Keith Tkachuk announces his retirement from NHL

Tkachuk.jpgWe’re coming to the end of an era.

The past few years, and
continuing on this year and into the next, the NHL is losing some of
it’s most memorable players from the 1990’s. Many of the players that
have retired or will retire soon had some great seasons this past
decade, but I’ll always remember them for what they did for this sport
in the 1990’s.

Those ten years, the NHL experienced some amazing
growth both as a league and in popularity among the fans. At the core of
this growth was a number of extremely exciting players that helped make
the NHL into what it is today. Forget the issues the NHL is having that
led up to the lockout, or even what’s gone wrong afterward; these
players defined the game for a generation.

With Mike Modano likely
playing his final games this season, the past
few years (and the next few) will see a number of the best players from
the 90’s retire: Sergei Federov, Jeremy Roenick, Nicklas Lidstrom, Teemu
Selanne, Paul Kariya and even Chris Chelios (who is amazingly still
playing) have all or will end their careers soon.

Tonight, Keith Tkachuk announced his retirement. He has most of
the past seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues, and will play his final
home game on Friday.From a statement released by the NHL:

“I have been privileged to have a long career in this terrific
league
and play for first class organizations,” said Tkachuk. “My thanks go out
to my current and former teammates, the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix
Coyotes, Winnipeg Jets and Atlanta Thrashers
organizations and most of all to my parents, my wife Chantal, my kids
Matthew, Braeden and Taryn along with all of my other family members for
all of the support they have given me throughout my career.”

Tkachuk
will go down as one of the greatest American players ever to grace the
ice in the NHL, with 525 career goals (to this point) and 1,033 points
in 1, 134 career games. He finished with 50+ goals twice while with the
Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes and along with Jeremy Roenick was crucial
in establishing hockey out in the desert.

It’s going to be sad to
see Tkachuk go, who was a great ambassador for USA hockey. Here’s to two
goals, an assist and 6 penalty minutes in his final game. It would only
be fitting.

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    On verge of missing playoffs, Red Wings aim to keep winning culture

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    The Detroit Red Wings have no intention of tearing their roster down and undertaking a painful rebuild, a la the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Why not, you ask?

    Because even though the Wings are going to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, and even though their leading scorer (Henrik Zetterberg) is 36 years old, they don’t want to lose the culture that made them so successful over the past quarter century.

    “There are organizations where they have lost culture,” said head coach Jeff Blashill, per the Detroit Free Press. “They have missed the playoffs, and they miss it 10 straight years. We don’t want to be in this position again. This isn’t OK. That is the approach we are taking every day.”

    We have heard other teams say similar things. For example, the Vancouver Canucks. (Which won’t make Wings fans feel great to hear.)

    While there’s nothing wrong with trying to maintain a winning culture, the biggest challenge the Wings have is a lack of talent — particularly on the back end.

    That’s up to GM Ken Holland to solve, and solve relatively quickly, given his lack of appetite for a lengthy rebuild.

    “We’re going to continue to try and be competitive, we’re going to continue to try and make the playoffs and our ultimate goal is to eventually be a Cup contender,” Holland said a few months ago.

    “To me, rebuild means eight to 10 years, and there are teams that have made the playoffs one year in 10 while rebuilding.”

    Related: It’s going to be a very different draft for the Red Wings

    Yeo more surprised than anyone to learn of Stastny injury

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    For the second time since taking over as head coach, Mike Yeo has lost the services Paul Stastny.

    This time, though, Yeo was caught off guard.

    “It may sound misleading, but it was a completely separate injury that kept him out of (Tuesday’s) game and one that we believed would have him possibly in the lineup for us tonight,” Yeo told the Post-Dispatch of Stastny’s lower-body ailment, which will keep him out week-to-week. “We were surprised to hear that this came about yesterday.

    “Believe me, I was probably more surprised than all the fans out there. So it’s a difficult one, but one that we’ll have to overcome.”

    Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious — and it very well may not haven been — but that’s irrelevant now, as an entirely new issue could potentially sideline Stastny for the remainder of the regular season.

    The Blues are in good shape for a playoff spot, up eight points on L.A., but are jockeying with Nashville for third spot in the Central Division (both head into tonight’s action with 83 points). St. Louis also has 10 games left.

    There’s no denying Stastny’s absence will be felt. Back when he missed four games in early February, Yeo noted how integral he was to the club.

    “He’s usually the first guy over the boards for a power-play faceoff or the first guy over the boards for a penalty-kill faceoff, and those are key,” Yeo said, per the Blues website. “He’s a very important player for us. You don’t take out a top-line center from too many lineups where they don’t feel that.”

    Limited to just 66 games this season, Stastny has still managed to score 18 goals — third-most on the team — and 40 points. He also averages a healthy 19:08 TOI per night.

    Kings give another kid a look, recall AHL All-Star Brodzinski

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    Last summer, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter stressed that some of the club’s young prospects needed to make an impact at the NHL level.

    And now it’s happening.

    Following the recalls and NHL debuts of Adrian Kempe and Paul LaDue, the Kings have brought up Jonny Brodzinski from AHL Ontario, the club announced on Thursday.

    Brodzinski, 23, made the AHL All-Star team this year and leads the Reign in goals, with 25 through 56 games. The former St. Could State sniper left school early two years ago to join the Kings organization, after L.A. took him in the fifth round of the ’13 draft.

    As mentioned above, this recall is in lockstep with what’s developed throughout the year. Kempe, 20, was the club’s first-round pick (29th overall) in ’14 and has fared well since joining the big club, with six points in 16 games.

    LaDue, 24, was a sixth-round pick in ’12 that — like Kempe and Brodzinski — fared well in the American League before getting recalled in February. LaDue has appeared in 15 games for the Kings, scoring five points while averaging 16:25 TOI per night.

    Los Angeles is still technically in the playoff race, but sits eight points back of Nashville for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference — with just 10 games to play. As such, the focus might now shift to giving some youngsters NHL experience.

    Brodzinski will have to wait for his, however. Per LA Kings Insider, it doesn’t look like he’ll play tonight, when the Kings host the Jets at Staples.

     

     

    Polak gets two games for boarding Bjorkstrand

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    Roman Polak‘s hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand has drawn more than the ire of Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella.

    Today, the NHL announced that Polak, a defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been suspended two games for boarding Bjorkstrand Wednesday in Columbus.

    In making the ruling, the league’s Department of Player Safety determined that Polak sent Bjorkstrand “violently” into the boards from behind, causing an injury. The DoPS also noted that the hit was avoidable, with the onus on Polak to “ensure that he avoids this hit entirely, or at the very least, minimizes the force of the impact.”

    You can watch the full ruling below: