News and Notes from Around the NHL


– The Phil Kessel drama finally came to an end as the Boston Bruins traded the sniper to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The price former Ducks and current Leafs GM Brian Burke paid was steep, though, giving up two first-round draft picks and a second-round pick. It looks like Burke is putting the Leafs on the fast track back to the playoffs, but it is a high-risk, high-reward type of move. Kessel is indeed a sniper, but there isn’t a Marc Savard on the Maple Leafs that can feed him the puck as consistently and accurately.

There are a few things I hate about this trade. First, Kessel is 21 years old and has scored 30+ goals once in his career. He’s not a superstar and he hasn’t put in enough time to have been demanding the $4-$5 million he demanded from Boston. Second, Burke is somewhat of a hypocrite with this trade and subsequent signing of Kessel. Just a few years ago Dustin Penner was signed to an offer sheet that Burke called “absurd” for a player his age. Well…Burke just gave out one that’s much worse. Kessel’s new contract is worth $27 million over 5 years, much worse than Penner’s contract. Third, I hate the fact that players think they can demand a trade or walk away from their team. Heatley did it, and now Kessel. These players think they are above the team, and I’m sure team management is glad to be rid of those types of players.

– In case you missed it, the Calgary Flames’ Dion Phaneuf absolutely ROCKED Islanders forward Kyle Okposo in a preseason game Thursday. Okposo was caught with his head down, and Phaneuf came across with a clean, hard shoulder-check that sent Okposo to the ice and later the hospital. Okposo had to be taken off on a stretcher but was awake and responsive.

The hit looked so bad that Islanders’ forward Pascal Morency left the bench to chase down Phaneuf. I don’t know who this Morency guy is, but apparently he didn’t know that Phaneuf is a big, strong man. Phaneuf threw him to the ice after a brief scuffle. Needless to say, Morency has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL pending a review. I guess he didn’t know that leaving the bench for a fight is a big no-no in the NHL (and any sport, for that matter).

To see the replay, click here.

– Air Canada was able to reach a deal with the United States Department of Transportation regarding chartered flights that Canadian teams take to play games. The airline was told last month by the DOT that it had to cancel all of it’s sports chartered flights for the entire season. The DOT claimed that the charters Air Canada was flying violated U.S. law because the airline traveled between U.S. cities, rather than going back to Canada first.

The airline filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government which eventually led to today’s news that the airline can resume those flights. I think the DOT just wanted to make headlines, because this whole fiasco was really unnecessary.