Saturday, October 31, 2015

Statisfaction: Five on the Fly

Every day, TSP will break down five random stats that might be of interest to you. Here's today's stipend:

1. 19-year-old center Jared McCann leads the NHL in goals per 60 mins (at least 80 mins played, even strength) with 3.16. The Canucks' pivot is the only player currently averaging above three. (courtesy: War-on-Ice)

More on Jared McCann from the Vancouver Sun Here

2. Calgary is a -21 even strength. That is worst in the NHL and not even close to the second worst team (Columbus, minus-13). Here are the five worst teams (credit: war on ice)

3. Tuuka Rask has a .889 save percentage, which puts him at 33rd in the NHL. The 28-year-old Fin has never finished a full season below .918. Still, the Bruins are 5-3-1 (Rask is 3-3-1) and they've somehow survived their first nine games quite well.

4. Matt Martin, once again, is leading the NHL in hits. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. Martin has led the NHL in hits for the last four years. Martin has 51 this year in ten games, to go with a goal and two assists. The NHL hasn't been keeping hits stats for that long, but since they have, nobody has registered more than Martin's 382 in 2014-2015. He's on pace to top that this season.

5. Some random but important faceoff stats: Derrick Brassard is leading the NHL in defensive faceoffs won. Joe Pavelski has won 13 of 15 offensive zone faceoffs while on the power play. Paul Gaustad of Nashville has won 22 of 33 defensive zone faceoffs while shorthanded. Source:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Watch: Connor McDavid Outsmarts P.K. Subban to Spring Pouliot for Game-Tying Goal

You can teach a lot of stuff to young hockey players, but there are some things that players just have to get. Connor McDavid, clearly, gets it. Watch as the 18-year-old uses his body to create the perfect positioning on P.K. Subban along the wall as a drifting puck is wheeled towards him. Reading the play, he slowly drifts behind Subban and when the puck shoots in his direction he's ready to apply the necessary leverage to ward Subban off and allow the puck to roll through. Then he turns, gently slides it over to a racing Benoit Pouliot, and the rest is history.

McDavid has two assists tonight vs. Montreal, and the rookie has now notched points in seven consecutive games.

Watch: Tarasenko Hit Awkardly by Horcoff, Goes Down

Blues' star center Vladimir Tarasenko was the victim of a questionable hit late in the second period against the Ducks on Thursday. Watch as No. 91 slides the puck up the near side before getting tagged awkwardly by Horcoff. It appears that the hit is a little late, and it also appears that Horcoff gets him high and also with his right knee.

For more on the supposed legality or illegality of the hit, go here

Tarasenko would go to the dressing room, missing a few shifts, but he was back in action for the third stanza. Twenty seconds after the hit, the Blues' Steve Ott came to blows with Corey Perry. Here's that snippet for those who enjoy their fisticuffs.

The Blues got the win, 2-1, and Tarasenko finished with a goal (his 6th) in 18:01 of ice time.

Penguin Fan Steals Puck from Kid in Pittsburgh

Penguins fans are just plain mean. Check out this guy swerving in on a kid who is about to catch a puck that is thrown to him by Sabres' coach Dan Bylsma. The guy appears to be smiling, Grinch-like, as he puts it in his pocket. We didn't stay with the broadcast so we don't know if this guy was actually joking, but either way it's just plain nasty.

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This crusty old man spoiled that kid's night, and Pittsburgh spoiled Dan Bylsma's return to Pittsburgh by defeating Buffalo, 4-3.

Update: On Twitter they're saying the Pens did the kid a solid and got him a puck AND a jersey. Would have been nice if they chucked the Grinch out of the building to boot...

Hanifan: I Know I can Play at this Level

Carolina's 18-year-old defender Noah Hanifan is no longer one of several rookies waiting to know what his future holds this year. With eight games under his belt, Carolina brass have decided that Hanifan's services are valuable enough for them to burn the first year on his entry-level contract.

Perhaps in a move to buy a little time, the Hurricanes sat Hanifan on Tuesday night, allowing the youngster to take in a game from the pressbox as well as meet with NHL commish Gary Bettman. Apparently, they've made up their mind and Hanifan will be back in the lineup tonight against the Islanders in Brooklyn. Here's a tweet from NHL staff writer Mike Morreale

By all accounts, Hanifan has been solid at the NHL level in his first eight games. The Boston native has averaged 16:57 a game (7th among rookie defenseman) putting up two assists and 10 shots while going a minus-3.

Hanifan, a 6'3, 205-lb, left-handed d-man, says he's ready to play with the big boys. He made his case recently:

"I can only speak for myself, but I know I can play at this level and now I'm experiencing it," Hanifin said. "There are some things I still need to work on and that's going to happen. I know I'll make mistakes throughout the year because that's how it is, since it's such a hard League. But I know I can keep up with the speed and physicality of the game."

He added: "When I have the puck, I feel pretty confident out there."

'Canes star center Eric Staal gave him his own personal endorsement as well:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Montreal Win Streak Bites the Dust in Vancouver

The Montreal Canadiens bid to tie the NHL record for consecutive wins to start a season has fallen short by one.

By the time Ryan Miller pulled the above highway robbery in the second period on David Desharnais (see video above), it was becoming apparent that it wouldn't be Les Habitants night in Vancouver Tuesday night. In the end, the Canucks ended Montreal's brilliant start to the season by snapping their own run of futility at home. Vancouver avoided notching the franchise's longest home losing streak to start a season by winning for the first time in six home games, 5-1, behind a pair of goals by Jared McCann and 26 saves from Ryan Miller.

Though the Canadiens didn't match the NHL record for most consecutive wins to start a season, they will come away with the most consecutive wins in regulation (9)--something that the '93-94 Leafs and the '06-'07 Sabres didn't do when they each reeled off ten consecutive wins to start seasons. The '93-94 Leafs needed OT in their 8th game, and the '06-07 Sabres won in shootouts in three of their first four games.

After the game, Montreal players showed little disappointment in not reaching the record. And why should they? Both the '93-94 Leafs and the '06-'07 Sabres ended up falling in the Conference Finals in the years that they pulled of their ten-game streaks--surely Montreal has higher hopes for itself, and realizes that the first ten games of the season have little impact on what happens in April, May and June.

