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James O’Brien

  1. Report: Ilya Kovalchuk talks might conclude Monday, prepare grain of salt

    Jul 11, 2010, 6:40 PM EDT

    I know many of you (myself included) are in “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” mode when it comes to Ilya Kovalchuk talk. After all, there have been plenty of false starts in the process. The latest rumor comes from’s Darren Millard on Twitter. Kovy-gate comes 2 an…

  2. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp enjoy their days with the Stanley Cup

    Jul 11, 2010, 4:10 PM EDT

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    It’s pretty tough to top Jonathan’s Toews’s 2009-10 season. Along with other accomplishments, he won a gold medal, Conn Smythe Trophy and became the youngest captain in NHL history to win the Cup. Today was his day with the Cup and the young star brought the best trophy in sports to his home of Winnipeg.…

  3. Ottawa Senators went the extra mile (and year) to land Sergei Gonchar

    Jul 11, 2010, 3:20 PM EDT

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    I’ll always remember how unimpressed I was when the Pittsburgh Penguins handed Sergei Gonchar a five-year, $25 million contract five years ago. Gonchar proved me dead-wrong since then, logging big-time minutes while bringing top-end offense and underrated defensive skills to the table in his time at the Igloo. Still, at the far-from-tender age of 36,…

  4. St. Thomas honors hometown hero Joe Thornton with 'Jumbo' banner

    Jul 11, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

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    While many observers will criticize him for failing to earn a Stanley Cup banner, Joe Thornton was honored by the people of his hometown with a big banner at a local rink. The St. Thomas Times has more on the ceremony. He is arguably the biggest celebrity to hail from St. Thomas. And, now, Joe…

  5. Columbus Blue Jackets are GM Scott Howson's team now, for better or worse

    Jul 11, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT

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    I still think that the Columbus Blue Jackets made a mistake when they fired Ken Hitchcock last season. He was a rare beacon of hockey competence in an organization that rarely – if ever – did things correctly in their puck pursuits. Just take a look at the severe deficit in talent on their roster;…

  6. Carrie Underwood, Mike Fisher officially married on Saturday

    Jul 11, 2010, 11:50 AM EDT

    Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood tied the knot on Saturday in a ceremony that was (very oddly) exclusively covered by People Magazine. The couple went a long way to keep their wedding location a secret, apparently only letting guests know the location once people picked up their plane tickets. The Ottawa Sun reports that 250…

  7. The PHT Nightcap: Saturday, July 10th

    Jul 10, 2010, 10:50 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. It was a bit…

  8. Would signing Ilya Kovalchuk cost the NJ Devils Zach Parise in the future?

    Jul 10, 2010, 8:20 PM EDT

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    Most reports indicate that the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings are in a two-horse race for Ilya Kovalchuk (well, I guess it might be a three team contest if you count the KHL, in general). The problem is, players like Kovalchuk take a lot of pieces of the salary cap pie. Tom Gulitti…

  9. Jack Johnson pursues a degree at Michigan when he's off the ice

    Jul 10, 2010, 7:30 PM EDT

    Jack Johnson is a specimen of a defenseman, but sometimes his high-risk, high-reward style gives him a bit of a “shaggy dog” reputation. While he has some learning to do in his own end, he also acknowledges that he’d like to hit the books off the ice too. In a nice (and sadly rare) story,…

  10. Taylor Hall gets acquainted with Edmonton

    Jul 10, 2010, 3:45 PM EDT

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    It’s pretty hard to believe that a franchise that employed Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey never had a No. 1 overall draft pick until they selected Taylor Hall in June, but that’s exactly the case. Hall got his first taste of Edmonton this week – and regardless of what…

  11. Penguins' 'Ice Crew' will be co-ed, not cheerleaders on ice

    Jul 10, 2010, 2:50 PM EDT

    While you can’t really give the Pittsburgh Penguins kudos for losing a bunch and therefore ending up with top-end draft picks like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal, the team should be given credit for how well it interacts with fans. After all, the Penguins ended up No.1 in ESPN’s poll for…

  12. Ducks GM Bob Murray shoots down rumors regarding a Bobby Ryan trade

    Jul 10, 2010, 1:00 PM EDT

    The San Jose Sharks finally broke the seal on offer sheets yesterday, signing Chicago Blackhawks restricted free agent Niklas Hjalmarsson to a deal that the Hawks have seven days to match. Such a move brings up a lot of questions, particularly when it comes to the other desirable RFAs. One of the biggest fish in…

  13. Vancouver Canucks' makeover continues with front office, assistant coaches

    Jul 10, 2010, 12:10 PM EDT

    In my opinion, the Vancouver Canucks should look at the 2009-10 season as a considerable success. Yes, I know that the images that stick out in most hockey fans’ minds involve the team floundering against a clearly superior Chicago Blackhawks club. They certainly didn’t seem like they were “all there” and that probably strikes many…

