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James O’Brien

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets season ticket sales drop 24.5 percent compared to last summer

    Sep 13, 2010, 6:40 PM EDT

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    After making a surprising (if fruitless) run to the playoffs during the 2008-09 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets had a disastrous campaign last year. It cost them their hard-driving head coach Ken Hitchcock and apparently had a Battlefield Earth-like effect on their ticket sales. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Blue Jackets season ticket sales are…

  2. Could four extra inches behind the net open up 'Gretzky's office' again?

    Sep 12, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

    In Oliver Stone’s otherwise middling football move “Any Give Sunday,” Al Pacino gives a great and typically over-the-top speech about the sport (and life) being a “game of inches.” If hockey is the same way, a small change could pay dividends for the NHL’s most clever players. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa discussed the NHL’s…

  3. NHL releases its rule book changes, we try to translate them to English

    Sep 12, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

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    The NHL released alterations to the league’s rule book this weekend and a lot of it reads like, well, legal speak. (Click here to see a detailed list of all the changes.) That being said, I thought I’d point out some of the most interesting changes, even if we covered many of them throughout the…

  4. Should the game's greatest defensive forwards receive more Hall of Fame attention?

    Sep 12, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT

    In many sports – particularly baseball – it seems like just about any action and tactic can be chronicled with a hard number statistic. Sure, you cannot put a number on chemistry, desire, heart and – let’s face it – the greed that can sometimes be the driving force behind sporting success, but it seems…

  5. Drew Doughty offers Willie Mitchell No. 8, gains his admiration

    Sep 12, 2010, 2:20 PM EDT

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    The Los Angeles Kings didn’t land the big fish (Ilya Kovalchuk) this summer, but they might be better off if Willie Mitchell can actually stay healthy this season. Mitchell admitted that one of the most significant draws (besides the sexy weather, I’m guessing) was the possibility of playing alongside – or at least on the…

  6. Blues' young forwards happy to play without 'glass ceiling' provided by Tkachuk, Kariya

    Sep 12, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

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    The St. Louis Blues more or less completed their transition from a mixed bag of veterans and newbies to one of the youngest teams in the NHL thanks to the retirement of Keith Tkachuk and the near-retirement of Paul Kariya this off-season. Some might wonder if this will harm the team’s chemistry, but the Blues…

  7. Carolina Hurricanes give Rod Brind'amour wacky title 'Director of Forwards Development'

    Sep 12, 2010, 12:20 PM EDT

    The man known as “Rod the Bod” may soon be known as “Rod the Suit.” The beaten-up former face of the Carolina Hurricanes franchise (after Ron Francis) was given a funky title today, as GM Jim Rutherford announced that the team named Rod Brind’amour its “Director of Forwards Development.” Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager…

  8. Joe Nieuwendyk reflects on James Neal negotiations, Bobby Ryan and Marc Staal also in limbo

    Sep 12, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

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    Many of the biggest restricted free agent chips have fallen in the last month or so, with tough-to-compare cases such as Patric Hornqvist’s coming to satisfying conclusions in their negotiations. Still, there are a few scenarios that could linger beyond training camp, with New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and Dallas Stars power forward James…

  9. Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Alex Grant released from hospital

    Sep 12, 2010, 11:20 AM EDT

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    After spending the night in the hospital after taking a hit into the boards by Senators prospect David Dziurzynski during Saturday’s rookie competitions, Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Alex Grant was released from the hospital. Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke the news. Defenseman Alex Grant, injured Saturday during a prospects-tournament game in London, Ontario, has…

  10. The PHT Nightcap: Saturday, September 11th

    Sep 12, 2010, 1:00 AM EDT

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    Even in the depressingly hockey-free summer, we expect to be a productive bunch here at Pro Hockey Talk. Sometimes it might be difficult to follow our pace. We understand that. For that reason, whenever we can, we’ll put all of the day’s stories in one convenient post called the PHT Nightcap. Enjoy, hockey fans. Joe’s…

  11. Rookie tournaments recap: Saturday, Sept. 11

    Sep 11, 2010, 11:50 PM EDT

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    For some people, the NHL season won’t really begin until the regular season starts on Thursday, October 7. Still, hockey nuts will lap up every little bit of puck-based competition they can get, and the first sample is in the rookie tournaments taking place in three areas. Let’s take a look at the results from…

  12. After stinking for years, will this season's Edmonton Oilers pass the 'smell test'?

    Sep 11, 2010, 10:00 PM EDT

    I cannot help but be intrigued when an NHL general manager provides a look behind the curtain, whether the public perception is that he’s a wizard or a dunce. So it only seems natural that I found David Staples of the Cult of Hockey’s look at Edmonton Oilers GM-turned-team president Kevin Lowe’s “smell test” quite…

  13. Aces Mark – the horse named in honor of two fallen scouts – places second in race today

    Sep 11, 2010, 9:10 PM EDT

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    A lot of lives were impacted on that horrible day on September 11, 2001. Two prominent hockey figures died on that day as scouts Mark Bavis and Garnet “Ace” Bailey were part of the Boston flight that crashed into the South Tower at the World Trade Center. An Ottawa Senators scout named a thoroughbred horse…

