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A Few Sentences on the Top 10 NHL Deadline Deals

March 3rd, 2015 Written by | Comments Off on A Few Sentences on the Top 10 NHL Deadline Deals

  1. D Yandle to NYR

The Skinny: The deadlines blockbuster deal saw the offensively-gifted defenseman, Keith Yandle, traded to the Eastern Conference Champion NY Rangers for a promising prospect in Anthony Duclair, alongside valuable picks, a first and second rounder. Yandle solidifies New York’s defense as the best in the East.

Takeaway: If defense wins championships, and if Rick Nash can prove he’s worth a damn in postseason action, the New York Rangers look good to hoist Lord Stanley.

  1. Chicago Replaces Injured Kane with C Antoine Vermette and D Kimmo Timonen

The Skinny: You can’t replace Patrick Kane. The Hawks have won in two cups in the past five seasons, so they’d be foolish not to try, right? The veteran center man; who plays a two-game, wins face-offs, and has some solid playoff credentials–could fit in well with a team that will undoubtedly lift his offensive production.

Takeaway: Big shoes to fill for Vermette, essentially replacing a two time Stanley cup winning center who ended the franchises 50 year Stanley Cup drought with his overtime heroics in two cup runs.

  1. D Wisniewski traded to Ducks

The Skinny: The Blue Jackets moved the offensively-gifted defensemen along with his big contract to the Ducks. Often injured and frequently suspect to defensive shortcomings, the power play specialist is heading to Anaheim for the second time in his professional career.

Takeaway: Anaheim, the hottest NHL team, is poised to take a run at Lord Stanley’s Cup. If the “Wiz Kid” can produce to his abilities the Ducks appear deadly.

  1. C Jeffrey, C Kennedy and G Neuvirth Round out the Islanders

The Skinny: Depth at the center position combined with outstanding goaltending are postseason-success prerequisites.  The Islanders added both as spotty, yet potentially long term injuries to Grabovski and stud goal scoring winger Kyle Okposo needed filling.

Takeaway: NY Islander starting goaltender Jaro Halak will break the Islanders record of most wins in a season, previously held by legend Billy Smith during the Islander glory days in the 80’s. He will need some rest as the Islander plan on winning a few playoff rounds…welcome aboard to a more-than-capable backup in Michael Neuvirth.

  1. Detroit adds old vets LW Cole and D Marek Zidlicky

The Skinny: In his 15th NHL season, spanning four teams, the quick and crafty skater with hands has consistently put up points. Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “I’ve been watching Erik play now for the last probably 12, 13 years and this might have been one of his best years he’s had. He’s been a big part of our team.

Takeaway: The Detroit cup-window is near closing with the “core four,” aging stars manning the fort. In return the wings uncharacteristically surrendered two Swedish draft prospects. It seems a new “core four” of late-round draft picks is the future of Detroit.

  1. LW Glencross dealt east to Washington

The Skinny: The gritty winger has been averaging nearly 35 points a season in his seven year tenure with the Flames.  The 31-year-olds ice time has waned to under 15 minutes per game over the most recent ten. Due for a change of scenery the Washington Capitals valued him highly exchanging two picks, a 2015 second and third rounder.

Takeaway: The addition will be worth a watch on a veteran, character-rooted Eastern contender.

  1. RW Stewart Finally Traded

The Skinny: Amid trade speculation, the power-forward was one of the last deals made prior to the deadline. His physical presence and offensive production are playoff-quality traits the rebuilding Sabers needed to trim for draft picks.

Takeaway: Minnesota’s additions of Stewart and Jordan Leopold, a depth defenseman, will hopefully stamp the Wild as a playoff team, as scary California clubs are right on their tail to squeeze into the playoffs.

  1. RW Connolly and C Talbot to Beantown

The Skinny: Injuries and miscalculated trades have crippled a Bruins team that has been to the cup finals twice in the most recent five years, winning it all in 2011. The Bruins are hoping they can find a hidden gem in Connolly, the sixth overall pick in 2010, eager for a fresh start.

Takeaway: It’s not the smash hit trade Boston fans expected by any stretch. Bottom six center men Talbot, a proven winner, may not have the ability to energize an old locker room 60 plus games into the season.

  1. Florida adds Hall of Famer RW Jaromir Jagr

The Skinny: Young NHL players love Jagr, he won two Stanley Cups before many of them were born. Incredible work ethic, on-ice execution, leadership and elite level hockey IQ are just some of the things Jagr brings to a young and promising Florida team.

