NHLN Notebook: All-Star recap, No Ads on Jerseys, Mike Smith, Vlady Tkachev


The All-Star weekend is over, so we can get back to talking about things that matter… Like the All-Star weekend in hindsight! 

Four Line Challenge 

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Instead of the usual Breakaway Challenge with props and silly costumes the 2017 NHL All-Star Game featured the Four Line Challenge where stars attempt to make shots similar to the ones fans make during intermission to win big prizes. It makes sense in theory, too. Seeing the NHL’s best complete these incredibly difficult trick shots would be pretty cool, but that didn’t happen. Aside from a Hail Mary shot from the opposite end of the ice from Mike Smith, almost no player was successful making the event tough to watch as the targets were just too difficult. 

Apparently the NHL and players both felt the Breakaway Challenge was too gimmicky, but the Four Line Challenge was a terrible replacement. Fans can watch players struggle to score just about any night in the NHL, but at least the Breakaway Challenge was good for a couple laughs and some actual goals.


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While some events struggled to entertain, the celebrity all-star game was worth it for the image above alone. Justin Bieber has a long list of accomplishments in his career, but going into a corner with Chris Pronger bearing down on you and living to tell the tale might be one of his more impressive feats depending on how big of a Belieber you are. Both Pronger and Bieber had a good laugh and this photo captured one of the few events that hit this weekend. 


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Mike Smith is in the fourth-year of a six-year deal with the Arizona Coyotes, but he remains committed to Arizona according to The Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan. 

Smith isn’t thinking about waiving his no-trade clause even with the Coyotes struggles. Smith has had some uneven years with Arizona, going from Vezina candidate one year to below league average the next. Although, the Coyotes’ goaltender has remained around 0.915 the last few years and that stability would probably draw interest from other teams if he was open to a move. There are many teams with shaky goaltending, and Smith only has two more years at a $5.6 million dollar cap hit

Brad Treliving was with Arizona when Smith was acquired and Calgary has an uncertain crease situation. Mike Smith could be an interesting option to platoon with Chad Johnson if they want to walk away from Brian Elliott. Dallas is always in need of a goaltender who can stop a puck too, and Arizona might take on salary if they don’t plan on being competitive. 


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The Edmonton Oilers remain unsuccessful in their attempts to sign former QMJHL left-wing Vladimir Tkachyov. The 21-year old former QMJHL winger and Edmonton Oilers camp standout has 39 points in 45 games for Admiral Vladivostok in the KHL, and was once Oilers property in 2014 before the NHL ruled the contract ineligible. Tkachyov’s professional experience in Russia meant he had to go back into the draft and he was passed through once again. 

Tkachyov’s scoring resurgence in the KHL makes him an attractive option especially given the success of other recent KHL players signing in the NHL. Tkachyov may only be 5’10” on paper, but his points compare to players like Artemi Panarin and Evgeny Kuznetsov at a similar age. If Tkachyov can give you half of what those players do then extending a contract is a no-brainer. 


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Despite the NBA implementing jersey ads next season Gary Bettman claims the NHL is not looking at jersey ads barring some extraordinary situation.  

This is a little hard to believe considering Bettman represents the owners and, well, they like to make money. The amount that would have to be paid to see a logo on NHL jerseys would obviously be a huge amount, but there’s also how much would that amount would differ from an Arizona Coyotes jersey to a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. The NHL is also big on heritage and iconic jerseys, so it’d be odd to see an ad on a Chicago Blackhawks Toews’ jersey when there’s always so much made about stepping on a teams’ logo in the dressing room.

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Jersey ads seem inevitable, but Bettman seems less committed on them than you’d expect. It’s hard to see a company meeting the amount of money it would take to be on an original six team’s jersey, and might create another imbalance between the rich and poor teams. 

  • Valar Morghulis

    I had zero desire to watch any of this stuff and very glad I didn’t after reading many less than satisfactory observations by fellow nation members.

    I should probably clarify that also I don’t watch NHL products that do not include my home team. They locked me out so I simply stopped caring and moved on.

  • TruthHurts98

    The NHL all star weekend is nothing short of a joke. I didn’t watch it either and the few highlights I saw made me glad I didn’t waste my time. Can’t wait to see the Oil in action again, at least that’s fun to watch!

    • percy

      I think they should have a volleyball tournament, or the ultimate challenge with the obstacle course. The one where they fall into the water etc. That would be fun to watch. Have each club pick a couple of players to compete and play for their team I would tune in. They have to change things up, getting to boring. Let the league name the all stars for the year, that as far as it goes.

