Greg Wyshynski

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Greg Wyshynski is the editor of Puck Daddy. A former managing sports editor for The Connection Newspapers, he's written for Deadspin, AOL Sports and is the author of "Glow Pucks & 10-Cent Beer: The 101 Worst Ideas in Sports History." Born and bred in New Jersey, living in Northern Virginia. Did we mention he likes booze?

  • U.S. Olympic camp, a.k.a. player autograph roulette

    Puck DaddyARLINGTON, Va. – Fans crowded a metal staircase at Kettler Capitals IcePlex on Tuesday, clad in various hockey jerseys and shirts, memorabilia in hand. Behind two opaque glass doors was a table with two chairs, eventually filled with two U.S. Olympic hockey hopefuls.

    But the fans had no idea who they’d see when those doors opened.

    For $40 for adults and $30 for children, this might prove either exhilarating or frustrating, but such is life at U.S. Olympic camp in Arlington, Va., where 48 NHL players gathered this week to meet their coaches, each other and begin the road to the Sochi 2014 Games.

    For the price of admission to what’s usually the Washington Capitals’ practice facility, fans received a really nice looking USA Hockey scarf; the chance to skate in the arena; a Wounded Warrior hockey game; and the debut of the 2014 USA Hockey jerseys in an on-ice presentation that includes player introductions.

    Oh, and an autograph from “two of the very best players in the United States,” according to the fan handout, which noted the organizers “cannot guarantee access to specific players” for autographs. Fans attended the sessions as designated by a specific Spectator Group. They had no idea who they'd meet. It was all very Comic-Con.

    Read More »from U.S. Olympic camp, a.k.a. player autograph roulette
  • Getty ImagesARLINGTON, Va. – Materially, the difference between an Olympic gold and silver medal is negligible.

    The International Olympic Committee requires that gold medals contain just six grams of actual gold. The discs bestowed upon the champions are actually 92.5 percent silver. The shimmering luster of the ultimate prize is, at its core, not all that dissimilar from what hangs around the first-losers’ necks.

    This is of no consolation to Ryan Miller, who understands the excruciating disparity between gold and silver.

    The gold medal that dangled from Sidney Crosby’s neck after the 2010 Vancouver Games’ hockey finale represented the fairy tale ending Miller coveted, the championship that eluded him, the hero’s moment. Miller's silver medal epitomized an incomplete journey, an overtime mistake that would haunt him and a defeat that would come to define him as much as the overtime “golden goal” has defined Crosby – or at least it has when the Buffalo Sabres visit Winnipeg.

    “I haven’t come to terms with it,” says Miller of the silver.

    “We went there to win.”

    In 2014, he wants to go back to the Olympics. To complete the journey. To play flawlessly in the final game.

    To win gold.

    “I want to make the team. I want to be the guy who’s there stopping pucks in Sochi. I want to start. I want to play,” said Miller.

    Read More »from Ryan Miller’s Olympic mettle: After Crosby heartbreak, U.S. goalie craves 2nd chance at gold
  • Tampa Bay Lightning, National Hockey League of Nations

    (Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)

    By The LightningShout team: W.B. Philp, Editor in Chief; Alexis Boucher, Managing Editor; and Jason Haas, Writer

    Canada: Martin St. Louis

    Martin St. Louis has been the unquestioned leader of the Tampa Bay franchise during his 12 years with them. Many would expect the Bolts Canadian representative to be Vincent Lecavalier, but while Vinny was a prolific goal scorer (many a direct result of St. Louis passes), St. Louis was and is the “Heart and Soul” of the Lightning.

    The six-time NHL All-Star is the Lightning career leader in assists (556), points (892), +/- (+19) and shorthanded goals (28). He is second all-time in games played (910), goals (336), even strength goals (221), power play goals (87), game winning goals (59) and shots (2449). St, Louis will be the career leader in ten offensive categories within the next two seasons, passing Lecavalier in six of those rankings.