"Other people talked about it, we didn't," Habs captain Max Pacioretty said of the streak. "We've gotten off to a great start this year. We're not happy. You're only as good as your last game, and we weren't very good tonight."

"Yeah I think this is maybe what we needed," quipped Montreal winger Brendan Gallagher. "Everyone was telling us how good we are. Maybe we have to understand that it's still gonna take work. It's still a process, you have to stick with it and continue to get better. We took a step back tonight but that doesn't mean we'll have any trouble refocussing and getting ready for the next one."

Montreal will head to Edmonton to play the 3-7 Oilers on Thursday. They still lead the NHL in wins, points, goals for and goal differential, and they've still yet to lose at home. There's a lot to like about what Montreal has done in the first ten games. The challenge will be to continue to improve, as Gallagher said, and to find away to be a better team than they are now come playoffs. If they can do that, watch out NHL.

First: Darnell Nurse Scores his First NHL Goal

Darnell Nurse is averaging a goal a game this season. Well, sure, he's only played one game, but you can't deny that the 20-year-old didn't turn a few heads with the above laser that he launched past Wild' goalie Devan Dubnyk. At the conclusion of a beautiful end-to-end rush Darnell snaps off an absolute bomb that Dubnyk never saw. Darnell's shot had so much juice on it that it was hard to tell without the benefit of slo-mo replay where the shot went or if it really was a goal.

Also See: Dumba Levels Korpikoski with Questinable Hit

“Special feeling to score in this league, something you dream of as a kid,” Darnell said after the game. “I got it off quick and it got into the right spot.”

Nurse's goal put the Oilers ahead 3-2, but they could not hold on to the lead and fell to 3-7 with the 4-3 loss to the Wild.

Dumba Levels Korpikoski with Questionable Hit

Wild defenseman Matt Dumba connects on a big hit on Oilers' left winger Lauri Korpikoski (video above), and while it looks like Dumba's intentions are to make a clean shoulder-to-shoulder strike, its clear that he angles in around Korpikoski's head when he lands his hit. Dumba doesn't leave his feet, and Korpikoski's in a hunched stride as he gathers the puck, so it's hard to fault Dumba here.

That said, he chose to make an open ice check, and when it was all said and done he got the head. We know how the NHL feels about protecting its player's noggins.

According to Wild beat writer Mike Russo, NHL officials are reviewing the hit and they are leaning towards ruling it clean. Here's what Russo wrote in his blog:

There was head contact by Dumba’s shoulder, but the NHL Department of Player Safety examined the video to see if the principle point of contact was the head.The initial belief is the league felt the hit was clean and Dumba won’t be disciplined Wednesday. Regardless, Dumba was not penalized but Eric Gryba was for retaliating.

Johnson's OT Glove Love Paves the Way for Sabres' Win in Philly

Sweetness. Glory. And the GLOVE. Watch below as Buffalo's Chad Johnson makes a game-saving waffle-glove save to keep the Sabres alive in their Tuesday battle vs. the Flyers.

Here's another look:

About 40 seconds later, Zemgus Girgensons broke in alone and fired the game winner past Steve Mason. Can the assist go to Johnson?

Krejci Atop NHL Points List

The Bruins got their first home win on Tuesday, as they hammered the Arizona Coyotes, 6-0. It also appears they've got the big-time scorer they've coveted since the departure of Tyler Seguin--and he's been with them all along. David Krejci has matched last season's point total in eight games (he played only 47 games last season), has registered a point in every game this season and he's on pace to shatter his previous best point total by about 70 points this season.

Yeah, we know--it's early. But still, Krejci has been awesome this year and that's worth noting. What's also worth noting is the way the 29-year-old has downplayed his point grab and stressed team-building and winning over everything else.

"It’s not my goal to be on top [in points]," Krejci told reporters earlier this week. "I don’t even want to be the leading scorer, to be honest. I just want to win games with my team."

He added: "It’s always fun to come back next day at practice, it’s a good atmosphere and everybody is happy. That makes the job so much easier. As long as we keep winning that’s all that matters. It’s just numbers, and it’s just stats. Too many people just look at the stats. At the end of the day, if we win the game … if we win the Cup … who cares?"

Sounds good to us, but so does 140 points, which is Krejci's current pace.

B's bench boss Claude Julien doesn't seem to mind the fact that Krejci is scoring on droves, either. "He's off to a good start," Julien said. "It's all about confidence in this league and he's gotten off to a good start. He's feeling good about his game. He's very healthy, as you can see. That makes a big difference. It's nice to have him back."

Three NHL Players Have More Goals than the Ducks' Entire Team

Congrats to Jamie Benn. Not only do you lead the NHL in goals on Oct. 27, you also have more than the entire Anaheim Ducks Roster!

How long will this madness persist? The Ducks have been shut out five times in eight games, placing them in a pretty exclusive club:

According to Adam Gretz of Eye on Hockey:

They are the first team since the 1930-31 New York Americans to be shut out in five of their first eight games, and are one of just four teams in NHL history to fail to score more than six goals in their first eight games of a season.

The rest of the list:

1927-28 Pittsburgh Pirates: Four goals in first eight games

1928-29 Pittsburgh Pirates: Four goals in first eight games

1930-31 New York Americans: Six goals in first eight games

2015-16 Anaheim Ducks: Six goals in first eight games

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Watch: Connor McDavid is Awesome, but Jonathan Quick is More Awesome

Connor McDavid is awesome, and the hockey world has been made aware of that pretty much every time he's taken the ice for Edmonton this year, but let's not forget that Jonathan Quick is pretty damn good, too. Not only does he rob McDavid of a game-tying goal in the waning seconds with this glove save, he does it in such a stealth manner that video replay has no idea where the puck even is once he traps it. Good luck figuring out if McDavid actually scored on this play, because there is simply no way anyone will ever know.

Here's a look at the whole play. It looks like a goal for sure, but you know what? It also looks like the save of the year!

Kings win, 3-2, for their fifth in a row. And yes, McDavid is still awesome.

