That Damn Hockey Blog

That Damn Hockey Blog: Captains, Brawls and Blues! Oh My!

Jamie Benn and Mark Giordano have been named Captains of the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames respectively. They replace Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla, who were both traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins toward trade deadline last season.

Giordano, 29, becomes the 19th Captain in Calgary Flames franchise history, and will have Mike Cammalleri and Curtis Glencross as his Assistants, whereas Benn, 24, will be the sixth Captain since the Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, where Ray Whitney and Stephane Robidas will be the Assistant Captains.

How do you make pre-season exciting? Have a line brawl.
How do you welcome your brand new 5.5 million dollar contract with your new team? Get yourself suspended for ten games.

The Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs decided that pre-season games were boring, and decided that an all-in brawl was the best way. It started when John Scott of the Sabres decided that he needed to stand up for his team-mate, Corey Tropp, was mis-matched in a fight with Leaf Jamie Devane and was going to fight the first person he saw after the faceoff. The Maple Leafs countered this, by trying to move the game on, by sending out their big guns, leaving franchise forward Phil Kessel to fight Scott. This started the brawl, which ended with Kessel showing off his wedge skills on Scott’s shin, Goalies Ryan Miller (Sabres) and Jonathan Bernier (Leafs) having a fight of their own, and David Clarkson, who signed from New Jersey in the off-season, came off the bench to get involved. This is a no-no, and coming off the bench in that nature, leads to an automatic 10-game suspension. Way to go Clarkson, way to gooooooo.

Oh, here’s the fight in question..

Brenden Morrow has signed a 1-year, 1.5 million dollar deal with Dallas Stars 2.0, the St. Louis Blues. Morrow joins former head coach Ken Hitchcock, former GM Doug Armstrong, VP of Business Operations Brett Hull, who scored the cup winning goal for the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup victory, and fellow off-season Free Agent signing Derek Roy, as former Dallas Stars applying their trade in St. Louis. Morrow looks like being a third-fourth liner for his new franchise.

Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs

Buffalo Sabres/Toronto Maple Leafs pre-season brawl

Rivalries.  You know you’re going to have an intense game when two teams who genuinely don’t like each other face off.

The Sabres and the Maple Leafs are rivals.  Only about a 90 minute drive separate First Niagara Center from Air Canada Center, and there are generally just as many Leafs fans at the FNC when the teams play each other there as there are Sabres fans.  So, you expect a fierce game when these two teams meet – but you generally don’t expect it in a pre-season game.

Jaime Devane and Corey Tropp decided to drop the gloves in the third period of Sunday night’s exhibition, which led to Tropp smashing the back of his head against the ice.  The Sabres sent out enforcer John Scott on the next play, who threatened to “jump” Phil Kessel – at least, that’s what Kessel says.

Here’s the video, I’ll update you on any discipline handed down by the NHL if I hear anything.

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Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres reveal new third jerseys

Ah, the Buffalo Sabres.  My beloved home team, and a team who are considered by many to have some of the best primary uniforms in the sport at the moment.  That hasn’t always been the case.  The Sabres came into the league in 1970 wearing their classic uniforms that the current design are based on:

They would keep this basic look with minor tweaks (a darker shade of blue, shoulder patches, and player names on the back) throughout the first 25 years of the franchise, when they went in a drastic new direction, changing the classic blue and gold for red, white, silver and black.

Let’s face it.  The “goat head” jerseys weren’t hated – in fact, I’d be hard pressed to name a Sabres fan who doesn’t own at least one of the three jerseys pictured above.  And yes, I’d venture to say that many of them had Miroslav Satan’s name and number emblazoned on theirs.  But in 2006, the fans were clamoring for a return to the blue and gold era of Sabres past.  Have you ever heard the phrase, “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it?”

This is what we got.  A logo that was instantly reviled, compared to a banana slug or a “Donald Trump hairpiece,” affectionately known as the “Buffa-Slug.”  The logo was terrible, the jerseys were far from traditional, yet these were the hottest selling jerseys in the National Hockey League for a brief period of time.  It didn’t hurt that, on the backs of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, the Sabres were also one of the hottest teams in the league when that happened.

