Blake’s Takes: NHL Releases Vaccination Requirements

As the offseason continues to roll on, it gives the NHL time to get their affairs in order, too. Last week, the NHL released its vaccination requirements for all league and team personnel. I’ll start with my thoughts on those requirements this week. As promised, the remainder of my takes will examine some major offseason transactions over the last week or two.

Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: Kaprizov to KHL?

This week’s main headline is Kirill Kaprizov and the Minnesota Wild’s contractual stalemate. Will the Russian phenom really return to the KHL? I’ll add my two cents this week on the matter.

I’ll also continue catching up on a few of the major trades and acquisitions from the last few weeks.

Have a great Tuesday!

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Blake’s Takes: Offseason Madness Continues

The second wave of offseason craziness was just as hectic as the first. Massive contracts were signed across the league. There were also a few blockbuster trades that involved the games’ best players.

In this week’s column, I’ll give my two cents on some of my favorite transactions from the last week or so. I’ll also talk about some of my favorite puck junk I acquired over the last week.

Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: Offseason Frenzy Begins

What a week in the NHL! Just in the past week, the Kraken solidified their roster during the expansion draft, the NHL Entry Draft took place, and there was a bevy of trades and free-agent signings. There’s no way I’ll be able to cover everything this time, so I’ll make sure I cover everything that happened this week over the next few weeks.

Happy Monday!

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The Fourth Annual Puck Junk Awards

A.K.A. 7 Awards the NHL Should Give

Each year, the NHL gives out awards to celebrate the best goalie, defenseman, coach, and all-around player, among others. But I’ve always found their awards lacking. Yes, scoring more goals — or allowing less goals — than your competitor wins the game, but hockey is about much more than that. 

So, back in 2018 I created the Puck Junk Awards to give props to the NHL’s biggest surprise player, toughest son-of-a-gun, and the guy that everyone hates, among others. And this year, Puck Junk Podcast cohost Tim Parish chipped in his two cents on who should win these awards that we wish were real. 

So, without further ado, here are your winners of the 2021 Puck Junk Awards!

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Blake’s Takes: Welcome to the Offseason

Barely a week after the Lightning hoisted the Stanley Cup, the offseason has entered full swing. The expansion draft is on Wednesday, and the Kraken have an exclusive negotiating window with all UFAs until then.

In this week’s column, I’ll share my thoughts on who could suit up for the Kraken this fall, a number of high-profile offseason moves, and one notable retirement. 

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Blake’s Takes: Lightning Go Back-to-Back

The Lightning have won the 2021 Stanley Cup. This team thrives off unusual circumstances. They have now won a Stanley Cup in the middle of a pandemic in a bubble in Edmonton, and won another at the tail end of the pandemic during a truncated season. This column will be mostly dedicated to the Lightning and their accomplishments.

It won’t be all Tampa Bay, though. My last two takes will be a little spicy and cover two topics I think all of you will enjoy reading about.

Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: Stanley Cup Final Set

The Stanley Cup Finals are set. The defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning will square off against the underdog Montreal Canadiens. I’m excited to watch such an interesting matchup. If Tampa Bay wins, they’ll be the first team since 2017 to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. If Montreal wins, they’ll be the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since they did it back in 1993. Game One is tonight. Buckle your seatbelts. 

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Re-imagining the 1991 NHL Entry Draft

Thirty years ago was the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. First-overall pick Eric Lindros was by far considered the best player available in the draft — a can’t-miss prospect who would be the next Wayne Gretzky. 

In fact, Lindros was called “The Next One” since he was 14 years old. And who could argue? He was 6’4″ and 230 pounds. He scored 149 points in just 57 games during his last season of major junior hockey. Lindros was a dominant force that could control the game. So, it wasn’t any surprise when the Quebec Nordiques selected Lindros with the first-overall pick. 

But was Lindros really the best player in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft? Would NHL scouts and GMs spend a first-overall pick on The Big E, or someone else, knowing then what we know now?

So, let’s imagine that we could re-do the first round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Let’s set our Wayback Machines to June 22, 1991, pack an iPad with Hockey DB and Hockey Reference already bookmarked — we’ll worry about finding a WiFi hot spot when we get there — and see how the first round of the 1991 Draft would have played out in our alternate timeline.

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