Patrick Kaleta Headbutted a Guy. Shit Got Real.

Buffalo Sabre's forward Patrick Kaleta has been suspended for 4 games following an incident in the Sabre's November 2nd game against the Flyers, and by incident, I mean Kaleta headbutted another player for the second time of his career.

In a National Hockey League where hundreds of players and coaches are concerned with concussions and head shots, Patrick Kaleta stands alone.  What a ballsy move, endangering another player's head and his own head in a single play. What an over-achiever.


Around the League: Season's Greetings

Hockey season started and stuff.

Sorry guys, we really dropped the ball for a while there.

Really though, this season is off to a solid start, and for what its worth, we're coming back to blogging with a vengeance*.  Some points of interest from this young season so far after the jump.

*Vengeance is subject to change.  Make the jump, like a boss.


The Beauty of Twitter in the NHL, Pt.9

Hey guys.

Mike Modano has a Twitter and stuff. Halloween's right around the corner.

Straight up gross. Nobody wants to see Modano's wrinkly old balls.


Season Preview: Evgeni Malkin

″I hope people understand this is (a) new me,″ Malkin said. ″I've changed my workouts because maybe I was lazy before. Maybe I just played hockey, and that (was) good enough, but (there) is more for me to do."
″My motivation now is very good.″ Additionally Malkin stated that he was, "coming for foreskins," and that, "he forgot his sense of mercy back in Chernobyl."
The other 29 teams better keep their heads up, because it looks like this season Evgeni Malkin is taking over.  From watching him play and reading his interviews, it looks like Malkin is taking his game to a whole new level, and taking no prisoners.

This article by Pittsburgh Trib writer Rob Rossi, confirms what Pens fans have been waiting all off-season to hear. Malkin is coming back from injury with a vengeance. In that article you can find Malkin's daily schedule, which is notably missing his half hour "Mock Gretzky" sessions, and his favorite two exercises ("Team Lifting: Literally Putting the Team on His Back" and "Kicking Down Doors Into Business Meetings").

Believe me, I hate to come off as a homer by writing Malkin's praises before the season starts, but he just looks so solid that it's hard for any analyst to not take notice. 


Jonathan Cheechoo Is Still Geting Paid To Play Hockey

To the surprise of many hockey fans (at least I assume), Johnathan Cheechoo has been signed to an NHL contract. Coming this season he will be under a 2 way $600K contract with the St. Louis Blues. I flat out don't understand where the Blues are going right now with their recent signings.

Pictured: Cheechoo days before his talent was reported missing.

Cheechoo was once a 50 goal scorer, but that was literally one season. The next seasons he played just didn't click for him. He's tallied a mere 17 NHL goals between 2008 and 2010 with the Sharks and Senators (the Sens bought out his contract and he played a season with the AHL's Worcester Sharks). Needless to say, I'm no Cheechoo fan, I don't think he'll do well, and I think as far as goal-scorers go he's a one hit wonder, but I guess we'll see how he does in St. Louis...

Probably badly.


St. Louis Signs 2 Old People; Whatever.

Earlier today the St. Louis Blues signed ex-Devils Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott to one year contracts, which is great and cool and stuff...

Personally, I feel awkward about this deal. Langenbrunner is 35 and Arnott is 36, and I have nothing against older players, but I dont understand why the Blues feel they need both.  I don't think this is a deal that will make or break the Blues (unless injuries happen) but I think there were better players available to be signed.


Kaberle Signs in Carolina; Bruins Bring in Corvo

Today has been an uncharacteristically busy day for free agency. I know this because I've been working the Ducks2Nucks twitter today, and it is blowing up with signings rumors and trades. Two of the most impacting transactions of the day have been Tomas Kaberle's new contract in Carolina, and Joe Corvo being moved by the Hurricanes to Boston in exchange for a 4th round draft pick.