Despite shelling out their hard earned money for the hated “slug,” (and believe me, I have one of these in my closet too), the fans wanted it gone.  Sites such as Sabres Not Slugs appeared, online petitions were passed around, and other designers were coming up with their own ideas for what the next set of Sabres uniforms should look like.  Eventually, a third jersey, an updated version of the classic Sabres uniform, was created to compliment the Slug uniforms, and eventually became the new primary home, along with a brand new road jersey in the same style in 2010.

The third jersey pictured here was used for the 40th anniversary season.

In recent weeks, the Sabres were posting teaser pictures of a new third jersey on their twitter page.  Forward Steve Ott seemed to be trying to get them to speed up the reveal, to no avail.  Early Wednesday morning, the Sabres released another teaser picture on Twitter, seemingly meant to rile up fans who wanted to see the full uniform unveiled just as much as Steve Ott seemed to.

Ott responded to this with the following tweet:

He even went as far as to threaten to unveil it himself if the team refused:

The team called his bluff, saying that the only two jerseys were under lock and key at “Fort Knox,” which is a nickname bestowed upon the First Niagara Center in honor of former Sabres owner Seymour Knox III.  Ott, however, made good on his promise only moments later.

My initial reaction to this jersey was, “when did the Sabres start playing soccer?”  As I see this image floating around more and more, I start to think about the fact that it’s unique in that the front and back are two different colors.  I actually don’t hate this jersey, though a lot of people seem to.  I doubt we’ll see this for more than two or three seasons, however.  This is a very vocal fanbase and we get what we want.  Except a Stanley Cup.


2013 NHL Entry Draft – By Team

Who did your team draft in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft? Find out by following the links below.


Anaheim Ducks
Calgary Flames
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars
Edmonton Oilers
Los Angeles Kings
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
Phoenix Coyotes
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks
Winnipeg Jets


Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Carolina Hurricanes
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Ottawa Senators
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
Washington Capitals

Carolina Hurricanes

2013 NHL Entry Draft – Carolina Hurricanes

Here is a look at whom the Carolina Hurricanes drafted in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and also any trades they may have partaken in during the draft.

Round – Pick – Player Chosen (position in brackets) – Nationality – Junior/Club/College Team

1 – 5 – Elias Lindholm (C) – Sweden – Brynas IF (SHL)
3 – 66 – Brett Pesce (D) – United States – University of New Hampshire (NCAA I)
5 – 126 – Brent Pedersen (LW) – Canada – Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
6 – 156 – Tyler Ganly (D) – Canada – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)


Carolina Hurricanes acquire Andrej Sekera (D) from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Jamie McBain (D) and 2013 2nd Rd pick

Buffalo Sabres

2013 NHL Entry Draft – Buffalo Sabres

Here is a look at whom the Buffalo Sabres drafted in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and also any trades they may have partaken in during the draft.

Round – Pick – Player Chosen (position in brackets) – Nationality – Junior/Club/College Team

1 – 8 – Rasmus Ristolainen (D) – Finland – TPS Turku (SM-liiga)
1 – 16 – Nikita Zadorov (D) – Russia – London Knights (OHL)
2 – 35 – J.T. Compher (LW) – United States – USA U-18 (USHL)
2 – 38 – Connor Hurley (C) – United States – Edina High (USHS)
2 – 52 – Justin Bailey (RW) – United States – Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
3 – 69 – Nicholas Baptiste (RW) – Canada – Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
5 – 129 – Calvin Petersen (G) – United States – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
5 – 130 – Gustav Possler (RW) – Sweden – MODO (SHL)
5 – 143 – Anthony Florentino (D) – United States – South Kent Prep. (USHS)
6 – 159 – Sean Malone (C) – United States – USA U-18 (USHL)
7 – 189 – Eric Locke (C) – United States – Saginaw Spirit (OHL)


Buffalo Sabres acquire Jamie McBain (D) and 2nd Rd pick (2013) from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Andrej Sekera (D)


2013 NHL Entry Draft Results – Top 10

Sunday June 30 saw the 2013 NHL Entry Draft take place in the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The projected top picks include American Defencemen Seth Jones, Canadian Forwards Nathan McKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, Finnish Forward Alexander Barkov Jr., and Russian Forward Valeri Nichuskin.


