Oops: Sabres team store accidentally unveils new Senators and Maple Leaf third jerseys

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When a team creates a new third jersey and they’re doing their part to keep it under wraps as a state secret, letting any sort of leaks happen can be a major headache for the marketing people. Just think back to how things broke down for the Winnipeg Jets when their logo was leaked on the Internet. The Jets PR staff moved quickly to have a press conference to officially release what the logo looked like themselves before the leaked logo got around any faster.

Imagine the horror that went through the marketing offices of the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs when photos from the Buffalo Sabres team store at First Niagara Center that appeared on hockey jersey and logo super site Icethetics showed that they already had the Senators and Maple Leafs new third jerseys, which haven’t been shown off yet, out on the racks for sale.

Whoops.

Both the Senators and Leafs had the option of either denying that’s what they’d look like and then curse out whoever was responsible for shipping them out or they could bite the bullet and say that the cat’s out of the bag and that’s what they’ll look like.

The Senators, who have been hinting around as to what they’ll be doing for some time now, decided to bite the bullet and fess up.

“While we are very disappointed to have our new jersey revealed in this manner, we are pleased to see the early comments from fans are extremely positive,” said Jeff Kyle, Senators vice-president of marketing. “We believe that this jersey will be a top seller in the National Hockey League this season, especially as fans learn the story behind how it was designed.

The heritage jersey pays tribute to the early Senators teams that won 11 Stanley Cups and was one the franchises that founded the NHL in 1917. The early Senators were considered the NHL’s first dynasty, with accomplishments so great that in 1950, sportswriters voted the Ottawa club as the team of the first half century in Canada.

Paying homage to the original Senators franchise that was in Ottawa is a nice touch and the barber pole striping going on with the sweater isn’t nearly as egregious as what the Montreal Canadiens did with their 100th anniversary heritage sweater two years ago.

While the Leafs haven’t said anything one way or another, Pension Plan Puppets are embracing the new sweater and the tribute that it pays to the 1967 Maple Leafs team, the last Leafs team to win the Stanley cup. This new third sweater also replace the white one they’ve used the last few seasons that had a blue shoulder yoke and the old-time style maple leaf crest. All that aside, PPP makes the point that how the team does has more of an effect on how popular the new duds are.

The success of the jersey will be tied directly to how well the team does while wearing them. While the jersey will obviously sell well (what TML related gear doesn’t?) it’s ultimate success will depend on the more memories that the team produces while wearing them.

Good point for sure. As for how they look, the old time style is always worthy of approval and the bold blue color of the Leafs sweater with a logo like what they had in their Stanley Cup season is a winner. While the Leafs and Senators both hate each other, they’ll be a couple of the nicer looking teams when sporting these sweaters.

(Photo courtesy: Icethetics.info)

Report: Rangers to hire Lindy Ruff as an assistant coach

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More coaching news on Saturday.

Lindy Ruff’s time with the Dallas Stars ended in April following a disappointing regular season, but it appears he’s found another coaching gig in the NHL.

It is, however, a different role than what he’s been used to for the past 20 years.

Per Larry Brooks of the New York Post, a deal has not been done yet, however, Ruff will join the Rangers as an assistant coach on Alain Vigneault’s staff. He’ll reportedly replace Jeff Beukeboom and will be in charge of New York’s defense.

Ruff certainly brings experience, with 1,165 games coached in the NHL. He’s been a head coach since 1997 when he joined the Buffalo Sabres, and hasn’t been an assistant since a four-year tenure with the Florida Panthers from 1993 to 1997.

The Rangers’ defense has undergone notable changes this offseason, with Dan Girardi getting bought out of his six-year, $33 million contract. With about $20 million now in cap space, New York may not be done making moves to their blue line this offseason.

The Rangers made a blockbuster trade with the Coyotes on Friday, sending Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to the Coyotes in exchange for the seventh overall pick and 21-year-old defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

Vegas parlays second-round pick into prospect forward Keegan Kolesar

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The Vegas Golden Knights had a surplus of draft picks in the opening two rounds this weekend, and they used one of those to make a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

The Golden Knights sent the 45th overall pick in this year’s draft to Columbus in exchange for 20-year-old prospect forward Keegan Kolesar, who has spent the last four years with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

In each of the last two years, Kolesar has put up good numbers, scoring a junior career high of 30 goals and 61 points in 64 games in 2015-16. He had 60 points this past season, but played in 10 fewer games due to a sports hernia surgery, so he was on pace to far exceed his totals from the previous campaign.

He was most impressive for the Thunderbirds in the 2017 WHL playoffs. In 19 games, he scored 12 goals and 31 points. Great production for that time of year. But in addition to those numbers, what may be most intriguing to Vegas is that Kolesar brings tremendous size down the right wing. Standing 6-foot-2 and 223 pounds, his physical play for the Thunderbirds was lauded during their postseason run, which resulted in a Memorial Cup berth.

“Keegan is one of the most important guys to our success,” Thunderbirds coach Steve Konowalchuk told the Columbus Dispatch. “He could easily have been a co-MVP of the playoffs. Not only does he produce a ton of points, but his physical play has had a huge impact on every playoff series.”

Having turned 20 in April, Kolesar will be eligible to play in the AHL or NHL next season, per the Golden Knights.

Kings sign Andreoff to two-year extension

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The L.A. Kings have brought back pending restricted free agent forward Andy Andreoff.

The Kings announced Saturday that they have re-signed Andreoff to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $677,500.

He appeared in only 36 games last season, spending time on injured reserve, adding two assists. The previous year, however, he played in 60 games for L.A., scoring eight goals with 10 points.

At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Andreoff is known more for his physical style and checking abilities than offensive production, with 146 penalty minutes combined over the last two seasons.

Stars hope they got a second-round steal in Robertson

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CHICAGO — His stats jump right off the page.

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.