Sunday, January 17, 2016

Watch: Canucks Dorsett Elbows Tavares in Head



Things have remained chippy in Brooklyn after Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski was ejected for boarding Henrik Sedin.

Derek Dorsett just got two for elbowing Isles star center John Tavares in the head after a face-off.

Though Dorsett may not have intended to get Tavares with a head shot, the video above shows that that's where he makes initial contact. As they say, an eye for an eye...

Watch: Grabovski Gets Tossed for Boarding Henrik Sedin



Islanders forward Mikhael Grabovski was given five for boarding and a game misconduct for this dangerous hit on Henrik Sedin late in the first period of the Isles game vs. the Canucks in Brooklyn.

The second angle of the video above shows clearly how dangerous of a play this is.

Sedin was on the ice for several minutes but got up under his own power.

Things got really chippy after that play. Alex Biega took a run at John Tavares. Jared McCann threw a high stick, then Ryan Strome nearly fought Biega as the refs were trying to sort things out with five seconds left in the period.

In short: Keep an eye on this game...

Sullivan Says Hagelin will Make Pens Faster, Deeper



The Pittsburgh Penguins know what they're getting in speedy winger Carl Hagelin and they're psyched about it.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, who as an assistant with the Rangers for two years while Hagelin played in New York, already has a clear vision of how the Swede can help his team be a little more effective.

He brings a lot of speed,” Sullivan said, according to Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “He can really skate. He’s a real good guy. I had him in New York for a couple of seasons and I think he’s going to make us faster. He’s versatile. He can play up and down the lineup. He’s a good penalty-killer. I think he can bring a lot to our team.” Hagelin was dealt from Anaheim for left wing David Perron and defenseman Adam Clendening just before midnight Friday. Hagelin, who scored 17 goals in his last two seasons with the Rangers, never found a rhythm in Anaheim and was benched for a bit by coach Bruce Boudreau.

In 43 games for the offensively challenged Ducks, he only put up four goals and eight assists and was a minus-10.

Sullivan isn't worried all about those numbers.

“He’s going to track pucks down,” Sullivan said. “He’s going to help [us] keep the puck longer. He’s going to force turnovers. Put teams in vulnerable circumstances. And he’s got good enough hockey sense that he can play with those guys that think the game at that level. He’s a good player and a real good person. I think he’ll fit into this group real well.”

The Penguins also hope that Hagelin can jump in on the penalty kill for injured Nick Bonino.

The 27-year-old is expected to be in the lineup on Sunday when the Pens host the Carolina Panthers.

"He’s a versatile guy. so I think we can use him up and down the lineup," Sullivan said, according to Rorabaugh. "Where he’s going to settle into, time will tell. But certainly I think he’s a guy that has the ability to complement a lot of guys we have here.”

Holtby's 22-Game Streak Halted by Sabres

Goaltender Braden Holtby was pulled after allowing three goals on 16 shots and lost in regulation for the first time since Nov. 10, ending a personal streak of 20-0-2.

Holtby fell one game short of tying the Capitals record set by Jose Theodore, who went 20-0-3 from Jan. 13 to April 9, 2010. The NHL record is held by Gerry Cheevers of the Boston Bruins, who went 32 games without a loss in the 1971-72 season (24 wins, eight ties).

The 26-year-old Sasketchewan native is currently 1st in wins, 2nd in GAA and 3rd in save percentage among NHL goaltenders

Watch: Emelin Levels Stastny with Massive Hit



We watched this hit several times, because it was a thing of beauty, and because we were praying that Alexei Emelin didn't hit the head of Paul Stastny on this massive, crunching neutral zone body check.

As it turns out, Emelin didn't get Stastny's head, which makes this wallop all the more laudable.

Hockey fans always talk about how much skill it takes to fire a twisted wrister or toe-drag around a defender. But to skate backwards with this type of speed and agility, timing a hit perfectly on a fast-moving puck carrier? Wow, now that is some skill, and not only that: It's downright dangerous for Emelin if he misses.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Datsyuk: OT Made for Dylan Larkin



Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin is seriously fast. And seriously good. And when Pavel Datsyuk says that OT is made for him, you better believe that Larkin is also seriously amazing in overtime.

Larkin set up Kenny DeKeyser's OT winner in Glendale to give Detroit a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes, and after the game the locker room couldn't help but rave on Larkin's mind-bending speed a bit.

"He's good," said Datsyuk, who also chipped in a goal and two assists to power Detroit. "He skates well, he handles the puck and shoots a lot. I think overtime is made for him."

According to Ansar Khan of Mlive.com, Wings coach Jeff Blashill also had some praise for the 19-year-old.

"Larks is such a strong skater; he kind of split in between those two guys and created a little bit of chaos right off that situation," Blashill said of the goal that was set up by Larkin's 16th helper of the season. "He's on the puck a lot, so he's able to get back on the puck. He's a transporter, he's a shooter, but he can make a play, and he made a play there and good for Danny to bury it."


DeKeyser, no doubt thrilled to be on the receiving end of Larkin's handiwork, also had high praise, according to Khan.

"His skill for a 19-year-old ... huge playmaker, and he really flies out there. So we try to hit him with speed when we can and just let him make plays."

Larkin is currently third in the NHL in rookie scoring with 30 points and tied for first in overall plus-minus at plus-23.

The 19-year-old is the first Red Wings rookie to be named to the NHL's all-star team since Steve Yzerman in 1984. With the new three-on-three format don't be surprised if he takes over the game at times...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rangers let third period lead slip in battle of New York



The Rangers have just started to learn how to win games when trailing after two periods. On Saturday they won for the first time in fourteen games this season when trailing after two against the Bruins.

But on Thursday, a less desirable outcome occured. The Rangers dropped a game when leading after two periods for the first time all season. The blueshirts had gone 51-0-1 in their last 52 when leading after two periods, and 15-0-0 this season. But Brock Nelson and Nick Leddy scored 2:24 apart early in the third and Kyle Okposo added an empty netter at 19:58 to give the Islanders their second win in as many games against their rivals this season.

According to Eric Hornik's NYI Skinny blog, it was only the 2nd time in the last six seasons (154-2-6) that the Rangers had lost a game in regulation after leading through 40 minutes.

"We were positive after the second even being down," Nelson, who now leads the Islanders with 18 goals, said after the game. "It was one goal, one shot. We wanted to get out there and get into a rhythm and try to get that first goal early, and we were able to. It gave us some momentum."

The Islanders improve to 24-15-4 with the win and jump two points clear of the Rangers (23-15-5) in the Metropolitan Division standings.

