The Best Gutter Guards of 2023
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Photo: Tom Scalisi
Cleaning the gutters along the roof of a house is a messy chore, but it’s vital to keep this stormwater drainage system free of clogs. Decomposing leaves, twigs, pine needles, and other debris can create blockages in the gutter system, potentially causing damage to foundation plantings and the foundation itself.
Fortunately, easy-to-install rain-gutter guards prevent debris from clogging up an existing gutter system. We tested a host of these products in different categories to judge performance on a variety of levels. Keep reading to learn more about leaf filter gutter protection and our hands-on-tested recommendations for some of the best leaf gutter guards on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Raptor Stainless Steel Micro-Mesh Gutter Guard
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Frost King Plastic Mesh Gutter Guard
- BEST BRUSH: GutterBrush 5-Inch, 6-Foot Gutter Guard
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: FlexxPoint 5-Inch Residential Gutter Cover System
- LEAST NOTICEABLE: A-M 5-Inch Aluminum Gutter Guard
- EASIEST TO INSTALL: Amerimax Metal Lock-In Gutter Guard
Photo: Tom Scalisi
How We Tested the Best Gutter Guards
We wanted to suggest only the best gutter guards available, so our hands-on testers installed, considered performance, and removed each product to ensure we knew exactly how each worked.
First, we installed one section of each gutter guard according to the directions, cutting for brackets when necessary. We assessed the flexibility of installation (no two sets of gutters are the same) as well as the quality of the hardware and how difficult each was to install. In most cases, professional installation is not required and can be done by the average DIYer. We observed the gutter guards from the ground to determine visibility.
We then left the gutter guards to collect debris, but since things had been relatively calm in our area at that time and there wasn’t a lot of debris coming down naturally, we took matters into our own hands. We used mulch to simulate twigs, tree dirt, and other debris, scooping it onto the roof above the gutters. Then, after hosing the roof down, we could accurately assess how well the gutters caught the debris.
We removed the gutter guards to access the gutters and determine how well the guards kept out debris. Finally, we cleaned these leaf guards for gutters to evaluate how easy it was to remove any clinging debris.
Our Top Picks
Put an end to semiannual gutter cleaning with one of the following options, each a high-quality gutter guard in its category. We installed each product and put it through its paces with hands-on testing that proved it to be a top performer. Check out our choices for new gutters while also keeping the top considerations in mind.
This stainless steel leaf guard by Raptor boasts a fine yet durable mesh that keeps even the smallest windblown seeds out of gutters. Its durable micro-mesh cover can slip under the lower row of roof shingles while the outer edge attaches to the gutter with screws for extra security. Raptor’s V-Bend technology boosts filtering power and adds rigidity to the mesh, enabling it to withstand debris without sagging.
The Raptor gutter cover fits standard 5-inch gutters and comes in easy-to-handle 5-foot strips with a total length of 48 feet. The screws and the nut-driver socket needed to install the strips are included.
The Raptor system proved itself to be a good option for installing DIY gutter guards, and we appreciated that it offers different installation methods, including installing directly across the gutter as well as under the roof shingles, depending on the situation. However, we found the stainless steel material to be very difficult to cut, even with a good pair of snips—although that no doubt speaks to its durability. The stainless steel mesh caught everything that could be expected, and it’s also easily removable for gutter cleaning.
- Style: Micro mesh
- Material: Stainless steel and aluminum
- Visibility: Depends on the installation method
- Stainless steel mesh catches and blocks leaves, pine needles, and roof grit
- Flexible mounting styles to suit multiple gutter sizes; easy to remove for cleaning and maintenance
- Very difficult to cut, even with good pair of snips
Get the Raptor gutter guards at Amazon.
For those who prefer not to invest in an expensive stainless steel product, this Frost King gutter guard by Thermwell is an affordable plastic option that keeps the gutter system safe from large debris and nuisance pests, like mice and birds. The plastic screen gutter guard can be cut with standard scissors to the custom fit of the gutter, and it comes in a 6-inch-wide by 20-foot-long roll.
The gutter guard installs easily without screws, tacks, nails, or any other fastener. Just place the guard into the gutter, ensuring that the center of the guard is bent up toward the opening of the gutter instead of forming a trough where debris would collect. The plastic material won’t rust or corrode, and it’s fairly resistant to extreme temperature changes, protecting the gutters all year long.
In testing, the affordable Frost King system proved to be a decent option. The screen was easy to cut to 4- and 5-foot lengths while on the ground, and the plastic is so lightweight, we had no concern about carrying it up a ladder (which can be a challenge with heavier materials). However, we found these leaf guards for gutters to be somewhat finicky to install correctly, as they don’t use hardware to hold them in place.
- Style: Screen
- Material: Plastic
- Visibility: In most cases, yes
- Easy to cut; can be adjusted to suit multiple gutter sizes
- Very affordable compared to similar options; lightweight and easy to install
- First-time users may find this item a bit tricky to install
Get the Frost King gutter guards at Amazon.
This brush gutter guard has a flexible wire core made of stainless steel that can bend around corners. The brush bristles, made of ultraviolet-resistant polypropylene, extend out about 4.5 inches from the core, allowing the entire gutter guard to fit comfortably into standard-size (5-inch) gutters.
The gutter cover comes in a range of lengths from 6 to 525 feet, and it’s very easy to install without fasteners: Simply place this leaf guard into the gutter and push down gently until the guard is sitting at the bottom of the gutter. The bristles allow water to flow freely through the gutter while preventing leaves, sticks, and other large debris from entering and clogging the drainage system.
In testing, the beauty of the GutterBrush’s gutter guard system proved to be the easy installation, as described above. The system works for fascia-mounted brackets as well as shingle-mounted ones, making this the most universal of all gutter guards we tested. They allow for ample water flow, but we did find them prone to clogging with larger debris. While big pieces are easy to remove, we learned that the GutterBrush isn’t a maintenance-free solution.
- Style: Brush
- Material: Polypropylene bristles
- Visibility: No
- Incredibly easy to install compared to similar gutter-guard options
- Universal fit for any gutters; allows for plenty of water flow and prevents congestion
- Will clog if user does not clear and clean it regularly
Get the GutterBrush gutter guards at Amazon, The Home Depot, or GutterBrush.
The FlexxPoint residential gutter cover system offers enhanced protection from sagging and collapse, even under heavy leaf or snow accumulation. It’s reinforced with raised ridges that run the length of the strip, featuring a lightweight, rustproof aluminum build. The screen gutter guard has a subtle design that can’t be seen from the ground.
This reliable gutter guard attaches to the outer edge of the gutter with included screws. It snaps into place, so there’s no need to slip it under the shingles. It comes in black, white, brown, and matte and is available in 22-; 102-; 125-; 204-; 510-; 1,020-; and 5,100-foot lengths.
Certain features of the FlexxPoint residential gutter cover system made it stand out in testing. It was the only system that required screws not only in the front of the gutter but also in the back. This makes it extremely heavy-duty and stable—it won’t come out on its own under any condition. And while it’s very durable, it’s not difficult to cut. It can’t be seen from the ground, which is a huge plus for a heavy-duty guard. However, we found that it will collect larger debris, which must be manually (though easily) removed.
