Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while all armed and ready for tonight’s return of Game of Thrones.
*Funny video as Jonathan Drouin goes undercover in Montreal to see how many Habs fans might know who he is. I don’t think he’ll be able to do this so anonymously next summer after his first season in Montreal.
*Milan Lucic gave the Oilers some major street cred and was a big part of their skill players getting the room to operate, but there is already noise being made about his contract. Did Peter Chiarelli know that the Oilers were probably going to be stuck with an overpriced Lucic in the final couple of years of that contract? Yeah, I think so. But there is zero doubt in my mind that Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl don’t have the kind of breakthrough seasons that they had offensively if Lucic, Patrick Maroon and guys like them weren’t regularly in the lineup for Edmonton. They are a tough team to play against, and that’s exactly what Chiarelli’s blueprint has been for team-building in his time as a GM in the NHL. This is the cost of doing business if you’re the Oilers, and there’s no point in whining and crying about that contract while Edmonton is building toward a Cup contender. If they win, nobody should be complaining.
*It sure looks like John Tortorella is going to be in line for a big pay raise out in Columbus given some of the other coaching salaries around the league.
*It’s an interesting question to ask how the Arizona Coyotes are going to play under new head coach Rick Tocchet.
*Here are four ways that a brand new ownership group could be a very good thing for the Carolina Hurricanes.
*With the retirement of Andrew Ference, here’s a look at other steals in the ninth round of the NHL Draft that no longer exists.
*For something completely different: A fun piece about which missing Game of Thrones characters will return this season. I’ve expected to see Gendry again toward the end, so I’m not surprised to see him toward the top of the list.
EDMONTON, Alberta - Veteran defenseman Andrew Ference, who won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011, has announced his retirement from the NHL after 16 seasons.
The 38-year-old made his announcement Thursday after spending the past four seasons with Edmonton, where he served as the Oilers' captain from 2013-15.
The 5-foot-11, 184-pound Ference totaled 43 goals, 182 assists and 753 penalty minutes in 907 career games with Pittsburgh, Calgary, Boston and Edmonton. He also had eight goals, 30 assists and 122 penalty minutes in 120 playoff games, including four goals and six assists in 25 games during the Bruins' championship run.
Ference was selected by the Penguins in the eighth round, 208th overall, of the 1997 NHL draft.
"As I graduate from my time of playing in the NHL, I realize I have the problem of being unable to properly thank the hundreds of people who have helped me achieve my goal of playing in the best league in the world," Ference said in a statement released by the Oilers. "No one gets here on their own, especially average sized guys with average skills. If you think you deserve a thank you from me, you probably do ... Thanks!"
Ference also represented Canada at the 1999 world junior hockey championship.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while locking the name Urho Vaakenainen into my Microsoft World spellcheck.
*The New Jersey Devils got a No. 1 overall pick that isn’t going to be a generational player, but he’s going to be one heck of a player.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has fired Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett indicating that he needed a change after a long run in the desert.
*The Edmonton Oilers cleared cap space by dealing Jordan Eberle and immediately filled it up with a four-year commitment to Kris Russell. Peter Chiarelli must make sure he doesn’t paint himself into a salary cap corner like he did in Boston with signings like this one. Word is that Connor McDavid is going to command a massive contract, and that could make contracts like the Russell one tough to manage in Edmonton.
*Old friend Claude Julien is only a spectator at the NHL Draft, but he’s already juggling the Habs roster in his mind as it goes through changes. Both Julien and Shawn Thornton came over to shoot the breeze with the Boston media on Friday night as the first round approached, and showed once again why both men are on the All-Class team.
*The Winnipeg Jets took a guy that I thought made a lot of sense for the Bruins, big Finnish power forward Kristian Vesalainen. He was available for the Bruins at the 18th pick when they opted to go defense instead.
*The Washington Capitals decided not to let winger TJ Oshie get to free agency, and locked him up with an eight-year contract.
*Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is in the middle of the storm right now as he blows up his team and begins to build it the way he wants to.
For something completely different: Everything you always wanted to know about Sammy Hagar but were afraid to ask.