Monday, February 29, 2016

Trade Deadline Day -- After the final horn


The Trading Post Archive 

With the clock ticking past the 3 PM deadline in the Eastern Time zone, a few deals that were still in motion became finalized transactions, still not enough to make the events of the previous six hours as the thing of a Blockbuster Day, with the shift in personnel more a bit of fine tuning and positioning perhaps for Draft Day in July.

Found among the listings of last minute maneuvering were:

NHL Trade Alert
Boston - Carolina  -- The Bruins picked up defenceman John Michael-Liles from the Hurricanes, with Anthony Camara heading for Carolina, along with a third round pick in the 2016 Draft and a 5th Round pick in the 2017 Draft.

NHL Trade Alert
Ottawa --  New York Islanders -- The Senators pick up a third round pick in the 2016 draft after they send Shane Prince and a 7th Round pick in the 2016 draft to the New York Islanders

NHL Trade Alert
Minnesota - Ottawa -- The Wild and Senators make an exchange, with Conor Allen heading to Minnesota and Michael Keranen making his way to Ottawa

NHL Trade Alert 
Montreal - New Jersey Devils -- Devante Smith-Pelly packs his suitcase once again, this time on his way to New Jersey in exchange the Habs picked up Stefan Matteau.

NHL Trade Alert
Boston -- New Jersey Devils -- The Bruins add to their depth at forward taking Lee Stempniak from New Jersey with a second round pick in the 2017 draft and a 4th round pick in the 2016 draft going to the Devils.

NHL Trade Alert
Anaheim -- Buffalo -- Jamie McGinn is on his way to Southern California, as the Ducks swing a deal with the Sabres, surrendering a conditional 3rd Round pick in the draft.

NHL Trade Alert
New York Islanders -- Colorado -- The Islanders pick up Marc Andre-Cliche from the Avalanche in exchange for Taylor Beck
(NHL Trade Alert)

NHL Trade Alert
Minnesota -- Los Angeles -- The Kings hold a family reunion with Brett Sutter shifting over from the Minnesota Wild with defenceman Scott Sabourin heading to the Wild, Sutter is the son of Kings head coach Daryl Sutter.
(NHL Trade Alert)

NHL Trade Alert
Arizona -- Nashville -- Corey Potter heads for Nashville after the Coyote and Predators finish off a deal, the Coyotes received future considerations for their side of the arrangement.

NHL Trade Alert
Anaheim -- Chicago -- The Ducks give up Tim Jackman and a 7th round pick in the 2017 draft to Chicago in exchange for Corey Tropp.

NHL Trade Alert
Anaheim -- Edmonton -- The Ducks keep busy sending Patrick Maroon to the Edmonton Oilers receive Defenceman Martin Gernat and a 4th round pick in 2016 as part of the deal
(NHL Trade Alert)

NHL Trade Alert
Minnesota -- Calgary -- Goaltender Niklas Backstrom is Alberta bound along with a 6th round draft pick in the 2016 draft, with Minnesota receiving David Jones in return
(NHL Trade Alert)

NHL Trade Alert
Arizona -- Pittsburgh -- A three for one deal sees Dustin Jeffrey, Dan O'Donoghue and James Melindy off to Pittsburgh, with the Coyotes receiving Matia Marantuoni in return

Trade Deadline Day -- Segment Five

2 PM to 3 PM ET
11 AM to NOON PT

The Trading Post Archive 

Into the final hour of the Trading Deadline we go, with the instant messages flashing across panelists phones, though few it seem are delivering final announcements on the blockbuster like trade that will make all the filler material of the day so far worth the wait ...

Sportsnet notes that they're going to need a late game rally to try and match previous years results, then turns to a look at the situation in Ottawa, with a focus on the announcement that the Sens are shutting down Kyle Turris to recover from his leg injury.

TSN reviews the growing trend of no trade contracts and how it shifts the nature of trade deadline day.

