NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Now: The playoffs begin tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern. Pick the eight teams that will advance out of the first round and the number of games each series will require: Ottawa vs. Montreal, New York Islanders vs. Washington, Chicago vs. Nashville, Calgary vs. Vancouver, Pittsburgh vs. New York Rangers, Detroit vs. Tampa Bay, Minnesota vs. St. Louis, Winnipeg vs. Anaheim. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. Another extra point for picking one of the three top goal scorers in this playoff round.
Igor Larionov reflects on playing for Red Army, and what is wrong with North American hockey: "If you look at the coaches in Juniors and minor league hockey, many of them were not skill players. It’s a lot of former enforcers and grinders who take these coaching jobs. Naturally, they tell their players to be just like them. Their players are 17, 18 years old — younger than I was when I joined the Red Army team. Say what you want about the Whiplash mentality (or the Soviet mentality), but if coaches are going to push kids at that age, why are they pushing them to play a simple game? Why aren’t coaches pushing them to create a masterpiece? We lose a lot of Pavel Datsyuks to the closed-minded nature of the AHL and NHL."
Kane, Bogosian dealt to Sabres for Myers, Stafford and prospects: Two players once considered cornerstones of the Winnipeg Jets future success are gone. The Jets traded forward Evander Kane and defenceman Zach Bogosian to the Buffalo Sabres in a massive NHL deal. The Jets received immediate help in return, acquiring blueliner Tyler Myers and forward Drew Stafford The Jets also got prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and one of the Sabres' later first-round picks in this summer's NHL entry draft. The Jets will also surrender to Buffalo the rights to goalie Jason Kasdorf.
AHL announces new Pacific Division: The AHL did as expected today, announcing a new five-team Pacific Division comprised of California teams that will begin play next season. Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim Ducks) to San Diego. Adirondack Flames (Calgary Flames) to Stockton. Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers) to Bakersfield. Manchester Monarchs (LA Kings) to Ontario. Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks) to San Jose. To be clear on the Oklahoma City Barons move to Bakersfield, the Barons are closing shop and the Bakersfield Condors will be moved up to the AHL ranks.
Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.: One of the all-time greats, Brodeur finishes his 22-year NHL career with a 691-397-176 record, a 2.24 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 1,266 appearances, all but seven coming with the New Jersey Devils. He holds regular-season NHL goaltending records for wins (621), shutouts (125), games played and minutes played (74,438), and in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs he ranks first in starts (204) and shutouts (24) and second in wins (113).
Canada defeats Russia 5-4 to claim first world junior hockey gold since 2009: You can breathe again, Canada. Chances are you may still need to after what unfolded Monday at the world juniors, a gold-medal final that will be remembered as one of the most entertaining, crazy 60 minutes of hockey in a tournament filled with white knucklers over the years. Team Canada prevailed, but only barely, eking out a desperate 5-4 win after nearly blowing a four-goal lead in an ugly second period as Russia came storming back.
New Jersey Devils Will Have 3 Coaches: After firing coach Peter DeBoer, the New Jersey Devils have replaced him with co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens. General manager Lou Lamoriello also will do some coaching, at least for a while. Oates will be in charge of forwards and Stevens will handle the defense. It's a unique way of approaching things," Lamoriello said. The problems in New Jersey aren't with coaching but with talent, writes Adam Gretz of CBS Sports: "At one time a team known for its excellent drafting and player development system, the Devils have drafted just seven forwards since 1999 that have scored more than 10 goals for the team at the NHL level."
Panthers Win in NHL Record 20-Round Shootout: The Florida Panthers defeated the Washington Capitols in an epic, record-setting shootout that went 20 rounds Tuesday night. Five times the Panthers needed a goal to extend the shootout and got it. The last was by Dylan Olsen, a rookie defenseman who said "I really only have one or two moves." In round 20, after Alex Ovechkin missed, Nick Bjugstad scored the winner.
Zemgus Girgensons Leads NHL All-Star Voting: The top vote getter on the leaderboard for NHL all-star balloting is Zemgus Girgensons. The 20-year-old Buffalo Sabres center does not rank in the top 100 scorers -- 9 goals, 8 assists, 5 +/- -- but he has over double the votes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby. Girgensons, the only Latvian in the NHL, is getting enormous support from his country. From the NYT: "In the most recent week in which votes were measured, Girgensons added 400,000, 82 percent of them coming from Latvia."
Montreal Canadiens Jean Beliveau dead at 83: Montreal Canadiens have reported that Hockey Hall-of-Fame member and Montreal legend Jean Beliveau has passed away at age 83. Beliveau played 20 seasons for Canadiens, winning 10 Stanley Cup Championships, 5 of them coming when Beliveau wore the captain's C. He also served as a member of the team's management, earning 7 more cups along the way.