Watch: Jason Zucker Scores the Fastest Goal to Open Game in Wild History

Is this not the stuff of hockey dreams? Watch as Jason Zucker lingers at the red line for about three seconds after the opening face-off, then, as the puck squirts out to him, proves that was indeed ready to play. First the speedy winger turns on the jets (yes, against the Jets -- ha ha!), then he undresses defender Jacob Trouba, sliding the puck through his legs and emerging unscathed to light the lamp with a twisted wrister, glove side.


Zucker's work of art now stands as the fastest Wild goal to start a game in franchise history. The light came on at :10, which is two seconds faster than Justin Fontaine's previously held record.

Unfortunately for Minnesota the game would be tied 72 seconds later, and Winnipeg would score the next four goals to build a 5-1 lead before hanging on to win 5-4.

Best Hockey Halloween Costume Ever?

T.J. Oshie and his wife stepped out in style for a Haloween party this weekend. Well, T.J. didn't step, he sort of crawled--but you get the gist. We're giving Oshie and his wife best hockey Halloween costume ever because we like how they've flirted with role play, submissive/dominant sexual politics and pet dander issues all in one costume.

Taking my pup for a stroll before the party😂 😜🎃👻

A photo posted by Lauren Oshie (@loshie17) on

Also in attendance at the Washington Capitals annual Halloween party was this freak of nature (and his lovely girlfriend Nastya Shubskaya). Yep, that's Alexander Ovechkin as Batman.

And then there were these two birdbrains, Tom Wilson and Michael Latta, doing the Castaway thing (we're told).

Bad News: Panthers' Barkov to Miss Time with Broken Hand

Blossoming Florida Panthers' center Aleksander Barkov has a broken hand and will be out indefinitely, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Barkov sustained the injury when he was hit in the hand by a puck during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. He was held out of Saturday's 6-2 win over Dallas. The second overall pick from Finland already had three goals and three assists in seven games while playing between Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau this season.

Tortorella is Happy for His Boys, as 'Jackets end Woeful Slide

The Columbus Blue Jackets finally ended their losing ways with a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night at the Pepsi Center and it was coach John Tortorella's old friend Brandon Dubinsky who carried Columbus to the win, scoring the game winner at 6:43 of the third.

Also See: Richards out, Torts in, as Blue Jackets Look to Save Season “If there is one guy I’m familiar with, it’s him,” said Tortorella, according to BlueJacketsXtra. “He’s just a competitor. He just does all the things." He added: “He may do some stupid things along the way, but it’s always through effort. He was huge at the end, with the faceoffs, the blocked shots. I’m happy for him. He wanted to win this. He wanted to will it. He found a way.”

Columbus can now settle into some semblance of normalcy, with the 20,000 piano finally of their collective back.

“We celebrate it,” Dubinsky said, according to Shawn Mitchell of BlueJackets Xtra. “It’s been a long while since we’ve e had this type of feeling in this dressing room. We’ll enjoy tonight, understanding that we’ve got to get to work and that this is the type of effort that we need to win in this league.”

Columbus has had its share of struggles this year, but they've avoided becoming the second NHL season to open a season with more than eight consecutive losses. The longest losing streak to start a season in history was held by the 1943-44 New York Rangers, who lost 11 in a row.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Big Hit: Ott Plows Grabovski into Boards

Steve Ott likes to get under the skin of his opponents. And he also likes to mash them into the wall as if they were a hunk of parboiled Yukon Gold potatoes. The rugged center from Prince Edward Island kills two birds with one stone on this play as he sends Isles' winger Mikhail Grabovski flying, hence placing himself under the skin of the Islanders bench.

Needs to be said: This was a beautiful, well-timed open-ice body check. Thumbs up, Steve.

Robert Bortuzzo Robs John Tavares of Goal in St. Louis

Robert Bortuzzo of the St. Louis Blues is a solid defenseman. He's also a solid goalie. At least he is tonight. Watch as the Blues' blueliner reaches out the left arm to make a no-look save on John Tavares who was looking at a wide-open cage for a power-play goal. The look of disgust on Tavares' face says it all.

Tavares let that anger seeth for a few minutes then he got back on the ice and rifled a wrister for his 5th of the season to make it 2-0. Scorers gonna score, right?

College Puck: Northeastern's Ryan Ruck Uses the *Other* Glove for Miracle Save vs. Gophers

Nothing like a little bit of improvisation between the pipes. During Northeastern's 4-0 blanking at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday at Mariucci Arena, Huskies netminder Ryan Ruck (rhymes with "stop the puck"), absolutely robs Minnesota's Justin Kloos by dropping his stick and diving for a blocker glove save. This is just absolutely sick--and dangerous (not a lot of padding on the inside of a blocker glove, and, last we checked vulcanized rubber pucks are pretty hard).

Highway Robbery: Anderson Gets Dumba with Paddle

The hockey gods giveth, and the hockey gods taketh away. Just ask Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild, as he found himself on with a golden opportunity for his second goal of the year (and game) after this low-hanging fruit of a rebound came right to him on the doorstep late in the first period vs. Anaheim. It's the type of chance that most defensemen would give their left and right arms for, but alas it wasn't meant to be. Enter Ducks' backstop Frederik Andersen to commit the larceny with the paddle. Incredible save, but the Ducks still find themselves in an 0-2 hole vs. Minnesota late in the second.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Stars' Jason Demers Suspended Two Games for Elbow to Bonino

The NHL moved swiftly to suspend Jason Demers less than 24 hours after his elbow to the head knocked Nick Bonino out of the game and resulted in a five-minute major and a match penalty.

In its explanation the league points out that while Demers may have intended to "counter" a body check by Bonino on the play, he used his elbow recklessly and with great force. He throws an elbow "in a way that cannot be considered reflexive or defensive."

"His attempt at a counter-hit is badly mistimed," the league says, "leading to a reckless and forceful elbow to the face of Bonino."

It is Demers first suspension in his seven-year NHL career.

Video: Isles' Cizikas is Mr. Nice Guy

First Casey Cizikas did this (see above). Then he did this (see below). Who says nice guys finish last?

Unfortunately for Cizikas, his Islanders couldn't hold off the Bruins, who scored four unanswered goals to take a 5-2 lead and ended up defeating New York in Brooklyn, 5-3.

