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Ritter's Rant: News and Notes From Around the NHL

Mark RitterSenior Writer IJune 24, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09:  Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks on in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

 “Boo-uuurns”

Talk about your stupid decisions.

The Hockey Hall of Fame committee decided in their infinite wisdom to leave former NHL coaching guru Pat Burns off their list of inductees this week.

Burns, who is terminally ill with cancer, may not have long to live.

You got to think it would have meant a lot to Burns to see himself inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

But now, having been passed over, Burns may pass not being able to celebrate what could have been a tremendous moment for both Burns and hockey.

While many see this as a cry for pity, I will remind everyone that Burns owns some of the best numbers in NHL coaching history, including three Jack Adams Awards, a Stanley Cup ring with the New Jersey Devils and a record of 501-353-151-14 through 1019 career games.

Let’s face it, Burns is going to make it into the Hockey Hall of Fame at some point.

Would it have killed 14 of the 18 committee members to have voted him in?

Bye-Bye Nabby

Not sure who can possibly replace the stellar goaltending of Evgeni Nabokov in San Jose.

Truth is, Nabokov is an elite level goaltender, who, for whatever reason, never seemed to be able to win the big playoff games—although his teammates have had a lot to do with that over the years as well.

As good as the San Jose Sharks have been, it will be tough to find a goalie that can win you forty plus games a season (which Nabokov has accomplished three years in a row).

The way I see it, San Jose is likely going to give backup Thomas Greiss a chance to earn the starting role next season, while bringing in a veteran like Marty Turco into the fold just in case.

Griess, who played in 16 games last season, posted a 7-4-1 record, a .912 save percentage, and a 2.68 goals against average.

With many NHL teams going cheap on goaltending the Sharks have sent a clear message that they would rather have depth at forward and defense rather than the consistency of Nabokov between the pipes.

And you know what?

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It’s a good decision.

Debate amongst yourselves...

MVP, Yeah You Know Me!

Congratulations go out to Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin, who emerged from the NHL’s Award Show with the coveted Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player.

Sedin, who many say scored the quietest 100 plus points in NHL history, beat out the likes of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin to take home the Hart, and deservedly so.

Not only did Sedin lead the NHL in scoring (29 goals, 83 assists for 112 points), he also put the Canucks on his back throughout their struggles, which, at times, he had to do without his brother Daniel, who missed 19 games due to injuries during the 2009-10 season.

Great job Mr. Sedin!

Niedermayer Will Be Missed

When the news of Scott Niedermayer hit the airwaves I was not shocked, just disappointed.

Niedermayer will go down as one of the best defensemen of all-time.

The NHL is weakened having lost him.

Horton Hears a...Where Is He Going?

While nobody is shocked that Nathan Horton was dealt, more than a few NHL fans were surprised at where he landed.

The deal that sent Horton and Gregory Campbell to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman and the 15th overall selection in this year's NHL Entry Draft sends a clear message—the Florida Panthers are rebuilding from scratch.

Needless to say, current Panthers Bryan McCabe and Steven Reinprecht may soon be on the move, as will goaltender Tomas Vokoun—who would be a nice fit in San Jose (although I don’t think it happens).

It was a good move for both teams, but Boston got one hell of a player in Horton who I feel will be an all-star this season playing with all that talent in Boston.

 Spezza Make Me Wanna Spew!

Let's point out the obvious, shall we?

Jason Spezza's recent comments that he would not object to be traded makes me sick!

Just as the going gets tough and with a massive contract in his pocket, Spezza has decided that maybe it's time to move on from the Ottawa Senators...hmmm...where have we heard this line of crap from before?

Suck it up Spezza—you "Sally!"

Honor your contract, do the work, and quit whining...you owe the Senators that much, don't you?

And, for all you Toronto Maple Leafs fans out there that think that Leafs general manager Brian Burke is going to make a move for Spezza—last time I checked Burke hated players who wanted out.

Simply put, it ain't happening!

Capped Out?

The NHL has announced that the salary cap will be set at $59.4 million for the 2010-11.

That’s up about $3 million from last year's salary cap which was set at $56.8 million, giving NHL teams a little more money to sign unrestricted free agents and round out their bloated rosters (i.e. the Chicago Blackhawks).

“Buffed"-Out?

Fresh off the presses is news that the Chicago Blackhawks have moved hardworking fan favorite Dustin Byfuglien along with Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, and Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers in return for the 24th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the 54th pick, Marty Reasoner and prospect Jeremy Morin.

For the record, the Blackhawks face the Thrashers Saturday, November 6th in Atlanta.

I bet Duncan Keith is looking forward to defending Buff!

Better yet, I wonder if Buff will take a run at that little pip-squeak Patrick Kane?

For more NHL news and notes check out my recently overhauled website at www.theslapshot.com

Until next time.

Peace!

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