- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
Last Season: 38-33-11 (87 points); 5th in Central; 2nd Wild Card spot in West
The first two-thirds (ish) of the season wasn’t an easy one for the Minnesota Wild.
The team was constantly dancing around the ‘will they, won’t they’ question of firing head coach Mike Yeo. Fifty five games into the season, a 23-22-10 record, and an eight game losing streak later, Yeo was sent packing.
Taking over was then-Iowa Wild (AHL) head coach, John Torchetti. He dug the team out of the cellar of the Central Division. In the final 27 games, the Wild were 15-11-1 and clinched a playoff spot shortly before the end of the season.
Facing the Dallas Stars in the first round of the playoffs, the Wild lost in six games. Yet their playoff loss would end up being their long-term gain. Since the Anaheim Ducks lost in the first round as well and decided to fire Bruce Boudreau, Minnesota swooped in and won the bidding war by offering Boudreau four years to the Ottawa Senators three.
2015-16 Season, In One Picture
The Great Round Hope for the State of Hockey.
Did They Get Better, Worse, or Are They About The Same?
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
TORONTO – John Tavares has 207 career NHL goals, so it’s not too often a goaltender gets him frustrated. But seeing Carey Price make saves against your best efforts every day in practice would definitely result in a few whacks of the boards with one’s stick.
“It’s really good for you and also can be a little frustrating,” Tavares said Tuesday of shooting on Price. “He makes some saves look so easy. You feel like you’ve made a really good shot, you got a lot on it, able to catch him off guard or pick the spot you’re hitting and he just swallows it up.”
Despite Price’s frequent denials of good opportunities, there is a benefit, Tavares says.
“As a player, going up against someone like him everyday in these past few weeks certainly makes you a much better shooter and helps you to develop many parts of your game trying to score goals,” he said. “[He’s] just so calm in net, he’s always so poised.”
“Calm” has been a consistent words used to describe Price on and off the ice in his career. No matter the situation – Olympics, Stanley Cup Playoffs, World Cup – the Montreal Canadiens netminder is tough to take off his game.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy14 hrs ago
TORONTO – It takes an average of 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text message. It takes 90 seconds to watch a typical advertisement during the Super Bowl. It takes 90 seconds to make a bag of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice.
Canada has trailed in the World Cup of Hockey for 89 seconds. Canada has faced four teams, and has trailed for less time than it takes to text a friend, watch a commercial or make microwave rice.
Don’t they wish they were challenged even a little bit before reaching the final against Team Europe?
“Not at all!” laughed general manager Doug Armstrong. “I like it just the way it’s going.”
Canada’s a juggernaut. They’ve looked unbeatable in the tournament, rarely being pushed and certainly never panicked. They’ve scored 14 goals and given up just three. They have the NHL equivalent of four first lines and three defensive top pairings. Carey Price, their goaltender, has never lost an international game, going 14-0-0.
Bovada currently has them at 1-to-10 favorites against Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey final; in other words, you’d have to spend $10 on a wager in order to win $1.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy14 hrs ago
TORONTO – Before the World Cup of Hockey started Team Canada players were shown snippets of the 2004 World Cup.
As they watched, they saw one subtle difference in forward Joe Thornton, who was then 25 years old.
“Way bigger beard (now) for sure,” defenseman Shea Weber joked. “It’s definitely neat. It just goes to show that he continues to excel and almost get better as he’s gotten older. He’s obviously been a great player for a long time but he seems to continually produce and be a top end player.”
Just by the eyeball test, there’s no doubt that the 37-year-old Thornton is Team Canada’s oldest player. His giant speckled beard and defined crows feet around his eyes are dead giveaways. The next youngest player on the team is 32-year-old defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. But Thornton is also the team’s most energetic and has turned into one of the major cogs that has driven the group to World Cup dominance in advance of their final round series against Team Europe.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy15 hrs ago
TORONTO – Canada vs. Team Europe isn’t your traditional international hockey tournament final, nor is it the matchup that nearly every hockey fan, writer and talking head thought we’d see before the World Cup of Hockey began earlier this month.
