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James O’Brien

  1. Preferred nomenclature: The 'best' first names in hockey

    Aug 7, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

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    Two powerful Mikes (Modano and Ilitch) I’m one of those people who believe that a name can often shape someone’s life/attitude/personality. Naturally, it doesn’t dictate everything, but chances are your kid might have the deck stacked against them if they have to answer to “Apple” or “Chastity” on the first day of school. (For some…

  2. NHL goalies will have to switch to more 'form-fitting' equipment in 2010-11 season

    Aug 7, 2010, 11:15 AM EDT

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    When you look back at classic sports clips, every league looks a little different. Basketball players wore hilariously short shorts. NFL players went from insanely skimpy helmets to ones that are almost like today’s standard. Baseball players … well, let’s just say many of them were a lot, um, smaller. For hockey, the most glaring…

  3. The PHT Nightcap: Friday, August 6th

    Aug 7, 2010, 1:13 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. Blackhawks…

  4. Marian Hossa brings the Stanley Cup to Slovakia

    Aug 6, 2010, 11:55 PM EDT

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    Today has been a rough one for unimaginative hockey humorists. (I know I’m struggling, personally.) If you haven’t heard already, we’ll be forced to find a new target for old man jokes, as 48-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios finally decided to hang up his skates. Perhaps it makes sense, then, that Chelios decided to retire today…

  5. Tim Thomas says he is 'ahead of schedule' after May 21 hip surgery

    Aug 6, 2010, 11:15 PM EDT

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    While he was usurped by Finnish sensation Tuukka Rask, I think that Tim Thomas was better during the 2009-10 season than most people gave him credit for. Or, perhaps more precisely, he wasn’t quite as bad as people thought. His save percentage was down to 91.5 last season, but that’s nicely above 90 percent, generally…

  6. 2K Sports will release Wii-exclusive 'NHL 2K11' two weeks early, on August 24

    Aug 6, 2010, 10:30 PM EDT

    In case you haven’t heard, Electronic Arts’ NHL series dominance over 2K Sports’ own NHL 2K games reached so far that 2K’s upcoming “NHL 2K11″ will only appear on Nintendo’s Wii console. In many ways, it seemed like a move inspired by the fact that EA never made a hockey game for the Wii before;…

  7. Phoenix Coyotes claim that season tickets sales are 'significantly higher' than previous reports

    Aug 6, 2010, 9:30 PM EDT

    A few days ago, I passed along reports that the Phoenix Coyotes only managed to sell about 1,800 season tickets for next season, so far. That number seemed ridiculously low – even for a team with as many problems as the Yotes – and the team refutes that number. Here’s more from the Phoenix Business…

  8. Video: Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch welcomes Mike Modano to Detroit

    Aug 6, 2010, 8:45 PM EDT

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    If you’re a Dallas Stars fan, I apologize, but here is a video of Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch welcoming Mike Modano into the fold.   Want a little more regarding Modano’s move to Michigan? Check out Joe’s story regarding Willa Ford wanting him to “stick it to” is former team in Dallas.

  9. Chris Chelios officially retires from hockey, will join Detroit Red Wings front office

    Aug 6, 2010, 8:05 PM EDT

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    People who love making generic old jokes might be as sad as Stars fans will be watching Modano play as a Red Wing right now. While I must admit that I already thought this happened months ago, it appears that the 48-year-old Chris Chelios officially retired from hockey today according to ESPN’s EJ Hradek. Chelios…

  10. Evgeni Nabokov, Denis Grebeshkov discuss leaving NHL for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL

    Aug 6, 2010, 7:30 PM EDT

    While his career decisions didn’t create an Ilya Kovalchuk-type stir, it’s not crazy to say that Evgeni Nabokov might have been the biggest unrestricted free agent of the summer. Sure, he’s had his fair share of struggles when the spotlight intensifies – whether that’s a fault of the Russian Olympic team’s spotty defense or the…

  11. How Alex Radulov's defection from the Predators to the KHL created 'The Russian Factor'

    Aug 5, 2010, 6:45 PM EDT

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    It’s a distant memory for most hockey fans who don’t swear an allegiance to the Nashville Predators, but Alex Radulov’s defection to the KHL – right in the middle of his entry-level deal with the Predators – was at one time an anomaly. OK, it still is to some extent because most defectors wait until…

  12. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Sabres sign D Marc-Andre Gragnani to one-year deal

    Aug 5, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

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    The Buffalo Sabres re-signed 2005 third round draft pick Marc-Andre Gragnani to a one-year contract. The team did not disclose financial details regarding how much they paid the defenseman. Gragnani has only played six games in two seasons with the big club, combining for a goose egg across the board (0 goals, 0 assists, 0…

  13. 15-year-old fan wins contest to design the art on Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom's mask

    Aug 5, 2010, 5:30 PM EDT

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    (Niklas Backstrom in his old, less charming goalie mask) I’ve seen goalies allow fans to design their masks before, but I only recall Calder-winner-turned-backup Andrew Raycroft doing so. The fans who submitted their artwork for Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom’s mask will likely see their labor of love a lot more often, as the Finnish…