- Style: Screen
- Material: Aluminum
- Visibility: No
- Strong, heavy-duty quality that’s suitable for the harshest weather conditions
- Super-secure installation system that comes in easy-to-handle 4-foot sections; also includes installation fasteners
- Invisible from the ground; does not make rooftops look cluttered
- Can clog and require immediate attention; regular upkeep and maintenance required
Get the FlexxPoint gutter guards at Amazon or FlexxPointDirect.com.
Those who don’t want gutter guards to show from below might consider the A-M 5-Inch Aluminum Gutter Guard. Made from industrial-grade aluminum, the perforated panel contains 380 holes per linear foot to handle heavy downpours. It fits snugly inside the top of the gutter and is virtually invisible once installed, so nothing will detract from a roof’s good looks.
Containing slip-under shingle support and tabbed for easy installation, the guard attaches to the gutter’s outer lip with self-tapping screws (not included). It’s designed for 5-inch gutters and comes in 23-, 50-, 100-, and 200-foot lengths. This product is also available for 6-inch gutters in 23-, 50-, 100-, and 200-foot lengths.
In testing, we developed a love-hate relationship with the A-M Gutter Guard system. Yes, these aluminum gutter guards are a high-quality system with strong reinforcement ridges running the length of the guard, and they can’t be seen from the ground. They’re easy to cut and install, even around brackets, and they do a good job of allowing water flow and collecting debris. But they don’t come with the necessary self-tapping screws! All the other systems that required fasteners included them. Also, this system will clog with larger debris, so it will require light maintenance eventually.
- Style: Screen
- Material: Aluminum
- Visibility: No
- Product is easy to cut and install, even around brackets
- Invisible from the ground to prevent a roof from looking cluttered
- Durable reinforcement ridges can withstand the harshest of weather conditions
- Requires regular maintenance and upkeep; can clog with larger debris if not cleared regularly
- Does not include the necessary self-tapping screws required for installation
Get the A-M gutter guards at Amazon.
Even a novice DIYer may find it a snap to get their gutter guards installed with the Amerimax Metal Lock-In Gutter Guard. This screen-type gutter guard is designed to slip under the first row of shingles and then snap over the outer edge of the gutter. Its flexible design accommodates 4-, 5-, and 6-inch gutter systems.
Made from powder-coated steel to resist rust, the Amerimax gutter guard will keep leaves and debris out while permitting even the heaviest downpour to flow through. It comes in easy-to-handle 3-foot strips and can be installed without tools.
The hardware-free installation performed very well in testing and was so secure, it proved a bit challenging to remove the gutter guard by hand. The screen was easy to cut, and we appreciated the flexible mounting option (we couldn’t get it under our shingles, so we put it across the top of the gutter). It did a good job of keeping debris out, though smaller bits made their way in. But the only real issue was with removing the guard, as the cut mesh hung up on the brackets.
- Style: Mesh
- Material: Powder-coated steel
- Visibility: Probably
- Flexible installation options for any user’s comfort level; easy to cut compared to similar options
- Locking design works well against the harshest of weather conditions
- Installing around brackets and removing the guard can be difficult
Get the Amerimax gutter guards at Amazon (for a 25-pack), The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gutter Guards
There are a few more things to keep in mind beyond the best type of gutter guards to protect a home. These include material, size, visibility, and installation.
Types of Gutter Guards
The five main types of gutter guards available are screen, micro mesh, reverse curve (or surface-tension gutter guards), brush, and foam. Each type has its own set of advantages and considerations.
Screen guards feature a wire or a plastic grid that blocks leaves from entering the gutter trough. They’re easy to install by lifting the bottom row of roof shingles and sliding the edges of the gutter screens beneath the shingles along the entire length of the gutter; the weight of the shingles holds the screen in place. Screen gutter guards are an inexpensive option and offer the simplest installation—often, no tools are needed.
Gutter screens are not screwed down and so may be dislodged by high winds or knocked out from under shingles by falling branches. Additionally, prying up the lower row of roof shingles to install slip-under gutter guards voids certain roof warranties. Buyers might want to contact the shingle manufacturer before installing this type of gutter guard if they have concerns.
Steel micro-mesh gutter guards are similar to screens, allowing water to run through small holes while blocking twigs, pine needles, and debris. They require one of three simple installation methods: slipping the edge under the first row of roof shingles, snapping the guard directly onto the top of the gutter, or attaching a flange to the fascia (the vertical strip just above the top of the gutter).
Micro-mesh gutter guards are effective at blocking even small bits of debris, such as blowing sand, while allowing rain to flow through. They’re made of various materials, from inexpensive plastic gutter guards to strong stainless steel ones. Unlike other gutter guards, even the best mesh gutter guards may require occasional cleaning with a hose sprayer and scrub brush to clear ultrafine debris from the mesh holes.
Reverse-curve gutter guards are made from lightweight metal or molded plastic. Water flows over the top and around a downward curve before dropping into the gutter beneath. Leaves and debris slide right off the edge and fall to the ground below. These gutter guards work well for keeping leaves and debris out of the gutter, even in yards with numerous trees.
Reverse-curve gutter guards are more expensive than mesh guards and screen options. They’re less DIY-friendly than other types of gutter guards and must attach at the correct angle to the roof’s fascia. If not installed properly, water can run over the edge rather than following the reverse curve into the gutter. Since they install above the existing guttering, these guards can appear like full gutter covers from the ground, so it’s advised to look for a product that matches the color and aesthetic of the home.
Brush-style gutter guards are essentially oversize pipe cleaners that rest inside the gutter, preventing large debris from falling into the gutter and causing clogs. Simply cut the brush to the proper length and slide it into the gutter. The easy installation and inexpensive price make brush-style gutter guards a popular option for DIYers on a budget.
This type of gutter guard is typically composed of a thick metal wire core with polypropylene bristles extending from the center. The guards require no screws or connections to the rain gutters, and the metal wire core is flexible, allowing the gutter guards to be bent to fit around corners or unusually shaped stormwater drainage systems. These features make it easier for DIYers to install these gutter guards without professional assistance.
Another easy-to-use option is essentially a triangular block of foam that sits in the gutter. One flat side lies to the back of the gutter; another flat side faces up to the top of the gutter to prevent debris from entering. The third flat side lies diagonally in the gutter, which allows water and small debris to flow through the drainage system.
Foam gutter guards are inexpensive and easy to install, making them a great choice for DIYers. Gutter foam can be cut to the proper length, and the guards don’t require nails or screws to remain in place, so there’s less risk of damage or leaks. However, they aren’t the best for locations that experience high levels of precipitation because heavy rain can quickly saturate the foam, causing the gutters to overflow.
Gutter-guard materials can vary depending on the type and quality of the product.
- Stainless steel is commonly used to make micro-mesh, screen, and reverse-curve gutter guards. It’s one of the most durable options, though typically more expensive. Stainless steel is resistant to rust, corrosion, and temperature extremes, preventing the gutter guards from expanding, warping, and cracking.
- Copper screen and micro-mesh gutter guards are highly resistant to rusting and corrosion. Typically more resilient (and more expensive) than any other type, copper gutter guards can also be hard to find, as few manufacturers produce them.
- Aluminum, a comparatively affordable metal, is used to make lightweight micro-mesh and screen gutter guards. Though they’re not as rugged as stainless steel or copper options, durability isn’t as important for homes that don’t have overhanging tree branches because there’s less chance for branches, twigs, pine needles, and other hard objects to pierce the guard.
