belfourgetty

Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk are 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

5 Comments

The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. Keep in mind a few things before perusing this year’s additions.

An inductee must be on 75 percent of the voters’ ballots to be inducted. A maximum of four male players and two female players can be inducted while any combination of two builders/referees/executives can be inducted each year. The induction ceremony will take place on November 19.

The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees (all players, no builders): Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk.

Belfour, Gilmour and Nieuwendyk were probably the most obvious inclusions while Howe’s induction has been a long time coming. While last year’s Hall of Fame class was full of surprises, this year’s edition is much more predictable (even if many will complain about the choices anyway). One can see the consensus from those picks by looking at Belfour, Gilmour and Nieuwendyk’s domination of our own informal poll of PHT staff, media experts and hockey bloggers.

Adam Oates was the only player in the top four of our poll who didn’t make it this afternoon (somewhere PHT’s own Joe Yerdon might be stewing). We’ll provide the requisite sounding board for snub talk later on, but let’s take a quick snapshot of these players’ careers first.

Ed Belfour – “Eddie the Eagle” wasn’t even drafted into the NHL, yet he ended up being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His numbers are impeccable: one Stanley Cup, two Vezina Trophies, 484 regular season wins (third all-time) and 88 more in the playoffs. Belfour was one of the best goalies of his generation, making him a worthy addition to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Doug Gilmour – While Belfour wasn’t even drafted, Gilmour languished until the seventh round of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to notch almost a point per game by scoring an outstanding 1,414 points in 1,474 regular season games, but his playoff production was even more impressive. Gilmour is tied with Joe Sakic for seventh all-time in postseason scoring with a staggering 188 playoff points in 182 games. He probably would have made it into the HHOF based on his scoring prowess alone, but Gilmour also earned rave reviews for his “intangibles” and was a well-rounded player, earning the 1992-93 Selke Trophy.

Mark Howe – While the other three nominees didn’t wait long to make it to the Hall of Fame, Howe probably wondered if his day would ever come; his first year of eligibility was 1998. The wait is over for Mark to join his famous father Gordie in the Hall, though. The blueliner was a Norris Trophy runner-up three times (according to TSN) and put up some great offensive numbers for a defenseman. Howe scored 742 points in 929 regular season games and 61 in 101 postseason games in his NHL career. He also was prolific in the WHA, scoring 504 points in 426 regular season games and 92 points in 75 playoff games in that wild and woolly league.

Joe Nieuwendyk – Nieuwendyk put up some great individual numbers (1,126 points in 1,257 regular season games; 116 in 158 playoff games), but his team-based successes and “intangibles” were what helped him get into the Hall of Fame. He won three Stanley Cups: one with Calgary, one with Dallas and one with New Jersey. Nieuwendyk won the 1988-89 Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the Flames to that precious championship victory and showed the kind of intelligence and winning attitude that helped him ascend to the level of Dallas Stars general manager in little time.

***

Again, there will be some serious debate about who should and should not have been inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame. That being said, the hockey world should take a step back for a moment and give these four players their well-earned praise. They stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greatest hockey players of all-time after today’s announcements.

Gretzky returns to NHL fold as official ambassador of centennial celebration

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 6:  Former Edmonton Oilers forward Wayne Gretzky greets fans during the closing ceremonies at Rexall Place following the game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks on April 6, 2016 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The game was the final game the Oilers played at Rexall Place before moving to Rogers Place next season. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Getty
Leave a comment

The National Hockey League was founded on November 26, 1917. Almost ninety-nine years later, the commissioner of the league, Gary Bettman, was in Toronto to announce that Wayne Gretzky, arguably its greatest player ever, would be the official ambassador of its centennial celebration.

For Gretzky, whose relationship with the NHL was tested during the Phoenix Coyotes’ bankruptcy proceedings in 2009, it marks a return to representing the league in an official capacity. (In 2013, he was reportedly paid around $8 million in a settlement.)

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Gretzky said in a statement. “I’ve said this a million times that everything I have in my life is because of hockey and because of the National Hockey League. I happen to think it’s the greatest game in the world. It was kind to me my whole life. The game just gets better every year, so for me to be involved in just trying to help promote and sell our sport even more it’s a great thrill for me and an honor to be part of it.”

Watch the following video to see what the NHL has in store for 2017, starting on Jan. 1 with the Centennial Classic at BMO Field between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings:

 

Report: Panarin wants six-year deal from ‘Hawks, at least $6M per season

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22:  Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks poses after winning the Calder Trophy named for the top rookie at the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty
5 Comments

Artemi Panarin is looking to cash in on his Calder-winning campaign.