Takeaway: The Panthers have plenty of picks and are two points shy of obtaining a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. If Florida can squeak in, the sole experience of playoff-hockey will do wonders for their young talent under Jagr’s tutelage.

  1. LA adds D Andrej Sekera

The Skinny: The Kings and Hawks are hungry to achieve dynasty status under their current rosters, seeking a third cup in span of under six years. Sekera brings experience, mobility and strength to a defensive corps steered by defensive prodigy Drew Doughty.

Takeaway: The Kings are three points outside a playoff spot with 20 games remaining. If the defending champs can get in, all bets are off; they’re contenders, even favorites.

Tags: NHL

Wrap-Around: World Hockey News Headlines

December 16th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Wrap-Around: World Hockey News Headlines

Advanced Stats: Puck possession is what advanced stats boils down to, in this Boston Blog about the Boston Bruins fourth line, there is no parallel between the groups stellar play and awful “corsi” numbers.

Wanted: hockey needs athletic trainers according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

Medical Prevention: Bad news, the injury bug has infected the NHL’s elite players early this season. But this year is different, it’s not concussions or lacerations, rather, the mumps are running rampant throughout the league as well as several cases of blood clots. These two news stories are worth an educational read.

Another Coach Fired: Dallas Eakins, head coach of the Edmonton Oilers has finally been relieved of his coaching duties. If you missed his final twenty-seven minute long interview, then you didn’t miss much, here’s a recap and bid of farewell to the coach that cared too much.

Tags: Off-Ice

Youth Coaches Must Not “Lose the Room”

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Youth Coaches Must Not “Lose the Room”

With over fifty games remaining and a .500 record through the first thirty, the Ottawa Senators elected to fire Head Coach Paul MacLean on the first day of December, the only NHL coach thus far to be relieved of their duties. The media suggests he lost the room.

Blame it on the Canadian hockey market or MacLean’s farewell address; this coaching change speaks volumes about the psychology of a dressing room, it’s why we can’t stop talking about it; MacLean’s fallout in Ottawa sheds light upon the dynamic of the working relationships between a coach, its players, and the team collectively.

Back to the NHL preseason; analysts agreed the Senators roster was that of a non-playoff team, perhaps a bubble-team, exactly where they currently stand, just 3 points shy of a playoff spot. Leading the hockey world to wonder, well, what did you expect?

The players expected what they got last year out of MacLean, a players-coach, as they say. But, MacLean’s inability to stay optimistic in post-game interviews may have drained any confidence the Senators had left, and surely ticked-off management.

“All I know is I’m scared to death no matter who we’re playing,” MacLean said before Saturday’s game when TSN’s Chris Cuthbert asked if he’d be more worried facing a hot or cold Sidney Crosby. “Whether it’s Sidney Crosby or John Tavares or the Sedins, I go day-by-day and I’m just scared to death every day of who we’re playing.

Never afraid to stir-up controversy however MacLean doesn’t mince words. He also doesn’t wear an ear piece during games, doesn’t believe in the whole advanced-stats malarkey, and yet, he has won at every level; Senators management grew tired of MacLean’s antics when the wins became scarce.

But, old-school vs. a new-aged hockey philosophy, the players could care less, MacLean’s personality-change is what evidentially cost him his job, and consequently led to his “losing of the room.” “You’re dammed if you hold the players accountable and you’re dammed when you are too loose” said NHL Network analyst Jamie McClellan; however the latter brashness of acting high-handed with the team was seemingly too much to withstand for the promising young Senators.

Relationships are organic, they need work, and can grow. We the media label situations as abysmal–the coach lost the room, it’s done; perhaps there’s no time to mend relationships in the NHL.

However there is time in youth sports, and maybe there is no better place to mend a relationship then the one between a novice coach and a young player. Inexperience at the helm can cripple a pretender to believing they’re contenders, and when momentum shifts south it’s easy to lose control. Be a leader, keep learning, and better your young team, youth hockey coaches must not lose the room, it’s too soon!

If this editorial contributes to the notion that it’s all on the coach, and NHL players must be coddled, then here is a former coach who gets right to the point of the debate.

New York Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella on management using coaches as scapegoats “Its crap! It’s another situation of just saying, alright boys you’re okay, you’re off the hook, comeback next year, its bull shit.”