11:20 AM / 2:20 PM PT
The Anaheim Ducks pick up Brandon Pirri from the Florida Panthers, sending a 6th Round pick to Florida in exchange.
(NHL Trade Alert)

Sportsnet continues to learn the ways of Mess, as Mark Messier recounts how he would welcome players that were traded to his teams during his career.  TSN is reviewing the Pirri deal between the Ducks and Panthers.

The final half hour provides for a recap of the trading information on the day so far, which doesn't take for time out of the programming planning.

TSN does check in with Jennifer Hedger to make sure that she a) recovered from the horrid T shirt gun ambush and b) does not have a lawyer on hand to counsel on workplace threat concerns ...

Sportsnet has tracked down Eric Gelinas to see what he thinks of his new destination of Colorado. Then in a quick pivot, tries their best to get Pierre Parenteau traded away by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With the clock winding its way to the finish line, TSN and Sportsnet put their finishing thoughts together on one of the slowest days in recent Trade Deadline experiences.

Though we are cautioned that some trades may still be in the pipeline and would be released as the post deadline hour plays out.

Trade Deadline Day -- Segment Four

1PM to 2 PM ET
10 AM to 11 AM PT

The Trading Post Archive 

How slow is deadline day?  James Duthie has taken to reinforcing his belief that there will be another trade before the deadline arrives in two hours time ... Betting sides stand ready to take some of that action ...

Sportsnet has turned its attention to the trade earlier this year between Nashville and Columbus and which team won the Jones / Johansen trade, a theme previously explored by TSN in the previous hour.

A Minor league deal sees the Blackhawks and Hurricanes swapping two players.

10:12 AM PT / 1:12 PM ET
The Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes provide the reinforcements for Trade Deadline discussion, with the Avs picking up Left Winger Mikkel Boedker from Arizona, heading to Arizona is Alex Tanguay and two prospects Connor Bleackley and Kyle Wood
(NHL Trade Alert)

The shift of Tanguay for Boedker captures the attention of the two Deadline show options, though it doesn't make for a lengthy review, with a return to the forecasting and prognostications of what could come yet.

TSN turns its attention to another tour of the Canadian teams to shake the trees and see if anything is under discussion, Sportsnet grabs an interview with Boedker to learn how he heard of the trade and what he sees ahead in Colorado.

10:38 AM PT / 1:38 PM ET
Colorado keeps its trading plan in motion picking up Eric Gelinas from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 3rd Round pick.
(NHL Trade Alert)

10:38 AM / 1:38 PM ET 
Dallas and Calgary strike a deal with the Stars picking up some strength on the blue line acquiring Kris Russell from Calgary. Calgary receives Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock and a conditional 2nd Round Draft pick
(NHL Trade Alert)

TSN is the first to get an interview with Alex Tanguay, how notes that the trade was not a surprise as he had known that the Avalanche had no plans to resign him for next season.

Sportsnet features a discussion with Mark Messier and the impact of his trade to the Rangers after a lengthy run with the Edmonton Oilers.

Trade Deadline Day -- Segment Three

Noon to 1 PM ET
9 AM to 10 AM PT

The Trading Post Archive 

Well into the deadlines shows and we are going very deep into the file footage of potential trade bait and camera shots of game day skates across the NHL, as Deadline Day delivers but one transaction to this point for discussion.

This of course leaves the loquacious hosts and corespondents of the Deadline shows with lots of time to fill, with much of the programming to this point resembling the theory of the old Jerry Seinfeld show, once referenced as a show about nothing ... review your options and insert your favourite TSN or Sportsnet host into the appropriate Seinfeld roles now to help fill some time ...

Sportsnet turns its attention to the Montreal Canadiens and a look at their prospects, probably not something that Habs fans are particularly familiar with and most likely a topic that most aren't very happy at having to discuss these days.

