Western Conference Finals: Blackhawks take 1-0 series lead over Kings


BLACKHAWKS 2 – KINGS 1 The Chicago Blackhawks have opened a 1-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Kings, defeating the Kings 2-1 on Saturday evening. Marian Hossa (6) and Patrick Sharp (8) scored the Hawks and Corey Crawford made 21 saves on 22 shots. The Blackhawks carried the play and the Kings struggled to skate with the Hawks. The Kings were outshot 17-2 in the first period but opened the scoring when Justin Williams scored off a Blackhawks turnover at 14:23 of the first period as the Kings scored on one of their two shots in the period. Chicago would respond with two second period goals from Sharp and Hossa. Joanthan Quick looked unbeatable early on and to beat a great goaltender you have to get traffic in front and that’s what the Hawks did as they scored on a rebound and a deflection. For one game, the HawksRead More »

NHL Notes: Devils are an aging team


DePaoli on the NHL DEVILS FUNK: The New Jersey Devils are in disarray, off to a 2-7-1 start. Through ten games, the Devils have failed to develop any kind of momentum and things went for the worse last weekend. $100 million dollar man Ilya Kovalchuk was a healthy scratch on Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres, after being a few minutes late for a team meeting and the Devils were later embarrassed on home ice, losing to the Sabres 6-1 and followed up that game with a 3-1 loss on the road to the New York Rangers Sunday night. An interesting side note on the Kovalchuk decision is that head coach John MacLean never consulted with management about the decision to make Kovalchuk a healthy scratch. The Devils have struggled in just about every area. They have scored just 17 goals on the season, tied for the fewest in theRead More »

NHL playing hardball with Kovalchuk Again; Torres signs with Canucks


Around the NHL The New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk have agreed to the framework of a new deal in the range of 12-13 years but at this time both sides are not able to push forward with the deal. After Devils officials and agent Jay Grossman met with NHL officials on Monday, the NHL has not signed off on the framework of the deal nearly 48 hours later. Discussions though are ongoing between officials from both sides. A league source told me earlier in the week that the framework of the new deal has Kovalchuk’s cap hit closer to $7 million than the previously $6 million cap hit for the 17 year – $102 million deal that was rejected. League contacts are hinting the deal will be 12-13 years in the $84-$91 million range, which we reported on Monday. The NHL is trying to put an end to dealsRead More »

Pittsburgh Penguins All-Decade Team


The Pittsburgh Penguins franchise had many ups and downs during the decade. The decade began with a bang as hall of famer/owner Mario Lemieux made a stunning comeback in December 2000 after being retired for 3.5 years. The team would earn its 12th straight playoff appearance in 2001 but financial reasons would lead to cost cutting moves such as trading star winger Jaromir Jagr and the cost cutting moves would continue years after. From 2002-2005, the franchise had no choice but to go into full throttle rebuilding mode and the Penguins endured four straight losing seasons that included rumors of relocation but the latter part of the decade would turn glorious (2009 Stanley Cup Champions, New Arena agreement) due to some luck (draft lottery sweepstakes Sidney Crosby), great drafting (Marc Andre Fleury) and other factors. Pittsburgh Penguins All-Decade Team

Blackhawks, Penguins take similar paths; opposite philosophies


By Paul Ladewski Chicago – The reassignment of former Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon came as no surprise to those that had monitored the situation closely. As far back as the final months of the 2008-09 campaign, there were signs that the organization had begun to groom assistant general manager Stan Bowman for the position. It was only a matter of time before Stan joined his famous father Scotty as the brains of the operation, and when one considers their salary-cap situation, the move wasn’t without cause. The Blackhawks have followed a similar path taken by the Penguins in recent years, as both rebuilt their teams around talent selected early in the draft order. Whereas the Penguins chose to build down the middle, however, the Blackhawks made

Insider Report: Top 40 wingers on the Free Agent market


Follow TIOPS on Twitter Inside Look at the top right/left wingers on the free agent market. Players in bold are players of interest for Pittsburgh. Players are numbered from highest 08/09 salary to the lowest. Top 22 Right Wingers 1. Marian Gaborik 27 MIN $7,500,000 2. Marian Hossa 30 DET $7,450,000 3. Martin Havlat 28 CHI $6,000,000 * Pittsburgh would have to get very creative and clear salary. Pittsburgh continues to get mentioned as a possibility because of a close working relationship between Ray Shero and Allan Walsh and Havlat’s interest in playing for a contender, if things don’t work out with the Blackhawks. -Major Longshot. 4. Alexei Kovalev 36 MON $4,500,000 * Seeking $4.5 million per season and is currently out of the Penguins price range. Penguins are indeed interested but Kovalev is not as interested in Pittsburgh like he use to be – Major Longshot 5. Brian GiontaRead More »

Afternoon Buzz: NHLPA holds annual meetings; Hossa to decide his fate with the Wings by draft day


The NHLPA held it’s annual meetings this morning in Las Vegas. It is being speculated that the NHLPA has decided to exercise their 5% inflator on the salary cap, which will keep the cap around the level it was this season. Another hot topic between the players association, are the Phoenix Coyotes. The growing concensus is that the players believe relocating to a market where the franchise won’t be in the red year after year is the best option. A few Friday afternoon rumors Marian Hossa is currently on vacation and will return sometime next week. Ritch Winter the agent for Hossa has been in talks with Wings GM Ken Holland and word is Hossa will make a decision on whether to test free agency by draft day. Martin Havlat has made concessions in talks with the Hawks and the only hold up on a deal is the term ofRead More »

NHL: Sunday Morning Rumor Roundup


Red Wings still want Hossa: At the right price, the Detroit Red Wings want to re-sign Marian Hossa. It’s believed the Red Wings offer of 8 years – $40 million remains on the table. Despite expressing an interest in bringing back Marian Hossa, there’s some buzz going around that some members in the Wings organization are split on bringing Hossa back and would like the team to bolster it’s blueline and spend the money that would go to Hossa to a #2 or #3 defenseman in free agency. Other Red Wings Rumors Ty Conklin could hit the open market again. Goaltender Jimmy Howard is signed for two more seasons and is expected to be promoted next season. The market for Mikael Samuelsson is expected to be strong with the Thrashers, Sabres and Blues high on Samuelsson. Flyers looking to clear cap space The Philadelphia Flyers would like to be majorRead More »

Staal takes his game to another level in games 6 & 7


The performance of Jordan Staal in games 6 and 7, played a big factor in the Penguins upsetting the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. In the final two games of the series, Staal took his game to the next level. He didn’t light up the scoresheet but he was strong in both ends of the ice and Friday night might have been the most complete game I have seen from Staal all season. He stepped in for the injured Sidney Crosby and played his heart out, winning battles in the corners and like the rest of his teammates, put it all on the line. I have been hard on Staa at times as I feel expectations should have been a bit higher for him in year three, after being the 2nd overall selection in 2006. Staal will never be the consistent scorer that some people want himRead More »