Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Murray’

The NHL’s CBA Works Against Player Development

July 14th, 2011

The newly amended Collective Bargaining Agreement following the NHL’s 2004-2005 lockout created a number of significant changes to the NHL; some foreseeable and some not.

The biggest impact from the CBA is the hard salary cap and the significance now placed on talented prospects and rookies.

The economic reality of today’s NHL makes young and talented players (that’s the polite way of saying “cheap but effective players”) an extremely valuable commodity. Common place knowledge now, but GM’s like Jim Rutherford and Bryan Murray figured this out years ago.

While the salary cap limits the amount a team can pay players, it certainly has no bearing on the number of scouts, coaches, and development professionals an organization can employ. I’ve never understood why big market teams don’t invest more in their player personal departments and development programs (the Toronto Maple Leafs being one of the few exceptions).

If I were running a hockey team, I’d be putting my players on custom development programs with my best trainers, scouts, coaches etc… the moment after I drafted them. Seriously – right after the photo on the podium, I’d show my newly drafted prospects a treadmill backstage with their name on it. Then I’d have them board a flight to my team’s gym and practice facility for the rest of the summer.

But wait! You can’t do that.

» Read more: The NHL’s CBA Works Against Player Development

Hatin’ on Cory Clouston… really?!

December 5th, 2010

It’s finally happened – The Ottawa Senators are crappy again. Sort of. But they had a great run for well over 10 years, and all the winning has finally caught up to them.

Chris Kelly of the Ottawa Senators.

People act like they are surprised, but they shouldn’t be. This happens to all franchises in any sport. Most organizations don’t win as much or for as long as the Senators did and fans have gotten a little too accustomed to it. There are 29 other NHL teams that want to win too. Some of them are now in their “window” of opportunity.

In Ottawa’s case, we’re starting to see some lean years again. Roster holes a popping up a bit more and games are getting harder and harder to win. With that comes pessimistic attitudes and questions directed towards players, management and of course, coaches.

Enter: Cory Clouston. And people calling for his head. Really? Really. Unfortunately. Here’s a guy that’s done nothing but win since he arrived to the big show. And some still want him fired, despite the roster he’s been given. How about the GM? Some of Bryan Murray’s decisions have been controversial and certainly impacted Clouston’s ability to win. My two cents: Don’t hire a coach who has one style and sign players who play another.

The point of this rant? I wrote an article earlier this afternoon for The Score about Cory Clouston. I feel like he’s the last thing that needs changing in Ottawa. Basically I’m defending his honour with cool swords and mighty words.

Click here to read it.

Feel free to comment if you agree/disagree. It would be awesome to get some healthy Senators-based discussion going on “Houses of The Hockey.” Sometimes it’s all Leaf discussions and that kind of makes me want to throw up.

Please help me avoid throwing up, friends. As always…

Stay classy, Cory Clouston.

Linkshare day (Oct 31)

October 31st, 2010

Holy crap! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a “Linkshare” day, but with zero NHL games today, there’s probably never been a better time for one. Here’s some great reading to tide you over until hockey action resumes tomorrow. Before getting to the great stuff, here’s some recent stuff I’ve done for The Score’s Houses of The Hockey:

Keeping Up With The Kids
I think today’s veteran players who are in their mid-to-late 20s are screwed by the new wave of young talent coming into the NHL. In two or three years, I don’t think the “older” players will be able to keep up with the kids of today/tomorrow.

A Bold Rookie of The Year Prediction
There are so many impressive rookies this NHL season, but I really believe Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes will be the Rookie of The Year. Agree?

The Start of an NHL Social Media Policy
This is actually serious. A long time friend of mine climbed the referee ladder from local minor hockey all the way to the AHL. Recently, the NHL told referee’s they’re “legally no longer allowed to use Facebook.” For the first time (and last time), I’m breaking actual news.