From Montreal the Sportsnet team heads across the nation stopping off in Vancouver for a review of the Canucks and whether Dan Hamhius will waive his no trade clause.

TSN's hosts and panel participants point to past years when things have gone slow, with what appears to be some wishing upon a star or two to deliver some movement before the deadline clock runs down.

Sportsnet turns to style icon Brian Burke (his work with ties could become a fashion trend) to offer some thoughts on where the Flames might be directing their attention through these final hours. Burke notes that some of their larger concerns may be addressed in the off season and not today, something which should it become the theme of the other GM lodge members, will no doubt send the deadline show researchers digging deep into file footage looking to find something, anything to fill up the next two and half hours.

TSN turns to the mechanics of a trade, what moving parts GMs might consider to put a deal together.

Over on Sportsnet, it's the greatest trades that never happened, which seems but one step removed from the panel just picking names out of a hat and reassigning them to other cities.

As we walk down memory lane at Sportsnet, Glen Healey shares some memories of his time in the backwoods of Ireland and how he learned of his trade to the Islanders, while Doug MacLean reviews some of the near misses and could have beens from his GM days.

TSN's Reporters Panel looks at a few of the more recent transactions prior to Deadline Day and which one may have the best impact for the teams involved.

Things take a dark turn at TSN, as the panel begin to fire off a T shirt cannon at staff members off camera, Jennifer Hedger redefines the concept of "taking one for the team" ... and to commercial ...

Sportsnet choses not to risk the possibility of labour code violations or assault charges, though the visual of a giant Nick Kypreos on the Big, Big Screen is a visual that is hard to banish from the memory circuits.

Trade Deadline Day 2016 -- Segment Two:

10 AM - Noon ET
7 AM - 9 AM PT

The Trading Post Archive 

Slow is the progress of the trading partners, so TSN turns to Mascot races to hold our attention, as a lead in towards the review of what the Ottawa Senators might have in mind on Deadline Day, we get a race of Prime Ministerial Mascots ... visualize that if you will, those who had their money on a Laurier/MacDonald photo finish had a good pay day to start Monday morning off.

TSN grabs a few minutes with GM Bryan Murray, who provides a short review of what the Sens might be looking for or what they approach they'll be taking as the deadline approaches.

The main takeaway from Ottawa in these early hours is that Kyle Turris is going to be put on the shelf to recover from injury, leaving the Sens to look to try to fill that hole as the day moves forward.

TSN fills their minutes with a discussion of what teams should be looking to address as the deadline clock continues to tick forward, while Sportsnet is hosting a panel discussion with some agents on the atmosphere around teams and with their clients.

The TSN Panel returns for a discussion on what the Carolina Hurricanes have been doing and whether they still have ambitions for a wild card spot.  That's followed by a feature on the Winnipeg Jets and their frustrations heading towards the playoffs and how the past continues to chart the path of the team.

Sportsnet calls on George Stroumboulopoulos to learn of the players point of view on deadline day, gaining some insight from Corey Hirsch, from there they shift their focus to the story of Joanathan Drouin, currently sitting out the season away from Tampa Bay  and if he will be moved by Steve Yzerman as the day progresses.

TSN shifts the attention from the trade rumour mongering for the moment, providing some snapshots of NHL Players(as well as a few TSN staffers) and which Hollywood stars they best resemble.

Sportsnet takes a few moments to review the strategies of Stan Bowman in Chicago as the Blackhawks GM remakes his roster while keeping his core in place.

From the overview of the Hawks plans, Sportsnet shifts focus to a review of the trade deadline travels of Antoine Vermette, a player who perhaps more than anyone in the NHL understands the need to have a packed suitcase ready to go at Deadline day.

TSN takes in a press conference with Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock who outlines why the Leafs have decided to bring up a number of Marlies to the big club this week.

Sportsnet is quick to catch on to the Babcock presser, running their own video on the event a bit later in the hour.

