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...And that's why I'm saying he's no longer the best player in the NHL. His style of play is not as effective, and he's not willing to change. The best players in the game evolve to stay on top.

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It needs to be said up front, and quite emphatically, that the NHL has no plans to put a second franchise in southern Ontario.


But if the league's view on that should ever change, there is a potential 19,500-seat arena project in Markham, Ont., that could one day turn out to be a viable option.


Sources tell TSN that Graeme Roustan, the chairman of the hockey equipment company, Bauer, who also moonlights as an arena builder, and Toronto-area land developer Rudy Bratty, ranked in 2010 by Canadian Business Magazine as the 62nd richest man in Canada with a net worth of $940 million, are working together in a massive real estate venture that includes a 19,500-seat facility that they hope will be built regardless of the NHL interest, or lack thereof, in southern Ontario.


The project is located a slapshot away from where Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos grew up in Unionville, or the western part of the town of Markham that is situated on the northeast border of Metro Toronto.


The arena would be built on a tract of land owned by Bratty, just west of the existing GO Transit train station in Unionville, and just north of Highway 407, but would be part of a much larger sports and entertainment complex, not unlike the Staples Center and L.A. Live entertainment block in Los Angeles. And all of that would be just one element of what's known as the Bratty-inspired Markham Centre, a $3 billion , 900-plus acre high-density residential, commercial and retail development that is part of the official plan of the town.


Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti is believed to be a proponent of an arena venture and town councillors are well aware of the project, although they have all signed non-disclosure agreements and cannot discuss it publicly. Mayor Scarpitti will reportedly update council on the project on Tuesday night during an in-camera, or private, segment of the regularly-scheduled town council meeting.


If this project is green lighted, the expectation is the arena will be economically viable even without a major spots tenant, that concert and show promoter Live Nation and arena management firm Global Spectrum are said to have some interest as well.


It is not a reach to suggest that Roustan's and Bratty's ultimate vision would be to one day secure an NHL franchise. Roustan was in the running to purchase the Montreal Canadiens at one point.


But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's message to all of would-be suitors, including those from Quebec City, has been the same: do not construct a building thinking there's a chance to get an NHL franchise because the league has no plans at this time to relocate another team.


Nevertheless, the wheels are in motion to get this arena built in Markham. While nothing has been formally approved by Markam town council, there appears to be a desire to try to break ground on this project as early as 2012 with a potential completion date of sometime in 2014.


Whether that's realistic, remains to be seen, but it's quite likely we'll be hearing a lot more about this project.



I just think this clip just perfectly sums this all up....

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I've said it many times and will say it many more: The NHL needs to get off their knees and stop stroking the Leafs' "ego"


There are places where more than one sports team survives and Toronto would be the same if they added a second NHL team. Leafs will always have their faithfuls, but there are also plenty of other people in the area that would love to see a hockey game without paying an arm, leg, and first born son. I go to games in Ottawa or Detroit if I want to see a hockey game and even with travel costs, I pay less than a Leafs ticket.


Markham is also a much better choice than Hamilton since it shouldn't take away too many people from the Buffalo games.

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I love the intense jealousy from the Caps fans.


Ovechkin is a sniper, that's all there really is to it. The Capitals change their style of play to one OPPOSITE Ovechkin's forte, and he has struggled ever since. I don't really think it's as much of other teams "catching on" as it is Boudreau trying to make him something he's not, nor ever will be. He is NOT a defensive-style player, and I don't know how long it's going to take BB to realize this and let him play like he used to.


With that said, Crosby is a grinder, and the best grinder in the league. I love how he is "fragile," yet he is ALWAYS right there battling along the boards or in front of the net. Meanwhile you can always find Ovechkin in the same place all game...hanging near the blue line not doing any work while his teammates battle away. Give me a break.


Honestly, the Penguins are really the least of the Caps worries right now anyway, because the Panthers are surging, and Tampa is Tampa.

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^ Did you end up parking in someone's driveway? Hamilton would work as an NHL city, but it's definitely not without it's problems.


Never used someone's driveway.


It's always the gridlock and maze of one way streets after the game that gets me.


Putting a team in Hamilton would end up being successful, as would any location in southern Ontario due to demand. I just think there are better cities to put a team in.

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Caps are definitely hurting. I was very surprised to see them get slapped around by the Sabres last night when we were sitting NINE starters with injuries. We pretty much had the entire team for Rochester playing for us & still won 5-1.


Of course, there was also that drubbing we took in Columbus Friday night, but we won't go there!

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Of course, there was also that drubbing we took in Columbus Friday night, but we won't go there!


You're welcome.


But seriously, that was one of the few bright games for us this season. It's really a difference when we have all the big off-season acquisitions healthy together. It's also not a bad thing that Mason isn't in the net to give up goals he shouldn't. I really think the biggest problems we've had have been with him. I really think he's more suited for a back-up role, not the everyday player like he was his rookie season. It's just a shame his production from that season fell off so much.

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^They definitely played a complete game and the Sabres just looked listless. For some reason, the Sabres have always seemed to struggle with the Blue Jackets...they just don't seem to match up well with them. Let's hope that they don't move to the Eastern Conference next season!

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Boudreau's out, Hunter's in.


ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee had hoped former captain Dale Hunter would someday return to the place he called home for parts of 12 seasons.


