Blake’s Takes: Blue No More

The St. Louis Blues did it. They won their first-ever Stanley Cup. This week’s Blake’s Takes looks at how the Blues conquered hockey’s Mt. Everest and who the key players were along the way. I also highlight the first few major moves of the offseason.

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Blake’s Takes: Boston Forces Game 7

Last week was a big one for the hockey community. We saw another missed call in a major moment as well as the Bruins push the series to a Game 7. I dive deep into the Conn Smythe race as well as how the Bruins won Game 6. The one bit of news outside of Boston and St. Louis comes from Buffalo as one of the game’s best players is much richer.

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Blake’s Takes: Bruins Break Binnington

The Stanley Cup Finals continue. The Blues are now down 2-1 to the Bruins after Jake Binnington’s worst game as a pro. Torey Krug has put the Blues on notice and the Bruins’ powerplay continues to roll. We also have some exciting news in the AHL and ECHL.

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2019 Calder Cup Preview: Charlotte Checkers vs. Chicago Wolves

The 2019 American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Finals start on Saturday (schedule here). The Charlotte Checkers, who are affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes, take on the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. AHL teams only play against teams within their conference during the regular season, so this is the first time this year that the Checkers will take on the Wolves. 

Jim Howard, Puck Junk’s resident “Caniac,” and Sal Barry, who has followed the Chicago Wolves the past 25 years, give their insight as to which team will win. Either way, it won’t be a sweep. 

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Blake’s Takes: The Cup Final is Here

Happy Memorial Day everyone! As the season comes to an end, there are only a few things worth writing about. This edition of Blake’s Takes will feature all Stanley Cup content with a little bit of the World Championships mixed in. Continue reading “Blake’s Takes: The Cup Final is Here”

Blake’s Takes: The Stanley Cup Finals are Almost Set

This is the best time of year in the hockey world. We are in the midst of the Conference Finals and the World Championships. A few coaching hires were made and I look into the officiating problem that is leaving a black mark on this year’s playoffs.

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Blake’s Takes: Conference Finals and the World Championships

The might be the best time of the year to be a hockey fan. We are in the midst of the Conference Finals and the World Championships have started. I dive deep into both tournaments and bring back my award predictions.

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Would Pavel Datsyuk’s Return Help or Hinder the Red Wings?

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. 

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Blake’s Takes: Gold Medals & Game 7s

Every week in the Spring is another big week in hockey. This week, we saw a bunch of jerks move on to the conference finals and a prospect finesse his way into a contract. The World Championships are also starting this week and one country is particularly stacked. I also highlight a few potential additions to the Triple Gold Club.

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A Look at the Career of Gary Bettman

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”