But here we are, one day away from the two teams squaring off at Air Canada Centre in a best-of-three series.
Canada is the expected heavy favorite (-2000 on Bovada), but Team Europe isn’t entering this final only looking to have a good time. They want to keep their run of good fortune going and end this tournament with two more wins, despite their underdog status.
“I’m sure the experience the guys have and also our coaching staff and everybody has been in this position of underdog for most of the time in international tournaments with their teams, so now these best players from these different federations, now they combine into one team and let’s see what they can do together,” said Team Europe general manager Miroslav Satan on Tuesday.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy16 hrs ago
TORONTO – One of Team Europe’s top offensive weapons won’t be available for the World Cup of Hockey final against Canada.
Marian Gaborik will miss the best-of-three series with a foot injury, according to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet. The injury will also have him out for the beginning of the regular season for the Los Angeles Kings, as Kings GM Dean Lombardi said that Gaborik will miss “eight weeks” with the foot injury.
Gaborik has two goals in four World Cup games for Europe, including the opening goal in their semifinal upset win against Sweden. He played 17:58 in the overtime victory on Sunday.
Gaborik was spotted leaving the Air Canada Centre after Team Europe’s practice on Monday on crutches, his foot in a cast. Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger said Gaborik had “a lower body injury that we’re still managing” and said he couldn’t diagnose the injury after practice.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy16 hrs ago
TORONTO – Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said he was nervous during the World Cup of Hockey that teammate Brad Marchand was almost playing too well with Sidney Crosby on Team Canada.
The question was whether this would sway Marchand, a pending unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2017, towards signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I was getting a little worried now, him playing with Sid,” Bergeron joked after it was announced Marchand was upped to a new long-term contract with Boston. “I guess it’s done and we can move forward and for himself and also for us as a team. Just can’t say enough about it. It’s well deserved and he’s an amazing player.”
The decision by the Bruins to sign Marchand to an eight-year $49 million contract Monday showed the organization’s faith in Marchand and how far he has come as a player – from “little ball of hate” to elite scorer.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy18 hrs ago
The Boston Bruins and winger Brad Marchand have agreed to an eight-year contract extension.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the new deal for Marchand comes in at eight years and $49 million overall. This averages out to $6.125 million per-year. Marchand was slated to be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. His current contract is for four years at $18 million.
After Canada’s Saturday World Cup win over Team Russia, Marchand was asked about his contract, and the possibility of going to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The reason for the question had to do with how well Marchand has played in the World Cup on Sidney Crosby’s line. He’s Canada’s second-leading scorer with five points in four games.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy19 hrs ago
In this edition of Marek Vs. Wyshynski, the boys are talking about:
– The World Cup of Hockey in all its glory.
– The mysteries of Team Europe.
– The epic fail from Team USA.
– What we can expect from Team Canada in Final.
– Legacy of Team North America.
– The Jacob Trouba controversy in Winnipeg.
– Reader mail
– News and notes from around the NHL.
The Marek vs. Wyshynski Podcast is hosted by Jeff Marek of Sportsnet and Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports, breaking down the NHL on a (somewhat) daily basis with their particular brand of whimsy and with guest voices from around the hockey world. MvsW streams live while its being recorded: LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn’t work, try here.]
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy19 hrs ago
When an NHL team introduces a new mascot, it’s truly a glorious occasion.
While many go on to become beloved facets of the franchise – giving out free hugs at the arena and helping to sell thousands of plush effigies to young fans – others end up on the ever-growing pile of bad ideas this League has produced. Like, for example, the Columbus Blue Jackets attempt to phase out an adorable googly-eyed bug in favor of a Civil War cannon that looked like a penis.
So into which category will the Edmonton Oilers’ new mascot Hunter fall?
The Oilers introduced Hunter on Monday, with the following explanation:
The Edmonton Oilers revealed the newest member of the Oilers family, introducing their official mascot, “Hunter” the Canadian Lynx. The mascot is named Hunter as a tribute to “Wild Bill” Hunter, the original owner of the Edmonton Oilers who founded the team in 1972. As such, Hunter will also don #72 on his Oilers jersey.