Chicago’s prized Russian sniper and the reigning rookie of the year, Panarin is reportedly seeking a six-year contract extension “worth more than $6 million per season,” per the Chicago Tribune.

As the Tribune points out, that figure could be problematic. Nobody’s arguing that Panarin isn’t worth the money — he’s 24, and coming off a 30-goal, 77-point campaign — but people are wondering how the ‘Hawks can afford him. Eight players on the active roster are pulling in at least $4 million per season, which includes Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they of the $10.5M cap hits.

That said, it sure sounds like Panarin will get done.

Reports last week said his agent and ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman were well into extension talks, and Bowman seemed confident a deal would be inked.

“I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent], he’s a very knowledgeable guy and I know Artemi put a lot of faith in him,” Bowman said. “Tom and I will work to get something done.”

Panarin’s heading into the last of a two-year, $6.775 million deal with a $3.387 AAV — a deal that gained plenty of notoriety as the season progressed. Since it was so performance-laden, Panarin cashed in a couple of times, including a $1.725 million bonus for finishing among the top-10 scorers in the NHL.

That led to Bowman making some tough financial decisions this offseason, including the deal that sent Bryan Bickell — more specifically, Bryan Bickell’s contract — and Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina in exchange for draft picks.

So, this latest situation isn’t anything new for the ‘Hawks GM. He’s been down the financial squeeze road before, and usually found a way to keep his core players in the mix.

If Panarin is considered a core guy — and at this point, it sure sounds like he is — then finding common ground on an extension shouldn’t be too difficult.

Gudbranson-Hutton pairing will be key for Canucks

Vancouver Canucks' defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who was acquired from the Florida Panthers in the off-season, answers questions during a news conference ahead of the NHL hockey team's training camp in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP
4 Comments

There’s a long list of things that have to go right for the Vancouver Canucks if their playoff hopes are to be realized.

One of the biggest is for new addition Erik Gudbranson to form a cohesive second pairing with sophomore Ben Hutton. If that happens, and if Alex Edler and Chris Tanev can stay healthy, the Canucks should have a reliable top-four defense, and that’s something they rarely, if ever, had last season.

Gudbranson, a big stay-at-home type, and Hutton, a puck-mover, have been skating together at training camp. The Canucks believe the pairing has great potential, with each defenseman’s strengths complementing the other’s.

“I want to get his feet moving and hit him in stride and get him up the ice with the puck as soon as possible,” Gudbranson said, per The Province. “I think we’re going to be a good partnership. We’re both on the same page. We’re both excited to play with each other and grow as a unit.”

Vancouver’s third pairing remains to be seen. Luca Sbisa with Philip Larsen is the most likely at this point, though Nikita Tryamkin and Andrey Pedan on the left side, and Alex Biega and Troy Stecher on the right, could make things interesting. Jordan Subban is another wild card. Olli Juolevi too, though he’s a long shot and will likely end up back in junior.

The Canucks were decimated by injuries to their best defensemen last season. Edler only played 52 games, Dan Hamhuis 58, and Tanev 69. Other teams with more depth could survive that, but Vancouver floundered.

That’s why health is another big thing that has to go right for the Canucks. Another injury-filled season and it’s hard to picture them staying in the playoff race.

Vancouver opens its preseason schedule tonight in San Jose.

Boedker to make Team Europe debut in World Cup final

DENVER, CO - MARCH 09:  Mikkel Boedker #89 of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on March 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Ducks 3-0.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty
Leave a comment

Mikkel Boedker‘s first game for Team Europe will be a big one.

Boedker, a healthy scratch throughout the World Cup, will make his European debut on Tuesday, replacing the injured Marian Gaborik (foot) in the first of the best-of-three final.

Head coach Ralph Kreuger opted for Boedker rather than dressing Luca Sbisa as a seventh defenseman, and lamented losing Gaborik’s presence in the lineup.

“We’re losing some leadership and smarts on the puck that were exemplary,” Krueger said, per the L.A. Times.

What the Europeans will gain, however, is speed. Boedker’s one of the fastest skaters in the league and is coming off a good offensive campaign, tying a career-high with 51 points.

The 26-year-old appeared in two of Europe’s exhibition games, both against Team North America. He received a ton of ice time in the first — 19:46 — but had that cut in half for the rematch, when he had 13 shifts for just 9:22 TOI.

Related: Gaborik (foot) to miss eight weeks