Tags: Sports Psychology

Ask Around: Practice Drills Need Maintenance

December 14th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Ask Around: Practice Drills Need Maintenance

“The best coaches never stop learning or experimenting”, advice I received during my first coaching stint at a youth, summer hockey camp just north of the Pocono Mountains in Lakewood, Pennsylvania. Then, Camp Weequahic athletic director Scott McNevan, who has coached collegiate soccer, as well as youth lacrosse and hockey—instilled in me a drive to continually question my rink-time management—what more can I do for these young players?

Freeport Arrows hockey director Chris Hogan always ponders this looming question. A proud coach, Hogan believes talking with other coaches is a useful tool, especially when practices don’t yield results. “It’s good to keep our practices fresh, but I could care less about that. I need our practices to enhance our players and team play.”

Before practice begins, Hogan prepares; with stacks of blank paper in front of him, half the paper, pictures of a full-rink schematic, the remaining, “half-ice” diagrams for “mini-games”, his mind goes to work.

“We are not generating enough shots, today we only have half the ice, so I’ll make something up”, and he does, Hogan’s drills will often box players into commitment situations, putting the onus on the players to think less and commit to a “hard” play. Modestly put, Hogan “makes something up” but his drill-creation process is actually more of a trial-and-error approach.

“Looking at a drill on paper, changing it, using it in practice, changing it again. It always needs tweaking.” Drill modification according to Hogan is like setting up an experiment, its controlled, but, there still needs a creative element.

“I don’t want to lose creativity from the guys, but I need them to be accountable. I sometimes get stumped working on the same drills and not seeing results.”

Hogan continues, “I ran into one of the Ferraro brothers at one of our away games last month, I asked him about our re-group drill*.”

Chris and Peter Ferraro, retired U.S. Olympians with NHL experience, are the founders of Ferraro Brothers Hockey, providing premier youth hockey support to Long Islands top hockey prospects. In terms of on-ice training, elite coaching, and there new state of the art arena The Twin Rinks; Ferraro Brother Hockey sets the bar for developing hockey players.

Hogan has maintained dialogue with the Ferarro brothers during his tenure and has frequently coached against them. “I just spoke about what I saw in our drill, and he told me some things I could try; I’m going to tweak the drill, see what happens.”

The advice if you were wondering was subtle, but vital. The suggestion, try having the defense-man stay lower in their own end, this could give the forwards more time, space, and speed heading into the offensive zone.

“You are always learning, actually stealing ideas from other coaches, I think the best coaches know what to take and what not to take from other coaches.”


*For information about the re-group drill or any hockey  drills, check out Coach Nielsen’s blog on ice-hockey drills.

Tags: Uncategorized

USA Hockey Wants Well-Rounded Athletes

December 2nd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on USA Hockey Wants Well-Rounded Athletes

The American Development Model (ADM) provides age-appropriate guidelines and curriculum to hockey associations across America to help more kids play, love and excel in hockey. Brought to you by USA Hockey, in partnership with NHL.

Courtesy of USA Hockey, this video is calling for coaches, parents, and mentors to encourage early-generalization for young hockey players. “The model that has been proven to have success is early-generalization, where athleticism is developed in multiple sports, and then as you get older you start to specialize in a specific sport” – Mike Sullivan, New York Rangers Assistant Coach


Tags: Uncategorized

5 Friendly Reminders that you are a Parent, not a Coach

December 2nd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on 5 Friendly Reminders that you are a Parent, not a Coach

Coach Jim Traynor, that’s him with the “Mr. Hockey” himself, Gordie Howe;  that picture was taken over 25 years ago. The clever sign on the right was taken this past weekend, while Traynor was traveling with his 14-and-under youth hockey team in Eastern Canada, he posted the photo to his Facebook page.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 3.28.51 PM

The sign says “Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete that is coachable, respectful,  a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and tries their best IS a direct reflection of your parenting.” Traynor said “every parent needs to read and understand this”, and he’s dead serious. The writing is literally on the wall, if this isn’t a reality-check for the most intolerable parents, then here’s five more.


1. Its amazing how far parents will go to support their children in athletics, bravo! Having said that, while attending your child’s next athletic event, back off and enjoy the game. Video ads courtesy of Hockey Canada puts parents in there kid’s shoes.



2.  A new piece of legislation will be introduced next year that will enact penalties for anyone who attacks a referee at any sanctioned event at any level in New Hampshire. So lets leave the ref’s alone. USA Hockey hangs these posters in ice rinks across the nation.

angryfather_e_lr relax1 relax2


3. The fine print states: “If you don’t understand this, please contact the ice department. We would be happy to explain it to you!” What are they trying to say, my son isn’t going to be a Chicago Blackhawk? 

