Hockey never really ends. The Stanley Cup is awarded in mid June, but then you move right on the the NHL Entry Draft. After that, you move on to about a month of free agency talks. Right when the lull of August sets in, training camps fire up in September, along with last minute trades and signings, teams cut players, surprises emerge, until finally the season begins.
All that commotion makes it difficult to forget NHL news items. How could you? In Canada especially, it’s being talked about 24/7.
With the lockout however, there is a complete lack of actual hockey talk around the NHL. The only hockey-related story I can think of is the potential Roberto Luongo trade, which really doesn’t matter because he can’t be traded until the lockout is over. All we’re getting is lockout talk. Yawn.
Through all the yawns, it’s easy to forget some of the big hockey stories from the last few months or so. Here are some of the ones I almost forgot.
1. The Vancouver Canucks traded Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres for Zack Kassian
There’s more to that trade (Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer for Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani), but what it is always going to be remembered as, is the Hodgson for Kassian trade. It was a pretty big surprise when the news came down at the trade deadline.
Right now Cody Hodgson has nine points (1 G, 8 A) through just six games for the Sabres’ AHL affiliate Rochester Americans, while Zack Kassian leads the Vancouver Canucks affiliate Chicago Wolves with four points (3 G, 1 A) and penalty minutes with 16 through five games.
2. Not only is Jordan Staal a Carolina Hurricane, but so is Alex Semin
I know, right?! The Pittsburgh Penguins traded Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin, and the 8th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry draft, which the Penguins used to select Derrick Pouliot. Staal found out about the trade while at a wedding – his wedding to be specific – surrounded by his now former Penguins teammates.
About a month later, the Hurricanes signed Washington Capitals sniper Alex Semin to a one-year deal worth $7 million. While it’s $7 million, the risk is minimal since it’s only a one-year deal, plus you get to steal away a sniper from a divisional rival.
Consider this goofiness: The Hurricanes now have an offensive core that includes Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Alex Semin, Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen, and Tuomo Ruutu.
3. Mike Ribeiro is on the Washington Capitals
Yup. This happened, too. The Dallas Stars traded Mike Ribeiro to Washington in exchange for former Canadian World Junior player Cody Eakin and the 54th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, which the Stars used to draft Mike Winther.
Even sans Alex Semin, the Capitals offence now includes…I was about to type their names, but look at them. Just look at them.
Speaking of which…
4. Braden Holtby has arrived
Hey, remember when the NHL actually had games? Well Braden Holtby was sick.
After putting up a respectable 2.49 GAA and .922 in just seven regular season games, Braden Holtby helped the Caps topple the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, and took the heavily favored New York Rangers all the way to a Game 7. What were his stats? A 1.95 GAA and a Hasek-like .935 SV%.
5. The Leafs traded Luke Schenn for James van Riemsdyk
Even though I wrote a big ol’ blog about this trade when it happened, I still kind of forgot about it. Reports have come out this week that JVR might sign to play in Finland, and I legitimately forgot he was a Leaf for a second. I had to kind of go, “Ohhh yeah. That whole thing.” And then I remembered Randy Carlyle want to try him at centre, and then it made me think about last season, and then I got depressed…. But hey! How about that Jordan Staal trade, right?
6. Jaromir Jagr is a Dallas Star
So that’s the stuff I almost forgot. How about you?