Former NHL player, coach and executive Pat Quinn dies at age 71: Pat Quinn was a man known for his direct manner – whether it was flattening Bobby Orr on the ice with one of the most famous body checks in NHL history or dealing with players, reporters and fellow executives in a long career as a coach, general manager and president.
Blind-sided: Blue Jackets’ Jack Johnson is bankrupt; who led him there is biggest shocker: On the morning of Oct. 7, two days before the Blue Jackets opened the 2014-15 season, Jack Johnson left his Ferrari parked in the garage of his Dublin apartment and drove his BMW to a federal courthouse Downtown to file for bankruptcy.
Minor League Hockey Player Suffers Gruesome Cut from Skate: A minor league hockey game in Peoria, Illinois, came to a halt Saturday after a player fell on an opponent's skate and suffered a deep and potentially life threatening cut to his thigh. Trainers and players from both teams raced to help Huntsville Havoc center Justin Cseter, bringing towels and fashioning a tourniquet out of a broken hockey stick. Dave Eminian of the Peoria Journal-Star penned this memorable lead: "The Peoria Rivermen were gaining momentum, had just scored to build a 2-1 lead over the Huntsville Havoc on Saturday at Carver Arena. And then hockey gave way to horror."
Play SportsFilter's ESPN Fantasy Hockey League: Koharski's Donuts, our fantasy hockey league won last season by Steve Hollister's Pimpin Ain't Parise, has been launched for the upcoming NHL season that begins Oct. 8.
NHL Bans the Spin-o-Rama Move from Shootouts: Among the rule changes the NHL has added for the coming season: A ban on the "spin-o-rama" move in NHL penalty shots and shootouts an increasing scale of fines for diving.
Blackhawks Sign Toews, Kane Through 2023: The Chicago Blackhawks signed Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to identical eight-year, $84 million contract extensions Wednesday. Their yearly salary cap hits of $10.5 million apiece are the highest in NHL history.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Results, Blame-the-World-Cup Edition: The results finally have been compiled for our annual NHL Playoff Pick 'Em. Cixelsyd is the runaway champion with 18 points and Rumple takes home the coveted Costanza.
Kings Take Game 1 of Stanley Cup Finals: The Los Angeles Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit to come back and defeat the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime of the Stanley Cup Finals opener on Wednesday night. "The gulf between the two teams, razor thin in the first 40 minutes of a 2-2 game, seemed a mile wide when the Kings found their footing in the third period, outshooting the Rangers 20-3," reports Robert Tychkowski of Canoe Sports. "Big, tough, fast, skilled and they don't stop coming. Ever."
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Stanley Cup Round: Pick the team that will win the Stanley Cup, the number of games the series will go, series MVP, top goal scorer, top point scorer, top penalty minute accumulator and the non-goalie who will have the most ice time. The point for number of games only counts if you get the winner correct.
Hockey Analytics Pioneer Tore "JLikens" Purdy Dies: The hockey analytics blogger JLikens, author of the Objective NHL blog has been posthumously revealed to be Edmonton lawyer Tore Purdy. He died April 25 at age 28. The Edmonton Journal has collected the tributes to his work. "Tore Purdy was a genius/pioneer in NHL analytics," writes James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 3: Pick the two teams that will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals -- Chicago plays Los Angeles in the West and Montreal plays the New York Rangers in the East -- and the top goal scorer in each series. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. The games begin today at 1 p.m. Eastern.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 2: Pick the four teams that will advance out of the second round: Chicago vs. Minnesota, Boston vs. Montreal, Anaheim vs. Los Angeles, Pittsburgh vs. New York Rangers. The playoffs begin tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern, so get them in as fast as possible to avoid allegations of dirty dealing. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right.
Canadiens Complete 4-Game Sweep of Lightning: The Montreal Canadiens scored with 43 seconds remaining to beat the Tampa Bay Lighting 4-3 and advance to the second round of the playoffs. The 4-0 sweep is the first for Montreal since 1993, the last time the team won the Stanley Cup.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 1: Pick the eight teams that will advance out of the first round: Colorado vs. Minnesota, St. Louis vs. Chicago, Anaheim vs. Dallas, San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Boston vs. Detroit, Tampa Bay vs. Montreal, Pittsburgh vs. Columbus, New York vs. Philadelphia. The playoffs begin tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right.
Shanahan to Toronto: Homeward bound. Shanny takes a top job with Maple Leafs.
Of all the Canadian coaches, he's the most Russian: Grantland profiles Mike Keenan as he coaches Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL.
Roberto Luongo traded to Florida for Jacob Markstrom, Shawn Matthias: The Roberto Luongo era in Vancouver ended today, as the one-time cornerstone Canucks goaltender was traded to Florida for goalie Jacob Markstrom and centre Shawn Matthias. The Panthers will presumably take on the final eight years remaining on Luongo’s contract, which pays the goalie $6.714 million for the next four seasons but has a cap hit of $5.33 million. But it has been reported that the Canucks will pay 15 per cent of Luongo’s salary or about $800,000 per season. The Canucks also sent minor leaguer Stephen Anthony the other way in the trade.
