In Toronto, Phil Kessel‘s center was Tyler Bozak.
In Pittsburgh, Kessel is expected to start on a line with Sidney Crosby.
Think expectations are high for the newly acquired sniper?
“I think if he plays with Sid he can score 50 goals, at least,” said Pittsburgh’s other star center, Evgeni Malkin, per the National Post. “He’s got everything: the shot, the speed, he’s special.”
Over the last five years, Crosby’s most common wingers at even strength have been Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. Last year, he spent most of his time with Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist.
Chemistry is a tough thing to predict, but in theory, both Crosby and Kessel have the burst to create scoring chances off the rush. If Crosby can get Kessel the puck in the right places, and do that often, in the words of Jonathan Toews, “we’re all in trouble.”
Related: “It’s hard to find players like Phil Kessel”
To all those people who said the Calgary Flames were just lucky last season, their general manager, Brad Treliving, has a message:
“Our season last year was like winning the Masters, while sinking eighteen 40-foot putts.”
So yeah, he kind of agrees. The Flames had some good fortune on their side.
That being said, while Treliving doesn’t believe the Flames can duplicate all the come-from-behind victories they managed in 2014-15, they’re not necessarily doomed to be the next version of the Colorado Avalanche.
Personnel-wise, Calgary added Dougie Hamilton, without losing a roster player. That’s a significant addition to a blue line that was already a strength of the team.
But it’s the Flames’ recognition that they have to play better hockey that really differentiates them from previous lucky-then-not-so-lucky teams like the Avs.
“We can’t just say the recipe for this season is ‘we’re going to win a bunch of games by coming from behind in the third period. We’re going to pull the goaltender eight times and score a tying goal in seven of them,'” Treliving told Sportsnet.
“We have to get better.”
Which is to say, last year may have been a magical one for Calgary hockey fans, but the Flames know that magic has a way of running out. In the long run, it’s good hockey that wins.
Related: Treliving realistic about Flames’ success
The World Cup is going to be great, but it still won’t be the Olympics.
That’s been the common refrain from the players, as the NHL has yet to commit to sending them to the 2018 Games in South Korea.
“When you ask any athlete in the world, no matter where they are from or what the sport, they all want to be on the Olympic stage,” Zdeno Chara said Tuesday, per the Globe and Mail.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Toews said he’d be “extremely disappointed” if the Olympics were a no-go for NHLers in 2018.
“More than just hockey fans are watching,” Toews said. “It’s huge.”
Alex Ovechkin has vowed to play in the 2018 Olympics, whether there’s an agreement to send NHLers or not.
Related: Players want Olympics and World Cup
The Carolina Hurricanes have hired analytics expert Eric Tulsky on a full-time basis.
“Eric is an extremely intelligent person and has been an innovator in the field of advanced analytics,” said GM Ron Francis in a statement. “We found the information he provided last season to be extremely valuable and are glad that he will be with us on a full-time basis.”
From the press release:
A Philadelphia native, Tulsky holds a B.A. in chemistry and physics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from UC-Berkeley. He also conducted a two-year, post-doctoral study at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., and worked in nanotechnology for 12 years.
So yeah, he’s a bit of a thinker.
Some of Tulsky’s work can be read here. Safe to say his analysis on player age and its relation to performance will be relevant when it comes to Eric Staal, and whether or not the Hurricanes should re-sign or trade the 30-year-old center.
Canada’s “newspaper of record” doesn’t think too highly of the Calgary Flames’ plan to build a new arena.
From a Globe and Mail editorial:
Calgary, historically, hasn’t lacked for confidence. Now there’s a good opportunity for the city to prove its maturity by rejecting the latest proposal for an arena-stadium complex that would require a ludicrous amount of taxpayer support.
The owners of the Calgary Flames and Calgary Stampeders – who include three of Canada’s richest individuals – want to upgrade their aging venues and have brought forward plans for an $890-million development on an underused downtown site beside the Bow River.
The owners are willing to spend just $200-million of their own money on the project. They’re asking the city to ante up $200-million directly. A ticket tax (possibly financed by the city) would generate $250-million. Another $240-million would come from a so-called community development levy, which essentially means taxpayers would front the money and then somehow hope to get repaid through the increased economic activity in the regenerated arena-stadium district.
Just like it was for their provincial rivals in Edmonton, this is shaping up to be quite the political and P.R. battle for the Flames. Calgary’s mayor has already thrown cold water on the team’s big plan, saying that there are “very significant requirements for public funding” and that “there is currently no money.”
While the consensus is that an arena will get built somehow, someway, expect some testy negotiations before any deal is reached.