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Friday, 27 July 2012

What You Need to Know July 27

Welcome to another edition of "What You Need to Know". You know the drill, I take you through all the important stories from the world of hockey over the past week and get you guys caught up. I'm also catching myself up this week, as I've been a little under the weather. Here we go!
  • Shea Weber
Let's start off with the biggest story. The Nashville Predators decided to match the offer sheet Weber had signed with the Philadelphia Flyers. This means Weber will be staying in the music city for the next 14 years and with $110 Million chasing out a major pay check as it is the 2nd highest contract in the league. (Behind Alexander Ovechkin). This was a huge deal and a must happen move by the Predators. They already lost their 2nd best defenceman in Ryan Suter, and they stood on the verge of losing their number one defenceman and captain. The Predators said it best
"The most important hockey transaction  in franchise history"
It was sign Weber and maintain a team capable of making the playoffs or lose Weber and begin a long rebuild. But it dives deeper than just the effect this signing has on Weber. The Predators have in turn sent a positive message to all remaining Preds showing the team is not afraid to sign a long term deal, money is no issue and they are committed to keeping their captain. It also shows other teams around the league the Predators will not be "bullied" by owners with deep pockets, stealing away their players.

Another detail that many forget is the fact Weber didn't really want to leave the Predators. When news broke originally that he signed an offer sheet with the Flyers, many instantly started saying he was bailing on the team. The reason he signed the offer sheet with the Flyers was to push the Predators into giving him a deal. Weber is their captain, no way he'd want to bail on the team. Weber was after some security and perhaps even a bigger pay day. In August of 2011 Weber was awarded a one year contract worth $7.5 million. He didn't want the Predators to toy around with his rights, he forced them to make up their mind. Thankfully this deal worked out for both the Predators and Shea Weber.
  • Rick Nash
Did I mention it was a crazy week for players signing and changing teams? The Rick Nash saga is finally over. The Blue Jackets traded Nash along with a third round draft pick and Steven Delisle to the Rangers in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and Tim Erixon. Talk about highway robbery.

The thing I love most about this deal, has nothing to do with the deal itself. It's the fact the Rangers were able to give up "little" to get a fairly skilled player in Nash. Which will translate to the rest of the league and make the asking "prices" for other players (especially those who ask for trades) much cheaper. Hopefully this deal will reset the market and get asking prices back to normal.

I do feel bad for the Blue Jackets who were put in a catch 22 scenario, as Nash wanted out but would only go to select teams. Ultimately they lost this deal, but that's what happens when you ask for the moon.
  • Alexander Semin
Free agent Alexander Semin has finally chosen a destination, and he's joining a team poised to make a serious Cup run next season. No it's not the Pittsburgh Penguins who were rumoured to be in on the Russian sniper, it's the surprise Carolina Hurricanes. The two sides agreed to terms on a one year deal worth $7 million. While the Hurricanes may have over payed for the former Capital who was stuck in Ovechkin's shadow, they are certainly making all the right moves to make a solid run next season. Semin joins Jordan Staal who was also acquired this offseason and other elite players in Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner.
Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Alexander Semin, Jeff Skinner, and Jussi Jokinen.... Should I become a Carolina Hurricanes fan?
— Neal Burgess (@Porkn7) July 26, 2012
Teams in the Eastern Conference have gone to great lengths to improve their teams. The Flyers although missing out on Suter and Zach Parise are throwing contracts at every player who can skate, the Hurricanes are poised for a solid season, the Rangers may have added that one key piece they were missing and the Sabres added two solid prospects in the draft. Maybe the Penguins will have some competition as the Eastern Conference power houses.
The Carolina Hurricanes have added Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin this summer.. I think there's a new force in the East #Canes
— Michael Martin (@OhMyReeses) July 26, 2012
With both Nash and Semin off the market the biggest fish left is Shane Doan.
  • Horton Cleared for contact
Huge news for Boston Bruins fans Nathan Horton who has been out since January due to a concussion has been given medical Clarence to begin participating in contact drills. Not having Horton hurt the Bruins offensively last season and by getting a healthy version of him back would be like adding a top 6 forward. Horton played a major part in the Bruins Stanley Cup victory and without him in the lineup the Bruins went 18-16-2 compared to 31-13-2 prior to his concussion.

This was Horton's 2nd concussion in six months, so the Bruins wanted to take extra care while waiting for him to become fully recovered. Huge news for the Bruins and a sigh of relief for Horton.
  • Claude Julien sticking around
Sticking with the Bruins, they announced on Monday they had extended the contract of head coach Claude Julien. While the Bruins refused to say how long the extension was, GM Peter Chiarelli stressed how important it was to keep the core that won the cup in 2011 and that included the coach.
"We feel we've come a long way toward keeping the critical mass together for this team, because we feel it's a strong team and continues to be a strong team. One of the core components in this critical mass is sitting beside me, our coach, Claude Julien."
Yakupov signs with Oilers
    The first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft has signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. The deal insures he will stay in the NHL and not depart for the KHL (if there was any doubt). Yakupov joins Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the Oilers trio of first round draft picks.
    • NHLPA vs. NHL
    Let's talk about the big boys, if they don't get their issues worked out in time we wont have a chance to watch stars playing for their new teams. The NHLPA is bringing some of their concerns to the table.
    NHL/NHLPA met yesterday. Player pensions, length of training camp and ice conditions were topics of
    — NHL Expert Picks (@NHLexpertpicks) July 27, 2012
    Some of the issues discussed haven't been addressed sing the 90's and the players feel they need to change in the next CBA. There is also talk that NHL veterans don't want to participate in all the pre-season games.

    That'll do it for your update this week folks. Remember there are just 76 days until the puck drops!

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