It's no secret that Kaberle didn't work out the way fans wanted him to in Boston, and we knew he wasn't resigning there, so maybe playing in Carolina will click better for him and show an upgrade in stats. As far as Joe Corvo and the Bruins go, Boston was just looking for an avid replacement for Kaberle on the blueline, and Corvo could very well be that replacement.

Corvo hasn't ever put up as many assists as Kaberle, and usually doesn't match his point totals, but as of late he's stepped up as a veteran defensive leader who can put the puck in the net.

Ducks2Nucks Embraces Technology; Joins Twitter

Everyone's favorite amateur hockey blog has officially joined Twitter.


Hit up the link and give us a follow for quick quips on NHL news and happenings, and new post alerts.


Sharks Deal Heatley

San Jose GM Doug Wilson and Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher are no strangers to each other. After last night, the GM's have completed two big trades with each other in just over a week.

Earlier, the Sharks traded Devin Setoguchi for All-Star defenseman Brent Burns. Now the teams have swapped superstar wingers, with San Jose sending Dany Heatley to Minnesota for Martin Havlat.


Free Agent Frenzy; Big Names Sign With Teams

75 free agents signed with their respective teams July 1st, and 18 additional players followed suit on the 2nd.  A lot of big names were moved around including Simon Gagne, Tim Connolly, Ville Leino, and Michael Ryder, but today we will look at the top free agent signing at the forward, defenseman, and goalie position.

Top Forward:
Brad Richards

Brad Richards waited it out through day 1 of free agency while 75 other players found new teams or re-signed with their former teams.  Early on in day 2, Richards made his decision to go with the New York Rangers by signing a 9 year deal worth $60 million.  He finished last year with 28 goals and 49 assists in 72 games. He'll also surely help out the Rangers, who at times, struggled to put the puck in the net.


The New Look of the Nashville Predators

Earlier this week the Nashville Predators released an image of their new logo set, a solid updated version of their old logo with some new splashes of color.  However, only days ago, a picture was leaked of what may be the new home and away jerseys of the Nashville Predators. 

Rumor has it that these are not the final designs but are extremely close to what the final designs will look like (Basically the same, from what I hear).  Personally, I have mixed feelings towards the jerseys.  I'm always a fan of color but the piping and stripes strike me oddly.  Regardless, we'll all have to hang on and see what becomes of these newly leaked photos.


Flyers Make Major Shakeups Before The Draft

Earlier today the Philiadelphia Flyers turned their salary cap standings and team roster upside down by shuffling some of their bigger names off to other teams and bringing in a bonafide goaltender with a huge price tag.

First the Flyers sent scoring winger Jeff Carter to Columbus in exchange for Jakub Voracek, a first round pick, and a third round pick. Carter was recently signed to a huge multi year contract that will last until the 2021-2022 season

Later in the day the Flyers sent their captain, Mike Richards, to LA for forward Wayne Simmonds and young star Braydon Schenn.  Richards is set to be in LA until the end of the 2019-2020.

Finally, with their newly freed cap space GM Paul Holmgren signed superstar goaltender Ilya Brygalov to a huge 9 year 51 million dollar deal (too high a price tag for Ilya in my opinion).

The Beauty of Twitter in the NHL, Pt.8

Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo tweeted a couple weeks ago apparently after a successful hunt...

Beautiful. Nutritious. God help us all.


Sell Out

13,000 in 17 minutes.

That is the number of season tickets that were sold to Winnipeg fans during a 3 day pre-sale and 17 minutes into their public sale. 5,850 were sold during that 17 minute span as the other 7,150 were sold to the season ticket holders of the Manitoba Moose the previous 3 days.

The numbers equate to this:

-5,850 season tickets sold in 17 minutes.
-344 season tickets sold per minute.
-6 season tickets sold per second.

In addition, each season ticket holder must retain their tickets for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years.

So, 3-5 years of 13,000 season tickets sold during a pre-sale and in 17 minutes?  It would appear that the Winnipeg fans are itching for hockey and as the days go by, they get closer and closer.