  14. Washington Capitals GM George McPhee says this 'might be the best team' they've had in years

    Aug 5, 2010, 4:45 PM EDT

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    Even if you highlight Jaroslav Halak’s incredible three game run after his team was down 3-1, it’s hard to argue against the fact that the Washington Capitals’ first round loss was a disappointment. After all, the team ran away with the Presidents Trophy and boiled over with hubris and swagger. Some GMs would take part…

  15. Penguins' Consol Energy Center earns high marks for environmental consciousness

    Aug 5, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins usually generate most of their excitement when it comes to what happens on the ice, but their new building is creating some buzz by itself. Their soon-to-open Consol Energy Center became the first NHL arena to earn LEED gold certification, the environmental equivalent to a first star. Here’s more from the team.…

  16. Ilya Kovalchuk's contract grievance hearing came to an end, decision expected by Monday

    Aug 5, 2010, 3:30 PM EDT

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    The Ilya Kovalchuk contract grievance hearing is now over, but the waiting is not. As Dan Rosen of NHL.com points out, system arbitrator Richard Bloch has until the end of the business day on Monday to make his decision. The arbitration hearing that will determine the immediate and potential long-term future of star left wing…

  17. NHL '11 news: EA Sports introduces its 'Ultimate Hockey League' to revamp online dynasty mode

    Aug 5, 2010, 3:05 PM EDT

    More news popped up about NHL ’11 last night, so I thought I’d share some of the details via Operation Sports. This is a slight oversimplification, but there are basically two ways to play EA’s NHL games. You can either direct an NHL team in competition, switching control of goalies, defensemen and forwards while juggling…

  18. Predators trade Mike Santorelli to Panthers for a conditional fifth rounder in 2011

    Aug 5, 2010, 2:40 PM EDT

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    With a suddenly crowded group of forwards and thinning patience for the prospect himself, the Nashville Predators sent forward Mike Santorelli to the rebuilding Florida Panthers for a conditional fifth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck summarizes the Predators’ reasoning quite nicely. The depth chart at center…

  19. Carey Price's agent shoots down rumors of Montreal Canadiens looking at Antti Niemi

    Aug 5, 2010, 12:15 PM EDT

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    Joe shared an update on the Carey Price situation yesterday, but there’s a little bit more circulating about the hot-prospect-turned-enigma in Montreal’s net. Any goalie rotation with question marks will probably generate some Antti Niemi rumors, so you can’t blame Price’s agent for clearing the air. Here is his quote, via TSN by way of…

  20. Mike Modano, Detroit Red Wings make his signing official; Press conference set for Friday

    Aug 5, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT

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    You’re probably already aware that Mike Modano will be a Detroit Red Wing next season, but it’s always good to hear it from the “horse’s mouth.” That’s exactly what happened today, as the team provided an official release and Modano confirmed the reports with Dallas Stars beat writer Mike Heika. Considering that Dallas-area fans are…

  21. Clarification regarding Nikolai Khabibulin's 'Extreme DUI' trial; Could he end up in 'Tent City'?

    Aug 5, 2010, 10:50 AM EDT

    As a member of a generation raised on Mountain Dew and X-Games-type advertising, the word “extreme” often elicits a grin or a snicker. The word makes me picture a toasted hippie hovering impossibly above my head on a snowboard. Yet all humor is zapped from the situation when the word “extreme” is followed by “DUI…

  22. Washington Capitals prospect Eric Mestery retires from hockey at age 20

    Aug 5, 2010, 10:10 AM EDT

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    It’s often difficult to attach the phrase “just like any job, really” to playing hockey (or any sport) professionally. After all, many of us grew up in backyards/frozen rinks/etc. dreaming of scoring the kind of goal Patrick Kane did to win the Stanley Cup.* * – Although ours either went top shelf or five-hole in…

  23. The PHT Nightcap: Wednesday, August 4th

    Aug 5, 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. Gary…

  24. Kovalchuk grievance update: Hearing to conclude Thursday, decision expected in a few days

    Aug 4, 2010, 11:55 PM EDT

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    Just in case you were wondering, it seems that the Ilya Kovalchuk hearing did begin today (Wednesday, that is) and will conclude on Thursday. Here’s a little bit more from NHL.com. Ilya Kovalchuk’s immediate and potentially long-term future will be determined at an arbitration hearing that is currently taking place in Boston. The hearing is…

  25. Did Al Arbour (coach of '80s Islanders Cup winners) produce an NFL-style 'coaching tree'?

    Aug 4, 2010, 11:30 PM EDT

    In the NFL, it’s very common for a successful coach to develop a “coaching tree.” Bill Walsh’s West Coast Offense produced acolytes such as Andy Reid while a man who seemed to be Walsh’ polar opposite – cantankerous, defensive-leaning Bill Parcells – brought us guys like Bill Belichick. If those “individual branches” beget more great…

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