Blazers retire Niedermayer’ #28, a KHL consolation prize and a possible World Cup return

 

Scott Niedermayer's time in Kamloops helped launch one of the greatest careers in hockey history. (David M/Flickr)

Scott Niedermayer’s time in Kamloops helped launch one of the greatest careers in hockey history. (David M/Flickr)

Scott Niedermayer will have his #28 retired by the Western League’s Kamloops Blazers on Friday night. Niedermayer played for the Blazers from 1989-90 to ’91-92, recording 47 goals and 143 assists for 190 points to go along with 177 PIM in 156 games. He led Kamloops to WHL championships in 1990 and ’92, winning the Memorial Cup in ’92. In 34 playoff games in those two years, he posted 11 goals and 28 assists for 39 points with 63 PIM and won the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as MVP of the tournament in 1992. His play with the Blazers allowed him to be picked third overall by the New Jersey Devils in 1991.

His time in Kamloops was the beginning of a career in which Niedermayer became the only player in hockey history to win every single North American and International championship. He won the World Junior Championship (1991), Olympic gold medal (2002 and 2010), World Championship (2004), World Cup (2004), Memorial Cup (1992) and Stanley Cup (1995, 2000, 2003, 2007).

This will be the sixth number retired by the Blazers, the others being Greg Hawgood’s #4, Mark Recchi’s #8, Dean Evason’s #20, Greg Evtushevski’s #26 and Rob Brown’s #44.

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The Kontinental League has introduced a new tournament for those teams who fail to qualify for the Gagarin Cup playoffs. The Nadezhda Cup, a.k.a. the Cup of Hope, will be held in March between the bottom six teams in the Western Conference and bottom four teams in the Eastern Conference in an effort to keep the interest of the teams’ supporters and keep players in shape as they fight for a spot in international tournaments.

From the KHL’s official website:

The Cup of Hope will follow the play-out format, with each team seeded according to its place in the Conference standings at the end of the regular season (from 9th to 14th in the West and 9th to 12th in the East). The Eastern Conference teams begin at the quarter-final stage, while the bottom four of the Western Conference will play in a preliminary round with the two strongest going into the quarters.

The Kontinental Hockey League will fund the tournament, providing prize money for teams finishing from 1th to 4th place and assistance with travel costs, and will also supply the referees, inspectors, the Cup of Hope trophy to be handed to the winners, plus individual prizes for the best goalies, defensemen and forwards of the tournament.

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Greg Wyshynski, editor of Puck Daddy on Yahoo! Sports, is all for a return of the IIHF World Cup of Hockey, a tournament that was held in 1996 and 2004; the only question is when it should be played. As he notes, A World Cup tournament will be the only way to get an international tournament featuring professional players played in primetime for a while, due to the next to Olympic tournaments being held in Sochi, Russia and Pyeongchang, South Korea.

With talks beginning about this as well as Olympic participation, we could see an international tournament every other season which would be much more entertaining than watching an All-Star Game. The only question for Wyshynski is whether to stage the World Cup in October or February. Check out the link above to find out more.

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Check out this awesome video of the Quebec Major Junior League’s top plays from this past week.

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Signings and trades

The Chicago Blackhawks made a move to solidify their goaltending as they acquired Henrik Karlsson from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 7th Round pick in the 2013 draft.

The Tampa Bay Lightning received left wing Jean-Francois Jacques from the Florida Panthers for future considerations.

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