Winnipeg: Back in the NHL at Atlanta's Expense

In case you haven't heard, earlier last week it was announced that, as speculated, the Atlanta Thrashers were purchased and will move from Georgia to Winnipeg.  Less prominent in the headlines is that this move has caused the AHL's Manitoba Moose to be relocated to St. Johns, Newfoundland.

There has been no word on the official name for the new Winnipeg franchise, but rumors have passed with names like the Falcons, Polar Bears, and of course the Jets.


The Beauty of Twitter in the NHL, Pt.7

Today I'll show you a couple of tweets from the infamous Phoenix Coyotes fourth liner Paul "Biznasty" Bissonette, who is clearly enjoying his summer break.

Clearly Biznasty is doing well with his summer endeavors.  Ducks2Nucks supports him and his extracurricular activities.


Jake's Take: NHL Redivide

By now, you’ve read about the potential of the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg by as early as next season.  If you rely on some news sources, the move has already happened and could possibly affect the NHL in a big way.

But probably not in the way you thought.

From the time of its inception the NHL has, like many other leagues, divide teams for organizational purposes.

Now I could start to describe as to why this is important . . . but honestly it’s truly boring.

So let’s dive into the possibilities now that Atlanta has left us and Winnipeg seems to have return to the NHL.

Let’s take a look at the "Ducks to Nucks Awesome Map":


Atlanta's Last Stand?

After the Glendale Council voted in favor of keeping the Coyotes for at least one more season, all attention moved toward Atlanta, the next most realistic option for movement.  Unlike most teams, the Thrashers aren't contracted to their arena making them all the more movable, and with the way things are playing out right now, they may have already hung up their skates for the last time.

Canada based company True North has been negotiating with the Georgia based group that owns the Thrashers, Atlanta Spirit.  As things stand, it looks as if Winnipeg will finally get their team back, and Atlanta will have played their final game as an NHL franchise in a bittersweet turn of events.

What a thug.


Conference Finals Begin Today; Our Predictions

Only four teams remain.  These two series will determine who reaches the Stanley Cup Finals.  Here are mine and Adam's Predictions.


                 (#1 Seed Canucks)                  (#2 Seed Sharks)

Evan's Prediction: Sharks win in 7.
Adam's Prediction: Sharks win in 6
Our Take: We both figure that the Sharks are simply a stronger team. Carried by the momentum of their series with Detroit, the Sharks are simply better prepared for a tough series with a capable team like Vancouver.


                  (#3 Seed Bruins)                      (#5 Seed Lightning)

Evan's Prediction: Lightning win in 6.
Adam's Prediction: Bruins win in 6
Our Take:This series could prove to be a battle of the elderly goaltenders. Adam thinks that the Bruins Tim Thomas has the stamina to outlast Tampa's Dwayne Roloson.  The Lightning have offense on their side, but Boston has experience and a grittier defensive core. This will be a great series.


Granlund Amazes With a Highlight Reel Goal

Minnesota Wild prospect Mikael Granlund pulled off this amazing goal to give Finland the 1-0 lead over Russian in the World Championship.

Looks familiar doesn't it?

Not the best quality, but you get the point. That's one impressive goal.

NYI Grabner Signs Extension

The New York Islanders announced that they have resigned rookie sensation Michael Grabner.  The contract appears to be a 5 year deal that is worth $15 million dollars.

The speedy winger led all rookies and the Islanders with 34 goals.  Grabner announced this deal just hours ago via his twitter.

This deal comes just after the Islanders announced their plans to build a new arena which would replace the 39 year old Nassau Coliseum.  It would appear that the Islanders are getting serious and trying to prove to their fans that they are trying to field a winning team.  The signing of Grabner was a great start to that, as he is a huge piece to the Islanders puzzle.


Canucks Advance; Detroit Faces Elimination

After last nights game, the Vancouver Canucks join the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins in the Conference Final round.  They defeated the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-1 last night and take the series 4-2.

