Top Five College Free Agent Forwards Remaining

By Brian Bobal

Casey Bailey of Penn State has already played a game with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Former Nittany Lion Casey Bailey has already played a game with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For 16 college hockey teams, their season is back on the line as the NCAA tournament starts today, but for NHL clubs, now is the time to drop in and swoop up some high-quality college talent that slipped through the cracks of the NHL Draft.

Gone already are the likes of Penn State’s Casey Bailey, Andrew Copp of Michigan and Maine’s Devin Shore to name a few, but there are still some top-notch talent that will very likely earn themselves a contract soon. Here is a list of the top five forwards that are due for a deal. Continue reading →

Rule Changes Coming After GM Meetings?

By Brian Bobal

No major rule changes appear to be coming, but tweaks might. (Photo by Getty Images)

No major rule changes appear to be coming, but tweaks might. (Photo by Getty Images)

It has been a week since the NHL General Manager meetings wrapped up in sunny Boca Raton, Fla. As always, there were a number of interesting topics on each day’s agenda. Here is a recap of some of the biggest concepts on the drawing board.

Overtime

In the American Hockey League, a new rule was instituted this season that changed the overtime format. 4-on-4 play lasts until the first whistle after three minutes and then 3-on-3 fills out the remaining time in the seven-minute extra period.

The numbers prove just how effective the new format is. Continue reading →

Devils’ Success Doing More Harm Than Good

By Brian Bobal

Florida+Panthers+v+New+Jersey+Devils+Game+Af_bSJXsXFpl

The Devils are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, but they have gotten further and further out of the McDavid sweepstakes.

Rewind to the Christmas break. The Devils had just let go of Peter DeBoer behind the bench and the team seemed destined to be in contention to land either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, if they were lucky. In came Lou Lamoriello, the architect behind three Stanley Cups and five Cup Final appearances in his long tenure as Devils’ GM, along with Hall of Famers Adam Oates and Scott Stevens.

Although it was not immediate, the team started finding success that over the course of the past two months, almost got the team into contention for a playoff spot.

Now, with just 16 games left, the team is in a worst case scenario sitting 10 points out of a playoff spot and too far out for any high hopes of winning the draft lottery. Continue reading →

2016 World Cup: The Good and The Bad

By Brian Bobal

a_560x375

Team USA celebrates Tony Amonte’s World Cup-winning goal in 1996.

In September 2016, the World Cup of Hockey will finally return after a 12-year hiatus. Eight teams will gather in Toronto for a two-week tournament before the NHL’s regular season kicks off. While this is a great thing for the game of hockey, the eight-team tournament is not completely without its faults.

The eight teams will feature most of the more traditional hockey countries (United States, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic) but it will also feature two new teams. The first will be considered a European “All Star” team from some of the weaker countries like Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Latvia and Slovenia to name a few. Continue reading →

A Look At The NHL Rule Changes

By Brian Bobal

 

Last Thursday, the NHL announced 10 rule changes that will be implemented at the start of the 2014-15 season. Here is a look at each of them.

Rule 1.8 – Rink – Goalkeeper’s Restricted Area

“The trapezoid will be expanded by two feet from the goal post on both sides of the net.”

This one is pretty self explanatory. But really, why is the trapezoid still around? Martin Brodeur is going to retire so there is no reason why it should still be there. Regardless if he plays this season or not, why should a team be penalized for having a goaltender that is skilled enough to play the puck and act as a third defenseman? If a goaltender wants to take the risk and play the puck in the corner or behind his cage, he should be able to. If he coughs up the puck after leaving the front of the net, then it is his fault, just ask Patrick Roy in the 2001 Stanley Cup Final. That is the gamble you take. The trapezoid rule is like telling a catcher he cannot play the ball if it goes behind him to the backstop as a runner comes in from third. Just get rid of it. Continue reading →

Why Ovechkin to the KHL Is Not So Far-Fetched

By Brian Bobal

 

Would Ovechkin leave the glamor of the NHL in favor of the KHL? (Photo by Bill Smith)

Would Ovechkin leave the glamor of the NHL in favor of the KHL? (Photo by Bill Smith)

Over the past few days, rumors have been circulating around the hockey world about comments made by KHL President Alexander Medvedev regarding two of the NHL’s biggest stars, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, coming back to play in the Russian professional league.