- Plastics are regularly used to make the frame of gutter guards for both reverse-curve and brush guards. However, brush guards typically have a core of stainless steel or aluminum, while the brush bristles are usually made from polypropylene. Plastic is inexpensive, and it doesn’t rust or corrode, but it is prone to swelling and cracking.
- Foam is the only material used in foam gutter guards. The entire guard is essentially a block of foam that allows water to filter through the materials while preventing large debris from falling into the gutter. Foam is an inexpensive, durable material, but it is susceptible to mold growth.
Choosing the correct size when the time comes to install gutter guards requires climbing up on a secured ladder to measure the width of the gutter. The length of each gutter must also be measured to determine the correct size as well as the number of gutter guards necessary to protect the entire gutter system.
Most gutter guards come in lengths ranging from 3 to 8 feet. Gutters come in three standard widths, with guards sized to match 4 inches, 5 inches, and 6 inches, with 5 inches being most common. To get the correct-size guard, measure the width of the top of the gutter from the inside edge to the outside edge.
Depending on the type of gutter guard that is used, the side or even the top may be visible from the ground, so it’s best to find a guard that highlights the house or blends in with the existing aesthetic. Foam and brush gutter guards are essentially invisible from the ground because they sit completely in the gutter, but micro-mesh, screen, and reverse-curve gutter guards are more visible.
Generally, guards come in three standard colors: white, black, and silver. Some products are available in additional color options, allowing users to find guards that match the gutters. Matching the gutter guards to the color of the roof is also a good way to obtain a cohesive, attractive look.
Professional vs. DIY Installation
Professional installation is strongly recommended for anything higher than a first-story roof. With 1-story houses, this is a relatively safe and simple job that requires only basic tools.
Avid DIYers equipped with an appropriate ladder who are experienced working at heights should be able to install their own gutter guards on a 2-story house as long as safety precautions are followed. Never go up on a ladder to the roof without a spotter. Ensure that a proper fall-safety system is in place to prevent serious injuries.
The Advantages of Owning Gutter Guards
The main benefit of using gutter guards to protect the stormwater drainage system is keeping debris out. Leaves, sticks, feathers, and other large debris can quickly clog up a gutter system, preventing water from properly draining. Once formed, these clogs grow as mud clings to the clog, filling in gaps and potentially attracting pests.
Rodents and insects that are drawn to wet, dirty gutters can make nests or use the proximity to the home to begin burrowing into the roof and walls. However, installing gutter guards helps keep out these nuisance pests and protect the home.
With gutter guards preventing debris buildup and pest infestations, the gutters remain relatively clean, so they only need to be thoroughly washed out once every few years, saving time and effort. The gutter guards should still be inspected semi-regularly to clean away any debris from the top of the guard that could be limiting the flow of water into the gutters.
- By using gutter guards, the gutter system remains free of such large debris as leaves and sticks.
- Gutter guards help keep rodents and larger insects from nesting in damp gutters, thereby causing the drainage system to back up.
- The maintenance of gutters is easier when gutter guards are used to prevent obstructions from entering the stormwater drainage system.
Gutter guards offer an excellent way to reduce maintenance and protect the gutters from debris buildup and pest infestations. If you still want more info about how gutter guards work and how to maintain them, keep reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these products.
Q. Do gutter guards go under shingles?
Installation methods depend on the type of gutter guard, but some products do install under the first or second row of shingles.
Q. Do gutter guards work in heavy rain?
Handling heavy rain is entirely possible for most gutter guards, though guards that are full of leaves or sticks may have a hard time passing the quickly flowing water. This is why it’s important to inspect and clean both the gutters and the guards in spring and fall seasons when falling debris from nearby foliage is at its worst.
Q. Do gutter guards cause ice dams?
Some gutter guards, like reverse-curve guards, can worsen ice dams by trapping snow and ice inside the gutter. However, most gutter guards help prevent ice buildup by limiting the amount of snow that passes through into the gutter system.
Q. How do you clean gutters without removing gutter guards?
While gutter guards do help to keep out larger debris, the gutters still need to be cleaned. Follow these simple steps to clean the gutters without removing the gutter guards.
- Place a drop cloth at the bottom of the ladder to catch falling debris.
- Set up and secure the ladder to prevent it from falling or shifting.
- Don safety gloves and climb up the ladder to access the gutters.
- Remove any debris that’s built up on the top of the gutter guards.
- Rinse the gutters with a hose or a pressure washer to break up any clumps of small debris and clean out excess dirt and other material.
- Move to the next section of the gutter and repeat, continuing until the stormwater drainage system is completely clean.
Q. How often should you clean gutters with gutter guards?
Gutters equipped with gutter guards needn’t be cleaned often, as long as the top of the gutter guard is kept relatively free of leaves and sticks. A thorough cleaning once every 2 years is typically enough to keep the main stormwater drainage system free of debris.
However, it’s recommended to check the gutter guards for excess debris during the spring and fall seasons, as well as inspecting the gutters for ice dams during the winter to prevent damage to the gutter system.
Why Trust Bob Vila
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What NHL offseason trades, signings and other moves would we like to see? One pick for each team
NHL trade season is upon us, the draft is coming Wednesday and free agency opens July 1.
The time has come for teams to make their moves.
What’s at the top of the to-do list for each team? The Athletic asked its NHL staff that question this week and heard about free-agent signings, cap dumps, trades — and one team that should just sit on its hands for a change.
Here’s the move we’d like to see each team make this offseason.
Pick a new captain: There is a caveat to this. If the Ducks were to name one, I’d imagine it would take place right before the regular season. And it is a big “if,” as general manager Pat Verbeek isn’t showing any rush to do so. But the franchise went without a captain for the first time last season and a leadership void is still present after the retirement of Ryan Getzlaf. Teams need more than one leader, but the Ducks need to start charting a course back toward contention, and establishing one player who sets the proper tone and can get his teammates to follow him and up Anaheim’s competitive level every night will start the process. Our recent fan survey had Cam Fowler, Troy Terry and Mason McTavish as leading candidates. — Eric Stephens
Mason McTavish was drafted No. 3 overall in 2021 as a potential core piece. He’s only continuing to show in an impact-laden rookie season that he is part of the #NHLDucks foundation going forward.https://t.co/JIrY5rmXLx
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) March 13, 2023
Extend defenseman Juuso Valimaki: Valimaki, a former first-round pick by the Flames, was added off waivers last fall and was a spectacular success. Overall, he contributed 34 points in 78 games, but his impact was most keenly felt after the Coyotes dished off Jakub Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere ahead of the trade deadline, when he became the QB of the top power play. Valimaki is a bargain at $1 million in 2023-24, but is an RFA with arb rights in the summer of ’24. At some point, it’s important to commit to building blocks moving forward. Valimaki should be one. — Eric Duhatschek
Trade Matt Grzelcyk: Grzelcyk is a very good defender. He has a fair value at $3,687,500 annually. He could be on a team’s No. 2 power-play unit. With the right degree of sheltering against physical opponents, Grzelcyk is a good top-four defenseman. But the Bruins need cap space. Grzelcyk is one of five left-shot defensemen under contract for 2023-24. He would have the most trade value. The Bruins don’t want to see him go. But trading Grzelcyk for a pick and freeing cap space is what they need to do. — Fluto Shinzawa
The Kings proved that cap flexibility is possible. But it comes at a cost. Can the Bruins pay it? https://t.co/woPbP6bZ6n
— Fluto Shinzawa (@FlutoShinzawa) June 7, 2023
Upgrade the defense: Whether it’s via a trade or unrestricted free agency, the Sabres could stand to upgrade their blue line. Rasmus Dahlin, Mattias Samuelsson and Owen Power are a solid top three, but finding a partner for Power on the second pair would go a long way toward rounding out the team’s depth on defense. Without a ton of top-end options on the free-agent market, the Sabres may need to part with a prospect to make this happen. — Matthew Fairburn
Make room for Dustin Wolf: The franchise has a young, budding goalie prospect in Wolf. The Flames could call him up from their farm team, but three’s a crowd with Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar already taking up roster spots. Vladar would be the sacrificial lamb, with a two-year contract at $2.2 million set to kick in next season. Markstrom, meanwhile, has a no-movement clause and is trying to rebound from a less-than-stellar 2022-23 campaign. — Julian McKenzie
Target a winger who can provide more scoring: The Hurricanes face some tough decisions over the next year, with several players on contracts that expire after the 2023-24 season. The team will have the talent, assets and cap space to remain competitive for years to come, but its best chance at a championship may be now. The biggest need is another goal scorer — GM Don Waddell tried to fill that hole with Max Pacioretty last offseason — and Carolina could use a player like Brett Pesce, whose contract is up after next year, to add more offense or land draft picks the team could use toward a sniper. — Cory Lavalette
The Hurricanes and Brett Pesce are trying to hammer out a contract extension.
