When it comes to U-16 AAA hockey, few organizations can compare to the Detroit Honeybaked. Every year Honeybaked produces top flight prospects that move on to the NCAA D1 and major Jr level. In this article we explore the secret to maintaining such a consistent level of excellence. The Honeybaked U-16 team (Midget Minor) won a tournament in Toronto and the Michigan Tier 1 U-16 State Tournament. However, when a team is this good it will only settle for one title : best U-16 team in USA Hockey.
The coaches : Pat Peake and Kevin Hatcher are each former Washington Capitals. Todd Gardiner also serves on the coaching staff. Honeybaked looks for coaches with professional experience either in playing at the highest levels, or coaching. When Pat Kane was recruited to play for Honeybaked, he came from Buffalo to live with and play for former NHLer Pat Verbeek.
In order to be an elite program, you have to play an elite schedule. Honeybaked is in the highlight competitive MWEHL, the best Tier 1 league in the United States. Neighboring organizations like the Detroit Compuware and Little Ceaser’s teams are also members of the Tier 1 Elite League. Honeybaked spent a lot of time this year being ranked #1 in the United States. Continue reading
Now that the insanity of July 1st has come and gone, we can sit back and take a look at just who has done what and what kind of impact it’ll have on the year ahead.
Naturally, some teams got better after the initial free agency rush and some got significantly worse. We’ll get to those who declined at some point; instead, let’s focus on the teams that got it right. Not everyone made a huge move or moves, but there were a few solid additions that didn’t make the list.
Brad Richards signing a dirt-cheap deal with the Chicago Blackhawks feels like a fantastic move for both parties. Richards is still going to get paid from his terminated deal with the New York Rangers, so money is not playing a factor in his motivation. He wants another Stanley Cup and the Hawks will have to be on the short list of favorites next season. Meanwhile, the Hawks get a guy who, the last two seasons aside, has proven he can be a top-of-the-line scorer. He’ll likely play with Marian Hossa and his playmaking skills should fit well with the veteran Slovak. Richards could make this already deep team even more of a handful to deal with. Continue reading
There is no way that anyone can claim that Canucks GM, Jim Benning, isn’t swinging for the fences on this new season. Benning, who was hired by the Canucks on May 23rd, following the long anticipated dismissal of former GM, Mike Gillis, has said that this is likely the team that we’ll see on opening day this October.
“For the most part, we’re done” Benning said. “We’re probably going into the season with this team. We’re going to see where we stand and go from there. “(As per NBC ProHockey Talk)
After what many people saw as perhaps the best draft choices of all 30 NHL teams on June 27, Benning continued to impress by signing goalie Ryan Miller and right-handed sniper Radim Vrbata on June 1st and 2nd respectively. Vrbata seems like a perfect fit to play the right-wing on the Canucks top line with the Sedins, which begs the question, What about the rest of the team?
Vancouver is fairly strong down the middle of the ice with Henrik Sedin centering the first line and the recently acquired Nick Bonino a likely candidate for the second. That leaves Shawn Matthias, Brad Richardson and prospect Bo Horvat, who is hoping to crack the Canucks lineup out of training camp, left to battle it out for the third and fourth spots. Continue reading
Every since the lockout ended NHL Teams and General Managers have been spending, spending and spending some more on players. The result is NHL salaries are escalating at a much faster rate than the salary cap. This means a lot of teams are running out of cap space to just keep their current team. Many NHL GM’s who had a team last season near the salary cap ceiling were beyond disappointed to learn that the cap ceiling only went up to 69 Million for next season. It was estimated the cap ceiling would go to 71 Million but that estimate was slightly off.
The 5 Million Dollar Player
In essence we have seen with players who are good to very good when they either become an unrestricted free agent or about to become a UFA the base line salary per year is 5 Million dollars. We look at last summer and Mark Streit at age 36 got 5.25 Million a year (4 year deal), Sergei Gonchar in his late 30′s got 5 Million a year (2 year deal) and right before the playoffs started Andrew MacDonald got 5 Million a year (6 year deal). This trend continued this free agency with players like Moulson, Cammalleri, Orpik and Grabovski to name a few.
5 Million Dollar Base Line
This base line is starting to also greatly effect the top young players in the NHL who are entering Restricted Free Agency as well as the superstars in the league who are closing in on their own unrestricted free agency. So what do the NY Rangers do this summer when they try to sign restricted free agents Zuccarello, Brassard and Kreider and all 3 point to these 5 Million dollar deals? Continue reading
After July 1st the first day of NHL free agency ended you could hear the cries from all over Long Island, NY from Islander fans. For full disclosure I am a New York Islander fan have been since I was a kid and trust me I feel all the Islander fans pain. I don’t know if NHL fans of the other 29 teams can truly feel the pain endured by Islander fans on what’s gone on the last 20+ years. Consider this, the Islanders have not won a playoff series since the 92-93 series when they beat the Penguins in overtime in Game 7 to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. In the last 20 years or so the Islanders have only made the playoffs 6 times losing in the first round in each series (have won 8 playoff games during this time). Throw in the fact that Islanders fans for many years had to worry they would lose their team to another city as well. Think about that, is their any greater pain then losing your team? Finally it looked like the Islanders were over the hump after years of rebuilding with a very encouraging 2012-13 year where they made the playoffs and gave the Penguins all they could handle. But yet Islander fans had to endure again last season as the team took a step back and missed the playoffs. Hopefully for Islander fans it was one step back two steps forward and with how this off-season is going so far positive vibes are being felt.
After the July 2nd signings to Free Agents Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to 4 year deals, suddenly the Islander off-season is looking very good. Grabovski and Kulemin two very good players who join a group of really good forwards. Cory Conacher was signed on a 1 year deal on July 1st as well. Continue reading