Funny sign


4. A beautiful poem.


5. HBO Sports covers the topic of violence against referees in youth sports. According to the documentary, every year in the United States, a referee will be killed on duty. Here, you can access the full length documentary.


Lets address the negative attention drawn from youth sports; its simple, bad sportsmanship at youth athletic events is unacceptable.  A happy medium between the competitive will-to-win and exemplifying first class sportsmanship is the primary duty of youth coaches everywhere, not parents. We want character and athletic growth from our young hockey players. So, understand there will be missed calls, cheap hits, and over-bearing parents. All of these issues ought to be worked out by the coaches, who should have a working re-pore with the officials.

Here is some helpful literature on parents role in youth hockey, provided by Hockey Canada

Tags: Hockey Management

5 Reminders that you’re a Parent, not a Coach

December 2nd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on 5 Reminders that you’re a Parent, not a Coach

Jim Traynor, that’s him (top right) with the “Mr. Hockey” himself, Gordie Howe,  that picture was taken over 25 years ago. The picture beneath it was taken this past weekend, while Traynor was traveling with his 14-and-under youth hockey team in Eastern Canada, pretty clever.

Traynor and GordieHockey Ethics Picture

Traynor said “every parent needs to read and understand this”, and he’s dead serious. If this sign isn’t a reality check for the most intolerable parents, then here’s four more.


1. Video ads courtesy of Canada Hockey.



2. USA Hockey hangs these posters in ice rinks across the nation.

angryfather_e_lr relax1 relax2


3. The fine print states: “If you don’t understand this, please contact the ice department.”

Funny sign


4. A beautiful poem.




Tags: Uncategorized

Social Media Strategy-Power Play Coach

November 24th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Social Media Strategy-Power Play Coach

Freddy Cicchetti

Creating and utilizing an effective social media strategy will be the most pivotal element of building readership for Power Play Coach. Constructing a Twitter account that follows everyone in the hockey community will hopefully translate into followers of our own, for Power Play Coach. We will stay active on Twitter by providing timely and well-presented blog posts about our word presses featured stories, tweeting about major coaching developments around the world’s major hockey leagues,  and re-tweeting stories from other hockey outlets that revolve around something coaching related. If a story surfaces about hockey coaching, from Power Play Coach to any other publication, the Power Play Coach Twitter account will have the scoop. Sharing our blog stories by tagging hockey insiders, reporters, and those involved in our blogs stories will also hopefully translate into more readership and followers.




The two twitter accounts above would both produce increased readership for Power Play Coach. They are Twitter accounts that do not have approved check marks, but both have huge followings and many contributors. Extra Skater has a huge following of 15 thousand, it is perhaps the sole provider of advanced statistics in hockey and has just recently been shut down as the accounts main contributor has taken an analytic job with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. Extra Skaters followers are looking for active and niche-style blogging. Extra Skater has not been tremendously active and hopefully followers will look to us as a recommended source of in depth hockey coverage. I’ve done one story on video-usage in hockey and analytics are what stem from re-watching video to produce calculated statistics.

The NHL Files reports on anything hockey related like injuries, coaching changes, salary cap issues, and prospect pools. If the context of Power Play Coach stories are angled toward any NHL headlines I believe the NHL Files will be a good source to follow and send my work to.


Hockey Canada is the sole governing body for amateur hockey in Canada. Their website which can be accessed through their Twitter account offers a huge lot of information on everything hockey. News on coaching skills, female hockey, parents, adult recreation hockey, sled hockey for paraplegics just to name a few. Their 180 thousand followers who are looking for more news on coaching are ideal readers for Power Play Coach










The above list of Twitter handles are hockey media personnel or hockey insiders. Notable names like TSN’s Bob McKenzie is the former editor-in-chief of The Hockey News and is perhaps the most credible source of all things hockey. Although McKenzie and most of the above names are NHL contributors, they all often tweet or re-tweet stories that are hockey related and not-NHL related. Engaging stories about youth hockey in their communities, and worldwide have been reported on through their twitter accounts. Reaching out to these reporters and their followers will hopefully give Power Play Coach  more readership. I think if I can better angle stories to have a small NHL twist when applicable this could be a possibility. Tweeting stories at these insiders and encouraging all my followers to re-tweet stories they enjoyed or found useful may spread an awareness for coaches to accept more insight from other coaches.