Political tensions between Russia and the rest of the world aside, any one of these two leaving the NHL would hurt especially with Ovechkin being one of the faces of the entire league. Continue reading →

Gomez Invited To Devils Camp, But Does He Have a Spot?

By Brian Bobal,

 

Can Scott Gomez earn a spot on an overcrowded Devils offense?

Can Scott Gomez earn a spot on an overcrowded Devils offense?

For the last seven seasons, anytime Scott Gomez has played the puck in New Jersey, he has dealt with a chorus of boos raining down from the fans at the Prudential Center. Come October, he will get a chance to turn the boos back into cheers.

On Wednesday, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello announced that the 34-year-old Alaska native will attend camp on a tryout basis. This tryout will be Gomez’s second stint with the Devils, something that has happened a lot recently.

Over the years, the Devils have welcomed back a lot of their former players including Scott Clemmensen, Steve Sullivan, Jason Arnott, Bobby Holik, Petr Sykora, Brian Rolston, Brendan Shanahan, Alexander Mogily, Vladimir Malakhov, Jim Dowd, and Cam Janssen. It was only a matter of time before Gomez made his way back to New Jersey. But the move is a difficult one to understand. Continue reading →

Can The Rangers Win The Metropolitan Division Next Season?

By Brian Bobal

Can the Rangers succeed again? (Photo by Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports)

Can the Rangers succeed again? (Photo by Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports)

The Rangers turned heads, but not in a good way, at the start of last season as they won just three of their first 10 games. Henrik Lundqvist did not look like his regular self and the team took a while to adjust to Alain Vigneault’s new style.

Once the Rangers got acclimated to Vigneault, they became one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Because of their poor start, they weren’t able to catch the Penguins, who won the division by 13 points, but they were a very hot team heading into the playoffs. This led them on a journey past Philadelphia, past Pittsburgh after an epic comeback from a 3-1 series hole, past the Montreal Canadiens, and ultimately to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1994. Continue reading →

What’s next for Dan Bylsma and the Penguins

By Brian Bobal

Time for a culture change in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Getty Images)

Time for a culture change in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Getty Images)

In 2009, he was hired to replace Michel Therrien and later that spring, the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup since 1992. In 2011, he became the first Pittsburgh coach to win the Jack Adams Award. Now, after blowing a 3-1 series lead for the second time in four seasons something has to change.

This loss to the New York Rangers marks the fifth consecutive playoff season where the Penguins lost to a lower ranked opponent, making each loss increasingly difficult to take.

Fingers will be pointed all around the organization from the general manager, to Sidney Crosby only scoring one goal in 13 games, and even to Marc-Andre Fleury, but the main reason comes down to coaching. Continue reading →

Game One Proves Red Wings are a Dangerous Threat

By Brian Bobal

The Red Wings are the dark horses of the East.

The Red Wings are the dark horses of the East. (Photo by Greg M. Cooper / USA Today Sports)

After an injury plagued season, the Red Wings were able to clinch a playoff berth for the 23rd consecutive season, the longest streak in the NHL. Their first round opponent? The President’s Trophy winning Boston Bruins.

Describing the Red Wings’ season as injury plagued would be a huge understatement. They had the second most man games lost in the league behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. Darren Helm missed 40 games. Pavel Datsyuk, arguably the best two-way forward in the NHL, missed 37 games. Henrik Zetterberg has missed 37 regular season games and will not return to the Wings’ until very late in the first round at the very earliest.

The fact that the Wings were able to lock up a playoff spot with the laundry list of injuries they had is remarkable. Continue reading →

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.