Monday, June 26, 2017

{allcanada} Long wait for Hockey Hall of Fame call no sweat for Dave Andreychuk

Dave Andreychuk had to wait until his 22nd season in the NHL to finally win the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.

By comparison, waiting until his ninth year of eligibility to be voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday was no big deal.

"I guess with the Stanley Cup it was sweeter to wait that long," Andreychuk said. "You understand the value and how hard it is to achieve. I guess that's kind of the same thing here."

Andreychuk, 53, was one of seven people elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2017, including three other former NHL players: Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya and Mark Recchi. Retired Canadian women's ice hockey player Danielle Goyette also was elected, along with Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and University of Alberta coach Clare Drake, each voted in as a builder.

The induction ceremony will be at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 13.

Andreychuk, a left wing, played 23 seasons in the NHL with the Lightning, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche before retiring after being released by Tampa Bay in 2005-06.

At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Andreychuk made his living battling for position and scoring goals from in front of the net. He ranks 14th in NHL history with 640 goals, including a League-record 274 on the power play, and also had 698 assists in 1,639 regular-season games. Before Monday, he was the only player eligible who had scored at least 600 goals in the NHL and was not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"Nobody starts their career thinking that they're going to be a Hall of Famer," Andreychuk said. "You just want to stay in the League, you want to help your team win, and after it's all done and you look at your numbers and you think that there's a chance and people start to talk about it. But at the same time, it's really out of your hands. I'm thankful this day came along for me and for my family, and whether it was this year or next year or 10 years from now didn't matter to us."

The Sabres' first-round pick (No. 16) in the 1982 NHL Draft, Andreychuk scored at least 20 goals 19 times and reached 30 goals nine times, 40 goals four times, and 50 goals in 1992-93 (NHL career-high 54 in 83 games with Buffalo and Toronto) and 1993-94 (53 in 83 games with Toronto).

"The back-to-back 50-goal seasons, the power-play record for goals, those are things that I look back on that it's an amazement to really think [about]," he said. "When I started in '82 and got the privilege of watching Gilbert Perreault score 500 goals, to think that I went by him, it's mind-boggling."

Andreychuk said he was considering retirement following his second stint with the Sabres in 2000-01 when the Lightning called and asked if he was interested in playing for them. With the Lightning out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot at the 2002 NHL Trade Deadline, general manager Jay Feaster offered Andreychuk a chance to be traded to the Montreal Canadiens, but he declined because he saw the potential in Tampa Bay with talented players such as Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle and Nikolai Khabibulin.

Two seasons later, Andreychuk was Lightning captain when they won the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history, cementing his legacy.

"It obviously caps a career for myself, but I think if I wouldn't have won the Stanley Cup not much would have changed either," he said. "I still played with some great players and made some great friends throughout the years."

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{allcanada} Mark Recchi says it's 'surreal' being elected to Hall of Fame


The Hockey Hall of Fame's media teleconference wasn't over more than five minutes Monday when a call to Mark Recchi's cell phone immediately went to his recorded "Hey there…" greeting.

It was little surprise when a recorded voice followed, saying that his mailbox "is full and cannot accept any more messages at this time."

Two hours later, with nearly 200 text messages choking his phone and enough voicemail to overflow it, Recchi took a call at his home in Pittsburgh, with a confession.

"I had put the phone down to play some knee-hockey with my son Brendan," he said, laughing. "He's 5, and he's relentless."

Recchi, a 49-year-old native of Kamloops, British Columbia, had earlier spoken of his Hall of Fame election as a "tremendous honor."

Now, as the Pittsburgh Penguins director of player development prepared to head out to celebrate the occasion with his parents, his wife and her parents at a family barbecue, he described the moment that he took the call from Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald.

"I was at the Penguins practice rink (in Cranberry, Pennsylvania), going over free agency and what we're planning on doing going forward," Recchi said. "As soon as I saw the 416 (Toronto area code) on my phone, I jumped out of the room.

"I went back into this big meeting, sat down and totally didn't hear anything that went on for the next five minutes. My dad was at the rink, so the timing couldn't have been any better. I went out, grabbed him and gave him a big hug, called my wife, who was with my mother, then went upstairs to tell [Penguins general manager] Jimmy Rutherford and [hockey operations vice president] Jason Karmanos. The whole thing was just surreal."