Moving forward, I’m going to post The Score links on Stayclassy the day they go live. This way it will be easier to follow. With that stuff (read: crap) out of the way, here’s some great articles from around the hockey blogosphere recently:

The Unstable Life of A (AHL) Player – Puck Daddy/Bourne’s Blog
Justin Bourne has quickly made his way to the top of my “must read” list. The writing is good, but it’s his insight that keeps me coming back for more. This article is a about life as a “fringe” ECHL/AHL player getting called up and sent down. It shows how life takes a backseat when being called up to play four minutes of a hockey game. Interesting stuff.

Retooling On The Fly – The Bryan Murray Era –
This is a really long, but really good article about Bryan Murray’s impact with the Ottawa Senators. The article suggests the Senators are close to bottoming out and I completely agree with it. It’s a long read, but well worth it. Check it out. Also, for what it’s worth, the 6th Sens dudes are good people. Now you really have to read their post.

List of Players To Watch In The WHL –
Neat article from about how it’s been 15 years (almost) since the last 1st overall pick came from the WHL. The article mentions a number of high caliber WHLers who are considered high prospects. Quick check: Without looking, do you know who that last 1st overall WHLer was?

Other NHL Superstars Who Wound Up In The Doghouse –
Ahhh, more hilarity from DGB. The title says it all.  Check it out.

Burke Knows How to Create Headlines –
Andy Stickland is quickly becoming another favourite writer of mine. Here’s an interesting post about Brian Burke’s GM/media tactics, and why they differ in Toronto versus Anaheim.

Skinner hoping to be returned to juniors to avoid being stuck in Raleigh all year –
Just after I prognosticate Jeff Skinner to be this year’s Rookie of The Year, IntentToBlow publish an article that suggests the very opposite. Clearly, I need to challenge them to a fight in order to properly respond to their actions.

How To Be An NHL Defenceman –
If you don’t know, Bloge specializes in video hockey humour. In addition to this, many of his video’s include wicked raps with hockey laughs stuffed into two or three minute sequences. This video is one of his best to date.

Do me a favour, friends. Read/Watch these articles. They are well written and deserve your attention. And best of all, they weren’t written by me so you know they are good! Have a happy Halloween. I’ll be back later this week!

Stay classy, hockey fans.

Other people and organizations DownGoesBrown can write for

July 28th, 2010

Hockey news in late July is pretty slim (read: Not Wellwood). And then yesterday a number of hockey stories broke all at once. The signings of Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex Frolov (Kovalchuk-Lite versions 1 and 2), Max Talbot referring to Alex Ovechkin as a hygienic instrument and of course the big story, DownGoesBrown now writing for the National Post!

(Check out his debut article here).

As many in the online hockey community noted yesterday, this is crazy-awesome news. Kudos to the National Post for doing something different and bringing something fresh to their audience. Following this news, I had many contacts reach out and inform me that DGB’s writing skills could be hugely valuable within NHL circles. My mind began racing and I started calling my insiders to learn as much as I could.

So in light of his new writing gig, here’s a few other people and organizations DGB can write for:

