Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mid- Summer NHL Round Up

We are mid-summer and everyone is missing Hockey. Although there is tons of hockey news to follow and we had some development camp scrimmages to watch, there are still a long 69 days until puck drop. Here is some news that happened while The Amateur Fan was on vacation:

NBC Sports Group announced that they will be airing 103 NHL games during the 2013-12 season. This will include: will include the annual outdoor NHL Winter Classic and the inaugural NHL Stadium Series, a set of four outdoor games including the Los Angeles Kings vs. the Anaheim Ducks in the first outdoor NHL game ever in Southern California. These games will also be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.
The NHL has announced the schedules for 2013-14 season, which includes a new conference and division alignments. The Western Conference will include: (A) Pacific and (B) Central Divisions and the Eastern Conference will include: (C) Atlantic and (D) Metropolitan Divisions.

Also, the NHL Players Association announced that players will be able to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia. Numerous countries have announced their orientation camp roaster. USA hockey has released their roaster to include: Jonathan Quick, Seth Jones, Patrick Kane and 45 others. USA Hockey Camp will be held Aug. 26-27 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington Virginia. It was announced back in late June that Penguins coach Dan Bylsma would serve as Head Coach to the USA Olympic Hockey team and yesterday the assistant coaching staff was announced. The USA Hockey Assistant Coaching staff includes a mash-up of Penguins and Flyers: Penguins Tony Granato, Flyers Peter Laviolette and Columbus Blue Jackets Todd Richards, a former Penguins minor League coach.

Russian goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, our favorite “love to hate him” netminder is having a tough summer. He was released from his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers and after submitting a statement disappeared for the summer and has been absent from the Russian hockey Olympic team roster. Just two summers ago this guy was one of the top goaltenders in the league, now still a free agent in late July and by the looks of it will be watching the Olympics on TV. Bryzgalov has played bad from time to time and had his run-ins with the Philadelphia media but overall he is a skilled goaltender. I was sad to see him leave Philadelphia, although excited to see a door open for Steve Mason. Bryzgalov’s exclusion from the Olympics and possibly from the NHL 2013-14 season speaks volumes of what his peers in the industry think of him. Bill Meltzer took to twitter and put it best that Bryzgalov is his own worst enemy. Who knows what the outcome of the Bryzgalov saga will be but I am hoping that he comes out on top or reappears in the next few years.

Here is some food for thought: should the NHL consider expansion into Europe? Currently Canadian cities and American cities such as: Quebec, Seattle and Kansas City are the top contenders. The idea of European expansion had been brought to the table in 2008 by Deputy NHL commissioner Bill Daly. There have been a number of exhibition games played in Europe in order to test the interest of Europeans in NHL teams. The NHL could be facing a race against the KHL who has been expanding into Central Europe and are planning to have a 64 team league across 22 nation. Expansion would definitely present a time zone issue, currently in the KHL there is a 9 hour difference between the most western and eastern teams – in that case it is conceivable that the NHL could also have such time differences. But there are many other factor that could doom the expansion such as profitability, the International Ice Hockey Federation, etc.

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