Fifteen days earlier, Recchi had shuffled joyfully onto the ice at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, with the rest of the Penguins management team, to join the players who were celebrating a successful defense of their Stanley Cup championship.

A month before that, Recchi was delighted when his son Cameron was drafted by Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League. And a month before that came Recchi's induction into the British Columbia Hall of Fame, a street already named after him in Kamloops.

Now comes his election to the Hockey Hall of Fame, capping a gilt-edged year that he'll have a hard time topping, ever.

"And I got remarried in the past year too. It's been a really good year," Recchi said, laughing again. "It's incredible."

As a player, the battering-ram-tough Recchi won three Stanley Cup titles - with the Penguins in 1991, the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and the Boston Bruins in 2011, going out on top in a career that spanned 22 NHL seasons, having played 1,841 regular-season and postseason games.

Recchi enjoyed a distinguished career with seven NHL teams -- the Penguins, who selected him in the fourth round (No. 67) of the 1988 NHL Draft, followed by the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and finally the Bruins.

And what a body of work. Recchi's 1,533 points (577 goals, 956 assists) are 12th in NHL history. All 10 retired players ahead of him on that list are in the Hall of Fame, the one still active -- Jaromir Jagr, who intends to play a 24th NHL season in 2017-18 -- surely headed in following his retirement.

Recchi holds an interesting record. On June 6, 2011, for the Bruins against the Vancouver Canucks, he became the oldest player in NHL history to score a goal in a Stanley Cup Final game, coming at age 43 years, 216 days.

Now, the only retired player with more than 500 goals and 1,500 points in the NHL who wasn't in the Hall has been welcomed to the shrine in his fourth year of eligibility.

He will have five months to prepare his induction speech, and he has a bit of an idea how he'll proceed, having heard many over the years and with countless coaches, friends and family members in his life who have been "great people and great role models along the way."

But on Monday, still digesting this remarkable day, there was more immediate concern about a slight change in the Recchi family barbecue menu.

"I think with the wine," he said, "there will be a little Champagne."

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{allcanada} See the moment Teemu Selanne found out he made the Hockey Hall of Fame - - - Wal-Mart - GameStop - Work From Home


Teemu Selanne got a very important phone call on Monday and cameras were there to capture the big moment.

Selanne was sitting with his wife Sirpa and daughter Veera, fresh off the golf course, when he got the call that he'd been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in its 2017 class.

Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald was on the other end when Selanne picked up and said he'd cut his golf outing short, to which McDonald replied that maybe he should make some other plans for the rest of the day.

Selanne was elected along with Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, Paul Kariya, Danielle Goyette, Jeremy Jacobs and Clare Drake. Selanne even paid it forward, helping inform former teammate Kariya that he had also been elected. The 2017 induction ceremony will be in Toronto on Nov. 13.

New members are elected every year, but it never gets old seeing someone find out they're about to be enshrined alongside the greatest of all time.

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{allcanada} Teemu Selanne began Hall of Fame career with legendary season


Easily forgotten in the legend of an NHL record-breaking, 76-goal, 132-point season by Teemu Selanne was that uncertainty surrounding him was high and expectations for him only mixed before his debut with the Winnipeg Jets in the 1992-93 season.

"The Finnish Flash" had ability and character that erased all doubt.

In the face of the unknown, Selanne's start was good, and important; it provided relief after his controversial signing and a public debate over his worth.

Selanne's first NHL goal, against Jeff Hackett of the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 8, 1992, alleviated some of the worry over whether the four-year wait would be worth it after the Jets selected him at No. 10 in the 1988 NHL Draft.

In the summer of 1992, Selanne decided he was finally ready to leave Finland and try the NHL. As a 22-year-old, and a restricted free agent, he signed an offer sheet from the Calgary Flames that the Jets matched with a certain amount of displeasure over the three years and $2.7 million value.

They got over it in a hurry, as did skeptical fans, their doubt neutralized by Selanne's skill and personality.

On a Jets team that had five rookies (Selanne, Alexei Zhamnov, Keith Tkachuk, Sergei Bautin and Evgeny Davydov), Selanne played with flair and confidence from the beginning.

