Jun 2, 2011

Around The NHL: June 1, 2011

Around the NHL will be a (somewhat) daily entry that goes over what the Top 5 NHL stories of the day are, in our opinion. So here we go:

5. Kevin Dineen named 11th Head Coach in Florida Panthers history.
Photo Credit: AP
Miami Herald     ESPN    TSN     Sun-Sentinel 

CH: This is Dale Tallon's first coaching hire as Panthers GM. Dineen is undoubtedly a good AHL coach, but as we've seen here on Long Island, the transition to the NHL game does not always carry over. However, the Panthers are a rebuilding team so the desire to hire an inexperienced coach may make sense. Overall, this is a pretty important hire for the Panthers as Tallon is putting a lot of faith in Dineen. It should be interesting to see how the Panthers respond in 2011-12 and beyond.

AT: The Portland Pirates had a great past season, even though they lost in the 2nd round. It should be interesting to see how Dineen works with such a young team. Good luck, Kevin.

4. Calgary trades 2009 1st Rounder Tim Erixon to Rangers
Photo Credit: Getty Images via Calgary Herald
Calgary Herald     ESPN     TSN     Newsday   
CH: This is flat out a major steal by the New York Rangers. Calgary was unable to sign Erixon, who would have re-entered the draft and could have even gone in the top 10. They say Erixon may be NHL ready. The Rangers traded Roman Horak and two second-round picks, before quickly signing Erixon before the 5 p.m. deadline. Erixon will compete for a spot on the Ranger blueline and could be part of their young core there for years to come.

AT: Erixon should be a staple in the Rangers blueline for years to come. They got a future top 4 D-Man who has already matured 2 years since the draft for very little. Great trade by the Rangers, and quite shocking - though one has to figure the Flames didn't have much of choice.

3. Gary Bettman's "State of the Union" Address

CH: This went pretty under the radar this year, but the fact that Bettman's annual address came the day after relocation to Winnipeg was announced left a lot of intrigue for the hockey media. Amongst other things, Bettman announced that re-alignment will not occur in 2011-12. Winnipeg will play in the Southeast this year, which means they will play the Islanders four times (two on Long Island). Come 2012-13, Bettman hinted at a more "balanced schedule." Bettman also shot down any rumors of Quebec City receiving a team in the near future and also stressed harsher disciplinary actions regarding supplemental discipline.

AT: Atla--er, Winnipeg should have a fun time with all of that travel. Playing division rivals 24 times a year is going to create a lot of Delta miles for both Winnipeg and others in the Southeast division. As for Bettman's strong words on discipline, well... I'll believe that when I see it.

Photo Credit: AP

2. Colin Campbell Resigns; Shanahan Takes Over

CH: Had there not been a Stanley Cup Finals game last night, this would have been the number one story of the day without a doubt. This was a much needed change for the NHL, as Colin Campbell was unfit to handle the job at this juncture. The game is evolving every day, which makes it imperative a "new-school" player be the one to hand out supplemental discipline. I wish Shanahan the best of luck, because this is a thankless job and he will face a ton of criticism while doing it. However, he is unquestionably the best choice for this job right now.

AT: Adios, Mr. Campbell. There was never a decision you made that didn't make some people scratch their heads. I will give him credit for finally laying the hammer down on Matt Cooke, but in general Campbell was simply unfit, as Carey mentioned. Shanahan knows the newer, faster game and should be a bit more fair. Time will tell.

1. Vancouver Defeats Boston 1-0 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals
Vancouver Sun     ESPN     TSN     Boston Globe
Photo Credit: Boston Globe

CH: Wow. This was a fantastic hockey game from start to finish with hard hitting, outstanding goaltending, and even some shenanigans. We'll save the commentary on the Burrows/Bergeron incident for tomorrow. This game revolved around Luongo and Thomas, who both put on a heck of a show. The goal by Torres with just seconds left on the clock to win the game for the Canucks was a beautiful play. However, Boston certainly had their chances. Their powerplay was downright brutal last night. Vancouver didn't score on their extended powerplays either, but they at least generated some chances. What I can say, is this has the chance to be a much closer series than a lot of pundits expected.

AT: This was the battle of the goalies. The 37 year old Thomas who has the agility of a cat and the younger Luongo who still doesn't get his due from some people put on one of the better Cup final games I've seen in a while. Kesler in setting up that final play to get the puck to Torres was absolutely brilliant. The best part of it all? This game 1 had a higher TV rating in Boston than game 1 of Boston vs. Los Angeles in last year's NBA final. Hockey's back, baby.

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