With the Bettman experiment coming to a close, the Coyotes are headed to…

In the late 1990′s, Gary Bettman had a vision of grandure. A vision that would bring professional ice hockey to places people spent their days entrenched in football and sun tan lotion. In 1996, pro hockey moved from hockey hot bed Winnipeg, Manitoba to, well, hot bed Phoenix, Arizona. A few years later, the Atlanta Thrashers got an expansion team of their very own (which has since relocated to… Winnipeg! The circle of life is complete!) Is Bettman fully responsible for these odd choices of markets? Not exactly, but I can’t pass up an opportunity for a slight jab at the commissioner whenever humanly possible…

Over the past few years, rumors have swirled about the great city Glendale in regards to the Coyotes future in Arizona. One week they are being bought by a multi-millionaire and moved to Hamilton, the next week, they are being dismantled and turned into a synchronized skating troupe to perform in the greater Cleveland area.

Recently, news surfaced that San Fransisco-based hedge fund manager Chris Hansen is investing $290 million (plus the cost overruns, plus purchasing and NBA team and relocation fee…) towards a new arena in Seattle, Washington just south of Safeco Field (home of the MLB’s Seattle Mariners). The vision for this arena is to home a relocated NBA team as well as an NHL team.

Luckily for me, I have a sportswriter connection in the great city of Seattle, so I had the perfect source to approach as soon as the news surfaced. Most of you have heard is voice, as he is the ‘Insider’ for On the Ice radio, a show I’ve been a guest on to discuss the Nashville Predators. His name is Steve Silver, and he’s a sportswriter for NWsportsbeat.com, covering the MLB Mariners and NFL Seahawks. As soon as you are done reading this literary gem of an article, check out his stuff. There is a reason they call him Insider Steve….

Silver gave me a ton of in-depth information, but I think there were three sentences that really summed up how real this Seattle rumor is:

“The fans in this city have the understanding the Coyotes are Seattle’s future property. It’s a matter of securing an owner. We understand the process may take a couple years, but the buzz for the Coyotes is real.”

My first thought on a possible Seattle pro hockey team was “What about Vancouver?” The two cities are around 140 miles apart from each other, is there a big enough hockey market to justify two franchises in that small of an area? According to Silver, I can put that concern to rest, as there isn’t a tremendous amount of Canucks coverage in Seattle, in fact, the Canucks are broadcasted in Seattle on a channel that most don’t get without premium packages.

With the city confident they could attract the Coyotes franchise to their market, the problem lies in the fact that before an arena will be built, an NBA team needs to be secured:

“When this arena proposal was first made public with a press conference at city hall 4 weeks ago, the cities powers that be made it known that shovels will not be put in the ground until both an NBA and NHL team was secured. In the weeks that followed, (prospective investor Chris) Hansen, as well as Mayor Mike McGinn, have appeared on local sports radio. Both made it clear the city of Seattle would sign off on the arena deal if only one team was secured. When asked if that meant the NBA, Hansen said that was correct. Then when asked if an NHL team was the first to be secured would the shovels go into the ground, Hansen said the arena deal is solely for the return of the NBA.”

One team Silver mentioned as a possible tenant for the new arena is the Milwaukee Bucks. I haven’t heard anything of the such, but then again this is Basketball Babe Milwaukee so I’m not exactly the authority on Bucks information. This guy, however, thinks it’s high time for the Bucks to move out west. And according to his very scientific poll, 57% of people feel the same way…

The Coyotes were first rumored to be moving several seasons ago, so clearly there are a lot of hoops to jump through before this franchise moves anywhere. While Seattle waits for an NBA team to return, I asked Silver if he was worried about another city snatching up the Phoenix team. Turns out the bigger concern is that Phoenix will find a buyer to keep them in Glendale. The name Jerry Reinsdorf has surfaced again as a potential buyer for the team, which is the same Jerry Reinsdorf that withdrew an offer for the franchise back in in June of 2008. Other cities that have expressed interest in the Coyotes franchise include Hamilton, Quebec City and Toronto (because one problematic team in the city limits just isn’t enough!).