What is the defenseman likely looking for in a new deal? And if the price is too steep for Carolina, what could Pesce fetch in a trade?https://t. co/kGDDIp2l9D
— Cory Lavalette (@corylav) June 21, 2023
Bringing back Max Domi to play with Connor Bedard: The Blackhawks are going to have to overpay a couple of players in free agency in order to reach the salary floor, and if Domi’s willing to take a shorter-term deal (two years max) than he’d get elsewhere, he can really cash in. Chicago loved him and he loved Chicago in his brief stint with the Blackhawks last season, and he can bring enough skill to keep up with Bedard and enough tenacity to offer him a little protection on the ice. — Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers
Solve the 2C problem: J.T. Compher had a solid regular season handling second-line center responsibilities in 2022-23, but the Avalanche view him as more of a third-liner in an ideal world. The team is still looking for its Nazem Kadri replacement. Centers are hard to find, though, and the free agent class is weak. Can the Avalanche find a capable 2C on the trade market? And do they have enough chips to make that level of a trade? — Peter Baugh
Examining some 2C options https://t. co/V8QilRhcsr
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) May 31, 2023
Trade for size and physicality on the wing: It’s not that the Blue Jackets are lacking in top-six wingers. They have plenty of promise and talent with Johnny Gaudreau, Patrik Laine, Kent Johnson and Kirill Marchenko, plus Alexandre Texier possibly challenging for a job. There’s speed, playmaking, smarts and some elite-level shots in that mix, but nobody who is physically imposing. Laine is 6-foot-5 and Marchenko is 6-foot-3, but neither is known to throw his body around in traffic. The Jackets have taken steps to fortify their blue line this summer with Ivan Provorov and Damon Severson trades. But they need some more oomph on the other end, too. They tend to give up the puck too easily and lose too many board battles. — Aaron Portzline
Trade for a top-four defenseman (Brett Pesce?): The Stars’ biggest area of need, as shown in the playoffs, is pretty clearly on the blue line. Dallas doesn’t have the cap space to sign a top-four guy in free agency, but they can trade for one and can do so in a manner that is far less complicated than an Erik Karlsson type of move. Somebody like Brett Pesce or Noah Hanifin could make sense. — Saad Yousuf
Add a 30-goal scorer: Easier said than done, of course, but Detroit has to find a way to become a more dangerous offensive team next season. Whether it’s Alex DeBrincat, Travis Konecny, Nick Schmaltz or someone else entirely, adding a proven scorer to the top-six would take some pressure off Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond and might make the Red Wings a serious playoff threat in the process. The fit has to be right. Ideally, it should be a player who is 27 or younger and could be retained for more than a year or two. It doesn’t need to simply be the splashiest option on the market, but Detroit does need to generate more offense next season, one way or another. — Max Bultman
Now that the playoff field has been thinned to 4, the offseason trade market is coming into view. Could William Nylander, Alex DeBrincat or Nick Schmaltz fit for a Red Wings team that desperately needs more scoring? https://t.co/Spi9VU0uRu
— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) May 17, 2023
Sign a low-cost top-nine forward like Jonathan Toews: The Oilers are capped out. They don’t seem inclined to make a big slash right now, such as moving Cody Ceci to upgrade the top four on defense. They’re shopping in the bargain bin in free agency. Ideally, they’d find a buy-low option to augment the top nine up front, especially since Kailer Yamamoto’s days appear numbered. Toews, if healthy, is on their radar. So is longtime nemesis Corey Perry, even if he’s probably more of a depth option. The Oilers have also been linked to Connor Brown, Connor McDavid’s former junior teammate. They share an agent. Brown missed almost the 2022-23 campaign with an ACL tear in his right knee. Any of those options, particularly Toews or Brown, would be a nice get for the Oilers at the right price. — Daniel Nugent-Bowman
It should start with re-signing Evan Bouchard, followed by checking in on some high-profile veterans, and going from there.
Introducing the Oilers’ offseason priorities: A 10-step plan for ensuring success next season: https://t.co/avmm99jnu9
— Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports) May 24, 2023
Look into adding Noah Hanifin: Hanifin’s future has been addressed, and many teams would be lucky to have him, but he makes particular sense for the Panthers. Their long-term cap situation is relatively clear, and they could certainly use a top-four left shot in October and beyond. Plus Hanifin, at 26, fits in with the rest of Florida’s top-player timeline. The window is open. — Sean Gentille
Trade for Connor Hellebuyck: Landing the right netminder is the theme with the Kings. No offense to Copley, who kept their 2022-23 season from going off the rails early, but securing a Vezina-level puck stopper in Hellebuyck would send a message to new Stanley Cup champion Vegas and the Kings’ other direct Pacific Division obstacle, Edmonton, that Los Angeles is serious in its intent to overtake them and make its own Cup push. Landing Hellebuyck will be difficult as Winnipeg isn’t giving him away and he’s already at a $6.1 million cap hit for 2023-24 and wants to go well north of that in his next contract. Yes, there are also the persistent Pierre-Luc Dubois-to-L.A. rumblings. Getting Hellebuyck probably can’t be pulled off anyway. But a trade would be an all-in move to give franchise stalwarts Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty one more real chance to win a third Cup. — Eric Stephens
Should the @LAKings pursue Pierre-Luc Dubois? Why it makes sense and why it doesn’t.
