Washington Capitals Press Conference Introducing New Head Coach Dale Hunter

NHL power brokers react to realignment


The NHL’s Board of Governors signed off on some big changes today, as the league agreed to move to a four-conference setup for next season (pending a meeting with the NHLPA). You can vote for the teams that are the biggest “winners” and “losers” here, but you might wonder how the NHL’s biggest movers and shakers reacted to the decision. Here’s a collection of some of the highlights from general managers, executives and even a player you might have heard of.

Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke brushed off talk that Toronto lost out in realignment, but his best quote comes here:  “It was typical Gary Bettman. It’s like a Chicago election in the 1930s. Not that it’s fixed, but you have a pretty good sense what’s going to happen beforehand.” (Editor’s note: It’s too bad Burke would probably shoot down the idea of his own reality show, because he almost always says something uproarious. Click here for video of Burke’s reactions.)

Predators GM David Poile was very happy about the impact on Nashville, but also spoke about the big picture: “I think we did the right thing, it’s not perfect for everybody, but it certainly helps us. It helps our travel and it’s better exposure with teams coming in, so this is very good for the Nashville Predators.” (Video)

Sidney Crosby’s effusive praise: “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I think everyone’s probably happy with that. Washington’s a pretty good rival… I don’t see anyone being disappointed about this.”

Hall of Fame Red Wings executive Jim Devellano ranks among the many Detroit executives who are delighted: “It’s a dream come true for the Detroit Red Wings and its fans. Our fans now will get to see every team in the NHL at least once every year. Our fans will have far fewer games starting at 10:40 at night, far fewer … ”

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson was also fairly pleased, even if he didn’t look particularly tickled.

Capitals GM George McPhee’s comments bordered on boisterous, though. Here are some of his most intriguing thoughts via Tarik El-Bashir: “We think it’s great for our fans that we’re back in the [Patrick Division] again because it’s historically been a great division and our fans have always loved those rivalries … It will be the best travel schedule in the league.”

Finally, let’s close things out with the league’s biggest executives. You can click here for video of Bill Daly’s reaction and watch video of Gary Bettman’s thoughts below.

Report: Sean Avery was arrested last week

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From the Southampton Press:

Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.

According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.

Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.

As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”

He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?

H/t Gawker

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.