Bottom line, NHL hockey is a great fit for the city of Seattle. As Silver said, it’s a great sports town, and rumors of NHL hockey have swirled about the city for the past 25 years. With it’s close proximity to Vancouver and San Jose, it seems like an ideal choice to place a team. I think I speak for everyone when I say seriously, I cannot watch another Sharks vs. Kings game. Enough is enough, give Seattle their hockey!

Check out Steve Silver on twitter @InsiderSteve and at nwsportsbeat.com

Monday Morning Round Up; Admirals, A-Rad and Oh (NO) Canada…

Just a few quick morsels of hockey goodness for you to savor after a hard morning of work! Happy Monday everyone!

Here in Milwaukee…

Special guests to be signing national anthem at Friday night’s Admirals game (March 22nd)

Admirals two points closer to playoff spot in 3-2 win over Bulldogs (March 23rd)

Despite final minute goal, IceHogs down Admirals 3-2 in the shootout (March 25th)

This Week in Nashville…

Predators GM David Poile: Alex Radulov reunion ‘absolutely’ about enticing Suter, Weber to stay in Nashville (Puck Daddy)

At first glance, one would think that bringing back Alexander Radulov after a four year absense was simply to make a push to go deep in the playoffs. But it was actually also a sneaky move by David Poile and company to entice names such as Shea Weber and Ryan Suter to stay in the Music City.

Wednesday’s notes: Alexander Radulov walks through that door (ontheforecheck.com)

No seriously, that’s what the title of the article is. And the video in the article is of, you guessed it, ALEXANDER RADULOV WALKING THROUGH THAT DOOR (that door being the door at the airport to be precise.) Generally speaking, :52 videos of hockey players walking through the door at the local airport isn’t exactly newsworthy, however, the return of Radulov is a return that trumps Crosby’s return from his concussion. It’s been 4 years of seeing Radulov’s name on the ‘In the system’ list and wondering what the future held for him in regards to the Nashville Predators. Seeing him walk through the door at Nashville International with a smile on his face shows Preds fans he’s back, and happy to be here.

Darcy Hordichuk reflects back on his friendship with Alexander Radulov (Nashville Predators Examiner)

Fellow Examiner Jim Diamond wrote a neat little piece on former Pred Darcy Hordichuk and his friendship with Alexander Radulov. Both suffer from ADD, and the affliction is what brought the quote unquote odd couple together.

Around the rest of the world of hockey…

Penguins absorb first regulation loss since Feb 19th (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

And boy did the ever… They got their arses handed to them by the 7th place Eastern Conference Ottawa Senators. The easy thing to go would have been to blame 26-year old rookie goaltender Brad Thiessen, who made just 20 of 28 saves in Pittsburgh’s 8-4 loss to the Sens. The article is great, but the comments people made below are just as good as the write-up itself. Instead of blaming Thiessen (who made just his 4th NHL start in the loss), I think it is more appropriate to blame national anthem singer Measha Grueggergosman for the showing… (see below).

Tonight’s “O Canada” Before Pens-Sens Game Was So Bad Players Were Laughing Before It Finished (deadspin.com)

Instead of chiming in with some witty commentary, I think I’ll just let the clip speak for itself…

I’m sorry, who is James Neal again?


Without going to a large scale song and dance number about how I am a Penguins fan, I just want to let you know…I’m a Penguins fan. I’ll spare you the details on my favorite piece of Pens memorabilia in my collection, and I’ll bypass the details of the wedding to celebrate my marriage to Mario Lemieux I had planned when I was 8… just know that I am a Penguins fan.

With that said, who the bleep is James Neal and where the bleep did he come from?!

When you think about the black and gold, you generally think Malkin, Fleury and that one guy who’s name begins with an S and ends with an idney Crosby. Not once have I heard “OH MY GOSH! I CAN’T WAIT TO GO TO THE PENGUINS GAME AND SEE JAMES NEAL”.