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) June 15, 2023
Bolster the blue line with Luke Schenn or Carson Soucy: Landing a No. 1 center is a tired narrative around here — and extremely challenging with no cap space — so let’s try something more realistic. The Wild are likely to lose Matt Dumba, and it will be a bigger loss than fans realize. They could use some size on their blue line. If Brock Faber moves into the top four, who is on the third pair? Could they snag someone like Schenn or Soucy in free agency? Both will be tough with the cap unless moves are made. But it’s definitely an area of need. — Joe Smith
Trade Joel Edmundson: His value might be somewhat higher at the trade deadline, but if the Canadiens can find a taker for Edmundson in the summer, they should jump on it. The difference in the return is less important than opening up a spot in the lineup on the left side of the defense. There is an argument to be made that Edmundson would be helpful with a young defense group, but keeping him until the deadline also runs the risk of him getting injured again. If there’s a team willing to give up something half-decent to get him, the Canadiens should take it. — Arpon Basu
A little Canadiens offseason primer with some information gathered at the combine and elsewhere. His name is sadly missing here, but @MAGodin was a huge part of the reporting process: https://t.co/vEDYbl7dPf
— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 14, 2023
Trade goaltender Juuse Saros: Is it realistic? Only if new GM Barry Trotz gets a return that blows him away, but with two years left on a spectacular bargain of a contract ($5 million average annual value), Saros’ trade value should be at its peak. If the Preds truly believe Yaroslav Askarov has greatness in his future, why not strike now, take lumps (and a high pick) next season and gear up for when Askarov is ready in a couple of years? — Joe Rexrode
Extend Tomas Tatar: The Devils obviously have to be extremely considerate of their cap situation after extending Jesper Bratt and with Timo Meier likely next (along with any potential increases for goaltending, if they choose to make a big change). But trying to keep Tatar would be smart, considering just how effective he was on both ends of the ice. New Jersey has to be careful not to overcommit to the 32-year-old but should lock him in as a middle-six option next year if possible. — Shayna Goldman
New York Islanders
Acquire a puck-moving defenseman: The Islanders spent too much time in their own end last season due to either sloppy or just flat-out slow play by their defensemen. They’ll need to be better in that area next season and could also use another option to quarterback the power play after Noah Dobson failed to get the job done in that position. Whether this happens could depend on if the team re-signs Scott Mayfield or allows him to walk as a free agent. — Kevin Kurz
Lou Lamoriello’s plan, it would seem, is to try and return much of last season’s Islanders.
That means sticking to their style of grinding out low-scoring affairs.
One problem, writes @KKurzNHL.
The game is evolving. And New York isn’t. https://t.co/PUKP9vYLNA
— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) June 21, 2023
Take a run at Connor Brown: The sparkplug-type winger played just four games last season (for Peter Laviolette) in Washington before a torn ACL, so he has something to prove. And he definitely fills a need on this Rangers roster as a player with skill and some bite. He’ll be in demand, so his price tag may not work, but he’s worth a long look. — Arthur Staple
Acquire a goaltender: Whether it’s via trade or free agency, the Senators need to solidify their goaltending situation ahead of next season. Last summer’s Filip Gustavsson-for-Cam Talbot deal was a disaster, leaving the Senators scrambling for help in their crease while Gustavsson put up Vezina-like numbers for the Wild. Anton Forsberg should be ready to return from a double-knee injury, but he’ll need some veteran help to create a dependable tandem. Maybe Mads Søgaard is ready for that job, but if the Senators want to be patient with the young netminder, they would be well-advised to acquire another goalie this summer. — Ian Mendes
Find Kevin Hayes a new home: Hayes has been a good pro in Philadelphia, playing through multiple injuries and even earning a Masterton Trophy nomination in 2022, finishing second to Carey Price in the final voting. But even though Hayes just finished with his second-highest single-season point total, he just doesn’t fit with the Flyers anymore, both from an age/contract standpoint and in terms of his relationship with head coach John Tortorella. That said, it’s not going to be easy to move Hayes and his $7.14 million cap hit for the next three seasons without some serious retention, meaning GM Daniel Briere is going to have to be creative in order to get anything of value back. — Charlie O’Connor
Today begins my summer Player Review series, which will last all the way into September.
We kick things off with Kevin Hayes, who delivered a bounceback season & proved he’s healthy and can still be effective. So why does a trade seem so likely?https://t.co/opmPZG5Vhk
— Charlie O’Connor (@charlieo_conn) May 25, 2023
Trade for Connor Hellebuyck: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are in their mid-30s. It’s been a half-decade since they’ve played with a dependable goalie. Hellebuyck is better than dependable. The Penguins don’t have much in the way of assets, but it would be worth all of them to land Hellebuyck. They should get involved with Winnipeg trade talks. Another option for a good summer move would be to trade for Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin. The Penguins need someone to play with Letang and have the cap space to make it work. Hanifin is available and a really nice match for Mike Sullivan’s system. — Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe
Trade Erik Karlsson: It’s a realistic possibility and should be the top priority, even if it won’t be an easy trade to make with Karlsson’s no-movement clause and hefty cap hit. While moving him will absolutely impact the Sharks’ on-ice results in 2023-24, the defender’s timeline just doesn’t mesh with the team’s. Even if this is a shorter retooling process for the Sharks, his play will likely decline by the time they’re competitive again. It’s best for GM Mike Grier to sell high — after a Norris-caliber season — and bring back a return that will help move this team forward long-term. — Shayna Goldman
Is an Erik Karlsson trade realistic this summer? And which teams could make sense?
Exploring potential trade destinations with @harmandayal2 https://t.co/kOhgNW7sul
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) June 14, 2023
Make a big swing: The Kraken are already too good to be able to count on finding elite talent in the draft, but while the expansion process can provide for a good team — which Seattle has built — the lesson of the Golden Knights is to keep tinkering and upgrading, with star-level talent as your primary target. Seattle is deep and solid throughout the lineup, but a star-level left-handed defenseman like Noah Hanifin or a star-level scoring forward like Alex DeBrincat would fit the bill this summer. — Thomas Drance
The dominance of MacKinnon, Rantanen and Makar – Colorado’s top-end talent – in this series should be clarifying for the Kraken.
The top-end problem is a challenge in Game 4, but also going forward for Ron Francis and the upstart side in Seattle: https://t.co/ExfJ304HtI
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) April 25, 2023
Trade a top-four defenseman: There’s been a lot of talk about the Blues needing to move Colton Parayko, Torey Krug or Nick Leddy. The blue line was not good last season, and those three struggled the most. But their poor play isn’t the only reason GM Doug Armstrong should try to find a new home for one of them. Consider also that the Blues are in a retool and need to give their young defensemen ice time. It wouldn’t always be pretty, but let’s see what Scott Perunovich, Tyler Tucker, etc., can do. — Jeremy Rutherford
How Blues’ support, and an MMA legend’s book, helped Scott Perunovich’s shoulder recovery. #stlblues https://t.co/AZ0TD46xc6
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) May 12, 2023
Spot more under-the-radar gems — at a discount: A skill of Tampa Bay’s management has been finding the next great depth forward. When players have become cap casualties in the past, the Lightning have found the next version of that player — whether it was an undervalued piece elsewhere or an undrafted forward (think Yanni Gourde). Their organizational strength of player development is a pivotal part of that and has allowed the Lightning to support their expensive core players over the years. Considering their current financial picture, it’s going to be essential this summer again. — Shayna Goldman
With @TBLightning chasing Stanley Cup, they’ve sacrificed prospects and high picks. That makes their development program so essential in extending their window. I spent time in Syracuse this year for an inside look https://t. co/ZpVJxy6t5k
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithNHL) October 4, 2022
Upgrade the No. 2 center spot: John Tavares is still a highly productive NHL player. Look at last season’s production — 36 goals, 80 points — and everything looks fine. And yet, just about half of that production came on the power play. At five-on-five, Tavares has been increasingly overmatched playing center. It wasn’t an accident that in Ryan O’Reilly’s very first game as a Leaf, Tavares moved to the wing. Tavares will be 33 in the fall and belongs on the wing at this point in his career. The Leafs’ challenge is to find someone better than him in that No. 2 spot. It’s not an easy task. Teams clutch those guys closely when they’ve got them. — Jonas Siegel
Maple Leafs roster check: What do they have? What do they need this offseason? https://t.co/SAYdlpxYl7
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) June 13, 2023
Add a top-four defenseman: The Canucks are thin on the blue line beyond Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek. Tyler Myers’ game has declined to the point where they can’t trust him in a top-four role anymore. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who struggled in second-pair minutes last season, has been bought out. Adding a defender — preferably someone with size, legitimate defensive acumen and penalty-killing skills — who can slot into Vancouver’s top four is crucial. — Harman Dayal
Ranking top Canucks trade and UFA targets after the Oliver Ekman-Larsson buyout with @harmandayal2.
