All these years later, Alan Eagleson is still making headlines. The former executive director of the NHLPA (a position now held by Donald Fehr) is being forced to mark the 40th anniversary of his greatest triumph, the 1972 Summit Series, at home alone.
The ’72 series made him a household name. And then, two decades later, came his dizzying fall – dozens of charges of embezzlement, fraud, racketeering and professional misconduct. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges in 1998 and spent six months in Mimico medium-security prison. Considering some accusations involved skimming pension and disability benefits for retired players, it’s little surprise some don’t want him at the party.
According to Mirtle, the “some” that don’t want him at the party are Phil Esposito, Brad Park, and Dennis Hull.
The rest, including Bobby Clarke, think the 79-year-old deserves an invite.
“This pissing around with Eagleson, that to me just broke the team,” Clarke said. “You don’t do what they’re doing to a team member. That’s not my version of a team. The majority of players feel the way I do, but these two guys have threatened to destroy the team. … Eagleson is part of that team, maybe the biggest part of anybody.”
It’s a tough situation. Sort of like the debate over whether Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. Does the good outweigh the bad? Has a high enough price already been paid?
But it did indeed happen, as the Hurricanes sent a third-round pick in 2017 to Chicago for Darling. It sounds like the Blackhawks were going to part ways with Darling one way or another, so they get a decent pick for their trouble.
Darling is scheduled to be a UFA this summer, so the Hurricanes must believe that they can sign a goalie Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman described as “always reliable.”
P.K. Subban certainly made his presence felt to begin the Predators’ series vs. the Blues. Leon Draisaitl stole the spotlight in helping the Oilers beat the Ducks in their Game 1. Who will step up in Game 2 of each series? We’ll find out soon.
Here’s what you need to know:
Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues (Preds lead 1-0)
Keep an eye on Swedish forward Victor Ejdsell in the coming days.
Ejdsell, 21, caught the eye of several NHL clubs following a standout year with Bofors of the Swedish first division — including Detroit (where he visited earlier this week, per MLive.) Reports suggest that Chicago and Nashville are also interested in securing Ejdsell’s services.
It’s easy to see why.
He racked up 25 goals and 57 points in 60 games this year, and he’s got terrific size. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, the physical presence is there to potentially make the shift to the NHL next season.
On Friday, Hockey Canada announced that Vlasic — along with Mitch Marner, Brayden Schenn and Chad Johnson — has been added to the 22-player roster for the upcoming World Hockey Championship in France and Germany.
Vlasic’s season started early as a member of Canada’s World Cup of Hockey squad. He appeared in all six games, which included his tournament high TOI (24:04) in final against Team Europe.
From there, the 30-year-old rejoined the Sharks and appeared in 75 contests, averaging 21:14 per evening. He was part of a remarkably durable San Jose defense that saw Brent Burns play all 82 games, while Paul Martin, Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun appeared in 81.
In the playoffs, Vlasic was once again a busy guy. He finished second only to Burns in time on ice (23:16 per) and was often tasked with trying to shut down the Connor McDavid line. The Sharks would eventually bow out to the Oilers in six games.
And Vlasic might have even more to do this summer.
During his end-of-year media availability, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said getting Vlasic signed to an extension prior to September’s training camp was a big priority.
Vlasic’s current deal — a five-year, $21.25 million pact — expires next summer, and carries an average cap hit of $4.25M. Wilson didn’t mince words in describing how good he thinks Vlasic is.
“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” he said. “Marc-Edouard is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”