He’s had a nice season thus far, scoring 35 goals and 41 assists in 73 games. But he’s really turned it on in the last two games for the Pens. Last night against Nashville, the 24-year old Whitby, Ontario native scored 4 assists in the Pens 5-1 win over the Nashville Predators. On Tuesday night, he churned out an impressive 3 goals and an assist in the teams 8-4 whomping on the Winnipeg Jets.

Fans here in Milwaukee got to see Neal in action when he spent a year with the AHL Iowa Stars back during the 2007-2008 season. In 62 games with the Dallas Stars farm team, Neal tallied 18 goals and 19 assists. Needless to say, he’s come a long way since his AHL days. His 35 goals and 76 points on the year is good for 4th in the entire NHL. Impressive, right?

As I look over Neal news, I’m making several mental notes to nab Neal early in the IWDHL fantasy hockey draft in September. Unfortunately, this reigning champion GM didn’t qualify for the playoffs this year, so I have plenty of time to devise a brand new team to take back my crown…

SPECIAL EDITION Monday Night Round Up: Radulov Watch 2012

Normally I take Monday mornings (or lately nights…) to recap the past week of happenings in the hockey world.

Emphasis on normally…

If you are a Nashville Predators fan, you’ve spent the last week with your ear pressed against the east waiting to here if the KHL and a certain someone from the Preds past had reached an agreement as to where the said person will play the rest of the 2012 season. That’s right, folks. Radulov Watch 2012 has commenced and is in full effect!

Instead of the normal roundup of all things hockey, this week, it’s all things Alexander. There is tons of different news coming out of every corner of the world regarding Radulov’s return to the NHL, so I’ve rounded up the best  and put it in one spot for you to enjoy. After you’re done checking out the following stories, head over to the Hockey Gal Milwaukee facebook page and let us know what YOU think of A-Rads return to Nashville!

Report: Alexander Radulov set to return to the Nashville Predators this season (ontheforecheck.com)

If you don’t have ontheforecheck.com bookmarked, I suggest you do so now. Whenever news breaks about the Predators, this is the very first site I hit. After the Radulov news surfaced, Dirk and the boys were my first stop on the internet. This article is a little of everything, a little news from Russia, a little Barry Trotz (no pun intended, of course), a little Pavel Lysenkov and a lot of information on the talks between Radulov and the KHL.

Trotz hopes to have Radulov in lineup by Thursday (NHL.com)

Generally speaking, NHL.com articles don’t make the cut for MMRU. However, today is an exception. NHL.com correspondent Curtis Zupke does a nice job of putting this rare occurrence of a contract situation in plain English.

5 Reasons to Be Excited for Alexander Radulov’s Possible Return to the NHL (bleacherreport.com)

I think slide one pretty much sums it up: The Predators will be downright scary

Radulov’s potential return to Nashville riles NHL GMs (cbc.ca)

Of course it did… Did you really think teams like St. Louis and Detroit were going to be lining up to high five Poile and the gang?

Fetisov: Don’t judge Radulov over NHL return (RIA Novosti)

There are a lot of opinions swirling about Radulov’s motivation for returning to North America… but former Red Wing Slava Fetisov urges folks on both sides of the pond to with hold judgement on the 25-year old forward.

Will Radulov make Predators best in the West? (USA Today)

Yes, Kevin Allen, there is a strong possibility he may.

Is Radulov’s return to Nashville a short one? (ontheforecheck.com)

Before we get too excited about the possible point-producing firestorm headed for the Music City, Dirk Hoag brings us back to earth with a compilation of tweets from Dmitry Chesnokov, a Russian hockey journalist. I’m pretty sure the title of this article speaks for itself…

And lastly, a parting gift from Salavat Yulayev fans (via @SlavaMalamud)… (click here to see the picture)

Is somebody posted at the arrival board at the Nashville International Airport? Someone keep an eye on those incoming flights from mother Russia for cryin’ out loud!

Memories of hockey hardware and award seasons’ past….

