Posted by: emmaharger | July 5, 2011

Randomly noted, with a twist

I’ve been spending hours over this long weekend watching reruns of playoff games on NHL Network. It’s especially fun to watch the ones I missed the first time around because they weren’t being shown on channels I receive. NHL Network also runs a scroller with news, so I’ve been privy to a lot about the big new stories in the hockey world.

First, the 2012 World Juniors schedule has been released! The tournament is going to be hosted in Edmonton and Calgary, two cities that benefit from having both NHL and WHL teams. Tickets sold like hotcakes and Alberta stands to get $42 million in economic stimulus. Good for them. Anyway, here are the groups of teams:

Group A is Russia (last year’s gold medalists), Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and Latvia. They’ll have their games in Calgary.

Group B is Canada (last year’s silver medalists), America (last year’s bronze medalists), Finland, the Czech Republic and Denmark. They’ll have their games in Edmonton.

Canada and America will face off on New Year’s Eve at 6 p.m. local time. America will also take on the Czechs on December 30 at 1:30 p.m. local time. These games can be a good chance to see future budding NHL talent before they’re scooped up by the big guys. Here’s hoping an American network, like NHL Network or Versus, sees fit to show at least some of the games.

Second, the big trade story is that Dany Heatley is headed from the San Jose Sharks to the Minnesota Wild after a somewhat subpar season (26 goals, 38 assists, 64 points), but one in which he was playing with many different undisclosed injuries. It seems like the Wild are trying to come up further in the world and get better for next season (see also Philadelphia and Florida).

Aesthetically, I'm not a huge fan of the Wild's jersey colors, though. They could do with a makeover there.

But of course there’s another angle to the Heatley story. Once upon a time, Heatley was a Thrasher. This was before I cared about sports at all, but I’ve read up on it: he was a pretty big star. He got the Calder in 2001 and had his best season in 2002-03: 41 goals and 48 assists, 89 points in Blueland. But then in September 2003, he was driving with his teammate Dan Snyder when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed. Snyder died a few days later as a result of his injuries. Heatley was injured, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and said he had been drinking, though his blood-alcohol content was below the limit.

I think the most interesting part of this is how Atlanta dealt with the fallout. Heatley had a pretty bad season after that, but the community united around him. Snyder’s family even told the judge and prosecutors in Heatley’s case that nothing would be gained by putting him in jail. That is true class right there.

(Now, the rumor I’ve heard about Winnipeg debating whether or not to keep Snyder’s number 37 retired, if true, is a disgrace. The man is dead; the least you could do is keep his darn number retired.)

There’s some negativity floating around, but I think Wild fans should give Heatley a chance. When he’s at the top of his game, he can produce like whoa–again, just look back to 2002-03, or his many travels to represent Canada in Worlds and the Olympics. Yes, he had a dark chapter in his life, but he hasn’t let it define him (gee, Krista, sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?).

I’ve just learned that Tomas Kaberle is going from the Bruins to the Hurricanes in exchange for Joe Corvo and a fourth-round draft pick next year. I do remember reading during the playoffs that the Bruins weren’t fully satisfied with Kaberle’s performance, so that is probably the big motivator here.

Nice parting gift from Boston, though.

Finally, Winnipeg’s courtship of Andrew Ladd paid off today. He’s reportedly been signed to a five-year deal worth $22 million. I think I can see their logic here, much as I don’t want to–they needed Ladd to perhaps serve as a uniting force of the two factions that are forming this new team. On one side, you’ve got the various Thrashers alumni. (I have this peculiar desire to see Blake Wheeler say no to Winnipeg and go to the Wild. He’s a Minnesota boy through and through, he’s there right now as his tweets reveal, he really seems to love it there…It may not happen, but it’d be interesting.) On the other side, you have additions like Tanner Glass and Rick Rypien (another player who’s gone through a bit of a dark time). Ladd was a good captain for us. He has two Stanley Cup champion rings, after all. He’s got what it takes. I just of course wish things were different.

That’s kind of a low note to end on, sorry! Here is a picture of cupcakes.


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