Chris Kreider scored the Rangers lone goal on a deflection at 19:13 of the second period to give the Rangers the lead.

"Both goaltenders gave their teams a chance to win tonight," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We made a mistake in the third and let their power play score a goal, and that's the game."

Thursday's win marks the first time since 1997-98 that the Isles have swept the Rangers at home. The clubs will meet two more times this season, on March 6 and April 7 at Madison Square Garden.

Watch: Sekera robbed by Jones in OT, and all he can do is smile



Late in overtime in San Jose, the Oilers looked to have the Sharks right where they wanted them. Edmonton's Jordan Eberle skates up ice after catching the tired Sharks in a bad line change and dishes to Andrej Sekera who walks in all alone against Sharks goalie Martin Jones. What happened next is the stuff of dreams for Jones, and the stuff of nightmares for Sekera.

Watch as the puck ramps off the shaft of Jones' stick and flies up into the netting. Jones was completely toast on the play, and Sekera looked to be in the process of scoring his 6th of the season. But luck intervened. All Sekera could do was smile.
The Sharks would survive the OT and take the win in a shootout, thanks to goals by Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi. The victory marks the first time that San Jose has won back-to-back games at home all season.

Sens Hoffman Hoping to Stay in Ottawa



Senators left wing Mike Hoffman is enjoying his best NHL season to date, and that means he's due for a raise next season. Hoffman, who earns $2 million this season and will become an unrestricted free agent, told Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun that he hopes to stay in Ottawa, preferably on a long-term deal.

Yet we are two weeks into the period where the Sens are permitted to negotiate with Hoffman, and the winger says he has heard nothing.

It's early, and Hoffman's busy trying to help the Senators wiggle their way into playoff position.

But down the road Ottawa will have to pony up or risk losing its top goal scorer to a heftier offer sheet. Either the Senators will look to sign Hoffman to a short-term bridge deal or they will try to lock up the Kitchener, Ontario native for something more significant.

The latter is what Hoffman would prefer. "For sure obviously some security would be nice," said Hoffman, according to Brennan. "I like the city, I like the team, I want to stay here. That's my number one goal. Hopefully that will be the end result."

Hoffman, who netted a raise from 750k to $2 million after potting 27 goals last season, says that he'd be the same player, regardless of term.

"Even if you're on a multi-year deal, you still want to be performing and doing as well as you can," he said. "It's not like you take your foot off the pedal. What fun is that? You want to be doing as best you can. Sure there is pressure but you can't really control it too much. Just go out there and do the best effort you can and at the end of the day, hopefully everything else takes care of itself."

Hoffman, a 5th-round draft pick by Ottawa in 2009, is currently 8th in the NHL with 20 goals. He's on pace to put up 40 goals, leads the Sens in goals, plus-minus (+11) and is tied for second in points (36).

Getzlaf Responds after Benching by Boudreau



It's been a rough season for Ryan Getzlaf, and it could have gotten rougher on Wednesday night. Getzlaf made his second high-profile giveaway in as many games, and it led to a Curtis Lazar breakaway goal. The deja vu all over again left Duck's coach Bruce Boudreau with no choice but to send a message. He benched Getzlaf for the next eight minutes and demoted him to the fourth line during even-strength play in the third period.

"I certainly don't want to do it too often," Boudreau said. "But what happens there is between me and Getzy, and we'll talk about it again [Thursday]."

ICYMI, here's the Getz giveaway:



The Ducks would come to the aid of their benched captain. Shea Theodore took a neat pass from Getzy himself and netted the go-ahead goal on the power play (it was Theodore's first NHL goal), and Carl Hagelin and Jason Silfverberg added insurance goals late to salt it for Anaheim.

Getzlaf's benching, and the team's reaction, was something the Anaheim dressing room was aware of.

"We wanted to pick him up," winning goalie Frederik Andersen said. "Obviously, he's the leader of our team, so we wanted to do that to him, too. He's been the guy that picks up guys. He's a great leader. We wanted to make it the other way this time."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Calgary's Sam Bennett Scores Four vs. Panthers



Just a few days after ending an 18-game goalless drought that would have shuttered most young players, Calgary's Sam Bennett hit the powerball for goal scorers, netting four--including three in the first period--in a 6-0 beatdown of the gassed-out Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.

Bennett, a fourth overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft that sat out most of 2015 after shoulder surgery, becomes the youngest Flame to ever record a hat-trick.

Bennett is one of two rookies to have scored four goals in a game in the last sixteen seasons. Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks, who scored four in October of 2013 against the Rangers, is the other.

Bennett's teammates say he never hung his head and did all the right things to help the team during his slump. “He had a tough slump there,” said Flames center Mikael Backlund after the game, according to George Johnson of the Calgary Herald. “He played good but mentally it’s tough with a goal drought there. ... For a young player, it’s easy to fade away in that situation. But he was really physical, still making plays and trying to score. If you’re a natural goal scorer, they’re eventually going to come. So I’m happy for him to get that ketchup out of the Heinz bottle."

Bennett is the first Flame to score four in a game since Jarome Iginla did the trick in 2003.


Flyers confidence at all-time high, says Wayne Simmonds

The Philadelphia Flyers have won four in a row and are closing in on a playoff spot at the mid-way point of the season, and wins like tonight's 3-2 gut-check against the Bruins at home are giving the Flyers exactly what they need: Belief. "Our confidence is at an all-time high right now," Wayne Simmonds said after his team rallied from a 2-1 deficit at the start of the third to close out the Bruins. "We're playing good hockey. I can remember my first year here. Third periods. That’s when we were money."

Simmonds, who tied the game with his 11th marker of the season, hopes his team can back to that gritty style of third-period play that made them a playoff team in 2013-2014. "We got to get back to that," he said. "Obviously, it’s not ideal to go into the third period losing, but it was tonight and we battled hard to get back and everybody jumped on board.”

The Flyers now sit at 19-15-7, just two points out of the final playoff spot.

First-year coach Dave Hakstol says perseverance pays off late in games, and that his group reaped those rewards tonight.

“It’s something the players want to see,” he said. “A night like tonight when we’re not at our best through most of this game, we lost more of the puck battles on 50/50 pucks than we won, there’s still the confidence within the group to stay with it. The group did that. Ultimately, we’re rewarded for it.”

Devils Bobby Farnham Suspended Four Games for Late Hit on Jaskin



The NHL came down pretty hard on Devils left wing Bobby Farnham for his late hit on Blues Dmitrij Jaskin. Farnham went hunting for somebody to hit after he was taken out by Kevin Shattenkirk after the play, and he found his man in Jaskin--only he levelled the Russian a full second after he had cycled the puck up the boards.

