Snap Shots: Hockey World Reacts to Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was on all our minds last week. Naturally, talk about the war found its way into hockey circles. Hockey is a global sport. Many of the game’s best players are from Russia, and there are numerous international hockey tournaments, from the annual World Junior Championships and World Championships, to the quadrennial Winter Olympics which just recently took place. 

In a life-and-death situation like this, that can impact hundreds of thousands of lives, athletes and sportswriters cannot just “stick to sports.” That said, several prominent current and former NHL players spoke out about the war in Ukraine and what it could potentially mean for Russian hockey players. 

Other hockey news this week includes two players reaching career milestones, another player having his jersey number retired, and the passing of one of hockey’s all-time great builders. 

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Snap Shots: Bruins Honor Willie O’Ree

Good morning and welcome to Snap Shots. This week, we’ll take a look at two players who had their numbers retired, a pay bump for hockey players, and a “pissing match” between an NHLer and a journalist.

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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: The NHL Partners with ESPN for New TV Rights

This week was fun to write about. The big news was that the NHL and ESPN agreed to a new broadcast deal bringing NHL games back to ESPN. In addition to my take on the new broadcast deal, I’ll weigh in on a contract that I predicted a few years ago, as well as my all-time favorite hockey/music collaboration.

Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: GM Moves and Fun Goals

There wasn’t any monumental news around the league this week. At least none that forced me to edit my column at the last minute. This week, I’ll tie up a few more loose ends and highlight a few former GMs that made headlines. I’ll also share with you one of my favorite uniform concepts and a few special goals.

Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: One Step Closer to Next Season

NHL news has been plentiful over the past week. Right after I submitted my column for last week, the NHL announced firm plans for this season’s divisional alignment and playoff structure. I’ll comment on that news as well as a few additional major announcements around the league.

I hope everyone who celebrates had a Merry Christmas and celebrates New Year’s Eve safely.

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Blake’s Takes: NHL Season to Start January 13th

Last week was an important one in the NHL. We’re inching closer to officially starting the 2020-21 season with a start date and number of games announced. I’ll give my two cents about a new type of advertisement that is rumored to happen this season. Also, I’ll look into some tough news for a few fan-favorites and one of the weirder announcements of the week. Happy Monday!

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Blake’s Takes: More Free Agency Madness

In this week’s column, I’ll look at some of the major free-agent signings of the last few weeks. So much happened around the league during the first week of free agency that I couldn’t cover everything in my previous column. 

In addition to free agency news, I’ll highlight one of my favorite new uniforms released in the last few weeks. Happy Monday!

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The 38-Year Old Rookie: How Injuries Opened the NHL Door for a Veteran Journeyman

Connie Madigan was a force in the minor leagues for 15 seasons before finally getting a crack at the NHL

Cornelius ‘Connie’ Madigan didn’t raise many eyebrows when he made his NHL debut on Feb. 6, 1973, with the St. Louis Blues. The team was so beset by injuries that 12 defensemen suited up for them that season.

However, the 38-year-old Madigan set a record that night that still stands: he was the oldest rookie to play in the NHL. And with today’s game being all about speed, it’s a safe bet that distinction will never be surpassed.

Back then, Madigan didn’t know he was setting a record. He was just happy to finally get a shot in the NHL. “Blues broadcaster Dan Kelly told me after a game that I was the oldest NHL rookie,” said Madigan, now 84. “I told him it should have been a long time ago.”

Don Cherry, who played with and against Madigan in the minors, added: “Connie should have gotten his chance when he was in his 20s or early 30s. He would have been a lot better. But a lot of guys were like him and never got a shot.” Read the rest of the story at The Hockey News.

Blake’s Takes: We Have Hub Cities!

Our hub cities have finally been leaked. The NHL season will continue in two cities in Canada: Edmonton and Toronto. There was also big news reported on a possible return to the Olympics for NHL players. Overall, last week offered a lot of positive in the hockey world. Which is something we all need badly right now.

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