Monthly Archives: March 2013

O’ Captain! My Captain!

Leader, Strong, Skillful, Powerhouse, Force, Inspiration, Good man, Captain. All these words describe one man,  and that man is Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan. Doan  is one of only three active players in the NHL that have played with the Winnipeg Jets, the other two are Edmonton Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne.  Throughout his career Shane Doan  has been a captain on and off the ice, from the WHL to  being the captain of the Coyotes.

Shane Doan’s playing career began in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Kamloops Blazers. Doan played in the WHL for three seasons from  1992-1993 to 1994-1995. He played in 174 games for the Blazers, and in those games he scored 68 goals and added 87 helpers. The Blazers won the Memorial Cup in 1995, which was Doans most productive year in the WHL. During the championship season Doan played in 71 games scored 37 goals and had 57 assists. Shane’s great play continued into the playoffs. In 21 games Doan scored six goals and had 10 assists. With those numbers Doan received the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy for Memorial Cup MVP.

After his breakthrough season in 1995, Doan entered the NHL draft and was drafted in the first round, seventh overall by the Winnipeg Jets. Doan made the transition from junior to the NHL without playing in the AHL. Doan tallied 17 points in his rookie season, while scoring seven goals and adding 10 assists.

In 1996-1997 the Winnipeg Jets made the move to dessert and became the Phoenix Coyotes, and Doan was along for the ride. In his first year in the dessert Doan began the season with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL before meeting up with the team in Arizona for the second half of the season..The following years were a struggle for Doan, until 2001when he played in 76 games, scored 26 goals and had 37 assists. In 2003 Teppo Numminen departed with the team, leaving the captaincy open, and Doan stepped in and has been captain ever since.

Shane Doan is the backbone of the franchise, and is the on ice and off  ice leader of this young team. Those qualities earned him the King Clancy Memorial Trophy which is given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a contribution to his community. In 2012 Doan was the winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award, this is given to the player who is a superior leader within their sport and is a contributing member of society.

Last season the Coyotes won their first division title since moving to the dessert making it to the Western Conference Finals, before losing to the LA Kings, who would eventually go on and win the Stanley Cup. Last year was Doan’s most productive year of his career. Doan scored 50 points (22 goals and 28 assists). For the first time in his 16 year career, Doan recorded a hat trick on Jan. 7 in his 1,161st game.

As you can see throughout his 16 year career Doan has been leader on and off the ice, winning the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and the Mark Messier Leadership Award. With the Kamloops Blazers, Winnipeg Jets, and Phoenix Coyotes, Shane Doan is a first ballad Hall of Famer, and a consiment professional

Leader, Strong, Skillful, Powerhouse, Force, Inspiration, Good man, Captain. That is Shane Doan.

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Trade Deadline: Eastern Conf. Northeast Division

With the 2013 NHL season half way through its 48 game schedule, the trade deadline is just around the corner. This year the deadline is on April 3, and there are many teams looking to not only buy, but also to sell. I’m going to go through the Eastern Conference with what I think each team needs to do.

Northeast Division

Montreal Canadiens: The Montreal Canadiens are sitting pretty, tied atop of the Northeast Division with a record of 20-7-5 and 45 points. The Canadiens at the beginning of the year, were the talk of the hockey world with star P.K. Subban holding out for a new contract. Now that GM Marc Bergevin has his star on the team, the Canadiens are moving full steam ahead. The team has been very lucky injury wise. The two main injuries right now are Brandon Prust, and Rene Bourque, with those two guys out, the team may look at spending money to add depth  to make a deep playoff  run.

Boston Bruins: The Bruins like the Canadiens are atop of the Northeast Division with a record of 21-7-3 and 45 points. The Bruins are clearly the team to beat in the division and could be the team to knock out the Penguins in the playoffs, if they make it to the conference finals. The Bruins are a team that has been surrounded with the rumors of Jerome Iginla leaving Calgary for bean town. The Bruins would be interested in Iginla, if the asking price is right. If they need to give a lot of prospects or the asking price is too high, look for the Bruins to stay with the team they have now.

Ottawa Senators: The Sens have been plagued with injuries. Erik Karlsson, the teams top defensemen suffered a severed Achilles tendon earlier this season and is expected to miss the remainder of the year. The Sens also have Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Craig Anderson all on injured reserve. The Senators should look at adding a top six forward, however if GM Paul Holmgren has to give away a top prospect or young player, look for the Senators to stay with what they got.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs have been very solid so far this year, with a record of 18-12-4 and 40 points. In a tough division where as of right now, four of the five northeast teams are in the playoffs, the Leafs have held their own. The leafs are in need of a top line center. If the Capitals decide to let go of Mike Ribeiro, who will be a free agent in July, the Leafs could snatch him up for the right price. Toronto also could use another to defensemen to round out that corps, if someone is available they might open the checkbook.

