Deadline Day

By Brad Constant, March 5, 2014

We’re only a couple of hours away from the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, which is today at 3 p.m. Eastern. But NHL teams have been busy over the last week or so, and some big names have already been moved.

St. Louis to Rangers

The latest trade has taken Tampa Bay Lightning star Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers in exchange for the now former Rangers’ captain Ryan Callahan, a 2014 conditional second-round draft pick and a 2015 first-round pick. It was well known that St. Louis had put in a request to be traded. We aren’t sure of all of the reasons, but it’s safe to say the St. Louis original exclusion from the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team didn’t help. That decision came from Canadian General Manager Steve Yzerman, who just so happens to be the Lightning’s GM.

This decision makes sense for both teams in our opinion. St. Louis will provide scoring for the Rangers while Callahan is a gritty, hard-working forward that can put the puck in the net too. Plus the Lightning are getting Steven Stamkos back from injury, which more than makes up for losing St. Louis’ goal scoring.

Luongo to Panthers

Tuesday’s big deal included Roberto Luongo returning to the Florida Panthers. He was traded from the Vancouver Canucks along with forward Steven Anthony. The Canucks received goalie Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthais. To be honest, this trade only makes sense for the Panthers and Luongo, who still owns a home and has family in Florida.

The Panthers are looking to become Stanley Cup contenders and now have the financial backing to make that happen. So taking on Luongo’s huge contract was feasible. The trade now gives them a potentially stellar goaltending tandem, depending on whether or not Tim Thomas can keep performing well. We know Luongo will remain consistent as he has year after year.

For Vancouver this could spell the start of a rebuilding era. When we look back to last season, when they had stud goaltenders Luongo and Cory Schnieder, the team had to make a decision on which guy to go with. Luongo’s contract was too big to move at the time, so the team moved Schneider, who is now the main guy for the New Jersey Deveils. Now they’ve gone and moved the guy that they stuck with as their number one. It doesn’t make sense!

The Canucks are now left with the young Eddie Lack, who has potential but hasn’t shown that he can provide the type of consistency that Luongo has, and the young Markstrom, who has had plenty of opportunities in Florida to shine but hasn’t really stepped up. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Canucks moving forward, especially since there are rumors that they are trying to move forward Ryan Kesler.

More goalies moved

More goalies were moved yesterday with Ilya Bryzgalov going to the Minnesota Wild and Viktor Fasth being shipped to the Edmonton Oilers.

Bryzgalov’s move now gives the Wild a veteran goalie to back up young Darcy Kuemper, who has shined since taking over for the injured Niklas Backstrom and the sick Josh Harding. You really can’t go wrong with Bryzgalov and his experience. Just don’t get him talking about the universe.

For Edmonton, the acquiring of Fasth now gives them a major upgrade over what the team started the season with. Especially after the Oilers just signed Ben Scrivens to a contract extension. The Oilers traded a 2013 third-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for Scrivens in January. The move has turned out to be a smart one now that they’ve added Fasth. Scrivens and Fasth have the potential to be a great goalie pairing going into the future.

Sens get busy

The Ottawa Senators have also been busy today as they make a push for the playoffs. The team has signed defenseman Chris Phillips to a two-year contract extension, they’ve put Cory Conacher on waivers – he has been picked up by the Buffalo Sabres – and they acquired forward Ales Hemsky from the Edmonton Oilers.

Putting Conacher on waivers doesn’t really make sense. But signing Phillips to an extension and adding Hemsky does, especially since the team is fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Ryan Miller moved

The other really big trade happened last Friday, February 28, when the Sabres traded star-goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues. In return the Sabres got goalie Jaroslav Halak, – who may very well be moved again – forward Chris Stewart, forward William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 conditional third-round pick.

Way to go St. Louis! Miller is a stud, arguably one of the best goalies in the NHL, and now he is on one of the better teams in the league. This is a great move by the Blues.

Stay tuned for more trade action. There are two hours left and we can guarantee that there will be some more news.

The NHL is back!

By Brad Constant, Feb. 25, 2014

The Olympics are over and the National Hockey League is back from its break, and so is The Hockey Ref. We are very excited, and here are the reasons why.

First, we need as much hockey as possible to get over the disappointment of the Team USA losses. It helps that the women came home with the silver medal, but the men were embarrassed by losing two vital games and missed out completely on a medal. Thankfully our friends to the north claimed both gold medals and secured North America as the land of hockey dominance for another four years.

Second, the push for the playoffs is in full swing. This is when regular season hockey is the most exciting. Every game can make or break season for any team fighting to get in. Aside from the playoffs, this is the best time of year.

Last, a lot of players come back well rested, so we should see some high energy games. The big hits will definitely be back too. We can hardly wait!

Welcome back NHL, we hope you enjoyed your vacation.

Which nation will the 2014 Winter Olympic gold medal?

By Brad Constant; Jan. 8, 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are right around the corner and we are gearing up to see nations collide on the ice. Our plan was to give you a breakdown of each National Hockey League player going to Sochi, but Bleacher Report beat us to it. And much like Thomas Holmstrom around the crease, we are ever the opportunist and are kind enough to provide you with a link to the bleacherreport.com story.

Instead, we’ve decide to try and pick the medal winners, but we can’t decide and are on the verge of a donnybrook. So we want you, our readers, to weigh in and give us your opinion. Write a comment below telling us which nation will win and why.

How parents can wreck a hockey game

By Brad Constant, Nov. 15, 2013

We here at The Hockey Ref understand that hockey is a passionate game. Players and coaches are obviously involved, but even parents can add to the environment in an arena. There is nothing wrong with parents cheering. In fact, we support any parent that goes out and cheers for their child’s team. But a parent crosses the line when they swear and berate the refs.

Thankfully this isn’t something that officials have to deal with at every game. Hockey parents as a whole are respectful and understanding. But at a recent game, this writer dealt with one unruly dad.

The atmosphere in the rink was great and the kids were flying up and down the ice. Each team played hard through the first two periods and the game was tied at one goal apiece going into the third. But that’s when the aforementioned dad began screaming and yelling at whatever he believed should be called a penalty or not called at all. Every action on the ice caused him to scream, and he was easy to single out since he was the only parent standing at the glass instead of sitting in the stands.

Such behavior is easy for the officials to ignore. Parents are outside the glass and not involved with the on-ice play. They stay in the stands and those playing the game stay on the ice taking up all of the ref’s attention.

However, this dad began swearing at us, and even worse, the kids. Nothing wrecks a hockey game quicker than such actions. And it doesn’t end there, this same father tried to get to one of the officials at the end of the game – thankfully the coaches were there to escort him back to the lobby.

We share this not to make hockey parents look bad. As a whole, hockey parents are amazing. They are supportive and understanding of everyone involved in the game. They wake up early to take kids to practice, drive long distances to sit in a cold arena while their child plays and pay lots of money so their kid can enjoy such an amazing game.

Instead we share this story with the goal of holding parents accountable across all sports. Your children love you and look up to you. Please act like an adult, do not berate the refs and don’t swear at youth sporting events. Set a positive example, it will go a long way in today’s world.