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?

  • Jimmy Howard’s new mask has nipples on it

    As the new season approaches, we should be seeing a plethora of new goalie mask designs. Here’s what Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings will wear. It has nipples.

    FacebookWell, in fairness, so does the Spirit of Detroit statue on which the mask is based.

    It’s really a cool concept: The statue is literally raising the city, which be read as a metaphor for how the people of Detroit’s spirit will lift it from its current economic catastrophe or how the Red Wings do the same for those people.

    FacebookDoes that face look like an un-bearded Henrik Zetterberg?

    The mask is from Bishop Designs, whose work can be found here.

    s/t Malik

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  • Washington Capitals, National Hockey League of Nations

    Getty Images

    (Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)

    By Jon 'J.P.' Press, Japers' Rink

    “I remember when I first came to Washington. For the first six months you wonder how the hell you ever got here. For the next six months you wonder how the hell the rest of them ever got here.”

    One of our country’s greatest presidents, Harry S. Truman, said that while reflecting upon his time in the capital of this greatest of nations. And while this may be the closest Give ‘Em Hell Harry ever got to a hockey rink, it’s not hard to imagine that same sentiment having crossed the mind of any number of temporary Washingtonians, including those paid to play pucks.

    Indeed, they’ve come from far and wide to lace ‘em up for the red, white and blue (and black and bronze), to be Capitals in the “capital of the world” and add to the rich international framework of both the city and the sport.

    But who in D.C. has best represented each of the powerhouse hockey nations? Who have been the premier on-ice ambassadors in a town full of embassies and diplomats?

    Let’s take a look...

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  • Hockey ‘Entourage’? KHL player hires his friends to be his roommates

    It’s a classic success story: Local boy makes good, gets rich, brings his friends along for bro-tastic adventures, has an agent named Ari Gold, stars as “Aquaman”, falls into a series of ego-driven failures, subsequent drug addiction and a relationship with Sasha Grey, sobers up, produces a movie about miners with his brother Johnny Drama and everyone hugs it out. And a grown man is named "Turtle."

    From the sound of it, forward Veli-Matti Savinainen of the KHL’s Khanty-Mansiysk is living out his own “Entourage” fantasy with two buddies from back in Finland.

    Here’s reader Ville Kankaanpää with a story via Satakunnan Kansasta:

    "According to the Finnish newspaper Satakunnan Kansa, Veli-Matti Savinainen, a 27-year old forward from last season's FEL champion Ässät signed a 2-year contract with KHL's Khanty-Mansiysk located in western Siberia.

    "Here's where it gets interesting: Savinainen hired two of his friends to come along!

    "After asking how much the guys make in a month working as

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  • Penguins, Bruins, Blackhawks and Kings odds-on favorites entering 2013-14 season

    Getty ImagesThere’s been so much attention paid to the rechristening of the four divisions – Detroit in the Atlantic, the very existence of the Metropolitan – that you might have forgotten that the NHL rejiggered its playoff format as well.

    Please recall that each conference will have two divisions each. The top three teams in those divisions are playoff teams. The remaining two playoff seeds are “wild cards,” i.e. the next two conference teams in total points, regardless of their division affiliation. So the Central could have three teams in the playoffs and the Pacific could have five teams … which may be how this thing actually shakes out.

    The division winner with the most points plays the wild card team with the fewest points; the other division winner plays the wild-card team with the second-fewest points. The second and third teams in the two divisions face each other, and then everyone advances and reseeds.

    So who are the odds-on favorites in these divisions as the preseason approaches?

    Read More »from Penguins, Bruins, Blackhawks and Kings odds-on favorites entering 2013-14 season
  • Watch Minnesota Wild’s arena ice get made, painted in 43 seconds (Video)

    Fresh ice.

    Fresh, clean ice, without skate marks or snot trails or the tears of players at season’s end. Because this is the beginning, you see, and arenas around the NHL are laying down the frozen water and the paint in preparation for the preseason.

    Watch this awesome time-lapse of the Minnesota Wild’s home ice being created at Xcel Energy Center*, and know that the season’s nearly here.

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    Nothing makes a hockey fan crave the start of the season more than seeing that first fresh Toyota advertisement in the neutral zone, right?

    * We originally found this video on the Star Tribune web site, which didn’t allow for it to be embedded. We had to opt for the Wild’s version, to the chagrin of the Trib’s advertisers, we imagine.

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  • Tomas Kaberle taking his talents to the KHL, close to deal with Minsk

    Getty ImagesWhen you think about the quintessential NHL-to-KHL player, three types come to mind: Homesick Russians looking to make bank; marginal pros that shuttle back and forth from the AHL; and former stars who have either priced themselves out of a gig or whose skills have eroded to the point where they’re more liabilities than luxuries for teams.

    Guess in which category Tomas Kaberle falls?

    The 35-year-old defenseman is close to an agreement with Dinamo Minsk, according to Czech publication Sport. Kaberle spent the last 15 years in the NHL, spending the majority of them with the Toronto Maple Leafs before riding the Boston Bruins’ coattails to the Stanley Cup.

    Minsk Coach Alois Hadamczik tells Sport he thinks Kaberle will thrive on the larger ice and that he’s a “serious contender” for the Czech Olympic team.

    Kaberle was done as an NHL player. His last two stops have been disastrous: Signing a 3-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, and then being traded just 29 games into the 2011-12

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  • Don’t tell Evgeni Nabokov he won’t be Russia’s Olympic starting goalie

    GettyEvegni Nabokov of the New York Islanders is a pretty candid guy.