    Marty has a trophy case full of NHL honors and this is what separates him from Vincent Lecavalier. He has won two Art Ross Trophies, the Hart Memorial Trophy, three Lady Byng Memorial Trophies, the Ted Lindsay Award and of course, the Stanley Cup. Not bad for an un-drafted free agent who is too small to play in the NHL. – W.B. Philp

    FIN Finland: Sean Bergenheim

    Read More »from Tampa Bay Lightning, National Hockey League of Nations
  • Adam Henrique gets six years, $24 million from NJ Devils; worth it?

    Getty ImagesAdam Henrique picked a hell of a time to be a restricted free agent for the New Jersey Devils.

    The departure of Ilya Kovalchuk stunned the franchise and created scores of questions about its offense. Yet at the same time, that contract coming off the books and the Devils gaining new owners positively shifted the economic outlook for the team.

    So the Devils signed Henrique to a 6-year, $24-million contract on Monday, after a season-and-a-half of service, along with that Stanley Cup Final run in 2012.

    The $4 million cap hit might make some bristle given Henrique’s limited body of work – a Calder nominated rookie season, followed by a lockout-shortened season that saw his points-per-game average fall to 0.38 from 0.69, but his goals per game rise slightly (0.26).

    But the Devils are buying two years of unrestricted free agency here, and the cap hit could look like a bargain if Henrique’s offensive development remains on track. Plus, the Devils have their top two centers signed for the next six years, with Travis Zajac earning $5.75 million against the cap annually.

    It’s a good investment for Lou Lamoriello and the Devils, and an interesting contrast with the way New York Rangers GM Glen Sather is running negotiations with Derek Stepan, saying he wants to give that young forward a two-year “gap contract” rather than a long-term deal.

    Read More »from Adam Henrique gets six years, $24 million from NJ Devils; worth it?
  • Will David Backes beat up Canadians again to prepare for Sochi Games?

    Getty ImagesARLINGTON, VA – David Backes of the St. Louis Blues is expected to be on the U.S. Olympic ice hockey roster for the 2014 Sochi Games, after winning silver with the Americans in Vancouver.

    Which means he might, once again, prepare for that hockey tournament in his own particularly brutal manner.

    So, that established: David Backes, when do you start beating up Canadians? Like, how many weeks out from the Olympics does that start?

    “Obviously the conspiracy theorists will be out again on that whole deal. Whatever you guys cook up, that’s great,” he said at U.S. Olympic camp on Monday in Arlington, Va.

    Please recall the early months of 2010 in the NHL, when Backes fought Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry and Rick Nash – all of whom happened to be high-profile members of the Canadian Olympic team. He earned the admiration of American hockey fans, who assumed he was sending a message to his Canadian rivals, and was given the memorable nickname “Inglorious Backes."

    Backes refuses to confirm the existence of that mission, to this day.

    “I like to play hard. If those guys get in my way, we’re going to have more issues. But friendly competition … we’re going to go out there and try to win games, whether it’s Americans, Canadians, Russians, Finns, Swedes … I’m trying to play hard against them.”

    Yes, not even the Finns will be spared ...

    Read More »from Will David Backes beat up Canadians again to prepare for Sochi Games?
  • Getty ImagesARLINGTON, Va – Ilya Kovalchuk’s retirement from the NHL this summer, forgoing $77 million by retiring just three years into a 15-year contract, rocked the New Jersey Devils franchise. But the salt in the wound for many fans, at least optically, was that the team chose Kovalchuk at the expense of homegrown star Zach Parise, who left in July 2012 to sign with the Minnesota Wild.

    Parise’s departure was fueled by a desire to play in Minnesota, his home state. But there’s no question the Devils’ decision to trade for and then sign Kovalchuk disrupted everything from their budget to Parise’s position on the ice.

    Did Parise take any pleasure in seeing the Devils lose Kovalchuk this summer?

    “No, not at all,” said Parise, speaking at U.S. Olympic camp in Arlington, Va. on Monday. “And it’s not as if they … they didn’t kick me out and tell me, ‘You can’t be here because Kovy’s here.’”

