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?

  • Coach Adam Oates vs. the inexperience question for the Washington Capitals


    WASHINGTON, DC — He has tremendous upside. He's well-prepared, and rarely makes a mental mistake on the ice. He's known as a dynamic offensive player, but his defense is just as stellar. His hockey IQ is off the charts.

    Washington Capitals GM George McPhee was describing a hell of a hockey player. Which is something that Adam Oates was during his 19-year NHL career, validated with a Hall of Fame selection this week.

    Less defined are Oates's accomplishments as a head coach. This is due to the fact that he's never been one.

    Oates was formally introduced by the Capitals on Wednesday, 24 hours after he was hired for his first NHL head coaching gig and selected for the Hall of Fame in the same afternoon. (Remember that next time you find a dollar on the sidewalk and consider it a "lucky day.")

    McPhee, who was Oates's GM during parts of six seasons in Washington, said that the former New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach was the choice he kept returning to during the team's coaching search.

    "We believe Adam Oates has a lot of upside, and can be a real difference-maker for the club," said McPhee.

    Said Capitals owner Ted Leonsis: "Not only will Adam be a very productive coach for us, he also shares having a chip on his shoulder. We're at that point where we have to do better in the playoffs. We have to win a Stanley Cup."

    The Capitals still believe the foundation for a championship team is there. Despite never having been a head coach, they believe Oates is the man to lead them to the Cup.

    Read More »from Coach Adam Oates vs. the inexperience question for the Washington Capitals
  • Patrik Elias had LA Kings Stanley Cup puck, but has no idea what he did with it

    Please recall the recent hullabaloo about the puck from Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final and its whereabouts.

    The Los Angeles Kings said they didn't have this piece of hockey history in their possession. LA Kings Insider blogger Rich Hammond broke down game footage and discovered that New Jersey Devils winger Patrik Elias appeared to collect the puck at some point during the postgame celebration.

    The story took on new life when L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke wrote about it on Tuesday, as L.A. Kings exec Luc Robitaille said:

    "If a Devil had it, he might not have been real happy with it, he might have thrown it in the stands. … If one of our fans has it, we will make a deal with them to get it back. We need that puck."

    Elias finally addressed the accusation to Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger, admitting that he did in fact pick up the puck from the ice after Game 6.

    Alas, he has no idea what he did with it.

    Read More »from Patrik Elias had LA Kings Stanley Cup puck, but has no idea what he did with it
  • Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

    • From our youth sports Yahoo! Sports buddies at Prep Rally, here's UBC coach Martin Tremblay sticking out his foot during the handshake line, tripping two players and causing one of them to break his wrist. More from Buzzing The Net here.

    • Ken Hitchcock gets extended. No, not his pants, his contract! [Blues]

    • The NHLPA maps out its strategy. Said Jamal Mayers: "We made a lot of huge concessions last time and certainly there are going to be issues that arise. The league for the last seven years has seen revenues grow. I'm sure they'll have their angle on things. My hope is that we can get a deal done. Like all things, it always takes time and pressure for things to happen." [Chicago Tribune]

    • Your NHLPA negotiating committee: Craig Adams (Pittsburgh Penguins); Adrian Aucoin (Phoenix Coyotes); Alex Auld (Ottawa Senators); David Backes (St. Louis Blues); Marty Biron (New York Rangers); Brad Boyes (Buffalo Sabres); Chris Campoli (Montreal Canadiens); B.J. Crombeen (St. Louis Blues); Mathieu Darche (Montreal Canadiens); Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders); Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes); Brandon Dubinsky (New York Rangers); Ruslan Fedotenko (New York Rangers); Alex Goligoski (Dallas Stars); Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg Jets); Scott Hartnell (Philadelphia Flyers); Jamie Langenbrunner (St. Louis Blues); Manny Malhotra (Vancouver Canucks); Steve Montador (Chicago Blackhawks); Dominic Moore (San Jose Sharks); Brendan Morrison (Chicago Blackhawks); Douglas Murray (San Jose Sharks); George Parros (Anaheim Ducks); Chris Phillips (Ottawa Senators); Cory Schneider (Vancouver Canucks); John Tavares (New York Islanders); Shea Weber (Nashville Predators); Kevin Westgarth (Los Angeles Kings); Dan Winnik (San Jose Sharks); James Wisniewski (Columbus Blue Jackets); Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings).