Miller & Ott traded to St. Louis; Sabres get Halak and Stewart, prospect and two picks: In one of the biggest trades in Buffalo Sabres history and the 1st one under new G.M. Tim Murray, goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott have been dealt to the St. Louis Blues. In return, the Sabres are getting goaltender Jaroslav Halak, right winger Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 1st-round pick in '15 and a 3rd-round pick in '16.
Taro Tsujimoto's story: years before Hideo Nomo and Dice-K, Tsujimoto was a hockey wunderkind who promised to improve the Buffalo Sabres. But he never arrived because he never existed: he was one of the many pranks the Sabres' long-time PR man Paul Wielan invented.
New Year's Eve, 1975: Montreal Canadiens vs. Soviet Central Red Army. Complete video of possibly the greatest ice hockey game ever played. Introduction by Dick Irvin, Jr. Via the NHL History Channel, which has some other excellent nostalgia.
Rogers reaches 12-year broadcast deal with NHL worth $5.2-billion : Rogers Communications Inc. will be the exclusive national rights holder for the NHL for the next 12 years in a $5.2-billion deal that fundamentally reshapes the sports broadcasting landscape in Canada. Rogers will make annual payments of $300-million to the NHL, which will incrementally increase until they reach $500-million in the final year of the deal. There is also an upfront payment of $150-million. In addition to the Rogers deal, the NHL gets about $300-million (U.S.) a year from U.S. network NBC, which is also shared among the 30 teams. In total, each team will get about $25-million a season in television revenue, not including fees for local broadcast.
Buffal Sabres announce Ted Nolan as head coach, Pat LaFontaine as president of hockey operations: "Last night I relieved Darcy Regier from his duties as Buffalo Sabres general manager and Ron Rolston as head coach," Sabres owner Terry Pegula said at a press conference at First Niagara Center. Pegula announced the creation of a new title in the Sabres organization, president of hockey operations, which will be filled by LaFontaine. Ted Nolan was named interim head coach effective today.
Fan tackles Marty the Marmot mascot during musical chairs at WHL hockey game: Victoria police have launched an assault investigation after an aggressive fan tackled Marty the Marmot at Saturday’s Victoria Royals hockey game. Marty landed hard on the ice on his back and lay prone for several seconds until a staff member came over to help him to his feet. The aggressive fan was escorted off the ice to a torrent of boos from the crowd and Marty was helped away, clearly in pain.
The Bridgetown Senators?: This from Christopher Stuart Taylor of the Huffington Post tries to explain a possible bit of Canadian tax evasion on the part of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. The dodge involves setting up business relationships between Canada and Barbados. The businesses will then be taxed at the 2.5% Barbadian rate rather than the 30% Canadian rate. While the author leads with a Senators' connection, the actual investigation conducted by the CBC has nothing to do with the team. I'm sure Melnyk is clever enough to keep purely Canadian businesses out of the "Bajun" connection. Note: No matter which side (Canadian or Barbadian) is puling a fast one here, I'm on the bad side. My dad was from Nova Scotia, my mom from Barbados, and I still have family in both places.
Flyers Fire Coach After Just Three Games: After the team's 0-3 start in the new NHL season, the Philadelphia Flyers have fired coach Peter Laviolette. Rich Hofman of the Daily News calls the move a tragicomedy. "Short leash? Fine. But has anyone ever heard of a leash that has only three links in its chain?" he writes.
Barkov Youngest NHL Player to Score Since 1942: Florida Panthers rookie Aleksander Barkov became the youngest player in 71 years to score a goal in an NHL game Thursday. The second player selected in the 2013 NHL draft, Barkov, 18 years and 31 days old, tied the Panthers opener against the Dallas Stars in a game Florida won 4-2. On Nov. 22, 1942, Jackie Schmidt of the Boston Bruins scored at age 18 years and 11 days, in a 7-6 defensive struggle against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Schmidt only played one season at the NHL level, called up to replace players called to duty during World War II.
ESPN Fantasy Hockey League Needs Teams: My ESPN Fantasy Hockey league Koharski's Donuts needs four more members. It's a head-to-head league with a snake draft taking place Saturday Sept. 28 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. So far all owners are from SportsFilter.
Never Too Early for Fantasy Hockey: The regular season is still six weeks away, but Koharski's Donuts fantasy hockey league has been set up on ESPN and needs eight more members. It's a head-to-head standard league with a live snake draft Saturday Sept. 28 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. The password to join is sprinkles.
NHL Re-Alignment:: The NHL announced the new alignment today, with two conferences of two divisions each. The Detroit Red Wings will now play in the Eastern Conference in the Atlantic Division, and the Winnipeg Jets will be in the Western Conference in the Central Division. Let the natural rivalries (Tampa-Toronto?) begin to take shape!