdelkader's game. He had three goals and four points in seven games — but he also managed to get suspended for two separate incidents. It was the severity of the second one — a hit to the head of Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka — that resulted in Tuesday's announcement by the International Ice Hockey Federation of a three-game suspension. The suspension would take effect at the 2015 world championship (of course, there's no guarantee Abdelkader will appear in the tournament).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oshie's putting display



s/t to Bar Stool. I know this is a bit old. Nothing like a four-put from less than seven feet. Nice to see that T.J. Oshie is human like the rest of us. I actually did this twice in the last stroke play tourney that I played in, back in 2008. No one likes to be that guy.

Jake Gardiner signs Five-Year Contract Extension with the Leafs



Matt Frattin's Maple Leaf teammate Jake Gardiner just inked a five-year, 20.25 million dollar contract.

NCAA settles concussion lawsuit that includes former UMaine hockey player



Earlier today, I posted a blog post on the NCAA concussion lawsuit and whether this lawsuit would have any effect on NCAA Division I Hockey. Apparently, it does.
Mary Wisniewski, Reuters --- Former University of Maine ice hockey player Kyle Solomon joined the lawsuit in 2013.

Solomon, who suffered four concussions while at UMaine, said in February 2013 that Berman’s law firm told him it wanted to “change the NCAA’s return-to-play policy and thought my situation at UMaine would be a good example. It wasn’t that [my concussions] weren’t treated. But they weren’t treated as seriously as they should have been because the NCAA didn’t have a [strong enough] rule in place.”

“This is nothing against … Maine hockey,” he said. “It was an honor to play for Maine. I loved playing for them. It was a shame it had to stop.”

Austin Poganski Added to the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp Roster



Good news for incoming UND forward Austin Poganski, as he was added to the USA Hockey World Junior evaluation camp roster. Fellow incoming UND freshman forward Nick Schmaltz is also on the roster for the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, too.
Adam Kimelman, NHL.com -- Goaltender Evan Cowley and forwards Ryan Hitchcock and Austin Poganski have been added to the roster that will take part in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp next week in Lake Placid, N.Y., USA Hockey announced Tuesday. They will replace goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic and forwards Adam Erne and Cole Cassels.

The camp will run Aug. 2-9, and serves as one of the first steps for the United States in building the team that will compete at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal. Rockford IceHogs assistant coach Mark Osiecki will coach the team.

Poganski, a 2014 fourth-round pick (No. 110) of the St. Louis Blues, had 19 goals and 31 points in 55 games with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League last season; he is committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall.

NCAA reaches $75 million settlement in concussion lawsuit



That's a lot of money. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on NCAA Division I Hockey.
John Keilman, Chicago Tribune -- The NCAA has created a new protocol to handle concussed athletes and will spend millions to monitor the health of athletes who might have suffered concussions while playing college sports, according to a settlement filed in federal court this morning.

The $75 million settlement caps litigation that began when a dozen college athletes -- including former Eastern Illinois University defensive back Adrian Arrington -- accused the NCAA of putting their health at risk by leaving concussion policies up to individual schools.

Under the agreement, NCAA schools will have to follow certain procedures. Players will not be allowed to return to action the same day they receive a concussion. All players, coaches and trainers will receive concussion education. And doctors trained in concussion diagnosis will have to be present for all games played in contact sports such as football, soccer and basketball.

(Video) Thomas Vanek All Goals From The 2013-14 Season & Playoffs



In what has been one of the slowest offseason that I can remember, time to start moving forward. Here's a video for Wild fans to peruse. I think the Minnesota Wild will be a lot better with Thomas Vanek in their top-six.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Are Major Junior Hockey Players Underpaid?

So, kind of sounds a lot like the debate that is taking place in division I athletics right now.
Rick Westhead, TSN -- Dias told TSN that when he met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne three weeks ago at Queen's Park, Wynne brought up the issue of working conditions in junior hockey with him. Dias said Wynne told him she is interested in learning more about whether players get a fair share of the game's profits.

Flynn's spokesman Craig MacBride declined to comment.

Wynne's spokeswoman Zita Astravas said both the premier and Flynn have already met with Dias.

