In recent years the Arizona Coyotes have changed their name, ownership, and starting next season they’ll have an updated look too.
The Coyotes announced that they will have new home and away jerseys for the 2015-16 campaign. Those will be unveiled on June 26 during their draft party at Gila River Arena. The event will take place from 3-7 p.m. PT, but the unveiling itself will start around 3:30 and is expected to run for a half an hour.
Brendan Perlini, Max Domi, Connor Murphy, and Christian Dvorak will be in attendance to show the new uniforms.
The new uniforms are expected to be a major change as opposed to the tweaks they’ve done since their last big alteration in 2003, but the team’s primary logo will stay the same, according to the Arizona Republic.
Arizona controls the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft as well as Chicago’s first selection.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that defensemen Dean Kukan and Blake Siebenaler have agreed to entry-level contracts.
Kukan, 21, was never drafted by an NHL team, but he’s spent the last six seasons playing in Switzerland and, more recently, Sweden. He had three goals and 13 points in 52 games with Lulea HF of the top Swedish league in 2014-15. He’s also represented Switzerland in the last two World Championships. He’s listed as being 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds.
Siebenaler had 12 goals and 37 points in 66 contests with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs this season. He added an assist in 11 playoff contests.
He was taken by Columbus with the 77th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Kukan’s deal will run for two years while Siebenaler was inked for three.
“They’re on the verge of a dynasty.”
That’s Steven Stamkos talking about the Chicago Blackhawks, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. It’s high praise to be sure, but words that also have to be taken with a grain of salt given the source. These next few days will likely involve each team praising their adversary, in part to put more pressure on the opposing side.
That being said, Stamkos is hardly the first person to link the words Chicago and dynasty, even if many bring up the topic to shoot down the concept. Some would say a dynasty needs to have more consistent success, like the New York Islanders’ four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-83 and also involve less turnover. After all, it’s true that this is Chicago’s third trip to the Stanley Cup Final in six years, but the team that got there in 2010 has substantial differences to the one that eliminated the Anaheim Ducks.
At the same time, it’s worth considering the context. Often it seems like in sports there’s a desire to throw context out the window in favor of raw numbers, but of course, that’s misleading. A goal scored in 1990 isn’t the equivalent of a goal scored today even if they both count equally on the all-time leaderboard. Similarly, what it takes to win the Stanley Cup today isn’t identical to what it was in 1980. So should it be held to the same standard?
The fact that Chicago has had substantial turnover is unavoidable in the salary cap era. The Blackhawks have been forced to make hard decisions that some franchises in the past might not have had to make. The cap has also increased parity so that the degree of competition Chicago has to face each year is greater than it would have been even 15 years ago. To say nothing of the fact that there’s 30 teams now, compared to just 30 years ago when there were 21.
The bottom line is that if you hold modern NHL squads to the highest qualifications for a dynasty, you may never see one fit that bill. Even seeing a team win back-to-back championships in this era would be huge. The last team to do that was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98. The Kings, with largely the same team that won them the Stanley Cup in 2014, couldn’t even make the playoffs this year.
At the end of the day, where you want to draw the line or whether or not you want to indulge the idea that its a line that changes with the era, there’s no getting around the fact that what Chicago has accomplished is remarkable.
With the New York Rangers eliminated, they’ve revealed the extent of the injuries they suffered, including the seriousness of Mats Zuccarello’s condition. He suffered a brain contusion and small skull fracture and it left him temporarily unable to speak. He remains in speech therapy, per the The Record’s Andrew Gross.
That stems from Game 5 of the first round when Zuccarello was struck in the head by a shot from teammate Ryan McDonagh. He was able to skate off the ice on his own strength.
The good news is that his doctors have informed Zuccarello that he will be able to play next season. In fact, Zuccarello thinks that he might have even been able to participate in the Stanley Cup Final, although it sounds like the odds of that happening weren’t great.
Zuccarello resumed skating on May 18. He also started traveling with the team prior to that.
He’ll begin a four-year, $18 million contract in 2015-16.
Online bookmaker Bovada has released its odds for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and it won’t come as much of a surprise that the Chicago Blackhawks are the favorites to win. They have been given 5/7 odds compared to Tampa Bay’s 6/5.
Tampa Bay is a terrific team with a lot offensive weapons, but Chicago has plenty of depth and experience. The gap isn’t big though and it wouldn’t be shocking if the Lightning did end up winning the championship.
They’ve also given odds for their top 16 Conn Smythe Trophy candidates:
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 7/2
Tyler Johnson (TB) 4/1
Patrick Kane (CHI) 9/2
Ben Bishop (TB) 5/1
Duncan Keith (CHI) 5/1
Steven Stamkos (TB) 8/1
Corey Crawford (CHI) 12/1
Nikita Kucherov (TB) 15/1
Marian Hossa (CHI) 25/1
Patrick Sharp (CHI) 25/1
Victor Hedman (TB) 35/1
Valtteri Filppula (TB) 40/1
Alex Killorn (TB) 40/1
Ondrej Palat (TB) 40/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI) 40/1
Brad Richards (CHI) 50/1
Johnson and Kane lead their teams in points with 21 and 20 respectively, but it makes sense for Toews to top the list. He’s Chicago’s leader and has stepped up in big games before. Toews’ two goals in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final was a critical part of why Chicago won that contest.
If Toews or Kane wins the award, it would be their second. Currently only five players in NHL history have been declared the playoff MVP at least twice (Patrick Roy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Bernie Parent).
If Keith wins it, he’ll be the first defensemen to get the trophy since Scott Niedermayer in 2007. Keith might not be the favorite, but he certainly deserves consideration as he’s been averaging 31:35 minutes per game.