Cam Tucker


NHL takes over Vegas with awards show, expansion draft


It’s 116 degrees in the ice hockey capital of the world.

For the next few days, Las Vegas is the place to be on skates. The desert gambling mecca is hosting the NHL’s annual postseason awards show on Wednesday, when the league also will reveal the Vegas Golden Knights’ choices in the expansion player draft to stock the club with talent for its inaugural season in the fall.

Las Vegas has hosted the awards show for several years, welcoming the NHL’s best for a red carpet presentation and a short week of partying in a city that knows a little something about entertainment.

But Vegas’ hometown team is in the spotlight for the first time this year, reaching a major milestone in its process of becoming the NHL’s 31st franchise – and doing it during a heat wave.

Read more:

Golden Knights reveal brand new jerseys

McPhee: ‘We’re going to be a good team’

Combining the awards show and the expansion draft should only enhance the fun for Vegas fans welcoming their city’s first major professional sports team. Thousands of those fans are expected to gather at T-Mobile Arena after the expansion draft for a raucous “Round Table Rally” to celebrate the Golden Knights’ first major acquisitions.

“You don’t always have to do things the same way,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said of the two-for-one Vegas show. “We’re not afraid to try something a little different. We think it’s going to be a lot of fun for our fans, particularly those here in Las Vegas.”

The Golden Knights have an NHL-ready arena, a veteran front office, an eager coaching staff, an eye-catching logo and positive momentum in their new community. This week, they’ll finally have one player apiece from the other 30 clubs, putting recognizable faces on the franchise for the first time.

The expansion draft affects every team in the league, so many of the stars convening in Vegas will be paying close attention to the names of the teammates they’ll be losing to Sin City.

“I think we’re going to talk about the awards, but not as much as we’re going to talk about the expansion draft and who got picked and who didn’t, and what the team’s going to look like,” Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s definitely exciting to be here and to see it firsthand.”

Golden Knights owner Bill Foley paid a whopping $500 million as an expansion fee for the privilege of owning an NHL franchise. The league subsequently structured the expansion draft in a way that essentially creates more chances for Vegas to grab quality pros from the rest of the league.

Big names with bad contracts are available in abundance, but general manager George McPhee is likely to structure the core of a young, hard-hitting team from the available talent. General managers around the league have frantically negotiated with McPhee in recent weeks to keep their most valued unprotected players through side trades, but not every team has enough assets to do so.

“I’m very interested to see the kind of price teams paid, and to see what the currency on the market is,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “But also, you’re going to see how teams you compete against are affected or not affected. We’re fortunate in our situation. With so many young players, we’re not affected the way some teams are. But lots of teams are going to lose good players. Now do they make a deal and lose more, or did they not and just watch and see it happen?”


Report: ‘A legitimate possibility’ Hossa has played his last NHL game


With the NHL in Las Vegas and then heading to Chicago for the Entry Draft, serious news concerning Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa has emerged.

From Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet:

According to several sources, there is a legitimate possibility Hossa has played his final NHL game. (He could not be reached for comment. Neither could his agent, Ritch Winter. The Blackhawks declined to comment.) Apparently, he suffers from a serious allergic reaction to the equipment he wears.

The sources who confirmed the allergy stressed not to make fun of it, with one saying, “It’s only funny to anyone who’s never had it.” Details are sketchy, because no one would give full information, but the medication necessary to combat the allergy is potent enough that doctors wanted his blood tested every few weeks to make sure there were no major side effects.

That’s very serious stuff, and word is doctors worried about Hossa taking the medicine for extended periods of time.

Hossa is now 38 years old, and has played 1,309 regular season games in the NHL.

Despite pushing close to 40, Hossa has remained a consistent offensive threat for the Blackhawks. Last season, he scored 26 goals and 45 points.

He still has four years remaining on his current 12-year, $63.3 million contract that has an annual cap hit of $5.275 million.

Golden Knights reveal brand new Adidas jerseys

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They’re (finally) here!

The Vegas Golden Knights will soon reveal their expansion draft roster (and the potentially many side deals with various clubs). They had other business on Tuesday, as Vegas revealed its brand new Adidas jerseys for its inaugural NHL season at an unveiling party.

Have a look:


The league has since unveiled the new uniforms for each of its 31 clubs. The NHL announced in September of 2015 that Adidas would be its new official outfitter. The new jerseys are advertisement-free.

From Adidas:

At the forefront of innovation, design and craftsmanship, the new ADIZERO Authentic NHL jersey takes the hockey uniform system and hockey jersey silhouette to the next level by redefining fit, feel and lightweight construction.

Lighter – Featuring new cresting materials and construction technology, the ADIZERO Authentic NHL jersey reduces crest weight by up to 46%, while a single layer perforated numbering system reduces number weight by up to 60%, in order to deliver a new jersey that is up to 19% lighter when compared to the current NHL Jersey. 

Cooler – The ADIZERO Authentic NHL jersey features adidas Clima® technology in each of the jersey fabrics to deliver breathability and enhanced performance. Combining moisture management technology and a streamlined silhouette to maximize air flow circulation with materials that are up to 133% more permeable than fabrics currently used on ice allows athletes to be cooler.

Stronger –  Constructed for durability, the ADIZERO Authentic NHL jersey fabrics are up to 27% stronger in burst testing and up to 72% tougher in abrasion testing compared to the current NHL jersey.


Karlsson doesn’t regret playing through foot injury during playoffs


Erik Karlsson was Ottawa’s best player in the postseason, despite playing through a foot fracture.

The price? Foot surgery that comes with a four-month recovery period.

Photos of Karlsson in Las Vegas, using crutches and with a cast on his foot, began to circulate on Twitter on Tuesday, a day before he could win the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

“Looking back, I feel a lot better now,” he told reporters.

“At the time, it was manageable and something obviously I could play through and play up to the standards that I thought I needed to be able to play and contribute for the team. At the end of the day, I’m paying the price for it now but looking back, it’s not something I regret.”

He was just one of many Ottawa players that battled through injury during the postseason.

His performance during the playoffs, as the Senators surprised many by making it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, left such an impression that Karlsson actually received one third-place vote for the Conn Smythe Trophy, despite his team not making it to the Stanley Cup Final.

Report: NHL will honor Bickell at awards show


Bryan Bickell retired in April, ending his playing career after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November.

After coming back and then scoring a shootout goal for the Carolina Hurricanes in his final NHL game, Bickell will be honored at the NHL Awards on Wednesday, according to CSN Chicago.

“[The league] called me up to come here and I said, ‘why not?’ I had time to make it out here and enjoy some festivities,” said Bickell.

“It’s kind of a finale where the respect of what I went through and the story I had this year, they’re going to do it [Wednesday] and it’s just the icing on the cake. It’ll be emotional but I’m going to try to keep it together.”

Bickell played 395 regular season games in the NHL, rising to prominence with a 17-point performance in 23 playoff games in 2013, as the Chicago Blackhawks claimed the Stanley Cup.

However, after battling his way back onto the ice and into the Hurricanes lineup toward the end of the season, Bickell decided in April to retire.

“It was really tough,” Bickell told the Washington Post. “For me, I think about my family. I have two young girls, and you always want to think about family first. Hockey is a luxury. There is always life after hockey.”