Archive for September, 2010

Is the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri Really Ready for NHL Duty?

September 22nd, 2010 No Comments

Heading into the 2010-11 NHL season there may not be a more important player for the Toronto Maple Leafs than rookie forward Nazem Kadri. Originally drafted with in the first round of 2009 NHL entry draft (seventh overall), Kadri has impressed at the OHL and World junior levels. Last season Kadri posted career highs in goals (35), assists (58) and points (93) as a member of the London knights. While Kadri posted solid totals and had a tremendous playoff (nine goals/18 assists for 27 points in 12 games), he was often criticized for his penchant for holding onto the puck too long and being a little overzealous to shoot the puck at times. Over the summer Kadri put on somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pounds of muscle to his skinny 165 pound frame, something he had to do to

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Carolina Hurricanes’ Signing of Patrick O’Sullivan Will Pay Huge Dividends

September 18th, 2010 No Comments

The Carolina Hurricanes added another talented member Friday to their extremely competitive upcoming training camp battle for the two remaining center positions. The team signed 25-year-old center Patrick O’Sullivan to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay him $600,000 at the NHL level and just over $100,000 at the AHL level. While Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford indicated that O’Sullivan “has the ability to reach [the 20-goal mark] again”, O’Sullivan will enter training camp next week as just another face in a talented group of prospects fighting for the position, including newly-acquired Jon Matsumoto and Riley Nash, seventh-overall draft pick Jeff Skinner, 2009 injury fill-in Patrick Dwyer, and AHL “veteran” Zac Dalpe. O’Sullivan will certainly have no guarantees of a spot. However, all the facts are pointed in the right direction for his chances not only to make the team,

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Carolina Hurricanes Team Report: Prospects Finish Third at Traverse City Tournament

September 17th, 2010 No Comments

This past week, teams of youngsters from eight franchises got their first bite of pre-preseason NHL action in the annual Traverse City Prospects Tournament. While the defending 2009 champions, the Carolina Hurricanes, failed to repeat their title, the young ‘Canes did come in with an impressive third place finish. After falling to the eventual-champion Minnesota Wild 2-1 in their opening game, Carolina recovered quickly, winning a last-second 1-0 thriller over the New York Rangers’ prospects and then finishing off the first round play with a 8-1 demolishing of Columbus. The third place game against the Tampa Bay Lightning was another exciting affair, as both teams were tied 3-3 both after the end of regulation and the end of the first four-minute 4-on-4 overtime. Then, the ‘Canes and ‘Bolts got the try out the new test theory of a 3-on-3 overtime, and

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Toronto Maple Leafs 2010-11 Season: This Time, It Will Be Different…

September 17th, 2010 No Comments

With training camp about to commence and the 2010-11 NHL season just a few weeks away, there looks to be a new attitude in Toronto, with captain Dion Phaneuf leading the way. Last season the Toronto Maple Leafs played without a captain, which, for some Leaf fans, was hard to swallow. It’s easy to say that a team does not need a captain to have leadership, but, with Phaneuf already making a huge difference off the ice, it’s hard to agree with those findings. Since day one of his being named captain, Phaneuf has put on emphasis of building a close relationship with all of his teammates. Phaneuf is said to have been in touch with every one of general manager’s free agent signings, trade acquisitions and rookie’s on a regular basis throughout the summer. For the first time since

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Rookie Camp Fuels Debate

September 16th, 2010 No Comments

Entering the Toronto Maple Leafs rookie camp, several players were under the microscope from management and fans. Nazem Kadri—the Leafs’ Messiah in waiting and Jerry D’Amigo were under the most scrutiny as many Maple Leafs fans believe that both these youngsters have the best shot at cracking the big clubs lineup come October. With three games at the rookie tournament behind them, several players have emerged as what many believe will evolve into special players. D’Amigo showed a lot of drive and passion in all three games and, with a little luck, many crack the Leafs lineup before long. Kadri—who was very physical throughout the tournament— has played well, but has been criticized for his individual play and lack of scoring thus far. On defense, Simon Gysbers (who stands 6’4” and weighs in at 200 pounds) was solid throughout the

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Ilya Kovalchuk: Was He Worth The Price The Devils Paid?

September 14th, 2010 2 Comments

On February 4th, 2010, the New Jersey Devils made a huge splash on the trade market when they acquired Ilya Kovalchuk and Anssi Salmela from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Johnny Oduya, rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier and New Jersey’s 2010 first round draft pick. Prior to the deal, the Thrashers organization were extremely diligent in trying to sign their franchise player to a long term contract and were said to have offered the Russian sniper a 12-year contract that would have seen Kovalchuk earn a reported $101 million. Unable to sign Kovalchuk, Thrashers general manager Don Waddell made what many NHL experts said was a moderately good deal—a deal, that in hindsight, just keeps getting better. How is it that trading your franchise player for a mid-tier defenseman, a rookie forward, a prospect and a

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