Pick – Team – Player Chosen (position in brackets) – Nationality – Junior/Club/College Team

1 – Colorado Avalanche – Nathan McKinnon (C) – Canada – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
2 – Florida Panthers – Alexander Barkov Jr. (C) – Finland – Tappara (SM-liiga)
3 – Tampa Bay Lightning – Jonathan Drouin (LW) – Canada – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
4 – Nashville Predators – Seth Jones (D) – United States – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
5 – Carolina Hurricanes – Elias Lindholm (C) – Sweden – Brynas IF (SHL)
6 – Calgary Flames – Sean Monahan (C) – Canada – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
7 – Edmonton Oilers – Darnell Nurse (C) – Canada – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
8 – Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Ristolainen (D) – Finland – TPS Turku (SM-liiga)
9 – Vancouver Canucks – Bo Horvat (C) – Canada – London Knights (OHL)
10 – Dallas Stars – Valeri Nichuskin (RW) – Russia – HC Dynamo Moscow (KHL)

The biggest trade made during the draft involved the New Jersey Devils trading away the ninth pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to the Vancouver Canucks, for G Cory Schneider.

The UHF Tournament

The Ultimate Hockey Fighter Tournament – Final

It has come down to this. Two men will fight off to determine just who is the Ultimate Hockey Fighter. 32 men entered, many many more worthy candidates were left out, and now, only 2 remain.

Rob Ray
LW Canada
Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators
6′ 203 lbs
5×20 NHL Fights in a season
10×15 NHL Fights in a season
246 NHL Fights 16.4 FPY

How Rob Ray got here:

def. ken Baumgartner
def. Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams
def. Krzysztof Oliwa
def. Stu Grimson

Bob Probert
Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks
6’3″ 225 lbs
3×20 NHL Fights in a season
11×15 NHL Fights in a season
240 NHL Fights 15 FPY

How Bob Probert got here:

def. Jody Shelley
def. (WC) Craig Berube
def. (WC) Matthew Barnaby
def. Tie Domi

Two of the greatest fighters whom NEVER fought on the ice during their careers, will finally meet, to determine who, is, the Ultimate Hockey Fighter

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The UHF Tournament

The Ultimate Hockey Fighter Tournament – Semi Finals

Four Fighters. Three Matches. Two Finalists. One Ultimate Hockey Fighter.

Last week, Tie Domi sealed the last Semi Final spot by defeating Joey Kocur.

This week, the Semi Finals begin, with the winner advancing to the Final!

Rob Ray
LW Canada
Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators
6′ 203 lbs
5×20 NHL Fights in a season
10×15 NHL Fights in a season
246 NHL Fights 16.4 FPY

Stu Grimson
Calgary Flames, Chicage Blackhawks, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators
6’5″ 239 lbs
4×20 NHL Fights in a season
8×15 NHL Fights in a season
217 NHL Fights 15.5 FPY

What happened when these two squared off:




[poll id=”31″]



Buffalo Sabres

Former Buffalo Sabre Clint Malarchuk – 30 for 30 Short Film

This morning I decided to check my e-mail after a couple of days, and to my surprise, I had an e-mail from Jennifer Cingari at ESPN.  The e-mail contained the press release for their latest 30 for 30 Short Film, “Cutthroat.”  The appropriately titled film is about former Buffalo Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk, who had his throat cut by a skate during a March 22, 1989 game against the St. Louis Blues.  This is an image ingrained in the hockey culture of my hometown of Buffalo, an image intensified as Richard Zednik, then of the Florida Panthers, suffered a similar injury at the HSBC Arena (now First Niagara Center), just across the street from where Malarchuk’s injury occurred.  This is a very powerful film, as the ESPN 30 for 30 series tends to be, and it really is a must watch, regardless of what team you root for.

The next installment of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series, Cutthroat, debuts today on The short film focuses on former Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk and his emotional and physical recovery from one of the most gruesome injuries in sports history.

Clint Malarchuk was known as the “Cowboy Goalie.” He grew up riding horses but suffered from severe childhood OCD, which he believes helped him focus on his hockey training. During a game against the St. Louis Blues, an opposing player’s skate blade severed Malarchuk’s carotid artery, causing one of the most shocking scenes to ever take place in a hockey rink. From award-winning director Steven Cantor, Cutthroat chronicles Malarchuk’s injury, his remarkable two-week physical recovery and his grueling emotional and mental journey, which spans twenty years and included a six-month stay in a mental hospital for long overdue PTSD treatment.

ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series is artfully crafted by Blue Moon. Previous films from the series include Arnold’s Blueprint, Ali: The Mission, and The Irrelevant Giant, among others. All can be viewed on