Ritter’s Rant: News And Notes From Around The NHL

June 21st, 2010 No Comments

Adios Mr. Blake!

The NHL lost another one of it’s greatest players last week when perennial all-star defenseman Rob Blake (who was playiong for the San Jose Sharks) announced his retirement. Blake, who posted 777 career points, including 240 goals, will be eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013—It says here he should be a first-time ballet entry.

Blake had an amazing career, complete with a Norris Trophy Award in 1997-98, a Stanley Cup win with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 and an Olympic gold medal in 2002 as a member of Team Canada.

One thing is for sure, the NHL needs players like Blake—ones that are good off the ice as they are on it. He will be missed; thanks for the memories Mr. Blake!

Was The Price, Right?

Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier has been under a lot of criticism for trading away Stanley Cup Playoff hero Jaroslav Halak.

Needless to say, considering what Gauthier received in return for Halak from the St. Louis Blues (Lars Eller and Ian Schultz) the backlash is both fair and warranted.

What irks me more than the fact I think Gauthier traded away who many feel is the better goaltender is the fact that the Canadiens organization have sent a clear message to their young players that it’s “ok” to act unprofessionally— something Carey Price has demonstrated on numerous occasions.

Price, a former first round draft choice, has undeservedly been rewarded for his poor behavior with a second chance to be “the man” in Montreal.

Halak, who has done everything the Canadiens have asked of him and then some (all the while acting in a professional manner with no B.S. on or off the ice), essentially got kicked in the pants by the Habs for doing his job, something Price has yet to figure out.

While nobody could ever confuse me with a Habs fan, I wish Halak all the luck in the world; and to Carey Price, never in my life have I wanted to see a goaltender fall on his face more than he—break a leg chump!

Gotta Have “Hart”:

Every year we wait with great curiosity to hear the Hart Trophy winner announced. This year, Sidney Crosby, Henrik Sedin and Alexander Ovechkin represent the Hart Trophy nominees.

It says here the right choice is Henrik Sedin.

Sedin, who led the NHL in points with 112, had a dominant season, leading the Canucks to the playoffs and serving notice that he will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

The biggest reason Sedin should win the award? He makes his linemates better, and did anyone have bigger breakout season than Alexandre Burrows (a player Sedin played with all season)?

Say what you will about Crosby and Ovi, Sedin was that much better and was the “most valuable” player to his team.

Blackhawks Moving On?

There have been a number of rumors out there suggesting the Chicago Blackhawks will look to trade the likes of Brian Campbell, Brent Sopel, Andrew Ladd, Cristobal Huet (which is a pipe dream), Dustin Byfuglien and maybe even Patrick Sharp.

One move that has not be talked about would see the Hawks send Marian Hossa and his massive contract packing. Could there be a team interested in Hossa? Maybe.

If the Hawks could pull this off they could keep two players for the money they’d save on Hossa. As we saw during the Stanley Cup playoffs, depth wins games, fact is, sending Hossa packing gives the Hawks the best possibility of holding onto their depth.

In Burke We Trust:

Can’t think of a better place to start for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke than to see what he can acquire from the Chicago Blackhawks. The Leafs not only need the talent (especially at forward) they could also use a few more guys that have won the Stanley Cup.

Talent will only take you so far, experience and compete level often is the difference in today’s NHL.

The player I’d most like to see in a Maple Leaf uniform that Chicago may be willing to trade? Patrick Sharp.

Make it happen Burkie!

Top Pick?

Looking at the both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin one thing is very clear—Seguin looks to be a much more durable specimen than Hall.

Seguin, widely believed to be headed to the Boston Bruins who hold the second overall pick in this years draft, looks way more developed physically than Hall and, for that reason, I just feel he is going to be the more durable player, which, in turn, may make him the better player (less risky player) in the long run.

While they look to be in love with Hall, it says here the Edmonton Oilers should take Seguin…

***For more NHL news and notes check out my website (which just had a makeover) at www.theslapshot.com

Until next time,

Peace!

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