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Hurricanes acquire Doug Weight
The Carolina Hurricanes are having a resurgent year, after a dismal 2003-04 regular season. The added some veteran scoring to their lineup by acquiring center Doug Weight from the St. Louis Blues. The deal sees Weight and prospect Erkki Rajamaki go to the Carolina Hurricanes for Jesse Boulerice, Mike Zigomanis, the draft rights to unsigned Swedish prospect Magnus Kahnberg as well as a first-round pick in 2006 and two fourth-rounders.
Mario Lemieux announces his retirement
Mario Lemieux, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, announced his retirement this morning. The 40-year-old cited health concerns
as his main reason for quitting. "I'm here today to announce my retirement from hockey," Lemieux told a packed news conference at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. "It's always a difficult decision to make for any athlete but the time has come. It's in the best interests of myself, my family and the Penguins." Lemieux was excited to start this season with the Penguins signed several free agents and drafting rookie phenom Sidney Crosby
to be at one time, considered as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
Bryan Berard tests positive for 19-norandrosterone
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Bryan Berard has received a two-year suspension from competing in international events for failing a pre-Olympic drug test. Though Berard did not crack the final U.S. Olympic hockey team roster, the random test was conducted because he was a possible candidate for the U.S. team and was named to the initial group of eligible players. Anonymous sources say that a November 12, 2005 drug test returned postive for the banned substance 19-norandrosterone, which is considered an anabolic agent.
Rangers looking to bulk up
The New York Rangers are one of the pleasant surprises of the "new NHL". They are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference with 57 points and rumour has it that the team is looking to add players for a playoff run. Veteran defenseman and former Ranger Brian Leetch was being hotly pursued by general Glen Sather. But the Bruins declined the deal that would have sent defenseman Tom Poti back their way.
Owen Nolan close to returning
Owen Nolan hasn't played a game this season is still mired in a dispute with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding a knee injury from the 2003-04 season. But reports indicate that he is close to completing his rehab and could sign with an NHL team. So far, the San Jose Sharks are supposed to be near the top of Nolan's list. He has a house and business (a restaurant) in the area and played for the Sharks from 1995-2003. With the recent addition of Joe Thornton
, Nolan could find himself in a very good sitation to shine offensively.
Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien
The Montreal Canadiens got off to a quick 12-3 start this season, but had only won 7 of their last 25 games prior to yesterday. But it still came as somewhat of a surprise when their general manager Bob Gainey announced the removal of Claude Julien as coach and moved himself into that position. He also brought in former Canadiens captain Guy Carbonneau as an associate coach to replace Rick Green and he will also be the next head coach of the team. Julien was made aware of the change by Gainey in a phone call Saturday morning and both him and Rick Green remain under contract with the Canadiens.
NY Rangers honour Mark Messier
By all measures, the New York Rangers are a storied NHL franchise. Located in the largest market in North America, this original six NHL team has a rich history and some great players have passed through the "Big Apple". And one the best ever was hockey great Mark Messier
who spent 10 seasons there and lead them to the Stanley Cup championships in 1994; which at that time was the team's first Cup in 54 years. Last week in an elaborate 75 minute ceremony, the New York Rangers retired Messier's number vaunted number "11" into the rafters of a packed Madison Square Gardens. It joined those of former teammate Mike Richter, and earlier stars Eddie Giacomin and Rod Gilbert.
Islanders dump coach and general manager
The New York Islanders are far, far removed from their glory years of the early 1980s. They have not been a model of consistency, going through eight coaches in the last nine years and for the most part, playing sub-par hockey. Steve Stirling was the eight victim, fired after about a year and a half on the job. Assistant coach and former Ottawa Senators captain and defenseman Brad Shaw will take over the coaching duties on an interim basis. Shaw will coach the team for the rest of this season with the goal of turning around their season and making the playoffs.
Thrashers get under Crosby's skin
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Thrashers had a monumental home-and-home series that ended with Atlanta laying a thrashing on the Pens. They clearly focused on Crosby
, pursuing a physical game and getting under his skin by having him take 12 minutes in penalties in those two games. One of the penalties lead to Ilya Kovalchuk scoring the game winning goal after which he skated by the penalty box and pointed his finger at Crosby. Ilya is no stranger to such tactics - during the 2001 World Junior Championship in Moscow he went nuts after scoring an empty net goal in the gold medal game against Canada.