Buffalo Sabres: The Buffalo Sabres besides the Panthers, Lightning, and Flyers could be the most disappointing teams in the east. With the team slumping early in the season, the team made a change letting go of veteran head coach Lindy Ruff. Ryan Miller is another player that is the team says that he is available could be snatched up quickly. According to NHL.com, Forwards Steve Ott, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville could be on the market, as well as defensemen Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold. The Sabres won’t make the playoff this year, so look for the team to be sellers rather than buyers.

Trade Deadline: Eastern Conf. Southeast Division

With the 2013 NHL season half way through its 48 game schedule, the trade deadline is just around the corner. This year the deadline is on April 3, and there are many teams looking to not only buy, but also to sell. I’m going to go through the Eastern Conference with what I think each team needs to do.

Southeast Division

Winnipeg Jets: The Winnipeg Jets are the team to beat in the Southeast Division, possibly the worst division in the league. The Jets lead the division with 36 points and a record of 17-14-2. The Jets have some very young and talented forwards in Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, and Dustin Byfuglien, who can also play defense. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will be looking at the trade deadline to possibly add a veteran forward who help this young corps of players in the playoffs. Another area that the Jets need to look at is goaltending. With Al Montoya and Ondrej Pavelec between the pipes, both of whom are sporting no better than a 89 save percentage and no better than a 2.68 goals against average. If there is a goalie available Cheveldayoff may jump and shell out some cash. The Jets have the chance to make the playoffs, so look for them to spend some cash.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Carolina Hurricanes are only four points behind Winnieg in the division and ninth in the conference, just one point behind the Rangers for the final playoff spot. GM Jim Rutherford, has already made a splash signing Alexander Semin to a five year extension. Now with Alexander Semin, Eric Staal and Jordan Staal wrapped up, it’s time for the team to add some young talent to round out the roster. The other area Carolina needs to look at is defense. With Justin Faulk out 2-4 weeks with a knee injury, Rutherford might look at adding another tough blue liner to the roster. Finally many would say goaltending is an issue with Cam Ward out, but Dan Ellis and Justin Peters have proven they can carry this team to the playoffs.

Washington Capitals: Adam Oates is in his first year as a head coach in the NHL and the Caps are not looking very good. With a team with players like Ovechkin, Backstrom, Ribeiro and Brouwer, this team is extremely underachieving. Washington sits in third in the division and tenth in the conference with a record of 15-16-1 and 31 points. The big story in the nations capital is if GM George McPhee will part ways with young center Mike Ribeiro. McPhee needs to decide whether or not he wants Ribeiro part of the team down the road. If he decides he wants to part ways with him, Ribeiro could be a big bargaining chip for Washington come April 3.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Tampa Bay Lightning may be the most disappointing team in the Eastern Conference. The team has been in a downward spiral all season, and finally GM Steve Yzerman needed to make a change, and that change was the firing of head coach Guy Boucher. Just two days later he hired Jon Cooper as the new bench boss in Tampa Bay. The Bolts are in a world of hurt injury wise. Benoit Pouliot, Vincent Lacavalier, Ryan Malone, Andres Lindback, and B.J. Crombeen are all on injured reserve, look for Yzerman to make some moves to bolster this club not for this year, but for years to come.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers season is disappointing to say the least. Injuries have really plagued the team this season. With Jose Theodore, Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg, Ed Jovanovski, Sean Bergenheim, and many more on the injured reserve, the team needs to look to next season . Don’t look for GM Dale Tallon to blow up the team just yet. With all the injuries, expect Tallon to look to the offseason to make any major moves.

Trade Deadline: Eastern Conf. Atlantic Division

With the 2013 NHL season half way through its 48 game schedule, the trade deadline is just around the corner. This year the deadline is on April 3, and there are many teams looking to not only buy, but also to sell. I’m going to go through the Eastern Conference with what I think each team needs to do.

Atlantic Division

Pittsburgh Penguins: Pittsburgh is the most impressive team the NHL. Now I know people would say the Blackhawks with their 24 game point streak is more impressive, but to win 25 games without going to overtime, and winning 12 in a row that is impressive. The Penguins are going to be buyers at the deadline and have already proven that. The Pens have acquired Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow and San Jose Sharks defensemen Douglas Murray. With Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang on injured reserve look for the team to add more depth up front especially for the bottom two lines.

New Jersey Devils: The Devils after making it to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, have gotten off to a slow to start and haven’t quite found their stride. Injuries have really plagued the team. Right now the Devils have five players on injured reserve: Dainius Zuburus (F), Henrik Tallinder (D), Alexei Ponikarovsky (F), Bryce Salvador (D) and Stephen Gionta (F). With GM Lou Lamoriello spending most of the money earlier in the year on Alexei Ponikarovsky, the Devils won’t be doing much by April 3. The team is looking toward next season.