"A full second after Jaskin has moved the puck--well after the time when players are permitted to finish checks--Farnham delivers a violent, predatory hit to defenseless Jaskin, slamming him to the ice. This is interference. What elevates this hit to merit supplemental discipline is its extreme lateness and the predatory nature of the hit," says the NHL's Department of Player Safety.

This is Farnham's first suspension in his 38-game NHL career.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Farnham will forfeit $12,365.60. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, OT Wizard



Nobody in the NHL has been better at potting OT winners than Coyotes' D-man Oliver Ekman Larsson. Last night the 24-year-old Swede buried his 12th of the season at 4:51 of OT to cap off a Coyotes' comeback from two goals down in the third against Edmonton.



The Yotes have won four straight for the first time in over two years and are 8-1-2 in their last eleven. Max Domi broke a scoreless drought with his first career hat-trick and the win puts Arizona in second place in the Pacific Division. Domi has not scored a goal since December 4.

Arizona's power play is 13 for its last 36, and Ekman-Larsson is third among NHL defensemen with seven power play goals on the season. The Swede also leads all NHL defensemen in game-winning goals with six, which is second to only Sharks' center Joe Pavelski, who has seven GWG.

Watch: Stamkos Scores after Beautiful Tic-Tac-Toe Play



Steven Stamkos scored a pair of goals to power the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday at Pepsi Center, but this tic-tac-toe beauty, assisted by Ondrej Palat and Vladislav Namestikov is just pure gold.

Check out the beautiful one-touch passing by the lightning, beginning with Palat's pass through the legs of a defender as he enters the zone. A fraction of a second and the puck has been moved over to Stamkos, who buries the one-timer for his 19th of the season.

A few minutes later, the same trio would combine for Stamkos' 20th of the season and the Lighting were off to the races for their third straight win.

Is this chemisty of the Bolts' top line a sign that this team is ready to climb into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Denis Potvin, peanut butter, and who started the melee in Vancouver



More: Panthers Lose, Win Streak Ends and Melee Ensues

Florida Panthers broadcaster and four-time Stanley Cup winner Denis Potvin has inserted himself into the eye of the Sedingate storm willingly. Last night he uttered the now viral phrase "“I see the Sedins are pointing fingers now. Normally, they only use those fingers to lick the peanut butter off of their bread.”

That inspired some great stuff on Twitter, which we found today thanks to the Province:

The Province also told us everything we needed to know about last night's melee. The bad blood started when Shawn Thornton called the twins "sisters," and escalated from there when Sedin taunted the Panthers bench after scoring the winner (see the top of the page for video).

Now we see why Sedin was mad, why the Panthers reacted and why the world is flat and why Denis Potvin is still pissed off

Here's what Potvin said about Daniel Sedin today on the radio, per Pro Hockey Talk:

“It ended badly because of Sedin’s actions. I mean, if in any game in any era, in any decade, a guy turns around and starts goading the team after scoring the winning goal — can you imagine? Can you imagine doing that in Philly, or Boston, or Long Island after a winning streak, or let’s make it a Stanley Cup championship? What you do normally — normally — after you’re the team that beats the team on the streak, is you just talk about incredible respect for what they were able to accomplish.”


There should be one caveat to what Potvin says. If you and your twin brother have been called "sisters" in the third period, all bets are off.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Daniel Sedin Ties Naslund for Vancouver Franchise Record in Goals



Daniel Sedin's OT winner in Vancouver against the Florida Panthers did more than just set off a melee.

The Canucks left wing scored twice--his 18th and 19th of the season--to tie the Markus Naslund's all-time record for goals for a Canuck.

"We've told Markus a bunch of times how important he was to us, not only knowing you could talk to him about anything, but just watching him too," Daniel said, according to NHL.com.

Naslund scored his 346 goals in 884 games for the Canucks. Sedin, who has been a Canuck for his whole career, has needed 1,103 games.

Watch: Panthers Lose, Win Streak Ends, Melee Ensues



The Florida Panthers blew a 2-0 lead and saw their 12-game winning streak go up in smoke with Jaromir Jagr in the penalty box during overtime. Daniel Sedin rifled the winner at 2:21, and after the Canucks celebrated things got testy in front of the team's benches. It appeared as if Derek Dorsett started the festivities, but pretty much everybody got involved after that, as it took about five minutes for both teams to clear the ice.

Even Panthers head coach Gerarad Gallant got pretty close to throwing some blows.

The Panthers longest winning streak in franchise history falls short of the NHL's all-time record by five.

Islanders Lose D Hamonic for 2-3 Weeks



The New York Islanders are up the creek without two of their best paddles. According to Arthur Staple of Newsday the team will be without right defenseman Travis Hamonic for two to three weeks due to a lower body injury.

With Johnny Boychuk out for 4-6 weeks, since last week, the Islanders struggles have already begun. They were sliced and diced by the goal-challenged Flyers on Saturday as the rookie pairing of Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield took their lumps.

Boychuk and Hamonic are the team's two most physical defenseman, and were key players on the Islanders penalty kill, which has been among the best in the league this year.

Edmonton's Matt Hendricks gets three games for hit on Ekblad



Edmonton's Matt Hendricks will be suspended for three games without pay after his reckless hit on Florida Panthers' defenseman Aaron Ekblad on Sunday night.

READ MORE ABOUT SUNDAY'S CHIPPY GAME BEETWEEN EDMONTON AND FLORIDA HERE

"Hendricks hits forcefully into Ekblad's back shoulder, driving Ekblad face-first into the glass with significant impact," says the NHL's Department of Player Safety. "It's important to note that at no point is Ekblad eligible to be checked by Hendricks on this play. From the moment Hendricks hits the top of the face-off circle, he sees nothing but Ekblad's numbers."

Ekblad was woozy after this hit, and while he returned to last night's game, he was deemed unavailable by the Panthers for Monday night's game in Vancouver.

There was quite a bit of discussion on Monday about this hit, as many knew that Hendrick's hit on Ekblad was a reaction to a big hit earlier in the game that Erik Gudbranson layed on Oilers star Taylor Hall. Hendricks fought with Florida's Robert Petrovicky after the hit, but he apparently wasn't satiated.

After the game, Hendricks denied that his hit was retaliatory in nature. “I don’t hit dirty,” he said. “I’ve never been known to hit dirty. I thought it was a clean hit. I’m glad he came back and played. I’d feel bad if he was injured from that.”

