Good morning one and all, and happy Friday!
Sid sounds like a man on a mission, but then he always does. Eric Duhatschek has an in-depth (yeah, I know) interview with the Captain at the outset of his 10th NHL season. Tenth.
We begin with the Pens' perennial MAP (most argued-about player), Marc-Andre Fleury, who is on the record as wanting to remain in Pittsburgh. I'd like to see Flower and his nutty banana suit here forever, but that's pretty much up to his play to determine.
Today's Slapshot takes a look at how Steve Downie will fit in with the Pens next season. All the Lemieux/Burkle laments about "grit and character" notwithstanding, Downie is a pretty good player, and still reasonably young.
Here is an interesting "What If" piece: Japer's Rink looks at what the Caps would have looked like had they won the 2004 and 2005 draft lotteries (this is part I).
TK-Noodle already summed up the rule changes announced for next NHL season. Here are some opinions on some of the key changes, including how the new anti-diving rules are a good idea in theory, but will be horrible in practice if not enforced consistently.
Marty Brodeur is still playing the wait game, and still seems determined to play somewhere. The Devils say they have a front office job for him whenever he decides to hang 'em up, but remains to be seen whether it happens this season.
The Minnesota Wild and Nino Niederreiter have reached an agreement on a 3-year, $8M contract. Danny DeKeyser remains optimistic that he'll figure something out with the Wings before their camp opens.
Pekka Rinne is finally back to 100% after a season plagued by a recurring hip infection that required two surgeries. It's good to see him back.
After Selanne, we're saying goodbye to another great Finnish Duck: Saku Koivu's 18-year career has come to an end, and the league won't be the same without him.
So, the Capitals and the Blackhawks are going to face off at Nationals Park on January 1, but there won't be an HBO "24/7 Road to the Winter Classic" to accompany it. HBO isn't doing it any more (and if you kick their cameramen out of the dressing room in a perceived all-access deal, why would they?), although the NHL will replace it with something.
The NHL expansion is probably in the works, since the execs are mildly denying it. Down Goes Brown looks at the pros and cons.
And because there are no more spin-o-ramas in penalty shots and shootouts in the NHL, here are the best ones we have seen over the years.