Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Category

20 years ago, the Quebec Nordiques drafted star Eric Lindros. He refused to play for the club, leading to him sitting out the 1991-92 season.  Lindros played part of the OHL season with Oshawa and was on Canada’s silver medal winning Olympic hockey team in 1992.

The trade was Flyers 1991 first rounder Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, two first round picks (Jocelyn Thibault, Nolan Baumgartner) and $15 million.  At the time, it was an overpayment.  It looks even worse knowing what happened after.  But the Flyers weren’t the only team interested.  The Rangers put together a package of Doug Weight, Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, John Vanbiesbrouck, three first round picks and $12 million.  The Rangers’ package included guys that were key parts, or traded for key parts, of their Stanley Cup run in 1994.  So why would a team who was first in the conference in 1991-92 willing to trade three young future stars, its’ starting goalie, among other assets for Lindros?

Lindros was touted as the “Next One”.  He was going to take the torch from Gretzky, become the next great NHL superstar and lead the league into a new era.  Hindsight showed that Lindros never came close to his potential, thanks mainly to injuries.  But at the time, every hockey fan knew his name.  And remember 1992 was a time before the internet, before fans could read about any prospect.  He was on hockey cards even before he had been drafted, which didn’t happen in those days.  Lindros was that big of a star.

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More tidbits from around the NHL and the world of hockey:

Chris Drury (Photo: Getty Images)

– Chris Drury, unable to find a new team, called it a career on Friday. Drury played 892 games in 12 NHL seasons with 4 teams (Colorado, Calgary, Buffalo, New York). He finished with 615 career points (255 goals, 360 assists) He also played internationally in 3 Olympics, 3 IIHF championship tournaments, and 1 World Cup Of Hockey. He earned 2 silver medals in the Olympics, and one bronze in IIHF competition.

– The once highly touted Fabian Brunnström has earned a tryout with The Detroit Redwings. It will be interesting to see if he can finally show some of what was expected when he came to the NHL, or if this will be his last stop.

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Here are some tidbits from around the NHL

Kris Draper (PHOTO: Getty Images)

– Kris Draper announced his retirement from the NHL. He is a 4 time Stanley Cup winner (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008. All with Detroit), as well as a 2004 Frank J. Selke Trophy winner. He totaled 364 points in his 19 year NHL career that spanned 1157 games. Also has 2 world junior gold, 1 world cup gold, 1 world championship gold and silver to his name with Team Canada. Congrats to him on a great career, and all the best to him in retirement!

– Nikolai Khabibulin is heading to the slammer after deciding to not appeal his 2010 DUI conviction. The lesson, being on injured reserve for a sore back, not the time to get wasted. On the bright side, 15 days is plenty of time  for him to start a prison yoga gang.

– Penguins signed Right Winger Jason Williams. A very good, underrated signing. He seems to always pop up when you need a goal, just don’t count on him all the time. He’s like Alex Kovalev…. without the huge price tag, stickhandling ability, and attitude.   (more…)

In honor of our country’s Independence Day, I’ve decided to compile a full 23 man roster of the greatest American hockey players.

Centers
Pat LaFontaine scored over 1000 points in a career that was cut short. He was surpassed as the American points leader by Mike Modano, who has 561 goals and 1374 points (and still going?). Another player with 500 goals and 1000 points is Jeremy Roenick. The recently retired Doug Weight played for various teams in the NHL for 19 seasons, also scoring over 1000 points. Neal Broten, a member of the 1980 Olympic hockey team, played 1099 NHL games, being named an All Star twice.

Left Wings
Keith Tkachuk is only one of four Americans to score 500 goals, and went to five All Star games. In Montreal, John LeClair was a 3rd line center, but when he was traded to Philly in 1995, his career took off. 3 straight 50 goal seasons (only American to do that) and 5 straight 40 goal seasons, LeClair finished with over 400 goals. Brian Rolston has played over 1100 games and scored over 700 points in the NHL. Even though he never played an NHL game, Mike Eruzione scored the biggest goal in American hockey history, as he captained the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. (more…)

Now that the Winnipeg NHL team has reached their goal of 13,000 season tickets sold, True North Sports and Entertainment is expected to announce the team name between now and the draft.