  14. Are simulation style video games such as NHL '11 too complicated?

    Sep 11, 2010, 8:30 PM EDT

    I haven’t written a review of NHL ’11 just yet for a simple reason: it’s enormous. From the tweaks EA Sports made to the team building aspects of its old modes to the changes in physics and gameplay to the newly added Hockey Ultimate League and its wacky trading card system, there’s a lot to…

  15. Why Nathan Horton might (or might not) make a big impact as a Boston Bruin

    Sep 11, 2010, 7:00 PM EDT

    When you ask many Boston Bruins fans (and hockey fans in general) about the team’s biggest transactions – or lack thereof – this off-season, they’d probably mention drafting Tyler Seguin or not trading Marc Savard or Tim Thomas. Yet when it all comes down to it, the biggest impact move might be landing talented-but-often-injured forward…

  16. Looking back at the 'Almost Season' for the Washington Capitals

    Sep 10, 2010, 6:15 PM EDT

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    As you know, only one team can win a championship (with the occasional exception in college football, maybe?). Some absolutists will say that anything less is a failure, but really, there are only a few teams in each sport every year that should really kick themselves and wonder “what if?” as they look back. Some…

  17. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Coyotes sign Martin Hanzal to two-year, $3.6M contract

    Sep 10, 2010, 5:50 PM EDT

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    The Phoenix Coyotes solved their largest remaining on-ice issue today, wrapping up 6’5″ forward Martin Hanzal to a two-year deal that ESPN’s EJ Hradek reports will be worth $1.5 million during the 2010-11 season and $2.1 million in 11-12. That deal will register a $1.8 million annual salary cap hit. Hanzal hovers around 30-something points…

  18. Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay says Dustin Byfuglien will begin camp as defenseman

    Sep 10, 2010, 5:20 PM EDT

    We touched on the possibility of Dustin Byfuglien moving back to his “natural” defensive position earlier this summer when GM Rick Dudley expressed a preference to do so, but now it’s nearly confirmed as Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay expressed an interest to do the same. That means that Byfuglien, Dudley and Ramsay all would prefer…

  19. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Colorado signs Peter Mueller to two-year, $4M deal

    Sep 10, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT

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    Peter Mueller looked like a totally different player – more specifically, the kind of player who is a top 10 draft pick – once he was traded from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Colorado Avalanche. He scored more points in 15 games in Colorado (20) than he produced in 54 contests as a Coyote (17).…

  20. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Oilers sign speedy center Andrew Cogliano to one-year, $1M deal

    Sep 10, 2010, 4:15 PM EDT

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    It seems like the Edmonton Oilers roster can be split into three general categories: the new young (such as Taylor Hall), the old young (such as Sam Gagner) and … the old and broken (Nikolai Khabibulin). The team signed one of their “old young” today, as they inked speedy center Andrew Cogliano to a one-year,…

  21. Fantasy Hockey Cheat Sheets: Workhorse goalies vs. 1a/1b rotations

    Sep 10, 2010, 3:50 PM EDT

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    While Pro Hockey Talk doesn’t specialize in fantasy hockey (our Rotoworld cousins do, though), we still think that there are areas where we can help you, the budding imaginary general managers. For that reason, we’re going to discuss different philosophies, strategies and cheat sheets as fantasy drafts begin to increase around North America. Previous entries:…

  22. What should be expected of Jarome Iginla next season?

    Sep 10, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT

    It’s hard to root against Jarome Iginla. He’s a great role model for hopeful black hockey players, a leader willing to drop the gloves with a wide array of opponents and just seems like a quality human being overall. Sure, Sean Avery might make fun of him for being bland, but what Iginla lacks in…

  23. Islanders forward Kyle Okposo could be a player to watch in 2010-11

    Sep 10, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

    While the team doesn’t have a dark horse-type goalie like Craig Anderson (instead they’re a bit wobbly with the aged Dwayne Roloson and the hobbled Rick Dipietro), but perhaps the New York Islanders’ most optimistic fans might be hoping for a Colorado Avalanche-type resurgence. One area where the Islanders match the Avalanche is in the…

  24. It won't be easy for Tyler Seguin to make the NHL jump right away, but he appears ready

    Sep 10, 2010, 11:15 AM EDT

    For some reason – maybe because I’m not a Boston Bruins fan, maybe because my expectations for him are different – I never thought to compare former B’s top draft pick Joe Thornton and their latest potential rookie sensation Tyler Seguin until Kevin Paul Dupont did so for Boston.com. The two are coming into very…

  25. The PHT Nightcap: Thursday, September 9th

    Sep 9, 2010, 11:55 PM EDT

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    Even in the depressingly hockey-free summer, we expect to be a productive bunch here at Pro Hockey Talk. Sometimes it might be difficult to follow our pace. We understand that. For that reason, whenever we can, we’ll put all of the day’s stories in one convenient post called the PHT Nightcap. Enjoy, hockey fans. Mike…

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