Pre-season quick recaps – September 21st

Since it’s just the pre-season, we’re going to keep this really simple and not get too excited about things. Cut us some slack here though folks, the season is fast approaching and this is our first taste of the year. Pre-season hockey is our really crappy appetizer that we totally love despite how unhealthy it is for us.

Columbus 5 – Atlanta 2

Plus: Bryan Little and Fredrik Pettersson played well for Atlanta scoring a goal a piece. Columbus appears to have a strong unit of guys ready to play for Springfield in the AHL next year.

Minus: Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec played the full game and saved just 21 shots in the loss. Not exactly an inspiring performance.

Florida 4 – Carolina 1

Plus: Panthers 2010 #1 pick Erik Gudbranson had a goal and an assist. Anton Babchuk scored in his pre-season re-debut with Carolina.

Minus: Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward sleep-walked through his 30 minutes on the ice allowing three goals in 20 shots.

Philadelphia 4 – New Jersey 3 (F/SO)

Plus: Adam Mair had a goal for New Jersey. Mair is with the Devils on a professional tryout. Scoring should help his case. All other goal scorers were important players for both squads (Dainius Zubrus and Jamie Langenbrunner for New Jersey; Daniel Briere, Jeff Carter, and Darrol Power for Philly). It’s nice to see them get on the board right away.

Minus: What’s worse than a pre-season game going to overtime? A pre-season game that goes to the shootout. I know it’s the rules of the game, but putting the shootout aside for the pre-season isn’t the worst idea. After all, even baseball has tie games in their exhibition season.

Ottawa 5 – Toronto 0

Plus: Sens prospect Robin Lehner stopped 24 shots in earning the shutout. Chris Neil had a goal and two assists while virtually permanent AHLer Corey Locke had a goal and an assist for Ottawa. Toronto’s Jay Rosehill fought and ruined Ottawa’s Zack Smith. If this game were judged on fights rather than goals, Toronto would win going away.

Minus: Everything Toronto did in this game stunk. Their power play went 0-for on the night and looked hapless in doing so. Ottawa’s Swiss hero Roman Wick was a no-show.

Colorado 3 – St. Louis 1

Plus: Colorado’s rough penalty kill from last year was nowhere to be seen in this game. Injury-recovered forward David Jones scored for the Avs as did prospect defenseman from Boston University Kevin Shattenkirk.

Minus: Not an inspiring start for Jaroslav Halak stopping just 15 of the 18 shots he faced. Despite the Blues outshooting the Avs 34-18 they still lost by two goals. Apparently the Avs wanted to keep up what they did last year in getting outshot wildly while still winning. After all, if it ain’t broke…

Tampa Bay 4 – Dallas 2

Plus: Tampa’s Adam Hall, fighting for a spot with the Lightning, got off to a great start scoring two goals. Dominic Moore also scored as did Mattias Ohlund. It’s a funny thing for Ohlund as he scored zero goals last season. Tomas Vincour had two assists for Dallas. Dan Ellis played well stopping 17 of 19 for Tampa.

Minus: Uninspired goaltending from both Brent Krahn and Andrew Raycroft for Dallas as both guys gave up two goals in split duty. They’ll be battling all during camp to win the backup goalie job behind Kari Lehtonen. A special minus goes to us for not knowing that Dallas had Swiss Olympic favorite defenseman Severin Blindenbacher in camp trying to win a job with the Stars. We are sieves.

Calgary 3 – Vancouver 1 (Vancouver)

Calgary 3 – Vancouver 2 (Calgary)

Plus: Kudos to Calgary for sweeping the split-squad, split-city affair with the Canucks tonight. Great job by both teams to bring a heated rivalry to both cities to kick off pre-season action.  It was also nicely done for both teams to feature some of their bigger stars in their home rinks to make it work. Heck, even Ales Kotalik scored tonight.

Minus: Vancouver dropping both games. We’re sure the fans in Vancouver are already lathered up in a panic of some kind.

Phoenix 4 – Anaheim 1

Plus: Phoenix’s youth showed up to play. Kyle Turris and Victor Tikhonov each scored while AHL lifer Brett MacLean and journeyman Andrew Ebbett also tallied. Bobby Ryan notched Anaheim’s lone goal showing no rust after a tumultuous off-season off the ice.

Minus: It’s not much of a minus, but getting goals from both Turris and Ebbett only helps to make coach Dave Tippett’s job harder deciding who stays and who goes back to San Antonio. This camp is a big one for Turris as he’s been the Coyotes top prospect for the last few years running. Now is his time to show he can stick in the NHL and getting a goal and assist right off the bat should help out. Ducks first round pick Emerson Etem had no points and was a -2 in the game while playing just 10:59 of the game. First steps can sometimes be the hardest.

