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James O’Brien

  1. 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…

  2. 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.…

  3. 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…

  4. 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…

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  7. 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…

  8. 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:…

  9. 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,…

  10. 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…

  11. 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,…

  12. 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…

  13. 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,…

  14. 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…

  15. 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…

  16. 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…

  17. 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…

  18. 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.…

  19. 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…

  20. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Montreal signs Mathieu Carle, James Wyman to one-year deals

    Jul 13, 2010, 12:15 PM EDT

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    It really might just be about signing Carey Price at this point for the Montreal Canadiens. Earlier today I shared news that the team signed forward Maxim Lapierre to a one-year deal.  The team tied up some more loose ends today, signing defenseman Mathieu Carle and forward James Wyman to two-way, one-year deals according to…

  21. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Penguins sign Chris Conner to one-year, $550K deal

    Jul 13, 2010, 11:10 AM EDT

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins signed forward Chris Conner to a two-way, one-year contract that would pay him $550K at the NHL level, the team reports. At a scrawny 5-8, Conner will have to struggle to find his way into the team’s reputation. Still, he’s been pretty solid in spot duty with the big club. The team…

  22. The NHL lacks many Steinbrenner-type owners

    Jul 13, 2010, 10:45 AM EDT

    People throw around words such as “rare” and “unique” like confetti these days, but I think it’s appropriate to say that sports lost one of its most irreplaceable figures today when Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died of a heart attack. It got me thinking about just how rare “The Boss” is in sports, particularly compared…

  23. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Habs roster nearly complete after signing Maxim Lapierre

    Jul 13, 2010, 10:20 AM EDT

    The Montreal Canadiens signed forward Maxim Lapierre to a one-year, $900K deal according to TSN. On a team that often gets lampooned for being small (after all, they employ such sprites as Brian Gionta), Lapierre is a rare physical presence at the forward position. Although his seven goals and seven assists total a measly 14…

  24. The PHT Nightcap: Monday, July 12th

    Jul 12, 2010, 11:15 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. Bruins…

  25. Ontario's Court of Appeal rejects Rob Ramage's attempts to get a new trial

    Jul 12, 2010, 10:45 PM EDT

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    For the most part, we try to keep it light here at Pro Hockey Talk, but things aren’t always easy-going in hockey or life. Take the sad case of former player Rob Ramage, whose attempts at getting a new trial fell on deaf ears recently. TSN has the story via the Canadian Press. Ramage was…

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