Sean Leahy

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor of Puck Daddy since the blog started in April 2008. Having covered Stanley Cup Finals, NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts, his highlight might have been getting blown out playing Ryan Kesler in NHL2K11 on Nintendo Wii. That, or coercing an All-Star Game goal judge to let him control the goal light for a period. He currently resides on Long Island.

  • The Stanley Cup is a rock star. There's no question about it. Wherever Stanley goes, so do the crowds. Just the mere presence of the silver chalice is enough brighten the day of anyone. So when the Los Angeles Kings were approached by Erin Power and told the story of 9-year old Genny Shepler, it was an easy decision to use the Cup to the brighten the young hockey player's day.

    Genny was hiking in Mill Creek Canyon back in July when she fell 30 feet from a cliff, fracturing her skull. She was in a coma for 11 days. When Power learned of Genny's story -- she has a son the same age -- she reached out to the Kings and hoped for a response, according to the LA Times.

    They did and it made for a great day.

    From NBC4:

    Now over two months since the accident, Genny is progressing along.

    Read More »from Thanks to LA Kings, Stanley Cup visits 9-year-old player who fractured skull (VIDEO)
  • NHL 2012-13 Campaign Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

    Yes, indeed, despite the promise of impending labor Armageddon and a prolonged work-stoppage, your friends at Puck Daddy are previewing the 2012-13 NHL season (whenever the heck it starts). Why? Because this is the most important election in the history of all-time ever, and you need to know the candidates — like the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Entering the 2011-12 campaign, the Pittsburgh Penguins knew they wouldn't have captain Sidney Crosby at the start. His concussion issues forced him to the press box until November and the second part of the Penguins' 2-headed monster, Evgeni Malkin, was coming off ACL and MCL surgery on his right knee. Not having Crosby around for majority of the regular season didn't hinder the Penguins one bit. The Penguins ended up with 108 points, one behind the New York Rangers for No. 1 in the Eastern Conference, but their season ended in six games at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round.

    Malkin, however, wasn't slowed by anything as he enjoyed a career season that ended with hardware in the form of the Art Ross and Hart trophies. Crosby would end up putting up 37 points in 22 regular season games and played in the team's final 20 games, including the series against Philadelphia.

    The Penguins enter 2012-13 with a healthy Crosby and while there wasn't much change in the lineup, GM Ray Shero has tried to reinforce areas of strength in the off-season. Still Stanley Cup contenders, can they take their regular season success and parlay that into another deep playoff run?

    Read More »from NHL 2012-13 Campaign Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 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.

    In Goal MagMove over Richard Bachman, above is your frontrunner for mask of the year. This is Allen Americans netminder Chris Whitley's lid for the 2012-13 season featuring he and three teammates as characters from the A-Team television show. (Darryl Bootland gets the honor of being B.A. Baracus.) The other side of the mask feature's Mr. T.'s van flying through an explosion. Amazing. [In Goal Mag]

    • Wayne Gretzky was asked about the NHL lockout and he's optimistic about there actually being a season: "I believe in my heart, maybe because I'm such a big hockey fan, that they will be playing by Jan. 1" [Y! via CP]

    • Adrian Dater on why he doesn't believe there will be a 2012-13 season: "It all comes down to this simple truth, to the players: no way in hell is the short, old guy with the New York accent who never played the game going to push them around this time. They have their rallying cry this time, and his name is Gary Bettman, and anything short of total victory over this man won't be acceptable to the rank-and-file of the NHL players union this time around." [All Things Avs]

    • Jared Lundsford on why there will be a season. [NHL Numbers]

    • Jim Devallano's comments that put him in hot water and the Detroit Red Wings out $250,000 began with an exchange on Facebook. [Sporting News via SBJ]

    • Neate on 15-year old phenom Conor McDavid's early goings in the OHL. [Buzzing the Net]

    Read More »from Wayne Gretzky sees Jan. 1 start to season; A-Team goalie mask; Nail Yakupov talks emoticons (Puck Headlines)
  • YouTubeHe may not have invented the jumping-into-the-glass goal celebration, but Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has definitely popularized it since he entered the NHL in 2005-06. Since then, we've seen that celly occur at every level of hockey with players sharing their exuberance with both the glass and whoever has seats right in front of that pane.

    And sometimes that celebration goes wrong. Very wrong.

    You might remember Henrik Andersen of Leksand in 2009 scoring a lovely goal and then crashing through the glass during his celebration. The same thing happened to Taylor Cox of the New Jersey Junior Titans of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League in a game Saturday night against the New Jersey Rockets. Another nice goal was followed by a memorable end to a celebration:

    Oh, the walk of shame is never, ever fun.

