Being that it was the first NHL game played since the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, last night’s rendition of “God Bless America” took on extra meaning. In case you’re not acquainted with the Philadelphia Flyers’ pre-game ceremonies, the team combines the live vocals of Lauren Hart with video tape footage of historic good luck charm Kate Smith for its patriotic pledge.
It’s one of the many traditions that make Philadelphia sports fans unique, but to outsiders, the practice seems a bit … quirky. Smith died on June 17, 1986, yet the team still honors her with that “God Bless America” mash-up. As you can see from this post’s main image, they also erected a statue in her honor.
Lauren Hart is perfectly capable of honoring our country, troops, citizens, and the people that protect and make this country run every day on her own. She’s actually very good too. So why not let her take the lead and go the distance?
God Bless America is already unique in and of itself. The organization should stop watering down a legend’s legacy by wheeling her out for every post season contest.
Maybe after a year our two off surprise everyone in a game seven. That would be cool. That would be worth talking about.
So there’s the opinion of one Flyers blogger, but how do you feel about it? Some might think that the team should shelve “God Bless America” for “The Star Spangled Banner” but that could be another poll for another day. Should the Flyers continue combining video of Smith with Hart’s live vocals or just let Hart handle the duty alone? Let us know in the poll below.
On a Kingston Frontenacs squad that really struggled to score, Jason Robertson had 42 goals as a 17-year-old. Nobody else on his team had more than 26 goals.
For that reason, the Dallas Stars are hoping they got a steal in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft. Robertson, a winger, went 39th overall Saturday at United Center. A lot of scouts had him pegged as a first-rounder.
So why didn’t he go earlier?
Probably his skating.
“Everyone needs to work on stuff,” Robertson said. “Obviously, for me, I need to work on that. It’s something I’m always going to keep working on.”
But skating didn’t stop Robertson (6-2, 192) from shooting up the prospect rankings in 2016-17. At the midpoint of the season, NHL Central Scouting had him as the 34th-best North American skater. By season’s end, he was 14th.
“I think a lot of it came from confidence,” he said. “I gained more confidence in my game, my skating, my shot. Once I did that in the second half of the year, I really took off.”
He sure did, with 30 of his 42 goals coming in the final 40 games of the regular season. He then added five goals and 13 assists in 11 playoff games.
Robertson was born in Los Angeles, where his dad and grandpa were Kings season-ticket holders. He started playing hockey in L.A., then moved to Detroit when he was 10.
Hamonic, 26, is coming off a difficult campaign in which injuries limited him to just 49 games. That said, he’s still a well-regarded blueliner that will make Calgary’s defense one of the deepest in the league.
Hamonic had made waves during the ’15-16 campaign, when it was learned he’d requested a trade from the Islanders due to a family issue. That request had since been rescinded.
It’s worth mentioning that Hamonic has one of the more club-friendly deals in the league. He has three years left on a seven-year, $27 million deal, one that carries a $3.857M average annual cap hit. For a top-four defenseman that can log big minutes and post solid possession metrics, that’s a pretty low price to pay.
No word yet on what the return is for New York. The Isles selected a pair of defensemen — Robin Salo and Benjamin Mirageas — with their second- and third-round picks on Saturday morning.
UPDATE: Looks as though the Isles are only getting picks in return.
CGY sends 2018 1st, 2018 2nd, 2019 or 2020 2nd to NYI for Hamonic and 2019 or 2020 4th round pick.
If Calgary misses the playoffs on 2019, the Isles get the pick that year. That condition stems from an earlier one in which Arizona would get the Flames’ second-rounder in 2019 if the Flames make the playoffs.
Got all that?
There’s widespread speculation Snow isn’t done dealing. The bounty of draft picks acquired could be utilized in a future trade, which would be the likely direction for a club that’s in “win-now” mode.
Winnipeg has retained some of its defensive depth, re-signing Ben Chiarot to a two-year deal worth $2.8 million.
It’s a $1.4 million average annual cap hit for the 26-year-old, and a nice pay bump from the $850,000 he was making on his previous deal.
Chiarot had a nice campaign in ’16-17, scoring a career-high 12 points while appearing in 59 games. The season ended on a down note, however, as he suffered an upper-body injury in mid-March and was shut down for the year.
Looking ahead, Chiarot will likely continue to serve in a depth role for the Jets. The club is bringing back nearly all of the same defensemen it had last year, and it’s expected youngster Josh Morrissey will take on an even bigger role.