Jason Brough

Getty

IOC says Jan. 15 is the deadline for agreement to send NHLers to Olympics

1 Comment

A drop-dead date has apparently been set to reach an agreement to send NHLers to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“When it comes to the final participation … there is a date set at Jan. 15 to find an agreement,” the IOC’s Christophe Dubi said, per the Associated Press. “Until then it will be work between all parties involved to make sure that we get the participation of the very best, and that’s for both Pyeongchang and Beijing (in 2022).”

The IOC’s decision to no longer cover expenses like travel and insurance is the biggest impediment to an agreement.

“I’m pretty sure that our teams are not really interested in paying for the privilege of disrupting our season,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said.

And even if there’s a solution to the costs issue, there’s no guarantee an agreement will get reached. Even when costs were covered, NHL owners weren’t all that keen about Olympic participation.

That being said, according to the AP story, the NHL has agreed to visit South Korea later this month for an inspection.

Which begs the question: if the league were dead set against further Olympic participation, would it bother to inspect the next host country?

Related: Alex Ovechkin vows to play in the Olympics, even if NHL doesn’t participate

About that Yakupov-to-Chicago trade rumor…

AP
14 Comments

Do the Chicago Blackhawks have interest in Edmonton winger Nail Yakupov?

That was the rumor a Chicago-based blogger, Ryan Brandell of Barstool Sports, tweeted earlier today, and it’s since been validated by the biggest insider in the business, TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

According to McKenzie, the ‘Hawks have indeed had talks with the Oilers about Yakupov; however, no deal is imminent.

McKenzie went on to suggest that if Chicago’s youngsters (Tyler Motte, Vincent Hinostroza, Nick Schmaltz, Alexandre Fortin, Ryan Hartman, etc.) can’t adequately fill all the offseason departures at forward, then perhaps they’ll look closer at Yakupov.

Yakupov, 23, was the first overall draft pick in 2012, but has struggled to fulfill expectations. Last season, he only had eight goals in 60 games.

In March, Yakupov’s agent, Igor Larionov, suggested a “fresh start” with another team could help.

A couple of more tweets to consider…

First from Chicago:

Now here’s the view from Edmonton:

 

Canucks place Pedan on waivers, hope he won’t be another Corrado

Getty
1 Comment

The Vancouver Canucks got down to nine defenseman today, placing 23-year-old Andrey Pedan on waivers with hopes of being able to assign him to the AHL.

The Canucks lost a young defenseman, Frank Corrado, to waivers last year, so fingers will be crossed that Pedan — a big, physical blue-liner — will clear. Pedan is not a top prospect, but he’s depth that the Canucks may need should they run into injuries again.

Yesterday, Vancouver sent d-man Olli Juolevi, the fifth overall draft pick in 2016, back to junior.

So, as mentioned, there are still nine defenseman on the roster. The emergence of Troy Stecher has complicated matters considerably. The 22-year-old rookie doesn’t require waivers to be sent to the AHL, but so far in the preseason he’s outplayed NHL returnee Philip Larsen, who was brought in to run the power play.

Other complicating matters include Nikita Tryamkin‘s reported out-clause that allows him to return to Russia should he be assigned to the AHL.

There’s also next summer’s expansion draft to consider, in that each team must expose at least one defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season, or who played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons. That gives the Canucks reason to keep (and play) Luca Sbisa and/or Alex Biega, neither of whom qualify to be exposed yet.

Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Erik Gudbranson, and Ben Hutton are the four locks to start the season on Vancouver’s defense.

Related: There’s one ‘vision’ in Vancouver this season, and that’s winning

Isles cut Dal Colle and Ho-Sang; Barzal and Beauvillier remain

Getty
6 Comments

The New York Islanders announced a pile of moves today.

From the team’s website:

Kyle Burroughs, Michael Dal Colle, Matthew Finn, Christopher Gibson, Jesse Graham, Josh Ho-Sang, Ross Johnston, Devon Toews and Stephon Williams were loaned/assigned to Bridgeport.

Steve Bernier, Colin Markison and Tanner Fritz were released from their PTOs.

Scott Mayfield was placed on waivers.

Dal Colle, the fifth overall pick in 2014, and Ho-Sang, who went 28th that same year, are the most recognizable names. Both players were in junior last year and are only 20 years old, so it’s no huge disappointment that they’re headed for the AHL.

The Isles still have a couple of youngsters on the roster:

Mathew Barzal, 19, went 16th overall in 2015. A center, he’s been pegged to make the team since Frans Nielsen left in free agency. (Which isn’t to say he can replace Nielsen, only that a roster spot opened up.)

Anthony Beauvillier, also 19, was the 28th pick in 2015. He’s been a pleasant surprise at camp, and so far he’s survived the cuts.

“To me, he’s one of the guys that’s emerged,” coach Jack Capuano said of Beauvillier, per Newsday. “Put him at center, put him at left wing, right wing, in all situations. He does things the right way. Some of these young guys aren’t going to come in and play top-six minutes, so what kind of role are you going to play on our team? That’s what we’re looking for right now.”

Related: Isles sign Strome for two more years — can he bounce back?

McDavid becomes youngest captain in NHL history

Getty
10 Comments

At just 19 years old (plus 266 days), Connor McDavid was today named the captain of the Edmonton Oilers.

McDavid becomes the 15th captain in franchise history, and the youngest captain in NHL history (narrowly edging out Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog, who was 19 plus 286 days).

Andrew Ference was the last Oiler to wear the ‘C’, but he relinquished the role a year ago.

Other former Oilers captains include Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish and Doug Weight.

Edmonton’s alternate captains will be Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Related: Talbot thinks McDavid is ready to be Oilers’ captain