  • New Jersey Devils: Apparently Lou Lamoriello and the rest of the New Jersey Devils are having some trouble writing a simple 17-year contract for a player I’m not overly familiar with. I’m pretty sure DGB could take a look through the existing contract and jam in a few subtle points to make it stick with the league.
  • Kyle Wellwood: We are a full month into free agency and Kyle Wellwood has been offered as many NHL contracts as he’s ordered salads this summer. Maybe DGB can work with Wellwood’s agent to write a pamphlet outlining some of Kyle’s core skills. Skills like “Ability to weave in-and-out of impatient McDonald’s lines on free Big Mac day” and “Literally wrestling every last piece of fried chicken out of the KFC stand just outside of Sunday’s Nascar event.”
  • Junior Hockey Stars: It would be nice of DGB to help prepare top junior stars for the NHL by giving solid advice and handing out reality checks to those who need it. For example, DGB could address how being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs isn’t the end of your career. It just means your NHL career won’t truly begin until you are traded in lopsided exchange that further empties Toronto’s depth chart.
  • NHL11: Later this summer EA Sports will release NHL11 to gamers and hockey fans across the world. If EA Sports are smart, they’ll enlist DGB to write a eulogy script for the game’s announcers each time users try to trade for Phil Kessel.
  • Alexei Ponikarovsky: It took nearly a month for free agent Alexei Ponikarovsky to get a contract offer. Given Ponikarovsky’s disappointing results during a brief stint with Pittsburgh last year, the Los Angeles Kings might want to have DGB add a quick blurb in Poni’s contract about the NHL season mattering after February. On second thought, with DGB being a loyal Leafs fan, maybe he’s not the right guy for this assignment after all…
  • Edmonton Oilers Prospects: Everyone knows about the Edmonton Oilers history of winning, great fans and star players with no trade clauses. For young Edmonton prospects, they have no choice – their rights belong to the Oilers. DGB could help educate these inexperienced players that traditionally, you can demand a trade out of Edmonton once you feel like you’ve carried the team for a few years or weeks. DGB will be sure to note that you are obligated to cry like a baby at a press conference when this happens.
  • New York Rangers: Glen Sather confuses the hell out of everyone. It’s clear he could use a translator of sorts – someone who can eloquently explain his logic for trades and signings. Basically, Sather and the Rangers need DGB to explain how prized UFA signing Derek Boogaard is worth roughly 1/25th of Ilya Kovalchuk.
  • Ottawa Senators Goaltending Coach: Recently the Ottawa Senators hired Rick Wamsley as their new goaltending coach. It would be wise of the Senators to have DGB explain to fans that Wamsley probably won’t take part in Bryan Murray’s annual “Blame someone else February firings”… this season.

Stay classy, DownGoesBrown. The National Post just got a lot better!

Revisiting the NHL’s “What If” TV commercials

June 29th, 2010

Remember the “What If” TV commercials the NHL ran during this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs? That was a great campaign. Well, the classic ones with Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux. Some of the newer ones – like that Mike Cammalleri one – weren’t as good. For what it’s worth, I still thought the campaign was great.

As part of my ongoing effort to help grow the sport and aid the NHL’s marketing department, I wanted to share a few of the “What If” commercials that never made it past the cutting room floor. Did you know the original campaign was supposed to cover the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Entry Draft and past the beginning of Unrestricted Free Agency (July 1st)?

True story… So without further delay, here are some of the lesser known “What If” commercials that didn’t quite make it onto your TV’s:

What If… Peter Chiarelli was more ‘savvy’ about signing long term contracts?

What If… Bryan Murray turned over Jason Spezza?

What If… Tomas Kaberle wasn’t available every draft, deadline and free agency period?

What If… The 2nd overall pick in 1993′s NHL Entry Draft remembered Alexandre Daigle?

What If… The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t believe in drafting?

What If… A star player remained a star player after being drafted by the Islanders?

What If… Darryl Sutter and Lou Lamiorello each had plans for the Flames and Devils?

What If… Peter Chiarelli knew he didn’t need to include No Trade Clauses in every contract?

What If… The Lightning hadn’t gambled on naming Rich Tocchet their head coach?

What If… Most of the hockey blogosphere actually knew who the kids drafted last weekend were?

What If… People believed Brian Burke actually had 4 or 5 “hard offers” for Kaberle?

What If… The Canucks didn’t give such generous contracts to checking wingers?

What If… Daniel Alfredsson’s guarantees resembled those of Mark Messier’s… even just a bit?

Stay classy, NHL TV commercials.

Found! Actual transcript between Jason Spezza and Bryan Murray

June 6th, 2010

You are in luck. A third Stayclassy post in three days. I guess I am feeling creative or something… (that something might be Justin from the Hockeycardshow suggesting I do this, but whatever…).