Patrick Marleau Becomes First Shark to Log 500 Consecutive Games for Franchise



Earlier this year Patrick Marleau became the 83rd player in NHL history to register his 1,000th point. And the milestones keep coming. In Calgary on Monday, the Sasketchewan native became the first player in franchise history to log 500 consecutive games for the franchise.

Marleau is the 22nd NHL player to play in 500 consecutive games, and he's currently third on the NHL's Iron Man list.



Marleau, 36 and in his 19th NHL season is also closing in on goal No. 500.

The speedy Sharks winger is currently fourth among active NHL players in goals.

Here's more on Marleau's streak, per the San Jose Mercury News:

Patrick Marleau will become just the 22nd player in NHL history to play in 500 consecutive games when the Sharks face the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome on Monday.

Marleau began the streak on April 9, 2009 when the Sharks played against the then-Phoenix Coyotes. Starting with that game, he has 151 goals and 174 assists, and is now third on the active ironman list, behind Andrew Cogliano of the Anaheim Ducks (663 games) and Keith Yandle (510) of the New York Rangers.

“It just means you have a good supporting cast,” Marleau said. “The training staff here has always been good. If you do get some bumps and bruises, they take care of you right away. If there’s some competitive stuff you can you, you work with (strength coach) Mike Potenza and take care of that."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Watch: Matt Hendricks Levels Aaron Ekblad with High Hit



Things have gotten chippy in Edmonton tonight and Matt Hendricks has found himself in not one but two fights. After Taylor Hall was levelled by Erik Gudbranson in the neutral zone in the second period, Hendricks picked a fight with Robert Petrovicky.

Here's the hit on Hall:

Hendricks was hungry for more so he tattooed Ekblad into the boards before being chased down and challenged by Logan Shaw (see video of that full play at top of page).

Ekblad who looked woozy after the hit, came back to the ice later in the period. As far as Hendricks goes, he may have a meeting with the NHL's Department of Player Safety coming.

Hendrick's fights weren't the only one in this game. Earlier in the first period, Nick Bjugstad squared off with Eric Gryba, and the result was not too pretty:



In case you're curious about who actually won the game, it was the Florida Panthers coming up with their 12th consecutive victory, 2-1.

Watch: Ovechkin Nets 500th Career Goal



Alexander Ovechkin became the fifth-fastest NHL player to reach the 500-goal mark at the Verizon Center on Sunday night when he rifled this wrist shot past Ottawa goaltender Andrew Hammond.

Fittingly, Ovi scored from his office, at the top of the circle, where he likes to take his morning coffee and evening buttered rum.

"I'm happy that I did it--we did it--in front of our fans," Ovechkin said. "My parents are here... It's a special moment. All my teammates came and congratulated me--I'm going to remember it for the rest of my life."




Ovechkin became the first Washington Capital to achieve the milestone with his goal. Ovi reached the milestone in his 801st NHL game. Only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Brett Hull reached the 500-goal mark faster:


Just to put a cherry on top of what was an amazing night, Ovechkin turned on the afterburners and toasted Erik Karlsson for No. 501.


Washington ended up notching a 7-1 win over the Sens.

Watch: Evander Kane draws cheers after warmup spill in Winnipeg



Nothing like returning to an old home, where the locals know your name and chant it with malice. Watch (above) as Sabres winger Evander Kane gets a big round of applause after he falls on a puck as he skates out for warmups before Buffalo's 4-2 win over the Jets on Sunday.

For More on Kane's Return to Winnipeg, Go Here

It was a nice moment for Winnipeg fans, a die-hard bunch of hockey purists if there ever was one, who sat through three-and-a-half seasons of Kane's shenanigans, made less bearable by the fact that the former first-round pick and "future of the franchise" never owned up to what was perceived to be his potential.

Jets fans took their animosity for Kane (albeit good-naturedly) pretty far by declaring Sunday "Track Suit Night," as an homage to the time that Kane showed up to a team meeting in a track suit and Jets star Dustin Byfuglien reportedly threw Kane's track suit into a shower.

That, in a very tiny nutshell, is some of the sordid history of the dysfunctional relationship that Kane and the Jets carried on for nearly four years in Winnipeg.

And now, here is our pick for best track suit tweet (peruse to hashtag #TrackSuitNight to find your own fave):

Kudos to Kane, who is trying--with much difficulty--to make the most of a fresh start in Buffalo. He smiled big after his stumble in the warmups and he ended up potting a very unselfish assist on Sam Reinhart's empty-netter at the finish of the game.

Buffalo got the win, Kane got lots of negative attention, but in the end nobody got hurt anymore than they already were.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tavares Shoulders Blame for Islanders Poor Play but Larger Problems Persist



The Islanders haven't exactly been a team in a tailspin, but after losing seven out of their last eleven games, they are barely protecting a playoff slot and look to be in danger of further failure. On Saturday they were lit up by the Flyers 4-0, and they've now lost three of their last four games by three goals or more.

Much can be blamed on the fact that the Islanders were without defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic on Saturday, but the bigger issue might be that the team played like a team with an excuse for losing rather than a hunger to prove that it could handle the adversity of having two young blueliners eating mega minutes. New York was outshot 31-20 by the Flyers and they were lucky to get out the first period without a big deficit. That changed quickly in the second period as the Flyers pumped in two quick goals while the Islanders never mustered any type of a push to get back in it.

In the past few seasons the Islanders have emerged as one of the NHL's top puck possession teams and their well-balanced attack, coupled with above average goaltending has made them virtually slump-proof. But without Boychuk for at least another month, the onus will be on the forwards to step up and provide a spark.

The Islanders were fourth in the NHL in Corsi last season. This season they've slipped to 17th. The roster is virtually unchanged from last year (though the loss of puck-moving defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky hurts a bit), so it's hard to pinpoint the root of the Isles woes.

Isles' captain John Tavares pinned the blame on himself after Saturday's loss, like a true captain.

“The last two games it’s been really disappointing the way we’ve started and a lot of that’s my fault,” the captain said. “Being the leader of the team I’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play and I’ve got to be better as well. A lot of that blame falls on my shoulders. Putting ourselves behind by two goals, it takes a lot of energy to work to get back into games and we didn’t have it today.”

Part of what makes the Islanders so frustrating is that they have yet to find wingers that truly complement Tavares' skillset. The guy can stickhandle his way out of a phone booth and he's got eyes in the back of his head, but when he's on the ice it really doesn't feel like his line is putting up first-line type of dominance. Coach Jack Capuano recently paired Tavares with Anders Lee and Josh Bailey and things seemed to click for a few games. But lately they've fizzled. Tavares was a minus-2 today and has been a minus-4 with just two points in his last five games.