"I was so hungry to prove myself," he said in 2015. "It was like a snowball going down a hill. I had more and more confidence and I just wanted to score and enjoy every day."

After 11 games, Selanne had 11 goals. After 20 games, 16 goals.

At the midway point of the season, he had 34 goals in 42 games.

And amazingly, it got better from there as the memorable nights just kept piling up. An eight-game goal streak, during which he scored nine times, carried into the second half.

There was a four-game drought in January and another of three games in February, with talk increasing of matching the rookie record of 52 goals, set by Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders in 1977-78.

But Selanne was inspired by the talk and the pressure. He scored 11 goals in five games between Feb. 23 and March 4, breaking Bossy's mark and bringing down the house at Winnipeg Arena with his 53rd goal on March 2 against the Quebec Nordiques. (He also went on to break the rookie record for points in a season, set by Peter Stastny of the Nordiques in 1980-81.)

On March 9 at the Tampa Bay Lightning, Selanne scored his fifth hat trick of the season, including one of his best-ever goals - a penalty-shot goal against Wendell Young that was a wonder of speed and multiple shoulder shifts, finished with a backhand flip into the top of the net.

His 20 goals in March remain the NHL record for one month. Selanne scored at least one goal in 53 games that season, finishing his rookie year by with a 17-game point streak in which he scored 34 points (20 goals, 14 assists).

Part of the joyride was defenseman Phil Housley's career-best, 97-point season (18 goals, 79 assists), his uncanny playmaking and silky skating helping him forge instant chemistry with Selanne. And the key to the improved second half may well have been the Dec. 28 trade that brought tough guys Kris King and Tie Domi to the Jets from the New York Rangers.

As the legendary season progressed, Selanne autographs, photos, smiles and waves grew in lockstep. When the Jets' wives held their carnival fundraiser on the second floor of the Winnipeg Convention Centre on a Sunday afternoon in February, fans lined up down the stairs then outside and around the block, waiting as long as three hours, to get an autograph or photo.

And Selanne stayed until there was nobody left in line.

"The whole time (in Winnipeg), almost four years, was special," Selanne, who was traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on Feb. 7, 1996, said Monday. "The rest is the fans -- the whole city was special.

"You treat people well, they treat you like a king there. As a player when you realize that, there's a lot of respect for the fans."

When the season of magic was over, Selanne received 50 of 50 first-place votes for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie, capping a season never to be forgotten.

By a player never to be forgotten.

Selanne continues to be revered and adored in Winnipeg. After all this time, he has finally begun to appreciate the magnitude of his accomplishment in 1992-93.

"In that time, I didn't really realize what happened," said Selanne, 46. "Now the number is so big. I didn't really know how that happened but what a great memory that whole year was.

"And the people of Winnipeg, they lived that with me. It was something special I'm never going to forget."

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{allcanada} ‘Doomsday’: Sony TV Eyes Series Order For Ex-ABC Pilot, Extends Cast Options


It looks like thriller drama pilot Doomsday, from producer Carol Mendelsohn and Sony Pictures TV, will go to series after all. I've learned that Sony TV is exploring a series order for the project, originally set up at ABC this past development season where it did not go beyond the pilot stage. While pickup conversations are going on, Sony TV has moved to extend the options on the cast of Doomsday, which were set to expire June 30. The project stars Claire Holt, Jack Davenport, Rachelle Lefevre, Dan Byrd, Taye Diggs, Justin Chatwin and Rochelle Aytes.

I hear Sony TV is planning to produce Doomsday for global distribution based on oversees interest in the concept and auspices. I hear the studio would open a writers room and fund the production of the series, likely in the 13-episode range, before taking it out to domestic and international buyers.

I hear one of the potential options considered involves Sony Pictures Television Networks' AXN set of international channels, which distributes Sony TV's straight-to-series Stana Katic thriller drama Absentia that just had its world premiere at the Monte Carlo Television Festival.

Doomsday was one of the first big buys of the 2016-2017 broadcast development cycle, landing at ABC with a production commitment plus a series penalty behind it. It went to pilot but did not make the cut to series.

