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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday News - Stanley Cup Update Day

Well it's Tuesday and we all know what that means!  The HHOF has updated their Stanley Cup Journal and the keepers of the cup have updated their photoblog.  I also found a short video of the Niedermayer's riding around an arena on their day with the cup, Chris Kunitz was NHLPA player of the day and some analysis on Kunitz's contract.

Shawn Thornton via Stanley Cup Journal

Shawn Thornton was drafted into the NHL by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1997. For an Oshawa boy living just east of the metropolis, this was a dream come true. But Shawn's career took him from the Leafs organization (he never got to pull on the Leafs' sweater at the NHL level) to the Chicago Black Hawks from 2002-03 until 2006-07, when he joined the Anaheim Ducks' organization.

Shawn began the season in the AHL, where he captained the Portland Pirates. But an injury to scrapper Todd Fedoruk meant a quick call to Portland to tell Thornton to pack his bags — he was head to Anaheim.

A year that began with the uncertainty of whether he'd play in the NHL finished with a season that saw Shawn play 48 games during the regular season, 15 more in the playoffs and culminated gulping victor's champagne from the bowl of the Stanley Cup.


Ric Jackman

Ric Jackman was raised in Barrie, about an hour north of Toronto, and on Tuesday, August 14, he took the Stanley Cup home to meet his parents.

In a career that has had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, Ric got to enjoy the rewards of persistence. Drafted in the first round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, Ric has had stints with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, and began the 2006-07 season with the Florida Panthers. In December, Jackman was placed on waivers by the Panthers, and was gobbled up in January by the Ducks, who saw a defenseman with size and a booming shot fitting nicely into their blueprint. Ric found a spot on the blueline with the Ducks, but back spasms almost robbed Ric of his chance at the Stanley Cup. Missing the last handful of regular season games, Jackman was out for all of Rounds One and Two and parts of the Conference Final against Detroit. But feeling healthy and strong coincided with a need to insert Ric into the line-up. In his first game in two months, Jackman scored a goal to help Anaheim to a 3-1 win over the Red Wings. In all, he got into seven playoff games on the march to the Stanley Cup. "Having a chance to play at the end where it's fun, and obviously to win the Stanley Cup, was real special," he stated.


Brad May

A veteran of the battles of fifteen NHL seasons, Brad May must have been haunted wondering whether he would ever have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. But wonderful things happen to good people. After starting his sixteenth season, May was traded from Colorado to Anaheim on February 27, 2007. The Ducks clearly were looking at infusing some veteran savvy and moxy to their line-up, and came up with both in a package called Brad May.

When the Stanley Cup arrived at the Markham, Ontario home of Brad's Mom, Linell, on Wednesday, August 15, Brad had not yet arrived, but he showed up shortly afterwards, ready to start his celebration.

Brad first took the Stanley Cup to show his grandmother in Markham. There was a reception for Brad at Grace Anglican Church in Markham, the church attended by his mother and grandmother. Then, it was over to his father's house in Goodwood, a lovely home edging onto the Coppinwood Golf Club. While there, Brad visited his paternal grandmother in Uxbridge, then returned to the house where he saw a number of old friends, including George Burnett, who was his coach with the Niagara Falls Thunder. Over at the golf course, Brad set the Cup on display on the third tee, and members could get a picture with Lord Stanley's prize.

Read the rest of their stories here - Link

Here are a few selections from the Keeper of the cup photoblog.

See the rest of the photos here - Link

A short video of Scott and Rob with the Cup.

Chris Kunitz was player of the day at the NHLPA -

Position: Left Wing

Team: Anaheim Ducks

Shoots: Left

Height: 6'0"

Weight 195

Birth Date: 1979-09-26

Birth Country: Canada, REGINA

Year Drafted: 2003

Round Drafted: Not Drafted (my edit)

Overall Choice: Not Drafted (my edit

Jersey Number:14

Need to Know:
What a difference a year makes. At the start of the 2005-06 season, Chris Kunitz, one of the most promising prospects in the Ducks’ system was told there was no room for him on the NHL roster, was waived and claimed quickly by the Atlanta Thrashers. Chris didn’t even have a nameplate on a locker before the Thrashers had to waive him after just two games. With a 2-4 start to the season, the Ducks scooped up Chris for another go with the club. It was a wise decision because the Regina native went on to score 19 goals and 41 points in just 67 games for the Ducks in his proper rookie season. His second full season is one he’ll never forget: 25 goals, 35 assists, and despite an injury he came back in the playoffs to help his teammates lift California’s first Stanley Cup. A former star with Ferris State of the Central Collegiate division, Chris was a Hobey Baker finalist in his senior year (2002-03) with 79 points in just 42 games.

See his featured profile here - Link

Chris Kunitz signing analysis from AOL Fanhouse

Chris Kunitz, the former Hobey Baker finalist, joined the list of Anaheim Ducks scoring a big payday, as he signed a 4-year/$14.9mil extension this morning. Coming off of a Stanley Cup winning performance and break-out season, a raise was well-deserved for the 27-year old.

Kunitz will earn $1.15 million in the last year of his old deal this season before the new contract kicks in, paying him $3.5 million in 2008-09, $3.6 million in 2009-10, $3.8 million in 2010-11 and $4 million in 2011-12.
"Chris has been a very important multi-dimensional player for us the last two seasons, providing skill, physical play and leadership," Ducks GM Brian Burke said in a statement. "We are very pleased to have him signed prior to his eligibility as an unrestricted free agent next summer."

What's easy to forget, especially given the kind words Burke has for his player, is that it wasn't too long ago that Kunitz wasn't even wanted by his own team!
Yes, at the start of the 2005-06 season, Kunitz was put on waivers by the Anaheim Ducks, and plucked by the Atlanta Thrashers. Two games later, the Thrashers put him back on waivers, and Anaheim took him back. Hardly the road to stardom that most take.

Read the rest here - Link

Battle of California has some analysis as well.

Well, I’m a day late on this, but top line winger Chris Kunitz, who is already under contract for $1.15 M this coming season, signed a UFA-avoiding extension yesterday: 4 years, $14.9 M (with a cap value of $3.725 M per year).
I’m fairly happy with this signing, though I will note that it is a bit difficult to peg a value on Kunitz’s contributions. After all, Kunitz is rarely the opponent’s focal point on any of his line combinations. But whereas some players are purely "passengers" on scoring lines, Kunitz is more of an "enabler"—he noticeably improves scoring results around him.
To demonstrate this, I stole some numbers from an even-strength teammate evaluation site created by’s David Johnson. Basically, this site looks at last season’s even-strength ice time and determines scoring rates (GF and GA) when certain players play together and when they play apart. Below are the top 4 forwards and the top 4 defensemen that Chris Kunitz played with at even-strength last year. Note how all 8 players had improved results playing with Kunitz compared to their even-strength ice time without him.

Read the rest here - Link