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James O’Brien

  1. Washington Capitals take top spot on Sports Illustrated's off-season power rankings

    Aug 14, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

    Despite the fact that they ran away with the Presidents Trophy last season, it’s almost refreshing to see a media member sing the praises of the Washington Capitals. Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir did just that, placing the apple of Ted Leonsis’s eye No. 1 in his off-season power rankings. Here is what he said about…

  2. Who will lead the offensively challenged Nashville Predators in scoring?

    Aug 14, 2010, 10:50 AM EDT

    It’s unfair to judge teams “on paper,” but sometimes those paper rosters/lists can be awfully telling. Take, for instance, this poll at On The Forecheck that asks the simple question: “Who will be the Nashville Predators leading scorer next season?” Here are a few of the names (and descriptions) from that post. J.P. Dumont He…

  3. The PHT Nightcap: Friday, August 13th

    Aug 13, 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. The…

  4. The Sporting News pulls the plug on its hockey-centric blog 'The Grinder'

    Aug 13, 2010, 11:00 PM EDT

    There’s no denying that the hockey blogosphere – and any other platform featuring hockey writers – can be a competitive place. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, especially when it encourages certain people to falsify rumors – or even worse – claim that they got a scoop that originated from somewhere else. Other times, it results…

  5. 2010 NHL Free Agency: What about … Patrick O'Sullivan?

    Aug 13, 2010, 10:30 PM EDT

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    At this point in free agency, the focus shifts from the gems to flawed guys who can still bring some skill to the table. So, going forward, we’ll spotlight individual players who are flying under the radar. Previous Entries: Slava Kozlov, Alex Frolov, Willie Mitchell, Lee Stempniak, Maxim Afinogenov Today’s entry: Patrick O’Sullivan Name: Patrick…

  6. Crosby, Ovechkin, Miller rank highest on The Hockey News Top 10 NHL Players list

    Aug 13, 2010, 10:00 PM EDT

    People love lists … that’s just science, folks. The Hockey News released its annual yearbook this week, and Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas was nice enough to share the top 10 of the well-known publication’s top 50 players list.   The top ten players on The Hockey News’ list are: 1. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh…

  7. Golden oldies: The best seasons for players above the age of 35

    Aug 13, 2010, 9:00 PM EDT

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    I discussed NHL.com’s list of the best teenage debuts yesterday, so it only makes sense that the site’s master historian/genius filler creator John Kreiser came up with the polar opposite post today. He listed the best seasons for players above the age of 35, something that player agents may someday want to point to when…

  8. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly discusses the NHL's 'line in the sand' regarding contracts

    Aug 13, 2010, 8:00 PM EDT

    By now you may be well-versed in the reasoning behind the rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils. To review, his deal stuck out as especially bad considering that his deal had six unrealistic salaried years at the end, the deal would take him to age 43 and those…

  9. Tomas Kaberle scuttlebutt: Burke expects offers to heat up, what about Tampa Bay's Malone?

    Aug 13, 2010, 7:00 PM EDT

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    Perhaps it’s a testament to the team’s post-lockout struggles that a good-but-by-no-means-transcendent defenseman like Tomas Kaberle has been the source of trade rumors as regularly as the Toronto Maple Leafs disappoint their fans. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the latest slew of conjecture, the imaginary (and maybe tangible) offers for the offensive…

  10. The NHL's greatest teen sensations include Gretzky, Lemieux, Crosby

    Aug 12, 2010, 6:30 PM EDT

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    Since the NHL finally allowed speed and skill to usurp groping and grinding after the lockout, the league has seen wave after wave of instant sensations straight from the draft. From Sidney Crosby to Alex Ovechkin to Drew Doughty and beyond, it almost seems like hockey players are hitting their primes the second their skates…

  11. Georges Laraque says it's not safe for a gay hockey player to come out of the closet just yet

    Aug 12, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

    After Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke marched in honor of his late son Brendan in a gay rights parade, it only seemed natural to wonder how long it might take for a professional hockey player to “come out of the closet.” That’s never happened – not even for a retired player – in hockey,…

  12. American hockey players are filling the void made as NHL teams shy away from drafting Europeans

    Aug 12, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

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    We’ve discussed the fact that some think NHL defector Alex Radulov created “The Russian Factor” when he left the Nashville Predators for the KHL, but it seems the real “Russian Factor” is a lot simpler: it’s the lack of a stable transfer agreement between the NHL and most international leagues. That’s the subject of a…

  13. 'TEAM' oriented marketing campaign reveals Stars' reaction to Modano's departure

    Aug 12, 2010, 2:50 PM EDT

    There are a lot of tough jobs in the NHL, particularly when it comes to selling tickets for teams who aren’t dominating the league. One of the toughest of all might be selling tickets for the Dallas Stars this summer. The team wasn’t exactly selling like hot cakes last year, but after losing two long-time…

