Sports Outside the Beltway

NHL opposes Detroit Red Wing Jiri Hudler’s KHL deal

The Czech born hockey player decided he preferred to play hockey in Russia after he filed for salary arbitration with the NHL. From AP-

The Detroit Red Wings may not be done with Jiri Hudler after all.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail Saturday that the league has opposed the forward’s signing with Dynamo Moscow, officially communicating its concerns to the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Continental Hockey League.

The NHL believes Hudler should remain property of the Red Wings because he filed for NHL salary arbitration July 5 — before signing with the Russian club this past week.

Once a player has filed for salary arbitration in the NHL, he is awarded either a one-year or two-year contract. So the league believes the moment Hudler filed for arbitration, he obligated himself contractually to the NHL for next season.

The KHL and NHL have for the most part tried to respect players who are contractually obligated to their respective leagues and not poach them away.

However, winger Alexander Radulov was still under contract with the Nashville Predators last summer when he fled to Russia.

Hudler and the NHL will most likely end up in court or mediation. Does the NHL player’s agreement say a player who files for arbitration is automatically tendered a contract? If it isn’t spelled out, the NHL may have a difficult time forcing Hudler to remain in the NHL. I understand why the league will want to fight ‘jumpers’. If a stand isn’t taken, there will be more Jiri Hudlers and Alexander Radulovs leaving the NHL for $$$ greener pastures.


Philadelphia Flyers Defensemen Derian Hatcher retires

He is the only American to ever Captain a Stanley Cup winning team. From AP-

Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher retired Monday, two weeks after knee replacement surgery in effect ended his 16-year career. The 37-year-old former Flyers captain joined the coaching staff as player development coach.

“It sounded like the perfect way to stay in the game and see if I like it,” Hatcher said. “I will be watching the younger players and making sure everything runs smoothly for them. I will be involved with running the rookie camp this summer.”

On the coaching staff, Hatcher replaces former Flyer Eric Desjardins, who resigned to pursue business interests.

Hatcher underwent a right knee replacement June 1 and said afterward he did not expect to play again. He missed all of last season and played only 44 games for the Flyers in 2007-08.

Hatcher finished his career with 80 goals and 331 points in 1,045 games for the Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and the Flyers. He also scored 33 points for 133 career NHL playoff games.

He signed with the Flyers as a free agent in 2005. He won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999 and is the only American-born player to captain a team to a championship.

Hatcher was a good player but hockey is a rough sport without the type of surgery he underwent. He got out at the right time.


Pittsburgh defeats Detroit 2-1, wins Stanley Cup

The 2008-09 NHL season is now over. From AP-

Max Talbot scored two second-period goals, and the Penguins overcame the loss of captain Sidney Crosby to beat the defending champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in Game 7 and win the Cup on Friday night.

Instead of the Red Wings becoming the NHL’s first repeat champion since winning titles in 1997 and 1998, this turned into a Penguins party. The last time Pittsburgh was crowned champion, in 1991 and ’92, it was captained by owner Mario Lemieux.

This one wouldn’t have been possible without a clutch diving save across the crease by Marc-Andre Fleury, who denied four-time champion Nicklas Lidstrom with 1 second left.

“I knew there wasn’t much time left,” Fleury said. “The rebound was wide. I just decided to get my body out there and it hit me in the ribs so it was good.”
Hradek: 2009 Playoffs Top 10

It’s been a wild 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Six of the 15 series went a full seven games and Sid the Kid became the youngest captain to win the Stanley Cup. Here’s E.J.’s favorite moments from this year. Story

Fleury was stellar in making 23 saves and erasing the memories of a 5-0 loss in Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena that put the Penguins on the brink of elimination. Pittsburgh returned home and gutted out a 2-1 win, behind Fleury’s 25 saves in Game 6, and forced the winner-take-all matchup.


This was Pittsburgh’s second championship in four months, following the Steelers’ Super Bowl victory in February.

Jonathan Ericsson cut the Wings’ deficit to 2-1 with 6:07 remaining, and Niklas Kronwall nearly tied it with 2:14 left, but his drive smacked the crossbar. Detroit pressed further after goalie Chris Osgood was pulled, but Fleury stood his ground.

His last save started a wild scene that culminated in the awarding of the Cup.

I watched last night’s game. Not long into the second period, I told my wife whoever scores first is going to win. A minute or two later Talbot scored the first of his two goals. So I was right.

Pittsburgh Penguin coach Dan Bylsma becomes only the second rookie coach to win a Stanley Cup. The last time it happened was 1971.

Much will be made about Pittsburgh’s win taking place without Sydney Crosby in the lineup for half the game. Some of it will be over sensationalized. I think Detroit was the best NHL team for the 2008-09 season, but the Penguins are the champs. Enjoy it Pittsburgh fans, you will tougher time getting back to the finals next year than Detroit will.


NHL may bump up Cup finals start date

As it stands now, hockey fans will see a repeat of the 2007-08 final. From AP-

According to multiple sources, if the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings can wrap up their respective Conference final series by Wednesday night, the Stanley Cup finals likely would start on Saturday, May 30 in Detroit. In this scenario, Game 2 would be played on Sunday, May 31.

