How is everyone liking the playoffs so far? There are some nice stories but more importanly some great hockey! The officiating has been horrible as usual but otherwise it’s been fun to watch. Enough with the playoffs, what’s going around with the rest of the league you ask? We’ll find out in this week’s edition of the Thursday links, news and notes.
- It’s been very evident for a while now that Jack Eichel was probably not going to finish his career in Buffalo. Lately, the tension between the Sabres and their star player have risen to irreconcilable levels. By the end of last season, it seemed Eichel had been very concerned with the medical treatment he was getting from the team and put some blame on them for not giving him control of his body. This was probably the last straw for both parties and while the talks of an Eichel trade have been lingering on the past few months, it seems they have heated up now and basically have confirmed that both sides are not interested in working things out. It will be interesting to see how much team are willing to give up for Eichel who doesn’t have much to show for his talents but could potentially change the dynamics of a team with a second opportunity.
- Jason Spezza has found his calling late in his career. Unfortunately, that calling is playing for a league minimum for the most horrible team in the league. After signing his third consecutive league minimum extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Spezza is sending the message once again that he is only interested in playing in Toronto and will do it for free if needed. Good for him because he’s actually been great for the team but this will never stop feeling like a betrayal.
- The Hockey Diversity Alliance gained a lot of positive attention at the time of its formation. It has continued to play a huge role in awareness and education but it seems that lately it’s it’s been needing a little more highlighting. Akim Aliu is doing just that with an initiative aimed to change the culture of the game at its roots. Aliu wants to start making the game more inclusive at a younger level starting with growing an interest for it on an urban level with events like ball hockey tournaments to gain more interest for the game. It’s a good way to instill the concept that hockey is everyone’s sport.
- The Ottawa Senators seem to be holding tight to assistant coach Jack Capuano. After it was released that the Sens blocked an opportunity for the Sabres to speak to him, people definitely had mixed opinions. If Capuano wants the ability to explore the opportunity who are the Sens to refuse? I can’t imagine that a move like this won’t damage the relationship internally and after years of management struggles, the Sens are better off avoiding the bad press. Unless, the Sens plan to promote Capuano I just don’t understand this move.
- After another entertaining and successful season, the Carolina Hurricanes have rewarded their head coach Rod Brind’Amour with a much deserved three year extension. In his three years behind the bench, Brind’Amour hasn’t missed the playoffs and was nominated for the Jack Adams award this season.