What will the name be? Here are some possible choices:

Jets– The name of the original WHA/NHL franchise in Winnipeg until they left for Phoenix in 1996.  The Jets seem like the most popular choice among fans.  Gary Bettman also told TNSE that the league would allow them to use the name and logo if the group decides to.

Thrashers– When Calgary left Atlanta in 1980, they took the name (Flames) with them.  Winnipeg could too, but I don’t know if there are any Thrashers in Winnipeg. Highly unlikely the name travels with the team.

Moose– The Manitoba Moose, formerly of the AHL, have been in Winnipeg since the Jets left. The Moose have been popular, and it’s quite possible the NHL team could just take the name and continue the Moose tradition.

Falcons– The Winnipeg Falcons were an senior amateur team, who won the Allan Cup in 1920 and went on to represent Canada in the 1920 Olympics in Belgium, winning Gold.  Could be a nice homage to the past, like Ottawa did for the original Senators in 1992.

Chufugaboos– Thanks to a 3rd grader in Winnipeg named Joey, this name has circulated around the internet.  The Chufugaboos, with a logo of a monkey, might be a million-to-one shot, but it is still an awesome name regardless.

Phoenix– Rising from the ashes of the Jets to live again, and gives a connection to the former Winnipeg team.  Not sure about this one, as it might cause confusion (the Phoenix @ Phoenix).

Flashes (or Flash)– The city’s first team was named after Hall of Famer Bobby Hull (the Golden Jet), why can’t the new team be named after one of the best players in the past twenty years (and former Jet), Teemu Selanne.  Who knows, maybe Teemu decides one last year where his career began?

Slurpees– Winnipeg is the Slurpee Capital of the World.  No kidding.  Plus, it’d give easy corporate sponsorship with 7-11.

Which name do I like? I liked the Jets name growing up, but feel the new team should establish it’s own identity.  But I wouldn’t be mad if the Jets returned.

Two American NHL veterans are hanging it up after long careers.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski is walking away from a contract that had one year and $6 million remaining. The 37 year old defenseman’s decision was helped by his current injuries. He reportedly played without an ACL in this year’s playoffs.

Rafalski played 833 NHL games with the New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings. In his 11 years, he scored 79 goals and 515 points. He was a member of three Stanley Cup teams (’00 Devils, ’03 Devils, ’08 Red Wings). He’s also won an Olympic silver medal twice with USA, in 2002 and 2010. In 2010, he was named to the all-Olympic team, as well as best defenseman, after finishing the tournament first in defenseman scoring (8 points). Rafalski was a two time all-star, in 2004 and 2007.

One of the underrated defensemen of his generation, Rafalski’s sudden retirement leaves the Red Wings with $6 million to play with in the offseason. That number could grow if his blueline mate Nicklas Lidstrom also decides to hang up the skates.

Rafalski’s teammate on the 2002 US silver medal team, Doug Weight, is also expected to announce his retirement this week. Unlike Rafalski, Weight has made his way around the NHL, playing 1238 games with the Rangers, Oilers, Blues, Hurricanes, Ducks and Islanders. Weight tallied 278 goals and 1033 points in his 21 year career. In addition to his 2002 silver medal, he’s represented USA in the 1998 and 2006 Olympics. Also in 2006, Weight got his named etched onto the Stanley Cup as the Hurricanes beat the Oilers.

The four time all-star picked up his 1000th point with the Islanders, an assist on a Richard Park goal in a game on January 2, 2009 against the Coyotes. He became only the eighth American and 73rd NHLer to hit the 1000 point mark. His 1000th career game came with St. Louis against the Oilers on November 16, 2006.  Weight was the 25th American to reach the mark.

Hats off to great careers, guys. Here’s to happy retirement for the both of them!