Turning Over A New “Maple” Leaf?

After a standing ovation at the Prudential Center just a few short months ago it looked like Martin Brodeur was ready to head off into the sunset after a Hall of Fame career. However, it seems the greatest goaltender in hockey history must be getting retirement advice from Brett Favre and has decided to keep playing rather than retire.

Brodeur Toronto Bound?

Brodeur Toronto Bound?

With the New Jersey Devils already stating that they will no longer take Brodeur back, the 42-year-old net minder maybe heading north of the border. Despite his diminishing skills, Brodeur has already stated that he will take a backup role next season.

With the Devils moving on from there best player in their franchise history, Brodeur has been drawing interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs who are reportedly working on a deal. The Leafs have already been looking to deal goaltender James Reimer which makes the speculation about Brodeur even more realistic.

The Leafs have a good young goaltender in Jonathan Bernier coming off of hip flexor surgery. The plan will probably have Brodeur mentor the young net minder this season while also making spot starts. The interesting past could be the playoffs. If the Leafs do make the playoffs, will Brodeur be the starter having been rested the whole season? Or is he a great insurance policy in case Bernier struggles?

Either way, it will be interesting to see if and where Brodeur lands with an NHL team for the 2014-2015 season. For all the latest on the NHL follow us here at Rich Sports Talk for the best NHL coverage.

What’s next for King Henrik?

What next for the king?

Whats next for the king?

He laid there sprawled out across the ice at the Staples Center. A sea of black jerseys clustered around the fallen warrior as he collapsed from exhaustion. After stopping a barrage of pucks all night Henrik Lundqvist came mere inches from keeping the New York Rangers Stanley Cup hopes alive. The New York Rangers Rangers may have missed out on the opportunity to hoist the Stanley Cup, but one big question remains. What does the loss for Lundqvist’s legacy?

Sometimes it’s not great to be king. Days after the loss, it has been reported that the defeat is still eating at the Rangers net minder. Despite setting franchise records for shutouts and wins in 2014, the image of Lundqvist accepting his accolades won’t be the image Rangers fans think of. Instead, it will be the final goal in the Stanley Cup Final that cost the Rangers their first championship in twenty years.

What does this mean for Lundqvist? A championship would help to cement his legacy as an all-time great. However, there is no question that King Henrik is still one of the top three goaltenders in the NHL. Lundqvist played very well in the Stanley Cup Final and was the victim of poor defensive play and a Rangers offense that struggled the entire series to generate offensive chances let alone goals. If it wasn’t for Lundqvist’s performance in goal, the Rangers would have been nowhere close to a Stanley Cup appearance. When the Rangers faced elimination Lundqvist played his best this postseason. Lundqvist has proven that he has been one of the best in the game.

Despite his 43-48 postseason record, Lundqvist’s incredible performances in elimination games proves that he is a clutch goaltender. This postseason it has become clear that he can lead this team to the promise land by putting the team on his back. Now it’s the Rangers turn. They need to get Lundqvist some offensive playmakers to take some of the pressure off of him.

What’s next for Lundqvist? Can he be an all-time great without a ring? Yes, but it will be much more difficult and there will be much debate about how he couldn’t win a championship when net minders like Quick and Brodeur won multiple championships. A championship would be the icing on the cake and would put him in the conversation for one of the top goaltenders of all-time. The quest for the ring continues for the king.

A Step in the Right Direction? Or the Final Nail in the Coffin? How new Stadium impacts the Hartford Whalers

How does the new 60 Million $ Stadium in Hartford impact the Whalers?

How does the new 60 Million $ Stadium in Hartford impact the Whalers?

On June 4th it was revealed that the city of Hartford was undertaking a huge project in an effort to revitalize the downtown area. The City announced plans to build a 60$ million dollar stadium downtown that will be completed in 2016. The stadium, which will seat 9,000 spectators, will be the future home of the New Britain Rock Cats whose lease in New Britain expires in 2015. While the negotiations between Hartford and the ball club have caused a stir, mainly because New Britain feels betrayed because the team did not alert them of the possibility of a move, the big question that comes from this is who does this impact the NHL’s return to Hartford.

Since 1997 the question that has lingered is will the NHL return to Hartford? With this new stadium there are two school of thoughts. Either this new stadium will help push the city to build a new arena, or the new ballpark will prevent the city from exploring a new hockey arena.

Is Hartford making an effort to make itself more attractive for the NHL?

Is Hartford making an effort to make itself more attractive for the NHL?

For some people, they think this ballpark helps the Whalers. If the ballpark helps to revitalize downtown Hartford. If it attracts large crowds and is a financial success, it maybe the spring-board for building a new arena in the Hartford area. On the surface the stadium seems like a good idea, especially for the NHL in the city, but it is a huge mistake.

Who are the New Britain Rock Cats? They are a Double A baseball team. It amazes me that the city of Hartford has made such an effort to acquire a minor league franchise rather than try to lure a professional franchise. Look, I understand that this sounds like a good idea, but it could come back to haunt the city. The Rock Cats currently play 15 minutes aways, was it really worth it the spend 60$ million to move them closer? Instead of building a minor league baseball stadium, especially with baseball’s popularity declining, Hartford should have invested in a new arena. They won’t build a 200$ million dollars arena that could host an NHL franchise, UConn basketball, concerts, and other events ? Let’s face it. UConn basketball is the most popular sports franchise in the state. Why not build an arena for them? This just seems like a short-sighted and almost a conciliation prize type of move by the city. We won’t invest in a new arena but here’s minor league baseball enjoy.

