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Then and Now: Nolan Baumgartner

After the New York Islanders picked Brett Lindros ninth overall in the 1994 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals selected defenseman Nolan Baumgartner. The four players picked after the Canadian d-man were former San Jose Shark and New Jersey Devil Jeff Friesen, Wade Belak, Mattias Ohlund, and Ethan Moreau. All four of those players turned out to play more seasons in the NHL than Baumgartner, who totaled 10 years at hockey’s highest level. Baumgartner suited up for the Caps, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, and the Pittsburgh Penguins before he became a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2006. The blue liner signed …

Thoughts on the preseason opener, brotherhood

As the Philadelphia Flyers began their 2011-12 preseason on Tuesday night with a 4-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, it got me thinking about the close-knit nature of the sport in direct contrast to its international reach. Despite a pool of talent now stretching from Kelowna to Kazakhstan, some things never change. Skating for the Flyers, Blake Kessel and Brayden Schenn. Skating for the Leafs, Phil Kessel and Luke Schenn. Thus, a rivalry was born. Or is it? When I started watching the NHL, back in 1985, its population was almost totally homogeneous: White North Americans made up roughly 95 percent …