Making matters worse, the Islanders secondary scoring has dried up a bit of late. With the Islanders barely clinging to a playoff spot, it feels like the team could go in different directions. Should they look to be sellers at the deadline in an attempt to find some help for Tavares? Should they look to get involved on the Jonathan Drouin sweepstakes? Should they think about packaging up soon to be free agent Kyle Okposo and soon to be traded Travis Hamonic and pull a blockbuster?

It may sound rash, but the Isles need to realize that they have a generational talent in Tavares. He's in his prime right now, and locked up contractually. But he won't be forever. Should New York really be playing things conservatively from a trading perspective with a team that appears to be headed for a first-round playoff exit at best? Or should G.M. Garth Snow get back on the horse that he abandoned after the Thomas Vanek trade and look to do (smartly) what he sough to do then: Take this team to the next level.

Video: Sens' Ryan Gets Spun Face-First into Boards



Ottawa right winger Bobby Ryan spun face-first into the boards after getting tangled up with Bruins defender Torey Krug during Ottawa's 2-1 OT win on Saturday at Canadian Tire Center. It looked pretty bad on contact, and though Ryan was able to get to his feet, he was clearly hobbled as he half-crouched and half-skated off the ice.

Remarkably, Ryan would make his return in time for overtime after taking some time off.

Mark Stone buried an OT winner for the Sens, who moved to within a point of the Bruins at 20-16-6 with the win.

“It was a big goal for us,” Stone said. “We needed these points. We’ve been struggling a bit of late, so we need to get on the winning track. It’s a big extra one for us.”

Brent Burns Schools Kadri and Phaneuf for Bobby Orr-esque Goal



The Sharks played their best game of the season on Saturday night at HP Pavilion, absolutely dismantling the shell-shocked Toronto Maple Leafs, 7-0, and their best defenseman got the ball rolling with this sweet rush.

When you're as big as Burns you don't have to worry too uch about getting hammered in the neutral zone, and Burns took advantage of this freedom to toe drag his way past Nazem Kadri before he turned the corner on Dion Phaneuf and buried his 17th goal of the season.

"That was huge, because I thought we were a little tentative," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Burns' gorgeous goal. "We were almost in that waiting-for-something-to-go-wrong mindset. He just said, 'Screw it,' and took the puck. That changed the game for us; it really did. That play changed the game. That's how we have to play. That was a world-class play by a world-class player." Burns leads all NHL defenseman in goals.

The Sharks are currently two points behind Vancouver for third in the Pacific, but they've got three games in hand on the Canucks. They improved to a dismal 6-12-0 record at home with the win. It's the worst home record in the NHL.

McDavid not apprehensive at all about February 2nd return



The future of the Edmonton Oilers was on hold for a few months, but on February 2nd, the future will once again be NOW.

The Edmonton Oilers have announced that Connor McDavid is set to make his return from a broken collarbone on February 2nd at Rexall Place when the Oilers meet the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first game back from the NHL All-Star break.

McDavid, the top overall pick in the 2015 draft who netted five goals and seven assists in his first 13 games, has not played since November 3rd when he injured his collarbone after crashing into the boards against the Flyers. Despite the nastiness of that fall and related injury, the 18-year-old says he's got no hangups mentally about getting back on the ice.

“I’m not worried. You have to understand that was a fluke accident," he said, according to the Edmonton Journal. "I’ve made that play hundreds of times before and never once got hurt on it. Once you start holding back, hesitating and you’re afraid of getting hurt, that’s when you do get hurt. I’ll be playing and I’ll know it’s healthy (collarbone) and strong.”



According to McDavid, the next three weeks will help his broken heal properly. He said the team is taking weekly x-rays so it can be clear of his progress. “I’m due for another one in a bit and we’ll see what’s in there,” he said. “There haven’t been any (medical) setbacks at all. It’s all been positive.”

Ovechkin Could be Fifth-Fastest NHL Player to Hit 500-Goal Mark

Alexander Ovechkin's fantastic season continues. He's already passed Sergei Fedorov to become the top Russian NHL goal scorer of all time, and now he's closing in on becoming the fifth-fastest NHL player to reach the 500-goal plateau.



Ovechkin is currently third on the NHL's active goals scored list, behind only Jarome Iginla and Jaromir Jagr. For those scoring at home, Ovechkin passed Glenn Anderson to move into 43rd place on the all-time list, just one behind Lanny McDonald, who has 500.

Ovechkin's 499th Goal Gives Washington a Huge OT Win over the Rangers



The Capitals blew a two-goal lead in the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, but got it all back in under two minutes.

First, Niklas Backstrom tied the game with Braden Holtby pulled at 19:54, then Alexander Ovechkin won it when he finished off an end-to-end rush by burying a snipe past Henrik Lundqvist at 1:25 of the extra session.

Ovechkin's goal, his 24th of the season and 499th of his career, would not have been possible if it hadn't been for the clutch stick of Caps defenseman Nate Schmidt, who poked the puck off Derek Stepan to take away a point-blank chance for the Rangers.

The Russian moves into a tie for the NHL goal lead, and now the OVI-500 watch begins.




The Capitals improve to an NHL-best 31-7-3 with the win. They are three points ahead of second-place Dallas in the overall NHL standings with two games in hand on the Stars.

The Rangers remain tied with the Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 49 points. They have a game in hand on the Islanders and will meet their crosstown rivals in a big battle at Barclays Center on Thursday.

Marcus Johannson gets two-game suspension for hit to head on Isles Hickey



Capitals left wing Marcus Johanssen has been suspended two games for his check to the head on Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey on Tuesday night in New York.

“I just tried to hit him,” Johansson said after the game. “I went in with my shoulder, and you know, I don’t know if he had his head low or not, but I went in with my shoulder. That’s all I saw from my vantage point.”

Here's how the NHL's Department of Player Safety viewed the hit:

“While Hickey is low to the ice as he steps up, he does not materially change the position of his head just prior to or simultaneous with contact. If Johansson wishes to deliver this check, he must do so in a way that does not make the head the main point of contact.”

It is Johanssen's first suspension and the 25-year-old Swede only has six penalty minutes on the season.

In case you missed hit, here is the hit in question:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Watch: Thomas Hickey Takes Violent Elbow from Marcus Johansson



Isles defenseman Thomas Hickey took a heavy hit from Washington's Marcus Johansson during the first period of Washington's 4-1 victory over the Islanders in Brooklyn. New York broadcaster Butch Goring wasn't happy with the call (Johansson got two for an illegal check to the head) and claimed that there was clear intent to injure on the play.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety will likely have a look at this one tomorrow.