via @TheAthleticNHL: https://t.co/MtJdR5ZkuB
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) June 20, 2023
Vegas Golden Knights
Keep the core together: This isn’t a “move” in the traditional sense, but for a team that’s been aggressive in trying to always build the best team possible, standing pat would be a new course. All of the Golden Knights’ core players remain under contract for next season, so they won’t need to make any deals to make this happen. They simply must resist trading any of them away in a cap-shedding maneuver to give them room to work in free agency. There are some candidates for those kinds of moves, like Reilly Smith or Alec Martinez (who carry $5 million cap hits), but based on the togetherness of the dressing room and the results on the ice, the best move Vegas can make this summer is doing nothing. — Jesse Granger
Sign Tom Wilson to an extension: The offseason has just begun, and Wilson’s name has already popped up in trade rumors. The conjecture is understandable; the Caps are expected to retool their roster to some degree and Wilson, who is entering the final year of a contract that averages $5.166 million per season, is the team’s most attractive trade chip. Just one problem: Wilson is viewed internally as an integral part of the team’s future and, hence, should not be not available. The best way to back that up and to squash any further speculation before it becomes a distraction in the coming months? Commit to Wilson this summer. He’s eligible to ink an extension on July 1. — Tarik El-Bashir
Re-sign Vladislav Namestnikov: Namestnikov provided instant chemistry in a variety of roles, particularly as the center on a line with Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers. The Jets have long struggled to find a center who can translate between the chaotic but thoroughly effective game Ehlers plays and the more traditional styles of their other forwards, but Namestnikov can play the game any way you want it. I think he’d be a great partner for Ehlers on a two-year deal. — Murat Ates
Winnipeg’s key considerations as the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade inches nearer with more moves to follow
And an exploration of the multiple options Winnipeg has as it tries to reset its future:https://t.co/WTh0VLgMyr
— Murat Ates (@WPGMurat) June 20, 2023
(Top photo of Anze Kopitar and Connor Hellebuyck: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)
Part 2: ECHL – SportTalk – Blogs
This post was written by Sports.ru user, every fan can start writing (you can do it here).
If you are not familiar with the first issue of the project, you can do it here
The National Hockey League is the main hockey championship in the world and the dream of any professional hockey player. However, the North American hockey world is not limited to the NHL. Thousands of professional players for various reasons do not get to it. So where do they play? This is SportTalk and we present a new project – #Polygam . Let’s talk about the most popular hockey championships in the USA and Canada in addition to the NHL. Last time we discussed in detail the league of farm clubs – AHL . If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out at the top. And today, the third most powerful league in America is next in line – ECHL .
ECHL – East Coast Hockey League or East Coast Hockey League is the third most powerful professional league on the continent. Above it, as you might guess, only the NHL and the AHL.
ECHL is the second and last league in the US after the AHL to have teams affiliated with NHL clubs. This season, only 6 clubs in the strongest league did not have their representation in the ECHL – these are Anaheim, Columbus, Florida, Montreal, Nashville and San Jose.
This season there were still 27 teams in the League: 25 affiliated with NHL clubs and 2 independent teams – these are Greenville Swamp Rabbits from South Carolina and Rapid City Rush from South Dakota. Territorially, the clubs were divided in the same ratio: 25 of them are located in the United States and only 2 in Canada – these are Newfoundland Growlers and Brampton Beast – clubs from the Toronto and Ottawa systems, respectively. But starting next year, the ECHL will be reduced – Manchester Monarchs , one of the farm clubs Los Angeles Kings , will leave the League. Accordingly, the clubs will be divided geographically in a ratio of 24 to 2.
If you remember, in relation to the AHL, we said that teams have rather weak links to the region. Change the name, place and owners there in the order of things. The ECHL is a more conservative League in this regard, but still with its own twists and turns. For example, club “Florida Everblades” . Located in the state of the same name, but the Florida Panthers do not need this club. For 21 years, the Everblades have been an affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, but from next season they will simply take over and become the property of Nashville. Thus, for the first time in history, the Predators will have their own team in the ECHL.
But that’s nothing compared to what the ECHL has done for the 2018-19 season. Then 11 League clubs changed owners at once. Moreover, we should not forget that all this is also happening on the initiative of the big clubs from the NHL and AHL. So, for example, Minnesota simply took and changed its farm club, making the former team independent and signing the club that previously belonged to San Jose. In general, if you delve into such stories, you can find a lot of interesting things.
The ECHL is structurally divided into 2 conferences and 4 divisions. The Western Conference is represented by Central and Mountain Divisions, the Eastern Conference by Northern and Southern . All clubs have played 72 regular season games this season, despite varying numbers of teams in divisions. Inequality will continue to exist. So, 7 clubs will be in the Southern and Mountain divisions, but the Northern and Central divisions will be limited to 6 clubs. In the new season, all ECHL clubs will also play 72 games in the regular season.
But with the playoff system, everything is much simpler. Without any problems, 4 best teams from each division get there and then there is a grid identical to the AHL. The first place of the division plays with the fourth, the second – with the third. The next round is the division finals, then the conference finals and only then the main final. All series are played according to the seven-match system up to 4 wins.
The latest ECHL triumph was the Newfoundland Growers, a Toronto Maple Leafs club. Moreover, the club appeared exactly before this season. The quickest to navigate was Toronto, which threw its former farm club into the hands of Tampa Bay and signed an agreement with a new club created to expand the League. Recall also that their farm club Toronto Marlies, playing in the AHL, took their cup last year, but this season flew off in the Conference final. So the reserve maple leaf teams are still working much better than the main club.
The Alaska Aces, Hampton Rhoads Admirals, and South Carolina Stingrays are the League record holders for trophies. The first year ago they changed their name to the Maine Mariners and moved to Portland, the second actually disappeared in 2000, and the third took the Cup for the last time in 2009.
Speaking of the main trophy, the Kelly Cup is awarded for winning the ECHL. The trophy is named after Patrick Jay Kelly, the League’s first commissioner, and has been awarded since 1997. And it’s funny that 4 copies of this prize are already walking around the clubs’ offices. For example, last year the Colorado Eagles won the Cup and left the ECHL immediately after the victory. Apparently, they considered that it was not necessary to return the Cup, and did not return it! In the end, this year’s winner, the Newfoundland Growlers, received a replica of the prize. By the way, up to 19For 97 years, the winning clubs received the Riley Cup. The prize was named after former AHL President Jack Riley. These are the ups and downs.