Lately there have been some heavy rumors suggesting Jason Spezza might ask to be traded prior to his No Trade Clause kicking on July 1st. It’s been reported by several (read: not credible) sports outlets that this is a result of Senators fans booing Spezza during their 1st Round Playoff exit at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both Bryan Murray and Jason Spezza have been fairly quiet on the matter (probably a good idea after last summer’s Heatley debachle). Murray has even indicated he hopes to sit down with Spezza prior to the NHL Entry draft to follow up on the previous conversation the two shared days after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs (read: weird post-season tournament where all the good teams lost early and screwed up hockey pools around the world).

What many don’t know is this follow up interview has already taken place! Luckily for you I have most of the interview transcribed. Here it is:

Bryan Murray: Thanksh for sitting down with me Jashon. There’sh a few things I’d like to follow up with…

Jason Spezza: Before getting into what I said a few months ago I have to ask. Why did you tell the media about my frustration with being booed? That was kind of a D-Bag move, man.

BM: Look I’m shaawwry about that. That was actually Eugene Melnyk’s fault. He told me to do that.

JS: Since when does he give you advice on running a pro hockey team?

BM: Well Jashon I won’t lie to you. He’s gotten very good at NHL10 on PlayStation. He told me he uses this tactic a lot when trying to make trades in franchise mode. His gamer score is pretty aweshome. I believe him.

JS: Is that the game with me on the cover?

BM: No. You are talking about NHL2k8. Totally different game.

JS: I’m starting to feel this organization doesn’t love me like I want to be loved! I helped design that game and my team owner is off playing another hockey game??? I even included my trademark behind-the-back pass moves!

BM: Yeah I know… that’sh actually a complaint of many players. They say it causes too many nearly-inshtant goals against. Anyways… We really want you to stay an Ottawa Senator. You are a leader of this team and frankly my career needs you to stay here and produce like everyone thinksh you can.

JS: You mean you can’t afford to trade another star player for “top 6 forwards” that are actually role players on 3rd/4th lines?

BM: Exshactly. It might discredit all future interviews I do when I talk about the team needing one final top 6 forward and top 4 defencemen to round out the solid group I have in place.

JS: * Giggles lots * Dude! I totally don’t believe you anymore when you say that — * Giggling increases *

* More giggling transpires… *

* Still going… *

BM: Jashon, you were saying?

* Still giggling… It’s like this giggling is being looped! *

BM: Schtop your damn giggling and get to the point!

JS: Right. OK. We keep getting sidetracked here. None of this conversation changes the fact that I don’t like being booed in my own building. I’m frustrated that the only thing this city shows emotion for is my ‘unlucky turnovers’ and tax season. I need to know what we’re prepared to do to stop the boo’s. It’s the only way I’ll stay in Ottawa.

BM: I have shome ideashs. I’ll call the City of Ottawa and have them indefinitely delay the Queensway expansion to tie up traffic getting to each home game. That way less people will be in the arena for game time. Less people equals less boo’s. It’s physhicshx.

JS: Nice. What else d’ya got?

BM: We could have the Shparta Cat blast hot dogs into the crowd every time you make a bad passh. Fans will never be able to boo because their mouths will be forever loaded with fake meat and bad shoe leather hot dogs! And we could make excuses for you like “Michalek needs another knee surgery”. We can probably get away with that excuse 2-3 times per season.

JS: *Nods in approval*

BM: We could also claim the dressing room lacks character players. I need to resign Nick Foligno soon. I don’t really know what the hell kind of offer to give him so we could make him the scape goat. That helps both of us.

JS: Nice! His nose freaks me out too. Oh! Can we get Mike Comrie back?

BM: Is he still playing hockey? I could probably offer our first round pick for next season. I’d have to check with Eugene but I’m pretty sure he’ll be cool with it. He’s probably already done this on NHL10 anyways. Anything else Jashon?

