For 14 seasons, Pavel Datsyuk wowed NHL fans with his elite stickhandling, skating, and passing. Defensively gifted as well, Datsyuk won the Selke trophy three consecutive seasons from 2008-2010. He was a member of two Stanley Cup-winning teams, and an almost certain Hall of Famer. After the 2015-16 season, Datsyuk returned home to Russia to be closer to his young children, and joined KHL team SKA St. Petersburg.
With his KHL contract expired, Datsyuk flew to Detroit recently and met with new Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman. Datsyuk has stated that he is not ready to retire, and made it clear that he will only play for the Red Wings should he return to the NHL. A decision on whether to return to Russia or Detroit appears imminent for Datsyuk, and is eagerly anticipated by Red Wings fans. Here is why the Red Wings should sign Datsyuk — and why they shouldn’t.
Continue reading “Would Pavel Datsyuk’s Return Help or Hinder the Red Wings?”
The NHL has evolved tremendously over the past 26 years — from a league of mainly Canadian athletes and meager television revenues, to a multi-national, multi-billion dollar league. At its helm since February 1, 1993 is Gary Bettman, a New York City raised attorney. Bettman’s mandate centered on growing the game, particularly in non-traditional regions of the U.S.
During Bettman’s tenure, the NHL has expanded by five teams; Florida, Nashville, Minnesota, Columbus, and Las Vegas, with a fifth coming to Seattle in 2021. Additionally, the original Winnipeg Jets and the Hartford Whalers moved to Phoenix and Carolina, respectively. These expansions, along with the recent success of teams such as Tampa Bay and Los Angeles, have increased viewership and participation in the U.S.
However, Bettman comes with his detractors. Continue reading “A Look at the Career of Gary Bettman”
This past Tuesday saw perhaps the most-stunning upset in NHL playoff history. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who won 62 games in the 2018-19 regular season, were swept decisively by the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets, who outscored them 19-8 in the process.
Regular season success provides no guarantee for the postseason; as factors such as solid goaltending and special teams can power an underdog past the favorite in a seven-game series. Since the award was introduced in 1986, seven President’s Trophy winners have lost in the first round. Tampa Bay, however, becomes the first recipient to be swept in their opening series. Here are the top five most shocking first round playoff upsets, since the expansion era began in 1967.
Continue reading “The NHL’s 5 Most-Shocking First Round Playoff Upsets Since 1967”
Sixteen wins. This is what it takes to win the hardest trophy in sports. Although regular season success is often used by analysts to predict post-season play, only one President’s Trophy winner has taken home the Stanley Cup this decade, the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks. Sometimes, the wear and tear of an 82-game regular season proves to be too much. The team which raises the cup in June must have enough mental and physical resolve, and undoubtedly some luck, to power itself through two months of grueling hockey. Below are the five teams that have the personnel and coaching to seriously contend for the Stanley Cup.
Continue reading “Top 5 Serious Stanley Cup Contenders”
One goal. One Chris Kunitz knuckle puck over Craig Anderson’s blocker in double OT of game 7. This is how close the Ottawa Senators were from a surprise berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. Two years later, the team could not be on a more different path, poised to finish last in the league standings. Dispassionate fans, declining revenue, and the departure of star players all raise questions surrounding the franchise’s future in Ottawa.
Don Cherry, host of Hockey Night in Canada’s “Coaches Corner,” along with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, have entertained the idea of relocating the team. Were this to happen, only one location makes sense, and that is Quebec. Fans in this city long for the return of the Nordiques, and its proximity to Montreal makes for a classic, francophone rivalry.
Continue reading “Why the Ottawa Senators Should Move to Quebec City”
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are just one week away. Half of the league will endure grueling weeks, or months of extra hockey if they are fortunate, while the other half will hit the golf links early. Whether a team misses the postseason by a single point, or 20, the question remains the same: what must the franchise do differently to contend next season? In a league increasingly defined by parity, coaching turnover in the NHL is among the highest in the four major North American sporting leagues. I expect this offseason to be no different. Here are five coaches hanging on to their jobs by a thread.
Continue reading “5 NHL Coaches that Could Get Fired”
Editor’s Note: Joe Banish is a new writer for Puck Junk. Please welcome him in the comments below.
Each season, at least one high-profile free agent is available, causing fans to speculate if he will stay with his current team, or go to another team that can give him more money — or a better chance to win the Stanley Cup. Here are five high-end free agents that will make a splash wherever they sign in the offseason.
Continue reading “The Top 5 NHL Free Agents of 2019”