Greg Wyshynski

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Greg Wyshynski is the editor of Puck Daddy. A former managing sports editor for The Connection Newspapers, he's written for Deadspin, AOL Sports and is the author of "Glow Pucks & 10-Cent Beer: The 101 Worst Ideas in Sports History." Born and bred in New Jersey, living in Northern Virginia. Did we mention he likes booze?

  • Jokerit to KHL in 2014-15 is huge step for Russian league

    jokeritBesides having one of the greatest logos in the hockey world, Jokerit can claim another bit of fame: Becoming the first team outside of the former eastern bloc to join the Kontinental Hockey League.

    Jokerit announced it’s joining the KHL for 2014-15, a move widely reported last summer and officially announced on Wednesday.

    Based in Helsinki, Jokerit has played in Finland’s SM-liiga since 1989, winning several championships and being a destination for former NHL talent. (Among the players on their current roster: Jarkko Ruutu and Ossi Väänänen.) It’s the team where Teemu Selanne got his start.

    From YLE.FI, here’s the skinny:

    Jokerit had announced their intention to move to Russia’s KHL earlier in the year, but they had to wait until this week to finally secure approval from the Finnish hockey league. Russian investors will take a 49 percent stake in the club, and they already own Jokerit’s home, Hartwall Areena.

    Long-time Jokerit owner Harry Harkimo will retain a controlling 51 percent

    Read More »from Jokerit to KHL in 2014-15 is huge step for Russian league
  • The bulging eyes. The disbelief. The slack-jawed double takes followed by a humbling, “Wait, that’s you!?”

    This has become the predictable reaction when Jay White takes out his tour books and reveals his double-life to new teammates.

    He’s never offended by it. He gets it. After all, there’s no standard protocol for when a player discovers his backup goaltender for the night is Neil Diamond.

    “They’re surprised when they find it out," said White.

    "And then of course they want me to sing ‘Sweet Caroline.’”

    Jay White has been playing goal since he was eight years old, growing up in Ontario before moving to Detroit. His dream was to make it to the NHL one day; the farthest he took his hockey career was a pair of preseason games with the IHL Kalamazoo Wings.

    Jay White has also been performing as Neil Diamond for 30 years, including a long stint at the Riviera in Vegas. He bears more than a passing resemblance to the singer, to the point where Diamond’s brother once admitted he could pass for a relative. (Neil himself wrote, on a photograph with White: “Jay … keep singing so I can stay home and relax.”)

    When he’s not belting out “Craklin’ Rose” at a 'Legends' show, White has been an on-call emergency goaltender in Las Vegas for roughly 20 years. If the local team – be it the now-defunct IHL Thunder or the ECHL’s Wranglers, Sin City’s current minor league hockey franchise – was down a goalie, they’d call White to fill in.

    “If one of their goalies gets sick or hurt or called up or called down, and they get stuck with one goalie, they’ll call me in. I’ll practice for a couple of days and then maybe dress for a game,” he said.

    This used to be easier for White, back in his youth. That’s the irony: The older one gets as a goalie, the tougher it is to perform; the older one gets as Neil Diamond, the more one fits the part.

    He’s now 58 years old with three children, hitting the gym three times a week and the ice twice in order to remain in playing shape. Last summer, he hit the rink with Wranglers players, Deryk Engelland of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild to practice for the upcoming season, so White could be ready if his services were needed.

    On Sunday, he got the emergency call again.

    Only it wasn’t from the home team.

    Read More »from ECHL Las Vegas backup goalie is Neil Diamond impersonator; yes, he’ll sing ‘Sweet Caroline’ for you
  • Pass or Fail: NHL Menace hats, complete with snarling cartoon teeth

    If you haven’t noticed, NHL hats have been embraced by younger demographics that might not necessarily fancy themselves hockey fans. This leads to conversations in public spaces that typically sound like this:

    “Hey, nice Minnesota Wild hat. You think they should be giving Heatley that much time on the power play, given his shooting percentage on special teams over the last three seasons?”

    “I dunno man, it’s green.”

    That said, it’s cool to see NHL swag embraced as a socially hip fashion accessory, given how much Nickelback we hear at games.

    Zephyr has created several styles of NHL hats that go beyond the typical lids available at sporting goods stores. Which is great news if you’re someone that’s always felt the real estate under the brim was sorely underdeveloped, and a perfect canvas on which to paint cartoon teeth.

    Behold “The Menace” hats, which take the usual designs for NHL lids and add snarling mouths to them in a place where people taller than you will never see them.

    Read More »from Pass or Fail: NHL Menace hats, complete with snarling cartoon teeth
  • Getty ImagesGame-winning goals are a tricky stat in the NHL. After all, a goal in the first minute of a 1-0 shutout victory is as much a game-winning goal as one scored in the final minute of the third period.

    Are they an indication that the player scored some important goals in his career? Sure. Are they an indication that the player simply scored a huge number of a goals in his career?

    Without question – and Jaromir Jagr has scored a huge number of goals in his career.

    On Tuesday night, Jagr set the all-time record for career game-winning goals in the NHL with 119, breaking a stalemate with Hall of Famer Phil Esposito with a second-period tally in the New Jersey Devils’ 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    (UPDATE: The NHL corrected itself on Tuesday night. "CORRECTION: Jaromir Jagr's 119 GWGs are the most of any player since 1967-68. Gordie Howe holds the all-time record with 121.")