After the game Hickey didn't seem to angry about the hit. Here's what he said, according to Caps beat writer Isabelle Khurshudyan:



Later in the period, after returning to the game, Hickey was plastered by Tom Wilson into the boards.

There was little to no reaction from the Islanders after each play, and that fact left former Islanders Goring and Pat Flatley a little miffed. "I was a little surprised the Islanders didn't get into it a little quicker," said Goring. "Especially with that cheap shot on Hickey. I would have that though that that would have really got the ire of the Islanders [and caused them] to get much more involved physically."

Goring wanted Flatley's take, and the former Islander was more than happy to admit he felt the same way. "The push back is not there right now," he said from his post at ice-level between the two benches. "I'm not sure why. It's a very big game it's a measuring stick for the rest of the year."

Some of the hottest fire came from the Islanders dressing room after the game. “If they want to play that way, we can do that too next time,” said Isles defenseman Travis Hamonic, who took a hit up high from Alexander Ovechkin in the third period.

On the ice there wasn't much edge from the Islanders. They were outskated and outhit. There was a moment where Isles' enforcer Matt Martin appeared to challenge Wilson to fisticuffs, but it never materialized and the team never picked up its energy enough to match the high-flying Capitals.

Washington seem to take this game as more of a statement game than New York did. Very little separated these two teams in the first round of the playoffs, a series won by Washington in seven games. This season it appears that the Capitals are opening the gap.

Watch: Corey Perry Violently Crosschecks Leafs Goalie Jonathan Bernier



The Anaheim Ducks were trailing the Leafs 4-0 early in the third and Corey Perry was in no mood to play around. Clearly.

This was a chippy game from the start, and Perry was probably already frustrated from taking a rough shoulder from Nazem Kadri that temporarily knocked him out of the game. So when he got slashed in the back of the legs by Jonathan Bernier, he went ballistic, earning two for slashing and two for cross-checking.

The game featured 44 penalty minutes, including a first-period fight between Josh Manson and Roman Polak.

Perry was minus-1 on the evening with five shots on goal.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mike Richard Gets Second Chance with Caps



After an arrest at the Canadian border in June that resulted in a charge for possession of a controlled substance, Mike Richards was dumped by the Los Angeles Kings. Now, the 30-year-old two-time Stanley Cup winner is getting a second chance with the NHL's top team.

The Washington Capitals are apparently seeking some help at center after losing key cog Jay Beagle to a hand injury for six weeks.

Richards, along with coach Barry Trotz will speak with media about the move before Thursday's game in Brooklyn against the Islanders.

The deal is for $1 million, pro-rated. According to TSN, Richards had been skating with his former junior team in Kitchener, Ontario, to stay in shape. His legal situation is still pending in the province of Manitoba.

Montreal Canadiens Reportedly Pursuing Drouin



Is it true? And if so, what are the Habs willing to give in return for a highly coveted, highly skilled albeit struggling talent like recently dog-housed Jonathan Drouin? Here's one idea from Pro Hockey Talk's Joe Yerdon:

A better question might be, what does Tampa Bay need? And how much would they be willing to take from a Division rival like Montreal?


Let's be honest. This is one of those things that's going to be fun to talk about for a month, probably more, but right now, NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT HOW THIS IS GOING TO END UP.

But one thing we can all be sure of is that Drouin will not play for the Lightning again. This situation is in no way similar to what we're witnessing with Travis Hamonic in New York, where the Islanders defenseman has personal needs and no timetable--in addition to being a massively important and effective player. What we have in the case of Drouin is an injury riddled, unhappy player who has teamed with his agent to say "Get me out of here."

Montreal likely does have strong interest in him, along with several other clubs. And interest will only heighten if Drouin puts his nose to the grindstone and starts to put up numbers in Syracuse.

Drouin will certainly be dealt. The bigger question is, when, and for what? Surely Lightning G.M. is in an unenviable position right now, but if things go well--if Drouin proves he's healthy at Syracuse and starts to dominate there--Yzerman and Tampa could see things turn in their favor. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Scouts, fans and NHL brass have been drooling over Drouin for a while now, it's a shame he hasn't been able to find a home in Tampa. Here's to hoping that he finds one somewhere else, and this drama is all behind us pretty soon.

Watch: Allen's Gamble Fails as Landeskog Buries OT Winner vs. Blues



The Colorado Avalanche have pulled within two points of a playoff spot after this thrilling OT goal by Gabriel Landeskog at the conclusion of a wild play that saw Blues goalie Jake Allen wander too far out of the net (or not quite far enough?).

The Avs have now gone 8-2-2 in their last 12 and are on the cusp of turning around what looked to be a very bleak season in Denver.

They'll meet up with the team they are chasing in the standings on Friday when the Predators visit the Pepsi Center for a crucial Central Division battle.

Lecavalier, Schenn Shipped to Kings



The Los Angeles Kings acquired veteran center Vincent Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday in a trade for center Jordan Weal and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Lecavalier, 35, is a former No. 1 draft pick that won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.

Lecavalier has scored 411 goals and 932 points in 1,170 career games, but he’s only scored eight goals in his last 64.

Kings G.M. Dean Lombardi thinks Lecavalier might be a good fit with the Kings. "At this stage of his career, it's all about getting one last chance to win it all," Lombardi said. "I think he's hungry. Given his mindset and the fit on this team, I think it's a great fit for his role. It's certainly worth a shot in seeing if this will work."

Schenn, a third-pair defenseman for the Flyers, should help with depth on the blue line.

Weal 23, is an undersized forward who has played ten games for the Kings this season. He had been averaging a point per game in the AHL over the prior two seasons.

"Jordan is at the point where he's been a top American Hockey League player and he's trying to prove himself as an NHL player," Flyers G.M. Ron Hextall said. "He's a very dedicated player. He's got a high skill level. He's not the biggest guy, but he does work hard."

Lecavalier, who has another two years on his contract, has expressed his desire to retire after the season, which made the deal far less complicated for the Kings to complete. The former prolific goal scorer is expected to take a lesser role in the Kings dynamic offense.

Jackets, Preds Swap Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen in Blockbuster Trade



Good luck predicting who got the better of this trade.

Two extremely talented rising NHL stars were dealt on Wednesday as Ryan Johansen and Seth Jones switched cities and both G.M.'s claimed they've finally acquired that which they've been coveting.

Columbus, stuck in the Metropolitan cellar with an NHL worst 33 points, signals that it has gone into rebuild mode by electing to pick up a quality youthful defenseman who could anchor their blueline for years.

The Predators, one of the stingiest defenses in the league but second to last in the uber competitive Central Division in goals scored, get the top flight center they feel can break open some of those close games they find themselves in.

