NHL Round Up – Chicago fallout becomes nuclear

Joel Quenneville's involvement in the Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal prompted him to leave Florida Panthers (PHOTO: NHL)

by Georgia McCann

It has been a fortnight to remember for the NHL with not only the usual unpredictable events but also the ongoing problems in Chicago, star players getting traded and big contract signings. Let’s start with more on Chicago and the aftermath it has had on the league.

CHICAGO FALLOUT BECOMES NUCLEAR

Plenty has been going on recently in the Windy City recently and the rot has spread to elsewhere in the league. Here is the run down of the ongoings as they happened:

  • Joel Quenneville announced his resignation from the Florida Panthers. Quenneville was the head coach at the time of the abuse and publicly denied all knowledge. However, investigations showed he attended a meeting where the issue was discussed and was vocally against taking action in order to preserve team chemistry.
  • Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz wrote to the Hockey Hall of Fame to request Brad Aldrich’s name be removed from the Stanley Cup. Unsurprisingly, they obliged and where his name was is now XXXX XXXXXXX
  • Following a meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, it was confirmed current Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will face no repercussions. Cheveldayoff was the assistant general manager for the Hawks at the time and attended the same meeting as Quenneville. However, as the league noted he was the lowest ranking individual, they felt he could not have intervened in any impactful way.
  • Subsequently it was revealed by Allan Walsh that multiple NHL executives are ‘very concerned and unhappy’ with Bettman. Specifically, his handling of Chicago has highlighted his perceived weak leadership once again, with other issues also pointed to. Ignorance surrounding CTE, care for retired players, failure to address painkiller, ambien and toradol abuse, the handling of player behaviour and the Department of Player Safety, the poor marketing of the NHL and its stars both domestically and globally, plus three lockouts were all one of the many problems Walsh identified. He also claimed that many in the NHL hold the opinion that only his removal will bring change in the culture of the NHL.
Jonathan Toews did nothing to help the situation Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in (PHOTO: NHL)
  • Another individual linked to the 2010 Blackhawks was captain Jonathan Toews, who issued a very disappointing statement. Whilst he did say he wished he could have done more for the victim, Kyle Beach, he claimed he still respects Al MacIsaac and Stan Bowman who he believes are ‘good people’. Both left Chicago due to their role in the scandal.
  • What was excellent to see was the Arizona Coyotes’ Antoine Roussel call out Toews. The Frenchman did an interview for 919 Sports where he stated Toews may be a good leader on the ice but is ‘a small human being’. It’s very unusual to see one active player take such a clear stance on another and all credit to Roussel for expressing his views.

You have to wonder how this is effecting the current players. Chicago are playing dismally and those who recently joined may be feeling uneasy pulling on the jersey knowing what the organisation has done.

SABRES AND EICHEL SAGA ENDS WITH TRADE

After what seemed like an eternity, Jack Eichel is now free of the Buffalo Sabres and is now a member of the Vegas Golden Knights following a trade this week.

Along with their former captain, Buffalo sent a 2023 third rounder to Nevada and in return received Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a 2022 1st rounder and a 2023 2nd rounder. 

The 2022 1st rounder’s condition is lottery protection and in the unlikely scenario Vegas end up with a top ten pick this year, it becomes a unprotected 2023 first rounder. The two 2023 picks will also slide to 2024.

Overall this seems good for both parties. Vegas get the elite centre the crave and have already given Eichel permission to get the neck surgery he desires. 

As part of their rebuild, Krebs is an excellent prospect who will add bags of talent to their promising centre group. 

Tuch is a solid, proven NHLer and was happy to move, having been born and raised in Upstate New York. Also no rebuilding team says no to any picks in such deep drafts.

Seattle Kraken have announced their affiliate team (PHOTO: NHL)

SEATTLE ANNOUNCE THEIR AHL AFFILIATE

After it was previously confirmed the Seattle Kraken’s AHL affiliate would be located in California, we finally have a taste of an official name, logo and colours.

Sticking with the big club’s liking for mythical creatures Coachella Valley Firebirds will rep a rising phoenix-style logo and the uniform colours confirmed to be Deep Sea Blue, Red Alert, Dragon Breath Orange, Ice Blue, Boundless Blue.

They will enter the league next season and play their home games in a new 9,918 seater stadium just outside Palm Desert,  located near Palm Springs and San Diego.

RANGERS TIE DOWN FOX

Adam Fox and the New York Rangers have agreed to a seven year extension worth a whopping $9.5m AAV. A no movement clause activates in year four and there is a modified no-trade clause for the final two years.

Fox was due to become an RFA at the end of the season and by signing him so early, New York have avoided their reigning Norris Trophy winner potentially missing training camp or early season games whilst a deal was being negotiated.

REILLY COMMITS TO TORONTO

Morgan Reilly put an end to speculation whether he would become a UFA at the end of the season by signing an eight year extension to stay in Toronto. 

Worth $7.5m, AAV it does seem relatively reasonable for one of the best defencemen in the league, but the Leafs have spent big on one player too many times and now a huge portion of the cap pays just five players contracts. 

With many depth players on one year deals they will be again struggling against the cap this off-season when attempting to recruit and resign other key players.

Brady Tkachuk is the new captain at Ottawa Senators (PHOTO: NHL)

CAPTAIN TKACHUK

Shortly after signing his bumper deal committing his long-term future to the Ottawa Senators, Brady Tkachuk has been named team captain. 

Tkachuk, whose dad Keith captained the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes and brother Matthew wears an A for the Calgary Flames, is the 10th player in franchise history to wear the prestigious letter.

GETZLAF GRABS ALL-TIME DUCKS RECORD

Ryan Getzlaf has officially become the all-time top point scorer for the Anaheim Ducks. His 989th point was scored over the Montreal Canadiens, passing Finnish legend Teemu Selanne, who presented Getzlaf with his award at a ceremony commemorating the feat before the Ducks game against Arizona.

PREDS RAISING RINNE TO THE RAFTERS

The Nashville Predators have confirmed they will be retiring their first ever jersey number. Pekka Rinne, who was drafted 258th overall in 2004, before making his debut in 2005 and retiring last season, will see his number 35 lifted into the rafters on February 24th. 

The Finn guided the Preds to their first Stanley Cup Final and won a Vezina Trophy during his time in Tennessee, also spending a number of seasons with the AHL side.

Drew Doughty could be out for a little while for LA (PHOTO: NHL)

KEY INJURIES ROUND-UP

A quick overview of those top players who will be out for significant time for those of you with fantasy teams that need updating – remember the injured reserve slot is your friend!

  • Following successful surgery Nikita Kucherov has been confirmed to miss 8-10 weeks with a lower body injury
  • Unfortunately Drew Doughty’s knee injury is indeed long term and has been confirmed to be a knee contusion. He is out for 6-8 weeks
  • William Karlsson will miss 6 weeks with a broken foot
  • Patrik Laine was placed on injured reserve due to an oblique strain. He is projected to miss 4-6 weeks

AND FINALLY…

Remember the Carolina Hurricanes trolling of Montreal? Well that has just made them an extra $10,000.00. 

During Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s first game back in Quebec a ‘Did The Habs Lose?’ website offering Canes fans the opportunity to buy a discounted Kotkaniemi or Sebastian Aho t-shirt was set-up for 24 hours only, using the promo code Oui. 

Plenty were sold, with Carolina and their fans still seemingly having fun at the expense of Marc Bergevin and the Canadiens.

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