Fenton: I spoke with [Vesey] after the consolation game at the Boston Garden, outside the locker room [at the Beanpot Tournament, in early February].
I asked the player three times if he was signing with us. I said that I realized he was in a tough position, that I was asking him this, but we needed to know from a lineup standpoint, and for our trade deadline plans, as to what he was going to do. We would not fill his spot, because we believe he had top-6 potential to play for us.
And I was told that [he would sign with us].
Sportsnet: So what did he say to you, when you asked him three times?
Fenton: Yes. I’m going to sign with the Nashville Predators.
Fenton also mentioned that Nashville, as an organization, has always made a point of not asking players to leave school early, instead letting prospects decide how they want to dictate their collegiate careers.
This would appear to be in lockstep with what GM David Poile said about Vesey last summer, noting this particular institution held special significance.
In this episode, Liam McHugh, Brian Boucher, and Patrick Sharp react to Gary Bettman’s interview with Mike Tirico from Tuesday afternoon. Bettman addressed the conference call he and other sports commissioners had over the weekend with President Trump, and also said “nothing has been ruled out” regarding a possible return to action. Plus, Boucher and Sharp remember playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time.
0:40-3:25 Boucher and Sharp give their first playoff memory 3:25-14:40 Mike Tirico interviews Gary Bettman 14:40-17:20 Most fair way to build 16-team playoff right now? 18:00-24:50 For or against playoff games at a neutral site?
As the NHL remains on a pause Pro Hockey Talk is going to dive back into hockey history and remember some really wild jersey designs.
The Los Angeles Kings have been around since 1967, and they’ve had some good looks over the years.
The purple jersey with the crown, and the yellow strip below the crest is still the best jersey they’ve ever rolled out. There aren’t many people who don’t like that one, but the Kings didn’t always look that “clean”.
Back in 1995-96, the team used an alternate jersey that was so bad, it became known as “the Burger King” jersey because of the resemblance between the face on the shirt and the chain restaurant’s mascot.
Let’s deconstruct this uniform a little bit:
How about the “regular” logo on the shoulders? Yowza! The different shades of grey, black and white make it look like an art project gone wrong.
Also, the decision to put the king’s face over the heart was an interesting choice. Why not just put it in the middle of jersey like every other NHL team’s jersey? But let’s be honest, that wouldn’t make this jersey look any more appealing.
“I kinda remember though that a lot of us thought it was a pretty funky looking jersey, maybe ‘funky’ not in the best way,” said former Kings goalie Kelly Hrudey, per the Royal Half. “It was very strange in comparison to most hockey jerseys that you’ve ever seen before. And the color scheme was way different than something we had ever worn before, so it was an unique jersey, that’s for sure. I think, from what I remember correctly, there was a lot of chuckles. It was just so ‘unique’… I thought it was a strange looking jersey. It wasn’t what I kind of expected.”
Because of the two different tones that appear on the back of the jersey, it’s difficult to identify the second number when you’re watching on television because it’s on the darker part of the shirt.
Here’s the jersey in action:
Is that the worst-looking jersey Gretzky’s ever scored a goal in? It just might be.
You can find out more about the history of this jersey thanks to this awesome piece by the Royal Half. Dan Simon, who was the creative director at the Mednick Group when they were approached by the Kings about revamping their look, spoke to the Royal Half about the creation of the uniform. Different people worked on the project and it took some time for the Kings to approve it, but it ended up being approved eventually.
Here’s the thing: No matter what anybody says about this jersey, it’s become a memorable piece of the Kings’ history. Don’t get it twisted, it’s hideous, but it’s never going to be forgotten. Isn’t that kind of the point of marketing?
With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to take a look at where each NHL team stands at this moment with a series of posts examining their season. Have they met expectations? Exceeded expectations? Who has been the surprise? All of that and more. Today we look at the Minnesota Wild.
Record: 35-27-7 (69 games), sixth in Central Division, 10th in the West
Leading Scorer: Kevin Fiala – 54 points (23 goals and 31 assists)
To call this a strange year for the Wild would be an understatement.
Minnesota came into this season with a new general manager, Bill Guerin. But he was hired late in the off-season after Paul Fenton was suddenly fired after free agency. What that meant was that head coach Bruce Boudreau would be on his third GM which almost never happens in hockey.
Fenton signed veteran forward Mats Zuccarello to a big free-agent contract, which indicated that he thought the team could win right away. Guerin came in and didn’t really do a whole lot heading into the season because his hands were tied given the roster he had at his disposal.
The Wild started the year with four consecutive losses and they dropped six of their first seven. They didn’t beat a team currently in a playoff spot until Oct. 22 when they took down the Oilers (nine games into the 2019-20 season).
So you can certainly forgive those of us who wrote them off early on. But to their credit, they were able to get the season turned around. Starting on Nov. 14, they managed to put together an 11-game point streak.
Heading into the pause, the Wild managed to rattle off eight wins over their last 11 games. Despite the success they had after their sluggish start, Guerin still decided it was best to trade veteran Jason Zucker to Pittsburgh and to fire Boudreau.
Why would he get rid of his veteran coach?
Well, general managers like picking their own head coaches, so when Boudreau started having success again, Guerin probably wanted to cut ties with him because he didn’t want to have to keep him after an impressive turnaround.
The Wild continued to have success under interim bench boss Dean Evason, but they still weren’t locked into a playoff spot at the pause. As of right now, the Wild were one point behind the Nashville Predators for the final Wild Card spot in the West and two points behind Winnipeg for the other one (they have two games in hand on the Jets).
No matter what happens to this season, the Wild are at a bit of a crossroads. Do they try to build on this momentum by adding more veterans this summer or do they continue shipping out their older players in an attempt to get younger?
Highlight of the Season
Captain Mikko Koivu is on the downside of his career, but there was a special moment that occurred this season against the Dallas Stars.
On Dec. 1, Koivu played in his 1,000th NHL game (all with the Wild). He managed to score the shootout winner in that game.
• Todd Reirden’s son, Travis, has an immunodeficiency that prevents his immune system from defending against bacteria and viruses. That makes things complicated for the family during this Covid-19 pandemic. (NBC Sports Washington)