    Parise said he felt sympathy for the Devils.

    “It’s too bad for the organization, because he’s a star player. And it’s too bad for the League because he’s a star player,” he said.

    Read More »from Zach Parise on Kovalchuk leaving Devils: ‘It’s too bad for the organization’
  • Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins has four fights to his credit in his NHL career, and isn’t exactly known for his pugilism. So he decided to drop down a few weight classes at a charity game in Russia over the weekend and fight … a seven-year-old boy.

    “Fight” of course being a relative term.

    We have to get these staged fights out of our charity hockey games …

    For the record, Malkin dropped his gloves first, even if the seven year old appeared to engage him in the fight.

    No word if Sidney Crosby upped the ante by high-sticking a toddler.

    The charity game, organized by llya Kovalchuk, featured all-star player associated with SKA St. Petersburg. Part of that event featured players like Malkin and Alex Radulov playing with a local hockey school team from Tver, which led to this hilarious “fight” between Malkin and the young player during the second intermission.

    According to reports, the seven year old received a six-year free-agent contract from the Flyers moments after the fight …

    s/t SovSport, via Chesnokov

    Read More »from Evgeni Malkin fights 7-year-old boy in Russian charity game, quite hilariously (Video)
  • St. Louis Blues, National Hockey League of Nations

    (Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)

    By Laura Astorian, St. Louis Game Time

    Canada: Bernie Federko

    This was tough, considering that 90 percent of the Blues’ all-time roster was Canadian.

    Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger, Brett Hull (kind of - we’ll get to Hull in a moment), Craig MacTavish and quite a few other Good Canadian Boys have all played for the Blues, but it’s next to impossible not to go with Hall of Famer Bernie Federko.

    In 927 games with the Blues between 1976-1989, Federko had 352 goals and 721 assists. He holds the team records for most games played as a Blue, most assists in a Blues career, most points, and is the longest tenured member of the all-time team at 13 seasons.

    He currently is the “between the benches” guy on FoxSports Midwest; and while sometimes you need to be drunk to understand what he is saying, it’s always an insightful experience to watch a broadcast.

    FIN Finland: Esa Tikkanen

    Read More »from St. Louis Blues, National Hockey League of Nations
  • NJ Devils financial mess was messier than you thought

    Getty ImagesWhen the New Jersey Devils were sold for a reported $320 million sale to Joshua Harris and David Blitzer, there was much rejoicing from Jersey fans and head-scratching from others.

    The team, after all, faced mountainous debt that some deemed too toxic for anyone to desire to purchase them. Luckily, the lure of the Prudential Center was enough for the two Philadelphia 76ers owners to commit to keeping the Devils in Jersey.

    But hoo-boy, was it tough sledding for the Devils under Jeff Vanderbeek. The Newark Star-Ledger on Sunday, via court documents, revealed some troubling and salacious claims made by and against the team from contractors that worked at Prudential Center -- all of the problems stemming from their financial issues.

    The lowlights:

    - Newark Nut was given exclusive nut-selling rights inside the arena, but claimed the Devils “failed to install a nut roaster with an exhaust system as promised.” The company sued the team, but later dropped the suit citing legal fees.

    -

    Read More »from NJ Devils financial mess was messier than you thought
  • San Jose Sharks, National Hockey League of Nations

    Getty Images(Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)

    By Fear The Fin

    Canada: Joe Thornton

    He scored more points than everyone but Alex Ovechkin between Gary Bettman's second and third lockouts. He became the first Shark to ever stake claim to the league's MVP award, picking up the Hart and Art Ross trophies the season in which he was traded to San Jose. He's still one of just three players in NHL history (alongside two other Canadians named Wayne and Mario) to record consecutive 90-assist seasons. Beyond the accomplishments and statistics, Thornton's arrival in the Bay

    Read More »from San Jose Sharks, National Hockey League of Nations

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