New York Rangers: The New York Rangers don’t have much  cap room to do anything this year, or even next year. The Rangers have every player on the team under contract through the 2013-2014 season, including Rick Nash through 2019 and Brad Richards through 2020. The Rangers need to add depth, look at bolstering their defense and look for someone to take the point on the power play. If the team does anything at the deadline, management will need to be creative as to how they spend their money.

New York Islanders: The New York Islanders are an interesting team. They have the talent to win. I believe with John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and Brad Boyes, as well as a solid goaltender  Evgeni Nabakov, who when on his game is one of the best net minders in the league, this is a deadly team. The Islanders sit in 11th place in the conference just two points behind the Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot. With Tavares, Moulson, Grabner, Okposo, Nielsen and Martin all wrapped up till after the 2016 campaign, this clearly is a team building for the future with young talent.  I can see the team possibly trading defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky and Mark Streit for possible prospects or draft picks. Other than that, the Islanders will be content with  what they have  and  use this team to build toward the future.

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers have had one of the most disappointing seasons up to this points, besides maybe the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Flyers sit in last place in the Atlantic Division and thirteenth in the conference with 28 points. The Flyers are without two main players, veteran forward Chris Pronger and young talented winger Danny Briere, both out with concussions. The Flyers have a minus 12 goal differential which is tied with the Islanders for second to last in the conference. The Flyers need help on defense, and acquiring a gritty forward to replace Pronger, but most importantly goaltending. Between the three goalies: Ilya Bryzgalov, Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton , the three of them have no better than a 90 save percentage and no better than a 2.50 goals against average. There is a lot to fix in the city of brotherly love, and I don’t think it’s going to get done at the deadline. Flyers fans wait till next year

New Bench Boss In Tampa

After announcing this weekend the firing of Guy Boucher, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has found his new head coach. That man is Jon Cooper. Cooper is an experienced head coach who has coached the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL, the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL and the Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. He has won two championships one with the Admirals and one with the Gamblers.

GM Steve Yzerman said that he wasn’t looking for a temporary coach but a coach that would be in Tampa Bay for “years to come.”

Cooper this season with the Crunch has lead the team to the best record in the AHL (39-18-3-5). According to cbssports.com writer Chris Peters Yzerman said “He has had success at every level he has coached and is extremely familiar with our organization, as well as our players. He has a tremendous record at all levels and we feel he is ready to make the move to the NHL.”

The Lightning are back in action tomorrow night as they take on the Buffalo Sabres.

Guy Boucher Out In Tampa Bay

With the Tampa Bay Lighting fourth in the southeast division and fourteenth in the conference, GM Steve Yzerman had to make a change. That change unfortunately was the firing of head coach Guy Boucher. In his two and half seasons as bench boss, the Lightning went 97-78-20, making it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011. However since taking over in 2010 the team has fallen one spot in the division every year, going from second in 2011 to fourth as of this week.

GM Steve Yzerman held a press conference following the teams five to three loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, announcing the firing of Boucher. Yzerman said “I’m not satisfied with the direction our hockey club is going.” The Lightning have a better goal differential at plus 5 than the division leading Winnipeg Jets who are a minus 14, which looking at the numbers these two teams should be flip flopped in the division.

Injuries have been a problem for the Lightning this season. Benoit Pouliot, Vincent Lacavelier and Andres Lindback are all on injured reserve, and have no time table for a possible return this season. Goaltending has been a carousel of players rotating between Mathieu Garon, Cedrick Desjardins and Andres Lindback, who is on injured reserve. The three goalies have no better than a 90 save percentage and a 2.96 goals against average. The bright spot however is that stars Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are still producing. Stamkos has 40 points with 22 goals and 19 helpers, while St. Louis has seven goals and 33 assists.

When asked what the purpose of the firing was, Yzerman said “It is done with not only the short term, but also the long term of our organization in mind.” The last three games haven’t been kind to the Bolts. Three losses to Toronto (4-2), Ottawa (5-3) and Winnipeg (3-2) prompted the change. “…watching the situation worsen..needed to be addressed immediately.”

For now, assistant coaches Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond will share the coaching duties unit Yzerman can sign a replacement for Boucher. One coach he might consider is veteran coach Lindy Ruff. Ruff was fired after 15 and half years as the Sabres head coach early this season. Ruff would be a good fit in Tampa bay, he brings a new outlook, as well as a steady “veteran coach” presence behind the bench.

If you want to get active with me send me an email chc@sportstownchicago.com or follow me on twitter @CHCSTC4.

Ducks Sign Dvorak

The Anaheim Ducks have reportedly signed forward Radek Dvorak. The specifics of the deal according to NHL.com is Dvorek receives a one-year deal worth about $675,000.

Dvorek has played in over 1,000 NHL games and has over 500 points. He has played with six teams (Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and Dallas Stars.)

Dvorek has been playing in Switzerland with the leagues top team Davos. So far this year he has 21 points in 73 games.