At 8-0-0, Les Canadiens Are Three Games from Best Start in NHL History

As you can see above, things are going well for the Montreal Canadiens. Tonight they didn't need the puck luck--they hammered Buffalo, 7-2--but it was there for them anyway on this miraculous play by Alexei Emelin.

The skill was also there, and when we talk skill we must give a nod to 36-year-old Russian defenseman Andrei Markov, who tallied his 500th point on Friday, which joins him with Canadiens' legends Larry Robinson (883)and Guy Lapointe (572). Markov, who has been with the Canadiens for 15 years, notched five points for the first time in his career, racking them up on each of Montreal's final five goals.

As far as team accolades go, the Habs are racking those up as well. They've won five consecutive road games to start a season for the first time in franchise history, and they've started a season 8-0-0 for the first time in franchise history.

The Canadiens broke open a 2-2 tie with five unanswered goals to roll to victory behind backup goalie Mike Condon, Markov's five points and a pair of markers apiece from Dale Weise and Brendan Gallagher.

The Canadiens will roll back to the Molson Centre to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. If that goes as expected, they'll be off to Vancouver for a shot at tying the all-time record of ten wins to start a season with a tilt against the Canucks. If that goes their way, it will be Edmonton next Thursday for No. 11.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Austin Watson Decks Ryan Getzlaf with Thunderous Check

Oh, mercy was this a massive body blow by Austin Watson of the Predators on Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks. I mean, just look at the way that Getzlaf is sent sprawling after contact--it's like he's been unleashed from a pressure vacuum into wind tunnell, twisting out of control, without his flesh and bones. Watson, a 23-year-old left wing from Ann Arbor, Michigan, has played most of the last three seasons with Milwaukee of the AHL. If he keeps making hits like this he may stay in Nashville for a bit longer.

Here's a nice slo-mo GIF of the hit:

Jason Demers Gets Tossed for Vicious Elbow on Nick Bonino

Stars' d-man Jason Demers got booted for what looked to be an ugly, malicious hit on Penguins' center Nick Bonino. Check the video above to form your own take on the play.

Here's what Demers had to say about it:

"I just mistimed it. I hope he's all right," Demers said, according to the Mike Heika of the Dallas News. "I just tried to counter-hit, and it was a little bit too early. It wasn't malicious."

Stars' coach Lindy Ruff, naturally, echoed Demers' sentiments.

"The Demers play was just reaction to getting hit," Ruff said. "I didn't find anything bad about it."

Dallas won the game, 4-1, to improve to 6-1-0.

Prospect Alex Nylander Scores Amazing No-Look Goal in OHL

17-year-old Alex Nylander, son of NHL great Michael, has been turning heads in his first season with the OHL's Mississauga Steelheads this season.

More: Dorsett Crashes Crease and Delivers Blow to Holtby's Head

Nylander already has 16 points in 11 games for the 2nd place Steelheads, but none, surely, are sweeter than this behind-the-back no-look goal that he places top shelf over Ottawa 67's goalie Leo Lazarev during Mississauga's 5-2 win.

Poor Lazarev probably never knew it was coming.

Neither did the commentators on the call: "Nylander behind the net... and it's in." Yep, sure is.

Video: Canucks' Dorsett Rattles Holtby's Cage with Shoulder to Head

It happened so fast that it was hard to tell exactly why Capitals' goalie Braden Holtby's helmet fell off. Holtby has lost his helmet on a few other occasions this season (including this much-publicized play), and when the loss of his helmet caused a stoppage in play in the waning minutes on Thursday at GM Place, fans booed, thinking it was a ploy to delay play, and broadcasters moaned that goalies need to start wearing chinstraps.

Then we got this slo-mo replay from the perfect angle. What really happened is Derek Dorsett gave Holtby a nice square shoulder to the head. Maybe Dorsett didn't mean it. Maybe he did. We'll never know. Either way, the NHL should take a look at this play.

Holtby, seeing stars, would finish off the game, won by Washington, 3-2.

Video: Stephen Gionta Gets Major for Nasty Spear on Mark Borowiecki

This ugly spear got Stephen Gointa tossed out of the game and handed Ottawa a 5-minute power play during the third period of the Devils' 5-4 shootout win in Ottawa. A reaction to the crosscheck he received from Mark Borowiecki might have been warranted, but Gionta's specific reaction was way out of line. The Sens would score on the ensuing power play to take a 3-2 lead early in the third, then build it up to 4-2 before letting the Devils score two late ones to force OT.

In the shootout, New Jersey got the W, which kept the Senators winless at home and got New Jersey to .500 at 3-3-1.

As for Gionta, he's probably looking at a suspension, and rightfully so. That said, at least he did show some remorse after the game according to Devils' beat writer Tom Gulitti:

Watch: Lundqvist Makes Sick Diving Save on Duclair

With the New York Rangers protecting a 3-1 lead in the third period, Henrik Lundqvist snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on this incredible play, denying rookie (and former Ranger first-rounder) Anthony Duclair what would have been his 6th goal of this young season.

It also would have pulled the Coyotes within a goal, but it wasn't meant to be for Arizona, who went on to lose 4-1. Ridiculous effort by Lundqvist to make up for his own turnover (pretty nice theft by Max Domi--happened so fast it's barely noticeable).

Love Sam Rosen's call on the replay: "HE STOPPED THE DUKE!"

Here's another live look:

Which Sedin Twin is Smartest?

Sedin brothers go head-to-head - ESPN Video

Based on this video, results are inconclusive. But I now know that I am PRETTY DAMN DUMB! Next question, please!

Jaromir Jagr Is Blown Away by Connor McDavid's Latest Goal, Too

Jaromir Jagr is funny. We all know that. But in this case, he's serious, too. Nice reaction to Connor McDavid's undressing of Red Wings' Goalie Petr Mrazek. It's pretty much what everybody else was doing as well. ICYMI, See the play here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Watch: John-Michael Liles Takes Igninla's Skate to Face

This is not pretty, but it could have been way worse. Watch as John-Michael Liles takes Jarome Iginla's skate to the face after the pair collide along the boards during the second period of the Hurricanes' battle with the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Liles didn't appear to be bleeding after the play, and word from the Carolina locker room was that he was deemed fit to return.

