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James O’Brien

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. 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…

  4. 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 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…

  5. 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…

  6. Jeremy Morin stands out in U.S. juniors win against Finland, could he ease loss of Byfuglien?

    Aug 4, 2010, 9:45 PM EDT

    It’s true that a big chunk – maybe a majority – of the cap cleanup the Chicago Blackhawks have undergone this summer involved straight-up salary dumps. The Dustin Byfuglien trade to Atlanta is at least one exception, though, as the Blackhawks received a nice package that included two high 2010 draft picks, Marty Reasoner and…

  7. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Canucks re-sign Sean Zimmerman, Mario Bliznak

    Aug 4, 2010, 9:10 PM EDT

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    The Vancouver Canucks announced two minor signings today, as Mario Bliznak and Sean Zimmerman re-upped with the team. Nucks Misconduct points out that Bliznak’s deal will be worth $550K while Zimmerman’s will reportedly be worth $500K. Both players will be very new to Canucks fans, even though they are in the team’s system. Bliznak’s name…

  8. Mandi Schwartz's fight against cancer takes a big step forward as she found a donor

    Aug 4, 2010, 8:10 PM EDT

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    (Jaden Schwartz, brother of Mandi Schwartz) While discussions of ill health and death are often sobering accounts of why hockey isn’t really as big of a deal as we make it out to be, there are occasionally uplifting moments amid the doom and gloom. Take the story of Mandi Schwartz, sister of 2010 first round…

  9. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Senators make depth signings, add David Hale and Francis Lessard

    Aug 4, 2010, 6:50 PM EDT

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    The Ottawa Senators made two small depth signings today, inking defenseman David Hale and forward Francis Lessard to one-year, two-way contracts according to TSN. Financial details were not disclosed, but with most two-way deals, the money amounts were probably very low. Hale was once a product of the New Jersey Devils system and though he’s…

  10. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Florida Panthers expected to sign Mike Weaver to two-year deal

    Aug 3, 2010, 6:30 PM EDT

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    The Florida Panthers are expected to sign defenseman Mike Weaver, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The deal would be for two years, $1.8 million and an annual salary cap hit of 900K. On paper, there really isn’t much to Weaver. He’s a small (listed at 5-9, 188 lbs.) defenseman who puts…

  11. Bobby Ryan's agent claims there are 'no discussions' with the Anaheim Ducks

    Aug 3, 2010, 5:40 PM EDT

    Despite signing Andy Sutton yesterday, other events indicate that the Anaheim Ducks are being very tight with their wallets. That’s bad news for their negotiations with budding power forward in the making Bobby Ryan. Here’s the latest update from Eric Stephens from the Orange County Register. Bobby Ryan’s agent, Don Meehan, says there’s “no discussions”…

  12. Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis changes assistant coaches, discusses Willie Mitchell

    Aug 3, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

    A few bits about the Vancouver Canucks today: GM Mike Gillis changed the team’s assistant coaching staff up a bit today. TSN reports that they replaced Ryan Walter with Newell Brown. Ryan Walter is out as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks. “The decision was mine,” Mike Gillis, the Canucks’ president and general manager,…

  13. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Sharks sign Jamal Mayers

    Aug 3, 2010, 4:35 PM EDT

    The San Jose Sharks added a small piece today, signing veteran plugger Jamal Mayers to a one-year deal reportedly worth $600K. I found about this via That’ll Cheech You from Fear the Fin, who adds a little bit more about Mayers here. Mayers split time with the Flames and Maple Leafs last season. He’s billed…

  14. Flyers GM Holmgren: Chris Pronger has 'minor' knee surgery, will be ready for training camp

    Aug 3, 2010, 3:40 PM EDT

    On paper, getting an impact player of Chris Pronger’s caliber for a little less than $5 million (cap hit-wise) is a mind blowing steal. Despite failing to garner enough votes for a single Conn Smythe Trophy, I’ve made a passionate argument that he could have won it on three separate occasions – two of times…