In a perfect world, both teams would be better from this trade. But in reality there are contracts to talk about. Jones is in the final year of his entry-level deal so the Jackets will need to assess their compatability and, if he's a fit, be ready to shell out some cash.

Johansen's salary jumps to six million next year, and at the end of next season he'll be eligible for arbitration. There's also the fact that Johansen had a very lengthy contract dispute before signing with Columbus prior to the 2014-2015 season. None of that was nearly enough to deter the Predators from acquiring the services of the type of offensive playmaker they've long coveted and not been able to lock down.

"In my belief we accomplished something that we haven't been able to do in 18 years of our history, and that's to acquire a No. 1 centre," said Predators G.M. David Poile.



In Columbus those same sentiments were echoed. Jones, two years younger than Johansen at 21, could be the guy that spearheads a Columbus rebuild that is bound to happen. "We've been looking for a defenceman for a long time," said Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. "To get a guy this good you have to give up something real good."

It may be hard to determine which team, if any, will come out better in this deal. But it's not hard to tell which player is going to be happier, at least in the short term. Johansen goes from a last-place team and a coach that was fairly critical of his performance, to a playoff team and a coach and management that feels he is the solution to all their problems. That's a hard situation to top.

As for Jones, things are a little more difficult to read. He'll start eating crucial top-line minutes in Columbus and be under the watchful eye of a very ornery John Tortorella. It's sink or swim time for the 21-year-old. Unfortunately, he'll start from a "sink" position and try to get his head above water with a very dysfunctional organization, before swimming. Maybe it's the perfect role for Jones. He'll be a big fish on the Jackets blue line. He'll have a chance to help engineer a massive turnaround. It's not an easy job, but it most certainly could be rewarding.

NHL Linesman Mike Cvik Hangs 'em up after 1,868 Games



Anyone who knows the game of NHL hockey knows that lining is not a job for the meek. Sure, it's gotten a tad easier over the years as fighting has slowly started to dwindle amongst the NHL ranks, but as one of the men who was tasked with dropping the puck on face-offs and breaking up a plethora of NHL melees, Calgary native Mike Cvik has taken his share of bumps and bruises.

Read a Deep Profile of Civic in the Calgary Sun Here

That's why it was so great that the Flames honored him during Tuesday night's game, and after it was over, they gave him the No. 3 star.

The 53-year-old may be leaving the game but he'll still have some nice scars and stiffness to remember his time on the ice with the NHL's best and baddest.

“The worst was in San Jose breaking up a fight between Stu Grimson and Jeff Odgers when a skate came up and went across the back of my hand and severed tendons,” said Cvik of a 1994 brawl in an interview with the Calgary Sun. “When it happened the doctor told me ‘you’ll never have complete grip.’ I still can’t completely make a fist.”

Hopefully he can still wrap that hand around a cold, frosty beverage--Cvik deserves a few of those after all of the hard work he's put in for hockey.

Wild and Blue Jackets Tie Record for Fastest Two Goals in NHL History



Nick Foligno and Mikael Granlund scored two seconds apart late in the third period to tie the record for the fastest two goals in NHL history.



What we're wondering is: What was up with Ryan Johanssen and Ryan Murray on that face-off?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Panthers Smoke Buffalo for 10th Straight Win



If somebody asked you a month ago which team would be the first to win ten consecutive games in the 2015-2016 NHL season, what would you have answered? Montreal? Dallas? The Caps?

One thing we know for sure: You wouldn't have picked the Florida Panthers.

What a difference a month makes. The Panthers walloped the Sabres, 5-1 on Thursday and became the only NHL team to win ten straight games this season.

During the game, Jaromir Jagr added his 14th goal of the season to pull within five of Brett Hull for third on the NHL's all-time goal scoring list.

"You could say it's hard to believe at 43 he's playing that great but knowing him it's not hard to believe," Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau said of Jagr . "His work ethic is incredible. We're just lucky to have him around us."

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo tied his own personal win streak at eight with the win. The Panthers have allowed only 12 goals during their franchise-best win streak.

They'll attempt to push the streak to 11 when they face Ottawa at the Canadian Tire Center on Thursday.

The Panthers currently sit atop the Atlantic Division, five points ahead of second place Detroit and Montreal. It's a far cry from where they were before the streak started. Prior to the start of their streak on December 15, the Panthers were 14-12-4 and in sixth place, 11 points behind first-place Montreal.

Blackhawks Scramble to Down Pens in OT



The Chicago Blackhawks came out on top in the first leg of a home-and-home with the Pittburgh Penguins on Tuesday, as Artemi Panarin roofed an OT winner past Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Hawks the extra point after they had squandered a 2-0 lead in the third period.

Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang scored to bring the Penguins even, but Pittsburgh could not grab the extra point and so remains a point behind the Bruins for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. But things have gone well for the Pens of late. Crosby, who struggled to get shots let alone score in the early season, now has goals his his last four games and 12 points in his last seven games. Crosby is now on his first four-game goal streak since 2010. Crosby is now 12-19-31 in 38 games this season.

The Penguins have points in their last four games, and five of their last six. The Blackhawks (23-13-4) got two goals from Panarin (13 on the season) and extended their current win streak to four games.

The teams will meet at the United Center tomorrow night.

Watch: Kasperi Kapanen Takes Finland to the Promised Land



Kasperi Kapanen's OT winner at 1:33 gave Team Finland the 2016 World Junior Championships title in Helsinki, capping off a dramatic finish to one of the best gold medal games we've seen at any level in recent memory.

Russia tied the game with 6.9 seconds left on a goal by Andrei Svetlakov just about two minutes after Finland had notched what many believed would stand as the game winner. Svetlakov has also put Russia up 2-1 earlier in the third with a blistering wrister from the front of the left circle. But Finland would tie on a Sebastian Aho goal from pointbland range at 10:07 of the third.

Mikko Rantanen put the Finns ahead with a power play marker at 17:51 of the third before Russia mounted its late surge to force OT.

The victory gives Finland its second gold medal in three years. Russia takes home silver for the second consecutive year.

En route to the title, the Finns scored 35 goals to equal their offensive output from 1998, when they also defeated Russia in overtime for gold in Helsinki. Jesse Puljujarvi (17 points), Sebastian Aho (14 points) and Patrick Laine (13 points) finished 1-2-3 in tournament scoring.

Finland's Puljujarvi was voted Most Valuable Player of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. Here's a list of the top positional players for the tournament as well as the all-star team (voted by media).