Trade Deadline Day 2016 -- Segment One -- The Early Hours

8 AM - 10 AM ET
5 AM - 7 AM PT

The Trading Post Archive 

Gather round children and ye shall soon hear, if you're favourite player is waiting with fear.
The phone it may ring and soon shall be dispatched, a player or two that some say is a catch.
Playoff dreams will live on, or maybe they'll die ...
With six hours of trade mayhem to be your post season guide

Once again this year, NHL GM's did their best to make sure that the hosts of your favourite Trade Deadline Show would have to dig deep into their research notes for filler material, with a flurry of trades on Saturday and Sunday.

You can review all of the trade developments of the last forty eight hours and those of the past months from our Trading Post feature here.

For the most part, the first two hours were consumed by discussion of the shifts in rosters from the Weekend, with some attention provided to the question of whether the Canadian teams, with the playoffs a fading prospect at this point,  

6:31 AM PT / 9:31 AM ET
The two networks were quick to jump on the move between Phoenix and Pittsburgh, in an all P trade, with the Coyotes picking up Sergei Plotnikov from Pittsburgh, in exchange for Matthias Plachta and a Seventh Round pick.
( NHL Trade Alert)

TSN's reporters panel reviews the work of the Chicago Blackhawks prior to today, the consensus being that the Hawks have made some solid shifts heading towards the playoffs, the dissenting opinion comes from Bruce Arthur who suggests there is work to be done still on the blue line.

The best that TSN can do to bring the first few hours to an end is to announce the internal roster manoeuvres from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who shifted the locker stall nameplates between the Marlies dressing room at the Ricoh Centre and the Air Canada Centre.

The minor deal was the only transaction of the early hours of Deadline day.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Trade Deadline Resources

Short of a wall of Television sets and access to a stream of video options to follow some of the developments, hockey fans will be turning to their personal favourites to focus on the work of hockey's General Managers today.

Below some links to the various options to seek out further background on the day's events.



NBC Sports Network

Tracking the Trades

Hockey Nation Trading Post

NHL Trade Tracker

Monday, February 01, 2016

Hockey Headlines for February 2016

Our Archive for the month of February.

February 29 -- Canucks misplayed their best asset, Dan Hamhius, in NHL trade deadline's biggest blunder
February 28 -- Once again, Rangers show grabbing elusive Cup is all that matters
February 27 -- Leafs trade Reimer to San Jose
February 26 -- What moves Canadian teams could make at the NHL trade deadline
February 25 -- Defenceman Hamhuis could be next Canuck to go
February 24 -- Montreal Canadiens apologize after racial slur ends up on Twitter feed
February 23 -- Edmonton Oilers GM says he's open to trading Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins
February 22 -- Western Canada road trip could shift Senators' trade-deadline plans
February 21 -- Ryan Kesler motivated by villain's reception
February 20 -- Senators save the day for their captain, pull out win over Detroit in shootout
February 19 -- Fifty years ago, the NHL expanded - and pro hockey changed forever
February 18 -- Wideman victim Don Henderson experiencing concussion symptoms
February 17 -- Unhappy fans speaking with their wallets
February 16 -- Jets not getting Maurice's message
February 15 -- Too early to determine where Stamkos will wind up
February 14 -- Jets captain Andrew Ladd ignoring rumours as trade deadline looms
February 13 -- Mike Yeo fired as Wild head coach after 8th straight loss
February 12 -- Carey Price's injury opens questions about World Cup
February 11 -- Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson owns the Norris Trophy this season if you ask Paul Coffey
February 10 -- Humbled Calgary Flames players apologize for breaking team rules and getting benched
February 9 -- Senators got the better of blockbuster deal - at least, in the short term
February 8 -- Crosby's 2 goals, 2 assists lead Penguins past Ducks
February 7 -- Boston Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban suffers fractured larynx in warmup incident
February 6 -- Rangers' Ryan McDonagh hurt after sucker-punch from Flyers' Wayne Simonds; Blueshirts rally, win in shootout
February 5 -- Canucks blow another third-period lead and fall 2-1 in shootout to Blue Jackets
February 4 -- John Scott's improbably all-star run ends with birth of twin girls
February 3 -- Calgary Flames defence man Dennis Wideman suspended for 20 games
February 2 -- McDavid ignites giant fire under Oilers in first game back from shoulder injury
February 1 -- Canada's struggling NHL teams on pace for historically awful season

