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NHL: News and Notes


By John D’Agostino

News and Notes from around the NHL:

First off, some sad news for the NHL. Wade Belak, a respectable and fan favorite defenseman was found dead in his apartment last Wednesday. He was very involved in every community no matter where he played. He was a great man and will be sure to be remembered by everyone who plays in the NHL.

Some updates on Teemu Selanne. He had surgery on his knee, and the recovery is in the process. The good news is that he still wants to play. The GM for Anaheim has said that Selanne still has a great interest to play in the NHL, and is trying to do whatever he can to get back and play. He is trying to follow-up an 80 point season last year, an impressive season for a 41-year-old hockey player. Selanne is an unrestricted free agent right now, but said he will only play in the league if the Ducks take him back. Only time will tell.

On a final note, James van Riemsdyk signed a new contract with the Flyers this past week. The contract is a six-year deal worth 25.5 million dollars in total, or about 4.25 million a year, which in my mind is a great deal. After a growing season last year, JVR really turned a corner in the playoffs leading the league in shots on goal, and scoring 7 goals in 11 playoff games. He was quite dominant in every game he played. Some people are upset that he is making more than Claude Giroux but they have to realize Giroux’s deal will be up in 3 more years and he will be getting a very big pay raise, so they shouldn’t worry.

Training camp is close, and the season starts a month from today!

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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Hockey, John D'Agostino, Sports

 

NHL News and Notes


by John D’Agostino

As the summer drags on, so does the NHL news. Thankfully, we are getting ever so closer to training camp so we can start getting some exciting news, or at least players skating on ice. Regardless, there have been a few stories going on around the league. First off, Jonas Hiller has been working out of in Sweden and said he has not felt any symptoms of vertigo in a while. That is good news for the Ducks because after losing him they had to try and ride Ray Emery into the playoffs, which we saw didn’t turn out very well. The Ducks season is going to rely heavily on him returning to the way he was playing before the injury. In other news, Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils is going to be sidelined for at least a month and a half into the season after undergoing surgery on his left Achilles tendon. The surgery was succesful, and the way the Devils looked at the end of the last season gives everyone hope for this season. Last year was the first year the Devils missed the playoffs since 1996, so the pressure is sure building on the Devils to have a good year. Last but certainly not least, Chris Drury has decided to call it quits. Drury has retired from the NHL at the age of 34, recording 615 points in 892 games. He was certainly a playoff performer though, recording 89 points in 135 playoff games. He will retire with a Stanley Cup win, while on Colorado, and a Calder Trophy win, which he also received as a member of Colorado. Training camp is only weeks away, it’s time to start getting excited!

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Hockey, John D'Agostino, Sports

 

Edmonton poised for a good year?


By John D’Agostino

 

The Edmonton Oilers have not had a very exciting season since the surprising run through the playoffs in 2006. The departure of Chris Pronger along with a few other key elements doomed the Oilers into a few rough years. This year however, there is a good amount of hope for a good season. WIth a record of 25-45-12 last year, they will need their young talent to step forward.  The Edmonton Oilers have had two first round picks in a row, selecting two budding stars in Taylor Hall, last years first pick overall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this years first overall pick. Taylor Hall had a fantastic rookie season before getting injured. Hall recorded 42 points in 65 games, which is a very impressive total for a rookie. Nugent-Hopkins, this years first overall pick who shows tons of promise, has a very good chance at cracking the line-up. Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner are also some of the young guns looking to help lead Edmonton into their first playoff birth since 2006. Nikolai Khabibulin will also need to have a better season, after going 10-32-3 last year with a 3.39 GAA. In order for Edmonton to be able to succeed, Khabibulin will have to return to the form that helped lead Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup VIctory in 2004. With the young offensive talent they have, the Oilers defense could be the biggest problem. With no big name defenders, there a good amount of unproven defenders that will need to prove themselves this season in order to provide support for the offense. I think it is safe to say that the young forward group will be able to help Edmonton make a run at one of the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference. It will heavily rely on Khabibulin though, because if he has a down year like last year, it won’t matter how many goals they score, it won’t help them win games. 

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Hockey, John D'Agostino, Sports

 

Flyers News: Chris Pronger Injury Update


By John D’Agostino

After a phone interview with reporters Monday, Chris Pronger gave Flyers fans a reason to be even more optimistic about the upcoming season. Pronger gives the fans faith by saying that he is confident that he is on schedule and will be playing all 82 games this year. That would be a huge boost for a team that has a lot of question marks with a load of new players on the team this year. In the interview he talks about his recovery from the back and hand injuries that he had late last season, that in turn kept him out of most of the playoffs. As we saw, without Chris Pronger, the team looks unsure of themselves in the defensive zone, so having him back in the line-up sooner rather than later is a big deal for their mental stability. Pronger said his back was healing great, but it was his hand that was holding him back from really getting into his workout routines. He said all the heavy lifting he usually would do is limited because of the hand, so he is just focusing on cardio workouts for now. Reporters also remarked on him possibly breaking down because of age, as Pronger is 37 years old right now. His response touched on the fact that he’s not breaking down, but he may need to just stop blocking as many shots. He joked that he can leave those shots to their new million dollar goaltender, clearly referencing the pricey addition of Ilya Bryzgalov. He ended by saying he’s not going to speed anything up in rehab, it goes as it goes. That’s good news, because rushing could cause a setback, and the Flyers would be in big trouble if that happened. For now, fans just need to hope he heals properly and gets back on track.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Hockey, John D'Agostino, Sports

 
 
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