This is a change from a May 22 press release from the league that indicated that the championship series would begin on Friday, June 5, if both Conference final series didn’t end in four-game sweeps.

The Penguins can close out their series with a victory over the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Tuesday night. The defending champion Red Wings, meanwhile, have positioned themselves to advance with a win over the Blackhawks on Wednesday in Detroit.

I think Chicago is more than capable of taking Detroit to Game six. On the other hand, Pittsburgh has so dominated Carolina, I would be surprised if the series don’t end in a sweep.

I think bumping up the schedule is a good idea if the semi-finals end early. Why wait a week to begin the final round?

The NHL may be making this schedule change to accomodate NBC’s programming more than to satisfy its fans need for closure to the 2008-09 hockey year.

For the past several days, the league has been working behind the scenes with NBC, which has limited prime time real estate to devote to the Cup finals due to important “sweeps” week programming and the Tonight Show re-launch with new host Conan O’Brien.

According to wikipedia, May sweeps are over and the next isn’t till July.

NBC concentrates on just a small handful of NHL teams for their broadcasts. Two of whom are Detroit and Pittsburgh. I’m sure network executives are delighted these teams will battle it out for the Stanley Cup.


Detroit Red Wing Chris Chelios owes $78,000 in back taxes

Does President Obama have a need for a new Secretary of Defense? From AP-

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios owes more than $78,000 in back taxes on his $2.9 million home in suburban Detroit. A team spokesman blames an accounting glitch and said the bill will be paid in full within days.

Oakland County Treasurer’s Office records cited by The Detroit News say Chelios and his wife owe $61,544 in 2007 taxes plus $16,519 in interest and fees on their Bloomfield Hills home. Treasurer Patrick Dohany says Chelios did pay his 2008 property taxes, but the house will be foreclosed if the 2007 bill isn’t paid by April 2010.

Red Wings spokesman John Hahn says Chelios changed accounting firms after the 2007 bill came due and it apparently wasn’t forwarded to his new accountants.

The explanation sounds plausible to me. If I were the accounting firm who erred, I wouldn’t want clients present or potential to know I’m that careless with my work.


All even- Chicago beats Vancouver 2-1 in overtime

With three minutes to go in the game, it looked like the Canucks would return home up three games to one. From AP-

Andrew Ladd had perfect position. When the puck came flying off teammate Dave Bolland’s stick from far away, Ladd was right in front of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo to tip it in.

We keep waiting for this thing to fall apart, for the kids to show their age. But the Hawks keep proving us wrong, writes’s Pierre LeBrun. Story

Ladd’s goal less than 3 minutes into overtime Thursday night capped a remarkable 2-1 comeback victory for the Chicago Blackhawks and tied the Western Conference semifinal series at 2.


Game 5 is Saturday night in Vancouver and the Canucks will have to regroup after losing a game they apparently had sealed up. Chicago’s Martin Havlat tied it at 1 with 2:44 left in regulation after Luongo had been unflappable most of the night.

Roberto Luongo had to be unflappable, because his teammates made franchise playoff history last night. They only took 15 shots on goal, breaking a record set twenty-seven years ago.

The Canuck offense has taken at least one similar snooze in the 2008-09 NHL season. For this reason, I can’t pick this team to make the Stanley Cup finals no matter how good Luongo is.

In the other Western Conference playoff series, normalcy seemed to take over.

Johan Franzen and Marian Hossa gave the Detroit Red Wings all the offense they needed on a new line with center Valtteri Filppula.

Franzen and Hossa each scored twice to help the Detroit beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-3 on Thursday night, tying the Western Conference semifinal series at 2.

I have already been proved wrong about this series. My prediction was a Red Wing sweep. Detroit will win here, and most likely make the Stanley Cup finals for the second consecutive season.


The Mighty Ducks- Anaheim beats San Jose 4-1, take series

The team with the best record in the 2008-09 NHL regular season has been eliminated from the playoffs. From AP-

Right when the opening puck dropped, Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton dropped gloves. The star centers’ simmering dislike erupted into a brawl dominated by Thornton, who pummeled Getzlaf with at least two flush blows to the face.

Getzlaf took it and smiled, knowing he still could win the only important fight.

And that’s exactly what happened in the waning minutes of Game 6. Getzlaf scored the knockout goal as the eighth-seeded Anaheim Ducks ousted the not-so-mighty San Jose Sharks from the postseason with a 4-1 victory Monday night.

Top To Bottom

With a 3-1 loss to Anaheim, the San Jose Sharks became the fourth team to go from winning the Presidents’ Trophy to first-round elimination in the NHL playoffs.
Season Winner Points Result
2008-09 Sharks 117 lost to Ducks
2005-06 Red Wings 124 lost to Oilers
1999-00 Blues 114 lost to Sharks
1990-91 Hawks 106 lost to North Stars

Teemu Selanne and Francois Beauchemin put Anaheim ahead with their first playoff goals on fortunate deflections 43 seconds apart in the second period, and the Ducks coolly finished off the Presidents’ Trophy winners in an upset that could resonate for years in this juicy in-state rivalry.


