Author: Joe Yerdon

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Sakic on Giguere: ‘His achievements speak for themselves’


Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere made his retirement from the NHL official on Thursday.

After 16 seasons in the NHL that spanned from playing for the Hartford Whalers, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and ultimately the Colorado Avalanche – calling it quits at the age of 37 is just fine. He ends his career with 262 career wins, a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2003 and a Stanley Cup in 2007.

Colorado Avalanche president of hockey operations Joe Sakic had this to say about Giguere riding off into the sunset:

“On behalf of the Colorado Avalanche, I would like to congratulate Jean-Sebastien on an outstanding hockey career.  His achievements speak for themselves, from winning the Stanley Cup to winning the Conn Smythe, Jiggy was always a top-notch goaltender.  He was also a very important part of our team during the past three seasons, providing veteran leadership and stability in net.  We wish him and his family the best of luck.”

After being a first-round pick by the Whalers in 1995 (13th overall), he managed to have quite the career and was the face of a Ducks team for nine seasons backstopping them to two Stanley Cup Final appearances. Getting to have a Hockey Hall of Famer like Sakic to say some nice parting words upon retirement makes for a pretty nice gift.

Poll: Who makes up for James Neal’s goals in Pittsburgh?

Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin

When the Penguins dealt James Neal to the Nashville Predators for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, it was viewed as a necessary change. Whether it was because of Neal’s penchant for playing things on the edge or not is up for debate, but one thing he did a lot of in Pittsburgh was score goals.

Over the past three seasons, no one in a Penguins uniform scored more goals than Neal. Not Chris Kunitz, not Evgeni Malkin, not even Sidney Crosby. Now with Neal in Music City, the question now is: Who picks up the slack?

The obvious answer would be Hornqvist. In Nashville, the big Swede was able to make a living parking around the net and scoring the dirty brands of goals guys like Tomas Holmstrom and Dino Ciccarelli became known for. With the Pens, putting him around the net while Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, and Letang fire away could mean he becomes a power play beast.

Then there’s 2014 first-round pick Kasperi Kapanen. He has the speed and skill but he’s young and untested in the NHL. If he makes the team out of training camp it could be him. Then again, the Pens’ big guns of Crosby, Malkin, and Kunitz could just all step up themselves and make up the difference.

So who pulls it off the most? That’s what we want you to answer.

McDavid to play in Buffalo in October… For his junior team

Connor McDavid

BUFFALO — Connor McDavid will get a chance to show fans in Buffalo what he’s all about… Just not as a member of the Sabres. Not yet, anyway.

The Sabres announced they’ll be hosting an Ontario Hockey League game between McDavid’s Erie Otters and the Niagara Ice Dogs on October 22. McDavid was on hand at First Niagara Center for the announcement along with Otters GM Sherry Bassin as well as coach Kris Knoblauch.

“I’ve been to a couple Sabres games,” McDavid said. “I was here last year and it’s a pretty nice spot. The fans are crazy here – they’re great. I’m really excited to play here with my team.”

McDavid said it’s crossed his mind about what it might be like to play for the Sabres, but said his focus for now is on the season ahead with the Otters.

“Right now it’s all about getting back with the Erie Otters and having a good training camp, preseason, and a good start to the year,” McDavid said. “That’s what it’s all about and you’ve just got to worry about yourself. Then maybe when we get a little closer to the draft and the season’s over I think you start picturing which organization you’ll play with. But right now it’s all about having a good year.”

Both McDavid and Jack Eichel will have a chance to play in Buffalo this year. Eichel will be part of the USA All-American Prospects game in September. You can’t beat having both of the top prospects in next summer’s draft get a chance to see what it’s like to play in Buffalo when the Sabres could wind up with one of the top picks.