In John Scott, the fans and the players sent Gary Bettman and the NHL brass a message

The fans spoke and John Scott
was on the bench in
Nashville for the All Star Game
As far as All Star Games go, Sunday's NHL All Star Game provided the kind of entertainment on the ice that made what's normally a going through the motions recreational skate into a meaningful afternoon of hockey.

A three tournament format of three on three that provided for any number of plot lines and twists, and may have finally delivered a  format for the league to make its mid-season client schmooze fest something the fans want.

Few hockey purists are sold on three on three hockey in the regular season and no one wants to see it ever find its way into the post season, where the game is won and lost on the ice without a gimmick.

However, in a showcase game such as what All Star weekend is all about, the format seemed to fit just right, the NHL somehow stumbled across what appears to be a winning combination, how they managed that many will wonder, but 3 on 3 worked in this instance and the league should be recognized for that.

However, because it's the NHL, they of course found a way to make sure that no one was talking about their genius, instead it was about their petulance prior to the weekend.

By the time the the last guitar lick had reverberated in Music City, the All Star format was the secondary story from Sunday. The real message and one that should be heard loud and clear by the NHL and those in the corner offices that rule the league, is that no one likes bullies and no one likes arrogant jerks.

Hockey fans and those players and coaches selected to the 2016 All Star collectively took off one of their gloves and raised one giant finger of defiance at a  league that created a fan voting system and then seemingly tried its best to deny the fans selection his turn in the spotlight.

Sunday, John Scott was the show, clearly not at the skill levels of some the names on sweaters beside him on the ice, but no one had more heart, few were as articulate in the face of a media storm and no one has endured more crap from a league that for whatever reason, insists on finding ways to self inflict wounds that need not be inflicted.

Scott was chosen by the fans, whether Gary Bettman and the league liked that thought is irrelevant, the competition was created by the league and the fans, whatever their motives may have been made their choice.

There never should have been a debate from that moment, instead the NHL the never ending factory of the "what the hell?", found a way to make sure the all star game became a controversy.

The all star game, an event that few are inclined to really think about at the best of times.

For the most part it's a three day corporate shill festival, one that each year seems finds that the players prefer to be left off of the roster, rather than be included. The beaches of Hawaii or other destinations for the players a welcome diversion with family and friends from the long grind of a season.

The controversy over Scott's inclusion in the weekend had many twists and turns in the last month.

First there was the odour of a trade and then demotion to the AHL that leaves him about as close to being put on an ice flow as you can get (and in Newfoundland he's not that far away actually), a move that seemed akin to a hit by the mob more than anything else.

Then this week, his first hand account to the Players Tribune as to the apparent attempt to shame him into turning down the invitation. Combined. the two  incidents make the league's handling of the entire episode to reflect the work of nothing but punks.

Though truth be told for many fans of the game it's about what one might expect from a league brass that constantly says they're for the good of the game and all about the fans, but more often than not, shows a complete inability to understand the fans of the sport, or the passion they have for the game and its players.

From the opening introductions on Sunday the theme of the day was set, the fans welcomed Scott like a conquering hero, the players who had already spoken to him prior to the weekend, making sure he felt welcome at the game carried that emphasis onto the ice.

His team mates on the Pacific side kept feeding him pucks, the coaches made sure that his shifts were frequent. His joy in the game clearly visible to anyone watching,  the atmosphere incomprehensible as it probably even seemed to Scott, was electric every time he stepped on for a shift, ecstatic with each of his two goals.

