Phil Kessel celebrates with Dion Phaneuf

Toronto is the NHL’s most valuable team, again


Forbes has released its annual Business of Hockey/NHL valuations report and for the second consecutive year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the league’s most valuable team.

From Mike Ozanian of

The league’s most valuable team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, is now worth $521 million and generated $81.8 million in operating income last season. The New York Rangers, who are enjoying the benefits of playing in a refurbished Madison Square Garden, earned $41.4 million last year and are the NHL’s second-most valuable team, worth $507 million. And the Montreal Canadiens, placing third with a $445 million valuation, earned $47.7 million.

Another success story is that of the Winnipeg Jets (valued at $164 million):

The value of the Winnipeg Jets increased 21%, the most among the 30 teams. After buying the Atlanta Thrashers in May for $110 million, plus a $60 million relocation fee, True North Sports and Entertainment moved the team to Manitoba where the previous incarnation of the Jets played as part of the NHL from 1979 to 1995 before moving to Phoenix. In Atlanta the team sold only 73% of their tickets last season but have sold out all of their games for the 2011-12 campaign in less than 30 minutes.

You can read more about the Jets here. It’s an interesting bit, featuring the first and likely last time Forbes will ever run a picture of Dustin Byfuglien.

Moving along…here’s Forbes 2011 Top-10 (with each team’s 2010 ranking in parentheses.)

No. 1: Toronto (1)

No. 2: New York Rangers (2)

No. 3: Montreal Canadiens (3)

No. 4: Detroit Red Wings (4)

No. 5: Boston Bruins (5)

No. 6: Chicago Blackhawks (7)

No. 7: Vancouver Canucks (8)

No. 8: Philadelphia Flyers (6)

No. 9: Pittsburgh Penguins (9)

No. 10: LA Kings (12)

Here are some of the more notable risers/fallers:

— Winnipeg is up from No. 29 (as Atlanta) to No. 24

— Edmonton is up from No. 20 to No. 15

— Washington is up from No. 16 to No. 12

— Colorado is down from No. 15 to No. 18

— Florida is down from No. 22 to No. 26

— St. Louis is down from No. 23 to No. 27

And for the second consecutive year, Phoenix (valued at $134 million) comes in at No. 30.

Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart

Justin Schultz
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The Edmonton Oilers activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve and assigned Griffin Reinhart to the minors.

Schultz has missed the last 14 games because of a back injury, but he’ll suit up in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 25-year-old has one assist and a minus-6 rating in nine games in ’15-16.

Here’s his interview with Oilers TV from earlier today:

Reinhart was acquired in an off-season trade with the New York Islanders this summer.

The former fourth overall pick has no points and a minus-1 rating in 12 games with the Oilers.

The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

James Reimer
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James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.

War of words continues between Rangers and Bruins on Saturday


The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.

After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.

On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.

“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”

The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Dubinsky to have hearing for cross-check on Crosby


Brandon Dubinsky and the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will have a chat about his cross-check on Sidney Crosby.

The hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, per beat reporter Aaron Portzline.

As you can see in the above video, Dubinsky delivers a two-handed cross-check to Crosby’s neck, so the fact that he’s getting a hearing is no surprise.

“There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” said Dubinsky. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front. But again, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m going to play hard, but try and play fair and play in between the whistle.”

Crosby isn’t willing to give Dubinsky the benefit of the doubt.

Anyone who follows the NHL knows that Dubinsky and Crosby aren’t fans of each other.

The two have engaged in some serious battles, including this fight last February: