Blake’s Takes: The Offseason Rolls On

The NHL needs to take a page out of the NBA’s playbook and create some buzz during the offseason. There is no one talking about the NHL. Other than a few small signings, roster movement is dead. Thankfully, there were a few headlines that people were talking about this week. You can look forward to a personal story, a new alternate jersey, and a surprisingly long take about a player’s need for a dictionary. Enjoy!

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Blake’s Takes: A Look Ahead to Next Season

With free agency having settled, hockey news has slowed down over recent weeks. So, I decided this week would be the perfect time to start my season previews. Each week, I’ll choose a few teams to feature and assess what we can expect from them this year. This week features the Sabres, Penguins, and Kings. I also take a look at one of the more-surprising extensions signed last week. 

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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: Let’s Play the Lottery

For this week’s Blake’s Takes, we look at the effect of our lottery-bound teams will have on next season. I also make my next award prediction and examine one more unloved team.

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The Top 5 NHL Free Agents of 2019

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. 

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Five Really-Lopsided NHL Trades

What makes a trade lopsided? Many hockey fans think it is when one team gets the better players, declaring that that team had “won” the trade. But getting the better players doesn’t necessarily mean that team always wins.

For example, look at the Wayne Gretzky trade. One could rightly surmise  that the Los Angeles Kings won that exchange, since they acquired the game’s greatest player in the deal. But consider that the Edmonton Oilers got $15 million in the trade, which allowed them to stay afloat, and won the Stanley Cup in 1990 with some of the assets they received. The Kings raised their profile exponentially with Gretzky on their team, but did not win a Stanley Cup Championship until 2012, long after that trade had any bearing. 

That trade doesn’t seem so lopsided anymore when you look at it that way, does it?

With today being the NHL trade deadline, here is a look at five lopsided trades, where one team clearly benefited, while the other got hosed. 

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Review: 2016 Leaf Jack Eichel Collection

Not long after being drafted second overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2015, Jack Eichel signed an exclusive deal with Leaf Trading Cards. As a part of that deal, only Leaf products could include cards autographed by Eichel. In late 2016, Leaf released the “Jack Eichel Collection,” a 30-card boxed set that showcases the Sabres’ young superstar. The big draw to the set is that it includes a hockey card autographed by Eichel. Unfortunately, that’s really the only upside to this otherwise mundane set. 

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Book Review: Game Change

“Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey”  is the latest treatise by Ken Dryden, and a difficult book to categorize. 

As the title implies, the book tells the story of former NHL defenseman Steve Montador, who died at 35 — but “Game Change” isn’t a traditional biography.

It explains how concussions and traumatic head injuries affect the brain, body and mind — but “Game Change” isn’t a scientific journal entry. 

It also recounts how the NHL, over the past century, has reached its current level of violence and physicality — but “Game Change” isn’t a history book. 

“Game Change” is more than the sum of its parts, and like its name implies, it may very well change the sport of hockey. Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goaltender and six-time Stanley Cup-winner, has written several other hockey books. “The Game,” Dryden’s seminal work, is widely-considered to be the best hockey book ever written. “Game Change” may became the most important hockey book ever written, as it thoroughly discusses hockey’s concussion problem — illustrating it with Montador’s biography — and how to fix it. 

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The Top 8 NHL Players Who Have Yet to Make the Playoffs

Keith Kinkaid (left) and Jack Eichel [Photos by Lisa Gansky Photography]
One hundred percent of NHL players will tell you that their top goal is to hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug over their head, skate around in a circle screaming, and wondering who they’re gonna spray first in the face with champagne. OK, cool squad goals bro. I can say 100% because Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Semin are playing in the KHL these days, and they only give a damn about money. The second goal for every player is to make the playoffs; just to get that extra patch on their jersey and at least play some late-April hockey. 

Now that Ron Hainsey’s Ultimate Ironman Streak of playing so many seasons on so many bad teams —  and having made his tee time on the golf course by April 15 — is over, let’s look at the top eight players currently in the NHL who have yet to make the playoffs and could take up Ron’s mantle of misfortune:

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Book Review: A Guy Like Me

Scott’s “storybook ending” gets a book

All-Star. Author. MVP. Enforcer. John Scott may be the only one who can claim to be all of the above. In his new autobiography, “A Guy Like Me: Fighting to Make the Cut,” Scott takes us through his journey on how he went from a fourth-line enforcer to All-Star MVP. Anyone who wanted a tell-all about last year’s drama surrounding Scott’s controversial inclusion in the NHL All-Star Game will get that here — and more. 

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