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=> 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => [2] => 3 ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => [2] => 2 ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array 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[1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => [2] => 2 ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] 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) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( 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5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => [2] => 2 ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 5 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => [2] => 2 ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => [2] => 3 ) Array ( [0] => 1 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 3 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 4 [1] => ) Array ( [0] => 2 [1] => ) 10 Copyright (c) 2014 Yahoo!, Inc. All rights reserved. en-us 126 15 https://ca.sports.yahoo.com Yahoo Sports https://s.yimg.com/rz/d/yahoo_sports_en-US_s_f_p_182x21_sports.gif Puck Daddy - NHL - Yahoo Canada Sports Latest Puck Daddy - NHL from Yahoo Canada Sports https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy?player=nhl.p.4474 Mon, 21 Apr 2014 20:44:20 PDT The redemption of Corey Crawford https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/the-redemption-of-corey-crawford-034419028.html While there was enough blame to share as the Chicago Blackhawks lost the first two games of their series at the St. Louis Blues, goalie Corey Crawford took it all himself after giving up late goals to the Blues.

“Our guys need me to make a save at the end [of regulation], too. Really frustrating being up and losing the lead two games in a row in the last couple of minutes. It’s pretty much not acceptable. We’re not going to win if I’m going to play like that. Just got to be better,” he said after Game 2’s OT loss.

In Game 3, he was better: 34 shots faced, 34 saves for Crawford as the Blackhawks won, 2-0, and cut the Blues’ series lead to 2-1.

He made a few clutch saves throughout the game – earned chants of “Corey, Corey, Corey!” from the home crowd – and none was bigger than when he fought off an Alex Pietrangelo shot to his glove side in the waning seconds to preserve the lead.

"Just because we came here and got the first one at home doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy,” he said after the game.

According to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, Coach Joel Quenneville met with Crawford about his series thus far. And Crawford came through with the shutout.

Meanwhile, Ryan Miller’s one mistake – allowing a soft goal to Jonathan Toews in the first period – ended up as the definitive goal of the game.

A few thoughts:

* So how did the St. Louis Blues miss David Backes, out with an upper body injury after that Brent Seabrook hit? In the faceoff circle for one, as the Blackhawks dominated draws to the tune of 59 percent to 41 percent.

* Toews, meanwhile, was a stellar 79 percent in the dot, going 19 for 24.

* Alex Steen attempted to pick up the offensive slack with 12 shot attempts in 18:34.

* Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have yet to tally a point in this postseason.

 

 

