Nordiques fans to have "Blue March" to show they're serious about NHL again

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nordiquesvsjets.jpgQuebec City’s renewed vigor for the NHL is a truly fascinating thing. From the stories about how they’re looking to build an NHL-ready arena in the city to replace the vastly outdated Colisée de Quebec to speculating on which teams they think would be most ready to move out of their current home to move to La Belle Provence it’s incredible to see such interest in pro hockey there once again.

Making things all that much stranger is an event being called the Blue March set to happen in Quebec City and featuring lots of former Quebec Nordiques and Quebec politicians to rally for the return of the NHL including Michel Goulet and Peter Stastny.

“I had my greatest moments in Quebec City,” said Goulet, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998. “I had 10 great years so it’s important to show my support to the fans.”

Slovakian scorer Peter Stastny, who played alongside Goulet for a decade in Quebec City and was inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year, says making the trip from Europe will be symbolic for fans and important to him.

“I know how big this will be for the people,” Stastny said from his office in Brussels, where he serves in the European Parliament.

Aside from the former dynamic duo, other former Nordiques who plan to travel to the capital for the rally include Steve Finn, Mario Marois, Alain Cote and Pierre Lacroix.

What’s baffling about this is that this rally is happening 15 years after the Nordiques left Quebec City for Denver where they became the Colorado Avalanche and promptly won the Stanley Cup in their first season in the city. It’s possible that this is just a lot of political grandstanding to help get a new arena built there and improve the standing of the city as a location for a team to move or as a candidate for future expansion.

For everything that went wrong the first time in Quebec, what held the Nordiques down were politics, taxes, a bad Canadian dollar, and rapidly decaying building. While politics and taxes will always be an issue, the Canadian dollar has vastly improved against the American dollar and getting a big, new arena would instantly make Quebec City a great destination as compared to Winnipeg. As for what the Blue March itself, I hope the fans in Quebec City enjoy the day to relive the memories of the Nordiques, but I sure hope they’re not expecting anything more than a politically motivated dog and pony show.

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    Rangers’ Desjardins faces hearing for ‘dirty’ hit on Miles Wood

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    Just hours after delivering a two-game preseason suspension to Tom Wilson, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety issued a statement on Twitter, this time saying Andrew Desjardins will have a hearing.

    That hearing is scheduled to take place Monday. Desjardins received a match penalty for an illegal hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood during Saturday’s preseason game between the Devils and Rangers.

    The incident occurred before the midway point of the first period.

    Wood was slow to get back to his feet, but did eventually return to the game. The hit resulted in a melee in front of the Rangers net, with John Moore also getting called for roughing.

    Devils hold open tryouts for emergency goalies

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    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Steven Porzio’s father was a New York Rangers fan, but he always rooted for the New Jersey Devils. A goaltender himself, Porzio was struck by Martin Brodeur, and he dreamed of replacing the NHL’s career wins leader when his days at the Prudential Center were done.

    Porzio is now 27 years old and working in information technology, and he’s given up hope of replacing Brodeur.

    He still might suit up for the Devils on their home rink, though.

    Porzio and 14 others tried out Saturday to become the Devils’ emergency goaltender for this season. They were run through drills by former New Jersey goalie Scott Clemmensen at the Prudential Center, faced shots from players in the minor league system and even used a dressing room next door to the Devils’ home locker room.

    Read more: Kings hope to find emergency goalie candidates with open tryouts

    “You walk through the locker room area and see all the team photos, the little replica Stanley Cups,” Porzio said. “That gives you chills a little bit.”

    This wasn’t exactly fantasy camp, though. Clemmensen pushed the prospective netminders – mostly former college or junior players – through rigorous tests to evaluate their skating and puckhandling.

    “Put them through a legitimate goalie clinic today, which I don’t know if they were expecting,” said Sarah Baicker, the Devils’ director of content and communications, who helped coordinate the tryouts. “A couple guys looked like they’re going to sleep really well tonight.”

    The tryouts are in response to a new league rule for this season, which mandates that teams have an emergency goalie present for all home games ready to fill in for either team. Last year, a number of clubs required backups on short notice, including when the Chicago Blackhawks called on Philadelphia-area youth hockey coach Eric Semborski for a game against the Flyers because Corey Crawford needed an emergency appendectomy.