The vast majority of ECHL players are low round or never drafted. Of course, the ECHL is much weaker than the AHL in terms of level and it is incredibly difficult to get into the NHL from here. As of the beginning of last season, there were 641 cases where a player played at least 1 game in both the NHL and the ECHL. At the same time, 66 players who had experience playing in the ECHL were included in the starting application lists of NHL clubs. Curiously, goalkeepers show themselves more often than others: Tomas Vokoun, Tim Thomas, Jonathan Quick, Braden Holtby, Manny Legacy, Martin Biron, Jaroslav Galak – they all showed their level in the best league, although they started in the ECHL. But still, objectively speaking, for the vast majority of ECHL players, the ceiling is the AHL, no higher.
But there are very few Russians in the ECHL, and this is understandable. If a player does not make it from the youth leagues to the draft, then you can actually forget about a career abroad. And if running in the AHL still makes sense, then playing in the ECHL is almost non-existent. In total, in the entire history of the League, only 140 Russians have played in it. 140 people in 31 years. There are no statistics for this season yet, but in the past only 8 Russians entered the ECHL grounds. This speaks volumes.
Of course, the ECHL, like everywhere else, has its stars. Another issue is that these stars, with rare exceptions, get a chance to break through higher. For starters, it would be nice to move up to at least the AHL, where the risk of getting bogged down and coming back is incredibly high. Let’s take a look at where the top ECHL scorers of the past five seasons are playing right now. Seasons 14/15, 15/16 and 16/17 – Chad Costello. For 3 seasons in a row, he scored more than 100 points, in total in the League he has almost 500 points, in 2016 and 2017 he was recognized as the MVP of the season. Despite this, he did not receive an offer even from the AHL, where he was last in 2012. As a result, after three fantastic seasons, Costello simply left to play in Germany. Season 17/18 – Sean Zydlowski, aka MVP of the year. He has 80 AHL games to his credit, but all before his best season of his career. Sean spent half of this year in the ECHL, and half in Norway. Season 18/19— Jesse Schultz, he is the most valuable player of the year. He made his debut in the AHL back in 2004, and in 2007 he even played two games for Vancouver in the NHL. And then the wanderings began: Sweden, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary and even England. At the end of his career, Schultz nevertheless returned to the ECHL, where, apparently, he will end his career.
The conclusion is simple – the best in the ECHL are most often players who already have at least some experience in the AHL behind them and realize that here is their ceiling. As you can see, over the past 5 years, none of the best players in the League have been promoted simply because no one offers them one.
Of course, the level of organization in the ECHL is directly proportional to the level of interest in this league. Everything is done at a quite good level: there is an All-Star Game, the Hall of Fame and its own intra-league television – everything is like in any professional League. The arenas are also at the highest level: seven-thousanders are all around here, there are clubs with arenas for even 15 thousand spectators and more. True, this is already a surplus – the average attendance of the Fort Wayne Comets club, which is the best in this indicator, this season was equal to 8 thousand spectators.
Moreover, the ECHL is by no means a cheap league. A ticket for a home game of the same Comets in the central sector of the second tier costs $26. Yes, some clubs charge a price tag even more expensive than in the AHL. However, there is nothing to be surprised. The ECHL is as successful a business as any other professional sports league in North America.
At the same time, ECHL players themselves are by no means rich. The average weekly salary in the league is between $650 and $900. Only a few top players like Chad Costello make over $1,000 a week. So consider – 4 thousand dollars a month for the USA – is that a lot?
Let’s summarize. The ECHL is the second and last professional hockey league in North America that is directly affiliated with the NHL. Almost all clubs have their own vertical: NHL – AHL – ECHL. And if it’s easy to slide from the AHL to the ECHL, then getting back up is not an easy task. There are only a handful of real hockey stars who have left ECHL clubs, and almost all of them are goalkeepers. Field players who got here, perhaps, can forever forget about the NHL. In fact, both the AHL and the ECHL are far from ideal in terms of structure. Something incredible is going on in ECHL. Of course, we understand that these are all business and market mechanisms, but when an NHL club simply takes over and changes a farm club in one summer, how is that? By the way, here is a good example of how the teams from the ECHL have come up against the clubs of the best league.
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SOCHI-201 4. 1/2 finals
In the semi-final of the Olympic hockey tournament in Sochi, Sweden defeated Finland.
WRITE DREAMS, COLOR LIFE
On one of the walls of the Sochi airport either meets or escorts you smiling Pavel Datsyuk. And the signature – “We are together.”
Uh, no, I realized. Nothing, we are not together. Pavel slipped away from correspondents who wanted to see off the national team, and from FHR President Vladislav Tretiak. He would have left the Finns like that. However, Datsyuk did his best at this Olympics completely. It’s a sin to reproach. He was found a day later in Yekaterinburg…
And Zhenya Malkin eluded everyone in the world. Suddenly showing up in a crowd of KHL players. All of us in Sochi were left wondering why the two geniuses, Ovechkin and Malkin, never spoke the same hockey language. Yes, there are rumors that a high, spiritual misunderstanding spilled over into a very simple showdown. However, I do not believe.
Malkin has flown away, leaving a poster on the entire wall of a large house to those who are surviving at the Sochi Olympics: “Write down your dreams, color your life.” And his own portrait – as a recorder and colorist.
Someone follows the call. Ovechkin, for example, writes down dreams – and everyone learns about them through Facebook: “Stop asking me questions about the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I never want to hear about it again! Thank you for your understanding!” Spelling and punctuation preserved.
Someone listened and stopped “giving questions”. Someone responded with a caustic comment.
I’m more interested in something else. I know where Datsyuk is. I guess where Malkin and Ovechkin are. Where and with whom Varlamov. But where is Svitov? Isn’t it time to come to the “Wait for me” program, sit in the studio with a photographic portrait of Alexander – shedding tears? And expect from my good friend Mikhail Efremov: “It was not easy. But we found it!”
Someone moves from the Olympic theme to related ones. Like Tretiak – sparkling eyes at the same airport. He said that our hockey was filled with third-rate foreigners. That is why we occupy such places at the Olympics. And you need a limit.
– It is easier to buy an inexpensive and experienced Finn than to raise your own young one. Where are the young people to go? And 200 people leave every year – some to Belarus, some to America …
– What is the specific limit? – I translated the conversation into a very specific direction.
Tretyak thought – but not for long:
– I’m for three – but good ones! We had a Jagr, two or three more of the same. But the rest are average!
Talk like that, I decided. I remembered a recent conversation with the first man of the St. Petersburg SKA, Gennady Timchenko, just about this. He said that limits are not needed at all. And then Russian hockey will become more interesting. Get away from artificial salaries for the Russians. And next to the Finns, ours, you see, will grow up.
– Why is Timchenko against the limit? – I asked directly.
– This is his opinion. I don’t want to comment now,” Tretyak was a little embarrassed. – But we will cancel the limit – in general we will take 11th place at the Olympics. Some foreigners will play. From whom to form a team? Look, Germany didn’t get to Sochi at all. The strongest will not come to us anyway. They all go to the NHL.
… In Sochi the trees have blossomed with strange yellow flowers. What a strange winter.