Eric and I watched the WCHA championship last night (in case you missed it, North Dakota completely obliterated Denver 4-0). After the final horn blew, they brought out the Broadmoor trophy and awarded it to the Fighting Sioux. Before captain Mario Lamauroux hoisted ol’ Broadmoor into the air…I CRINGED.


I had a flashback to 2008 when the coveted Memorial Cup busted in half in the hands of WHL Spokane Chiefs captain Chris Bruton after the team defeated the OHL Kitchener Rangers 4-1.

Granted that trophy was just a replica, as the real trophy resides safely at the Hockey Hall of Fame, but still…

Speaking of busted hardware, Canucks forward Daniel Sedin was on the receiving end of a broken trophy this past summer. He won the Ted Lindsay award during the NHL Award show in late June, but unfortunately, the trophy’s crowning jewel (a hockey player), had his stick broken somewhere between last years recipient Alex Ovechkin and the awards stage. Gold stars and brownie points to Sedin, who cleverly held the trophy together in the post-show picture.

I’m happy to report the Broadmoor didn’t suffer any structural damage last night, and here’s to hoping the rest of the trophies around the world of hockey remain in tact as the are raised in the coming months!

On a side note, yes, I know, I’ve been sparse lately. My big girl job has kept me quite busy, including a trip to Florida earlier in the week. Scouts honor that I’ll commence posting regularly this week. As a token of my appreciation for your patience, I snapped a picture this excellent public service message from the American Hotel and Lodging Association that played every time I turned the TV on in my hotel room. A great message made even greater by the fact the woman is wearing a shoulder-padded power suit on a Life Touch background from 1982.


Monday Morning Round Up; Wilson, Letang inspires off ice fight, and 13 GAA earns first star

Is it seriously Monday already? Freshen up that cup of coffee and enjoy some of the weeks best news gems from around the hockey world. And bonus! At the end of this weeks list of ‘must-reads’, you’ll find a new little feature called “Tweet of of Week”. Now if only the weekend would come as fast as Mondays did…

Here in Milwaukee… (via Milwaukee Admirals Examiner)

Admirals sink Rivermen 3-2 (February 29th)

Admirals fall 3-1 to IceHogs; marks 4th straight loss to Rockford (March 2nd)

Admirals sail away with a 6-0 win over the Wolves (March 3rd)

This week in Nashville…

Brian McGrattan speaks on alcoholism (VIDEO) (ontheforecheck.com)

Normally, the only video you’d see of 30-year old Nashville Predators forward Brian McGrattan is one that involved a five-minute major, but Dirk Hoag posted a video on his ontheforecheck.com site of Brian McGrattan speaking publicly about his struggle with alcoholism.

Hal Gill returns to Nashville after a brief trip to Montreal (Nashville Predators Examiner)

Fellow examiner Jim Diamond highlighted Hal Gills return to Montreal for a few days with the family. It’s the 6’7 blueliners first trip back to Montreal since he was traded to the Predators back on February 17th. It’s always nice to read articles that remind us that hockey players are regular people too.

Around the rest of the world of hockey….

Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick Nearly Came To Blows On NBC Sports Tonight (deadspin.com)

@stoutguy29 Oh no Sis! Your two favorite people in the world! Two professionals you wish to emulate!

My brother tweeted the above to me a few days ago with a link to this story/video. Basically, the two commentators got at each other while arguing over a hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. The situation happened Wednesday night in Dallas, when Stars forward Eric Nystrom shouldered Letang, who had bent over to go for the puck on the Pittsburgh end. The hit left Letang on the ice for several minutes, and the argument between Milbury and Roenick was on the severity of the hit. At least Jeremy didn’t pull out the telestrator for this one…

“Fire Wilson” chant last straw (Toronto Sun)

Apparently, a text from Leafs GM Brian Burke is all Ron Wilson needed to know he no longer had a job in Toronto.

After the Leafs got their eighth loss in nine contests, it was clear Ron Wilson’s shelf life with the blue and white had expired. The article does a nice job of walking readers through the decision and delivery of Wilson’s firing.