Zac Rinaldo Ejected after Hammering Sean Couturier

Bruins' center Zac Rinaldo could be in some trouble after this spine-warping hit on Flyers' Sean Couturier at the conclusion of the first period during the Flyers' 5-4 OT win in Boston.

Rinaldo got a 5-minute major for charging and a game misconduct for the hit.

Couturier did not return, and rumor has it that the NHL is already reviewing Rinaldo's hit.

McDavid Displays Hockey IQ, World-Class Chops on 4th Career Goal

Connor McDavid is looking more and more like the complete package as the first month of his first season reaches the mid point. The 18-year-old displayed his ability to make intelligent, veteran-like plays without the puck on this gorgeous goal, and it was pointed out nicely by Oilers' color man Drew Remenda. Watch as Mcdavid jostles for position as he approached the blueline. He stays onside and gives himself plenty of open ice to deal with as he then gains the line, dusts Brad Richards and moves in to receive the pass from Benoit Pouliot.

After that, the rest is slick-wristed history. Sick move, sick goal, and the Oilers are looking like a team on the rise (at least for now).

Note: It was McDavid's first goal on home ice.

Blues' Stastny out at Least Five Weeks with Broken Foot

The St. Louis Blues got a dose of bad injury news, as they learned they'll be without 29-year-old center Paul Stastny for at least five weeks due to a broken right foot.

The Quebec City native had five points in his first give games before injuring the foot in the Blues' 4-3 win in Vancouver on October 16.

Stastny, who owns 177 career goals including 16 in his first full campaign with St. Louis last season, will be re-evaluated in five week's time.

NWHL's Hilary Knight Shows Off Mad Skillz in GoPro Video

If you were looking for a favorite NWHL player and weren't quite sure who to pick, Hilary Knight makes a strong case for herself in this aweseme GoPro video, released today.

Not only is the woman supremely talented, she also has a buoyant--and fierce--personality, and she's not shy about delivering the message that we've come to know from our WTA stars: STRONG IS BEAUTIFUL.

Find out more about Hilary Knight on her homepage here.

Or check out her profile on the Boston Pride's homepage here.

Uncharted Waters for Montreal, as Winning Streak Hits Seven

After last night's 3-0 blanking of the Blues, the Montreal Canadiens are now one of just six NHL teams to have started a campaign with seven consecutive wins, all in regulation, and the first in 21 years.

Of the previous five teams to win their first seven without a blemish, only the '75-76 Sabres took the next step. Buffalo won its eigth game in succession before falling to Toronto in the next game. They would go on to lose in the second round of the playoffs to the Islandes.

None of the previous five teams to start a season went on the win a Stanley Cup.

The '93-94 Leafs won their eighth game in a row, but needed overtime to do it. They would go on to set the record for most consecutive wins to start an NHL season with ten (they lost to the Canadiens in their 11th game). Buffalo tied that record in 2006-2007.

In their next four games Montreal will face only one team with a .500 record. Here are their next four games:

Friday, Oct 23 @ Buffalo Saturday, Oct 24 Toronto Tuesday, Oct 27 @ Vancouver Thursday, Oct 29 @ Edmonton

Richards out, Torts in as Columbus Looks to Save Season

Columbus Blue Jackets' brass acted swiftly after the team dropped its first seven games of the 2015-2016 NHL season. Todd Richards was fired today and will be replaced by John Tortorella.

If Tortorella succeeds, it won't be the first time he's taken a team from the bottom of the league to elite. He took over for a beleagured and hapless Tampa Bay Lightning squad in 2000-2001 and in his third full season guided that team to its first and only Stanley Cup. With 446 wins, Tortorella has the most among American-born NHL coaches. He has also done stints with the Rangers and the Canucks.

Tortorella signed a three-year contract to take him through the 2017-18 season with the 'Jackets.

"We want to pursue," Tortorella said, of his new squad, which has allowed a league-high 34 goals in its first seven games. "We want to be aggressive. We want to go north-south and play very quickly."

While Todd Richards is taking the fall, many believe that goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is the biggest problem in Columbus. The once stellar netminder has been off his game and has made no secret of his current lack of confidence.

Tortorella knows that whatever the big issues, he doesn't need to completely rewrite the script for this talented team. "It's not reinventing the wheel," Tortorella said. "I'm not trying to do that. We just want to get back to who we are."

Tortorella already appears eager to reconnect and try to repair some player-coach relationships that were strained in the past. Most notably with center Brandon Dubinsky. The 29-year-old Alaska native was a key player unter Tortorella in New York, and the coach hopes to lean on Dubinsky despite the fact that there relationship was often hit-and-miss in New York.

"In New York we spent a lot of time together," said Tortorella of his former player. "We went through the process together, him and I. Some good things some bad things."

He added: "I need to lean on [Dubinsky]. He's part of that heartbeat of the club and he needs to be a conduit for the coaching staff and the players until I get to know the other guys also. He's an important man, as far as I'm concerned... I think he can explain some of how we go about it, how I've gone about this as a coach."

As far as confidence goes, Tortorella knows there's a challenge that lies ahead. "It's hard to reach in your pocket and say here's some comfidence," he said. "It has to come through some good things happening."

Columbus will begin the Tortorella era with a trip to Minnesota on Thursday night.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Matt Barkowski Has More Goals (and Points) than Sidney Crosby

Matt Barkowski's 1st NHL goal didn't seem like much of a news-worthy story until I came across this random tweet (go ahead and click on the icon, you know you want to).

This is how good hockey writers frame stories: It's not about Bartkowski's goal so much as it is about the fact that Bartkowski is suddenly a more prolific scorer than two-time Hart Trophy winner Sidney Crosby. Now that's an angle! Bartkowski's seeing-eye found the twine the 137th game of his career. It's the Pittsburgh native's sixth year in the show, so it's been a while. Better late than never though... as for Sid, our bet is that the Penguins' star will outscore Bartkowski by the time this season is said and done.

Sedin Tries to Explain His Epic Gaffe vs. Edmonton

We've finally figured out what went wrong on this "miss heard 'round the world" by Daniel Sedin from Sunday night in Vancouver's 2-1 loss to Edmonton. This slo-mo replay (see tweet above) shows the puck a little bit on wobble as Sedin goes for the high chip and gets too much of it, sending it over the net. All he needed to do was tap it in on the ice with a little broom stroke, but Sedin couldn't resist the temptation to go for the water bottle. Who could blame him, by the way?