JS: One last thing. This is kind of random. When TSN and CBC show General Managers on TV in their Suites writing things down, what are you writing and doing?

BM: Well most guys do different schtuff. Personally I like crossword puzzles. And I know Burkie likes Sh… Shudsh… Shudokushs. That’s like the hardestsh word to say!! Anyways between me and you he really sucksh at them. He never uses the number 2… no clue why.

JS: Nice! OK. I have to go stop off at the bank and meet McGrattan and Emery for lunch. Apparently they need me to spot them a bunch of cash for something “fun”. Not sure what that means. See you in a few weeks.

I’m sure many fans of the Senators and Spezza will get mad and defensive over this “transcript”. If you are angered please lighten up. In all seriousness trading Jason Spezza would be the worst thing this organization could do for two reasons:

  1. There is no way the Senators can replace a #1 center like Spezza (via free agency or from within their organization).
  2. The Senators cannot afford the negative press that would come from losing another star player for nothing (they wouldn’t get anywhere near the value in return) in consecutive years. Season ticket sales would take an even bigger nose dive and the organization’s reputation would hurt the team for years to come.

Stay classy, Jason Schpezzsha.


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The Senators toying with everybody all this time?

January 26th, 2010

Oh how quickly things can change in today’s NHL!

Afternoon sportsfans, Champ here feeling the winds of change (insert mandatory Scorpions plug here) in the Nation’s capital with the Ottawa Senators suddenly rolling over opponents like a fat kid at the all you can eat buffet (chubby & blimpy kids association please send your hate mail to the following email address

Daniel Alfredsson - Ottawa Senators

Daniel Alfredsson has a lot to do with the Senators recent success. Classy.

The Senators, winners of 6 straight, are looking like the Harlem Globetrotters of the NHL right now. With Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek, and Jason Spezza now all back in the fold, they really look to be pushing for a top 4 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Goaltending, which was horrendous for about a 10 game stretch (almost Red-Light Rocicot-ish), is suddenly quite solid and providing the Sens with a chance of winning every night. Even the powerplay is putting pucks in the net – something Senators fans haven’t seen all season long.

The are even reports that Bryan Murray will be an active buyer at the March 3rd NHL trade deadline. Murry has made no bones about wanting to add additional scoring depth to this seemingly potent lineup. It’s believed he’s looking for a top 6 forward (Carolina’s Ray Whitney or Edmonton’s Andrew Cogliano come to mind) without changing the current roster.

It should make for an interesting conclusion to this hockey season after the Olympics. Either the Senators will keep plowing through teams or will suffer another bi-polar episode and go on a losing streak of epic proportions. It will surely keep fans glued to their televisions to see how this season plays out.

Until next time,

Stay classy, Ottawa Senators Fans.

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NHL trade deadline recommendations

January 20th, 2010

With the NHL trade deadline quickly approaching, teams are probably starting conversations with each other that will lay the foundation for trades we’ll see on or before March 3rd.

Whether it’s big name players or subtle character additions, deadline deals rarely pay off. To help GM’s make the best possible decisions, I thought’d I’d make a few NHL trade deadline recommendations:

  • Atlanta should trade Ilya Kovalchuk to Toronto in exchange for approximately 19,000 fans who don’t care about winning.
  • Keith Tkachuk, Bill Guerin, and Doug Weight are always available at trade deadlines. I think Mike Sillinger might be too.
  • Remove any and all deadlines for trades with the Ottawa Senators and Bryan Murray. Unlimited trade time will allow Murray to continue blaming anyone/everyone else for the Sens poor performance.
  • We should all continue to ask Brian Burke about Tomas Kaberle’s availability. Why? To provoke more Angry-Burke reactions, of course.
  • San Jose should trade for a scape goat like Sean Avery or Alex Burrows immediately. That way, when they inevitably lose in the 1st round, they don’t have to blame Thornton or Heatley.
  • Montreal should trade all their disappointing 1st round selections for other disappointing 1st rounders. It worked with  Pouliot/Latendresse, right?
  • The NHL should allow teams to trade GM’s and front office management. This way, Brian Burke could screw up every other Eastern Conference team to help the Leafs finally get in the playoffs.
  • The NHL should encourage teams to place French-Canadian players on the trading block for the sake of the Montreal Canadiens. This way, Vinny Lecavalier’s name won’t be the only one rumoured for the Habs.
  • Continue giving Eklund cryptic/vague ‘E5′ quotes like “The deal is imminent, pending another deal that could shake the very foundation of earth”.

