As so many fine hockey players have this summer, Mike Modano is officially retiring from the NHL. However, he first had to finish with his latest contract – a one-day deal with the Dallas Stars valued at $999,999, which provided a sense of closure to the former number 9 and fans of the franchise all around, as Modano spent 20 of his 21 NHL seasons in the Minnesota/Dallas organization. Modano will go down as one of – if not the greatest American-born player in NHL history.
To say the geographical situation in the NHL is less than desirable would be an understatement. With the move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg (to play as the Winnipeg Jets) means that the Jets will have some of the most arduous travel schedule in history, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman thinks he has a solution to the problem, and he’ll spend the next two and a half months reviewing the situation.
Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla got out for his team’s first on-ice practice at training camp on Saturday, and less than 30 minutes later, he was back in the dressing room. Iginla complained of back spasms, which have sidelined the all-star winger since. He said that this is something that he’s battled with throughout his career, but has played through it for the most part during the season. For him, who has been in the NHL for 15 years, this is only training camp.
NHL training camps opened up on Friday, with hundreds of players across the league reporting in for physicals. Most of the time, this isn’t news, other than the obvious heralding of a new NHL season underway, but the situation with the Los Angeles Kings’ inability to sign restricted free agent defenseman Drew Doughty has reached a boiling point.
The New York Islanders announced today that they’ve locked up former first-overall draft pick and current fan favorite John Tavares to a six-year, $33 million contract. The deal kicks in next summer when Tavares’ entry level contract expires. This is great news for the fans of the Islanders, but the real question is how the heck can the franchise afford a deal as expensive as this one?
“I can’t be fat,” said Alex Ovechkin on Tuesday in response to accusations that he’s out of shape with only a week left before training camp begins. Ovechkin claims he’s on a new workout regimen that he’s unwilling to share because it’s his secret and nobody else’s. That’s fine for him, but the fact that he’s expected to be a leader to his Washington Capitals teammates means that there shouldn’t even be a question about his physical health.
The Florida Panthers were the hottest team at last year’s trade deadline, practically giving away their entire roster – finally admitting that the plan wasn’t working and attempting to get younger and cheaper in a hurry. They’ve been out of the playoffs for over a decade and wholesale changes may be just what they need to become a contender in the Eastern Conference. At least that’s what General Manager Dale Tallon hopes for.
The Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006. Since then, it’s been almost exclusive misery for the fans and team in Raleigh. The Hurricanes have failed to make the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. In that fifth season, they finished sixth and won two seven-game series before bowing out of the Conference Final in four games. This season, Carolina hopes that a few roster tweaks will mean the difference between a playoff berth and early tee times on the golf courses.
In recent seasons, we’ve seen Stanley Cup rosters disband (if not explode) during the summer months. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost a good handful of players after their run, while seemingly half of the Chicago Blackhawks roster was spread out among the league after they won. The Boston Bruins are looking to try the opposite, as most of the members of the 2011 Stanley Cup winners are back, which many think will give them the upper hand in their road to repeat.
With the invites of Owen Nolan and Todd Fedoruk to training camp, the Vancouver Canucks are trying to address some issues that stopped them from completing a successful road to the Stanley Cup last season. They fell one game short of the coveted prize, but many believe they were lucky to be anywhere close to that with the way their postseason was so up and down.
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