All posts by Matt Teague

Report: NHL looking at starting next season at aesthetically pleasing site

The NHL is looking to hold opening day of the 2020-21 season at an aesthetically pleasing location to make it even more memorable, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo.

Beginning the campaign at Lake Louise in Alberta was one possibility, but that idea has since been squashed due to issues that surfaced after visiting the site, Russo adds.

Two of the league's marquee events in 2021 - All-Star Weekend and the Winter Classic - were postponed Thursday until 2022 at the earliest.

The league is still targeting Jan. 1 as the potential start date for next season.

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PWHPA gets $1M commitment from Secret to fund 2021 Dream Gap Tour

The Professional Women's Hockey Players Association announced Thursday that it's received a $1 million commitment from Secret deodorant to fund the Dream Gap Tour in 2021.

"Thanks to brands like Secret, players are given access to the necessary training facilities and resources and opportunities to compete, that professional sport demands," said PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford.

The PWHPA was established in May 2019 after the shutdown of the Canadian Women's Hockey League. The association created the Dream Gap Tour in 2020, which Secret supported, to showcase women's hockey across North America. The tour features over 100 of the sport’s top talents.

The COVID-19 pandemic is heavily impacting professional sports leagues worldwide, and it has kept women's hockey on the sidelines for several months.

"COVID-19 affected our positive momentum and threatened our upcoming season," Hefford said. "We’re so thankful for Secret’s ongoing support of the PWHPA.

"The PWHPA is made up of the best hockey players in the world, the fans deserve a chance to watch these women play and our players deserve to be treated equitably. This is a pivotal moment to create real change in women’s professional sports."

The PWHPA also announced its plan for the second Dream Gap Tour. Teams will be based in five markets (Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Minnesota, and New Hampshire), and will compete in six showcase events across the continent. For the first time ever, cash prizes and the Secret Cup will be up for grabs.

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Stars re-sign Gurianov to 2-year deal worth $5.1M

The Dallas Stars have re-signed forward Denis Gurianov to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $2.55 million, the team announced Thursday.

Gurianov was a restricted free agent and played a crucial role in the Stars' run to the Stanley Cup Final this summer. He finished second on the team with nine postseason goals, totaling 17 points through 27 games.

The 23-year-old also paced the Stars in regular-season tallies, netting 20 -including seven on the power play - across 64 contests.

Gurianov posted gaudy possession numbers in 2019-20. The 6-foot-3 winger had a Corsi For of 55.99%, and the Stars owned an expected goals for percentage of 59.23 with him on the ice at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Dallas selected Gurianov with the 12th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

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Flames sign Dominik Simon to 1-year deal worth $700k

The Calgary Flames signed forward Dominik Simon to a one-year deal worth $700,000, the team announced Thursday.

Simon, who underwent shoulder surgery in April, didn't receive a qualifying offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he became an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

The 26-year-old recorded seven goals and 22 points over 64 games with the Penguins in 2019-20. He's amassed 19 goals and 64 points while averaging 13:14 of ice time across 173 NHL contests.

Calgary holds $2.58 million in projected cap space with a roster of 19 and only one outstanding restricted free agent in defenseman Oliver Kylington.

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Report: Senators, Brown avoid arbitration with 3-year, 10.8M deal

The Ottawa Senators signed forward Connor Brown to a three-year deal with an average annual value of $3.6 million, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Brown was a restricted free agent and had an arbitration hearing scheduled Thursday.

The 26-year-old enjoyed a career season in his first year with the Senators, amassing 16 goals and ranking second on the club with 43 points through 71 games.

He also logged a career-high 20:07 of average ice time per game last season and was a key player on Ottawa's penalty kill while also contributing on the power play.

The Senators acquired Brown from the Toronto Maple Leafs in July 2019.

Ottawa has $17.8 million in projected cap space with only one outstanding restricted free agent in forward Chris Tierney.

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Kraken hire Gary Roberts as sports science and performance consultant

The Seattle Kraken announced seven new hirings Wednesday, most prominently adding longtime NHL forward Gary Roberts as their sports science and performance consultant.