Erie Otters forward emergency replacement in net (thestar.com)

This may be the first time in the history of hockey that a goaltender lets in 13 goals on 46 shots and earns first star of the game. 17-year old Erie Otters forward Connor Crisp was forced to step in as emergency goalie for the Otters after goaltender Ramis Sadikov left the game after a collision. With their other goaltender on the mend from a head injury earlier in the week, Crisp put pads on and manned the pipes in order to prevent the Otters from forfeiting the contest. Thirteen goals is a pretty respectable performance from a guy who hasn’t played all season due to injury AND hasn’t played in goal since he was 5 years old.

Devin Setoguchi Shooutout Blooper

I feel like this pretty much sums up the entire 2011-2012 season for the Wild…


Monday Night Round Up Trade Edition: Z, Nashville loads up, and Nash stays put

Christmas, Valentines Day, Birthdays… why doesn’t Hallmark make a ‘Happy Trade Deadline Day’ card? It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, wouldn’t you say? Instead of the normal Monday Morning Round Up post, I thought this week I’d do a special Trade Edition round up. You’ll get your weekly does of Admirals news, but then you’ll see some unique perspectives from around the league on the trades that happened before the deadline struck 3pm.

Here in Milwaukee… (via Milwaukee Admirals Examiner)

Special teams key to Admirals 4-1 win over Abbotsford (February 24th)

Admirals fall 2-1 in shoot out against Ice Hogs (February 25th)

Milwaukee tops San Antonio 3-1; gets 5 of 6 points on the weekend (February 26th)

Trade deadline day deals…

MON trades F Andrei Kostitsyn to NSH for a 2nd pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and a conditional 5th round pick.

Andrei Kostitsyn’s addition bolsters Nashville’s group of forwards (Jim Diamond, Nashville Predators Examiner)

A family reunion is underway in the Music City, as Nashville traded two draft picks for current Predator forward Sergei Kostitsyn’s brother Andrei. My fellow examiner Jim Diamond takes a look at the trade, as well the impact it’ll have in the Preds locker room.

BUF trades Paul Gaustad and 4th round pick to NSH for 1st round pick.

What Paul Gaustad brings to the Nashville Predators (Dirk Hoag, ontheforecheck.com)

The Gaustad deal was a last minute deal just before the deadline hit. I was surprised that Nashville gave up a first round pick for Gaustad, but then again I like a tough guy at playoff time just as much as the next person.

DET trades D Mike Commodore to TB for a conditional 7th round pick.

Busy Lightning solidify defense with three trades (nhl.com)

This one tugs at the heartstrings, as those who know me well know that I absolutely adore Mike Commodore. Tampa also has a special place in my heart because Steve Stamkos has been the anchor of my fantasy hockey team the last 3 years in a row. Neither of these facts are hard hitting or relevant to anyone outside of my living room, but nonetheless, I think Tampa did good in bolstering the blue line. They’ve got three powerhouse forwards, so I’m glad they stuck to fixing the defense.

MIN trades D Greg Zanon to BOS for Steve Kampfer (Pioneer Press)

The article covers the Nick Schultz to EDM trade as well, but I wanted to highlight D Greg Zanon because he spent six seasons with the Admirals/Predators. Zanon, or Z as he is affectionately referred to, was in the middle of his third season with the Minnesota. He’ll be reunited with former Admiral teammate Rich Peverley, who is in his second season with the Bruins.

2012 NHL Trade Deadline: The Dust is Long From Settled (jacketscannon.com)

After much speculation that included rumors with every single team in the league, Rick Nash remains (like it or not) on the Columbus Blue Jackets roster. Matt Wagner has a great article about the elephant in the room that is Nash.

TradeCentre: Winners and Losers of Deadline Day (tsn.ca)

Round out you trade deadline reading with the TSN.ca-picked winners and losers of trade deadline day. Want my opinion? Nashville came out the big winner on the trade ticker.

