St. John's IceCaps

Winnipeg’s AHL team called St. John’s IceCaps; Good nickname or silly nonsense?

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Now that the Winnipeg Jets have a name and a logo, their AHL farm team in St. John’s, Newfoundland was in need of the same treatment themselves. Today, they unleashed the team’s new look and name upon the minor league hockey world. The former Manitoba Moose will be called the St. John’s IceCaps.

No, that’s not a typo and yes, your grammar alarm is going off big time. Then again, the AHL is a league that has two teams nicknamed “Admirals” so let’s just have some fun with this. Yes, you’d better believe that both the Milwaukee and Norfolk Admirals had better be instant rivals with the IceCaps. Titanic Night at the arena should be a lot of fun, especially for the fan that ends up being the “king of the world.”

Team President and CEO Danny Williams gives his thoughts on the name and look.

“I am so pleased to present the St. John’s IceCaps and our new logo to fans, as we begin a new era of professional hockey in the province,” said Mr. Williams.  “The IceCaps is a name that I am confident hockey fans will support as it captures both our rich hockey history with a reference to the Caps, while at the same time capturing a natural element that is iconic for the province, ice. We wanted to ensure that, although the team is based in our capital city, the province as a whole can identify with it and embrace it as their own.”

Never mind that whole thing with there being an NHL team referred to as the “Caps” already, their reasons behind the name make sense. It’s all about identity for the area and their home city and its importance to them. That’s great and wonderful and good for the folks in St. John’s to once again have AHL hockey.

That said, reading the marketing buzz words behind the reasons for the team name and the team logo make for a hilarious read.  Here’s a sample. First, the reason for the name IceCaps.

The team name, IceCaps, is a clever combination of the history we are so proud of and the climate and landscape for which we are so well known.

The name is nostalgic of the St. John’s Caps, the local NAHA senior hockey team, circa 1960. The Caps, of course, is short for Capitals, St. John’s being the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador.

That’s a creative use of the word “clever” at the very least. As for the team’s logo, there’s a lot to be said for getting inventive and silly all at once.

The logo features a jagged mountain or rock with the geographic shape of Newfoundland and Labrador on its surface like snow or ice. This province is beloved for its rugged landscape, geology, and snow-capped mountains in our northern regions.

All right, that’s a pretty neat touch. It also teaches some of us silly Americans a bit about Canadian geography. We could all use some brushing up on that, especially when it comes to extreme eastern Canada. With that said, these next two pieces are just crazy.

The colours in the logo represent the coldness of ice, as well as our ocean culture. In fact, when you look at the word IceCaps, you can see the line where the ocean meets the sky. The colours also stay true to those of our parent NHL team, the Winnipeg Jets.

The mountain graphic and the IceCaps font are purposely jagged and edgy: rugged like our land, strong like our people, and fierce like our hunger for hockey.

Mind. Blown.

We think it looks nice, but the name itself is rather silly. What do you make of it though? Let us know in the poll and in the comments.

Kulikov returns to increasingly healthy Sabres lineup

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.

The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?

He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.

Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.

With Foligno out sick, Columbus gives Bjorkstrand another shot

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.

He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.

With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.

Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?

Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old:

Gretzky defends McDavid’s outburst after Manning incident

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 23: Wayne Gretzky (L) and Dale Hawerchuk drop the puck in a ceremonial face-off between Blake Wheeler #26 and Connor McDavid #97 during the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic hockey game on October 23, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Fred Greenslade /Getty Images)
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PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

“I guess we can put the whole ‘if he did it’ thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that,” said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers’ loss.

“I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player,” Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. “I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I’m a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that.”

Gretzky didn’t mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

“And Connor, he’s going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him,” Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. “He’s been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he’s always responded and done his part.”

Related: McDavid accuses ‘classless’ Manning of injuring him on purpose

Bishop trying not to let contract situation affect his play

TAMPA, FL - JUNE 06: Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on against the Chicago Blackhawks during Game Two of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 6, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)
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Ben Bishop was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season, and that makes it particularly striking to see his numbers a quarter of the way through 2016-17.

After 18 starts, Bishop is 8-10-1 with a .906 save percentage. He got the hook after two periods last night at Amalie Arena, where he surrendered four goals to the Vancouver Canucks in a 5-1 loss.

Last night marked the third time in his last five starts that he’d surrendered at least four goals, and one of the goals he allowed looked like this:

So, do things feel different this season?

“I feel fine,” Bishop said today, per Lightning Insider. “We go back and watch the games and technically it’s all there. There is really no difference from the way I’ve played the last couple of years to now. I don’t like saying this, but it’s been a strange season with goofy goals on tips and bounces, goals off your own players. So I think if you took some of those away, the numbers would be pretty similar to years past. I would like to get the wins a little higher.”

Bishop, of course, is a pending unrestricted free agent who is unlikely to re-sign with the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy appears to be the goalie of the future in Tampa Bay. On July 1, the 22-year-old re-signed through 2019-20.

Vasilevskiy is also 6-2-1 with a .929 save percentage.

So in that regard, it’s a bit like the situation we’re seeing in New York, where Henrik Lundqvist is struggling and Antti Raanta is thriving.

The difference is Lundqvist isn’t going to be looking for a new team anytime soon. Remember that Bishop “was close” to being traded to Calgary in the offseason. He could still end up there in free agency, depending if Brian Elliott bounces back.

Bishop says he’s trying not to let his contract situation affect his state of mind; however, he admits he’d “be lying if I said I never thought about it.”

“It’s definitely there in the back of your head,” he said.

The Lightning host the Penguins on Saturday.

Expect Vasilevskiy to start that one.