The evening wrapped up with the fans once again making sure that Commissioner Bettman and the NHL's other hangers on, perched up in the corporate booths heard one final farewell on the night, as the fans made one more significant vote on the day, selecting Scott as the MVP of the All Star Game.

By games end, as seems the case more and more often the NHL's brass realized far too late that they were on the wrong side of the story once again. Trying to salvage their horrid image by offering up some kind of revisionist history of the entire episode, suggesting that their only concern was to make sure that John Scott felt comfortable this weekend.

How nice of them, what a great bunch of guys, we imagine they were hoping we take away from the weekend.

And in reality, no one believes it, not one word of that came out of the Commissioner's mouth.

The league seems to not know this fact, but Hockey fans are pretty sharp observers of the game, they know skill and they know heart and both of those traits were on the ice.

There were other traits on display from the head office though and hockey fans know those as well and this week and particularly on a Sunday afternoon in Nashville, the hockey fans voted and John Scott won them over.

Gary Bettman and the league, well not so much ...

The tone deaf nature of the league time after time is on display, just ask the Mayor of Calgary who found his city being hectored to by the Commissioner in January over the theme of the need for a new arena for the Flames.

A choice of commentary that Mayor Naheed Nenshi noted to much applause across Canada, might work in other cities, but not in Calgary.

It was a sentiment that those across Canada would nod in agreement with, having heard the Bettman bombast before, Canadians perhaps calling to mind a hit of the past from Nashville favourite and Canadian country music star star Shania Twain.

Ms. Twain, seems to have captured the perfect Canadian reaction to the Commissioner whenever he speaks of late, that don't impress me much.

It was a big week for Mr. Bettman, as it was announced and promptly ignored as things turned out, that the Commissioner had received a contract extension a few months back, a pact which will take his leadership of the league into 2022, the announcement coming as it does close to Groundhog Day.

Some symbolic timing we suggest, particularly for a league where we hear the same things over and over again, indicating that when it comes to listening to the fans, the ears aren't always open and the messages not frequently received.

The Toronto Star -- All-Star MVP John Scott saved hockey, for a day
The Toronto Star -- John Scott hopes all-star MVP spotlight opens doors to new opportunities
Globe and Mail -- John Scott named NHL all-star MVP as Pacific Division wins tournament
Globe and Mail -- Bettman says fans spoke, so John Scott 'welcome' at all-star game
CBC -- John Scott scores 2 goals, wins MVP, proves he belongs in NHL all star game
Sportsnet -- John Scott scores 2 goals in All-Star Game, players happy for him
The Toronto Sun -- John Scott: 'You can't write this ... It's unbelievable'
Ottawa Citizen -- The NHL ditched its soul. John Scott found it for them
Detroit Free Press -- John Scott goes from unwanted to unbelievable
Arizona Republic -- All-Star Game caps Coyotes, John Scott issue
NPR -- John Scott Transcends Jokes, NHL Resistance and is Named MVP of All-Star Game

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Just past the mid way point, some trouble spots at the turnstiles

With the NHL just nicely past the half way mark of the 2016-17 season, the attendance numbers are highlighting a few areas of the NHL empire where the customers aren't exactly flocking to the rink.

The Carolina Hurricanes currently hold the status of team looking for a few good fans, with sixteen games so far this attracting less than 13,000 fans to the PNC Arena

Part of that could be related to the recently completed college football season which is a religious experience for those in the Carolina's, with the NFL's Panthers also making a fair bit of noise this year heading into their NFC division final this weekend.

Getting attention for hockey is probably a challenge at the best of times, but with row after row of empty seats on TV on a regular basis, one has to wonder if there is a long term future for the Canes.

Not surprisingly the Arizona Coyotes continue to be a featured attraction on box score counts each week, with fifteen games now in the books with attendance under our 13,000 mark, the trek out to the Gila River Arena in Glendale still it seems isn't not quite cutting it with residents of the Greater Phoenix area.