Written by Mark Bianculli & VJ Boyd and directed by Joachim Ronning, Doomsday starts in the aftermath of 9/11, when the U.S. government institutes a secret think tank featuring the most creative minds in science and entertainment that is tasked with dreaming up man-made disaster scenarios and their possible solutions. Because the hypothetical ideas are deemed extremely dangerous, the list is sealed and the program shut down. But when a catastrophe occurs that's ripped from the pages of the missing doomsday book, the team is brought back years later to prevent the disasters of their own making.

Mendelsohn and Julie Weitz executive produce for Sony TV-based Carol Mendelsohn Productions alongside Boyd via Pernomium Pictures and Bianculli via Signal Hill Productions.

If the deals close and Doomsday goes to series, it would be the second broadcast pilot this season to score a series order after getting a pass by its original network. CBS TV Studios' Insatiable, originally at the CW, has landed at Netflix. As for Sony TV, it would be the second save this season, following NBC's un-cancellation of the studio's drama Timeless.

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{allcanada} Paul Kariya sees progress, thinks NHL can do more on concussions


Paul Kariya still believes the NHL can do more to address concussions.

Speaking after he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday afternoon, Kariya said the league was progressing in its handling of head injuries but hadn't yet done enough to root out the dangerous hits that ultimately led to the premature end of his career.

"It's going in the right direction," Kariya said. "I'd still like to see more done in terms of how long the suspensions are and the severity of the suspensions. But hopefully things continue to progress. If that's out there and players know that the suspensions are going to be harsher, I hope that they don't (decide to make) those kind of hits."

The NHL has tweaked rule 48.1 for illegal checks to the head, but that hasn't eliminated head hits entirely nor the ensuing frustration and confusion when supplemental discipline isn't delivered.

Gary Suter, notably, drew only a four-game suspension for nailing Kariya just before the start of the 1998 Olympics. Kariya didn't play again that season.

"Growing up in peewee hockey, when we started contact hockey, the coaches didn't tell you, 'When Joey's not looking, elbow him in the head and that's a hockey play.' To me, it's not a part of the game. It never was a part of the game, shouldn't be a part of the game and it should be punished accordingly," Kariya said.

"That's not to say that there's going to be no concussions anymore — because any time you play a contact sport there's that chance and players and parents should know that that's the chance that you take when you're going to play a contact sport. But in my experience it's the ones that guys are targeting their head and they're doing it when you have no way of protecting yourself. Those are the ones that are really damaging."

The B.C. native, who piled up 989 points in 989 games, thought awareness about the "devastating" effects of concussions had improved and "10 years from now we're going to know a lot more about concussions and about ways to prevent them than we do now or looking back when I was playing, what we knew then."

Kariya said he holds no ill will towards the NHL for how his career ended, describing himself as "very grateful" for the 15 seasons he spent with the Ducks, Avalanche, Predators and Blues. His reluctance to appear on the public stage, both with the Ducks — where he spent the bulk of his tenure — or the league was rooted more in his desire for privacy.

Teemu Selanne, his former running mate and fellow hall inductee, said it was his "mission" to pull Kariya back into the sport in some capacity, but Kariya wasn't sure where his skill-set would fit and wasn't willing to dive in if not totally invested.

Kariya says he still watches the game plenty and like most, is intrigued by the youth pushing its way to the top.

He's healthy these days too and free of any lingering effects from concussions. He's able to surf (three to four times a week in California) and snowboard back in home province of B.C. with no problems at all.

Still, it's clear he wonders how his remarkable career would have looked like without all the head injuries.

"I didn't retire willingly. I would've loved to kept playing," he said. "If there was any way of waving a magic wand and getting the opportunity to live through my entire career — the good and the bad — I would do it again in a heartbeat."

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{allcanada} Senators sign Tom Pyatt to two-year extension


OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators have signed forward Tom Pyatt to a two-year, one-way contract extension worth US$2.2 million.

The Thunder Bay, Ont., native scored nine goals and added 14 assists in 82 games with the Senators last season, while adding two goals in 14 playoff games. He averaged 15:38 of time-on-ice last season, including 2:06 per game short-handed, which was second among team forwards.

Prior to joining Ottawa, Pyatt spent two seasons playing with Geneve Servette of the Swiss-A League.

