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Sunday Long Read
(Page 5 of 5)
Sunday Long Read

Sunday Long Read: Cup champs used down time well

Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

George McPhee had constructed a Stanley Cup Playoff team in 2002-03 that included the highest-paid player in hockey, a Vezina Trophy winner and two other All-Star-caliber skaters.

But something was amiss for the Washington Capitals. The $11 million man, forward Jaromir Jagr, was not producing at the level expected of him. Nor was he providing a boost at the box office. A franchise known for regular-season consistency (and postseason disappointment) wasn't moving forward or backward, and the roster was getting older and more expensive without improved results.

A terrible start to the 2003-04 season confirmed the suspicions of McPhee and owner Ted Leonsis. It was time to try something else.

Sunday Long Read: Jets lift spirits of Winnipeg

Sunday, 11.03.2013 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Thomas Steen skated onto the ice at Winnipeg Arena to a noise with an intensity he had rarely heard in his life.

The one-time captain of the Winnipeg Jets, on the eve of retirement from the NHL, had been called out onto the ice by Don Cherry, the CBC commentator, as part of a farewell ceremony for the team on May 6, 1995. It came days after the season ended and shortly after the announcement the organization was being relocated to Arizona, where it would begin life as the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1996-97 season.

Steen, clad in jeans and his white No. 25 Winnipeg Jets jersey, skated to center ice and listened as Cherry began a series of speeches -- eulogies, really -- for the Jets, the only North American team Steen had known.

Steen wiped repeatedly at his eyes, unsuccessfully fighting back tears, as Cherry lauded the fans for the passion they exhibited for the game and for their team.

Sunday Long Read: Orr's impact remains omnipresent

Sunday, 10.27.2013 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The anger, and the disbelief, in Derek Sanderson's voice are unmistakably present 30 years after the fact.

A long-ago attempt to besmirch the reputation of Bobby Orr remains a fresh wound, still galling despite the passage of time.

At the time, Sanderson was approached by a reporter researching a story on Orr, a former Boston Bruins teammate and one of his best friends. In fact, Orr played a leading role in Sanderson becoming sober and finding his way back from the abyss.

So there was an eagerness to talk about Orr. Almost immediately, however, Sanderson sensed this was not going to be a flattering tale about his respected and revered close friend. Sanderson had developed a sense for these things because this wasn't the first time a reporter had come to him looking for a speck of dirt on Bobby Orr.

Sunday Long Read: Tough decision, NHL or juniors

Sunday, 10.20.2013 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Hockey prodigies Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon have been virtually inseparable for the past two years. Now they have been forced apart by the decisions of NHL team executives and sent to opposite ends of the hockey spectrum.

Drouin and MacKinnon combined to lift Halifax to the top of the Canadian Hockey League during the past two seasons, and an assumption grew that they would be high first-round picks in the 2013 NHL Draft and begin a head-to-head battle at the NHL level that would last the better part of two decades.

But that duel must wait at least a year now after the unexpected decision by Tampa Bay Lightning management to send Drouin back to juniors before the 2013-14 regular season began.

Sunday Long Read: Goaltending Economics 101

Sunday, 10.13.2013 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Mike Richter is an American hockey hero, a kid from a small town near Philadelphia who grew up to become the first starting goaltender for the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup in 54 years and the backbone of a landmark victory for the United States at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

When Richter was eligible to be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 1998, he was one year removed from the best save percentage of his career and had led the NHL in games played by a goaltender. He was one of the top two goalies on the free-agent market, along with the Edmonton Oilers' Curtis Joseph.

Joseph moved across Canada and signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Richter stayed put, returning to the Rangers (after reports of New York flirting with the idea of pursuing Joseph).

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