    Read More »from Youth hockey coach trips players on handshake line; NHLPA names names; Sean Avery update (Puck Headlines)
  • Getty ImagesWASHINGTON, DC — Washington Capitals GM George McPhee didn't negotiate a new contract with unrestricted free agent defenseman Dennis Wideman.

    "I didn't want to mislead a player. When it got right down to it, I didn't think we were going to be able to sign him," said McPhee, who cited economics and the emergence of young defensemen for the Capitals as factors.

    So he told Wideman the Capitals would be moving on; and after Washington did a trade-and-sign deal with Tomas Vokoun and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wideman and his agents decided they wanted to do the same thing, avoiding the open market of free agency on July 1.

    On Wednesday, the Calgary Flames traded a fifth-round pick in 2013 and RFA defenseman Jordan Henry to the Capitals for Wideman, and then signed the puck-moving defenseman to a 5-year, $26.25-million contract. That's an average annual value of $5,250,000.

    (UPDATE: Pat Steinberg of the FAN 960 in Calgary reports that Wideman's contract also includes a full no-movement clause. Wideman is now the 10th player on the Flames roster who has either a no-trade or no-movement clause in their contract.)

    That sound you just heard was Jason Garrison and Ryan Suter popping champagne.

    Read More »from Flames sign Dennis Wideman to 5-year, $26.25-million deal after trade with Capitals
  • Detroit Red Wings fans have had it hard recently. Their last Stanley Cup was all the way back in 2008. They've had to watch some, but not all, of the most talented players in the world on a nightly basis. They had to wait a few years for their second Winter Classic.

    With that in mind, The Triple Deke took its melancholy Red Wings case to unrestricted free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, hoping Detroit's plight — and maudlin Sarah McLachlan abused animal music — would guilt them into signing on July 1.

    Who could turn down a plea like that, other than someone who wants to score 50 goals playing with Sidney Crosby and another dude who might be offered the deed to Minnesota in order to play on the Wild's blue line?

    Thanks to the Deke for the tip.

    Read More »from Watch brilliant Red Wings fan sales pitch/guilt trip to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (VIDEO)
  • Why was Brendan Shanahan snubbed for the Hockey Hall of Fame?

    Getty Images

    In the hours leading up to the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2012 announcement on Tuesday, led with a story that labeled Joe Sakic and Brendan Shanahan as sure-things for induction. The story was still displayed prominently as the names were revealed on NHL Network: Sakic, Adam Oates, Pavel Bure and Mats Sundin.

    "How any group of selectors could choose Sundin over Shanahan for the Hall of Fame is mind-boggling," wrote Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, in a rare majority opinion.

    Although it won't be on the first ballot like it should have been, Shanahan will be a Hall of Famer. He's No. 13 all-time with 656 goals, a tribute to his consistency as an offensive performer, considering he scored many of them during the trap years — without the benefit of the remedial defense and porous goaltending equipment that enabled, say, Dino Ciccarelli to achieve immortality.

    I thought of Ciccarelli when Shanahan was snubbed on Tuesday. He too had impressive numbers, like the golden ticket of 600-plus goals. What kept him out, at least in theory, were the off-ice issues during his career: Like an indecent exposure charge in Minnesota in 1987, and a day in jail for a stick-swinging incident against Luke Richardson. Not to mention the limo incident in Washington, D.C.

    As the hockey world tries to suss out how Shanahan went from Hall of Fame lock to bridesmaid — without any candor from the clandestine Selection Committee — it's the off-ice stuff that's in focus for his candidacy.

    Read More »from Why was Brendan Shanahan snubbed for the Hockey Hall of Fame?
  • With shallow free agent pool, NHL GMs anticipate summer of trading

    Getty ImagesLast summer, the Florida Panthers basically flipped their house during the 2011 Free Agent Frenzy.

    Along with trades for Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg, GM Dale Tallon signed no less than seven players that contributed to the team's Southeast Division title last season. Even if it was an anomaly, Tallon's recruitment and ownership's investment showed that unrestricted free agency could help reverse the fortunes of a struggling franchise.

    But anyone that expects the same kind of impact from the 2012 Free-Agent Frenzy on July 1 should slow their roll — outside of Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils, Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators, Alex Semin of the Washington Capitals a few others, the rest of the pool this summer is so shallow you can see concrete peeking through.

    "It's going to allow a couple of teams to improve. But it's not a deep group," said Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke.

    "What's happened is that in this system, everyone imagined that liberalized free agency would allow teams to improve more quickly. In response, teams have started to lock guys up. So it's not a deep group."

