Author: Mike Halford

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers

Visnovsky headed to Chicago’s camp on PTO (Updated)

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The Chicago Blackhawks have inked another veteran d-man to a training camp tryout — Lubomir Visnovsky.

The news, confirmed by Visnovsky’s agent, Neil Sheehy, comes after the 39-year-old was cut loose by the Islanders following a three-year stint with the club. In his final campaign on Long Island, Visnovsky scored 20 points in 53 games — a decent offensive season — but missed time to injury and the occasional healthy scratch.

Visnovsky, who appeared a step slow at times last season, only played in four of the Isles’ seven opening-round playoff games against the Caps.

In Chicago, though, he should have a decent shot at a contract.

The Hawks’ blueline was thinned out this summer — Johnny Oduya left in free agency, Kimmo Timonen retired, Kyle Cumiskey and Michal Rozsival weren’t re-signed — and there are spots up for grabs, especially at the bottom end, where the likes of Trevor van Riemsdyk, David Rundblad and Ville Pokka project to battle for minutes.

There will be another experienced blueliner fighting for a spot, too. Last week, the ‘Hawks agreed to a PTO with 37-year-old Jan Hejda, who spent the last four seasons in Colorado.

Update: The ‘Hawks have listed Cumiskey and Rozsival on their training camp roster. Former Chicago forward Tomas Kopecky is also listed, presumably on a PTO after spending the last few seasons in Florida. Kopecky wasn’t re-signed by the Panthers this offseason and is still an unrestricted free agent.

Coyotes invite ex-Ovechkin linemate Crabb to camp

Florida Panthers v Anaheim Ducks

Having already signed veteran d-men Keith Aulie and Corey Potter to professional tryouts, Arizona added a forward this week by inking Joey Crabb to a camp PTO as well.

Crabb, 32, spent last season in the Rangers organization, scoring 28 points in 66 games with AHL Hartford. Prior to his time with the Blueshirts, Crabb played for the Panthers, Leafs, Thrashers and Capitals — and it was in Washington where he gained the mos notoriety, briefly playing alongside Alex Ovechkin on the club’s top line (one of Adam Oates’ finer moments.)

Crabb’s last NHL action came with Florida in ’13-14, so he’s probably a longshot to make the team. That said, he does have a connection to GM Dave Maloney, as Maloney was the assistant GM in New York when the Rangers drafted Crabb in 2002.

Islanders unveil new ‘Brooklyn’ third jerseys


The New York Islanders will begin life in their new digs this season — the Barclays Center in Brooklyn — and while they’ve vowed to keep their original colors, they also promised to create a third jersey that “speaks to Brooklyn.”

On Wednesday, that new look was unveiled:


The look is quite similar to the one sported by the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, Barclays’ other primary tenant.

From the Isles:

The black and white jersey, designed by Reebok, features the Islanders secondary “NY” logo that originally debuted on the team’s Stadium Series jersey in 2014.  Four stripes, paying homage to the four Stanley Cup Championships, are a theme that resonates throughout the entire uniform.  The stripes are included on the jersey’s front crest in orange, and on the sleeves and players’ socks in white.

“It was extremely important to ensure that our passionate fan base could still see the traditions of the New York Islanders represented in this third jersey,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said.  “We feel we’ve created a jersey our players will be proud to wear that has unique features which will also connect with Brooklyn residents.” 

The bottom of the jersey has white trim with identical “B” logos on each side that will serve as secondary marks.  The “B”, representing the Islanders’ home borough, will also feature the four orange stripes through the letter. The helmet will feature a “BKLYN” logo, with four orange stripes through the letter “Y”. The players’ gloves and pants will also be black and white.

The Isles will debut their new jerseys on Tuesday, Nov. 3 when — fittingly — they host New Jersey. From there, the club will wear them on the following dates:

Friday, Nov. 20 vs. Montreal Canadiens
Friday, Dec. 4 vs. St. Louis Blues
Tuesday, Dec. 15 vs. Florida Panthers
Tuesday, Jan. 12 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Thursday, Jan. 14 vs. New York Rangers
Sunday, Jan. 17 vs. Vancouver Canucks
Saturday, Jan. 23 vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Tuesday, Feb. 2 vs. Minnesota Wild
Tuesday, Mar. 8 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Tuesday, Mar. 29 vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Saturday, Apr. 9 vs. Buffalo Sabres

Phaneuf: Never have, never will ask for trade out of Toronto

Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres
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Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf may be traded one day.

But if that happens, he says it won’t be him orchestrating the move.

“I never have and I won’t,” Phaneuf told TSN this week, in response to whether he’s ever demanded a trade. “I like the direction that our team is going. I’m all in. I said it this summer when I was asked about it, but I’m all in.

“I’m here to give everything that I have for this organization and for this team.”

It’s been largely assumed that, in the wake of a massive organizational overhaul and the Phil Kessel trade, Phaneuf’s the next logical piece to go as part of Toronto’s rebuild.

He, along with the likes of Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak, have seem their names bandied about in trade rumors and will probably continue to for the foreseeable future.

But like Lupul and Bozak, Phaneuf would be tough to move.

The NHL’s current financial landscape, where several teams are tight to the cap and facing uncertainty with the Canadian dollar, makes taking on the remainder of Phaneuf’s contract — six years at $7 million per — pretty difficult.

Sure, the Leafs could retain some salary. But would they really go down that road again? They’re already on the hook for $1.2 million a season over the next seven years for the Kessel deal.

So, it stands to reason Phaneuf could be in Toronto for a while. Throw in the fact new head coach Mike Babcock is expecting — nay, predicting — big things, and it could explain why Phaneuf is “all in” on the team.

“There’s been lots of adversity over my time here, but I also understand and like the moves that we’ve made this summer and I’m very excited to get going,” he said. “I’m as excited as I’ve ever been to be a Toronto Maple Leaf.”

Related: Kessel trade shows Leafs are trying to ‘build this thing the right way’

NHL announces Adidas deal, jerseys will be ad-free

2016 NHL Winter Classic

On Tuesday, the NHL confirmed what was reported last month — that Adidas is the league’s new official outfitter — but the real news came when commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the subject of jersey ads.

And by addressed, we mean emphatically shot down.

“We are not currently considering putting advertising on NHL jerseys,” he said. “There have been no discussions, formally or informally, with anybody about doing that.”

So as it stands, Adidas will begin its seven-year reign as the league outfitter starting with the 2017-18 campaign, but its relationship with the NHL and NHLPA will begin a year earlier, when it becomes the official outfitter of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

And regarding jersey ads at the World Cup, Bettman was more open to the idea.

“We’ve had some discussions about it,” he said. “But there’s nothing imminent right now.”

Union boss Donald Fehr provided further context.

“What the World Cup does, as well as other international events — when we get to the point of getting those accomplished — is it gives us, among other things, an opportunity for experimentation,” he explained. “It’s an opportunity, if we want, to try other things.

“From a players’ standpoint, my obligation is to explore all avenues, and then consult with the players and make some judgment calls.”

As for other notes from Tuesday’s announcement:

— Adidas exec Mark King said it will be up to the NHL if the company’s Tech-Fit technology will be utilized. Bettman said the league is currently not looking to revamp its jerseys.

— 2017-18 is the NHL’s centennial, and Bettman suggested there may be commemorative jerseys released in conjunction with the celebration.