Florida is definetely buyin’ what Nashville is sellin’

It was announced this afternoon that Nashville traded forward Jerred Smithson to the Florida Panthers for a 6th round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Florida… You don’t say…

Maybe they like the fact that Predators are members of the feline family just like they are, but it seems like a lot of guys end up in Florida one way or another after their time with Nashville is up. Of the current Florida roster, their are four former Predators: Marcel Goc, Mike Santorelli, Scottie Upshall, and of course, Jerred Smithson. Here’s the scoop on the other former Preds on the Panthers roster:

Marcel Goc – Signed a three-year contract with Florida on 07/01/2011 (click here to read the press release from the Florida Panthers)

Mike Santorelli – Was acquired 08/05/10 from Nashville in exchange for a 5th round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (click here to read the press release from the Florida Panthers)

Scottie Upshall – He didn’t take the direct flight out of Nashville, so to speak, but he was traded from the Predators to the Philadelphia Flyers back in February of 2007. Since then, he’s played with the Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and is now in the midst of a four year contract with the Panthers.

Aside from those four, there is a plethora of over Preds/Admirals alum that have gone on to appear in games for the Panthers in the past few seasons:

LW Darcy Hordichuk – Played three seasons in Nashivlle, and went on to play 64 games for Florida during the 2010-2011 season.

D Alexander Sulzer – Played five seasons in the Predators organization before being traded just before the trade deadline in 2011. Appeared in nine games with the Panthers and has since signed with Vancouver.

G Tomas Vokoun – Nashville’s starting goaltender for the better part of it’s first eight seasons in the National Hockey League. Signed with Florida before the 2007-2008 season and went on to play four seasons for the team.

RW Hugh Jessiman – Jessiman played two seasons for the Admirals, after which he appeared in two games for the Panthers during the 2010-2011 season.

D Ville Koistinen – Played his first three seasons in North America with Admirals and Predators before dabbling for a few games with Florida and Rochester of the AHL during the 09-10 season. He has since returned to Europe and is playing with Ufa Salavat Yulayev of the KHL.

D buy honey – Played five seasons with the Admirals and Predators, and eventuall found his way onto the Florida roster in 2007. He played two seasons for Florida before spending two years with the Dallas Stars. He has since returned to Europe to play with the KHL Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, but sadly was one of the 44 people who were killed in the devastating Russian plane crash that claimed the lives of the entires Lokomotiv team.

Quick, take bets. Who is on the ice tonight here in Milwaukee that’ll be wearing red, white and yellow come the 2013-2014 season? hockey tickets

Monday Morning Round Up: Streak snapped, A-Rad and a Cheechoo valentine

I feel like I am always posting a Monday Morning Round Up… these weeks just fly by! In any case, time for another wrap up to a week of hockey news and humor! I must warn you though, things over in the KHL were pretty quiet this past week, so unfortunately there are no goal celebration or Radulov behaving badly videos to enjoy. Perhaps Derek Dorsett will make up for that…

Here in Milwaukee (via Milwaukee Admirals Examiner)…

5-game losing streak snapped in 3-0 Valentine’s Day win over Houston

Ads extend affiliation, Geoffrion to Montreal, Milwaukee wins 5-3 in OKC

This week in Nashville…

Hall Gill excited about opportunity in Nashville (Jim Diamond, Nashville Predators Examiner)

Instead of posting 512 stories about the Geoffrion/Gill trade, I picked this one to share because it encompasses, not only the trade, but Gills thoughts on coming to Music City. Great article from my fellow Examiner!

Why scratch Ellis? Comparing Predators Defenseman (Sam Page, ontheforecheck.com)

With the addition of Gill, someone’s got to sit. Sam Page makes a spot on argument as to why Trotz should sit Ellis even though he is fresh off a 2 point night against Chicago. And hey! He even made a chart for us folks who need a visual to comprehend.

Is Alexander Radulov final piece to Stanley Cup for Predators? (The City Paper)

I’m  not a real big fan of Radulov, but I’m not a real big fan of Nashville getting eliminated early from the playoffs year after year. It’s a long article, so pack a lunch (and dinner for that matter), but it’s a great article with insight as to what guys like Weber and Suter think of him. Reading the article changed my view on if A-Rad should return to Nashville. I’m always barking for the Preds to get some help up front, and that missing scoring power might in fact be Radulov.