    It's a new reality for NHL GMs that look to summer free agency to address their needs — that the UFAs that may have tested the market in the past are now opting to re-up with their teams before July. The Carolina Hurricanes inked Tuomo Ruutu and Tim Gleason. Josh Harding stayed with the Minnesota Wild. Barret Jackman re-signed with the St. Louis Blues. Andy Sutton remained an Oiler. Frans Nielsen is still a New York Islander. Colin Fraser and Jarret Stoll opted to remain Los Angeles Kings. Dozens more signed before free agency during the season.

    Look at The Fourth Period's Top 30 free agents. Many of these players will break the bank on July 1, if only because the field is so limited. Others will find it difficult to locate a team willing to ante up for their services.

    Why? Because most NHL GMs agree that as the Free Agent Frenzy fizzles this offseason, this could be The Summer of Trades instead.

    Read More »from With shallow free agent pool, NHL GMs anticipate summer of trading
  • Early morning on April 23, 2010, Robert Abrams of South Fayette, Pa., watched the Pittsburgh Penguins' triple-overtime playoff loss against the Ottawa Senators. His wife, Jeannette Abrams, started arguing with him about finding time to watch hockey but not to find a job. According to police, this set the husband off, and the results were horrific:

    Abrams confessed to police at the time to beating his wife in the head with a hammer and stabbing her, and then setting the house on fire with the intent of killing himself — only he changed his mind and escaped through a bathroom window.

    An Allegheny County jury began hearing testimony on this case on Monday. On Tuesday, they returned a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder, arson and recklessly endangering another person. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

    Robert Abrams, 42, stood stoically as the jury foreman read the verdict, which included convictions of arson, abuse of a corpse and two counts of reckless endangerment for killing Jeanette Abrams, 44, and setting their house ablaze April 23, 2010. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole when he is sentenced.

    This story was repulsive when it broke two years ago, and remains horrific today. But it sounds like justice was served.

    s/t reader Bill S.

    Read More »from Robert Abrams gets life in prison for killing wife after Pittsburgh Penguins triple-OT argument
  • Getty ImagesPhoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney has said all summer that the uncertain future of his unrestricted free-agent captain Shane Doan is tied to that of Greg Jamison's bid to become the next owner of the franchise.

    "I don't blame him. We're all optimistic. If you're Shane Doan, would you sign?" said Maloney at last weekend's NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.

    Seeing as how that ownership situation won't be settled by July 1, it should come as no surprise that Doan will become a UFA this summer. As Maloney told NHL Live on Tuesday, he expects the veteran forward will field some offers from the competition:

    "We feel confident we can re-sign him. It's just a matter of getting a little more clarity, hopefully when Greg Jamison's group may be able to take over the team.

    "Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it'll happen by July 1, so now you run the risk of going to July 1 and some of my good friends in the general managers seats saying 'Let me just see if I can make it more expensive for the Coyotes' or make a legitimate offer."

    Does this mean Doan's gone? No, and Maloney believes "he wants to be back in Phoenix." But the ownership situation remains unsettled, and a recent court ruling could extend that uncertainty all the way to a public referendum on the team's arena lease deal.

    Plus, the 16-year NHL veteran — who started with the Winnipeg Jets in 1995, before moving to Phoenix the following season — is an elite power forward. He's a leader, a playoff warrior and a player that's good for 60-70 points and quality two-way hockey. He made $4.55 million against the cap last season. He would be coveted … if he decides to move on from Phoenix.

    Read More »from Shane Doan heads to free agency, as Phoenix Coyotes ‘run the risk’ of losing captain
  • Hey, Joe Sakic: What means more, Stanley Cup and gold medal or Hall of Fame?

    Getty Images

    Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame with one huge difference between his career and that of Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates.

    OK, make that two big differences: One from 1996 and the other from 2001.

    The importance of winning a Stanley Cup is often a point of contention in Hall of Fame debates. Through the years, it may have elevated some candidates; but it's hard to determine if not owning a ring held back anyone, especially when three quarters of the Class of 2012 doesn't have their names on the Cup.

    Sakic does, twice, which is part of his legend, having won the Conn Smythe in 1996. So during his call with the media on Tuesday, Sakic was asked the question:

    Does he value his championships, including his Olympic gold medal, or his Hall of Fame selection more?

    "There aren't many people in the Hockey Hall of Fame, so this is a tremendous honor. Obviously, it ranks right up there," he said.

    "But as a kid, you're hoping [to win] championships."

    Read More »from Hey, Joe Sakic: What means more, Stanley Cup and gold medal or Hall of Fame?


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