Sedin had a slightly different explanation, but what does it really matter? He blew the play horrifically and the Canucks lost a golden opportunity to earn the extra point at home. Since he owns 329 career goals and 885 career points, we're guessing most Vancouver fans forgave him the moment the puck got higher than the crossbar. Anyhoo, here's what Sedin said after the game:

“That's a tough one,” Daniel said, according to the Vancouver Sun. “I had to pick between backhand and forehand and it got away from me. It rolled off my stick It was a tough one, for sure."

He added: “It happened so quick, you just try to tap it in and it bounced over.”

Here's a better look at the miss:

Monday, October 19, 2015

Statisfaction: NHL Number Crunch, October 20

A smattering of numbers as we begin the third week of the NHL's 2015-2016 campaign:

1. Columbus has a minus-17 goal differential. They've allowed nine more goals (30) than the next most porous defense (Boston, 21) in the NHL. Of course there is an even more glaring number when it comes to the 'Jackets. They are 0-6-0 as they prepare to host the Islanders on Tuesday.Their record is bad, but there have been worse in NHL history. The '43-44 Rangers lost their first 11 games.

2. The Montreal Canadiens are off to their best start in franchise history (6-0-0) and they've allowed seven goals in six games for the lowest GAA in the NHL. Is this team ready to win a cup? And a more pressing matter: Is this team ready to break the record for most consecutive wins to start an NHL season? The current record in 10, held by the '93-94 Leafs and the 2006-2007 Sabres.

3. PP Gurus? At 38.9 % the Boston Bruins have the NHL's best power play percentage through the season's first two weeks. The league's current average is 19.1 percent. And Torey Krug has been a big reason for that.

4. BIG BLANK: Pittsburgh (0-17 in five games) and Anaheim (0 for 13 in five games) are the only two teams that have yet to score a power play goal.

More: Crosby, Pens PP Desperate for Goals

5. There has already been 13 shutouts in the NHL this season. Two goalies (Martin Jones, 2, San Jose and Michal Neuvirth, 2 Philly) have more than one. The NHL record for shoutouts in a single season? Let's just say Jones and Neuvirth have a long way to go.

6. Bad Between the Pipes: There are four goalies with a GAA of higher than five but only one of them has a GAA of higher than six. That's Philly's Steve Mason who has a 6.12 GAA and a .825 save percentage in two starts (68 minutes).

7. 3-on-3 an End-All? Of the 14 regulation ties in the NHL this year, 10 have been settled with an overtime goal, with the other four being settled in shootouts. That means 71.4 percent of OT games are ending with the 3-on-3 format before the shootout.

Last year 306 games were decided with overtime goals, while another 170 went to a shootout. (55.5%)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Derek Dorsett Rides Korpikoski, Sans Ten-Gallon Hat

File this under: Vancouver and Edmonton are ready for the Calgary Stampede. Check out Derek Dorsett riding Lauri Korpikoski like he is a 1500-pound bull. Unfortunately for Dorsett, he got bucked off.

As far as the game goes, it's 1-1 in the third.

Crosby, Pens PP Desperate for Goals

Ah, the good old days (see video above). If only things could be that simple again.

Sid the kid Crosby is going to go grey if he doesn't pick up a few points--and soon. The NHL's 11th-best point-scorer among active players is currently enduring the longest drought of his ten plus-year career. Counting his last game of the 2014-2015 season, Crosby has now gone six games without scoring a point (he has never started a season with five scoreless games). But his coach Mike Johnston thinks Crosby is coming around.

More: Flames' Russell says Calgary Can Piss and Moan or Go to Work

"You look at Sid's overall game, 200 feet, I thought it was a real solid game for him," he said after Pittsburgh squeaked by Toronto, 2-1, on Saturday.

It isn't only Crosby that's ailing. Pittburgh's power play unit has yet to score in its first five games, going 0-for-17. It's the first time in history that they've gone the first five games of a season without a power play goal.

Last year, Pittsburgh's PP unit was 10th-best in the NHL, and coach Johnston doesn't think this year's unit is that far off, though he does admit that changes need to be made, particularly with the second unit. "We'll make some changes and adjustments, yes," Johnson said. "We do have to get our power-play in sync, we know that. We're looking at it. We're going to look at all options."

As far as Crosby's role in the power play, one reporter told coach Johnston in press that Crosby looks lost and he demanded to know why. "He looks lost for lack of a better word on the power play," the reporter said of Crosby. "Is he trying to do something different than is being instructed or is this something new that he's just not pulling down yet?"

Johnston didn't laugh, or spit, or throw anything at the reporter. Instead he defended Crosby and threw his team's second unit under the bus.

"The last two games we've had that one unit together (Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Hornqvist, Letang)," he said. "I thought tonight they were dangerous at times. I thought it was our other unit that didn't give us any help on the power play. I expected them to generate some momentum and be a shooting unit. The Bonino-Kunitz-Sprong-Perron unit. Be a shooting unit, give us some momentum. And they were the ones that who gave up the short-handed opportunities."

Despite all the issues, the Penguins have won two in a row and Evgeni Malkin is catching fire. It's probably just a matter of time before Crosby and the power play follow suit and the Pens start to look like a top-tier team again.

Flames' Russell: We Can Piss and Moan or Go to Work

At 1-4 with a minus-9 goal differential, the Calgary Flames are in that danger territory that could leave them on the outside of the playoff picture looking in by Thanksgiving. As many a hockey historian points out, being a non-playoff team by late November oftentimes parlays into early tee times come April. It's something the Calgary Flames don't want to ponder just yet, but after last night's shellacking in the battle of Alberta, the situation calls for some desperation in the room.

More: Two Looks at Hiller's Highway Robbery on McDavid

“It’s not Xs and Os at this point," said defenseman Kris Russell, according to the Calgary Herald. “It’s individually, we’ve got to want it more. Each and every draw we’ve got to win the 1-on-1s. When a teammate falls, we’ve got to pick him up, we’ve got to be there to support... Right now, we’re not."

