Greg Wyshynski

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  • Kevin Bieksa to the San Jose Sharks? Trade rumor has integrity

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – One of the most fascinating things about NHL trades is how former enemies can suddenly be thrown together in the same locker room.

    Which is why Kevin Bieksa waiving his no-trade clause to potentially join the San Jose Sharks is such a beautiful thing. 

    Both Elliotte Friedman and Bob McKenzie report that Bieksa and the Sharks are a match, with the Vancouver Canucks defenseman willing to waive his no-trade clause for San Jose. This, again, is fascinating, given what Bieksa said about the Sharks in 2013 during the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

    “There's guys on their team, two guys in particular, that are embellishing a lot of calls making it tough on the officials,” Bieksa said. “Couture, you can't go near the guy. He snaps his head back. He flails. You touch him after the whistle, and he's going to jump off the ice and throw himself into the glass. And those are hard calls for the officials to make, and now they're going against us.

    “Thornton, another so-called Canadian,

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  • Jack Eichel is absolutely terrified of snakes

    Via Adam Kimelman/NHLVia Adam Kimelman/NHL

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A weakness has finally been discovered in Jack Eichel’s game. 

    The expected No. 2 overall pick and future Buffalo Sabres star joined his NHL Draft brethren for a trip to the Florida Everglades on Thursday. The rookies visited the Everglades Holiday Park, where they toured some wildlife preserves, experienced nature on a boat and got up close with some rather slithery animals.

    “There was a snake petting area,” said Lawson Crouse, a left wing from Kingston.

    For most of the players, top pick Connor McDavid included, this was awesome. But Eichel had a confession.

    “Eichs told us he hates snakes," said Mitchell Marner, a center with the London Knights, "and as soon as he got there of course there’s a big snake sitting there to our right,” 

    But this was a chance to get over his fears! To do something he had never done before, in the presence of friends and peers!

    “So I said, ‘Eichs, get over here,’” said Crouse.  “And he ran. In the opposite direction. He was nowhere

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  • Kevin Bieksa, goalie on Canucks trading block at NHL Draft

    Kevin Bieksa has been a member of the Vancouver Canucks from the moment he first stepped on NHL ice in the 2005-06 season. He was drafted by them in 2001. He has played 597 games with them.

    But after this weekend, there’s a chance his time with the Canucks could be over. 

    According to Farhan Lalji of TSN, the Canucks have asked if Bieksa would consider waiving his no-trade clause if the right deal came along, and the veteran defenseman said he would. That’s not a formal waiving of the NTC, mind you – just a gentleman’s agreement, considering things could be in the works for GM Jim Benning.

    After the season, Bieksa said he hadn’t been told anything about a potential trade. Via the Vancouver Sun:

    “I haven’t heard it brought up by anybody in our organization,” he said during the news conference. “I know you guys are poking around; that’s your job. But it’s not something I really even need to respond to.” Later, in a quiet moment outside the Canucks’ dressing room, Bieksa said: “I’ve

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  • How will NBCSN cover NHL Draft for American fans? By using TSN stars

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Bob McKenzie figured he had covered his last NHL Draft. 

    “I kinda of assumed when TSN lost the rights that might have been it,” said the veteran NHL insider, whose Canadian sports network lost out to Sportsnet in the last round of NHL rights negotiations.

    For years, NHL Draft coverage in the U.S. would simply be a simulcast of a Canadian network like TSN. But rather than just air Sportsnet’s coverage of the 2015 NHL Draft, American NHL rights-holder NBCSN decided to mount its own original program covering the draft on Friday night.

    And it decided to draft TSN talent for analysis and breaking news.

    Liam McHugh hosts along with Pierre McGuire, McKenzie and draft analyst Craig Button at the big desk. Kathryn Tappen will anchor coverage from the floor of the BB&T Center, conducting interviews with players, coaches and general managers. TSN's Darren Dreger will handle reporting duties, providing information on potential trades and developing storylines.

    The broadcast

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  • NHL Awards Ballot: Greg Wyshynski reveals his 2015 votes

    The Professional Hockey Writers Association decided this year that its members would withhold publishing their ballots for each award until after that unbearable smoldering train-wreck of a show was over, so enterprising fans couldn’t piece together who won through a small sample of the votes. 

    To be honest, it actually worked.

    Without half the membership spilling the beans on their top picks and runners-up, the wins for Erik Karlsson (Norris), Aaron Ekblad (Calder) and Jiri Hudler (Byng) were surprises, albeit mild ones. So as much as I enjoy filling time with awards ballot debates leading up the show, I might agree that trading them in for a scintilla of suspense is beneficial.

    The other issue, of course, is transparency, and that’s where I’m at odds with some of the PHWA membership.

