How should the NHL handle the Olympics and/or World Cup?

goldmedalyell.jpgIt seems like the decision is in the very distant future; after all, a lot can happen between now and 2014 (you know, like a *shudder* lockout).

Yet discussion about the pros and cons of the NHL resurrecting its World Cup format – maybe or maybe not to replace participation in the Olympic Games – is already heating up as the hockey world approaches the World Hockey Summit net week.

Eric Duhatschek and James Mirtle discussed the issue in the Globe and Mail yesterday.

Whatever happened to the Canada Cup, and to its successor, the World Cup, which in 1996 crowned the United States as champions in the second most important victory in its history after the 1980 Miracle On Ice?

Both tournaments were, for a time, played every four years before the start of the NHL season and have featured some of the most intriguing hockey in history. But when the NHL decided to go to the Olympics in 1998, the World Cup essentially was sacrificed.

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One of the main reasons the league is gung-ho on the one international event and not the other comes down to the key difference between the two tournaments.

The NHL runs the World Cup and takes in a big share of the profits.

With the Olympics, it doesn’t.

In some ways, the Olympic impact on the NHL is a cosmic “chicken or the egg” argument. On one hand, having the sport – and many of the league’s biggest stars – paraded out in a high-end, high-pressure tournament is a fantastic showcase of the game. That being said, merely point to Dominik Hasek’s groin injury in 2006 or the general schedule-halting inconvenience that comes with putting the season on hold for two weeks and then note that the Olympics tangible impact is pretty hard to measure to boot.

When you factor in those clashing sentiments, it’s difficult to know what the NHL’s best move would be. Personally, I think that the Olympic Games are worth the risk, even if going to Sochi will indeed involve a lot more inconvenience and difficulty than participating in the Vancouver Olympics.

Still, it’s far from a no-brainer, so I thought I’d ask you: should the NHL continue to participate in the Olympics? What about rejuvenating the World Cup? Maybe both or neither? Vote in the poll below.


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    Flyers’ Couturier has street named after him in his hometown

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    Most people will never be able to say they have a street named after them, but Flyers center Sean Couturier isn’t most people.

    The 23-year-old’s name is now on a street sign in his hometown of Bathurst, New Brunswick. Sean Couturier Avenue leads to the rink where he began his minor hockey career.

    “It’s special, it’s a great honour,” Couturier said, per CBC.ca. “It’s not something you dream of growing up, but if you can be an example for other young kids and remind them even coming from a small town like Bathurst, anything is possible if you make the sacrifices and believe in what you can do.”

    The month of July has been kind to Couturier for the second straight year. Last year at around this time, he signed a six-year contract extension worth $26 million. The new deal kicks in at the start of the upcoming season.

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    Report: Veteran center Moore says he has offers on the table

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    The chaos of free agency has subsided. And the list of notable players out there has thinned down as the summer has carried on.

    Still looking to sign an NHL deal is veteran center Dominic Moore, who is about to turn 36 years old next month and is coming off a two-year deal with the New York Rangers that paid him an AAV of $1.5 million. It was evident way before free agency that Moore likely wouldn’t be back in New York, and would go to the open mark.

    “The free agency period goes in fits and starts. Things open up and close along the way. You just try to be proactive but patient. You also don’t want to put yourself in the wrong spot, so you wait to find the right fit, the right role,” Moore told Sportsnet.

    “You want to be on a good team that has a great chance to win but you also want to have a responsibility, some value on that team. It’s about marrying all of those factors and making the best decision.”

    Moore has never been known for offence. With the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010-11, he hit 18 goals. That was a career high. His highest point total? Forty-one in 2008-09 with Toronto.

    But a team looking for a veteran player in the middle, on a reasonable contract and among the bottom six group of forwards, that can have success in the faceoff circle and play on the penalty kill may eventually get him under contract.

    According to Sportsnet, there have been offers made to Moore. Now, it appears, the ball is in his court.

    Related: Patrick Eaves bests big hockey names at Smashfest V

    Coyotes have work to do, with RFAs Murphy, Stone still unsigned

    BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: John Chayka of the Arizona Coyotes attends the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The Arizona Coyotes added a defenseman with a right shot to their roster, signing Luke Schenn on Saturday. And there could be more moves to the back end on the way for Arizona.

    They still have work left with respect to two restricted free agents. Defensemen Connor Murphy, 23, and Michael Stone, 26, are still looking for new contracts.

    Stone, another right-shot blue liner, had a career-best 36 points in 75 games last season for the Coyotes and has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 4.

    His previous contract was a three-year deal with an average annual value of $1.15 million. But he’s also coming off surgery to repair the ACL and MCL in his left knee, according to azcentral.com. In April, it was expected he could be out at least six months.

    “I know he’s running well and moving pretty well,” said Coyotes GM John Chayka, as per azcentral.com. “ … He’s a big part of our blue line, so we’re hoping to get him back as soon as we can.”

    However, when it comes to a new deal for Murphy, it appears there is some distance between the two sides.

    From Arizona Sports 98.7:

    While Chayka said the tenor of talks with Murphy has been good, Murphy’s agent, Brian Bartlett, said on July 18 that he was uncertain when a deal might be struck, and he reiterated on Saturday that nothing has changed in those negotiations.

    “I hope we are close,” he wrote via text message last week. “Still have a gap to bridge, but confident we will get it done eventually. Could wrap up with one phone call but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a little longer to get on the same page.”

    Murphy is a Coyotes first-round pick from 2011. His entry-level contract, with its AAV of more than $1,075 million, is expired.

    He appeared in 78 games for the Coyotes last season, increasing his point total from seven in 73 games in 2014-15, to 17 points in the 2015-16 campaign.

    Blues’ Allen says he still needs to prove he’s a ‘legit’ No. 1 goalie

    St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) is scored on by the Edmonton Oilers during second period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    The goaltending roles in St. Louis have been clearly defined this summer. Jake Allen is the No. 1 netminder and Carter Hutton, a free agent acquisition, is the No. 2.

    For the past two seasons, especially, Allen and Brian Elliott were both counted on to shoulder the goaltending duties, but the platoon scenario was ended when Elliott was traded to Calgary last month.

    Allen recently commented on what was a positive working relationship between himself and Elliott, but seemed relieved that the leash may not be as short as it may have been in the past if he has an off night.

    “It was tough to make mistakes when Brian was around because one game — you had a bad game — he was right back in the net and vice versa with him and me,” said the 25-year-old Allen, as per a video on the Blues’ website.

    “I think you get a little bit more leeway, I guess, now. But not a whole lot. Carter’s a great goalie and I’ve heard a lot of great things about him.

    “I feel that I had to etch myself into the league consistently. Now that I’ve done that, I still have another place to go and prove I’m a legit No. 1 guy.”

    Allen just wrapped up only his second full NHL season.

    The highest number of starts he’s made in a single season at the NHL level is 44 — in the 2015-16 season.

    Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong said in June that Allen lost the crease, with Elliott taking it over with his strong play down the stretch and in the playoffs. He also made it clear Allen would have to battle to get it back in September. That changes to some degree now that Elliott is no longer in St. Louis.

    Hutton, 30, was the back-up in Nashville, but made a career-high 34 starts in the 2013-14 season, posting a .910 save percentage.