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NHL Opening Night Quick Thoughts

Devan Dubnyk is the city of Edmonton's Most Expensive Enigma

Devan Dubnyk, according to, costs the Edmonton Oilers $3.5 million.

Devan Dubnyk has shown the hockey world flashes of brilliance.

Devan Dubnyk has shown the hockey world that he can sign autographs in a grey suit while ignoring pigeons.

And yet, Devan Dubnyk has also shown the hockey world that he might be better served as the goalie who sits on the bench and wears a baseball hat.

In Tuesday nights home opener, Dubnyk made 23 saves on 28 shots in the Oilers 5-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Coming off a season where Dubnyk seemed to finally be making strides, posting a .920 save percentage during his 38 games with the Oilers and winning all four of his starts at the World Championships for Team Canada in May, it's disappointing to see Dubnyk fall flat in his 2013-2014 debut.  

With only journeyman Jason Labarbera as the other viable option to log minutes, it appears that the Oilers are fully invested in riding out Dubnyk for the foreseeable future. A decision that may cost this young, high-octane group a chance at earning their first playoff berth since 2006. It's certainly early and with only game in the bag things are subject to drastically change, but at the moment it's not looking so good for Edmonton's six-foot-six netminder.

The Chicago Blackhawks Banner Ceremony Was a Tad Dramatic

If you found yourself asking, "Why is NBC Sports Network airing a tribute to the Titanic?" during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup banner raising ceremony tonight, then you're not alone.

Chicago pulled out all the stops. A light ceremony. Elementary school children holding up a banner. Eddie Olczyk speaking in public. You name it, they had it.

Perhaps what made the ceremony seem so emotionally confusing was the orchestral score that played as the banner slowly was raised to the rafters.  It felt like we were witnessing the reuniting of lost loves, not honoring a group of 20 men for defeating a team that plays in a city best known for its obsession with beans.

For a more in-depth look at the ceremony, check out Madhouse Enforcer's blog for NBC Chicago.

Credit to Joe Kremel at Fansided for the gif.

The "No Fighting In Hockey" Debate Is Around the Corner

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz) / AP

Tuesday nights action took a scary turn when Montreal Canadiens enforcer George Parros fell face first into the ice during a fight with Colton Orr of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to, Parros has been diagnosed with a concussion.

With the NHL already taking strides to ensure player safety during fights - revising rule 46.6 so that players aren't allowed to remove their own helmets during a fight - it appears the Parros incident will spark further debate about the role of fisticuffs in the game.

While a complete ban on fighting will unlikely arise in the near future, it wouldn't be a total shock to see the NHL adopt a similar rule to that currently in effect in the Ontario Hockey League. Before the 2012-2013 season, the OHL introduced a new policy regarding fights.

According to the OHL Network, a player would receive an automatic two-game suspension for every fight after their tenth, and then for every fight exceeding the sixteenth, their two-game suspension would be accompanied by a $1,000 fine to the team. Any player deemed an instigator for a fight after the tenth, would receive an automatic four-game suspension.

It's certainly a tricky rule for the common fan to understand, what with multiple parts and the occasional multiple-syllable word, but it may get to the point where the NHL feels they have no choice.

Thoughts go out to Parros. Hopefully fans aren't deprived of his killer mustache for too long.

Hockey News/Thoughts From Around The Globe

Ilya Kovalchuk May Miss 4-6 Weeks

New Jersey Devils fans are probably cheering in the streets with news that Ilya Kovalchuk may miss 4 to 6 weeks.

Kovalchuk, who infamously announced his retirement from the NHL in order to bolt to his native Russia and play in the KHL, suffered a shoulder injury after colliding with SKA St. Petersburg teammate, and former Devils teammate, Alexei Ponikarovsky. While its certainly not the most vicious hit   keep in mind that Ponikarovsky is no slouch at 6'4", 225 pounds. 

Kovalchuk had 6 goals and 3 assists in 7 games for SKA.

Brett Lebda to Sweden?