    Members can keep their ballots secret. I completely understand the idea that keeping ballots secret can be good for the process. Beat writers, for example, never have to feel pressure from the teams they

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  • Senators sign Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad to smart deals

    Mark Stone didn’t win the Calder Trophy on Wednesday night – the right guy did – but he did win something else while in Vegas: a new contract from the Ottawa Senators. 

    It’s a three-year deal with an average cap hit of $3.5 million. His salary structure: $2.25 million, $3.75 million and $4.5 million in the final season.

    The deal makes Stone the fourth-highest-paid forward on the team based on cap hit, tied with linemate Kyle Turris, who is two years older at 25. Stone had 26 goals and 38 assists last season, while Turris had 24 goals and 40 assists, his best offensive season in the NHL.

    Stone and Turris will have the same money and the same term through 2017-18. This is probably not a coincidence.

    The Sens also signed center Mika Zibanejad, 22, to a new two-year deal worth $2.625 million against the cap. He’ll make $2 million this season and $3.25 million in 2016-17, and will be an RFA at the end of his deal (as will Stone, incidentally).

    He hit 20 goals and 26 assists last season in

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  • How Carey Price won the 2015 Hart Trophy

    What a night for Carey Price. 

    The Montreal Canadiens goalie swept the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP; the Vezina Trophy for the NHL’s top goalie; the Jennings Trophy for the giving up the fewest regular-season goals; and the Ted Lindsay Award as the Players Association’s player of the year at the 2015 NHL Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    The Hart victory made Price the first goalie to win MVP honors since Jose Theodore did in in 2002, also a member of the Canadiens.

    "It really gotta thank the organization for not giving up on me. I was a very young adult when I got here. I had a learning curve to go through. Fortunately they saw that I had the personality to get through it," Price said. "Obviously the fans stuck with me too. We had trying times together, but it's just been unbelievable the reception I've been getting."

    As for the four-trophy haul: "For some reason everything just added up. Things go right, the team plays well."

    From the NHL:

    Price was a runaway winner, receiving 139

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  • How Jiri Hudler won the 2015 Lady Byng Trophy

    Jiri Hudler of the Calgary Flames won the 2015 Lady Byng Trophy, and accepted the award without wearing any shoes. Which was the most Vegas thing that happened during the NHL Awards on Wednesday night. At least on camera (We assume Jarret Stoll was somewhere in the bathroom.) 

    Hudler said his shoes were too stiff so he had to take them off. 

    I hate this award for many reasons, most prominently because I think it rewards things that are the antithesis of what I love about this hard-scrabble game of ours; and because it’s been a de facto “who has the best stats and the lowest penalty minutes” award as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

    But it’s not presented by Mark Messier or sponsored by Bridgestone, so it’s not all bad

    "I know Wayne Gretzky won it 5 times. I know it started in 1925." Hudler said. "And, I know I'm the first Czech player to win it and that is all I care about."

    From the NHL: 

    Hudler polled 700 voting points, including 52 first-place tallies, for a

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  • How Carey Price won the Vezina Trophy (and it somehow wasn’t unanimous)

    Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender of the 2014-15 season. This was not a surprise. He was completely dominant; and even if you want to consider the Vezina as the de facto MVP award for goalies, he’s a runaway winner. 

    What was a surprise:  That Price didn’t win the award unanimously, which was possible.

    From the NHL:

    Price was a near-unanimous selection, garnering 27 first-place votes from the 30 cast by NHL General Managers. His 144 voting points placed him ahead of Nashville’s Pekka Rinne (60) and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk (28).

    Price led the NHL in wins (44), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933), becoming the first goaltender to pace the League in all three categories since Ed Belfour accomplished that feat with the Blackhawks in 1990-91. In doing so, the first-time Vezina finalist surpassed a 59-year-old franchise record for wins in one season. Jacques Plante set the former mark of 42 in 1955-56 and equaled the

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  • How Bob Hartley won the 2015 Jack Adams Award

    Should Bob Hartley have won the 2015 Jack Adams Award for leading the Calgary Flames to the playoffs?

    Well, he did win it, so the point is a bit moot. But the bottom line is that there were several candidates that could have staked a claim to the award, and Hartley was as deserving as any of them. 

    Well, except for Peter Laviolette, who should have won for turning around the Nashville Predators and leading them to the top of their division. But hey, he was good early in the season, and the Flames were really good late in the season during the voting, so...

    Hartley was a top-three selection on 63 of the 75 ballots cast, including 37 first-place votes, for 237 voting points. The Jack Adams win is a first both for Hartley and for the Flames franchise.

    Hartley led the Flames (45-30-7, 97 points) to a 20-point gain in standings points over 2013-14, the highest jump among Western Conference teams and third-highest in the League overall, in capturing their first playoff berth since 2009.

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