    The clip has gone viral overnight and even garnered attention on "SportsCenter" in the U.S.

    The Junior Titans would go on to win 4-1 after a delay to clean up the shattered

    Read More »from Goal celebration fail: Watch NJ hockey player jump through glass (VIDEO)
  • NHL 2012-13 Campaign Preview: Ottawa Senators

    Yes, indeed, despite the promise of impending labor Armageddon and a prolonged work-stoppage, your friends at Puck Daddy are previewing the 2012-13 NHL season (whenever the heck it starts). Why? Because this is the most important election in the history of all-time ever, and you need to know the candidates — like the Ottawa Senators.

    Many in the hockey world (including your friends at Puck Daddy) weren't expecting much from the 2011-12 Ottawa Senators. What was expected to be a rebuilding year with a new head coach turned into one of the NHL's best stories. Ottawa finished eighth in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Washington Capitals with 92 points, and came within a victory of eliminating the No. 1 seeded New York Rangers before falling in seven games.

    The other highlight of the season was 22-year old defenseman Erik Karlsson's breakthrough season of 19 goals and 78 points, the most by a blueliner since Nicklas Lidstrom in 2005-06, which earned him the Norris Trophy. The day after he became the youngest Norris winner since Dennis Potvin in 1976, Karlsson signed a 7-year, $45.5 million deal.

    Aside from Karlsson, the surprising Sens had many other things go right for them. Jason Spezza had his best season since 2007-08; Daniel Alfredsson was rejuvenated (and healthy) and potted 27 goals; Milan Michalek scored a career high 35 goals; and in his first full season in Ottawa, Craig Anderson provided solid goaltending.

    So what to expect from the Senators in 2012-13? It all broke right last season on the backs of career best and comeback seasons from their top players, and there were no expectations on the team. Can Alfredsson continue playing like a 25-year old in a soon-to-be 40-year old's body? Is a now matured Spezza for real? Can Anderson and Ben Bishop provide adequate coverage in net?

    If the answers to those questions in April are yes, then it'll be another extended season in Ottawa.

    Read More »from NHL 2012-13 Campaign Preview: Ottawa Senators
  • After denied a UK visa twice, Mike Danton signs on with Swedish team

    Last season, Mike Danton spent time playing in the Czech Republic and Sweden. While searching for a new team for the 2012-13 season, he was hoping to find a place where life would be easier for his wife and newborn son. That place appeared to be Coventry, England, where the Blaze play in the Elite Ice Hockey League. But because Danton's past included a five-year stint in prison for a murder-for-hire plot his attempt to acquire a UK visa was denied twice, leaving him looking for new options.

    On Saturday, Danton announced on his blog that he has signed a contract with Kramfors-Alliansen of Sweden's Division 1, the third highest level of hockey in the country:

    Today, September 29, 2012 I signed a contract with the Kramfors Alliance in the Swedish Division 1 league. I am returning to Sweden for another season after my two applications for a UK work visa have been denied. Also, my coach form [sic] last season, Janne Huokko, will be coaching me again this season. I am extremely excited to be able to return back to Sweden where my professional career was resurrected and have another opportunity to share my experience with a younger team. I will be travelling to Sweden on Monday and arriving sometime on Tuesday. I look forward to playing Friday in the teams next game. I would like to thank my agent, Mike Bernier, for arranging this scenario on such short notice. It has been an extremely hectic last couple of months, but I am finally getting an opportunity to play hockey again this season. I look forward to updating all of you in the near future.

    So his coach will be Janne Huokko, eh? You might remember him as being the center of the Swedish sex toy incident during a game between AIK and Leksand back in 2008.

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from After denied a UK visa twice, Mike Danton signs on with Swedish team
  • Getty ImagesEarlier this week, Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz caused a stir when he and team executives Patrick LaForge, Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe, and franchise icon Wayne Gretzky visited Seattle and toured Key Arena as he fights for a new arena deal. That same day, Seattle officials voted in favor of a plan for a $490 million arena, putting the city in the mix to be the home of a future NHL team should the league expand or have to relocate a franchise.

    The visit caused much backlash in the Edmonton, with fans lashing out at the billionaire owner and calling his bluff with this attempt to use Seattle as leverage to get an arena deal done. The Seattle Oilers? Not a chance.

    [Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Collusion question goes to the heart of NHL lockout]

    Five days later, Katz has realized his mistake and on Saturday took out a full page ad in the Edmonton Journal apologizing for using the Oilers as a pawn in the negotiations.

