James O'Brien

Houston Texans OTA's

Video: NFL star J.J. Watt unleashes wicked shot

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Without knowing about skating ability, if someone asked you which NFL player’s style would make the most sense as a hockey player, Houston Texas defensive dynamo (OK, lineman) J.J. Watt might just be the first name that comes to mind.

Watt made a surprise appearance at the second annual Blake Geoffrion Hockey Classic at Wisconsin, letting this shot rip (as Brian Elliott got out of the way):

Not bad, really. It sounds like a good time, too:

For more on his appearance and the event (which raised funds for the University of Wisconsin’s Health Burn Unit), click here.

(H/T to Puck Daddy)

Devils aren’t interested, but Gomez says ‘I know I can play’

New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers
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New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero confirmed that Scott Gomez and Steve Bernier will not return in 2015-16, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

It’s a reasonable enough choice, especially with Shero not having the same emotional connection to Gomez that Lou Lamoriello had. (Shero basically give the “it’s not him, it’s us” speech, noting the younger players waiting in line for chances.)

This brings up an interesting question, though: will any other GM give Gomez (in particular) a shot? He managed 34 points in 58 games, pretty good for a guy who was basically begging for a job heading into the 2014-15 season.

Gomez believes that output proves he can hang with pros even at 35, according to the Bergen Record.

“I found out from my agent (Friday) morning,” Gomez said today. “It is what it is. The thing is I know I can play. I’ve proven that. I know I can play at this level. I know I can contribute. But, it’s time to focus on somewhere else.”

With scoring as tough to come by as it is these days, that really isn’t terrible production.

Still, he is 35. Even though he essentially argued that he’s a young 35, that’s the exact mark where teams balk at contracts … especially deals that exceed one season.

In other words, it remains to be seen if Gomez will get another chance to prove himself.

Isles make Andong Song the NHL’s first Chinese-born draft pick

2015 NHL Draft - Portraits
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When the New York Islanders selected Andong Song in the sixth round (172nd overall), they made history, as Song became the first-ever Chinese-born NHL draft pick.

Here are some interesting little tidbits about the 18-year-old, via the NHL:

Song, a native of Beijing, moved to North America at age nine, but captained the Chinese team at the 2015 U-18 World Jr. Championships (D-II). The Islanders selected Song from Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, where he captained the team in his senior season.

The league shared the country-by-country breakdown, also from the league:

Canada 79
United States 55
Sweden 19
Russia 17
Finland 13
Czech Republic 11
Slovakia 5
Switzerland 4
Latvia 3
Belarus 1
China 1
Germany 1
Netherlands 1
Ukraine 1
TOTAL 211

As the IIHF notes, it wasn’t the only first of this draft, as Daniel Sprong became the first Dutch-born player taken in an entry draft when the Pittsburgh Penguins made him the 46th choice.

Daniel Sprong
Via AP

 

So, what happens if Philly buys out Gagner?

Sam Gagner
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The trade that sent Chris Pronger’s contract and Nicklas Grossmann to the Arizona Coyotes and Sam Gagner to the Philadelphia Flyers is simple enough in the goals for each side. The specifics, however, get a little confusing.

Beyond the believed $500K in salary being retained by the Flyers, things get a little tricky if Philly GM Ron Hextall buys out Gagner.

As you may remember, the Tampa Bay Lightning retained $1.6 million of Gagner’s salary when they traded him to Arizona. Because of that move, a possible Philly buyout wouldn’t merely potentially impact the Flyers; it would also have an affect on the Bolts.

General Fanager broke down some of the ins and outs on Twitter, arriving at a conclusion that Tampa Bay might not actually mind this:

There are a few other details to work out either way, like a) will the Flyers actually do it? and b) how does the NHL feel about this situation?

Well, for one thing, Flyers GM Ron Hextall told the media that he hasn’t “thought about” a buyout yet, as CSNPhilly.com reports.

“We’ll talk about all of our options [Sunday],” Hextall said. “We’ll make decisions moving forward. We got to get our numbers in order. We’re a lot closer now.”

TSN’s Frank Seravalli confirms that the Flyers worked with the league on this situation and also cleared up lingering questions about how this may impact the Lightning:

Is your head spinning yet? Imagine being Sam Gagner right now.

Gibson trade rumors leave Ducks GM muttering profanities

2015 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
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It only seemed natural to wonder if the Anaheim Ducks’ acquisition of Anton Khudobin would be the precursor to another goalie move, but apparently that’s not the case.

In fact, it sounds like Ducks GM Bob Murray was incensed by the rumors, as you can see from The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell’s account:

“John Gibson is not getting traded,” Murray said. “So put that (expletive) out there, OK. That’s enough.”

This was an amusing way to put it, too:

Murray may rank as the NHL executive most in need of a five-second delay … at least when it comes to rumors about his goalies. Back in January 2014, he needed to be censored when asked about a possible Jonas Hiller trade.

He might not like the rumors, yet they crop up for a reason (much like irksome ones involving Hiller and Bobby Ryan eventually hinted at exits that did happen). The Ducks have three goalies in Khudobin, Gibson and Frederik Andersen under contract for just one more season, so it’s only reasonable to wonder when the other shoe might drop.

You might need earmuffs if you ask Murray about it around kids, though.