"Discussions covered a wide range of topics," she said. "Unifor is an important partner and our government looks forward to a positive relationship with labour."

Two years after a similar attempt to organize CHL players fizzled out, Unifor is trying again. The union, which represents about 300,000 workers in various industries, says major junior players are underpaid and exploited by the owners of junior teams that have become hugely profitable in recent years.

Subban Remains Unsigned



P.K. Subban is still a restricted free agent without a contract. The Hab’s defenseman isn’t saying anything about his contract negotiations either.
“I’ll answer one question about the negotiation,” Subban told a media scrum at Royal Montreal Golf Club.“It’s been kept pretty quiet the whole time and it’s going to remain that way until a deal is done.” (Brenda, Branswell, Habs Inside/Out)
“As of right now today I’m sitting here and trying to just enjoy the day. Just not thinking about anything,” he said. Apparently, Subban wants to remain a Hab for life.
"Obviously I remain adamant on remaining in Montreal and being a Montreal Canadien, and not just for a long time but hopefully for the rest of my career, and be a lifer there," Subban told Breakfast Television in Toronto earlier this week. "I really enjoy playing there." (NHL.COM)
It looks like Subban could get one of the most lucrative contracts in the Montreal Canadiens history.
We're talking, of course, about P.K. Subban and what's sure to be the most lucrative deal in franchise history. One that will likely bring the defenseman $10 million a season—or more—at some point during the agreement. (Allan Muir, Sports Illustrated)

Friday, July 25, 2014

How much is P.K. Subban worth?



That's the question of the summer, how much is P.K. Subban going to get paid. Show him the money. I am thinking between eight and 10 million dollars. All we know is, Subban is going to get paid, that's a fact Jack. I think he's going to be filthy rich. Whether you like him or not, Subban is the face of the Montreal Canadiens. In my opinion, he's also the best player on their team.
Allan Muir, Sports Illustrated -- A crazy amount of money? Sure is. But then Subban is a crazy, unique talent.

The 25-year-old blueliner is coming off a bridge deal that earned him $3.75 million last season with a $2.875 million cap hit. It was an absurd bargain won by Bergevin at a time when cap issues—as well as concerns about Subban's defensive play and propensity for being a loose cannon—were used to deflate the price.

Those issues aren't in play now. A Norris Trophy winner in 2013, Subban has emerged as a player without peer. A master of possession, he can take control of a game at will with his speed, courage and creativity, and in a fashion that no contemporary can match.

Subban's talent makes him the heart of the Canadiens, but it's his swagger that makes him the team's soul. He's not just a player. He's an entertainer, a throwback to the days of Yvan Cournoyer, Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt. Subban may be Ontario-born, but he's a Flying Frenchman through and through.


2015 Frozen Four Logo


Not a big fan of this one. Looks like NDSU is hosting the Frozen Four. Thoughts on this logo?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nick Schmaltz impresses Chicago Blackhawks

While he may not be the second coming of Jonathan Toews, not many are, soon-to-be UND freshman forward Nick Schmaltz impressed the Chicago Blackhawks brass with his efforts during a recent development camp.
Scott Powers, ESPNChicago.com --- To eliminate that risk, the Blackhawks could look to sign those college prospects earlier. They could attempt to sway their top top-tier college players to leave after their sophomore or junior seasons and sign them to entry-level contracts. They have done this before with players such as Jonathan Toews and Nick Leddy.

The Blackhawks already appear to have a handful of players whom they might consider signing prior to their senior seasons. Forwards John Hayden, Vincent Hinostroza and Anthony Louis are coming off productive freshman seasons and continued to impress at last week's prospect camp. Tyler Motte didn't attend the camp, but he also had a strong freshman season. Nick Schmaltz, the Blackhawks' 2014 first-round pick, also played well in the camp and will be a freshman next year.
That being said, it doesn't appear that the Blackhawks are going to rush him to sign an NHL contract, either.
Scott Powers, ESPNChicago.com --- Blackhawks amateur scouting director Mark Kelley did a majority of the evaluating of the 6-foot, 172-pound Schmaltz and had him high on the list of the offensively-skilled players in the NHL draft. One of Schmaltz’s skills especially stood out to Kelley.