The above list of Twitter handles are physical and online magazines (The Hockey News and USA Hockey Magazine), TSN Hockey is basically the ESPN of Canada, that does Hockey coverage on scale that ESPN does not do. ESPN many times will create unoriginal news stories that are solely credited to one source like the NY Times for example. TSN does all of its own reporting and is more journalistic, ethical and engaging than its partners at ESPN. These three news outlets are constantly producing news stories that are human interest and definitely are not always NHL related. Tweeting at these magazines and their editors with Power Play Coach stories would certainly give my blog a chance at greater readership.


For now, I believe that only Twitter and potentially Facebook are the only social media platforms Power Play Coach would need to promote the blog. Twitter would be extremely useful to give back to the hockey community by following the masses and sharing our blog stories. On Twitter we would aim to post at least once a day with an original piece once a week. Our tweets would be on active live in-game coaching developments, outside media news on coaches and we would re-tweet other hockey insight that would generate traffic.


  1. Your Playing Days Are Over- Time To Coach?


Hanging up the skates is tough, but now you’re ready to coach. Baruch College hockey coach @TerryHoitz shares his experience with us, from back-up goaltender to bench boss. #coachgus @USAHMagazine @HockeyCanada

2. The Best Hockey Skaters: Start Early And Repeat

Runners run every day and skaters skate, well, hopefully every day. The world’s best on ice are starting younger, skating more and Long Island skating instructor Tommy Keane says it’s paying off. #NoFearSkating @BJaffe @USAHMagazine

3. Does Film Analysis Work For Youth Hockey?

Nothing represents the final on-ice product more accurately

than the game-film. @Arrows18U HC Chris Hogan explains

videos usefulness and flawed overkill in the realm of youth

hockey. #ItsAllInstinct @darrendreger @ExtraSkater






Tags: Uncategorized

Freddy Cicchetti

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Freddy Cicchetti

Tags: Uncategorized

Your Playing Days are Over- Time to Coach?

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Your Playing Days are Over- Time to Coach?

Just because you played the game, doesn’t necessarily mean you can coach it. But, that’s exactly what happens, at the NHL level down to the floors of collegiate roller hockey. Athletes call it quits and quickly suit up into different organizational roles, namely coaches.

Former backup goaltender Kevin Mashavejian, now newly appointed Baruch roller hockey head coach, is a classic example of a player turned coach. Ready for the challenging adjustment from goaltender to head coach, Mashavejian says he’s already learned a lot about his team, citing the tryouts and preseason as important assessment tools.

I sat down with the rookie coach to find out what he had learned about a hockey preseason and how he transitioned from playing to coaching.

Freddy Cicchetti: What was the big challenge heading into the preseason?

Coach Mashavejian: Sitting down with the players, seeing where they felt comfortable; and then basically telling them that they were going to see ice time everywhere. Not necessarily where they felt comfortable.


Q: How did they respond? Did their positions change a lot?

Fine, we didn’t want to make big changes in one game. If a player started on defense, that’s where they would finish. Mentally getting ready to play up front or on defense is a big change to ask of the guy’s mid-game.


Q: You already had tryouts and then decided to bring every player to the preseason. Any surprises?

Definitely, one new player in particular looked very average at tryouts. He came to tryouts as a forward, we put him on defense for the first game and he immediately looked really comfortable out there. A great skater fundamentally, who couldn’t really play short-paced offensive shifts because of lacking foot-speed. Sounded like a defense-man to us.


Q: Kevin, you played back-up goaltender for Baruch, graduated last June, now you’re coaching. What’s the process been like? Why do you think you can be a successful coach?

I wish I was still eligible to play. I am really excited about this opportunity though, I have great interpersonal skills, I’m a calming figure on the bench, and I’ve learned a lot from my playing days as far as how to run a four-on-four bench.


Q: You continue to play professional hockey in the AIHL. Coaches often say that once you become a coach, its’ time to hang up the skates and only coach.

There two totally different leagues, my role at the rink changes. It starts before the Baruch games; I’m talking to players and coaches, looking at line combinations, scouting, and being ready to see the game as a longer process. Playing is easier for me; I have my head phones on, stretch and get suited up. The approach to coaching is much more organized and timed. You assess periods, shifts and then try to not over-assess things.



Tags: Uncategorized