James O'Brien

Edmonton Oilers v Detroit Red Wings

Yes, in 2015: Red Wings sign Cleary to one-year deal

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A lot has changed this summer for the Detroit Red Wings, but to the dismay of a number of their fans, they’ll still employ aging forward Dan Cleary.

Just to clarify: some robot didn’t auto-publish a PHT post from 2012. This contract is for the 2015-16 season, and HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman reports that it’s worth $950K.

Here’s another statement that seems evident from the news alone: Ken Holland is still the Red Wings’ GM.

Cleary, 36, appeared in 17 games last season, collecting a goal and an assist.

Is there a chance it might not count against the cap if Cleary fails to make the team?

Beyond playing the experience/loyalty card, the best thing you can say about Cleary from 2014-15 is that his possession stats were decent, although much of that may be attributed to the fact that he began 61 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone.

That’s the nicest thing you can say. Here are some of the more amusing things that were said:

Question: Did Cleary ever make up a song about shampoo and conditioner bottles trash-talking each other?

Today’s expansion/arena news, including the end of ‘Phase III’

Gavin Maloof, Bill Foley
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For whatever reason, Friday presented a bevy of smaller news regarding NHL expansion and arena-building, so let’s go one-by-one.

  • The most immediately substantial bit is that “Phase III” of expansion for Las Vegas and Quebec ended today, although there are still some i’s to dot and t’s to cross, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

Even so, it seems like that process is progressing smoothly, although anyone who’s followed larger-scale ownership news knows that these situations can turn on the dime. As always, PHT will provide updates, as things progress (or fall apart … or both).

  • Obviously, Quebec still awaits confirmation that it will add an NHL tenant, yet the Globe & Mail reports that people are coming in droves merely to get a tour of the new building:

For a few days, anyway, Quebec City’s gleaming new hockey arena is the hottest ticket in town. More than 170,000 people signed up for Videotron Centre tours that began Thursday. And the 18,500-seat ice palace is sold out for next week’s inaugural junior hockey game.

Seattle mayor Ed Murray acknowledged a continued interest in bringing both an NBA and NHL franchise to the hypothetical building in this statement:

“The City of Seattle continues to do its part and we are one step closer to having an arena that is ready to host NBA basketball and NHL hockey. Seattle has the transit, restaurants, hotels and other infrastructure that will make the new arena a success. We will continue to work with partners and stakeholders on the potential impacts in SODO of this new facility.”

Go to King 5 for a detailed look at the situation, but the takeaway is the same as always, really: a lot can change, but it’s (another) interesting scenario to watch. That’s especially true if you’re a hockey fan in the Pacific Northwest.

Happy now? Kessel dropped 13 lbs. this summer

Phil Kessel
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It remains to be seen if Phil Kessel can silence his critics with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he’s doing his part to put work ethic murmurs to bed.

Despite making scores of defensemen look foolish (and sometimes winded) with his immensely underrated foot-speed, people have railed on the sniper for “not looking like an athlete.” Maybe that will remain the case, but he’s dropped 13 lbs. this summer, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Dreger notes that Kessel lost the weight after going through Gary Roberts’ vaunted off-season plan, which drew rave reviews from players such as Steven Stamkos over the years.

So, with that, where are we at on the list of Kessel beefs? (Sifts through “doesn’t play defense” and “is bad with the media.”)

Then again, there’s always the Kyle Wellwood corollary: what if he’s better off with a little extra beef?

Rich Peverley retires from NHL, joins Stars’ front office

Rich Peverley
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Rich Peverley shared some sad (though maybe not surprising) news on Saturday: his NHL playing career is over.

On the bright side, it sounds as though he’s immediately transitioning to a front office job, as he told the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika that he’ll work in the player development department.

“It was working out, monitoring how I was doing, continuing to see doctors to exhaust every avenue and find out exactly if I could play,” Peverley said to the DMN. “It’s a case that’s very complicated, and what I have learned is there is no 100 percent to medicine and, unfortunately, I can’t play anymore.”

Peverley fought his way from going undrafted to playing 442 regular season games and 59 postseason contests in his career. He’s likely best remembered for his time with Boston, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2011.

It’s never a happy moment to see a player hang up his skates at what he believes is a premature age (Peverley is 33).

On the other hand, there are probably a few onlookers who are breathing a sigh of relief.

Peverley’s “cardiac incident” was a truly frightening scene, and many were worried about the risks he might be taking if he resumed NHL play. Some of the choice might have been taken out of his hands, as it’s plausible that no GM wanted to roll the dice with his health.

Heika shares more details regarding Peverley’s decision and his role with the Stars organization here.

Tyler Seguin already spoke out about his former teammate:

Rangers nab Chris Drury as director of player development

Rangers Sign Chris Drury And Scott Gomez
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While we don’t know the particulars about his day-to-day life, it seems like this has been a stellar summer for Chris Drury.

Back in August, he learned that he’ll become a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Friday presented some other great news: the New York Rangers announced that he’ll be their director of player development.

“It’s a smart move for us to spend effort and time on development … I enjoy his approach to the game,” GM Jeff Gorton said. “We’re trying to add people in some key positions that have had different experiences … that can give us a fresh look.”

Drury, 39, finished his NHL career by playing four seasons with the Rangers, wrapping things up in 2010-11.

He generated 62 goals (including 10 game-winners) and 151 points in 264 regular season contests with New York; Drury also made dump trucks full of money there, as you may remember from various angry fans on message boards.

He obviously also made waves with the Colorado Avalanche (winning a Stanley Cup in 2001) and Buffalo Sabres, so he could impart plenty of lessons to developing prospects.

Blueshirts United goes deep on his duties:

In his role, Drury, 39, will be responsible for working with the team’s hockey operations department to assist in the development of Rangers prospects, both on and off the ice. He will serve as a liaison between the hockey operations department and prospects in the organization, and assist in the evaluation of the team’s prospects. Drury will work closely with the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, to further enhance the progression of Rangers prospects who are in professional hockey by providing encouragement and guidance. In addition, he will assist in overseeing and evaluating all players at the collegiate level.