    New Jersey plans to pick a winner by the end of the week, and that goalie will need to be at all 41 Devils home games this season, plus the playoffs. New Jersey might pick more than one player to split up the schedule, though it hasn’t decided yet if the emergency goalies will be paid.

    The 15 netminders at the rink Saturday were selected from a pool of nearly 400 applicants, some of whom were targeted by the team.

    “The skill level was pretty good, and that’s what we’re looking for today,” said Clemmensen, now the goaltending development coach for the organization.

    Among the final group was 43-year-old Anthony Felice, a hockey coach at Rye Country Day School in Rye, New York, who has been an emergency backup for the Devils’ minor league teams in Lowell and Trenton. Injuries have slowed the former junior player, but he’s healthy enough now to seek “a chance to do it one more time.”

    “To come out here and be in the big building was a lot of fun,” he said.

    Not all the participants were Devils fans, either. Matt Palella, a 23-year-old who played at Stonehill College in Massachusetts, just moved to the area from Chicago for a job in Manhattan a few weeks ago. He got word of the tryout and put in his name, not sure what he’d get from the experience.

    “I was expecting, `Go in the corner, figure it out,”‘ he said. Instead, he was surprised by how well New Jersey treated him and the others. “It was top-notch.”

    Palella blew out his knee late in his college career, and this was just his second time skating since the injury.

    “I’m not hurt,” he said. “That’s all I care about. Walking away in one piece.”

     

    Jankowski ‘continues to impress’ at Flames camp

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    Mark Jankowski made his Calgary Flames debut last season. It appears he’s making quite a case to at least start the new campaign in the National Hockey League.

    On Friday, he notched his third goal of the preseason, helping the Flames to a 4-2 victory over the Coyotes. Make that three goals in three exhibition games for Jankowski, Calgary’s first-round pick from the 2012 NHL Draft.

    Once considered an “off-the-board” pick in that opening round, the 6-foot-4 center has developed into a very intriguing prospect, particularly after an impressive 2016-17 season down in Stockton, scoring 27 goals and 56 points in 64 AHL games. He appeared in one NHL game last season, and is leaving an impression during this year’s training camp, too.

    Read more: Looking to make the leap — Mark Jankowski

    “The confidence thing, right? These young players grow more confident as it goes,” head coach Glen Gulutzan said of the 23-year-old Jankowski following last night’s game.

    “I thought he played well tonight. I thought he was better tonight than he was against Vancouver (on Wednesday) and he just continues to impress everybody.”

    Calgary has three more preseason games remaining on their schedule, which could provide more of an opportunity for Jankowski to prove himself to the Flames coaching staff ahead of the regular season.

    “I’m just trying to get better every day and keep on showing the coaching staff and management what I can bring to this team,” Jankowski told reporters.

    “As camp goes on and it gets thinner and thinner, I just have to keep on doing that and get in some preseason games against almost full NHL lineups. That’s when you can really show your stuff, show you can play at this level and have an impact.”

    Hossa undergoes ‘independent medical evaluation’ to determine if he’s eligible for LTIR

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    Marian Hossa and the Chicago Blackhawks announced in June that the 38-year-old forward will miss the entire 2017-18 season with a skin disorder.

    However, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, the National Hockey League has yet to determine if Hossa will be eligible for long-term injured reserve.

    “Marian Hossa underwent an independent medical evaluation several days ago,’’ NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘We are waiting for the report. Once we have that, we should be in a position to determine his proper status.’’

    Hossa’s total salary is only $1 million for this year. His cap hit remains at $5.275 million.

    From CSN Chicago:

    Here are two basics about the cap: a team can be 10 percent over it during the summer, and a team must be at or below it the day the regular season begins. If the Blackhawks place Hossa on LTIR, it wouldn’t take effect until the second day of the regular season. So on Day 1 of the season, the Blackhawks would still be carrying Hossa’s $5.275 cap hit.

    Once the LTIR would take effect, though, the Blackhawks would have wiggle room. If they spent to the $75 million cap, they could utilize Hossa’s entire $5.275 million cap hit on other players.

    While there are salary cap implications for Chicago with Hossa’s absence, not having him in the Blackhawks lineup is a difficult loss. Yes, he’s approaching 40 years of age, with more than 1,300 NHL regular season games under his belt. But last season, he also posted 26 goals and 45 points — still very productive at his age.

    It was reported, prior to the Blackhawks announcing that Hossa had this skin condition, that there was a “legitimate possibility” Hossa had played his last NHL game.