June 13 2016 04:54PM
Last season, we witnessed what is most certainly the beginning of the slow death of the New York Rangers as a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.
They had about as successful a regular season as we’ve been accustomed to recently, but they were dropped in the first round by the Pittsburgh Penguins in just five games as the holes in their game noticeable through their underlying numbers that peeked out behind their record became very, very evident.
Now we have a team with an aging and expensive core with virtually zero reinforcements coming up through the system, as the front office’s mantra of selling the farm in the attempt to ‘win now’ for so many years is quickly starting to catch up to them.
June 12 2016 10:28AM
After finally breaking free from the chains of consistent mediocrity that plagued the franchise for over twenty years, the New York Islanders find themselves in a curious situation. Their last two seasons have been excellent. They made the playoffs each year, this spring they won their first playoff series since 1993, and for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82, they amassed 100 points in back-to-back seasons.
Unfortunately, thanks to a few key players set to hit the free agent market this summer, things in Brooklyn could be slowing down before they ever really even had the chance to get going. The Islanders and their new ownership are going to need find a way to navigate through what’ll be a pivotal offseason in guiding the direction of the team for years to come.
June 11 2016 06:54PM
Pavel Datsyuk really messes this whole salary cap thing up, eh? It's really hard to say what the Wings future holds, especially when they might be saddled with the cap hit of Datsyuk without actually having him on their roster.
While they did extend a 25-year playoff streak this season, honestly, just making the playoffs was a near-miracle in itself. And in an improving Atlantic Division, it might be another year of just making it... or 2016-17 could be *GASP* the year the Wings finally miss the playoffs.
June 11 2016 08:17AM
So much has been written about Gordie Howe's hockey legacy over the past 24 hours, and what more can be added, truly? A week after boxing's greatest icon passed away, one of hockey's most iconic figures lost a long and difficult battle with dementia, at age 88.
I've always noted how fortunate I've been to have just caught glimpses and "windows" of some great athletes' careers before they ended. I don't remember Johnny Unitas or Joe Namath, but I do recall Hank Aaron as a very small boy (and had a Topps baseball card labeling him as a "DH") with the Milwaukee Brewers. I don't remember Wilt Chamberlain but obviously, I was front and centre and paying attention for the beginning of the careers of Bird, Magic, and Isiah.
June 10 2016 10:00AM
In recent NHL history, no team has had more of a legacy than the Boston Bruins. Yes, the Kings and Blackhawks are dynasties. But, the Bruins are like an earthquake. Not only do they attack you when you're playing them, but they leave an aftershock, where teams felt the need to toughen up to match up to them.
Look at some of the bottom feeding franchises for examples. The Vancouver Canucks got bullied in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, to the point where they felt the need to toughen up in the offseason, making the team worse, and now look at them. The Toronto Maple Leafs, after blowing a 4-1 lead in 2013 *experiences 'Nam flashbacks*, also felt the need to toughen up, and added David Clarkson and Dave Bolland. The Buffalo Sabres, after Milan Lucic's run at Ryan Miller in 2012, felt the need to toughen up, and added John Scott. Do you see the pattern?
Another team left in the wake of the destruction of the Boston Bruins? The Boston Bruins. Yes, the team that re-defined toughness has tried so hard to emulate that in recent years to the point where they've become a parody of their former selves. That's how Zac Rinaldo and Kevan Miller came to be.
Without further ado, let's take a deeper look at what the Bruins need to do this offseason to get back to contender status — or if they even can.