  14. The PHT Nightcap: Friday, July 9th

    Jul 10, 2010, 12:23 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. Steve…

  15. Another NHL '11 Trailer: Previewing new physics, faceoff engine, etc.

    Jul 9, 2010, 7:50 PM EDT

    With the scary and sad summer sans hockey already upon us – but the free agent flood gradually downgrading to a trickle – we’ll have to entertain ourselves with debates and various other topics. That actually should be a lot of fun, but many hockey fans will get their hockey fix in polygonal form. Electronic…

  16. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Nikolai Zherdev is officially a Philadelphia Flyer

    Jul 9, 2010, 6:10 PM EDT

    The Philadelphia Flyers confirmed today’s rumors; they signed Nikolai Zherdev to a one-year contract. It’s unclear what his salary/cap hit will be just yet. Update via CSN Philly: word is that Zherdev’s cap hit will be $2 million. Not bad. Earlier today, I discussed that signing the hit-or-miss Russian to a one-year contract makes a…

  17. Sharks, Wild join Red Wings as teams interested in Mike Modano

    Jul 9, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

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    The Mike Modano saga keeps going and going, even if it all feels a little bit wrong considering the guy spent an insane 22 years with the Dallas Stars franchise. While seeing Modano in another jersey will make Stars fans’ stomachs turn no matter what, the thought of him being a member of the Detroit…

  18. Anaheim Ducks trade Steve Eminger to NY Rangers for Aaron Voros and Ryan Hillier

    Jul 9, 2010, 5:30 PM EDT

    The Anaheim Ducks defense is a far cry from the Stanley Cup winning unit that dominated its way to a championship through both brutality (Chris Pronger) and finesse (Scott Niedermayer). I guess that’s what happens when you lose a Norris Trophy winner per summer. The Ducks moved Steve Eminger to the New York Rangers for…

  19. Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood's super secret wedding plans

    Jul 9, 2010, 3:30 PM EDT

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    Apparently, second-line NHL centers need to be top secret when it comes to their weddings. (Oh, wait, they’re being so confidential about it because of his exponentially more famous wife? Oh, oops.) reports that many of the couple’s guests won’t even know where their nuptials will take place this weekend until they get their…

  20. Bob Probert remembered as a 'gentle soul' by family, friends at his funeral

    Jul 9, 2010, 2:40 PM EDT

    While it’s great to hear the love showered upon Bob Probert during his funeral proceedings, the details can be pretty heartbreaking. Let me share a couple accounts of the Friday morning ceremony. Tom Leyden of WXYZ provided some of the sensory details. Not surprisingly, Bob Probert went out with a roar. A line of more…

  21. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Rangers sign Dan Girardi to four-year deal, avoid arbitration

    Jul 9, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT

    The New York Rangers wrapped up 26-year-old defenseman Dan Girardi today. Going by the cap hits and term listed at, it could be a four-year deal worth $13.3 million with an annual cap hit of $3.325 million. (CapGeek notes that the financial details are not yet official, so the numbers might be a bit…

  22. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Sharks sign Blackhawks RFA Niklas Hjalmarsson to a hefty offer sheet

    Jul 9, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

    So much for NHL GMs eschewing their inner Kevin Lowes so they don’t anger the Brian Burkes of the world. The San Jose Sharks threw down a serious gauntlet on their Western Conference tormentors, signing Chicago Blackhawks restricted free agent defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a stunning four-year, $14 million offer sheet. (Source: TSN.) Chicago has…

  23. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Bruins sign Mark Stuart to one-year, $1.675M deal

    Jul 9, 2010, 12:10 PM EDT

    For better or worse, the Boston Bruins roster is just about set. The team signed 26-year-old defenseman Mark Stuart to a one-year, $1.675 million contract. TSN has more. The 26-year-old Stuart is a veteran of 252 NHL regular season games and has compiled 12 goals, 23 assists for 35 points and 261 penalty minutes in…

  24. A one-year deal would make a lot of sense for Nikolai Zherdev, Flyers

    Jul 9, 2010, 11:20 AM EDT

    Yesterday, I expressed some misgivings about the Philadelphia Flyers’ interest in signing enigmatic winger Nikolai Zherdev. The thing is, I was under the impression that Zherdev was looking to sign a multi-year contract. Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the Flyers and Zherdev are on the verge of signing a one-year deal, though. Now, a…

  25. Steve Yzerman expected to provide a eulogy at Bob Probert's funeral

    Jul 9, 2010, 10:40 AM EDT

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    When you look back at the greatest offensive players who played parts of the 80s and 90s, the lucky ones had a top-notch enforcer protecting them. Wayne Gretzky had Dave Semenko and Marty McSorley. Mario Lemieux suffered for some time without a true “bodyguard.” For many years, Bob Probert watched Steve Yzerman’s back. So it…

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