The two kept in touch regularly during the past dozen years as Hunter built the London Knights into an Ontario Hockey League power while McPhee was busy building the Caps into a Stanley Cup contender.


On Monday, Hunter returned to the Capitals -- hired as the 15th head coach in team history -- with the mandate of righting the ship of a Caps team that has lost 10 of 15 games since opening the season with seven straight wins.


Hunter takes over for Bruce Boudreau and will make his debut behind the bench Tuesday night when the Capitals host the St. Louis Blues.


"Definitely, this has been my team," Hunter said after his first practice with the Caps on Monday afternoon. "I shouldn't say ‘my team' -- it's really [owner] Ted [Leonsis'] team, but it feels like my team because I played here for so long and have many good memories here."






Hunter played in 872 games for the Capitals from 1987-99, recording 181 goals and 556 points. He ranks fourth all-time in team history in games played and is tied for ninth in goals. His 2,003 penalty minutes as a Cap are a franchise-high.


"What I've learned is that playing is a lot more fun than coaching," Hunter said when asked what he's learned from his 11 years of coaching in the OHL. "When you're growing up you don't say that you want to be a coach; you say you want to be a player. Coaching is a tough job. Basically you've got 23 guys with different personalities and you have to figure out how to make them work."


Hunter made it work at the junior level, winning three Matt Leyden Trophies as the OHL's Coach of the Year and leading the Knights to the 2005 Memorial Cup, which is junior hockey's version of the Stanley Cup.


On Saturday, Hunter became the 10th coach in OHL history to reach 450 career wins, and he leaves junior hockey with a record of 451-189-23-24. His .691 points percentage is also tops all-time among OHL coaches with at least 200 wins.


Whether that success translates to the NHL for a guy who has never coached a team made up of professionals remains the question.


"Coaching is coaching," McPhee said, "and he's been coaching at a good level and at a high level. The same questions were asked of [boudreau] when he came here [without NHL coaching experience], and he had an outstanding record.


"The man played in the League for 19 years. He's played for a lot of coaches. Dale really understands this game. He knows two things -- farming and hockey. He's really got them both."


One area that had been questioned with the Caps during the Boudreau era was the team's lack of discipline and, until this year, a lack of accountability.


Hunter says that on his teams -- no matter the name on the back of the jersey -- players will be dealt with in an equal manner.


"I'm a players' coach," he said, "but also the players will know when I'm mad at them. I'm stern on them because that's the way you have to be to win games. Everybody makes mistakes out there, but if they keep making the same mistakes there will be repercussions."


Added veteran Mike Knuble: "He brings a lot of clout, and everybody knows his name in this city. Players know what he's accomplished here and in our League. I think that's a lot of immediate respect that you want to play hard for him."


Hunter is also one of four Capitals to have had his jersey raised to the Verizon Center rafters and a 25-by-15 foot mural with his likeness looks over the Capitals practice rink in Northern Virginia.


"Sure, [Hunter's history] is a nice piece of this, but I had to make a decision about who would be best to coach this team, and we think Dale has been a heck of a coach at the junior level and he played at this level for 19 years," McPhee said. "So we think he's the right guy for this team right now. To have his history is a nice touch, but being the right guy for the team has to come first."

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^There are a lot of cases where coaches have been fired and you wonder why they were the ones held accountable. In this case however, Boudreau completely changed the style of hockey the team played and it didn't work. That definitely falls on the coach and they needed a change. Who's willing to bet Ovie gets a hat trick tomorrow?

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Who's willing to bet Ovie gets a hat trick tomorrow?

Lol! As much as I want to agree with you I don't see him getting a hat trick the next game. I do feel like this change will get him back to his original style before this season's over, and eventually to a point where he is battling for the Rocket Richard year after year after year.

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Crossing my fingers hoping Randy Carlyle is next to get fired.


And if Dean Lombardi doesn't hire Randy Carlyle, he should be fired as well.


Kings need help on offense...Ducks sure aren't producing this season.

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^ That didn't take very long.


I know it's only been 2 games, but since Boudreau was fired and replaced with Hunter, the Caps have scored just 2 goals and have mustered only 36 shots on goal. Like I said, I know it's only been 2 games, and it might take time to adjust, but you gotta do better than that.

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The Caps need to get something major going and they need to do it fast. There has been somewhat of an improvement in the defense but the offense has been God-awful, and it was the same way before Hunter became coach. Last game against the Pens was a step in the right direction, but it wasn't enough to walk away with 2 points. If we take one step every game I am absolutely confident we can turn our season around quickly.

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The New York Times says former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard showed signs of a degenerative brain condition believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head.


Boogaard's family donated his brain to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University's School of Medicine.


The 28-year-old former New York Rangers forward died in May due to an accidental mix of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.


The Times says research shows Boogaard had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as C.T.E., a close relative of Alzheimer's disease.


The newspaper says scientists were shocked to see so much damage in someone so young. And that had Boogaard lived, his condition likely would have worsened into middle-age dementia.


Boogaard played parts of five seasons with the Minnesota Wild before signing with the Rangers as a free agent in the summer of 2010.


In 277 career NHL games, the six-foot-eight, 257-pound Saskatoon native recorded three goals, 13 assists and 589 penalty minutes.

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