Happy third night of Hannukkah and merry Christmas Eve. This edition of Blake’s Takes won’t be very festive, but it will have some interesting content. Last week was a busy week in the NHL. Taylor Hall was finally moved and Ilya Kovalchuk is now a free agent! I’ll also highlight a breakout performer and take a closer look at one of my favorite plays of the week.
This week, I’ll dive into the firing of Don Cherry and why its a good thing for hockey. I’ll also give my take on a trade most people haven’t heard about and a hot start you should know about.
NHL GMs were busy this week dishing out a ton of money in extensions. I’ll look into four of the most impactful deals and why one of them could open the floodgates for the many unsigned RFAs.
I hope everyone had a fantastic Canada Day and Independence Day. As some of you may have noticed, there was no Blake’s Take’s last week. I’ve been traveling around Norway and Iceland so I didn’t have a chance to cover all the craziness that was the start of free agency until now.
A.K.A. 6 NHL Awards We Still Want to See
Another NHL season is in the books, meaning it’s time for the annual postseason awards. Each year, the NHL gives its award to the best goalie, best defenseman, most
(popular) valuable player, yada, yada, yada. What the NHL really needs is some fun awards, so last year I came up with the Puck Junk Awards, to recognize this year’s surprise goalie, toughest mofo and best (worst?) boomerang player, among others. Here are the winners of the 2019 Puck Junk Awards.
This week’s Blake’s Takes dives into Matt Duchene’s run in Ottawa and the impact of both trades. I also take a look into the hit that earned Connor McDavid his first suspension and another jersey retirement ceremony.
This week is about milestones, contract extensions and bad teams.
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:
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.
When I started watching hockey as a kid, I latched onto the Chicago Blackhawks because I lived in Chicago, and that made sense to me. My younger sister decided that she was going to be a Pittsburgh Penguins fan because she was 11 years old and liked penguins. That sounded silly to me as a kid, but now I wouldn’t judge.
People decide to become fans of teams for different reasons. Likewise, our reasons for liking certain athletes are varied, too. As a kid, I looked up to Dirk Graham because he was a hard-working player, and would have loved to have seen him play in an NHL All-Star Game. And even though he won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward, he was never selected for an All-Star Game. If he ever was, it would probably have been at the expense of a more offensively-gifted player. But who cares? Graham was my guy, and I wanted to see him succeed.
Fans should be allowed to like what sport, league, team or player they choose, for whatever reasons they wish. That said, no matter why fans voted for John Scott to be in the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, the NHL owes it to both the fans and to Scott to honor their end of the deal — regardless of whether Scott participates as a member of the Arizona Coyotes, the Montreal Canadiens, the St. John’s IceCaps or the Tallahassee Warthogs.