Bovada names Russia favorite to win Sochi Olympic hockey gold medal

If I had a few spare £’s the Czech Republic & 17/2 is not a bad bet at all. Especially with some of their players playing in the KHL.

I am looking forward to it starting now already!

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Dustin Penner Returns to the Ducks 1-year

Penner looking to get back on track with Ducks.

Penner looking to get back on track with Ducks.

Dustin Penner has signed with the Ducks on a 1-year contract.

Penner is a fans favorite after winning a Stanley Cup with the Ducks and is looking forward to linking up with former teammates.

“Getzy called me and said I should come back,” Penner said. “I’ve known him for years. We have the same agents and circle of friends. There was a distinct possibility of me coming back to the Ducks, and having the captain on your side doesn’t hurt.”

“I’m excited about having a chance to play with those guys again,” Penner said. “We’ll all big guys that can control the puck down low. Obviously it’s been a while, and hopefully there’s a chance for us to rekindle that chemistry that we used to have but they got a lot of really good players on the Ducks – [Nick] Bonino, [Matt] Beleskey, [Andrew] Cogliano, [Saku] Koivu, a great defensive corps. They were a tough team last year. I like the situation I’m walking into.

(Curtis Zupke )

Dustin Penner will need to be used in the top 6 to maximize his scoring ability with the Ducks, something that would probably not have happened this season at the Kings. A change in surroundings is just what Dustin Penner needs and Kings fans will be sad to see him go, (especially to the Ducks!)

But where better to re-spark your career than an organisation you have already won a Stanley Cup with!

 

Flyers add fight to front office with Hextall!

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The Flyers added some fight to the front office today by bringing back Ron Hextall as Assistant GM and director of hockey operations. (http://goo.gl/UAiIQ)

“I’m really pleased we were able to do this,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgrem said. “To me, [Hextall] is probably the most highly thought-of guy in the League who is not a general manager. To add him to our staff is just huge.”

Hextall’s contract at LA has ended and I am sure all like myself most Flyers fans were surprised to see Hextall return not as GM. LA fans will not be happy loosing Hextall in what is essentially a lateral move.

This is smart from Snider who can now bring Hextall through as Holmgrem’s long term replacement. However if things don’t go to plan this move will allow Holmgrem to be moved around rather than fired with Hextall waiting in the wings.

Welcome back to Philly Ron, now Flyers fans can really say our front office is harder than yours!

Bergeron, give a lung and get a contract!

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Today it has been announced that the Bruins have made their most important signing this off-season so far. Patrice Bergeron has been re-signed to an 8-year contract reportedly at $6.5 million.

“It would mean a lot,” Bergeron said on July 2. “That’s the goal since the beginning. It’s the team that believed in me when I was 18 and I was coming up. Now, it’s my home. I feel like it is. I love the city. I love the people. I definitely love the organization. It would mean a lot to me. Hopefully we can work something out.”

Bergeron had an unforgettable post season scoring 9 goals whilst playing with a monstrosity of injuries even for hockey player come playoff time. NHL players are known to play through the pain, but there are few that would have played with a fractured rib, torn rib cartilage, a separated right shoulder and worst of all a punctured lung! Now that is literally putting your body on the line for the team and nobody can question Bergeron’s passion and commitment to the Bruins.

This will also mean another 8 years of Bergeron causing havoc in the faceoff circle, after last year stamping his authority as the best in the league with a win percentage of 62.1%.

Bergeron also took home the Selke trophy in 2013 (which he also took home in 2012) awarded to the best defensive forward. He was also awarded the King Clancy award which is presented to the player who shows the best leadership qualities on and off the ice.

Bergeron is a shinning role model to the younger players coming through the franchise, who will be rubbing there hands at the opportunity to learn from arguably the best 2-way forward in the world.

With one Stanley Cup won and this seasons heartbreak in the Stanley Cup Finals there is no doubt Bergeron will be hunting another one, even if he has to discharge himself from hospital again!

Kovalchuck, From Russia with love!

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Last night saw IIya Kovalchuck announce his retirement from the NHL, kissing goodbye the remaining 12 year $77 million contract. This now paves the way for a return to the KHL, leaving the Devils to clean up the mess.

The move clears up over $6 million in cap space meaning the Devils can be more active with free agency but Kovalchuck has left them having to pay $250,000 – $300,000 a year in cap-benefit recapture fees for each of the 12 years remaining on his contract.

The Devils did release a statement on the departure of Kovalchuck.

”This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia.” Kovalchuk said “Though I decided to return this past season, the GM Lou was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”

I am sure most NHL fans have their opinion on Kovalchuck.  Some called him “Kovalchoke” and others screamed from the roof tops saying he is far better than he actually is (a bit like another NHL star we all know Sidney…)

But the truth of it is Kovalchuck posted some fantastic numbers during his 11 seasons in the NHL, including a season where the Devils took a run all the way to the final. Kovalchuck posted 19 points in 23 post season games, proving that he was a great player and one of the few that had his own individual class.

Kovalchuck’s 11 seasons in the NHL were marked with an overall 816 points in 816 games, the definition of a point per game player!

The Devils are going to miss him; although adding Ryan Clowe and Michael Ryder will help this will not compensate for the loss of Kovalchuck. This is especially true with the Devils also losing David Clarkson to the Leafs.

So although this is not a piece of tribute writing it is a goodbye to a great player that I will miss seeing in the NHL (especially on the PP).

Bruins take a leap of faith with Tuukka Rask for 8-years $56m

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The Boston Bruins have put their faith in Tuukka Rask for 8-years who had a fantastic season on a one year contract at $56m.

Firstly I am a big fan of Tuukka.

Even so I do not believe goaltenders should be signed for such long periods due to their known inconsistency. I am sure some people will disagree but you only have to look around the league to see why it’s never a good idea.

Still on a positive note if I was going to offer such a long contract to a goaltender Tuukka would be first on the list. Boston’s ever solid defense means that he does not have to carry the team with the likes of Chara defending the crease. The system that Boston plays also helps goaltenders if you compare them to what has happened at Vancouver or Philadelphia.

Only time will tell if this is a good move or not, but Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has made some smart moves so far this off season and Tuukka has proven himself in this season’s playoffs.

This deal will probably see Tuukka see out the prime of his career in Boston, which much like Claude in Philly I am sure most fans will be happy about.

More to come from our Bruins writer ukbruins…

Oilers Acquire David Perron, Trade Magnus Paajarvi

I think Edmonton will be a better team with David Perron on the second line. Considering the young talent Edmonton have Perron will bring some much needed experience to the locker room.

The Oilers Rig

You wanted bold right? Well you got a borderline bold move from Edmonton today my friends. The Oilers have traded forward Magnus Paajarvi and a 2014 2nd round draft pick to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for fan-favorite and top-six forward David Perron.

For Edmonton and St. Louis, this is a very good trade. A win-win if you will, and one that allows both teams to move closer to the goals they set for themselves this off-season.

For St. Louis, the Blues had limited cap space to re-sign two of their best players in forward Chris Stewart and defender Alex Pietroangelo. They get some cap space by moving Perron out. In return, they get a young player with potential in Paajarvi, and a 2nd round pick in the upcoming entry draft. Not a bad haul considering everything.

For Edmonton, well the Oilers got exactly what they wanted, a second…

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