The 22-year-old Thomas Chabot signed this week an eight-year extension to staying on with the Ottawa Senators. A contract to the value of $64 million was offered to the young player, leaving the young star with an average income of $8 million per year. This season would have been the defenseman’s final year of his entry-level contract with the Senators, and from the 1st of July 2020, he would have been a restricted agent. Now he is set for the next nine years of his career at the Senators.

This is a development in his career of which he is very proud of. Chabot stated that the contract is a significant development not only for him but for his family too. Chabot had a high season last season with many career highlights including 14 goals, 41 assists and 55 points from the 70 games which he played. He ended up 10th on the list of defenseman with the highest scoring. Since the Senators picked Chabot in the 2015 NHL Draft, he managed 80 points at the team, gathered from 23 goals and 57 assists. Since he made his debut for Ottawa on the 19th of October 2016, he represented the Senators on the ice in 134 NHL Games.

A Long Term Plan

Pierre Dorion, general manager to the Ottawa Senators, stated that Chabot is the kind of player with the capability to develop over time into a core member of their team at a championship level. He also noted that the decision was made because they want to move into a direction with Chabot, which will be beneficial for the team and him. All while the fans are happy about it too.

Chabot’s contract came after the Senators signed Colin White as forward for a six-year contract. His contract is valued at $28.5 million. The vision of the Senators is to develop an active core group of players to carry them forward. The willingness of these players to commit to such a long period to the team is also indicative of their loyalty towards the Senators. This is the foundation on which management wants to expand and continuously improve their rankings within the international rink.

Additional Signed Players

During May they have hired DJ Smith in the position as coach for the team. During July, the forward Connor Brown and defenseman Nikita Zaitsev were traded with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They also signed Ron Hainsey, the defenseman, who was a free agent at that stage as well as Tyler Ennis, as forward, for one year. Lastly, they also traded the forward Artem Anisimov with the Chicago Blackhawks even in July. These editions were made as an effort and in anticipation to drastically improve their position at 31st place at the end of the previous NHL season.

For the first time in the history of the National Hockey League, four women were included in the list of 96 officials participating in the 2019 NHL Exposure Combine. These four women were chosen to officiate many rookie tournaments set in Nashville, Buffalo, Traverse City and Irvine. These events delivered on some daunting challenges, but also some great experiences for the four women, Kirsten Welsh, Katie Guay, Kendall Hanley and Kelly Cooke. This groundbreaking step was taken to move to a point which Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, already envisioned a while ago, where women would be officiating games at the league level.

Kelly Cooke

Both Cooke and Guay were selected to perform as referees. After officiating the women’s world hockey championships during spring, she was included in the Predators Tournament which took place in Nashville. She has been working as an official on the ice for a decade already. During 2016 she retired from her playing career in NWHL where she played for Boston Pride. Cooke then moved on to become the director of player safety for the league. She also started to attend law school. Last year she officiated in Finland at the women’s world championship for the IIHF. Cooke mentioned in her commentary that initially it was quite daunting to see the large guys coming onto the ice and for a moment she wasn’t convinced that she would be able to do this, but she did. She managed perfectly fine to deal with the higher levels of strength and speed, which goes along with the men on the ice.

Katie Guay

Guay was on the ice in Irvine for the Anaheim Ducks. She is currently employed as director of philanthropy for United States Hockey and was the one with the most officiating experience on a high level. She has been involved in officiating since 2006 already and during 2015 she was the first-ever women to be on the ice for the NCAA Division I men’s games. She was also present in the capacity as an official in 2018 at the Winter Olympics held in South Korea. During February last year, she also became the first women to officiate at the Beanpot tournament in Boston. Guay stated that the entire experience is a learning curve for all involved.

Kirsten Welsh and Kendall Hanley

These two ladies were in the position of linesmen. Hanley was on the ice in Traverse City, Michigan for the Detroit Red Wings’ tournament while Welsh was working in Buffalo. Hanley is now in her 12th year of working in the capacity of officiating at the IIHF. She has also been on the lines for NAHL and USHL since she is a member of the Hockey Officiating Development Program of the USA. The much younger 22-year-old Welsh was until recently involved as a defenseman for the Robert Morris University. Her first opportunity to officiate was during the Exposure Combine, and she loved the experience. She was very excited about the opportunity to be part of the action on the ice with great athletes.

Considering the number of stars in NHL coming from Eastern Europe, it is no secret that the National Hockey League has a strong force of support based in Russia and Eastern Europe. Thus this past week saw the NHL signing a multi-year deal with one of Europe’s largest internet providers, Yandex. Yandex will be responsible for streaming all of the regular NHL season games as well as the Stanley Playoff free in Russia. The deal is becoming active in the 2019-20 season which kicks off on the 2nd of October.

Wider Audiences

Leonid Savkov, chief commercial officer at Yandex, was happy to announce this partnership with one of the world’s most significant sports leagues. They are looking forward to working with the NHL to make the games much more accessible to all in Russia and be able to connect the fans with their teams and favourite players. This deal also serves as a brilliant opportunity through which advertising companies will now be able to reach millions of fans watching their favourite hockey teams play.

