As Gordon Bombay famously said, “Ducks fly together.” Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry proved the fictional coach right by re-upping with Anaheim, ignoring the lure of unrestricted free agency. By locking up their premier duo for a combined $135 million, the Ducks avoided their own version of Sophie’s choice and ensured themselves a chance at the Stanley Cup this season and beyond. Is the long-term commitment, however, worth the cost?
Last year it was the Ottawa Senators coming back from the dead and making a surprise trip to the playoffs. This year, it’s the Montreal Canadiens who are making a surprise comeback, sitting atop the Eastern Conference in a full worst-to-first transformation. Matt Horner explores the major reasons why.
The Anaheim Ducks sit two points from the top of the NHL, yet are in an unenviable position. Both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the team’s two towers of power, are unrestricted free agents on July 1st and the longer they go unsigned the more GM Bob Murray risks losing them both for nothing. What would you do in Anaheim?
Anything can happen in a shortened season. Sure, Jaromir Jagr and Eric Lindros leading the league in points during the lockout-shortened 1995 season wasn’t surprising, but Boston’s Blaine Lacher coming within one shutout of leading the league wasn’t a popular preseason bet. The possibility of unpredictability, plus the increasing importance of every game due to a sprint to the playoffs, means early season stats are becoming overblown, regardless of the small sample size.
It’s no secret that the New York Rangers are a legitimate NHL contender. Last season, however, the team’s gruelling, physically exacting, John Tortorella-style campaign fell apart when it mattered most. This year, with a shortened season and having had more time to recover over the offseason, look out. Can the lockout be attributed for the New York Rangers being this year’s favorite to win the Stanley Cup?
The idea of an expanded NHL playoffs has been floated out there this week, and while the NHL and NHLPA haven’t formally discussed adding four teams to the postseason, the speculation for the format and duration of the extra series has taken over the hockey world. Does the idea have any merit, or is it just more pie in the sky thinking for fatigued hockey fans?
It’s no secret that Canadians are a little crazy over hockey, but are they crazy enough to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the World Juniors from Russia? Matt Horner takes a decidedly Canadian approach to the tournament and asks some tough questions. After all, if Canada doesn’t win gold, they may as well have finished last.
At the end of every NHL Playoff season, Gary Bettman awards the winning team’s captain with hockey’s ultimate prize, albeit to a chorus of boos. Does this ceremony cheapen the value of winning hockey’s holy grail, or does it even matter to the winning team? Should Bettman remove himself from the jeers in favor of a beloved veteran?
As the baseball world continues to stare in shock and awe at the blockbuster 12-player trade between Miami and Toronto, many have voiced their opinions on just how this seemingly lopsided deal could take place. Are the last-place Marlins in need of a rebuild already? Did the Blue Jays pull off one of the greatest heists in history? Or is this simply a matter of an owner up to his old tricks and looking to pocket as much cash as he can?
With the ongoing NHL lockout, many of the game’s top young players have returned to the American Hockey League for another year of seasoning. Based on the lockout of 2004-05, many teams saw significant improvements in goal differentials when play resumed. Can we take anything from that year and predict how teams like the Oilers or the Hurricanes will do when the NHL finally resumes?