Stay classy, NHL trade deadline.

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Repercussions for Alex Burrows comments?

January 12th, 2010

By now, everyone and your mom has heard and read Alex Burrows comments about NHL referee Stephane Auger following Vancouver’s 3-2 loss to Nashville last night.

In case you aren’t caught up, allow me to help out.

  • According to Burrows, prior to the game starting, Auger approached him and said the following: “I made him look bad in Nashville on the (Jerred) Smithson hit and he said he was going to get me back tonight.” (via TSN)
  • Burrows was called for a diving penalty (which comes with a fine) in the 2nd period, an interference penalty in the 3rd period, and received a 10 minute misconduct in the final moments of the 3rd period.
  • The Canucks lose a close game 3-2 and are no longer 1st in the Northwest division.
  • Burrows goes off after the game, saying the following quote to anyone and everyone with a microphone, recorder, and ears:

“[Auger] did his job in the third, I think. He got me on a diving call I didn’t think was diving. He got me on an interference call that I had no idea how he could call that. It changed the game. It sucks right now for teammates who are battling 60 minutes to win a hockey game because every two points are so huge, are so important. And because of a guy’s ego, it just blows everything out of proportion and the refs – they’re making bad calls and the fans are paying for it and we’re paying for it.”
-Alex Burrows on referee Stephane Auger following a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators

  • A PR shit-storm has been created.

If you want to see highlights of the penalties Auger called on Burrows, KuklasKorner has a great video breakdown.

Some not-so-classy repercussions from Burrows comments…

  • Rightly or wrongly, Burrows is one of those pest type players who carry a reputation around the NHL. I think it’s safe to say Burrows probably won’t get any benefit of doubt calls from a lot more referee’s following the comments above.
  • This isn’t the first time Stephane Auger has been the center of controversy in the NHL. Seriously, did anyone really believe the Doan incident?
  • The NHL has seen a number of referee involved PR-disaster stories this season alone (Ottawa Senators/Bryan Murray commenting on no-penalty games, various blown calls on goals). The NHL needs to get a handle on this crap and soon.
  • Can the NHL have Auger as a referee in any more games for the foreseeable future or ever again? Whether this whole incident is true or not, allowing him to officiate vital down-the-stretch games won’t help the NHL’s credibility.
  • How does this affect Auger’s career? You can bet he won’t be asked to work any playoff games this season, or possibly ever again.
  • How do other NHL officials view Auger? Will they support him or not?
  • How do other NHL players view Burrows after his outburst? Will they support him or not? Will they take advantage of the lack of leniency Burrows will undoubtedly receieve from other referees?

Final thoughts

I can only begin to understand Alex Burrows frustration with this issue, however, I have a problem with him bringing it up to the media. Opening a can of worms like this makes hockey look stupid and brings yet another negative PR story to the surface. By now, this story has seen very heavy distribution across Canada and to a lesser extent, America. And it probably won’t go away any time soon with investigations being launched, subsequent fines to Burrows (I’m assuming he’ll be fined for his comments), and any additional discipline to Burrows/the Canucks organization/Auger. I would like to have seen (or not seen) Burrows go through the proper chain of command (ala Bryan Murray going to the head of officiating for his complaints) and keep this story away out of the limelight.

