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James O’Brien

  1. Edmonton Oilers forward Gilbert Brule makes biggest impact off the ice

    Jul 15, 2010, 10:45 PM EDT

    While Gilbert Brule struggles to distinguish himself on the ice, he’s standing out when it comes to his charitable efforts. The Edmonton OIlers forward cut his vacation short and donated a considerable amount of money (and time) to help a two-year-old boy named Maddox Flynn in his fight against lymphatic cystic hydroma. The blog Hey…

  2. Mother of dead soldier objects to lake being named after Jonathan Toews

    Jul 15, 2010, 10:30 PM EDT

    When we first heard that the Province of Manitoba would name one of its many lakes after local star Jonathan Toews on July 7, it seemed harmless (and amusing) enough. What we didn’t know was that the region has a tradition of naming lakes after fallen soldiers, a tradition that apparently was infringed upon –…

  3. 2010 NHL Free Agency: What about … Willie Mitchell?

    Jul 15, 2010, 9:40 PM EDT

    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 Today’s entry: former(?) Vancouver Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell. Name: Willie MitchellHeight: 6-3…

  4. Report: Chris Bourque set to depart NHL, father's shadow for the KHL

    Jul 15, 2010, 7:40 PM EDT

    One photo depicts Chris Bourque’s NHL career quite sadly (and accurately). Most of the time, I think of the KHL as a place for talented Russians to make more money and for aging, marginal players from the general area to seek refuge from hard-driving NHL coaches. Sure, that’s the general pattern, but let’s not forget…

  5. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Bruins hand Gregory Campbell a two-year, $2.2M deal

    Jul 15, 2010, 7:10 PM EDT

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    With all of the rumors about the Boston Bruins pondering a Marc Savard salary dump, you’d think they become a little careful with their money. Instead, the team continues its tradition of overpaying just about everyone (except Savard), as they signed depth forward Gregory Campbell to a two-year, $2.2 million contract. (Jimmy Murphy of ESPN…

  6. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Minnesota hands Mikko Koivu richest deal in Wild franchise history

    Jul 15, 2010, 6:15 PM EDT

    Mikko Koivu is one of the NHL’s most underrated players, but you won’t be able to call him one of the league’s most underpaid scorers much longer. Michael Russo reports that the Finnish center signed a seven-year, $47.25 million contract extension with Minnesota, the richest deal in Wild history. Sources: Koivu’s deal is 7 years,…

  7. Looking back at the most scandalous offer sheet dramas in NHL history

    Jul 14, 2010, 6:10 PM EDT

    I’ve stated this quite a bit the last few days, but it’s surprising NHL teams are so reluctant to send promising players offer sheets. I imagine there’s a lot of “Golden Rule” justification for staying away (“What if I’m in their shoes?,” general managers would shout), but … wouldn’t Bobby Ryan be worth a few…

  8. Nikolai Zherdev claims that he is now a 'two-way player'; Is water no longer wet?

    Jul 14, 2010, 5:40 PM EDT

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    During a conference call today, Nikolai Zherdev referred to himself as a “two-way player.” In other news from Bizarro Land, I condemn puns, hate bacon and find Madonna interesting. All joking aside, the talented Russian winger claims that he’s improved in one of the areas that once made Ken Hitchcock and John Tortorella pitch fits.…

  9. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Minnesota brings back backup goalie Josh Harding for one year

    Jul 14, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

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    Apparently, the Minnesota Wild saw my post* about the players who might be worth an offer sheet this summer. The team announced that they signed Josh Harding to a one-year contract, although financial terms have not been disclosed by the team. Update: Michael Russo reports that the Wild signed Harding to a one-year, $1.2 million…

  10. Scary, unsubstantiated rumor of the day: Could the salary cap ceiling drop to $48M in 2012?

    Jul 14, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT

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    Now, the most important thing to note is that this is a rumor. I thought I’d get that out of the way immediately. The thing is, this rumor comes from one of the most respected, stable and trusted writers in hockey (Lyle “Spector” Richardson, to be exact). With all the Donald Fehr talk, it’s natural…

  11. Simon Gagne's agent confirms rumors of a possible (though not 'imminent') trade

    Jul 14, 2010, 3:50 PM EDT

    There have been plenty of rumors about Simon Gagne being traded by the Philadelphia Flyers, but it’s one thing to hear an anonymous source say it and other to hear it straight from the horse’s/agent’s mouth. So, yes, it’s not startling to hear that the Flyers are allowing Gagne to discuss a future contract with…

  12. Report: Donald Fehr will stay with NHLPA but won't be executive director (yet)

    Jul 14, 2010, 3:20 PM EDT

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    While lockout-wounded hockey fans probably still tremble at the name Bob Goodenow, Donald Fehr is the name bandied about as the player’s union figurehead during Major League Baseball’s hugely damaging strike. So seeing that (in)famous name connected to the NHL Players Association is like a professional wrestler hearing The Undertaker’s music. I’m not sure if…

  13. Teemu Selanne isn't ready to make his retirement decision just yet

    Jul 14, 2010, 3:00 PM EDT

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    It’s become a summer tradition like sundresses and sweat-stained T-shirts. Teemu Selanne is once again needing some time to do some soul-searching regarding his retirement decision. You can’t call him Brett Favre because – even when he sat out some games – he still came back and never actually retired. Still, the creeping possibility of…

  14. 2010 NHL Free Agency: What about … Alexander Frolov?

