NJ Resident, Hockey fanatic, Staff Writer for The Unbalanced.
Lace 'Em up, Seattle
Exactly 100 years ago, the first ever American-based hockey team won the Stanley Cup. This was before the days of the NHL proper, when the regular season champions in both the Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL) and the National Hockey Association (NHA) would square off in a contest for sports' most coveted prize. That fall, the NHL would be created, and by 1924, the PCHL was dissolved. But, that year—1917—saw an American team lift Lord Stanley's Cup for the first time. That team was the Seattle Metropolitans.
Analyzing the Henrique/Vatanen Trade
Early season trades involving big name players have that extra level of excitement attached to them. When a trade goes through at the deadline, we're sort of expecting it. We know it's coming. When a trade involving big names comes through in November, it catches us off guard, and carries with it a new wrinkle of expectation.
First Quarter NHL Award Leaders
The first quarter of the NHL season is behind us, which means that teams and players are beginning to settle in and find their form. Players have set a tone for their play and teams have jostled into early position, hoping to set themselves up for playoff success. At the 20+ game mark, we are able to see the 2017-18 season taking shape, with a few big surprises and some questions left to be answered.
Arizona's Silver Lining
If we are being honest, the Arizona Coyotes are one of the most confusing and enigmatic stories in the NHL. A team that was relocated out of Winnipeg in favor of the desert in 1996 has experienced first place finishes and conference finals appearances right alongside 50-loss seasons and rumors of relocation. The 'yotes moved to Phoenix (or is it Glendale?) and ripped off four straight playoff appearances. Perhaps this justified moving a relatively successful hockey team to an otherwise untested area of the United States. The story since then has not been so bright. Since 2000, the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes have made the playoffs just four times.
Will Duchene Make The Sens Better?
Well, it finally happened. After months of speculation and prognostication, Matt Duchene has finally been dealt by the Colorado Avalanche. The winners of the Duchene sweepstakes are the Ottawa Senators, who were involved as part of a three-team trade to earn the coveted centerman.
Evander Kane is Better Than You Thought
As the NHL celebrates its centennial, it could be argued that the league is more stacked with stars than ever before. With names like Crosby, Ovechkin, Price, Burns, Toews, Stamkos, Matthews, McDavid... has there ever been an era in the NHL where more big names all share the ice? You'd be hard-pressed to find it. Even in the 80s, when Gretzky and Lemieux ruled the ice, there simply weren't as many players in the league to see such an abundance of meteoric superstars across the game. As a result, some players get lost in the shuffle. Such is the story of Evander Kane.
NHL's Biggest Winners in Week One
I have a hard time stifling my excitement when it comes to hockey. If you're anything like me, the anticipation was almost too much to bear as the calendar finally reached October and hockey fans everywhere were treated to a superb opening week of NHL action. As we ramp up the action this season, let's take a look at the teams and players who are off to the best starts early on.
Jesper Bratt: The Devils Rookie You Didn't See Coming
It's definitely a new era in New Jersey. A complete roster overhaul, paired with an influx of young rookies, arena upgrades, and those terrible new jerseys have made it clear to us that the New Jersey Devils are indeed new again.
"Almost 100% Certain" Jagr Won't Be Retiring
Well, it finally happened. After an entire off-season of wondering where Jaromir Jagr would land, he finally signed with the Calgary Flames on Monday on a one-year, $1 million contract. It was a long time coming, and as I wrote back at the beginning of pre-season, the case could be made that Jagr deserved to be signed before most of the over-30 veterans who were signed to similar (or even larger) deals. At age 45, Jagr is coming off a season that is on par with or better than almost any of the veteran players signed this off-season to the same contract. And yet, perhaps because so many teams don't want to be left holding the bag when Jagr finally reaches his end, he remained unsigned until October 2nd, just a few days before the NHL season begins.
Predicting the NHL Western Conference Playoffs
Last week, I discussed who might be in line to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Admittedly, preseason playoff predictions don't usually go so well. But it's fun to think about who might have great years, comeback years, or fall out of their conferences top eight, even if your own moderators express concern over your potential existential crisis. I assure you, I'm fine. And here's who I think is going to the playoffs in the West.
Predicting the NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs
Can you feel that? September is more than halfway over. Football is under way. Baseball playoffs are just around the corner. The best time of year for sports has always been the fall, and for those of us whose sport only takes place on ice, the arrival of October means one thing.