Author: Mike Halford

Brad Winchester

Veteran NHLer Winchester calls it a career

Brad Winchester, who appeared in nearly 400 games over a seven-year career, announced his retirement on Thursday via Twitter.

Winchester, 34, had spent the last few seasons with a variety of organizations — Chicago, Minnesota, Anaheim, Edmonton — but played exclusively in the AHL, most recently with the Oilers’ affiliate in Oklahoma City.

That last stint with the Oilers was a homecoming of sorts, as Edmonton made Winchester the 35th overall pick in 2000 and gave him his NHL debut (he would later appear in 10 games during the Oilers’ Stanley Cup run of 2006.)

Winchester’s best years came with St. Louis, most notably the 2008-09 campaign in which he scored a career-high 13 goals and 21 points.

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    Ducks d-man Stoner charged with unlawful grizzly bear hunt

    Calgary Flames v Anaheim Ducks - Game One

    Two years ago, Clayton Stoner was in hot water after pictures of him hoisting the severed head of a grizzly bear appeared online.

    Now, the water’s even hotter.

    Stoner is facing five chargers under British Columbia’s Wildlife Act in relation to the hunt, per the Vancouver Sun.


    The B.C.-born Stoner is charged with two counts of making a false statement to obtain a licence on May 22, 2013, as well as one count of hunting without a licence, one count of hunting wildlife out of season, and one count of unlawful possession of dead wildlife — the latter three offences allegedly taking place on May 28, 2013.

    Stoner is scheduled to appear in Vancouver provincial court on Oct. 9.

    The legal argument is that Stoner did not meet those conditions due to living out of the province as a professional hockey player. At the time of the hunt, Stoner played for the Minnesota Wild but joined Anaheim as a free agent in 2014. “All five charges are directly related to the residency requirement,” [conservation office Detective-Sergeant Cynthia] Mann said.

    Shortly after the social-media firestorm occurred, Stoner released a statement through the Wild’s PR team to explain his side of the story.

    “I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors,” he explained. “I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting license through a British Columbia limited entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my license while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May.

    “I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia.”

    It’s believed about 100 bears are hunted and killed annually in the Great Bear Rainforest, a remote region in B.C. between Vancouver Island and Southeast Alaska.

    Farewell, Carbomb: Carcillo announces retirement

    Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers

    After 429 games and 1233 penalty minutes, Dan Carcillo is calling it a career.

    On Thursday, Carcillo announced his retirement from the NHL via the Players Tribune. The decision comes after a tumultuous ’14-15 campaign in which Carcillo’s close friend, ex-NHLer Steve Mondator, passed away; in the aftermath, Carcillo re-directed his focus on helping NHLers transition into retirement with his new endeavor, a charity called Chapter 5.

    Carcillo, 30, walks away with a pretty colorful career. A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks, he’ll probably best be remembered for his numerous brushes with the league’s disciplinary office — Carcillo was suspended or fined 12 times in his first nine seasons in the league, which included a lengthy ban for physically engaging a linesman during the ’14 playoffs.

    The later stages of Carbomb’s career did show a different side to him. He shot an emotional, well-received video segment for the Players’ Tribune following Montador’s passing, and been lauded for his initiatives with Chapter 5.

    Martin Erat signs in KHL

    Vancouver Canucks v Arizona Coyotes

    With most NHL training camps getting underway today and tomorrow, veteran skaters that failed to land contracts or PTOs have decided to look overseas.

    Like Martin Erat, for example.

    Erat, who spent last year in Arizona, has signed on with KHL club Avangard Omsk, per the league website. The decision to head to Russia comes after the 34-year-old scored just nine goals in 79 games for the Coyotes last season, numbers that reflected Erat’s decline over the last few years.

    A former mainstay in Nashville — he appeared in over 700 games for the Preds during an 11-year stint — Erat never seemed to find his comfort zone after leaving the Music City. The Czech winger was a three-time 20-goal scorer in Nashville but, after getting traded to Washington at the ’13 deadline, had real issues finding the back of the net.

    All told, Erat scored just twice as a Capital, and finished with only 13 goals in 158 games following his trade from the Preds.

    Related: Dany Heatley signs in German League

    Dany Heatley signs in German League

    Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings

    Looks like Dany Heatley is finally out of NHL chances.

    Heatley, a two-time former 50-goal scorer, has signed with the Nurnberg Ice Tigers of Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the club announced on Thursday.

    Heatley, 34, spent most of last year in Anaheim but only appeared in six games for the Ducks before getting shipped to Florida, where he finished out the year with the Panthers’ AHL affiliate.

    A three-time All-Star and former Calder winner as rookie of the year, Heatley has been on a steady decline for a while now. Injuries and a decrease in skating ability have kept him from being a regular contributor; while he still had a pretty good shot and release (he scored 24 goals for Minnesota in ’11-12), Heatley found it increasingly difficult not just getting it off, but finding the space for quality scoring opportunities.

    With Nurnberg, Heatley will join a team featuring a number of ex-NHLers, including David Steckel, Kurtis Foster, Steven Reinprecht, Brandon Segal and Colin Fraser.