Despite a hot streak through early January, the Florida Panthers also have had some troubles attracting fans to the BB and T Arena in Sunrise, though the success in the standings did seem to have some impact on South Floridians night time planning, with all of the attendance listings below 13,000 over eleven games found in the months of October, November and December.

Honourable mention for troublesome trends could be awarded to the New York Islanders,  who appeared to have a fair bit of trouble capitalizing on all the buzz of the move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

Up until early December, the Islanders had recorded ten games were the crowd count was less than 13,000.  Though there does appear to be a bit of a reversal in that apathy of late in Brooklyn, with the team starting to record larger and larger crowds into January.

Overall to this point there were 64 games that featured crowds with less than 13,000 fans in attendance.

The low point on the season found in Carolina, where only 9,021 attended the December 6th match up with the Arizona Coyotes.

What the NHL might make of the trouble spots isn't known,  with the league rarely discussing issues related to its low attendance markets.

But considering the current nature of the North American economy, there may not be much in the way of a solution in the short term.  With the Canadian dollar currently sinking on the money markets, the prospect of a relocation to a Canadian city would have to require some serious money counting, not to mention a wee bit of crossing of fingers and offerings to the hockey Gods.

There also don't appear to be many US markets currently jumping up and down to signal their interest in acquiring an NHL franchise, though efforts continue to make Las Vegas part of the NHL family in the future.

For cities such as Quebec with its NHL ready rink and hopeful fans for a second team in Toronto or one for Hamilton, the larger issues of the economic situation might be more of a challenge than enticing a team north.

There would appear to be candidates considering the low turnstile returns, however timing as it always is makes for the key ingredient for any potential franchise shifts and right now, holding in place might be the only option that current owners have.

You can review the attendance figures through the season from our Attendance Watch Archive page here.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Hockey Headlines for January 2016

Our Archive for the month of January

January 31 -- All-Star MVP John Scott saved hockey, for a day
January 30 -- Red Wings' sets record in NHL skills competition
January 29 -- Can three-on-three save the all star game?
January 28 -- Wideman pleads his innocence after ugly collision with linesman
January 27 -- Which way will Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin turn if the season continues to go off the rails?
January 26 -- Shawn Horcoff banned 20 games for using performance-enhancing substance
January 25 -- The thrill is going from three-on-three overtime
January 24 -- Bolts' Yzerman working to offload Drouin
January 23 -- Keon 'dumbfounded' by affection fans have for him
January 22 -- Canucks’ Daniel Sedin skins Bruins with milestone markers in Boston
January 21 -- Carey Price out longer than expected; Therrien's job safe for rest of season
January 20 -- Lightning suspends Drouin without pay for not showing up for AHL game
January 19 -- Blackhawks set franchise record with 12th straight victory
January 18 -- With Nugent-Hopkins out, should Oilers bring back McDavid now?
January 17 -- Toews, Blackhawks beat Canadiens 5-4 for 11th straight win
January 16 -- NHL general managers have to decide by February 29 to buy, sell or hold
January 15 -- Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan returns to his old haunt still trying to get his new team on track
January 14 --  Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quennville perfect man for the job
January 13 -- Sedin's ready to move on after near brawl with Panthers
January 12 -- Playoff race a crowded chase as NHL passes midpoint of 2015-16 season
January 11 -- Calgarians and the mayor must 'embrace' Flames' arena project, says NHL Commissioner
January 10 -- Alex Ovechkin nets his 500th goal as the Capitals rout Ottawa 7-1
January 9 -- Toronto Maple Leafs shut out by San Jose in lopsided loss in final game of California swing
January 8 -- Alex Ovechkin scoring at historic pace as he approaches 500 goals
January 7 -- Red-hot Panthers top Senators 3-2 for 11th straight win
January 6 -- Predators acquire Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones
January 5 -- Finland wins world junior championship with 4-3 overtime win over Russia
January 4 -- Lightning coach, players surprised by Jonathan Drouin's trade request
January 3 -- Florida Panthers' win streak reaches nine with win against Minnesota Wild
January 2 -- Canada's loss to Finland isn't the end of the world
January 1 -- Return of feisty Gallagher sparks Canadiens' offence

