One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
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Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
At 31 years of age, Eric Staal may not be the player he used to be.
But he’s still pretty good. And if Steven Stamkos and Anze Kopitar re-sign with the Lightning and Kings, respectively, Staal could really make a killing in unrestricted free agency this summer.
Who was the last center with Staal’s credentials to hit the open market? Brad Richards in 2011? It just doesn’t happen very often anymore.
Not that Staal will necessarily hit the market.
“I would like to [re-sign with Carolina],” he said today on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central at Noon. “Obviously there’s decisions that need to be made moving forward.”
Indeed there are. And let’s remember that the Hurricanes aren’t the Lightning or the Kings. They’re not trying to remain Stanley Cup contenders. They’re not even close to that right now. Even if Staal does really want to stay, re-signing him may not make the most sense for GM Ron Francis.
Does Staal expect to maintain, or even stay in the neighborhood of, his current $8.25 million cap hit?
How many years does he want?
If the answers are “yes” and “quite a few,” the ‘Canes may be better off trading him at the deadline — or even just letting him walk for nothing — then rebuilding around youngsters like Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm, not to mention whoever they get in the upcoming draft, which could be Auston Matthews.
The Dallas Stars sent Radek Faksa to the AHL on Sunday, one night after another impressive showing by Dallas.
Granted, the impressive showings haven’t really come from Faksa himself.
In 14 games this season, he’s been limited to a single goal and a single assist. Faksa hasn’t really torn up the AHL, either, so his development hasn’t been particularly rapid.
The good news is that he has plenty of time to grow, as he’s just 21.
It seems like it’s a matter of other Stars players getting healthier.
The Vancouver Canucks are in Toronto this weekend to play the Maple Leafs.
While they’re in the neighborhood, forward Alex Burrows will have a little chat with league officials about what happened between him and New Jersey forward Jordin Tootoo, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.
On Sunday, Tootoo accused Burrows of making disparaging remarks about Tootoo’s “personal life and family” during the Canucks-Devils game on Newark.
Burrows denied that he “crossed the line,” and was adamant that nothing was said about Tootoo’s Inuit heritage or history of substance abuse.
No word if Burrows could face supplemental discipline in the form of a fine or suspension.
If he is fined, it wouldn’t be the first time.
Todd Richards doesn’t seem shocked that he was fired by the Columbus Blue Jackets, at least based on what he relayed to the Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell.
To his credit, those same comments lacked the bitterness you might expect after someone gets the pink slip.
(Sadly, no Taylor Swift lyrics, though. Richards couldn’t throw the Internet a bone and explain that Band-aids are no good for bullet holes? C’mon.)
When Richards looks back at the seven-game start, it’s clear he realizes that the team fell short of expectations. He seems pretty proud of his overall body of work, however.
“Your job as a coach is to maximize potential, and with the way we were playing, obviously that wasn’t happening,” Richards said.
If there were two things that people critiqued the most about Columbus during its early collapse, it would be the Blue Jackets’ defense and goaltending, particularly that of expensive netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.
Management may be looking to find an answer on the blueline, yet Richards seems to imply that the group is still strong.
Ultimately, gauging Richards’ tenure may come down to perspective, yet it’s tough to ignore the fact that he’s only made it to the playoffs once in his years with Minnesota and Columbus.
Then again, he’s not burning bridges, and a guy who stands as a “favorite neighbor” might just get another shot.