    Ask him about Ilya Kovalchuk retiring from the NHL in favor of playing in the KHL, and he says: “Those who condemn Kovalchuk’s action are simply stupid people.”

    Ask him about heading to the KHL himself, and Nabby says: “Do you think, given that I went back to the NHL for family reasons, after just two years I would seriously talk about returning to Russia?”

    So, uh, that’s a “no” then?

    His candor extends to his place on Russia’s Olympic team for the Sochi 2014 Games. One assumes Sergei Bobrovsky will be the starter. One assumes Semyon Varlamov will get one of the other roster spots. One assumes Ilya Bryzgalov will not be on the team, because he wasn’t invited to Russia’s Olympic camp and because if he didn’t have the mental toughness to start the Winter Classic in Philly for the Flyers, how is he going to start for Russia in Sochi?

    That leaves one spot open, and one assumes the 38-year-old veteran Nabokov could land it with a good start for the Islanders this season. Just don’t assume that he’ll be going as a backup, because Evgeni Nabokov doesn’t appreciate your assumptions.

    Read More »from Don’t tell Evgeni Nabokov he won’t be Russia’s Olympic starting goalie
  • ARLINGTON, VA – Patrick Kane was eating breakfast last December in Davos, Switzerland, playing in the Spengler Cup tournament during the NHL lockout. He glanced up from his plate and looked out the window, spying a familiar face shuffling by in the snow-covered street, wearing a pair of skis and a USA Hockey jacket.

    It was Ron Wilson, two-time coach of the U.S. men’s national team, doing the same thing he did as coach of Kane's team in the Vancouver Olympics: making an uphill climb while wearing his national pride on his sleeve.

    “I was a big fan of his,” recalled Kane. “He was great for that tournament, and a guy that’s very outgoing and not afraid to say what’s on his mind, that’s for sure.”

    Kane remembered him. But at the 2014 U.S. Olympic camp held in Arlington, Va. this week, Ron Wilson was a forgotten man.

    The players he coached to a silver medal were there. The general manager that hired him, Brian Burke, was there. The legacy of that 2010 team – from the way it exceeded expectations to the bitter end of its journey on Sidney Crosby’s golden goal – loomed over everything. But the focus was on how new coach Dan Bylsma intends to build on that success, rather than on the foundation Wilson helped construct for it over three years ago.

    Although he’ll pick his own supporting cast, Bylsma is essentially taking over Wilson’s team. The comparisons will be drawn, from the players and the media and the American fans expecting the Pittsburgh Penguins coach to, at a minimum, reach the same heights as Wilson did in 2010.

    No one knows this better than Bylsma. Which is why he’s done anything but ignore Ron Wilson’s legacy.

    Read More »from Dan Bylsma vs. Ron Wilson: Can the U.S. Olympic coach match legacy of his predecessor?
  • The great Sochi Olympics ice surface hype

    Getty Images

    ARLINGTON, VA – Unlike the Vancouver Olympics, the hockey tournament in Sochi will be played on an Olympic-sized international sheet of ice – 200 feet by 100 feet, rather than the 200 feet by 85 feet of an NHL-sized rink.

    Vancouver was the anomaly; Winter Olympic hockey has been played on this surface every other Olympiad. Yet the change back to that surface in Sochi has become, perhaps, the most overhyped aspect of the pre-Olympics coverage.

    “These guys have all played international, OK? It’s pretty simple: The rink’s 15 feet wider. If you think about it, you can’t chase the puck in any of the zone like you do in our rinks. It’s elementary,” said Brian Burke, GM of the 2010 USA Hockey team and part of the brain-trust for 2014.

    “I don’t think it’s that big a deal. That being said, the underlying skating ability is something every player has to have. Maybe not the fastest guy to win a race, but if you can’t skate on that sheet, you’re in trouble."

    Read More »from The great Sochi Olympics ice surface hype
  • Toronto Maple Leafs, National Hockey League of Nations

    Getty Images(Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)

    By Maple Leafs Hot Stove

    Canada: Dave Keon

    Dave Keon was a wonderful Maple Leaf for 15 seasons but may have been, if not the “best”, certainly the most complete all-around player in the NHL for a five-year period in the 1960s.

    I would argue that between 1962 and 1967, no other player did more things well than the diminutive Leaf center. He was arguably the fastest skater in the league, and a peerless penalty-killer. Remarkably, he virtually never took a penalty himself, averaging maybe two minors a season throughout most of his career. He was strong on face-offs, but perhaps most importantly was often tasked with shutting down the best center on the opposing teams, a job he handled splendidly.

    While not primarily a goal-scorer, his trademark was nonetheless scoring huge goals, including at playoff time. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in the spring of ’67 when the underdog Leafs last won a Cup, but it’s difficult to imagine he would not have won it more often had that trophy been in existence when the Leafs ruled the NHL between 1962 and 1964. He was a relentless forechecker and while not known as a physical player in the conventional sense, he used angles so expertly that he led his team in ‘take-outs’ — whereby he eliminated the man who just had the puck from the play entirely — every season.

    While I have many vivid memories of individual plays and moments involving Keon (his ‘hat trick’ in Game 7 of the 1964 semi-finals in Montreal, when the Leafs won 3-1 jumps to mind, along with his clinching markers in the last game of the ’63 and ’64 Cup finals against the Red Wings), what stands out most for me, even after all these years, was his consistency. Virtually every game was, for Keon, a carbon copy of the game that preceded it. He was that consistent in terms of quality, effort and determination. Having said that, I would still make the case that in big games and key moments, especially come playoff time, he somehow found an even higher gear.

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