He added: “There’s two things we can do. We can piss and moan about it or we can go to work. But we’ve been saying that for a while. We’ve got to quit talking. We’ve got to prove something here."

In 2014-2015, the Flames ended the first quarter of the season at a 12-6-2 clip. This was a team that was picked by many to be a cellar dwellar and was bent on proving the pundits wrong. They did that in a big way, and even won a playoff series last spring, which caused them to open this campaign with much higher expectations.

Could those expectations be too much for this still-developing group?

"Obviously our compete level is not there," said Flames' coach Bob Hartley. "Our game right now is not there. Tonight, we got out-played, we got out-worked, wo got out-hustled. You have no chance to win in this league when you're like this. Last night we gave it away late, and tonight we didn't even show up."

Whatever ails them, Calgary will need to shape up in a hurry. Their next four games will see them face the Caps and Red Wings at home, before going to face the Rangers and Islanders on the road.

But Hartley is not about to join the pity party. "I have too much trust in our guys to even go there," he said when asked if he thought it was complacency that was dragging them down. "I think right now we're just searching our game. It seems like we never got our chemistry going at training camp, but we need better efforts."

Why Didn't Jeff Blashill Use Coaches' Challenge on Gallagher Goal?

Yesterday's controversial goal by Montreal's Brendan Gallagher has been a hot topic of discussion amongst the talking heads, and for good reason. Should it have counted? Should Detroit have taken a coaches challenge to determine of Petr Mrazek was interfered with before the puck went in the net?

Read Elliote Friedman's Take on the Incident Here

"I've got no comment on that goal and the process regarding the goal," said 'Wings coach Jeff Blashill after Detroit's 4-1 loss in Montreal. Blashill was asked if he was under the impression that he could challenge at that point. "No, I understand the rules for sure, but again I've got no comment on that," he said. "That to me is an internal thing that we'll handle internally."

SportsNet's Elliote Friedman mentioned that the referee in Montreal announced to the crowd that the goal was "scored in a legal fashion, before contact" after the video review. This must have influenced Detroit's decision not to use their challenge on the play. Here's what had to say about Blashill's decision, and his silence:

Detroit’s decision not to follow up with its own request was weird. Then, Blashill refused to explain it post-game. That’s code for there’s more to this story. Or, “It’s better I just eat it and deal with this privately.” Go back and listen to referee Dave Jackson’s explanation. The last few words are buried in the crowd’s cheers, but he says, “After video review, the puck entered the net in legal fashion, before contact. The goal is good.”
On the Montreal side, players were just happy to have the goal, the win and the 6-0-0 start.

"I told him only you could have scored that goal from any other player on our team. I mean it's good. You never quit. I think it's a real character goal (laughing)," Alex Galchenyuk said after the game.

"It wasn't the prettiest of goals," beneficiary Brendan Gallagher said, "but I'll certainly take it."

Pretty or not is not the question, however. The replay system has been put in place with the hopes of getting calls right. Judging from the replay and what was said on the ice, it doesn't appear that this was the case. What's clear now (and should have been before) is that deciding whether a puck was kicked in for a goal and/ or whether interference happened on a goal are two different questions. In this case, unfortunately, it's hard to tell what the heck actually happened on this goal. I just looked at it another four times and I really can't tell if Gallagher pokes the puck through with his skates before he bangs into Mrazek, or the opposite.

Maybe we just chalk this goal up as a random crazy act of confusion, and move on?

Andy Greene Saves New Jersey's Bacon in OT Win over Rangers

This is the play that hardcore d-men dream of. Watch as Devils d-man Andy Greene stick checks Ryan McDonagh and sweeps the puck under his goaltender Corey Schneider's pads to keep the Devils alive in OT vs. the Rangers.

Great play, and it made this OT winner by Lee Stempniak possible:

Devils win, 2-1 in OT, to pick up their first win of the season.

Two Looks at Jonas Hiller's Miraculous Paddle Save on McDavid

Two looks (one above and one below of Jonas Hiller's beautiful save on Connor McDavid from Saturday's battle of Alberta in Calgary. Most are talking about the magnificent play of the 18-year-old rookie in this game, and rightfully so, but Hiller put himself in the running for save of the year with this 360 paddle stop.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Connor McDavid Nets Second of Season

Could this be Connor McDavid's first GWG? This snipe from the off wing put the Oilers ahead of Calgary at 16:31 of the second. Long way to go in this one, but a nice play by the 18-year-old to use Kris Russell as a screen and get off a wicked wrister on the full go.

Selanne Tabs Max Domi for Calder Trophy with Tweet

1992-93 Calder Trophy winner Teemu Selanne is tabbing Max Domi for the award this season. What exactly does that mean one week into the season? It means that Domi has riased a lot of eyebrows in his first four games. He's second in goals (3), second in assists (3) and second in points (6). But it's not just been the numbers with Domi, it's been the way that he has burst onto the scene with a confident, aggressive game. Evidently, it was enough to impress Selanne. It was also enough to impress Jaromir Jagr last week. The 43-year-old legend called Domi "Bleepin' unbelievable."

Emelin Misses Check, Fantastically, and Lives to Tell

Reason # 3,346 why NHL hockey is murder on the body: When you miss a shifty forward along the boards the pain sets in. Here, Montreal's Alexei Emelin thinks he has Justin Abdelkader all lined up for a bone-cruncher, but when Abdelkader turns on the jets all Emelin gets is a face fall of the side wall.

Watch: Burrows Jumps into Wrong Bench to Avoid Shoot-in

Surprised Vancouver's Alex Burrows was able to get out of the Blues' bench with his helmet and jersey intact. Perhaps the Blues were somewhat mollified by the fact they had a 3-1 lead in the third period?

Another look:

Stingy Sharks Hit Defensive Milestone

Let's give the San Jose Sharks credit, too. The boys in teal have allowed just two goals in four games thus far, which means that they are the first team to get through their first four games without allowing more than two goals since 1948-49. Wow. #BowDown.