"Roberts will work to provide the Kraken training center and team infrastructure with the proper equipment and systems in place to enable Kraken players to perform at their highest potential," the club said in a statement.

Roberts, 56, became a personal trainer after retiring from the NHL in 2009. His success in the field led him to create the Gary Roberts High Performance Centre in Toronto, where he currently works with several NHL players including Connor McDavid and Steven Stamkos.

The hiring marks Roberts' second post-playing role with an NHL club; he served as the Dallas Stars' player development consultant in 2010-11.

Roberts and Kraken general manager Ron Francis were teammates during their playing careers with both the Carolina Hurricanes (1998-2000) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (2003-04).

Roberts amassed 438 goals and 910 points over 1,224 career contests and captured the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989.

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Tippett confident in Puljujarvi’s growth: ‘He’s a different player’

Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett believes his club will get an improved version of Jesse Puljujarvi when the Swedish-born Finnish forward rejoins the club next season.

"You watch him play now and he's a different player," Tippett said, according to NHL.com's Ryan Frankson. "He's a dominant player in the Finnish league right now.

"His English is good and he's anxious to come over and prove he can be a good player in the best league in the world ... I think we'll get a much better player coming in here this time."

Puljujarvi tallied 24 goals and 53 points over 56 games for Karpat of the Finnish Elite League in 2019-20 to rank fourth in league scoring.

The Oilers signed the 6-foot-4 winger to a two-year, $2.35-million deal earlier this month. He's been loaned to Karpat for the beginning of the 2020-21 campaign but will return to North America once the NHL season starts.

Puljujarvi has struggled to carve out a permanent role at the NHL level since being selected fourth overall by Edmonton at the 2016 draft. He recorded 17 goals and 37 points over 139 contests with the Oilers before choosing to return to Finland prior to last season after the team failed to meet his trade request.

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Blackhawks commit to ‘rebuilding our roster’

The Chicago Blackhawks are shifting their attention toward the future.

The team released a statement to season-ticket holders Tuesday and admitted they're focused on rebuilding the roster.

"We recently said goodbye to a pair of popular, two-time champions and acquired some new players via trade and free agency," the statement read. "We understand it was tough to see those respected veterans go and realize you may have some questions about our direction. We'd like to address that direction and share why we're hopeful for the future of Blackhawks hockey.

"We're committed to developing young players and rebuilding our roster. We want more than another window to win; we want to reach the summit again, and stay there - an effort that will require a stockpile of emerging talent to complement our top players."

The Blackhawks veteran core reportedly voiced their frustration last week with the team's moves this offseason. Chicago allowed perennial puck-stopper Corey Crawford to walk in free agency, dealt goal-scorer Brandon Saad, and opted not to extend qualifying offers to Drake Caggiula and Slater Koekkoek.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who said the team's moves came "as a shock," and superstar Patrick Kane each have three years remaining on their contracts.

General manager Stan Bowman said he spoke with Toews, Kane, Brent Seabrook, and Duncan Keith to ensure everyone is on the same page.

"We had a very good discussion, in-depth discussion about where we're going," Bowman said, according to NBC Sports' Charlie Roumeliotis. "I think part of this communication here is to clear up some miscommunications or perceptions.

"It's really not a rebuild in a (sense) of 'we're tearing this down and we're just getting rid of all the players.' Sometimes you do have to make difficult decisions to trade away popular players and it's hard for our veterans who've been together."

The Blackhawks upset the Edmonton Oilers in four games in the best-of-five play-in round in 2019-20. Chicago missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons before this past campaign.

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Hockey world honors ‘Doc’ Emrick’s memorable career

Legendary broadcaster Mike "Doc" Emrick announced his retirement Monday, and the hockey world is celebrating the 74-year-old's storied career and already missing his distinct voice.

Here are kind words from the many people Emrick impacted over his 47-year career, along with some of his most memorable calls.

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