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    ‘There’s still lots of room for growth’: Stars GM preaches patience with Nichushkin

    Valeri Nichushkin
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    Valeri Nichushkin has the tools — listed at six-foot-four-inches tall and 205 pounds with devastating speed. He has the skill.

    However, now at the end of his entry-level contract, the 10th overall draft pick for the Dallas Stars in 2013 has endured the highs and lows associated with a young player trying to make his mark in the National Hockey League after a promising rookie campaign.

    For starters, his sophomore 2014-15 season was essentially wiped out — he played only eight games for the Stars — by a hip injury that required surgery. He also didn’t get off to the greatest start this season, and coming back from surgery likely played a factor as to why, as he found his way into Lindy Ruff’s doghouse early on.

    As a result, was made a healthy scratch.

    His bottom line offensive numbers included nine goals and 29 points in 79 games played, and one assist in 10 playoff games for the Stars, as they were eliminated in the second round.

    Still, he’s just 21 years old. When playing with top players like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, he was able to get on a bit of a roll offensively.

    Stars GM Jim Nill, speaking on SiriusXMNHL, referenced the difficulty for a young player coming back off surgery, but remains confident in Nichushkin.

    “We’re happy with Val,” he said (at around the 5:30 mark).

    “Came back this year, got off to a slow start because of that. We thought the last five games of the playoffs, he really started to look like himself. He started to dominate down low and in the corners.

    “He is only 21. I know there’s still lots of room for growth, so we’re going to be patient with him. We think he’s a big part of our future.”

     

    Coyotes hire new COO

    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 09:  Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets on October 9, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Jets defeated the Coyotes 6-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Coyotes have hired Anaheim Ducks executive Ari Segal as chief operating officer.

    The move was announced by the team on Wednesday.

    Segal previously served as a special assistant to Anaheim CEO Michael Schulman and as president of business operations for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego.

    Segal helped with preparations for the new AHL club and recently worked with the NHL in the league’s broadcast media strategy group, evaluating league and team broadcast rights and distribution deals.

    Segal previously worked as an associate in the sports practice at McKinsey & Company, a New York-based management consulting firm.

    Related: The Coyotes are going in a ‘new direction,’ and that’s an understatement

    Jackets re-sign Sedlak, AHL affiliate’s leading playoff scorer

    COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 20:  Lukas Sedlak #85 of the Columbus Blue Jackets waits for the pass during the game against the Winnipeg Jets on September 20, 2011 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio.  The Blue Jackets defeated the Jets 5-1.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
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    Columbus farmhand Lukas Sedlak, who currently sits tied atop AHL Lake Erie’s playoff scoring leaderboard, has signed a one-year, two-way deal, the Jackets announced on Wednesday.

    Sedlak, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2011 that’s spent the last three years in the American League. This season was by far his most successful — in addition to potting a career-best 14 goals, he’s become close to a point-a-game producer in the playoffs, with 11 through 12 games.

    “Sedlak has been on a run for us with goal-scoring,” Lake Erie head coach Jared Bednar said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “He’s not a guy who does it for us every night. But he works so hard in all the other areas.”

    Sedlak has yet to make his NHL debut, but could be in the mix for a recall next season.

    Despite Canadian dollar, Bettman still expects ‘revenue increase’

    NHL commissioner Gary Bettman answers a question during a news conference before the NHL All-Star hockey game skills competition, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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    The Canadian dollar is trading at around $0.77 USD today. While that’s up considerably from where it was a few months ago, the damage has already been done to NHL revenues.

    “If the Canadian dollar was still at par, we would be $100 or 200 million higher perhaps than we may find ourselves,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Bloomberg Television today.

    Having said that, Bettman still expects there will be a “revenue increase” compared to last year, adding that “we continue to grow year after year and set new records.”

    More from Bloomberg:

    Bettman said that while the NHL’s revenue growth has come across the entire business, the league has seen its biggest boon in its digital platform. The league last year signed a six-year, $1.2 billion contract with Major League Baseball’s interactive media and Internet arm, or BAM, to operate the its digital operations, streaming services and TV network. The NHL got a 10 percent stake as part the deal.

    The NHL playoffs are currently in the middle of the conference finals. The NHL’s fiscal year ends June 30.

    League revenues, of course, have a direct impact on the salary cap, and let’s face it, that’s the only thing most fans care about.

    As of March, the cap was expected to grow from $71.4 million in 2015-16 to $74 million next season.

    However, that projection assumed the NHLPA would accept the CBA’s standard five percent growth factor, and with escrow topping the list of player concerns, that’s no given.

    The players’ association will discuss and make a decision on the growth factor at some point before July 1.

    Related: Bowman noncommittal on Shaw and Bickell, needs to know salary cap first