Pyatt was selected in the fourth round, 107th overall, by the New York Rangers in the 2005 NHL draft. The 30-year-old has played in 327 NHL games with Montreal, Tampa Bay and Ottawa.

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{allcanada} Hamonic, Smith join Flames in Battle of Alberta arms race


Travis Hamonic was born just a few months after the Edmonton Oilers won their fifth Stanley Cup.

It was the sixth time in seven years an Alberta team had hoisted the Lord Stanley's mug.

Growing up on a farm two provinces over, in St. Malo, Man., little could he have known he'd one day be considered heavy artillery in a revamped Alberta arms race between the Oilers and the Calgary Flames.

He knows it now.

"I'm quite excited to throw myself head first into the rivalry – especially the way I play," said the 26-year-old defenceman while being unveiled to the Calgary media Monday alongside recently acquired goalie Mike Smith.

"You're living under a rock if you haven't watched those games and heard about the rivalry. Seeing it on Hockey Night in Canada all the time it's going to be special to be part of."

Days before even acquiring Hamonic in a swap with the New York Islanders that included a first- and two second-round picks heading back to Brooklyn, Flames GM Brad Treliving was open about how the stage had been set for the Battle of Alberta Part Deux.

Just as former Flames GM Cliff Fletcher focused on doing everything he could to counter Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and the stocked shelves of his Smythe Division rivals, Treliving has identified having four strong defenceman as the key to stopping Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the surging Oil.

So he paid a king's ransom to round out his trio of Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton and T.J. Brodie with the Islanders stud who can do just about everything a coach could ask.

That coach, Glen Gulutzan, can now rest easy knowing that whether his team is playing on the road or at home, in the playoffs or regular season, he won't get caught with a mismatch when the reigning Hart Trophy winner jumps over the boards.

"If anybody has an idea to shut him down pass it along," chuckled Treliving of McDavid.

"You can't be focused on one guy. That's a good team up there and he's as good as it gets. You have to get out of your division at some point. I still think to win in this league if you can have as deep a blue line as possible it gives you the best chance."

Another key element to stopping the beefed up Oilers, who beat Calgary all four outings last year, is having dependable goaltending, which the Flames haven't had since Miikka Kiprusoff retired in 2013.

While Brian Elliott's strong finish to the regular season and Chad Johnson's season-saving relief efforts early on allowed the Flames to improve the team's league-worst goals-against average to 14th last season (from 30th a year earlier), they struggled mightily against Edmonton.

In four losses to the Oilers the Flames allowed 21 goals.

Enter Mr. Smith.

Throw away all the stats the 35-year-old accrued as a member of the league's worst outfit the last handful of years, as he's now on a playoff team with a fearsome foursome in front of him the likes of which he's never before had the luxury of playing behind.

"Wow," said Smith when asked what his reaction was to learning Saturday Hamonic would join the fold.

"Brad mentioned it to me after I got traded that he had some other things in the works. You never know what to believe, but he put his money where his mouth is with an unbelievable player who has played some big minutes for the Isles. I'm thrilled to get a chance to play with these guys."

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{allcanada} Bibeau, Griffith not qualified by Maple Leafs, will become UFAs


TORONTO – Antoine Bibeau and Seth Griffith were not extended a qualifying offer from the Toronto Maple Leafs before Monday's deadline, Sportsnet has learned.

The 23-year-old goaltender and 24-year-old winger are each due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Bibeau has spent three years playing in the American Hockey League after being drafted by the Leafs 172nd overall in 2013. He made his first two NHL starts last season for Toronto, going 1-1-0.

A former QMJHL playoff MVP, Bibeau saw his development stall in recent years – dropping from a .913 save percentage in his first season with the Marlies to .894 this past year. He only appeared in one playoff game for the AHL team this spring.

Griffith was twice claimed on waivers by the Leafs last season. He had no points in three games with the NHL team, but put up 44 in 38 regular-season games for the Marlies.

Meanwhile, the Leafs chose to qualify forwards Connor Brown and Zach Hyman, and goaltender Garret Sparks, according to each of their agents. Those players remain under team control.

It wasn't immediately known what they did with Sergey Kalinin or Justin Holl.

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