<span class="vcard">NBC Sports</span>

Tampa Bay trades Andrej Meszaros to Philadelphia

2 Comments

TSN has just reported that the Philadelphia Flyers have acquired defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Tampa Bay Lightning, in exchange for a second round draft pick.

Meszaros is a solid defenseman who has played with the Senators and the Lightning the past five seasons, and has played in less than 81 games a season just once. He averages about 6-10 goals per season and is capable of 25-35 points, but generally is known as a physical presence in front.

This doesn’t completely keep the Flyers out of the Dan Hamhuis sweepstakes, but it does provide the team some depth should Hamhuis not sign with Phily.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Coyotes working on re-signing Zbynek Michalek

The Phoenix Coyotes are desperately trying to keep defenseman Zbynek Michalek, one of the more underrated defensemen to hit the open market this year. He’s set to become a free agent in just under 20 minutes, but until then the Coyotes are working on re-signing their defenseman to keep him in Phoenix.

With the cap going up and Michalek on the upper tier of defensemen among free agents this year, there’s a sentiment that he’d have to take a ‘hometown discount’ for Phoenix — since he’s likely to sign a better contract elsewhere.

The chances of Michalek staying in Phoenix right now looks incredibly slim, however.

2010 NHL Free Agency: 30 minutes until starter's pistol

We’re just 30 minutes until the 2010 NHL Free Agency period begins, and the rumors are flying as to where each play will end up.

The biggest name out there right now is Ilya Kovalchuk, and the consensus is that he’ll likely end up in Los Angeles — although at this point it’s wide open.

Dan Hamhuis — who still hasn’t signed with Pittsburgh — looks to be the most popular defenseman on the market as well, followed by Anton Volchenkov.

We’ll be updated PHT with every signing that happens today, so be prepared for things to really start flying here in half an hour.

Congress passes resolution to honor Chicago Blackhawks

2 Comments

The sport of hockey has seen a massive jump in popularity over the
past season, as evidenced by the support shown the United States in the
World Juniors and the Olympics and by the historic jump in ratings in
the postseason.

The rise in national attention and popularity is
also due to having the Chicago Blackhawks — an Original Six team with a
massive fan base — as one of the best teams in the NHL all season long
and eventually winning the Stanley Cup.

Today, the U.S. House of
Representatives voted to formally acknowledge and honor the Hawks’
accomplishment this season. Backed by the Illinois representatives, a
measure was introduced today by democrat Mike Quigley of Chicago to
celebrate the Hawks’ victory.

From Katherine Skiba of the Chicago
Tribune:

Quigley pushed the measure in a speech Monday from the House floor,
saying the victory on June 9 “set off an extraordinary celebration in Chicago,
which for many of us is still going on.”

The vote was nearly unanimously passed, with the measure being passed
by a vote of 395-5. Thirty representatives decided not to vote, while
the most interesting vote came from one representative who merely said
“present”.

Here’s the full resolution, as passed by Congress:

“Congratulating the Chicago
Blackhawks on Winning the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship.”

“Whereas
the historic Chicago
Blackhawks, as one of the ‘Original Six,’ have made countless
contributions to sports;

“Whereas the Blackhawks and the National Hockey League have
demonstrated a commitment to promoting fitness and leadership skills for
youth through support for youth hockey programs and community skating
facilities;

“Whereas with 101 straight home game sellouts, and an NHL leading
regular-season average attendance of 21,356, the Blackhawks are the
pride of their hometown, Chicago,
Illinois;

“Whereas in just three years, the Blackhawks organization of Rocky
Wirtz, Joel Quenneville, John McDonough, Stan Bowman, Scotty Bowman, Jay
Blunk, and Dale Tallon have revitalized a franchise and reminded Chicago
that it has always been a hockey town;

“Whereas the Chicago
Blackhawks, through amazing offense, superb defense, and unmatched
depth, dominated the regular season and won 52 games;

“Whereas the Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators in 6 games,
the Vancouver Canucks in 6 games, and swept the Number 1 seeded San Jose
Sharks to become the Western Conference Champions and advance to the
Stanley Cup Final;

“Whereas in the Stanley Cup Final series, the Blackhawks held off the
aggressive play and talent of the Eastern Conference Champion
Philadelphia Flyers, who deserve great credit, to win in overtime, and
provide one of the most exciting final series in recent history; and

“Whereas the innumerable contributions from every player, coach, and
the entire Blackhawks family have ended the 49-year-long championship
drought and brought the roar back to Madison Street and Lord Stanley’s
Cup to where it belongs, sweet home Chicago:
Now, therefore, be it

“Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) recognizes the Chicago
Blackhawks for their long distinguished history, countless
contributions to sports, and their many successes as a franchise;
(2)
congratulates the Blackhawks on an amazing season and for winning the
2010 Stanley Cup Championship;
(3) recognizes the players, coaches,
and leadership of the Blackhawks organization; and
(4) joins with all
people in the United States and hockey fans all over the world in
celebrating the return of the Stanley Cup to Chicago,
Illinois.”

2010 NHL Free Agency: The Forwards

With the 2010 NHL Free Agency market set to open on Thursday, we’ll
be listing the top unrestricted free agents in all three positions throughout the
day. This isn’t the
full list of free agents, but it’s a good chunk of them. The forwards:

Player

Age

Team

09-10 cap hHit

Ilya Kovalchuk
27
New Jersey
$6.389
million
Olli Jokinen
31
New York
$5.25 million
Ray Whitney
38
Carolina
$3.55 million
Mike Modano
40
Dallas
$3.45 million
Alexander Frolov
28
Los Angeles
$2.9
million
Matt Cullen
33
Ottawa
$2.875 million
Owen Nolan
38
Minnesota
$2.75 milion
Coby Armstrong
27
Atlanta
$2.4 million
Alexei Ponikarovsky
30
Pittsburgh
$2.1
million
Matthew Lombardi
28
Phoenix
$1.816 million
Ruslan
Fedotenko
31
Pittsburgh
$1.8 million
Brendan
Morrision
34
Washington
$1.5 million
Wayne
Primeau
34
Toronto
$1.4 million
Kyle
Wellwood
27
Vancouver
$1.2 million
Kirk
Maltby
37
Detroit
$833,333
Maxim
Afinogenov
30
Atlanta
$800,000
Adam
Burish
27
Chicago
$712,000
Manny
Malhotra
30
San
Jose
$700,000
Aaron
Asham
32
Philadelphia
$640,000

Quick
analysis:

Obviously all of the focus is on Kovalchuk and
where’s going, but after that this is obviously a bit of an
underwhelming group of players. The bad news for some teams — and the
good news for these free agents — is that teams will likely overspend
for just “okay” players.

If Mike Modano does decide to come back
this next season, he’s going to make a contending a team very happy.
He’ll provide solid leadership and experience, and he still has that
scoring ability that mkes him so special.

Let’s just hope that
Kyle Wellwood ends up in a city that is known for being healthy. I don’t
know if that city exists in North America, however.

Maxim
Afinogenov will be a great pickup, as he was one of the most valuable
forwards in the NHL last season. He’ll be looking for a raise, but he
won’t be completely out of reach for teams in need of a scoring forward.