  15. Report: Boston Bruins sign Tyler Seguin to entry-level contract

    Aug 3, 2010, 3:00 PM EDT

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    Update: Jimmy Murphy passes this note along about Seguin’s contract. Fluto Shinzawa, Boston Globe, reporting that Tyler Seguin will have a base salary of $900,000 plus $2.85 million in performance bonuses (Note: as usual, this news is still in “report” mode but it seems like a pretty reliable one at this point.) Though they’re not…

  16. Report: Ilya Kovalchuk contract grievance hearing will 'definitely' take place Wednesday

    Aug 3, 2010, 2:40 PM EDT

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    Contrary to earlier reports, it appears that the Ilya Kovalchuk contract rejection grievance hearing will take place Wednesday in Boston rather than Tuesday. The news comes from Tom Gulitti. The hearing to decide the grievance about Ilya Kovalchuk’s rejected contract will definitely begin Wednesday in Boston. Kovalchuk’s mother, Luba, reportedly told Sovetsky Sport that the…

  17. Three more buyers interested in purchasing Coyotes, season ticket sales only at 1,800

    Aug 3, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT

    The Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation seems stuck in neutral, but we want to keep you updated even with there’s just a morsel of information being released. John Shannon of reports that there are three more groups looking into buying the Coyotes beyond the longtime leading (but financially shaky) candidate Ice Edge Holdings. While Ice…

  18. The NHL's most significant salary arbitration rejections since the lockout

    Aug 3, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

    It must be a very uncomfortable feeling for a player when a team walks away from an arbitration decision. My guess is that it would be a lot like the feeling someone would get if their date scrambled from a restaurant after seeing the bill for dinner. This last summer, we saw the Chicago Blackhawks…

  19. Nikita Filatov scheduled to arrive in Columbus Wednesday to prepare for training camp

    Aug 3, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

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    If you ask me, the Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t do a whole lot this summer to improve a team that fell well short of making the playoffs in 2009-10. You can blame a weak free agent market or a lack of cash all you want, but the bottom line is that the team doesn’t look…

  20. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Islanders sign veteran Jon Sim to one year, two-way deal

    Aug 3, 2010, 11:45 AM EDT

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    The New York Islanders signed veteran forward Jon Sim to a one-year, two-way deal according to Katie Strang of New York Newsday. Former NHL player Justin Bourne makes a good point that it must feel odd for Sim, who will have “no guarantees” that he’ll be a part of the big club even at 32-years-old.…

  21. Report: Mike Modano could announce that he'll be a Detroit Red Wing on Thursday

    Aug 3, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

    If reports are accurate, Mike Modano will officially announce that he’s a member of the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. It’s not a done deal until the words leave his chipmunk-toothed mouth, but my guess is Dallas Stars fans will be doing some grief eating this morning anyway. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free…

  22. The PHT Nightcap: Monday, August 2nd

    Aug 2, 2010, 11:50 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. Rangers…

  23. Detroit Red Wings rank as highest NHL team on Forbes' Best American Sports Fans list

    Aug 2, 2010, 10:50 PM EDT named “America’s Best Sports Teams” (yet included the Montreal Canadiens … although I guess they wear something resembling America’s colors) and four NHL teams made the list. These lists are often flawed because they tend to ignore history (opening the door for dreaded “bandwagon” teams). Really, judging from their write-up regarding the list’s criteria,…

  24. Willie Mitchell is reportedly 'symptom-free' after fighting concussion problems

    Aug 2, 2010, 9:45 PM EDT

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    Of the most prominent free agents waiting for a contract, Willie Mitchell’s situation is probably the most “in his hands.” Even at a slightly advanced age, the rugged shutdown defenseman would certainly receive more attention if concussion issues didn’t bring his health into serious question. There might be good news on that front, though. Sean…

  25. Glen Metropolit leaves the NHL for EV Zug of the Swiss Elite League

    Aug 2, 2010, 8:50 PM EDT

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    Glen Metropolit is the latest NHLer to leave for a team overseas, although it’s reasonable to assume that he can be placed in the “Had Few Other Options” category rather than the “Wanted More Money” bin. Renaud Lavoie of RDS Hockey reports that Metropolit signed a two-year contract with EV Zug of the Swiss Elite…

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