There is no doubt that Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne kept them in this series.  He had an unbelievable series for the offensively challenged Preds.  Without him, Nashville could have easily been swept.


On Phoenix and the Potential Move to Winnipeg

In case you haven't noticed, the Phoenix Coyotes aren't exactly the poster team of the NHL.  In fact, the Yotes rank 29th out of the 30 teams in attendance for the 2010-2011 season even though they statistically had their second best season in team history (43 wins, 09-10 season had 50 wins).  Such a difference between team production and fan attendance clearly raises many questions with the NHL.  The most important of which being, should the Phoenix Coyotes stay in Phoenix or should they be moved?

At this point in time, a potential move for the team from Phoenix to Winnipeg is very possible.  Winnipeg has shown that they would eagerly accept another team (Their last team was the Winnipeg Jets who became the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996).  To move a team from Winnipeg to Phoenix and then back to Winnipeg ultimately seems like the NHL admitting to making a mistake, but really it's just financially what the league may have to do. 

I won't delve too far into the technical aspects of the move at all, but honestly, I support the relocation.  I always liked the idea of Canada having another team, and maybe now it's Winnipeg's time.  The Coyotes were a loveable team of underdogs, but sometimes that's not what gets fans in seats, sometimes it's just as they say in the real estate business...

...location, location, location.

Some Goal Celebration Pics are Better Than Others?

Last night the Boston Bruins eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers in a four game sweep with a 5-1 blowout. Leading the charge was power forward, Milan Lucic, who had two goals and was a plus one on the game. Out of Lucic's offensive playoff breakout came this picture, taken almost immediately post-goal.

Decent photograph. Two B's celebrating with a single greiving Flyer in the background, but it could be closer to Lucic I think...

Improvements after the jump...


Jake's Take: Alexander Ovechkin

Well, it’s May. The sun is shining, the grass is growing and the Capitals are out of the playoffs.


For about the fifth year in a row.

Reread that a few times to really get the feeling of that. This is the team that has won their conference multiple times. This is the team with Alexander “the Great” Ovechkin and Mike Green. Multiple sources, including Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Hockey blog Puck Daddy, will point the blame at coach Bruce Boudreau and avoid blaming the players.

But guess what?

Boudreau isn’t the one out on the ice. Boudreau can’t force the players to play better. They need to go out and win. Not play to lose, but play to win. Boudreau has an awesome quote to some up the entire Capitals organization.

“I have never seen a bunch of guys look so [expletive] down when something bad happens.”

Every time the Caps start the season, they are on top of the world and chomping at the bit for a Stanely Cup victory. And every time they face the slightest adversity, they fold harder and in a more stunning fashion than the year before. Every player seemingly gives up once the going gets tough. It’s embarrassing. They talk a big game, they win the regular season and that’s it. No guts; no glory. Just another May spent on the golf course or in Russia or wherever. If the organization is looking to fix this problem, they need to address one man.

Alex Ovechkin.

Find out why after the jump...

The Beauty of Twitter in the NHL, Pt.6

Today's featured tweet comes in honor of Cinco de Mayo from Toronto winger Joffery Lupul.

Throwing cultural sensitivities to the wind, Lupul tweeted this celebration of paper mache and crude humor, and for that I thank him.


Washington Chokes on Ovechkins Empty Promise

Tonight the Tampa Bay Lightning did what nobody thought they could do.  They completed a four game sweep of the Washington Capitals.  What makes this sweep taste all the more bitter for Caps fans is the fact that yesterday star forward Alexander Ovechkin promised reporters a series win out of a 3-0 deficit.

 “It’s not over. We don’t give up. We’re gonna win... They win three, we can win three.” 

The Lightning overall outplayed the Caps in every aspect of the series and just seemed to want the wins more than Washington.  The Capitals become the first number one seed since conference playoff format started in 1994 to be swept in first or second rounds.

Also tonight in playoff news, the Bruins increased their series lead over the Flyers to 3-0 with a 5-1 win, and the Sharks won in Detroit in overtime to go up 3 games to none on the Red Wings.