    The goal was vintage Jagr: Using his long reach to swipe the puck away when Marty St. Louis whiffed on it, and

    Read More »from Jaromir Jagr breaks NHL record for career game-winning goals (UPDATE: Well, not yet)
  • Cam Neely vs. Ulf Samuelsson and the brutal history of Bruins/Penguins rivalry

    The Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins renewed their rivalry in the 2013 Eastern Conference Playoffs, with the Bruins sweeping the Penguins in the conference finals. It was a humbling dismissal of Sidney Crosby’s team, which faces the Bruins for the first time since the series on Wednesday’s “Rivalry Night” on NBCSN.

    Of course, it was also a reversal of fortunes from 20 years ago.

    From 1991-1992, the Wales Conference championship was decided between the Bruins and the Penguins, with the Penguins winning twice en route to consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

    The greatest battle within that battle may have been the Bruins prototypical power winger Cam Neely against the Penguins’ win-at-all-costs defenseman Ulf Samuelsson.

    The two would battle in front of the crease, neither giving an inch to the other. Sticks, elbows, knees … they physical battle between the two was perfectly symbolic of the struggle between two star-laden titans of the East.

    But their rivalry’s apex came on

    Read More »from Cam Neely vs. Ulf Samuelsson and the brutal history of Bruins/Penguins rivalry
  • Getty ImagesDidn’t Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier kill it with that Thomas Vanek trade with the New York Islanders, getting back a top-six forward in Matt Moulson, and first-rounder and a second-rounder from Garth Snow?

    Hey, the Sabres didn’t even have to retain any of his elephantine $6.4 million salary!

    Oh, wait …

    “As reported on Tuesday by TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, Vanek's former team the Sabres will retain approximately $1.4 million - or roughly 20 per cent - of what's left of the $6.4 million he is still owed in the final year of his contract.”

    That’s odd. Here was one of the most coveted offensive players available in the NHL, and the Sabres couldn’t find a deal that didn’t involve them paying 20-percent of the freight on Vanek?

    Well, at least their draft picks are theirs to use as they please.

    Oh, wait …

    “Another wrinkle in the Vanek deal: if the 1st round pick NYI sent Buff ends up top 10 in June, Isles have option to defer the pick to 2015. So it's Isles' option to either have

    Read More »from Sabres pay part of Vanek’s contract, gave Islanders draft pick control in deal
  • When Rogers and Bell purchased Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment for roughly the gross national product of Liberia, the thought was that the informal stranglehold the Toronto Maple Leafs had on the territory would ease and that a second Toronto NHL team could become a reality. Factor in the Markham arena talks, and the wheels appeared to inch forward.

    MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke says, ‘slow your roll.’

    Speaking The Empire Club of Canada on Tuesday, Leiweke said that Seattle, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Quebec City are at the forefront of NHL expansion, which seems inevitable given the imbalance between the two conferences (16 teams in the East, 14 in the West).

    He put Seattle and Quebec City at the top of that list. “I think we owe Quebec another shot,” he said, via the National Post.

    But a second team in Toronto? Leiweke said it’s not going to happen “any time soon.”

    Dave Shoalts of the Globe & Mail got some additional information from Leiweke about his comments:

    “Tim Leiweke stressed the

    Read More »from Maple Leafs CEO Tim Leiweke: 2nd Toronto team won’t happen ‘any time soon’
  • Why Flames defenseman Mark Giordano’s injury is a crushing one

    Getty ImagesMark Giordano has been one of the better stories in the NHL this season for the Calgary Flames. But he could be gone for two months (6-8 weeks) with a broken ankle, according to the team.

    Which sucks.

    He had nine points in eight games and looked primed for one of his best offensive years in his eight seasons in Calgary. He was second on the team in average ice time (25:03) behind Dennis Wideman, playing most of his minutes with T.J. Brodie and doing his best to cover the youngster’s shortcomings against the opponents’ top talent.

    Giordano was named captain in the preseason, deservedly so, and has taken to the role like a natural. He’s been so good, both on the ice and intangibly for the Flames, that the Calgary Herald felt he had arrived on the Team Canada radar:

    “I would be his No. 1 supporter,” praised Flames’ boss Bob Hartley. “Gosh, what’s not to like? Plays hard. Plays smart. This guy’s on the job every day. Practice. Games. He’s pleasant. Coachable. A good family man. The

    Read More »from Why Flames defenseman Mark Giordano’s injury is a crushing one
  • LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn't work, try here.]

    It's a Tuesday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more: unappealing

    Special Guest Star: Dean Brown, voice of the Ottawa Senators, joins us.

    • Brandon Saad was a monster last night for the Blackhawks. (Thanks, Pierre.)

    • Pat Kaleta decides not to appeal.

    • Contract talks and injury watch.

    • News and notes from around the NHL.

    Question of the Day: Who is the lamest celebrity you've seen at a game? Email at or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek.

    Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above! Click here to download podcasts from the show each day. Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Feedburner.

    Read More »from Marek Vs. Wyshynski Podcast: The unappealing Pat Kaleta; praising Saad; lame celebs at games
  • Calder Trophy Watch: Is Tomas Hertl still best in class?

    Getty Images(Every so often, Puck Daddy presents its look at the rookie class of 2013-14 in our Calder Trophy Watch.)

    What many of us anticipated in the Calder Trophy Watch: That Tomas Hertl, skating alongside Joe Thornton for the San Jose Sharks, would be in the mix for the award this season.

    What none of us could have anticipated: That he’d have eight goals and three assists in 12 games, including a highlight reel tally in a 4-goal effort that sparked a league-wide controversy.

    Talk about your memorable debuts …

    He’s cooled off since then, with one goal and three helpers in his last games. But it’s safe to say that he’s at the front of the pack for the Calder.

    Read More »from Calder Trophy Watch: Is Tomas Hertl still best in class?


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