“His hands, they’re fast,” Kelley said at the NHL draft.

Schmaltz isn’t a finished product, and that also attracted the Blackhawks to him. The Blackhawks weren’t looking for someone in the first round they could rush to the NHL. They sought someone with a high ceiling, but who would need time to get there.

New York Times, N.C.A.A. Players’ Winning Streak, Off the Field

English: National Collegiate Athletic Associat...
This article is a must read, the last paragraph should make things a little more clear for you. The big school in division I athletics are going to be making their own rules. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on college hockey.
Marc Tracy, New York Times -- The N.C.A.A., the Big 5 conferences and a few other universities have seemingly begun to retreat.

In April, weeks after the star point guard Shabazz Napier of Connecticut complained during the Final Four that there were “nights that I go to bed and I’m starving,” the N.C.A.A. changed its rules to allow universities to provide unlimited meals to competing students. (The N.C.A.A. said the change had been in the works for some time.)

The N.C.A.A.’s president, Mark Emmert, testified this month before a Senate committee investigating student-athletes’ well-being. While defending the current model generally, Emmert acknowledged several concerns expressed by the senators. He said he supported guaranteed four-year scholarships.

Last week, the N.C.A.A. released a revised governance proposal that, if approved by its board of directors in August, would make it easier for the Big 5 conferences — the A.C.C., the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12 and the Southeastern Conference — to make their own rules.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New York Times, Spartan Hockey Helmets Going Under Microscope

Casque de hockey
Casque de hockey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is an interesting read about hockey helmets.
Jeff Z. Klein, New York TimesHockey helmets may be on the verge of a radical makeover, as scientists and engineers at Virginia Tech prepare a rating system that measures each brand’s and model’s ability to reduce the risk of concussion.

“After football, hockey is the sport that produces the highest rate of concussion,” said Dr. Stefan M. Duma, a Virginia Tech professor and the head of the university’s biomedical engineering department. “We want to produce a mechanism to try and reduce that risk of concussion.”

That mechanism is a five-point rating scale called the STAR system, which the Virginia Tech football team began applying to its helmets in 2011. While there is still disagreement on whether concussions can be reduced by improving helmets, the football rating system quickly became influential, leading manufacturers to substantially increase internal padding. Sales for five-star football helmets have soared, and those for low-rated helmets plunged.
As a former football player, I have always often wondered about difference between football helmets and hockey helmets. It's obvious that hockey helmets are a lot thinner and lighter than football helmets. Both sports (hockey and football) are extremely physical and both sports have a lot of high impact collisions. It will be interesting to see how the various hockey helmets are ranked.
Virginia Tech engineers cut a hockey helmet and a five-star football helmet in half to show the contrast. The hockey helmet contained two thin layers of relatively rigid padding, but the football helmet had three thick layers of soft padding. The greater cushioning inside the football helmet is designed to slow the acceleration of the brain after a strong impact, thus lessening the risk of concussion.

NCAA Hockey: Expanded video replay criteria approved for men's, women's hockey

An ice hockey referee signals a penalty for hi...
An ice hockey referee signals a penalty for high sticking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here are some of the changes to come down from the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved several changes to the criteria for allowing video replay in men’s and women’s ice hockey, effective for the 2014-15 season.
The replay changes were recommended by the Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee during its meeting in June as part of a number  of recommendations intended to improve the game and were circulated to coaches and conferences for comment prior to PROP’s approval.
The added scenarios are:
Goals may be reviewed to determine if they are scored before a penalty occurred.
• If an offsides or too many men on the ice penalty is missed and a goal is scored, the play may be reviewed if the puck remains in the offensive zone after the missed infraction. If the puck leaves the attacking zone, the offsides or too many men on the ice penalty is no longer reviewable.This replaces the previous wording that only allowed a review if the missed play directly led to a goal.
• It was clarified that the video used for replays may come from any source that is available to the game officials. Previously, the video used was required to come from a television broadcast.

Former NHL Tough Guy confesses to robbing two banks in Quebec



This is one of the stories that's making rounds right now. I guess you never know who's playing on the home town team. Cote played in 105 NHL games and scored (1g-2a—3pts). Cote's last season in the NHL was 2000-01.
Trudie Mason, CJAD News -- A former NHL player has been sent to prison for 30 months after confessing to a pair of bank robberies on the South Shore.

