Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Chicago Blackhawks

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You can’t really mess with the best, and the Chicago Blackhawks have arguably the best looking sweaters in the NHL. While the early part of their history saw them figuring things out, once they adopted the color red and committed to the Indian, they’ve been rocking an iconic look they haven’t given up on in over 50 years. Everyone from Bobby Hull to Stan Mikita to Denis Savard to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have all rocked essentially the same look and they’ve made it look legendary all along.

Best: The Blackhawks have been around for a long time and it wasn’t until the mid-1950s when they got their look to be fully memorable. The red road sweater (their current home look) is the thing of legends. With the Native American head on the front, the bold red color with black and white stripes and the letter “C” with the tomahawks crisscrossing over it it’s a look that’s impossible to beat. No wonder they haven’t really changed their look since 1955. Once you achieve greatness, you don’t mess with it.

Worst: In recent years, some felt they could do something to give the fans a little bit extra and give the classic Blackhawks look in a new color. Rather than red, they took their look and put it on a black jersey. This wasn’t the greatest idea. Going with the black jersey muted out any of the other colors offered up from the logo and eliminated red from the picture. While that could’ve come in handy in games against Detroit, it just looked bad. Don’t mess with greatness.

Old-Timey Goodness: Before the Blackhawks broke out their styling duds that they wear now, they went through phases where they went from a straight black and white look with stripes all over to one that added the color red. The main feature of all these was a circular logo that incorporated the Indian’s head. The best of the bunch is the one from 1935-1937 that provided the inspiration for the Blackhawks’ Winter Classic sweater in 2009 that cut down on the number of stripes, made the circular logo bigger and set it on an off-white center stripe/background. It’s an old school classic.

Assessment: What the Blackhawks do sweater-wise these days is generally perfect. They’ve had the same style since the mid-50s and the only addition they’ve made recently is adopting the Winter Classic sweater as their alternate sweater. Adding another classic look to a stable of beautiful looking sweaters is just making a great thing even better. It’s hard to argue with calling Chicago’s sweaters the best in the league, although there’s a couple other original six teams with equally solid arguments.

Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.

3 KHL players suspended after testing positive for banned substances

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The International Ice Hockey Federation has announced that three KHL players have been suspended after testing positive for banned substances.

Here’s an excerpt from the KHL’s website:

The IIHF has informed the KHL that three players – forward Danis Zaripov (then with Metallurg Magnitogorsk), defenseman Andrei Konev (Admiral Vladivostok) and defenseman Derek Smith (Medvescak Zagreb) – have tested positive for banned substances.

Derek Smith tested positive for a category S6.а stimulant.

Andrei Konev tested positive for a category S6.b stimulant.

Danis Zaripov tested positive for a category S6.b stimulant plus category S5 diuretics and masking agents.

Zapirov, who was part of Team Russia at the 2010 Olympic Games, has been banned from suiting up in “competitive hockey” until May 22, 2019. Konev will be unable to play until Nov. 19, 2017, while Smith, who is Canadian, will be suspended until Sep. 2, 2018.

Smith, 32, played in 94 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

Report: John MacLean could join Tocchet’s coaching staff in Arizona

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The Arizona Coyotes have a new head coach, but Rick Tocchet still has to fill out the rest of his staff.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the ‘Yotes might be looking to add John MacLean to their coaching staff.

MacLean, 52, spent six years as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils (2002-2009) before becoming the head coach of their AHL affiliate. After one year of coaching in the minors, MacLean was promoted to head coach of the Devils. His tenure didn’t last very long, as he was fired after just 33 games (they were 9-22-2 under his watch).

He spent the following three seasons as an assistant in Carolina, but he was let go after the 2014 season.

MacLean hasn’t been back behind an NHL bench since being let go by the ‘Canes. Instead, he’s served as a hockey analyst on various television networks.

Related:

Tocchet wants Coyotes’ young players to be ‘creative’ and ‘calculated’

Tocchet brings lessons from past mistakes (and successes) to Coyotes

Sabres re-sign Robin Lehner to one-year, $4 million deal

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The Buffalo Sabres avoided salary arbitration with goalie Robin Lehner, as they inked him to a one-year, $4 million contract on Tuesday morning.

Lehner and the Sabres were scheduled to have their hearing on July 27, but that obviously won’t be necessary anymore.

The 26-year-old played a career-high 59 games in 2016-17. He finished the year with a 23-26-8 record, a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage.

There’s no doubt that he’s a talented netminder, but he’s had his share of struggles when it comes to staying healthy and being consistent. Of course, the team in front of him hasn’t been very good either.

Both of Buffalo’s goalies (Lehner and Chad Johnson) will have something to prove this season because they’re both on one-year contracts. When their deals expire next summer, Lehner will be a restricted free agent again, while Johnson will be free to test the market on July 1st.

The Sabres now have just over $10.9 million in cap space with RFAs Zemgus Girgensons, Nathan Beaulieu and Evan Rodrigues still needing new contracts.

A huge extension for Jack Eichel is also on the horizon, but his new salary won’t count on the cap until 2018-19.