Author: James O'Brien


Barry Trotz is determined to save Foley the Tiger


Barry Trotz is now the coach of the Washington Capitals, yet it’s clear that he still has a huge soft spot for some of the biggest predators.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline passes along a great story from the All-Star break: Trotz spent Saturday at the Columbus Zoo and left with a goal to save Foley the Tiger from what might be an unpleasant move to Kansas. (See more at the bottom of this post.)

It sounds like he might even try to get Ohio State coach Urban Meyer involved in the cause.

Seriously, Trotz sounds like he’ll stand his ground on this one:

The Washington Post points out that this isn’t the first time Trotz took up the cause of a big cat since becoming the head coach of the Capitals, as he showed interest in a lion as well.

In case you’re wondering, this is what Foley looks like:

It seems like Foley is already something of a big-cat-celebrity, so we’ll see if that’s enough to sidetrack such a move. If nothing else, it’s another example of Trotz sporting a heart of gold below what seems like an occasionally gruff demeanor.

Update: Here’s a little more background on the situation regarding possibly moving the tiger.

So perhaps Foley doesn’t need saving … but hey, Trotz’s heart is in the right place, at least.

PHT Morning Skate: It’s not all bad for Mike Richards


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Gauging how recent estimations may impact the always-relevant salary cap concerns for the Chicago Blackhawks. (

The value of versatility in players like Dustin Byfuglien. (Boston Globe)

Is a slap shot the best way to deal with a loose tooth? *Grabs mouth* (Puck Daddy)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The late, great Jean Believeau scored his first NHL goal on this day back in 1951. A great find from the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs:

Hey, the 2015 All-Star break wasn’t all bad for Mike Richards, as he seemingly got engaged:

KHL president: Russia focuses on World Championships, not World Cup in 2016

2014 Paralympic Winter Games - Previews: Day 0

The NHL wasn’t the only noteworthy hockey league hosting its All-Star Game this past weekend, as the KHL also collected its best (who weren’t on vacation) for a friendly exhibition.

League president Dmitry Chernyshenko held a press conference heading into that event on Sunday, providing some interesting insight into how the KHL (and in a way, Russian hockey) feels about developments in North America.

For one thing, Chernyshenko believes it would be great to stage a game between the winner of the KHL’s Gagarin Cup and the Stanley Cup, although he acknowledges that “there are still several obstacles in the way: technical difficulties and the different season schedules.”

Perhaps the most interesting revelation came when he seemed to boost the World Hockey Championships’ image above that of the renewed World Cup of Hockey, at least as far as 2016 is concerned.

“For Russians, the main event of 2016 will be the World Championships, which we’ll be hosting, and where we’ll need to show the same spirit of national unity as during the Olympic Games. We will always devise the season schedule with the interests of the national team in mind, so if the guys in charge of Team Russia decide that we should compete in the World Cup, we will re-arrange the schedule.” 

As you can see from that last point, it’s not as if the KHL is shutting the door on adjusting to the World Cup if needed, though.

Former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk seemed especially amenable to the idea, stating that “it’s a worthy tournament, where everything is getting better and I’m really looking forward to it.”

KHL players are encouraged to participate in the event, so it might be a treat for hockey fans who miss seeing skilled players like Kovalchuk against NHL-caliber talent. We’ll see if the KHL ends up sending such talented athletes to the World Cup in 2016, however, especially with another tournament presenting potential competition.

‘Crippling and potentially historic’ blizzard threatens cancellations Tuesday


A looming blizzard that the Associated Press describes as “crippling and potentially historic” could threaten game cancellations on Tuesday.

Specifically, the New York Post points to the New York Islanders hosting the New York Rangers as a game facing a particular threat from the massive proportions of snowfall:

The blizzard-level forecasts, however, have the NHL and both clubs monitoring whether a postponement might be necessary. The league waited until the afternoon of Nov. 20 before postponing the Rangers’ match the next day in snow-covered Buffalo to Feb. 20, jamming a sixth back-to-back set into a grueling second-half slate.

A potential makeup date has not been announced, but it would make the most sense simply to play the game on Wednesday. Both teams are idle with home games scheduled on Thursday night.

Perhaps the weather may also have an impact on the plans of the Philadelphia Flyers (hosting the Arizona Coyotes) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (facing the Winnipeg Jets at home)? The Penguins seem to be in good spirits about a contest taking place as of this morning:

Here’s more about the impact beyond New York and New Jersey, according to the AP:

Boston is expected to get 18 to 24 inches of snow, with up to 2 feet or more west of the city, and Philadelphia could see up to a foot, the weather service said.

The Washington area expected only a couple of inches, with steadily increasing amounts as the storm heads north.

Also, a sheer tragedy:

Either way, that Rangers – Islanders game certainly seems like it would be under the greatest threat of being canceled, even if the NHL’s been pretty resilient when it comes to avoiding weather-related schedule changes. When you hear quotes like these from the AP, you can’t help but feel like it might be the best idea in this case, though:

“This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference in a Manhattan.

Under normal circumstances, one would not expect the NHL to make the call until tomorrow, but this does not sound like a normal storm, so we’ll see.

Hey, at least some are having fun with all of this though:

Not very nice.

PHT Morning Skate: Death of Corsi? (The stat, that is)

Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins - Game Five

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Does the advent of tracking technology call for the decline of advanced stats such as Corsi? The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell argues as much. (The Hockey News)

Ryan Getzlaf is putting together an MVP-like season for the Anaheim Ducks. (OC Register)

The Chicago Blackhawks seem to be embracing life as one of the NHL’s model franchises. Believe it or not, there was a time when such a thought seemed almost unfathomable. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

“The All-Star Game isn’t just about you, Canada,” – writes Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. (Sportsnet)

Roberto Luongo did some live-tweeting of the 2015 All-Star Game. Here are a few highlights: