Dan Cleary

Holy crap holy crap the NHL is almost here the NHL is almost here. Like, for reals, yo. The refs have started their training camps, rookie camps are in full effect, and the big boys are back in camp in the next couple days. Hallelujah.

In the meantime, there’s still lots of interesting tidbits trickling out in the days leading up to real puck, so let’s discuss those.


Dan Cleary is going to sign a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers

Technically they’re bringing him in on a PTO (professional try-out), but that’s only because they’re over the cap and have to wait for things to start before they can move Chris Pronger to the LTIR, which will free up five million in cap space and give them room to add Cleary (they’ll likely need to do some more finagling in the early part of the season beyond that). His deal is rumoured to be for $2.75M per year, plus a no-trade clause.

At this stage of his career I hardly think Cleary’s a guy who takes your team to the next level, and the Flyers need to take steps forward right now, not just fill in holes (though their financial situation certainly limits them in that quest). Given the former Red Wings’ style of play, he strikes me as a guy who needs the physical tools that aging takes from you to be effective, meaning I think you’re getting a worse Dan Cleary every year you’ve got him beyond this one. It’s not like he’s a Teemu Selanne-style guy who lurks backdoor for clever tap-in goals. Usually a young, hungry player headed in the other direction (who could do roughly the same job) is somewhere within a team’s own system, and if not, it’s certainly worth pursuing one via other avenues.

Cleary’s a legit NHL player, he’s been a part of a great team for years and likely learned a lot from Babcock, and he’s only 34. I’m just not sure how that fits in with what Philly is after.


The NHL is going to take the great HBO 24/7 product and dilute it, aren’t they?

Oh hey neat! My favourite sports show, HBO’s 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic is being taken over by the NHL.

And split over a bunch of teams, with less episodes per group.

And likely censored, given it’s the NHL not HBO doing it.

And will be a lead-up to the also-watered-down outdoor games.

….Hey. Neat.

From a business perspective I can’t blame the NHL for attempting to feverishly milk their cash cows at every opportunity, it’s just a bummer to take a beast of a show that so many fans love, remove it’s teeth, and stretch it thin. I mean, we’ll all probably still watch and they know it, so I guess that’s not much incentive for them to leave things in their pure form, but yeah… this isn’t great news to me.


John Tavares is a savage

It’s that time of year for hockey players (and has been for awhile) where the cycle of summer programs reach their final step. You go from rebuilding, to adding mass, to stepping up your cardio, to focusing on explosiveness. And well, here we are.

I came across a video on Lighthouse Hockey of JT’s routine right now, which you can check out here:

My favourite part of the video is being reminded of how well-rounded hockey training has become. Athletes in other sports work just as hard, but there aren’t many games that requires you to have strong…everything. There’s just no area to focus on for hockey players. Legs, core, upper body, it’s all necessary. And, well, Tavares looks like he’s been focusing on more or less every area possible.


Check out Dion Phaneuf in a different light (via Kukla’s Korner)

Speaking of “behind the scenes” stuff, I thought this video of generally-disliked Maple Leaf Dion Phaneuf was intriguing, as it did a pretty good job casting him in a new light. There’s some really telling stuff in there, like that fact that he retreats to his place in PEI for the summer, and has only left the island once (for a day) since arriving.

It’s like borderline isolation, but he does seem so, so much happier than I’ve seen him before.

The video is borderline pro-Phaneuf propaganda, but y’know, the guy gets crapped on so much I was happy to see it.

My other takeaway from the video: dude’s kind of a rough athlete off skates for a guy who makes a living playing a sport, geez. That swing and those tennis skills… woof.


The final tease

Over at the Sporting News, Sean Gentille has compiled a list of team account tweets that say “Hey guys, look, ice!”

It’s funny that so many teams are doing it, but it is kind of fun to see everything start to come together. It seems to be a universal thing around the league this season to put a team design in the center red which looks pretty cool…

…head on over to Sporting News for more.