I understand if Burrows brought this up the way he did to have the issue seriously addressed. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I’m assuming he did this to avoid having the issue ‘swept under the rug’. But still, it seems Mike Gillis has some pull with the NHL (ie- the Leafs tampering claims) and getting them to listen to the concerns of the Canucks. At any rate, this is going to get a lot messier before getting anywhere closer to being resolved. Let’s just hope the Canucks make the playoffs easily and don’t miss the post-season by one or two points…

What do you see as repercussions for Augers accusations/calls and Alex Burrows? Discuss.

Stay classy, Alex Burrows.

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Thoughts from last night’s Canada-USA Gold Medal game

January 6th, 2010

Team USA- 6, Team Canada- 5, OT

I hate to say “told you so”… but told you so! Well, sort of. The majority of us (three out of five) predicted Team USA to win. If it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure we all predicted this gold medal game to be epic. First and foremost:

Congratulations to Team USA!

They were the better team on New Years eve and last night. Despite a gritty comeback effort to send this game to overtime, it wasn’t quite enough for the Canadians. This was easily the best game they played all tournament. That was the thing that had bothered me most leading up to this game. Both Canadians and Americans (especially the Americans) can be proud of this game and the amazing rivalry they’ve built over the last few games/years. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed such dramatic and exciting hockey played.

There’s two major thoughts I have about Team USA’s gold medal win.

  • Two posts – Most Canadians will humbly congratulate Team USA for the win but will quickly point to the two third-period posts Canada hit. Yes, the score and game could have been much different if one or both of those shots had gone in. In saying that, Jordan Eberle’s game tying goal was pretty fluke-lucky too. An American player had no stick and Eberle’s shot hit another US stick and part of Jack Campbell’s arm before crossing the goal line. When you consider the mini events that took place for that to happen, Canada was pretty lucky to get into overtime.
  • US’ win is a good thing – I think US winning this tournament is a great thing for hockey. This US team had 10 players from non-traditional hockey markets (Oregon, Nevada, Oklahoma, etc…). If hockey (and the NHL) want to continue to grow globally, America has to get engaged and what better way to start that than with this American team winning the 2010 World Junior Championship. It won’t end there either. It’s clear the United States development program is working and will continue to produce great hockey players. The World Junior tournament is sometimes seen as Canada’s tournament to lose. Canada’s dethroning will help build better rivalries which can only help new fans get into this great game.

Before signing off, here’s a few random thoughts from the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below.

  • Derek Stepan’s goal (the fifth US goal) was very reminiscent to that Marc-Andre Fleury moment in Helsinki, Finland in the 2004 World Junior gold medal game (also against Team USA). And yes, I had this written before seeing it on TSN. Seriously, who wasn’t thinking this when it happened?
  • What kind of player is Nazem Kadri? Is he a pure goal scorer, a power forward, or something else? I’m not sure yet. While his skill is apparent – he’s a great hockey player despite being a Toronto Maple Leaf – I’m still unclear where or what his niche is.
  • According to TSN, Saskatchewan sold $105,000 worth of beer at this tournament (I’m assuming beer at the games/events). At $10 a beer, that’s …. **brain explodes**
  • The Americans are shot blocking masters. The Ottawa Senators could probably use any one of those American skaters in nets right now. They’d be better than Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire.
  • Alex Pietrangelo’s composure all tournament was amazing. I loved his decision making when holding the puck in critical moments on the blue line, in the neutral zone, etc… Another great St. Louis Blues prospect.
  • I feel like I never saw enough of Brandon Kozun all tournament long. I’ll remember him most for his shootout winning goal in the New Years eve CAN-US game and the post he hit in the third period of the gold medal game. Beyond that, I still wanted to see more of Kozun.
  • Jordan Eberle is the all time goal scoring leader in Canadian World Junior hockey history. In my opinion, his two years in the World Junior Championship stand as the best Canadian performance (in this tournament) ever.

Stay classy, Team USA. Congrats on your second World Junior Championship gold medal.

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