Around the rest of the world of hockey…

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman hints at sell-off (Tampa Bay Times)

So you may think this is a strange article to ‘feature’ on MMRU, however, the Lightning have a very special place in my heart. Last year, my fantasy hockey team, Jagrbombs (see what I did there?) was league champion of the Infamous Charlie Bravo fantasy hockey league. How did I get that prestigious title and bounty of prize money? Three words: Stamkos, StLouis and Malone (I know, it’s St. Louis, but I promised three words so I had to make it work…) Anyways, with that said, first objective on the list when drafting for my team this year (Hull and Oates, in case you are wondering) was to get my hands on my black and blue. Stamkos is the lone Tampa player on my team this year, but I still watch the games. I have to admit, they kind of grew on me. When Stevie Y says that his team is going to be a ‘seller’, I’m interested to see who he’ll be dealing…

Small Child Attempts to Fight Professional Hockey Player (deadspin.com)

In what was arguably the worst decision ever in the history of hockey fights, 5’11 192 lb. Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett decided now would be a good time to take a run at 6’8 260 lb-ish Blackhawks defenseman John Scott. I think we all know how this is going to end….

Valentine’s Day Cards: Hockey Edition (dirtydangle.com)

I certainly can’t wrap this up without a reference to Valentine’s Day, so celebrate everyone’s (especially the males in the audience) favorite holiday with some hockey-valentines! Click here to see all the Valentine’s, there are some real doozy’s in the bunch…!

Boom Boom to Blake; Geoffrion family legacy continues in Montreal

After four successful seasons with the NCAA Wisconsin Badgers hockey team, forward Blake Geoffrion made a seamless transition to the American Hockey League by way of the Milwaukee Admirals in 2010.  He was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and split his time between the Predators and the Admirals his first year out of school.

With the University of Wisconsin-Madison just an hour west of Milwaukee, it was only natural that Geoffrion became a fan favorite at the Bradley Center. In his first season with the Admirals, Geoffrion put up 40 points in 46 regular and post-season games. He also contributed 10 points in 32 regular and post-season games with the Predators.

This season was a different story.

Geoffrion couldn’t seem to find his stride with either club, and his dismal numbers in the NHL kept him on the Admirals roster for most of the season. It was clear watching Geoffrion that he was frustrated with his production. He spent the beginning of the season with the Predators, but aside from a short stint near Christmas, he’s been with the Admirals since mid December.

Then Hal Gill entered the picture, and a trade for the 6’7 defenseman and a 5th round draft pick sent Geoffrion, forward Robert Slaney and a 2nd round draft pick to the Montreal on Friday afternoon. For the record, I’m not sure how or why Robert Slaney fit into that trade as I don’t see him factoring in with Montreal’s plan, but in any case, he was in on the package…

Chalk it up to a sophomore slump, but he really struggled to light the fire this season. Frankly, it looked like he lost a lot of confidence in his play, which was in sharp contrast to the vibrato we all say in the 24-year old last season.

Geoffrion tweeted several bittersweet tweets shortly after being traded:

If Geoffrion was to be traded anywhere, I’d have to assume Montreal was the place he’d want to be. His grandfather is the great Bernie ‘Boom Boom’ Geoffrion, who played played 14 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, has his #5 retired in the rafters of the Bell Centre alongside Blake’s great-grandfather Howie Morenz’s retired #7. With his family thread woven tightly into Canadiens’ history, Montreal has to be thrilled to have Blake in the organization.

Geoffrion was assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs after the trade, and played in his first game with the team in tonight’s 5-2 win over Rockford. He scored a goal and an assist, and finished with a team-high 8 shots on goal. It’s only a matter of time before Montreal gets their chance to see Geoffrion in blue and red, the same blue and red worn by his grandfather and great-grandfather.

Best of luck to Geoffrion as he writes the next chapter of his storied hockey career. For the Admirals fans who are sad to see him go, fret not, they may trade away your played, but they can’t trade away your bobblehead!