39-year old Patrick Cote caught the eye of police in May when the car he was driving broke down in Candiac. When the patrol officers realized the car had been reported stolen in Ontario, they took Cote to the station for questioning.

That's when he admitted to investigators that he'd robbed a CIBC branch in Brossard in May and a Laurentian Bank in Saint Constant a few days later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Minnesota Wild's NBC TV Schedule.


The Minnesota Wild are going to have 11 games broadcast on NBC Sports Network this season. 

Full Wild National Broadcast Schedule (all times CT):
Oct. 9 — vs. Colorado, 8pm
Oct. 28 — at Boston, 6pm
Dec. 17 — vs. Boston, 7pm
Jan. 6 — vs. Sharks, 7pm
Jan. 11 — at Chicago, 7pm
Jan. 13 — at Pittsburgh, 6pm
Feb. 3 — vs. Chicago, 7pm
Feb. 22 — vs. Dallas, 7pm
Feb. 26 — at Nashville, 7:30pm
Apr. 7 — at Chicago, 7:30pm
Apr. 11 — at St. Louis, 2pm/6:30pm*

UND Hockey: Popular anthem singer Lindquist retained full-time (Video)



This is very good news and a smart move by UND. Mark Lindquist sang a few national anthems last year and he was simply amazing.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – UND Athletics and the Ralph Engelstad Arena are pleased to announce that Mark J. Lindquist has been retained as the full-time national anthem singer at UND men’s hockey games for the 2014-15 season. 

Lindquist’s talents were on display at multiple UND Athletics events during the 2013-14 season and his rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” has become an anticipated portion of the North Dakota hockey game experience. With a significant amount of positive feedback from fans, as well as the desire to add to the unique experience of UND men’s hockey games at “The Ralph,” the decision was made to ensure a consistent performance of the national anthem.

Lindquist is a nationally-recognized speaker and world-touring entertainer who has performed live for over a half-a-million people throughout his career. As an actor, he has appeared in ABC’s “Lost,” CBS’ “Hawaii Five-O” and the Universal Studios movie “Battleship.” 

Currently, Mark travels the country performing the national anthem for collegiate and professional sports teams, delivers keynote addresses for businesses, associations, conferences and school assemblies, as well as educational financial seminars in cities across America. 

This summer, Mark has performed at the College World Series and will be performing at Fargo Redhawks and Minnesota Twins games in July, as well as for the Los Angeles Dodgers in August.
“It's such an honor to become a consistent part of such a storied hockey program. The national anthem is my favorite song to sing and I am proud to bring my rendition to UND Athletics and the Ralph Engelstad Arena,” said Lindquist.

Lindquist makes his home in Fargo, N.D., and co-founded Breath Is Limited Motivational Speaking LLC as his way of bringing a message of hope, passion, perseverance and joy to people all over the world (www.BreathIsLimited.com). He is also a partner at The 7 Mindsets out of Atlanta, Ga. 
Lindquist is a former sergeant in the United States Air Force and an Afghanistan war veteran who grew up in Ortonville, Minn.

Vanek connected in federal gambling investigation



This story just broke this afternoon. I hoping this turns out to be nothing.
Russon's Rants --- WHEC-TV in Rochester, N.Y. is reporting (and has video) that recently-signed Wild winger and former Buffalo Sabre and Rochester Amerk Thomas Vanek was in federal court today in upstate New York as part of an ongoing gambling investigation.

According to the station, Vanek's appearance stems from the June arrest of three owners/managers of the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte, N.Y. on gambling and money laundering charges. The three men were allegedly conducting an illegal gambling business out of the bar since January 2012 (see above links and this article).

The TV station reports, "Vanek is not charged with any crime and he voluntarily came to the federal court building with his lawyer."

In a statement sent to me by Vanek's agent Steve Bartlett, Vanek said, "Representatives of the U.S. Federal Government have asked for my cooperation in an investigation. I am not the subject of any investigation or prosecution. I will fully cooperate with the U.S. Federal authorities in their investigation or in any proceedings arising out of it."