    Read More »from Oilers owner Daryl Katz apologizes for Seattle trip with full page newspaper ad (PHOTO)
  • Getty ImagesDuring the 2004-05 lockout, Scott Gomez returned home and played for the ECHL's Alaska Aces -- coached by Davis Payne -- while the NHL was busy taking a year off.

    As the number of NHLers playing elsewhere continues to grow with the current CBA negotiations still on-going, Gomez has chosen to somewhat join the Aces again, signing a professional tryout agreement with the team on Friday.

    From the Aces:

    The Alaska Aces opened their 2012 training camp on Friday morning, and made a splash with the addition of a trio of hometown, NHL forwards to their training camp roster.  Two-time Stanley Cup winner Scott Gomez signed a professional tryout agreement (PTO), Washington Capitals forward Joey Crabb signed a standard player contract, and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Nate Thompson signed a PTO for the 2012-2013 season, Aces Head Coach Rob Murray announce Friday.  All three players are originally from Anchorage, and currently under NHL contracts, but are not playing due to the recent NHL lockout.

    The PTO allows Gomez and Thompson to practice with the club during the lockout. Gomez told the Anchorage Daily News last week that he doesn't intend to actually play for the Aces, but who knows if a prolonged lockout might change his mind. He hasn't made a decision if he'll go to Europe despite receiving some feelers from teams.

    A native of Anchorage, Gomez found plenty of success playing in his home state last time. He led the ECHL in scoring with 13 goals and 86 points in 61 games and was named league MVP. His season ended early when he suffered a broken pelvis after being checked into an open bench door by Ashlee Langdone of the Bakersfield Condors during the ECHL playoffs. When the NHL returned for the 2005-06 season, Gomez had a career best year with 33 goals and 84 points.

    After a career worst campaign last season with the Montreal Canadiens where he scored just two goals and 11 points in 38 games, maybe if he ends up signing with the Aces again lightning can strike Gomez twice when the NHL returns?

    Stick-tap Renaud Lavoie of RDS

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from Locked out Scott Gomez returns home again, signs tryout agreement with ECHL’s Alaska Aces
  • NHL 2012-13 Campaign Preview: New York Islanders

    Getty ImagesYes, indeed, despite the promise of impending labor Armageddon and a prolonged work-stoppage, your friends at Puck Daddy are previewing the 2012-13 NHL season (whenever the heck it starts). Why? Because this is the most important election in the history of all-time ever, and you need to know the candidates — like the New York Islanders.

    Wade Dubielewicz's pokecheck on Sergei Brylin on an Easter 2007 afternoon was the last bit of excitement regarding the Stanley Cup playoffs for the New York Islanders. After bowing out to the Buffalo Sabres in 5 games in the following week, the Islanders haven't come close to returning to the postseason. In the five seasons since, they've finished No. 13, 15, 13, 14 and 14 in the Eastern Conference as GM Garth Snow's rebuild continues with the franchise stockpiling top-10 draft picks.

    Last season, there might have been a change in leadership with a healthy Mark Streit taking over for the retired Doug Weight as team captain, but injuries were the same old story. After leading the NHL in the "man-games lost" category in 2010-11 with 614, the Islanders ended the 2011-12 campaign with players missing 351 games -- an improvement, but still one of the highest in the NHL. It was another season where the idea of the "future" was being pushed and Islanders fans were still wondering where their team might be playing after 2015.

    Hoping for good health, can the Islanders make strides up the standings in the Eastern Conference?

    Read More »from NHL 2012-13 Campaign Preview: New York Islanders
  • NHL cancels remaining preseason games as lockout continues

    Getty ImagesThe NHL preseason was supposed to start on Sunday night with Ottawa and Montreal. That game and every other one through Sept. 30 were canceled last week by the NHL as a new collective bargaining agreement remains still to be agreed upon by the League and Players' Association.

    John Shannon of Sportsnet reported that the NHL will wipe out the remaining 46 exhibitions games on Thursday, cancelling those preseason contests as the lockout continues. Yahoo! Sports has confirmed the report.

    While special games like Kraft Hockeyville, the Frozen Fury in Las Vegas and Baltimore Hockey Classic were eliminated last week, gone now are the other notable matchups like the New York Islanders hosting the New Jersey Devils in the first-ever sporting event at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings Colorado Avalanche facing off in the annual game in Kansas City on Oct. 6.

    While most of us wouldn't usually lament the axing of preseason games, with the way the labor negotiations are going, who wouldn't rather be debating your teams' No. 8 defenseman?

    Given that it's now Sept. 27, we're drawing ever so closely to the next announcement from the NHL in which regular season games are canceled.

    Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

    Read More »from NHL cancels remaining preseason games as lockout continues


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