The Ken Hitchcock Effect

01/08/2010
Florida Panthers v Philadelphia Flyers

If the words of Nikita Filatov are not enough to describe how much of an effect Ken Hitchcock has on his young players, then you will definitely want to read this.

The young Russian said in a recent interview, when questioned on his decision to return to the NHL, “I highly doubt it. But [moving] Ken Hitchcock can really help it.”

There is a pattern and we will show you it.

On January 8, 1996, the Dallas Stars appointed Hitchcock’ as their head coach. This team displayed a nice mix of veterans and youth with promising players like Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, Jamie Langenbrunner, Richard Matvichuck (acquired via trade), Trent Klatt and Darryl Sydor.  This same team found chemistry together eventually leading them to a Stanley Cup Championship just three short years later.

However, in his first season, the kids barely saw the ice. Outside of Modano and Matvichuck, forwards Lehtinen, Langenbrunner and Klatt played a defensive checking role. Lehtinen was not drafted to be a defensive type player. Yes, he developed into a very good two-way player but a lot of his offensive potential lied to rot with Hitchcock not using him in a more offensive role or in a more offensive system.

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Looking for a Defenseman?

12/30/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres

As we approach the midway point of the 2009-10 season in the National Hockey League, many questions remain unanswered.

Which teams are serious about playoff contention?  Who needs a massive upgrade to make the push from a bubble team?  Which team should sell off the year and attempt a mini-rebuild?

Those are some thoughts circulating the League as we take a look at the state of all teams around the NHL.  Now, when perusing through certain rosters some names that could bring in returns which would benefit a team in need of depth.

Today, we look at the defensemen around the NHL likely to be moved by the March 3rd, 2010 trade deadline. As a side note, be sure to tune into “The Hockey Guys” on deadline day as there will be an all day live event with a live chat room for discussion on all the rumors and news as it breaks in the NHL.

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Injury Updates 12/23/2009

12/23/2009
Pittsburgh Penguins v Buffalo Sabres

This thread will be updated all day, so keep refreshing it as the day goes along. Just a quick note, if I omitted a source it is due to a previous report with no recent updates. Here are your injury updates for tonight:

Injuries Tonight

Atlanta Thrashers

  • Kari Lehtonen practiced with the team while Mark Popovic remains out.

Boston Bruins

  • Derek Morris sitting this game out.  [Boston Globe]
  • Milan Lucic looking to return at the Winter Classic. [Boston Globe]
  • Mark Stuart remains on IR.

Buffalo Sabres

  • Chris Butler not expected back.
  • No word on Nathan Gerbe, Thomas Vanek or Patrick Kaleta playing tonight, will update later.

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Keeper Watch 11/18/2009

11/18/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Nashville Predators

Yet another new feature here on NHLHS. ‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every couple of days, noting the changes in value for top prospects who are most likely available in your league. Similarly to our ‘Endorsed Pickups’ I will try not to focus too much on one position, which will leave some noteworthy players off the list.

Center: Brandon Sutter, Carolina Hurricanes – After only posting six points in 50 games last year, Brandon Sutter is breaking out.  Through 11 games, he has eight points and five in his last three.  With the injury to Eric Staal, his playing time has increased as has his role.

Prognosis: Stream him now for the points and monitor his progress once Staal returns.

Center: Tyler Ennis, Buffalo Sabres – Tyler Ennis, a high pedigree prospect, joined the Sabres earlier this week scoring his first goal in his NHL debut.  The diminutive forward chosen with Buffalo’s first pick in 2008, played on a line with Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly and even got some power-play time.

Prognosis: It may be a bit premature to grab the kid after his first game, but it never hurts to get the upper hand.  If playing with Connolly on a consistent basis, the kid may even get dual-position eligibility.

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