Two More NHL Award's Finalists Annoucned

This week the NHL announced the finalists for two more of its prestigious awards, the Jack Adams Trophy for the best coach in the league, and the Hart Trophy for the league MVP.

Jack Adams Trophy (Best Coach)

Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins
Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks
Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators

Ducks2Nucks take: Coaching awards are always hard to call because you can go any way you want with the analysis. Bylsma managed to keep a winning team through an injury plagued season. Vigneault led a powerhouse squad to the President's Trophy for best record in the regular season. Barry Trotz... Barry Trotz has to coach the Predators and that's pretty hard I'd imagine. Evan and I had a hard time picking for this one, but Evan picked Bylsma because of his adaptability, and I'm going with Trotz because the guy doesn't get the recognition he deserves I feel. Vigneault will probably win just because we didn't pick him. Whatever.

Hart Trophy (MVP)

Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Martin St.Loius, Tampa Bay Lightning
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

Ducks2Nucks take: This is a close race. All three players had fantastic seasons, but the real question is which player had the most impact to his team's success. St.Loius pumped out really impressive numbers at an age where he should be wrapping up his career, but Tampa also had Stamkos putting up a lot of points and Lecavalier producing another solid season. Sedin scored a lot of goals and was a huge offensive force alone this season, but he also had his brother Henrik and players like Ryan Kesler on the Canucks roster to help lead their season. Corey Perry really stands out to us from these nominees. Perry had a phenomenal season, leading the Ducks in points and goals with 50 goals and 48 assists for a total of 98 points. Perry's play really stood out this season as a stable superstar talent.


2nd Round Match-ups Set: Our Predictions

The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been completed.  In a pair of game 7's last night Tampa shut out the Penguins on Pittsburgh home ice to win the series and Boston advanced thanks to an overtime goal from Nathan Horton:

These games concluded a very exciting first round in hockey.  Tonight begins the Eastern/Western Conference Semi-Finals.  Here is mine and Adam's take.


An Unbelievable Finish; Vancouver Advances

It came down to one final game for the Canucks and Blackhawks.  One game to decide who moves on.  Vancouver won the first three followed by Chicago winning the next three.  Game 7 proved to be no disappointment.

All eyes were on goalie Roberto Luongo as he has proved year after year to be a no-show come playoff.  This year looks to be the same as he had a horrific game 4 and got pulled once again in game 5.  For game 6, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault turned to backup Cory Schneider.  After losing game 6 as well coach Vigneault went back with Luongo for game 7.  He responded with 31 saves and only 1 goal allowed. 

Some NHL Awards Finalists Announced

In recent weeks, the NHL has announced the nominees for several of the awards given out at the NHL Awards such as best defenseman, best defensive forward, rookie of the year, and best goaltender.

The nominees and our picks, after the jump.


Sharks Bite Kings in OT; Advance

It was do or die for the Los Angeles Kings last night.  Win and they force a game 7, lose and they're done until October.

Sharks 4 vs. Kings 3 (Overtime)

The game was a constant back and forth battle as both teams traded goals until overtime.  Kyle Wellwood, Jason Demers, and Dany Heatley scored for the Sharks while Justin Williams, Ryan Smyth, and Trevor Lewis scored for Los Angeles in regulation.  In overtime, the Sharks looked to their leaders, and Joe Thornton did not disappoint:

The Beauty of Twitter in the NHL, Pt.5

Today's tweet is actually a classic that I had to look back for. All the way back from August 21st, Ducks forward Bobby Ryan tweeted this priceless quote.

Borderline animal abuse. Hilarious.


Round 1 Winding Down: Caps Advance

The Washington Capitals defeated the New York Rangers yesterday by a score of 3-1 and go on to win the series 4 games to 1.  The Caps join the Detroit Red wings as the only other team so far to win their series.  Detroit swept Phoenix 4-0.