Martin Jones has been flat-out awesome for San Jose this year, but let's give the team some credit as well. The Sharks are off to a fast start thanks to their stingy defense and the red-hot goaltending of Jones. Jones saw his streak of 104 consecutive sves end on Friday in his teams 2-1 shooutout victory over the Devils, but bot before he had broken the franchise record for consecutive saves (104) and took ownership of the Sharks' longest scoreless streak. Jones' streak lasted 234:33

The NHL record for scoreless minutes is 332:01, which was set by Brian Boucher during the 2003-04 season.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Burke: Leafs Might Have too Many Hands on the Wheel

Former Toronto Maple Leafs President and GM Brian Burke believes the Leafs could have a bright future under the new regime, which his headed by Lou Lamoriello as the organization's current GM. But Burke knows it isn't going to be easy to get three talented--and hard-headed--executives to collaborate effectively.

With Brendan Shanahan as President, Mike Babcock as the team--and NHL's--highest-paid coach in history, and Lamoriello, who is going to lead? Good question, Burke says.

“You’ve got Lou Lamoriello . . . who’s never taken an order from anybody, Mike Babcock — who’s a great coach and a good guy — who doesn’t think he should take an order from anybody,” he said, according to the Toronto Star. “And you’ve got Brendan Shanahan in the middle, who’s a very bright, stubborn Irishman. Now, how does this work? How many hands can you have on the wheel?”

Already this year their have been rumors of head butting. When Shanahan made an impromptu appearance on ice at a practice (in a business suit, no less)to deliver some insight to a small group of players, Babcock seemed nonplussed and didn't want to talk to reporters about it afterwards.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

When You Can't Remember Why You Even Laced 'em up

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There are your difficult-to-call trips. And then there are the easier ones...

This one was apparently difficult--no call resulted. The Wild defeated Arizona, 4-3.

Max Domi's Mere Presence Makes Jared Spurgeon Look Silly

Max Domi is so quick that he is now making opposing defenders look silly just with his mere presence on the attack. Watch as Jared Spurgeon experiences mental and physical overload while trying to catch and corral a flying puck with the gnat-like presence of Domi approaching his grill.

For Spurgeon, it didn't go so well; for Domi, SNIPE. His third of the season, to go with three assists, in the 'Yotes fourth game. Keep an eye (or maybe two) on this kid.

Taylor Hall Schools Everybody for 1st Goal of Season

It took Taylor Hall nearly four games to get his first goal of the season, but the three-time 20-goal scorer made it count with this doozy against the St. Louis Blues.

Also See: Max Domi's Mere Presence Makes Jared Spurgeon Look Silly

He schools two defenders, lifting one's stick (Carl Gunnarsson) while putting the puck through another's legs (Colton Parayko), before avoiding the poke check of Brian Elliot and burying the marker.

Sick goal is pretty much all we can say about this.

Cap's Wilson Buries Jonathan Toews with Heavy Shoulder Hit

Not only did Washington's Tom Wilson make this splendid--and clean--open ice hit on Jonathan Toews during the first period of the Capitals' 4-1 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday, he also drew a penalty on the play when Chicago's Viktor Tikhonov hunted him down along the boards and was handed an interference penalty.

On the ensuing PP, T.J. Oshie scored his first goal for his new team, and the Caps never looked back.

You won't see an assist from Wilson on the scoresheet, but in our mind he's got one.

Canadiens 5-0-0 for the First Time in Franchise History

Carey Price has moved into sole possession of 4th place on the Canadien's all-time list for shutouts, and Les Habitants have won the first five games of the season for the first time in franchise history. How it could take a winner of 24 Stanley Cups 106 years to go 5-0 to start a season we have no idea, but the Habs are looking good after a 3-0 win over the Rangers on Thursday at the Bell Centre.

What Next? Babsocks Are Real!

Believe it. Embrace it. Wear 'em. Clean up coffee spills with 'em. Just admit it, even if you aren't a Leafs fan. Even if you are a Leafs hater to the nth degree--you want 'em.

Okay, now that that's established, here's where you can actually by them.

Get the full story of the idea's inception and evolution at SportsNet.

Canadiens Bidding for Franchise Milestone vs. Rangers on Thursday

On Thursday at the Bell Centre, the Montreal Canadiens will attempt something that even their storied franchise has never achieved in its 106-year history: Win its first five games. How in the world has that never happened for a franchise that has won 24 Stanley Cups, we have absolutely no clue, but...

The 4-0 Habs will take on the 3-1 Rangers in a battle of top Eastern Conference teams, and top Eastern Conference goaltenders.

Carey Price vs. Henrik Lundqvist. One thing working in Montreal's favor is the fact that King Henrik has struggled at the Bell Centre over the course of his career. He's 4-6-2 with a GAA over 4 and a sub-.900 save percentage, according to SportsNet.

Tootoo Fined Maximum for Trip on Jones

Devils' RW Jordan Tootoo was fined the maximum, $2,217.74, for this illegal trip on Predators' D Seth Jones.

The poll on this SportsNet page seems to think that most believe Tootoo should not have been fined. What do you think?

Logan Couture Hurt in Sharks Practice

According to CSN Bay Area, Sharks' Center Logan Couture was injured during practice at the Prudential Center in New Jersey today and had to be helped off the ice while putting no weight on his right leg.

Curtis Pashelka of the San Jose Mercury News later tweeted that Couture was seen leaving the building with a protective boot on his right leg:

Couture, who had 67 points last season, was centering the Sharks most productive line, which also features Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Max Domi Backhand Roof Job vs. Ducks

Rookie Max Domi is looking like an early front-runner for the Calder after helping Phoenix bust out to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2003-04.

Wait a second... did we just say front-runner for the Calder? Why, yes, we did--at the very least he's earned some consideration to gain mention alongside of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel this season.

Not only was his backhand goal a thing of beauty (see above)--check out this transition burst off a nuetral-zone turnover. The 20-year-old first-round pick in the 2013 draft has wheels, and presence. Domi draws the defense with blazing speed then leaves the puck on the doorstep neatly so teammate Anthonly Duclair can poke hit home for the goal.

Here's the full speed:

And here's the slo-mo:

Domi's fellow rookie Duclair was also spectacular during the Coyotes 4-0 win over the Ducks. He netted a hat-trick in the first half of the game to become the franchise's first rookie to do so since Daniel Carcillo in 2008.