A Swedish news outlet, one that I don't know the name of as I can't read Swedish, is reporting that former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brett Lebda is close to signing with Swedish club Leksands IF .

It's been a hard fall for Lebda, who after leaving Detroit following the 2009-2010 season, saw himself go from Stanley Cup champion, to being a guy booed out of the city of Toronto and even further down the ladder to a guy constantly hopping on shuttle buses between the American Hockey League and the NHL. He's a quick skating d-man with a nose for offense, but has been hampered by poor play in his own end and his small stature at 5'10". 

Lebda, 31, split last season between the Rockford IceHogs and Binghamton Senators of the AHL. In 59 games between the two clubs he scored 3 goals, added 26 assists and had a -9 plus/minus rating. He failed to record a point in 3 playoffs games with Binghamton.

Hugh Jessiman Isn't Panning Out, For Anybody

When the New York Rangers drafted Hugh Jessiman with the 12th pick in the 2003 NHL draft, the Dartmouth Big Green product had the world in his hands. Now, ten years later, Jessiman only has two NHL games under his belt. Leaving the 6-foot-6-inch forward as one of the biggest draft busts in NHL history.

Jessiman's bizarre collapse can be traced back to his NCAA career while at Dartmouth. In his freshman campaign, Jessiman scored 23 goals and 47 points in 34 games. In the same number of games played during his sophomore season, Jessiman slipped to 16 goals and 33 points. Then the wheels seemed to come flying off as a junior, a season that saw Jessiman record just 1 goal and 2 points in 12 games. He then decided to turn pro.

As of this year, Jessiman has played for 7 different AHL squads, appearing in 498 games and scoring 228 points, an average of .46 points per game.

Now, Jessiman finds himself as a member of Kontinental Hockey League squad Medvescak Zagreb, based in Croatia. Through 10 games Jessiman has failed to record a point, has racked up 10 penalty minutes and is a plus/minus -4. If a new continent, new team and a new league can't seem to spark a career turnaround, then I don't know what will. 

Josh Freeman to Jacksonville? Why not

Josh Freeman's days as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are numbered. After watching Sunday's game against Arizona from the press box, it appears that head coach Greg Schiano has sent a clear message; you're not playing for me anymore, son. Although, when you consider he's an adult male involved with professional football, he probably replaced "son" with an expletive. 

About 3 hours north of Tampa, sits the city of Jacksonville. They have an NFL team there. If Freeman was smart, he'd pack his bags, hop on a bus and go there. But sadly, it ain't that easy. 

To be blunt, the Jaguars are a mess. Their quarterback, Missouri product Blaine Gabbert, is having a season that would make Heath Shuler  consider his NFL career a success. In two starts, Gabbert has a passer rating of 30.5, is completing just 49.3% of his passes, and has thrown for 300 yards, no touchdowns and five interceptions. 

Though Freeman is barely any more impressive - 59.3, 45.7%, 571, 2-3 - he's proven in the past that he can handle the duties of starting under center in the NFL. Just last season Freeman aired it out for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns. In 2010 he passed for 25 touchdowns and a passer rating of 95.9. Buried somewhere under Freeman's stubbornness and Greg Schiano's distaste lies the talent to develop a solid NFL quarterback. 

Tampa Bay, if he were to remain on the roster after week 6, would owe Freeman $4.2 million on the final year of his contract. Considering he'll likely spend his time as the third quarterback on the depth chart, Tampa would be wise to deal the 25-year-old quarterback. 

If I'm Jacksonville, I'd part ways with a 5th, 6th or 7th round pick in a heartbeat. Would taking a flyer on Freeman really be worse than watching Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne give it the ol' college try? It'd only cost $4.2 million and a draft pick they'd likely use on a kid from some small college in New Mexico anyway. The Jaguars are likely going to finish 0-16, so lets not act like they know how to draft. 

It's a small risk with a potentially big reward, and it's the kind of a gamble a team who plays second fiddle to NCAA football needs to take.