    Jul 14, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

    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. Yesterday’s entry: Vyacheslav “Slava” Kozlov. Today, I’ll take a look at Alexander Frolov. Name: Alexander FrolovHeight: 6-2 Weight:…

  15. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Antti Niemi's agent hopes to make deal before salary arbitration

    Jul 14, 2010, 12:40 PM EDT

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    Antti Niemi’s potential July 29 salary arbitration case would be one of the most intriguing in recent NHL history. It could set a precedent for players who have skinny resumes with big bullet points like “won starting job over $5.6 million goalie” and “back-stopped team to Stanley Cup in first playoff run.” That being said,…

  16. Players wrestle with the inexact science of free agency

    Jul 14, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

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    In this free agent frenzy filled July, we often look at team building through a sober lens of numbers or – as fans – like we’re filling our plates at some hockey buffet table. The “human element” is often lost in this process, especially for the far-from-superstar players. While it’s quite reasonable to imagine that…

  17. Is Kansas City a Plan B if NY Islanders' Lighthouse Project falls through?

    Jul 14, 2010, 11:20 AM EDT

    When Kate Murray, the supervisor of Hempstead Town, unveiled a plan that would greatly reduce the scale of the Lighthouse Project, it was seen as a big blow to New York Islanders owner Charles Wang’s plan to make the team more profitable. As we discussed on Monday, the team is looking at some backup plans,…

  18. Plenty of salary cap headaches remain for the Blackhawks

    Jul 13, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

    Despite moving players such as Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel and Andrew Ladd, the Chicago Blackhawks are still in a salary cap mess right now. Matching the San Jose Sharks’ offer sheet for Niklas Hjalmarsson won’t help things, either, even if it was a good move for their on-ice product. One thing to take…

  19. 2010 NHL Free Agency: What about … Slava Kozlov?

    Jul 13, 2010, 5:30 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. Today’s entry: Vyacheslav “Slava” Kozlov. Name: Slava KozlovHeight: 5-10 Weight: 190 lbs.Position: LWStrengths: Playmaking, goal scoringWeaknesses: Strength, size,…

  20. Mike Modano's asking price might be too much for Detroit

    Jul 13, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT

    Dallas Stars fans can breathe a sigh of relief – at least for a little while – as it sounds like the Detroit Red Wings might not be able to land Mike Modano. has a blurb about it in their free agent blog. According to the Detroit News, the offer the Red Wings gave…

  21. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Flyers retain super-pest Dan Carcillo

    Jul 13, 2010, 3:20 PM EDT

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    Confrontation and agitation are just parts of the job for Philadelphia Flyers super-pest Dan Carcillo. Still, as Greg Wyshynski points out, it’s probably best that the team avoided salary arbitration with the pesky winger. Arbitration cases are contentious, ego-deflating experiences; and they get really interesting when you have players that defy classification, whose numbers defy…

  22. Poacher's delight: This summer's best targets for offer sheets

    Jul 13, 2010, 2:45 PM EDT

    Signing a player to an offer sheet is a risky, flawed endeavor. For one thing, the opposing team could match the offer sheet, like the Chicago Blackhawks did when the San Jose Sharks went after defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. It can be a mistake even if a team lands the player, as the more money you…

  23. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Columbus signs tough guy Jared Boll for two years

    Jul 13, 2010, 1:35 PM EDT

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Jared Boll to a two-year deal, according to the team. From what I can tell, he’ll account for a $725K cap hit per season both years. Here’s more on Boll from the Blue Jackets and their GM, Scott Howson. Boll, 24, recorded four goals and three assists for seven points…

  24. Darryl Sydor hangs up skates, becomes part of Houston Aeros coaching staff

    Jul 13, 2010, 1:00 PM EDT

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    Darryl Sydor had a nice 18-year career in the NHL, particularly during his time with the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning, but the steady defenseman won’t spend much time resting on his laurels. Upon retiring from hockey, the defenseman will now be a part of Mike Yeo’s Houston Aeros coaching staff in the AHL.…

  25. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Oilers set to sign underwhelming, oversized G Devan Dubnyk

    Jul 13, 2010, 12:35 PM EDT

    Of all the teams that I listed in an experimental post about Marty Turco’s possible suitors, the Edmonton Oilers were one of the most logical squads for the puck moving goalie. Part of the reasoning was because Nikolai Khabibulin struggled so much on and off the ice during the 2009-10 season, but another reason was…

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