Hockey Critic

29 August

Dean Mayrand wins top hockey enforcer title

Toronto native Dean Mayrand defeated Mike Sgroi of Windsor, Ontario in front of about 2,000 spectators huddled in the CN Centre in Prince George, British Columbia and an unknown number of pay-per-view customers in the first "Battle of the Hockey Enforcers". The contest was promoted as a gladiator type of event that would see hockey goons go toe-to-toe on the ice, in full equipment. The event also featured ex-NHLers Link Gaetz and Lydon Byers. Gaetz was favoured to win the event, but went down twice early on and didn't make it past his first fight. [Read More!]
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24 August

Senators make blockbuster deal - Heatley for Hossa

The Ottawa Senators have been a good team over the past few years, built upon a base of some very talented players. The likes of Daniel Alfredson, Wade Redden, Zdeno Chara, Jason Spezza and Marian Hossa have played a signinficant role in their success. But the team must now align itself in the new salary cap environment where it realized it wouldn't be able to hang onto all its good young players. So after avoiding arbitration by signing Marian Hossa to a 3 year $18 million deal yesterday morning, they traded him to the Atlanta Thrashers for Dany Heatley later that afternoon. The trade will also see the Thrashers pick up defenseman Greg De Vries and his $2+ million per year salary. [Read More!]
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09 August

Todd Bertuzzi re-instated

Just as Wayne Gretzky was making news in Arizona, NHL commisioner Gary Bettman announced the re-instatement of Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi in a low key press release. Bertuzzi was suspended by the league in March 2003 for his vicious attack on then Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore. His suspension lasted the final 13 regular-season games of the 2003-04 season and 7 games from the playoffs. He continued to sit out throughout last season's NHL lockout, not playing in World Cup of Hockey, the past two world championships and for any European league. Bertuzzi will attend the Olympic orientation camp help in Kelowna, British Columbia and he will also be eligible to play in Vancouver's opening game on October 5, 2005 against Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes. [Read More!]
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08 August

Wayne Gretzky to coach the Phoenix Coyotes

Though some may argue, Wayne Gretzky is an almost unanimous choice for the best hockey player ever. "The Great One" had an amazing career as an NHL player and has now jumped back into the game as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. Gretzky who owns about 18% of the team will take over as coach from Rick Bowness who will stay on as an assitant along with Barry Smith and Rick Tocchet. Gretzky announced his move in a press conference this afternoon. "It's what I do best, to be involved in hockey," he said at a press conference in Glendale, Arizona. "I'm tremendously excited to be behind the bench. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming season." Gretzky will also serve as the club's managing partner and alternate governor, a role that he has performed for the past four years. [Read More!]
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04 August

Parity comes to the NHL

Parity is one of many buzzwords used liberally during the NHL's recent negotiations with the players union. In past years, the big free agent signings were almost always limited to teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers. So far this year, the shoe seems to be on the other foot. The big market teams with large payrolls, who did not buy out their big contracts are feeling hamstrung while the previously low payroll teams are finding that they can get some real bargins as player salaries come down. [Read More!]
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