Friday, January 01, 2016

World Juniors, January 2, 2016 -- Canada vs Finland

From defending Champions to Tournament underdogs, that is the latest twist in the travels of Team Canada at the World Junior Championships for 2015-16.

Authors of some of their own misfortune, the now much documented struggles for the Canadians have become the undercurrent for the fans back home, first with a loss to the USA on opening night, followed by a surprisingly challenging match up with the Swiss followed by a thumping at the hands of the Swedes. Each game highlighting some part of the Team Canada puzzle that still requires a bit of attention.

The problem is, the time for adjustments is up, the preliminary round delivering the Canadians to the high flying Finnish squad, who will be looking to ring in the New Year with a solid message for the fans and opponents alike, one of the Champs are ready to be taken down this year.

Canada of course will be seeking to change that narrative on Saturday, with no need for the reminder that the second part of this World Junior Tourney offers no further follow up opportunities, win and your moving on, lose and you're on your way out.

The disappointments and missed opportunities to be catalogued to the end of the tournament and maybe even a bit beyond.

For the Canadians the second season of tourney time offers the chance of redemption from their early struggles, the key to allow the muscle memory of what brought them to Helsinki to take over from the mind, which could revisit those early match ups in an unhelpful way.

The Finns have been talking a little smack in the lead up, noting that they aren't all that intimidated by the Canadians, pointing to those early struggles as an indication that the Champs are ready for the taking.

That could be the best thing that the Canadians could hear as they head to puck drop on Saturday, there won't be any need for a slogan on a black board, the sense of the moment all the motivation that Canada might need.

The pressure shifts in this one towards the host Finns, their braggadocio such as it has been, something that now has to be backed up on the ice.  On paper and through round one they look good for their boasts, yet, elimination games offer up something that requires a little bit more than just confidence.

For sixty minutes you have to deliver, winner moves on, loser moves over

Finland 6 vs Canada 5 summary
Finland advances to Semi Finals

Post Game Notes:

January 3 -- Hockey Canada vows to right what went wrong at world juniors
January 3 -- Hockey Canada prez throws Team Canada under bus
January 3 -- Hockey Canada head Tom Renney defends world junior coaching staff
January 3 -- Canada's well-earned hockey smugness affords juniors a quiet exit
January 3 -- Team Canada 'had to pay the price": Wilson
January 3 -- Team USA coach Ron Wilson says Canada took too many penalties
January 2 -- Canada's run for World Junior glory ends as Finland wins 6-5
January 2 -- Canada-Finland: Five moments that mattered in quarter final loss
January 2 -- Canada's loss to Finland ins't the edge of the world
January 2 -- Canadian players feeling 'terrible', frustrated following early world junior exit
January 2 -- Canada outclassed by Finland in WJC quarter-final

Preview Notes:

January 1 -- Team Canada 'excited' ahead of elimination game at world juniors
January 1 -- Finland's talented prospects pose a problem for Canada at World Juniors
January 1 -- 8 things we've learned from the world junior so far
January 1 -- Areas of concern for 'underdog' Team Canada
January 1 -- Underdog Canada facing 'adversity' against host Finland at world juniors
January 1 -- Finland's mighty youngsters could create headaches for Canada
December 31 -- Canada's world junior loss to Sweden a forgettable finish to 2015
December 31 -- Canada looking ahead after being blown out by Swedes
December 31 -- Canada struggles to find its game in loss to Sweden at 2016 world juniors
December 31 -- Canada faces Finland in world junior quarter-finals under a raft of unanswered questions