Author: Jason Brough

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

Teravainen expected to start at center


Everyone knows that if the Chicago Blackhawks are going to remain Stanley Cup contenders, they’ll need to make up for the departures of Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, and Johnny Oduya.

The question is, how might they do that?

Teuvo Teravainen is a popular answer. After a productive playoffs (10 points in 18 games), and with 10 pounds of additional weight, the talented 21-year old forward is expected to start the season as a center. At training camp, he was skating between newcomers Viktor Tikhonov and Artemi Panarin. Apparently, the trio showed some chemistry together.

Of course, with so many new forwards, it’s likely we’ll see a number of line combinations in Chicago this season. Teravainen could see time on the wing, too. It all depends on how things play out.

Teravainen is trying to stay flexible.

“It doesn’t matter too much for me what position I’m playing,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “But I like playing center. I played it in my younger years, so I feel comfortable.”

Possible lines:


Related: Blackhawks remain Stanley Cup favorites at online bookmaker

Vanek isn’t ‘complaining’ about the Wild’s centers, but….

Thomas Vanek, Charlie Coyle

Maybe Thomas Vanek was just being honest when he told the Star Tribune, “If I wanted points and goals, I would have signed with the Islanders and had a center like Johnny [Tavares] and a winger like Kyle [Okposo].”

And maybe he was just being honest when he said of the team he did sign with, the Minnesota Wild: “We don’t have maybe the strongest depth in the middle.”

We recommend you read the entire interview before you pass judgment. (“I’m not complaining about centers and [frequent center Charlie Coyle],” the 31-year-old winger insisted. “I’m just explaining why I was less than a shooter last year.”)

But there’s a reason many pro athletes choose to say as little as possible. These comments are going to get a lot of play in Minnesota. 

Some will say that Vanek is absolutely right, that the Wild are lacking something down the middle with Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Coyle and Erik Haula.

Others will contend that Vanek is just making excuses for a poor season, one in which he scored just 21 goals in 80 games. 

Related: Everyone’s ripping Vanek again

Bruins’ Griffith out 3-4 weeks with MCL sprain

Minnesota Wild Vs. Boston Bruins At TD Garden

Bad luck for Bruins hopeful Seth Griffith.

The B’s announced today that Griffith would miss three to four weeks with an MCL sprain in his left knee. The club said the injury occurred in the third period of Sunday’s Bruins-Devils preseason game.

Griffith split last season between Boston and AHL Providence. In 30 NHL games with the B’s, he had six goals and four assists.

The 22-year-old RW went into this year’s training camp as a long shot to make the big club, but with hopes of translating a summer of hard work into more success, eventually, at the NHL level.

“I worked a lot on my offseason training, getting faster, getting stronger in the corners and stuff like that,” Griffith told NESN. “There’s a lot of competition going on right now.”

Related: Dennis Seidenberg to miss start of camp with upper-body injury

Babcock sees something in Gardiner, wants to ‘build him up’

Jake Gardiner

Mike Babcock once said, “The bottom line is, the game’s real simple. The more time you spend in your zone, the less time you spend in their zone, the more time you dump the puck because you got no speed on the rush. If you’re efficient coming out and move the puck and you do it right, you’re coming with speed. You don’t have to dump the puck, you probably get some sort of entry, or at least you give up possession and get it right back.”

No doubt, that philosophy is a big reason the Maple Leafs’ new coach believes defenseman Jake Gardiner can be an important player in Toronto.

“Everyone talks about Morgan Rielly and everyone knows that he has elite upside (as an) offensive guy,” Babcock told the Canadian Press. “But Gardiner, when I watch him, I think he should be a good player. So let’s build him up, let’s get him going, let’s get him playing good.”

Gardiner, 25, is an excellent skater who had a career-high 31 points in 2013-14.

What he’s not is punishing in the corners or around his own net. Add some “very erratic” play to the equation and he often found himself in former coach Randy Carlyle’s doghouse.

With Babcock, it sounds like Gardiner will get a great chance to show that his positives outweigh his negatives. In fact, he’s expected to be paired with Rielly for at least part of the preseason.

Gardiner is signed though 2018-19 for a cap hit of just over $4 million. 

Related: Babcock expects Nazem Kadri to be ‘an elite player’

After ‘troubling incidents,’ Kings to get off-ice conduct training

2014 Stanley Cup Final Media Day

In the wake of some “troubling incidents that occurred last season,” the Los Angeles Kings today announced a series of “conduct awareness training initiatives” to be implemented for 2015-16.

From the press release:

Highlighting today’s announcement is the Kings’ new partnership with Peace Over Violence, a violence prevention center headquartered in Los Angeles. As part of this new partnership, the Kings and Peace Over Violence (POV) will create a promotional campaign entitled “Kings Over Violence” in an effort to create a platform to significantly increase awareness against violence. Within this campaign, the Kings will seek to support the goals of POV, which is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence.

In addition to the POV / Kings Over Violence program, the club is adding:

— The Herren Project, aimed at better educating players about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
— Sexual harassment training.
— A conduct awareness program created by the Kings’ owner, AEG Sports properties.
— A new Player Assistance position, which will focus on the challenges of addiction and substance abuse, has been created. The Kings have hired former NHL player Brantt Myhres for this position.

“During the past year, we have been extremely diligent in developing an educational strategy and comprehensive programs in an effort to ensure that the troubling incidents that occurred last season are not repeated,” said AEG’s chief executive, Dan Beckerman, in the release. “We have conducted research, gathered information and forged partnerships that will better prepare our players and staff for challenges that could impact their behavior away from the workplace.”

Added GM Dean Lombardi: “These programs are now part of the development process for all of our players. No longer can we solely focus on their growth and education as just hockey players; we need to give them the tools to thrive as people, too.”


Slava Voynov will leave Kings, return to Russia

Rangers sign Jarret Stoll

Mike Richards charged with possession of controlled substance