  • Will

    Bettman gets a lot of flack, most of it I think is overblown. I hope some people look at the standings, and see the parity going on, and at the very least give the guy a little credit. Sure he brought teams to the desert, and sure he goes lock out every time the CBA expires. But I’ve also heard him talk about bringing teams back to cities that have already had teams. He’s done it for Winnipeg and Minnesota. I do think the integrity of the game matters at least a little. Good for him for not looking to put ads on jerseys.

    • Not a First Tier Fan

      I wouldn’t give Bettman any credit for the return of the Jets to Winnipeg. He seemed surprised at the time it happened and the deal was probably negotiated and complete to the point where he HAD to go along with it once he became involved.

      Bettman has no love for Canadian teams and other than Montreal or Toronto I’m sure he’d be all too happy if the rest of them relocated south. Look at his complete stone-walling of Balsillie’s attempts to get another team in Ontario or his utter refusal to allow Arizona to be relocated for proof.

      However I do give the bloke a lot of credit for how he handled the last lockout. Bringing in the salary cap brought a lot of sanity to the league, even if the policy does have a few warts.

      • I disagree on those two points as evidence he hates Canadian teams. At the time it was being speculated a team might be relocated, or expansion might happen, cities being thrown around were Vegas, Hamilton, and Seattle. Bettman went on record and said his preference would be to move a team back to a market that previously held a team – like Winnipeg or Quebec City – rather than open up a new market.
        But before doing that, his priority was to always try and keep a team located where they are.
        As for the Bassilie thing, it was the owners specifically the Leafs owners who kiboshed that. They basically approve if a new owner is allowed to buy a new team. Expansion pays the league, i.e. the owner 500 million. So for them to deny the guy, they must have thought he was garbage. Not to mention the fact that the Leafs didn’t want another franchise cutting into their market. Given they are the most profitable franchise in the NHL, an original six team, and are now owned by the same company that also pays the NHL for television distribution rights in Canada, not to mention plasters their name on every single arena, I can imagine Bettman had nothing to do with the choice not to let the BlackBerry guy get a franchise in Hamilton or another one in Toronto or wherever he wanted to put it.

        Finally, as for Arizona, I think if you look into at all, it becomes very clear, there’s a clause in the contract that basically says if the NHL moves the team out of Arizona, then a massive liability penalty would need to be paid. I.E. they ran the3 numbers and determined it was cheaper to keep the team in Arizona and bleed money, rather than move them and have to be sued over the clause in the contract. Sure Bettman says he wants to keep a team there, but really he’s doing his job and being responsible for the bottom line to the owners. He doesn’t hate Canadian teams because they are ALL profitable. Some the most profitable.

  • WhoreableGuy

    Johnny Gaudreau proved once again he’s the best player in the NHL this past weekend.*

    *Game must be 3 on 3, no hitting or checking and no one else are trying

  • Ron Burgundy

    “The 21-year old former QMJHL winger and Edmonton Oilers camp standout has 39 points in 45 games for Admiral Vladivostok in the KHL, and was once Oilers property in 2014 before the NHL ruled the contract ineligible. Tkachyov’s professional experience in Russia meant he had to go back into the draft and he was passed through once again.”

    So we could have locked up Vladdy’s rights for the cost of John Marino or Ziyat Paigin (our 6th/7th round picks in 2015), but didn’t because…? Well because Oilers of course.

  • Oiler Al

    As exciting as 3X3 can be during a real game, the Nhl
    changes it to a Bore Fest during the All star break.
    An entire afternoon of gliding around is a bit much for me.

  • Glass

    I don’t get all the hate for the all star weekend. Just don’t watch it. If it brings more casuals in/appeases them then that’s fine by me. I only really watch Oilers & the Olympics.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    If the Hurricanes are for sale do you think the NHL would allow someone from Quebec to buy the team and try and make it work. If it’s actually successful the NHL would consider allowing these same owners to take a team (expansion or relocation) back to Quebec. And if the experiment fails they’d be allowed to move the Hurricanes themselves to Quebec.


    • Elgando

      Not going to happen. A new owner would surely poison the well if they knew a bad season = relocation. Why spend money keeping an hockey team in a non-hockey market?

      Quebec City
      San Diego
      Kansas City
      One of either Houston, San Antonio, or Austin

      All more viable than Carolina IMO.

      Let’s put this injured animal down already..