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NHL Insider

Sakic enjoying hands-on time with his kids

Friday, 10.01.2010 / 12:37 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Joe Sakic is enjoying too much fun with his family to begin pursuing any type of full-time employment in the NHL.
 
So, at least for the time being, the eighth-leading scorer in NHL history won't be following the career path of another former star center and longtime captain who wore sweater No. 19 -- Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman.
 
Sakic, 41, retired in July 2009 after a 20-season career with the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche, and he's content to spend quality time with his wife, Debbie, and their three children, Mitchell and twins Chase and Kamryn, at their Denver area home.
 
"I had such a fun year at home last year, I wanted to do it again," Sakic said Wednesday during a conference call to promote the Avalanche's 1996 Stanley Cup championship team reunion Oct. 6-7. "I've got my two boys in hockey and my daughter is in gymnastics. I'm trying to help coach both boys and taking my daughter to gymnastics and everything else and I'm just enjoying my retirement.

Past Habs captains know demands facing Gionta

Wednesday, 09.29.2010 / 1:13 PM / NHL Insider

Phil Coffey - NHL.com Sr. Editorial Director

"The expectation here is to win. Management, players and the fans are pretty passionate and they want to win, too."
-- Brian Gionta

Brian Gionta joined the ranks of one of the most select groups in NHL history Tuesday when he was named captain of the Montreal Canadiens. Not only is the group distinguished, but it looks like a veritable wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame, sporting names like Jean Beliveau, Sprague Cleghorn, Toe Blake, Rocket Richard, Bob Gainey, Chris Chelios and Saku Koivu.

And the good people of Montreal take their captain seriously. This is not an honorary title, no kissing babies or handing out the key to the city. No way. The Montreal Canadiens' captain is expected to lead his team to the Stanley Cup -- every season. And there is pressure every day along the journey to that lofty goal.

Forsberg won't close door to NHL, but is realistic

Tuesday, 09.14.2010 / 4:35 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

Peter Forsberg hasn't yet given up hope about returning to the NHL, but the Swedish star acknowledges he isn't overly optimistic about the prospect.

"For me, I haven't 100-percent closed the door, but it's pretty close," he said Tuesday during a conference call to discuss the Colorado Avalanche's 1995-96 Stanley Cup championship team reunion next month.

Forsberg is one of 26 players or coaches who have committed to attend the two-day reunion in Denver. The team will be honored in a ceremony before the Avalanche face the Chicago Blackhawks at the Pepsi Center in the 2010-11 regular-season opener Oct. 7.

Two players, Sandis Ozolinsh and Chris Simon, won't be able to attend; they'll be playing in Russia.

Ex-Thrashers coach returns to serving his country

Wednesday, 09.01.2010 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

As strength and conditioning coach of the Atlanta Thrashers for nine years, Ray Bear bore a military bearing. He didn't fit the tired drill sergeant stereotype, but the crew cut and the seriousness in his squint always remained in the background even when his good humor stood out front.

Ten years before he went to work for the Thrashers, he did a combat tour as a medic in the U.S. Army's First Cavalry Division during the first Gulf War. He served in active duty for three years and then for three more in the National Guard.

Two months ago, Bear put bookends on his military career when he resigned from the Thrashers to accept a new civilian position at Fort Bragg in North Carolina that the Army created to train, as Bear put it, some of the U.S. military's elite soldiers.

Not every award winner is named Gretzky

Wednesday, 08.25.2010 / 10:47 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

NHL postseason awards are something to cherish -- a sign that no matter what else a player may have done during his career, there was a season in which his performance was good enough to be recognized.

But not every NHL award-winner is a hockey immortal. For every Bobby Orr or Wayne Gretzky, who have enough hardware on their mantelpiece to stock a trophy shop, there are players who were in the right place at the right time to get their names on some of hockey's most famous hardware.

Here's a look at some of the one-time winners of the NHL's major trophies.

A look at the first five years of the shootout

Friday, 08.20.2010 / 12:10 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

We've now had five seasons in which games that remain tied after overtime have been decided by a shootout -- a breakaway competition of three (or more, as needed) rounds in which shooters go 1-on-1 with goaltenders.

The stakes can be high: Philadelphia's run to the Stanley Cup Final never would have happened if the Flyers hadn't beaten the New York Rangers in a shootout on the final day of the season. Three years ago, the New York Islanders made the postseason with a shootout win in their season finale.

The shootout's five seasons have shown that some players and some teams are better at it than others. Most interesting is the fact that some of hockey's biggest names have struggled in the shootout, while a number of lesser lights have shone brightly.

East: Which playoff misses could turn into hits?

Tuesday, 08.17.2010 / 5:01 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Summer may be the most enjoyable time of the season for many people, but when it comes to NHL teams, they want to put off the start to the fun times as long as possible.

For the seven Eastern Conference teams that missed out on the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoff party, their goal since the second week of April has been figuring out how to extend their seasons into May -- or even June, like the conference champion Philadelphia Flyers.

So how can the teams that missed the fun turn into postseason hits? With about a month until training camp opens, NHL.com today examines why fans of the unlucky seven can hold onto their playoff hopes.

West: Which playoff misses could turn into hits?

Tuesday, 08.17.2010 / 2:44 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Summer may be the most enjoyable time of the season for many, but when it comes to NHL teams, they want to put off the start to the fun times as long as possible.

But for the seven Western Conference teams that missed the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoff party, their goal since the second week of April has been figuring out how to extend their seasons into May -- or even June, like the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

So how can the teams that missed the fun turn into postseason hits? With about a month until training camp opens, NHL.com today examines why fans of the unlucky seven can hold onto their playoff hopes.

You're never too old for a big season

Friday, 08.13.2010 / 11:09 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Though hockey is increasingly a young man's game, there always has been a place for the older player who can contribute.

Landmark achievements like seasons with 50 goals and 100 points, or winning the Norris or Vezina Trophy, usually belong to younger players. But players who have reached their 35th birthday have made some history of their own.

Here's a look at some of the best seasons by the NHL's 35-and-over crowd:

FORWARDS

100 POINTS

Gordie Howe, 1968-69 (age 41)
Johnny Bucyk, 1970-71 (age 35)
Wayne Gretzky, 1995-96 (age 35)
Joe Sakic, 2006-07 (age 37)


No athlete in the history of North American professional sports is comparable to Gordie Howe. "Mr. Hockey" was a great player when he was young and when he was old enough (almost) to be the father of some of his teammates. But his best NHL season, in terms of points, was in 1968-69. One day before his 41st birthday, Howe scored a goal in Detroit's 9-5 loss to Chicago (the Red Wings' 76th of 78 games) to reach the 100-point mark for the first (and only) time in his NHL career.

Goalies still individuals in a team sport

Wednesday, 08.11.2010 / 3:44 PM / NHL Insider

Michael Stainkamp - NHL.com Staff Writer

Hockey may be the ultimate team sport. Yet in no sport does one individual play as crucial a role in his team's success as an NHL goaltender.

Goaltenders have their own coaches and their own rituals. Some are placid, some talkative; others are feisty or combative -- sometimes even with their own teammates. A goaltender can steal a game for an outmanned team. But when a goaltender fails, everyone in the building knows it.

"The goalie is an individual position in a team sport," New York Islanders goaltender coach Mike Dunham told NHL.com. "They're out there to stop the puck and that's it, so they're off on their own island."
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