USA Hockey Hall of Fame class welcomes Roenick, Hatcher brothers and more

1-roenick.jpgWhile the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto gets most of the attention when it comes to honoring hockey’s greats, the United States has their own hall of fame to honor its own hockey greats. Today, USA Hockey announced their 2010 class and fans should be pretty familiar with some of the names.

Art Berglund, Derian Hatcher, Kevin Hatcher, Dr. V. George Nagobads and Jeremy Roenick make up the United States Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010, as announced today by USA Hockey. The five-member class will be enshrined into the Hall on October 21 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.

“These five individuals truly represent the very best of our sport in many different facets and their contributions have been truly extraordinary,” said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. “We look forward to their formal induction in Buffalo this October.”

Everyone knows Jeremy Roenick by now. The former Blackhawk/Flyer/King/Coyote/Shark had one heck of a career and this induction could be just a warm up act for him should Toronto ever come calling. The Somerville, Massachusetts native now makes himself famous on television in one way or another.

The Hatcher brothers couldn’t be more polar opposite of each other when it came to their style of play. Kevin Hatcher was a smooth skater with a big shot and a power play threat for the Washington Capitals. He finished out his career with the Stars, Penguins, Rangers and Hurricanes amassing 227 goals and 677 points.

Kevin’s younger brother Derian Hatcher was a large, abusive defenseman who made a career out of finding ways to injure opponents. He was captain of the Dallas Stars when they won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and shortly thereafter had injury-riddled stints with the Red Wings and Flyers.

Art Berglund is someone you could refer to as one of the great builders of hockey in America working as the general manager of nine US Men’s national teams, eight US world junior teams, and worked with six different US Men’s Olympic teams. Berglund is also a former winner of the NHL’s Lester Patrick award and a member of the IIHF hall of fame.

Dr. George Nagobads is a name that will probably be far too unfamiliar to people, but he is virtually a legend in the state of Minnesota. He was the physician for the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic team in Lake Placid, as well as the team physician for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers for 34 years and worked for eight years with the Minnesota North Stars. Chances are, most anyone who’s played hockey at any time in Minnesota they’ve met Dr. Nagobads and been treated by him. Sometimes the most important contributions to hockey come off the ice and Dr. Nagobads is the embodiment of that.

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    Video: Johansen, Fisher join in Predators’ conference title celebration

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    After reaching their first ever Western Conference Final, the Nashville Predators topped that in a big way, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

    There were a lot of firsts and rarities along the way.

    In ousting the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-3 victory in Game 6, GM David Poile’s team advanced to the championship round for the first time in his lengthy time as an executive.

    Peter Laviolette also became the fourth coach in NHL history to bring three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. The Predators are also the first 16th seed to make it this far.

    Yep, that’s a long list of milestones (and not a comprehensive one). And, to think, the Predators haven’t even been on the brink of elimination during the postseason yet.

    It’s special stuff, so don’t be surprised by the boisterous celebration you can see in the video above this post’s headline.

    P.K. Subban: No city in the NHL ‘has anything on Nashville’

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    If there’s one thing we can agree upon about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s that these months have really cemented just how hockey-mad Nashville has become for its Predators.

    (Yes, you can call it “Smashville” if you’d like.)

    The scene at Bridgestone Arena was as boisterous as ever in the Predators’ 6-3 Game 6 win against the Anaheim Ducks, with legions of fans packing and surrounding the building.

    Sights like these have becoming resoundingly normal for a hockey market that was once questioned by media and other fan bases:

    Yeah, wow.

    As the Predators advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, plenty of people were making jokes at the expense of the Montreal Canadiens for trading P.K. Subban. Of course, Subban wouldn’t take a shot at the Habs during such a great moment, but his praise for puck-nutty Predators fans says a lot in itself.

    “I played in an A+ market my whole career,” Subban said, via Jeremy K. Gover of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. “There’s not a city in the league that has anything on Nashville.”

    Whether their opponent is the Pittsburgh Penguins or Ottawa Senators, we already know that Nashville will begin the Stanley Cup Final on the road. That’s OK … Predators fans might need some time to get their voices back and recover from celebrating, so waiting until Games 3 and 4 might be a blessing in disguise.

    Ducks’ Cogliano just doesn’t think Predators were the better team

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    The Anaheim Ducks battled their way to Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, but Colton Sissons and the Nashville Predators ended their season on Monday.

    The Ducks are processing that disappointment – being just two wins away from a trip to the championship round – and some of their reactions might spark a little controversy.

    Specifically, it sounds a bit like Bruce Boudreau believing that his Minnesota Wild were superior to the St. Louis Blues despite falling in that series.

    Andrew Cogliano, it must be noted, was spurned by Pekka Rinne on some early chances in Game 6. He likely feels as frustrated as any Ducks player right now.

    Sisson’s hat-trick goal, making it 4-3 before two empty-netters cemented the 6-3 finish, was the dagger that finally put the hard-working Ducks down.

    One can understand some of those feelings from Anaheim, especially considering the frustration of a) getting over Jonathan Bernier‘s early struggles to make a very real game of this and b) occasionally carrying the play in a dramatic way, including in Game 6.

    Still, the Predators got the right combination of great stretches of play from Rinne and strong work from the expected and the unexpected, such as Sissons.

    For an aging star like Ryan Getzlaf – a player who produced some of his best work late in the season and during the playoffs – you have to wonder how many chances remain.

    Predators eliminate Ducks, reach first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history

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    Colton Sissons made a serious argument that the Nashville Predators do, indeed, still have a No. 1 center.

    At least, he certainly played that way on Monday, generating a hat trick as the Predators eliminated the Anaheim Ducks via a 6-3 win, taking the series 4-2.

    In doing so, the Predators advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

    That 6-3 score is very misleading. While Nashville managed 2-0 and 3-1 leads, there was plenty of drama in this one, as the Ducks did not go down easily. Cam Fowler tied it up 3-3 in the third period, briefly stunning a rowdy crowd in Nashville.

    Sissons was up to the task, however, settling down a bouncing puck on an otherwise stupendous Calle Jarnkrok pass to score the game-winner, notching a hat trick in the process. Sissons continues to be an unlikely hero for a Predators team dealing with the absence of Ryan Johansen (not to mention Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, and others).

    Two empty-netters inflated the score, and they also sapped drama from the closing moments, which must have been quite the relief considering how much resolve Anaheim showed.

    Peter Laviolette distinguishes himself as one of the NHL’s most underrated bench bosses, becoming just the fourth coach in league history to take three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. He couldn’t win it all with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he does have a ring thanks to his time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Perhaps he’ll take another one this spring?

    It’s quite the moment for GM David Poile, too, after trading Shea Weber for P.K. Subban and Seth Jones for Johansen, among other pivotal moves.

    The Ducks might wonder what could have been if John Gibson played instead of Jonathan Bernier. Bernier struggled early, allowing two goals on the first three shots he faced and generally having a tough Game 6. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, maintained his mostly great run in the playoffs; he protected a Predators lead even when the Ducks dominated long stretches of play.

    Now the Predators get a nice rest, as the Eastern Conference Final continues with a Game 6 on Tuesday (and possibly a Game 7 on Thursday).

    They’ll limp a bit toward that final round, but the Predators seem to be embracing new territory. And sometimes new heroes.