By the end of the second week of the Olympiad, I broke down too. He began to read poems to one lady. The very ones that figure skater Marina Anisina remembered by heart, Nikita Dzhigurda embarrassed her with these verses. And he achieved his goal – as the last “Friday Talk” told you about.
I also tried. It took me two lines:
“It’s not important for me to lure you into bed,
I want your consciousness
Spin like God’s merry-go-round…”
The lady, blushing painfully, rushed away. But I didn’t get to the main point.
Hockey in Sochi is over, some correspondents are free. But she remained in Sochi – not wanting to injure her wives with an unexpected arrival. You never know.
Someone went to see the Old Believer cemetery right next to the Olympic torch. But the cemetery was surrounded by a fence and planted with fir trees. Under each sits a responsible person – so that foreign citizens do not film something in a jump. You don’t know what is behind the trees – you won’t guess in life. It’s for the best.
Since the cemetery didn’t work out, someone hires a “bomb” and goes straight to Abkhazia. Well, right here. Right over the mountain. Someone masters “Swallow” and goes to Sochi to watch the Winter Theater. He’s beautiful, they say.
Colleague Sergei Kivrin, a great photographer, to understand what the Olympics are, suggested watching an ancient documentary film “Catchers of Moments” with his own participation. He tells in it how he loses 12 kilograms for the Olympics with his volleyball thinness. As fainted in the Olympic Barcelona. And the guard, who offered to go around, simply hung his 30-kilogram bag with equipment on his shoulder. He bent over – and had no more questions …
I have my own examples – what is the Olympics. No less picturesque. I can talk about fainting at the level of Kivrin.
Our Ekaterininsky quarter was not the sleepiest place on the coast before – but now it has stopped sleeping at all. Exploding screams in the middle of the night – it means that ours took another medal.
Someone who is unable to sleep at night, and lies down during the day on a sofa near the “SE” office. Citizens of the Eastern type prevail among the dormant ones.
Most of all, I was afraid that the “Big” at the semi-finals of the Olympics would not remain empty. So that our compatriots do not judge, like the great biathlete Alexander Tikhonov:
– That’s it, hockey is over for me here. Don’t even call.
Moreover, tickets for a worthless match between ours and the Norwegians cost money, which is embarrassing to call. I think the Olympic semi-final was rated about the same.
20 minutes before the match, it seemed that it would be so. They won’t come. Pull up people in the form of the Russian national team and the name “Hetanen” on the back. Ville Haapasalo appeared and said the best about the match between Finland and Russia: “The Finns played as they always do. Remembering “Jokerit” and the young Jari Kurri, who was pulled into the people by Boris Alexandrovich. Having recovered from a cold, Mayorov now refuses no one. Ask – we answer.
SEE THE OLD MAN
The match against Russia was supposed to be a farewell match for 43-year-old Selanne. What Teemu good-naturedly reported in the mixed zone. Wondering – how did it happen?
The emaciated Selanne looks like Kashchei. It comes out in streams of sweat already in the corridor, before reaching the ice. And ours didn’t even manage to see the old man off.
Erkka Westerlund was also surprised, squinting at the Swedish top five. Which from the very first second played so confidently that it was not easy to imagine in a match with these yellow of ours. Somehow it didn’t seem like it.
But the Finns did a lot of work on their mistakes. The Westerlund team was not at all like those Finns who had fun in the group. Passing four goals from Austria.
“Big” somehow filled up. Fans saw Kronwall almost score. But Lehtonen, who for some reason replaced Rusk in the Finnish goal, did not have to bail out. The Finns, as in the match with Russia, took the puck on themselves, and continued here. Some kind of system was seen in this.
The Finns have the same leapfrog with goalkeepers that we had. One plays, then the other. Do they know what words Tretyak used to describe Rask yesterday?
However, it turned out right away that Rask caught a cold. Something froze himself in the game with Russia. Dropped infrequently.
I was rooting for Komarov, who ran away from the center of the site one on one. Ran well, threw – so-so. I saw throws more interesting. The puck bounced off the goalkeeper’s trap – one of the Swedes, like a tennis racket, carried it away from the gate. I was rooting for judge Olenin – so as not to mess up in the Olympic semi-finals.
By the middle of the period from hockey, like a vise, I felt sad. I turned to the next podium. Previously, Andrey Malakhov, Ivan Urgant and Denis Matsuev were sitting here. But now the audience has gathered easier. Not a single familiar face.
But a strange man with a screwdriver showed up at the press box. Which began to poke into sockets. It seemed to be Russian roulette. It got a little more fun. Yes, someone from the Swedes dispersed the melancholy. He launched the puck into the shop, almost crippling half the team of his own. A second later, Kronwall gave Selanne a little nudge, and he doesn’t need much, he’s leaning in the wind. As if for a pension wandered into the ice. If I were Olenin, I would have ignored Selanne’s fall. But the Swedes are so strong at this Olympics that the three of us can easily cope. The puck did not reach Lundqvist.
It was impossible to be mistaken in one thing: where is the most ruby, where the Swedes are not hurt, but offended – there in the very center of Komarov. The most charming provocateur in the world.
– We will win at the expense of the team, – the same Haapasalo, who had time everywhere, reported from the big screen during the break.
They introduced him to the whole palace as a fan of the Swedish national team – Ville almost sat on the floor from laughter:
– Let’s all shout Suomi, Suomi together?! Begin! Suomi!
“Big” started up. Shouted when asked. The Swedes in the locker room, I think, looked at each other.
The Finns seemed like a more interesting team. They have at least some zest, while the Swedes have blunt power. They break so that the sides crack. Most played out, so reveling in the process that they did not even quit. This is superfluous, this is a challenge to society. It would be more interesting for me personally to watch the Finns in the final. There is a chance to see hockey that you will not forget a minute after the siren.
The puck in the Swedish gate was such that it reflected this game best of all. Jokkinen barely had time for a pass, he did not leave the gate. Threw from zero angle. How did she slip under the goalkeeper?
I don’t know the judge was looking for a couple of minutes on the monitor. One show was enough for the whole palace. Here is the line, here is the grid. And here is the goal.
It appeared that Selanne was having another farewell match. A man by the name of Eriksson, who drove the puck into an empty corner, took pity on the veteran. However, Selanne was not happy with such mercy. He looked at the author of the goal with reproach. As if whispering to himself: “Having the surname Eriksson in Sweden is like not having any.”
“If you don’t like Ericsson, get it from Karlsson,” the Swedes replied. He hammered the puck from a distance into the very gates that Kovalchuk had hit recently.
AS FOX ON “ASTORIA”
Something cracked in the Finns’ game. Westerlund walked along the side like Fox on the Astoria. Evil squinted. I fixed my hair. And just like that, I guessed something bad.
At the beginning of the third period, the stands were wound up for half a minute: “Ro-si-ya, Ros-si-ya!” – and Westerlund got a little better. But not for long: the Swedes both pressed and continued. Missing such a team could only happen by chance. And Aaltonen, to top it off, went to the locker room. Something breaking or stretching in a fragile body. Lundqvist was not going to miss – and Leo Komarov tried to physically remove such an obstacle. But it did not bring happiness or goals to the Finns.
Huge respect to the Swedes for such bulletproof hockey. To each of the Ericssons and Karlssons. I can’t imagine how this team can be beaten. But rooting for her in the final is beyond my strength.