Goalie: Linus Soderstrom, Sweden
Defenceman: Zach Werenski, USA
Forward: Jesse Puljujarvi, Finland

Accredited media votes for the All-Star Team as well as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Goaltender: Linus Soderstrom, Sweden
Defenceman: Olli Juolevi, Finland
Defenceman: Zach Werenski, USA
Forward: Jesse Puljujarvi, Finland
Forward: Patrik Laine, Finland
Forward: Auston Matthews, USA
MVP: Jesse Puljujarvi, Finland

Some Tweets and Photos:
















Monday, January 4, 2016

Watch: Michael Stone Bats a Puck into Daniel Sedin's Face



Here's something you don't see every day in the NHL. Guys take pucks to the mug all the time. Players swat pucks out of the air every night. But when Michael Stone gloved the puck into Daniel Sedin's face, drawing plenty o blood, Vancouver should have known it wasn't their night.

Sedin would be fine. He finished the game with 17:47 of ice time, and even notched a goal late in the third. But the Coyotes came away with the 3-2 win, which will likely make Sedin's teeth hurt even more tonight.

And, yes, it was Daniel, not Henrik--we can tell them apart by their numbers, thank you...



And, no, nobody is calling Daniel soft on this night:

Iginla Buries No. 600 in Win over Kings



Jarome Iginla joined the NHL's prestigious 600-goal club with his 11th of the season to help propel the Avs to a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night in Denver.



"You have to get lucky for sure," said Iginla, of his tally, which was a cross-ice pass that bounced in off of Jake Muzzin's skate. "You have to get lucky at times. That was a lucky play. I was trying to walk in and see what would open up down low, and (Gabe Landeskog) was right in front, I think battling with Muzzin in front, and I was trying to put something in there for him through the screen for him."

Iginla becomes the 19th player in the history of the NHL to reach the 600-mark. Along with Jaromir Jagr, he is one of two active players to have reached the mark.

NHL Winter Classic Was a Ratings Bust in the U.S.



On paper, it seemed awesome. Two original six teams, bitter rivals and desperately in need of a win. The most storied franchise in hockey visiting the home of one of the most storied football teams in NFL history. But, for whatever reason, fans found other things to watch during Friday's broadcast of the Winter Classic, which aired on NBC.

The telecast garnered only 2.775 million viewers, the lowest number of all eight previously held Winter Classic games:



According to SI's Allan Muir, that number is down 20 percent from last year's game between Washington and Chicago and down 40 percent from the 2014 game between Toronto and Detroit.

But it may not be as terrible as it sounds. The trend is down but the game itself is still a viable entity for the NHL. This, from Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing:

Still, this should all be kept in perspective. A 1.6 rating and 2.78 million U.S. viewers may be bad by the standards of previous Winter Classics, but it’s better than most opening-round playoff games in 2015. That’s especially true for the opening-round games that aired on NBCSN, where the best audience was 971,000. And this is a regular-season game. The Winter Classic blows the rest of the NHL regular season out of the water ratingswise, and it’s better than many of the early playoff rounds.


Jagr would prefer Bahamas to NHL All-Star Game



He's joking, right?

Nope.

Jaromir Jagr, a.k.a. ageless wonder, tells reporters he'd rather be in the Bahamas than playing this month's NHL all star game in Nashville.

"I asked the fans... don't vote for me, but they didn't listen," said Jagr. "I think they don't like me much so they want to see me dead."

Jagr famously tweeted in December that the NHL's new 3-on-3 all-star format would kill him, so he pleaded to them not to vote for him.



Apparently it didn't work. Jagr was voted an all-star captain, and he's not exactly thrilled.

"I don't know what I'm going to do. I'll probaby have to go--I don't know what the rules are. Probably the fans think I need to get into shape."

When asked if he didn't like Nashville, Jagr deadpanned "Yeah, it's great, I'd rather be in Florida, trust me. Or Bahamas."

Former First-Rounder Drouin Requested Trade from Lightning in November



After a turbulent start to his NHL career with the Tampa Bay Lightning, former third overall draft pick Jonathan Drouin wants a fresh start. The 20-year-old Quebec native has been in and out of the Bolts lineup in 2015-16 after a season that saw him play 70 games in 2014-2015. But a day after being sent down to the minors, Drouin's agent dropped the bomb on the media.

Per the Tampa Tribune, Allan Walsh released the following statement regarding his charge:

“On behalf of Jonathan Drouin, I formally requested a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning back in November,” Walsh said in the statement. “We have not said one word about this untenable situation publicly until today. It’s in everyone’s best interests that Jonathan be allowed to move on and play hockey. Let’s be clear, Jonathan loves playing for the fans in Tampa, he loves his teammates and many people within the Lightning organization have treated him well. It was his sincere intention to play in Tampa for many years.’’


Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman released a statement Sunday evening addressing the situation:

“We acknowledge, via communication from his agent, Jonathan Drouin’s request to be traded,’’ Yzerman said. “Moving forward, my sole intention is to act in the best interest of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey club. In the meantime, Jonathan has been assigned to our American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and we expect him to report for practice with the rest of his teammates this Tuesday morning.’’


Drouin's usage by the Lighting, particularly during the teams run to the Stanley Cup final last season, was a bone of contention for many.

Drouin only dressed for six of the team's games in the post-season and ended up scoreless with a minus-6 rating.

He appeared to have turned things around this season after he led the team in scoring during the pre-season, but he has only mustered eight points in 19 games during the regular season.

Drouin, the CHL player of the year in 2012-13, netted 242 points in 128 games for the Halifax Mooseheads in three seasons, and led his team to the Memorial Cup. He's considered to be an elite talent with tremendous upside.

Russia Shatters American Hopes at World Juniors Again



The Russians advanced to a must-see final with Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships on the strength of two second period goals 2:48 apart. Pavel Kraskovsky and Yegor Korshkov tallied to turn the semifinal on its ear, and though the U.S. had many chances to draw even, Russian goaltender Ilya Samsanov made 13 third-period saves to preserve the victory and a spot in the final for Russia.

The Americans have now been knocked out of the medal round the last three years by team Russia, and have lost five straight to them.

Team U.S.A. has never defeated Russia in the medal round of this competition. The Russians have now medalled in the last six years at this event, and in 11 of the last 12 years.

In the early semifinal, Finland ousted Sweden 2-1 by scoring two goals in the middle frame. Roope Hintz and Antti Kalapudas scored 1:56 apart to enable Finland to even its all-time record with Sweden at the World Juniors at 16-16-2.

Russia defeated Finland 6-4 on December 26 in a preliminary round game.

The Americans will battle Sweden for bronze. Sweden defeated U.S.A. 1-0 on Dec. 28.