News Updates: August 12, 2008

Gordon
Gordon

The biggest news of the day came from the New York Islanders. GM Garth Snow made his final decision, and E.J. Hradek of ESPN.com was right. Scott Gordon will be the new head coach of the Islanders (Newsday).

As for why he was hired?

“For me, the bottom line was finding the right coach for our organization at this time,” Snow said of the coach search. “It was a rigorous interview process, extremely thorough. I don’t want any perception the other candidates weren’t qualified or weren’t good people because they were. I just found the candidate that’s the right coach for our organization. Scott Gordon really stood out.”

Snow continues:

“Any successful coach has to have great communication skills,” Snow said. “I noticed from the first handshake that we were able to communicate whether we were talking about the technical part of the game or about how to build a consistent contending team. We had a lot of the same thought processes. I think he’s going to do an outstanding job with our young players, and he will communicate well with veterans, too.”

Cammi Granato
Cammi Granato

In just as big of news, four names were announced as the latest to be enshrined in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame (NHL.com).

They are Cammi Granato, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Mike Richter. The four will be officially inducted Oct. 10, 2008.

Cammi Granato is probably the most influential woman US hockey has ever seen. She played for Team USA for 15 years, and is the all-time leading scorer with 343 points (186 G – 157 A). She enters as the first woman to ever be inducted to the US Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hull, Leetch and Richter are players you’ve probably definitely heard of. Hull ended his career with 1,391 points and Leetch ended his with 1,028. Richter won 301 games in his 14-year career in the NHL with the New York Rangers.

As a point of interest, don’t believe any of these rumors. On the subject of rumors, we want to apologize for starting one of our own.

In an attempt to get the news updates posted, I published yesterday’s piece without reviewing it. In the post, I credited the OC Register in saying that Teemu Selanne will likely not be back in Anaheim. That is not the case. They said the opposite.

Me and Denver Post writer Adrian Dater disagree on the Joe Sakic front. I think he’s going to retire, though I hope that is not the case.

Dater’s latest piece explains why Sakic will be back. The biggest reason why?

He has heard from too many others who have had their feet in his skates, guys like Steve Yzerman and Claude Lemieux, guys who agonized about the right time to retire. The consensus from those former greats is: Play as long as you can. If you’re not hurt and think you still can play, do it.

That makes sense to me. Dater also notes that Sakic is still referring to the team as ‘we’ and that he is in the midst of a hard workout regimen. All good signs.

Chicago
Chicago

A few days ago we reported that Tampa Bay is having success in ticket sales. The same is happening in Chicago (Chicago Tribune). Chris Kuc reports that there was a line of about 75 people waiting to buy tickets when they went on sale at 10 a.m.

The Hawks sold 57,000 single-game tickets Monday, and with their increasing season-ticket base have sold more than 500,000 tickets for the upcoming season, an increase of more than 300 percent from this time last year.

That is great to see. If hockey grows in big markets like Chicago, then the sport may have a chance at getting back in to the national spotlight and receiving the attention it deserves.

Interesting note: Kuc also reports that the Pens @ Blackhawks is already sold out. The ‘Sidney Crosby Show’ is going to sell out arenas everywhere now that the balanced schedule has taken effect.

Mats Sundin is still not sure, or at least he’s not telling the media if he is, whether he will return to the NHL next season or retire (Sportsnet.ca).

Mats Sundin
Mats Sundin

“I never had a deadline,” Sundin added. “I know there was talk about first of August, but I never said. I said sometime in August hopefully I’ll be able to make a decision. I won’t make that until I really feel comfortable with making a good decision.”

He continues:

“I haven’t even worried about any teams,” Sundin insisted. “I’m just trying to bring my mind to a point where I can make a good decision whether or not I’m going to play hockey right now. That’s my first decision and we’ll go from there after that.”

Sportsnet caught up with him at a golf tournament in Sweden. Click on the link to watch a video of the interview.

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are surely hoping Sundin wants to swing his hockey stick around for another year or two rather than his golf clubs.

The Los Angeles Kings and their big market can rejoice in the fact that No. 2 overall pick Drew Doughty was signed to a three-year entry-level contract today (Kings.com).

Doughty scored 50 points in 58 games as a defenseman for the Guelph Storm in the OHL.

I wrote a few pieces about players leaving for the KHL in Russia and the implications it could have on the NHL. Now, we are beginning to see a few talented prospects leave to play overseas. The most recent of which is Steven Dixon (Patrick Williams).

Interesting comments came from another former AHL player, Geoff Platt, who has recently decided to play in Russia as well.

“I thought I achieved what I could in the AHL,” Platt told Kramer. “Another season in the American League was too much. The AHL was getting stale. I needed a new challenge. I think whether I came back and scored 30 or 40 goals next year, it wouldn’t have changed their mind toward me.”

This continues to scare me. I, and NHL fans across the country and in Canada, need to hope that players will value playing against the toughest competition in the world over a bigger paycheck.

Thanks to Empty Netters for this. I just wanted to leave you with this video. It’s hilarious and embarrassing at the same time.

Lets Go Jets.

We at Pittsburgh Puck Talk have some exciting news that we hopefully can officially announce by the end of this week. Please stay posted, we’re very excited to let you in on what’s happening.

Lets Go Pens.

~Chris @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk

*Thanks to Kuklas Korner for the majority of the news that passed by my eyes today.

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