After 18 seasons and 1,260 NHL games Radek Dvorak announced his retirement Tuesday.
Originally the Florida Panthers’ first-round selection (10th overall) in 1995, Dvorak scored 227 goals and 590 points during his career.
The 37-year-old also spent time with the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers, Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks and the Carolina Hurricanes.
“It was an honor for me to play in the best league in the world for 18 seasons,” said Dvorak in a statement. “I would like to thank to all the organizations, coaches and teammates I played for or with.
“Also, thank you to my parents, wife and kids who have always supported me and helped me throughout my whole career. At last I would like to thank to my fans who believed in and followed me all these years.”
A native of Tabor, Czech Republic, Dvorak last played in the NHL during the 2013-14 season appearing in 60 games with the Carolina Hurricanes scoring four goals and nine points.
Related: Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM
According to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel is back in Chicago attending camp with the American Hockey League’s Wolves.
Sopel, who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, spent the past three seasons in the KHL with Metallurg and Salavat Yulaev.
Originally a sixth-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 1995, Sopel has 218 points in 659 career NHL games.
In addition to the Canucks and Blackhawks, Sopel spent time with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens.
The Wolves’ camp begins Monday.
It appears Marc Savard has found his next job.
The Boston Bruins forward, who remains on long-term injured reserved with the NHL club, is set to join the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s as a scout.
The report comes from XM Radio’s Chris Stevenson:
Savard has not played since suffering a concussion on a hit from Matt Hunwick of the Colorado Avalanche in January 2011.
It was his second concussion after he received a blindsided head shot from, then Penguins forward, Matt Cooke in March 2010.
The 37-year-old has missed the past three seasons with post-concussion syndrome.
According to CapGeek, Savard is scheduled to make $2.65 million in final three seasons of his seven-year, $28 million contract, which kicked in during the 2010-11 season.
The former fourth-round pick of the New York Rangers has 207 goals and 706 points in 807 games with the Rangers, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Bruins.
Related: Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli says Marc Savard won’t play this year and might not ever play again
We wrote last week about how the Winnipeg Jets weren’t ready to blow up their roster…yet.
Now one writer is suggesting something entirely different: De-Atlantize it.
Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press suggested this in today’s column, “Death to the Thrashers and their low standards“. In it, he writes that Winnipeg management and players “have seen enough of the Thrashers’ way of doing things and are now intent on eliminating any remaining DNA.”
This would probably explain Noel’s cryptic comments from last week. “This is not what we’re going to be about,” “It’s not going to get shaped this way,” “This is not what I want” — soundbites that raised plenty of eyebrows across the league. They were the words of a man not just looking to ship out bodies. They were the words of a man that wanted a culture change, and probably wanted it 17 games ago.
To that end, the Jets called up Jason Jaffray from the St. John’s IceCaps on Sunday. A career minor-leaguer that’s logged time in the hockey hotbeds of Roanoke, Norfolk, Wheeling, Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton and Cleveland, Jaffray’s had very few cups of NHL coffee.
The idea behind the move is clear.
“There’s a reason old-timers will tell you every player should spend some time on the farm and it’s because it teaches them to never take their spot in the NHL for granted,” Lawless writes. “Jaffray has had to claw for the 36 games he’s spent in the NHL over a 10-year career that saw him start in the ECHL. Jaffray won’t take a shift, a practice or workout off. He can’t if he wants to stick around and put NHL dollars in the bank.”
The message: “See how hard this guy’s working to be here? That’s how hard you should be working.”
Who it’s directed at? Probably everyone, though some Jets more than others: Dustin Byfuglien (team-worst minus-7), Blake Wheeler (zero goals), Bryan Little (five points in 17 games) and Johnny Oduya (the human turnover machine) are safe guesses.
The BankAtlantic Center will host a rather strange reunion tonight as the Panthers take on the Winnipeg Jets.
Florida assistant Craig Ramsay — who coached the Thrashers in their final season of existence — will face his former organization for the first time since being relieved of his duties.
“In all honesty, now, since I’ve bounced around from one team to another, I have a whole bunch of those teams where you have special meaning for the game and you have to try to set that aside,” Ramsay told NHL.com. “I’d like to say there’s no extra emotion, but there is… There is emotion there, but I really try not to let it affect the way I do my job and what I have to accomplish.”
Relieving Ramsay of his duties was a low point in Winnipeg’s otherwise blissful summer — lost amidst the good vibes and excitement was the fact that Ramsay had been blindsided by the move. In his lone year with Atlanta, he’d taken the team to its four-highest ever point total and had the Thrashers atop the Southeast Division halfway through the year. “I have to admit it was quite a bit of a shock when it started to transpire when I first heard that maybe we were going to be the team to go to Winnipeg,” he said. “My wife and daughter got on the Internet to check out rentals, assuming we’d be part of the package, and we’d be heading north.”
Instead, the Jets cleaned house and replaced both Ramsay and Thrashers GM Rick Dudley with Claude Noel and Kevin Cheveldayoff. By all accounts, it wasn’t the cleanest of executions — the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said Winnipeg left Ramsay “dangling for several weeks” before informing him he wouldn’t be retained.
Things have worked out for Ramsay to a certain degree. While he’s now an assistant rather than a head coach (serving under Kevin Dineen with the Panthers), Florida’s gotten off to a far better start than the Jets have under Ramsay’s replacement, Claude Noel. The Panthers are 6-4-0 heading into tonight’s action, just two points back of Southeast Division leaders Washington.
And perhaps of equal importance, five points up on last-place Winnipeg.