The NHL is as excited about this deal becoming a reality. David Proper, the executive vice president of international and media strategy for the NHL, said that they consider this deal as a game-changer. Yandex is one of the greatest leaders in the industry in Russia and therefore serves as a brilliant platform to venture into this new market. Both parties are going into the new partnership with full force to be able to deliver engaging content to fans, while they are hoping to be able to reach a wider audience and to expand the interest of the sport.

Live Streaming and Commentary

With the brilliant platform which Yandex offers, viewers will be able to follow the live-action as it happens. They will also be able to react to what happens, to utilize live commentary and emojis. After live streaming, the highlights of each game would be available on watch on-demand. NHL fans will also be able to subscribe to a service which offers notification of when competitions are due to begin. Many Russian stars are returning to the ice for the 2019 season, including some previous Stanley Cup champions. These include Ivan Barbashev, Vladimir Tarasenko, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Nikita Kucherov.

For the first time in the history of the National Hockey League, Russian fans will now be able to have unlimited access to all the action of which so many Russian players have been part of for a very long time already. This is something that they have been waiting for, and the impact which it will have through gained interest from those who haven’t been exposed much to the sport in the past will be tremendously advantageous for the Hockey League in future.

During early August the NHL visited Martha’s Vineyard to bring the game of hockey to the OB Boogie. This is considered as on the most significant yearly events where black families gather. Some of these children are very familiar with basketball and football but have never held a hockey stick in their hands.

Amidst pouring rain, hundreds of families still showed up inside the tent set at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. The reason for their excitement was meeting the National Hockey League’s first black player, Willie O’Ree. The event also allowed children to try their hand at the sport with stickhandling and shooting stations. The NHL brought the incident to the island to introduce the competition to people who have historically been excluded from the game. This is done in cohesion with a drive to expand the interest in the sports league. According to the vice president of the Industry Growth Fund Initiatives at the NHL, Rob Knesaurek, the NHL wants to show people that the league isn’t only inclusive, but also welcoming to new members and interest.

Knesaurek was a former forward involved in Canadian collegiate hockey as well as playing in the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons. He said that hockey should be considered as an open opportunity for all. The sport needs to be diversified, and all are welcome regardless of your background.

The History of the Boogie

According to one of the Boogie organizers, Lori Hall Armstrong, the NHL helped to introduce these kids to the possibility that there are other sports than just the major leagues with which they are familiar with, which offers both player and fan possibilities. The Boogie started six years ago. The event began when parents of New Jersey and New York connected through sororities and colleges to organize a game filled with activities focusing on children. From there on, it grew into being one of the most significant annual events focusing on the well-being of children.

The Crowd at Martha’s Vineyard

The crowd attending this even at Martha’s Vineyard is characterized as predominantly black people from the East Coast to the West Coast and who are in general not only successful but also affluent. They are a crowd who might find a keen interest in the game of hockey and have probably not been exposed much to it in the past. The event was unique in many ways, and all thoroughly enjoyed the fact that it offered some hands-on experience in the game.

These kind of events are brilliant to attract new interest in the sport. I’ve commented that he could see some real talent within some of these kids. Without opportunities where they can try their hand at it, they will never be able to develop their skills. Hence it is vital to find not only support for the sport but also the talent which is lying dormant until discovered.

It was thanks to the performance of Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars goalie that they were able to make the playoffs for last season’s Stanley Cup. Bishop has been the star of the clash, being a Vezina Trophy finalist. Thanks to him, the second-fewest goals in NHL history was scored. Putting them with 200 goals, only behind the New York Islanders’ 191. This is, however, no way to enter a new season and the Dallas Stars need to answer three questions to perform better next time.

How to increase their goal scoring?

The Stars need to improve on their goal-scoring ability. They ranked third from the bottom of the NHL list of goals scored. A position held in a tie with the Arizona Coyotes at 209 goals. Dallas coach, Jim Montgomery admitted to this. He stated that they are aware of the fact that this area in their play needs some significant improvement. He is hopeful that this is however already improving during their last few games. The signing of Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry was done to give this upward trend further momentum. Pavelski scored 38 goals for the San Jose Sharks during the previous season, and Perry made it to 30 goals six times already during his NHL career. The hope is placed on their shoulders to up the Dallas Stars goals.

Will Roope Hintz Fill Up Some Bigger Shoes?

With Mats Zuccarello leaving the Stars for Minnesota Wild and Jason Spezza moving on to Toronto Maple Leafs, Hintz has bigger shoes to fill as forward. The 22-year old joined the Stars late and during his time there managed to get 11 points from 14 games during his time in the second line. Will he be able to step up and fill the gap which Zuccarello and Spezza left?

How Be Will The Lines Structured?

More depth is required to up the scoring on the Dallas side. This might mean that Montgomery will have to break up the magic between Seguin, Benn and Radulov as he did during certain times in the previous season. He might have to put Pavelski in that line, but will he be able to perform like a top forward? Montgomery might structure Radulov, Benn and Pavelski together and then place Seguin in front with Perry and Hintz and hope there will be a new and better bond of chemistry between these lines.

The lines are all dependant on who is playing and who not. Mixing up the tracks is a brilliant opportunity to give all a chance to perform and show what they are capable of. In the end, the Dallas Stars would need to find the best combinations which bring them the magic in-depth, which they need to up their performance.