It still is a long road for the NHL to return to Hartford in the future. The hope for Whalers’ fans is that this downtown ballpark will be a step in the right direction. A building block for revitalizing downtown and pushing the city to build a new arena. However, this could be a bad investment that will deter the city from investing in a new arena that an NHL franchise would need. Either way, the city’s decision to build this new ballpark will greatly impact the future of the Whalers in Hartford. Here’s hoping this ballpark will be the first step in bring an NHL franchise back to Connecticut.

Shark Bait: San Jose Blows 3-0 Lead

Once again despite their talent, the Sharks are out early

Once again despite their talent, the Sharks are out early

What a difference a week makes! After embarrassing the Los Angeles Kings in three consecutive games,  the San Jose Sharks once again gave their fan base the illusion of a Stanley Cup Contender. They had even done the impossible, make Jonathan Quick, one of the games best goaltenders, look like a turnstile with 17 goals to open up the series. However, the Sharks forgot that you have to win four games to advance.

After a 4-3 victory in LA for game 3, the Sharks folded like a cheap accordion. Forget about a collapse, talk about an implosion. In their final four games San Jose was outscored 18-5, and even that makes it sound closer than it actually was. Watching their pitiful performance last night, it was apparent that this team wasn’t even close to playing inspired hockey. Forget about still on the bus, the Sharks looked like they never made the trip back home. One thing is clear, the Sharks time is running out. In what can only be described as the decade dynasty of Despite this, in those ten years they have never played in a Stanley Cup Final and have lost in three conference finals even with high conference seedings and home ice advantage. Something needs to change in San Jose.

It’s great that the team is in the playoffs, but terrible that they can never deliver. Sharks fans should be embarrassed by the pitiful showing of this team in the playoffs. After this postseason it is clear that the San Jose Sharks are no predator in the National Hockey League. Instead, they are just shark bait for the Western Conference.

Curtains? Brodeur’s last game?

Was this it for the best  Devil?

Was this it for the best
Devil?

In 1990 the New Jersey Devils drafted a goaltender with the 20th pick in the draft. At the time none could have guessed in their wildest dreams the franchise player they had selected. 688 wins later, that goaltender could finally be ready to hang up his pads for the final time. When talking about the greatest net minders that have stood between the pipes in the NHl the conversation must start with number 30. After 3 Stanley Cup Championships and an unprecedented 20 NHL records, Brodeur is a first ballot Hall of Famer. When people ask who the greatest goaltender in NHL history was, it’s hard to argue that Brodeur isn’t the greatest of all time. No matter what he accomplished on the ice in terms of statistics or records, the impact Marty had on the Devils is immeasurable. The Prudential Center should be nicknamed the house that Brodeur Built. Throughout the ups and downs, occasionally relocation threats, and roster changes, the one constant has been Brodeur. He has been the icon of Jersey’s team for almost two decades and has brought the Devils from a relocated franchise, to a perennial NHL power. While we can easily measure Brodeur’s career from his incredible statistics, his influence goes beyond the numbers. He has put the New Jersey Devils on the map and given the Garden State a team that they can be proud of. If this was indeed the last game for the NHL’s greatest goaltender, the Jersey faithful gave him the send off that he rightfully deserved. Marty could come back for one more go, but at this point it might be time for him to hang it up. Either way, when he finals decides to call it a career, the Devils will sadly lose their greatest icon. The next question won’t be if but when he will get the call from the hall and when the Devils will inevitably hang #30 in the rafters of the arena he helped build.

Connecticut #1 in all of college sports?

The Champs are here!

The Champs are here!

In a span of 24 hours the melting pot of college basketball wasn’t Dallas or Nashville, but Storrs Connecticut. For the second time in history the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams are the National Champions at the same time. The school is now an incredible 13-0 in National Title games with four men’s championships and a record best nine National Championships for the women. 2014 will be remembered for the historic run of the men’s team after going through the ringer the previous season and the sheer dominance the women’s program which once again ran the table with 40 wins. After this week the main question shouldn’t be about UConn’s dominance, but the state’s dominance as a whole. Is Connecticut becoming one of if not the best state in the nation for college sports?

Hockey is on the rise in the Nutmeg state

Hockey is on the rise in the Nutmeg state

I can already hear the yelling and screaming already. What are you nuts? Connecticut the best state for college sports? Blasphemous! But is it? In the span of twelve months the state has won 4 National Championships. Last year, Yale won the hockey National Championship to go with the three championships the Huskies added, two in basketball one in field hockey. We all know about basketball. The UConn men remain one of the best programs in the country, and the women are in a league of their own. However, the nutmeg state has become a hotbed for college hockey. Last year both Yale and Quinnipiac made it to the finals in hockey and both have been perennial powers for years with consistent top 15 rankings in the country. With UConn hockey moving into Hockey East and steadily improving, the question is becoming when not if another team from the Constitution state will win the National Championship.

Yeah, but what about football? True Connecticut is not a football state, this isn’t Alabama with the Crimson Tide and Auburn. I think that is pretty obvious, but across the board the other sports in this state prove that Connecticut is the cream of the crop in college sports. Field Hockey? UConn won the National Championship in 2013. Baseball? UConn reached the regionals for the first time in 2013. Along with these national appearances the Connecticut schools have won numerous conference championships across the board.

Connecticut could soon be the place to be.

Connecticut could soon be the place to be.

With already established powerhouses, and strong up and comers, the Nutmeg state could soon be more than just the center of college basketball, but the NCAA universe as well. With some of the greatest underrated fan bases in the country, it’s not hard to see why Connecticut loves it’s college teams. With dominance in basketball and hockey, if Connecticut can establish another team or teams that become perennial powers, it will be hard to argue that Connecticut is not a great home for college sports, but “the home” for college sports.