Jonas Hiller made 36 saves to finish his phenomenal playoff series debut for the Ducks, who won a fight-filled clincher to complete a remarkable playoff upset two years after winning the franchise’s only Stanley Cup.

The clubs’ final meeting was a slugfest with 60 total penalty minutes and a long series of brawls between Anaheim’s goals and Hiller’s saves. It all started with the stunning fight between Getzlaf and Thornton, who traded shoves and harsh words two days earlier in San Jose.

San Jose was showing its frustration out of being beaten by their in state rival. Personally I thought Anaheim was capable of winning this series, and thought this was the series most likely to see an upset(After the Rangers-Capitals).

Hiller was brilliant in goal and should get most of the credit for Anaheim’s advancement to the next round. San Jose out shot the Ducks in each of the six games of their series.

The Western conference semi-finals are set now, as the other remaining series ended last night also.

Chicago downed injury-riddled Calgary 4-1 in Monday’s Game 6 to take the series 4-2. The Blackhawks’ previous playoff series win was a four-game sweep of Calgary back in 1996.

The Blackhawks were simply relieved after Monday’s game to have earned their first road win in the series and get a breather before facing the well-rested Vancouver Canucks in the next round.

I thought Chicago would win this series, which they did. Now here are my semi-final round predictions-

Detroit beats Anaheim 4-0. The Ducks magic runs out.
Chicago beats Vancouver 4-3. The superior scoring ability of the Blackhawks trumps Roberto Luongo in goal for the Canucks.


Does it look as if I need help?- Columbus routs Detroit 8-2

Left Winger Rick Nash scored an unusual hat trick. From AP-

The Columbus Blue Jackets gave their playoff hopes a boost — and set a couple of team records, too.

Rick Nash had his fourth career hat trick — his second against Detroit this season and third overall against the Red Wings — in Columbus’ 8-2 victory Saturday night.

R.J. Umberger also scored two goals, Jason Williams had a goal and an assist, Raffi Torres and Andrew Murray also scored, and Steve Mason made 44 saves for Columbus, fighting to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Rookie Goalie Steve Mason and Rick Nash are the stars in Columbus these days. Nash, who’s been a top scorer in the NHL since 2003-04, finally looks like he has a worthy supporting cast.

What was unusual about the hat trick?

Nash completed his hat trick with 7:44 left for his 31st goal. All three goals were unassisted.

I can’t ever recall watching a game where the same player scored three unassisted goals. It would have been nice if Associated Press would have reported the last time this happened.


Montreal Canadiens acquire Mathieu Schneider from Atlanta Thrashers

The trade brings him back to the NHL team he started his career with. From

Montreal Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey announced today the acquisition of defenseman Mathieu Schneider from the Atlanta Thrashers, as well as a conditional draft pick from the Thrashers at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, in return for a second-round pick at the 2009 draft (Anaheim’s pick previously acquired by the Canadiens from Washington) and a Canadiens third-round pick at the 2010 draft.

Schneider, a 20-season veteran, made his NHL debut with the Canadiens in 1987-88. The 39-year-old, New York City native recorded 717 points (216 goals, 501 assists) and posted a plus-63 rating in 1,241 NHL regular-season games, with Montreal, the New York Islanders, Toronto, the New York Rangers, Los Angeles, Detroit, Anaheim and Atlanta.

Schneider is a good journeyman defenseman, and I understand Montreal is trying to rev up for the playoffs, but I feel a 2nd round pick for a player about to turn 40 is an awful lot to give up.


Dallas Stars- Sean Avery won’t return

This comes after the NHL handed down a 6 game suspension for the forward. From AP-

Sean Avery’s days with the Dallas Stars are done.

Although the combative forward was eligible to return from a six-game suspension Sunday, the Stars instead announced Avery will not rejoin the team — ever.

“All parties said there is a clear understanding that a return to the Stars is not in the best interest of either the hockey club or Avery,” the team said in a news release.

Details of his departure still must be worked out. He could be traded, sent to the minors or bought out next summer. The club said it will work with Avery to try making this an amicable divorce.

In a way, I don’t blame Dallas for wanting to be rid of this jerk. Then what is the uproar about the following?

On December 2, 2008; during the morning skate prior to the Stars’ game against the Calgary Flames, Avery approached a crowd of reporters in the dressing room and made the following comment about Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who is dating Avery’s ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert:

“I’m just going to say one thing. I’m really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada. I just wanted to comment on how, it’s become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about, but enjoy the game tonight.”

So far as trashtalking goes, this is pretty mild if not lame. People in the NHL want nothing to do with Avery, but Todd Bertuzzi is still allowed to play in the league. What is wrong with this picture?

Avery, who has supposedly gone to get treatment for his behavior, I expect to be playing in the NHL again.


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