  14. Report: Eric Belanger's mystery team is the Washington Capitals; is Tomas Fleischmann on his way out?

    Aug 12, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT

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    (Note: as always, it is important to note that the REPORT in the headline of this story. The Capitals have not confirmed anything yet, but it’s reasonable to say that Eric Belanger will be a member of their team next season.) Last night, we discussed the somewhat odd story circulating that Eric Belanger had signed…

  15. Jeff Marek's hockey teaching adventure in Israel

    Aug 12, 2010, 1:00 PM EDT

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    It seems like going to Northern Ireland is a big enough hockey adventure, but what about … Israel? Hockey Night in Canada correspondent Jeff Marek is teaching hockey to kids who never get the chance to play on ice and the experience seems nothing short of fascinating. Here is a brief snippet of what it’s…

  16. Keep an eye on these potential performance bonuses

    Aug 12, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

    Performance bonuses always have been a bit nebulous in the NHL. Rarely do teams release information on them and … for the most part, they haven’t had a big effect on anything. Well, they didn’t have a big effect until this summer, when the cap-strapped Chicago Blackhawks were hit hard for about $4 million in…

  17. Discussing the need for goalie coaches in the post-lockout years

    Aug 12, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT

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    As much as the sport (and the position) has evolved – just look at the way the equipment went from skimpy pads to netminders resembling “The Michelin Man” – some things never change. Even if their relative value within an NHL franchise and on the free agent market may ebb and flow, goalie performances still…

  18. NHL 2K11 video: Six-year-old Red Wings fan schools Jack Johnson

    Aug 11, 2010, 10:30 PM EDT

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    While the actual product seems a few strides behind EA Sports’ offerings, 2K Sports is doing a lot of things right with the marketing of their hockey games. (Although the hockey moms gimmick last year was … questionable.) Last season, they made the obvious choice to make Alex Ovechkin the cover star of “NHL 2K10″…

  19. KHL team SKA St. Petersburg attempts to re-enter the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes

    Aug 11, 2010, 10:00 PM EDT

    There’s no telling how interested Ilya Kovalchuk would be in playing for the KHL, but that didn’t stop the deep-pocketed SKA St. Petersburg club from renewing their interest in the star sniper. Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the team got in touch with Kovalchuk’s Russian agent Yuri Nikolaev soon after word got out that…

  20. Why Roberto Luongo's contract is different from the rejected Ilya Kovalchuk deal

    Aug 11, 2010, 9:30 PM EDT

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    The rumors of the NHL looking into other, similarly fishy contracts have been verified, but that doesn’t mean the NHL will be able to kill deals made by Roberto Luongo, Marian Hossa and others. I’ve discussed the various ways his deal is different from other contracts, but other media members are doing a nice job…

  21. Coyotes make re-signing Martin Hanzal 'a priority' while Lee Stempniak explores his options

    Aug 11, 2010, 9:00 PM EDT

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    While most of the focus rests on the team’s off-ice issues, the Phoenix Coyotes also have some questions to answer on the ice. The two biggest ones center on unrestricted free agent Lee Stempniak and restricted free agent Martin Hanzal. Here is the latest news on those two players from Jim Gintonio of the Arizona…

  22. Eric Belanger won't name the team he signed with, inspires toothless rumors

    Aug 11, 2010, 8:30 PM EDT

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    While he’s far from a big name or impact player, Eric Belanger is still one of the better centers remaining on the free agent market. Sources say that he’s chosen the team he’ll sign a one-year contract with, but cannot name that team just yet because his future employers need to clear up some cap…

  23. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Flames re-sign Craig Conroy to one-year, two-way contract

    Aug 11, 2010, 8:00 PM EDT

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    When I think of the Calgary Flames now-near-mirage of a Stanley Cup Finals run, I think of a few things. Jarome Iginla making himself a true hockey household name. Miikka Kiprusoff becoming the first Finnish goalie name I’d struggle to spell for years. Mike Commdore sporting a hilarious ginger afro. The speed of Chris Clark.…

  24. The strange tale of the Prince of Wales engraving error (and one fan's quest to prove its existence)

    Aug 11, 2010, 7:15 PM EDT

    About a week ago, a Chicago Blackhawks fan Brendan Millhouser posted photos on Twitter that featured an error so difficult to believe … that no one actually believed it. During a Blackhawks fan function, Millhouser noticed a stunning error: the Prince of Wales Trophy’s 2009-10 winner was incorrectly engraved as the Washington Capitals. Here are…

  25. Stats I'd love to see: Third (or even fourth) assists

    Aug 11, 2010, 6:40 PM EDT

    Every once and a while, I try to introduce new stats ideas (or perhaps stats that I just didn’t know existed) to the hockey blogosphere and fans alike. One example is the incredibly simple Special Teams Plus/Minus stats I discussed during the 09-10 season. This could be a long-running series or a summer diversion, but…

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