The sport has lost another from a bygone era, with the passing of former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman James Angus "Gus" Mortson at the age of 90. His four Stanley Cup wins with the Maple Leafs from 1947-1951 and eight all-star appearances live on in hockey's history. The Hockey Writers have a great little biography of "Old Hardrock", including a number of remarkable photos and an account of Mortson's soured relations with Conn Smythe. RIP, Gus Mortson.
And now the news.
Patrick Kane's day with Lord Stanley's Mug was a quiet affair, punctuated by a distinct lack of tweets from Keeper of the Cup Philip Pritchard. (Yahoo! Sports)
"Colorado is a young team that keeps getting better" is a delightful quote, don't you think? And it comes not from some hack in the blogosphere, but Comcast Sportsnet. At this point, I think I've read about how every center in the Avs organization is going to have Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla as his wings. (CSN Washington)
Has anybody called Pete Chiarelli about Taylor Hall's availability? I can photoshop a picture of him hanging out with confirmed media magnet Tyler Seguin, if that helps. The Dallas center has 161 points over the last two seasons, but I'm sure he's still not good enough for Boston. (Dallas Morning News)
He may be 36 and over two years removed from his last NHL game, but Ruslan Fedotenko's goal is still to make the Minnesota Wild roster. At the very least, he'll continue to be a veteran presence down in Iowa and a cheap depth option for the big club should they need him. (Des Moines Register)
Now's as good a time as any to do some homework on newly-signed Perds forward Steve Moses. It will be very interesting to see how his usage and linemates end up looking in Nashville; one can make a number of fun bottom-six combinations, given the presence of Calle Järnkrok, Paul Gaustad, Gabriel Bourque, Cody Hodgson and maybe Kevin Fiala. Regardless of how things turn out, at $1 million for one year I'm of the opinion that he was a gamble worth taking. (Predlines)
That seems to be all she wrote for Philip McRae's time with the St. Louis Blues organization, as the 33rd overall selection in 2008 has now signed with Edmonton's AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. (St. Louis Game Time)
Episode 4 of the AIH Superfans podcast is now in post-production and will be uploaded soon for your listening pleasure. Remember this moment, the juncture at which Producer @sliiiiip jumped off a sinking ship to join the 2019 Stanley Cup Champion Toronto Maple Leafs bandwagon. Remember.
Episode 4 is in the books. We'll be uploading it soon. Make sure you listen as the takes are hotter than ever!!!— AIH Superfans (@AIHSuperfans) August 10, 2015
And All The Rest
Both Mark Scheifele-inspiration Scotty Hartnell and Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen (publicly) feel all right going into 2015-16 with their current crop of defencemen. If they can just get the puck up to those forwards, maybe they'll be okay. Here's a question for you folks: would you be happier with the d-corps in Columbus, or Ottawa? (The Score)
When asked about the legitimacy of their respective sport's Hall of Fame, ESPN's 17 hockey experts (compared to the organization's 68 experts in baseball, 64 in football and 44 in basketball) gave the Hockey Hall of Fame the highest rating among the Big Four. Take that, Cooperstown. (ESPN)
Corey Abbott continues his preview of the 2015-16 season, wrapping up the Atlantic Division teams and starting on those in the Met. The fact that Aleksander Barkov hasn't yet turned 20 just blows me away, given how incredibly mature and well-rounded his game is. (Rotoworld)
Carolina GM Ron Francis needs to figure out what to do with pending UFAs Eric Staal, Cam Ward and Eddie Läck. No pressure. (ProHockeyTalk)
Will the Matt Cullen bargain basement signing cue a fire sale of the remaining free agents? Maybe, but I'm not waiting with bated breath for the Jets to get in on the action. The good thing about being a pessimist here is that either I'm right and nothing will happen, or I'll be pleasantly surprised and the Jets will have added a (hopefully) solid veteran on the cheap. (Sports Illustrated)
So the Shawinigan Cataractes did a thing which might lead you to believe it's the 1930s all over again. The marketing campaign's visual is bad enough, but the fact that its slogan is "My History. My Colours." is both hilarious and dramatic irony at its finest. (Yahoo! Sports)
Alex Galchenyuk, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jakob Silfverberg, Sean Couturier and Valeri Nichushkin are five players due to break out in 2015-16, and they make for quite the collection of storylines. Will Galchenyuk finally make his move to the center position? What will Nichushkin bring to the table after losing most of last season to injury? Will Silfverberg continue to make Bobby Ryan's contract look really, really bad? Why is writer Josh Gold-Smith mentioning Sean Couturier and the term "draft bust" in the same article? I for one am excited to see a Burakovsky-Kuznetsov-Williams line in action, if Trotz does indeed follow GM MacLellan's lead. (The Score)
Caps fans when GMBM said "Williams will play with Kuznetsov and Burakovsky" pic.twitter.com/kbCTUgSQrn— Бен (@Burracuda_) July 3, 2015
While those whippersnappers above are poised to take the next step, here are five players ready to fall short of the expectations laid before them. In Vancouver, Jim Benning has set Brandon Sutter up to be raked over the coals if and when he doesn't succeed as the team's second line center, while regression is the word with Columbus' Nick Foligno. I'm glad the article also mentions Andrew Hammond, seeing as how the degree to which he and his contract have been given a free pass surprises me. He has a regular season sample size of 25 games and a .942 save percentage at the NHL level, plus 73 games and a .905 save percentage in the AHL. Especially for a team with middling playoff aspirations, I'm not sure if backup goaltender is the place you want to take a larger gamble than you have to. Ask the Dallas Stars how important the position is. (CBS Sports)
Zacha Watch 2015 continues, with the hangup between New Jersey and Pavel Zacha reportedly being the team's strange frugality towards performance bonuses. This is the cherry on top of what has been a quietly bizarre contract negotiation. (Today's Slapshot)
In case you missed it, folks attending the last pre-renovation concert at Nassau Coliseum serenaded the old barn with an impassioned "Let's go Islanders" chant. It really is worth a listen to, one of those moments that gives you bittersweet chills. (CBS Sports)
Catherine Silverman is right: there are some weird choices in this "five best goaltending prospects in the world" article. A few omissions: Anaheim's John Gibson, Boston's Zane McIntyre, Calgary's Jon Gillies, Colorado's Calvin Pickard, Detroit's Petr Mrazek(!!), Los Angeles' Patrik Bartosak, Ottawa's Matt O'Connor, Pittsburgh's Matt Murray, St. Louis' Jordan Binnington, Washington's Philipp Grubauer and our very own Connor Hellebuyck. Now try and guess who made the cut, and prepare to marvel at the answers. And for anyone who might defend this list because it's based on their 2015 Future Watch edition: if the list is so outdated, maybe they shouldn't have recycled its material in August. (The Hockey News)
The fantasy hockey experts at NHL.com are right to trumpet Joe Thornton as undervalued, while being understandably skittish on Tomas Hertl. They also don't push newly-acquired starter Martin Jones especially hard, but he could very easily supplant Melker Karlsson as the team's "deep sleeper" pick. (NHL)
Heads up, people: Victor Hedman is pretty good. (The Hockey News)
And finally, the Toronto Blue Jays won their eighth straight and closed to within 1 1/2 games of the AL East-leading New York Yankees, after defeating said Bronx Bombers 2-0 on Sunday. The excitement surrounding the team is such that even I watched the game yesterday on Sportsnet. #whatdidchevydotoday #notasmuchasanthopoulos. (Metro News)
Thanks for reading! Be sure to catch our next installment of the Top 25 Under 25 later today; I can't believe **insert name here** ended up where he did!