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Mon, 21 Apr 2014 20:44:20 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,1d7dd598-e69e-3412-a43e-6420ef32b8c1-l:1
St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks: Puck Daddy’s Tinder NHL Preview https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/st--louis-blues-vs--chicago-blackhawks--puck-daddy-s-tinder-nhl-preview-162033302.html <p><em>(Ed. Note: With its new playoff format, the NHL is seeking to create passion for fans and teams through forced, bracketed relationships. But hey, at first glance, the matchups are pretty sexy. All of this led to one ideal theme for our 2014 Playoff Preview: Tinder, the social media dating app. We hope you swipe right this postseason ...)</em></p> <p>The St. Louis Blues looked like they were going to avoid the Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1 … until a late season injury-fueled tumble led to the Colorado Avalanche hopping over them into first place in the Central and dropped the Blues into a very tough first-round battle.</p> <p>Both teams faced post-Sochi injuries to star players, but should have the majority of them back for this series.</p> <p>Who wins this showdown between former Norris Division rivals?</p> <span id="yui_3_0_0-2-1397755690903" class="yui-editorial-embed"><div class="yom-fig-frame" style="width:100%;text-align:center;margin:auto;"><span id="schemaorg"><img title="" alt="" class="editorial " src="https://s.yimg.com/os/publish-images/sports/2014-04-17/6683fe20-c64b-11e3-bc09-df0718d14104_e72295c0-c36a-11e3-ba0e-6181753e5f32_Screen-Shot-2014-04-13-at-8-20-31-PM.png" align="middle" width="630"></span></div></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>FORWARDS</strong></p> <p>The biggest question for the St. Louis Blues entering this series was how many of the forwards listed here would actually appear against the Blackhawks. The Blues were hit with several injuries up front in the last month of the season.</p> <p>But the cavalry is arriving at the right time.</p> <p>T.J. Oshie is one of those forwards, trying to return from an assumed concussion. He had 60 points in the regular season, playing top line minutes with Alex Steen, whose 33 goals led the Blues. David Backes was usually the center on that dominating line, tallying 57 points, but one wonders of Ken Hitchcock won’t spread the wealth in the playoffs and make defending their offense tougher for Chicago.</p> <p>Secondary scoring will be key, which puts Jaden Schwartz (56 points) and Vladimir Tarasenko (43 points) in the spotlight, the latter player returning from injury. Vladimir Sobotka, another one of the walking wounded, should center those two. He’s one of the most underrated two-centers in the conference.</p> <p>Patrik Berglund (32 points) and Derek Roy (37 points) can help if healthy. Ditto Brenden Morrow, who usually plays his best in the postseason. Steve Ott, Max Lapierre, Magnus Paajarvi, Adam Cracknell and Chris Porter also bring their unique sets of skills to the lineup.</p> <p>For the Blackhawks, Patrick Sharp led the team with 78 points, including 42 goals, but that’s probably because the dynamic Patrick Kane (29 goals, 69 points) was limited to 69 games due to injury. Sharp, Jonathan Toews (68 points) and Marian Hossa (60 points) form a line that can beat you offensively and shut you down defensively.</p> <p>That is, if that line plays together. Joel Quenneville is a notorious line juggler in the playoffs, and has been using Toews with Kris Versteeg (29 points) and Brandon Saad (47 points) in practice. Michal Handzus was in between Sharp and Hossa, while Kane was reunited with an effective line from last year’s playoff run: Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell.</p> <p>Ben Smith, Joakim Nordstrom, Peter Regin and Brandon Bollig round out the lineup.</p> <p><strong>Advantage: Blackhawks</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>DEFENSE</strong></p> <p>The Blues defense produces points, drives possession and is generally awesome. It starts with Alex Pietrangelo (51 points) and Jay Bouwmeester (37 points), one of the League’s best pairings. Kevin Shattenkirk (45 points) is the other top offensive D-man, and he’s skated mostly with Carlo Colaiacovo. Barret Jackman and Roman Polak bring some beef and snarl.</p> <p>The Blackhawks will likely have a Norris Trophy winner in Duncan Keith, whose 61 points were second among defensemen. As usually, Brent Seabrook will run shotgun with him. They’re the top pairing, but it’s Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya that draw the top defensive assignments for the Blackhawks. Nick Leddy, Sheldon Brookbank, Michal Rozsival and David Rundblad round out the group.</p> <p><strong>Advantage: Blues</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>GOALIES</strong></p> <p>Simply put, Ryan Miller can win a series on his own. But he was inconsistent by his own admission in 19 games for the Blues, with a .903 save percentage. Was that a result of the team in front of him falling apart or Miller struggling? If we see Brian Elliott in the first round, that’s means things aren’t going all that well for the Blues. At all.</p> <p>Corey Crawford returns after back-stopping the Hawks to the Cup, with a .917 save percentage and a 2.26 GAA in the regular season. Once again, he’ll probably not be the reason Chicago wins or loses in the series. Antti Raanta is the backup, having yet to appear in the postseason.</p> <p><strong>Advantage: Blues</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>HOTNESS</strong></p> <p><strong><span id="yui_3_0_0-2-1397755690905" class="yui-editorial-embed"><div class="yom-fig-frame" style="width:100%;text-align:center;margin:auto;"><span id="schemaorg"><img title="" alt="" class="editorial " src="https://s.yimg.com/os/publish-images/sports/2014-04-17/7e614e80-c64b-11e3-bc09-df0718d14104_tinderstlchi.jpg" align="middle" width="630"></span></div></span></strong></p> <p>The Blues lost six in a row and were 3-7-0 down the stretch, thanks to getting slammed by injuries.</p> <p>The Blackhawks, without Toews and Kane, were 5-5-0 down the stretch. So neither team enters the playoffs sizzling hot at the moment.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>COACHES</strong></p> <p>Ken Hitchcock has gotten the Blues to the playoffs in each of his three seasons in St. Louis, but the Blues have only advanced in one of those seasons. Can he conjure some offense that has been in absent in previous seasons?</p> <p>Joel Quenneville has won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, showing an ability to move pieces around when necessary. He pushes a lot of buttons. They’re usually the right ones.</p> <p><strong>Advantage: Blackhawks</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>SPECIAL TEAMS</strong></p> <p>The Blues were seventh in the NHL on the power play at 19.8 percent and second on the kill at 85.7 percent.</p> <p>The Blackhawks were 10th on the power play at 19.5 percent and 19th on the kill at 81.4 percent. Who knew Michael Frolik was so darn vital?</p> <p><strong>Advantage: Blues</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>SERIES SLOW JAM</strong></p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RMONGMDEerI" frameborder="0" height="315" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>“Misty Blue” by Dorothy Moore</strong>. Oh, it’s been such a long, long time since you made the finals, St. Louis. <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">(Bonus: Moore was born in Missouri!)</span> (Actually, Mississippi. D'oh.)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>PLAYERS TO WATCH</strong></p> <span id="yui_3_0_0-2-1397755690907" class="yui-editorial-embed"><div class="yom-fig-frame" style="width:100%;text-align:center;margin:auto;"><span id="schemaorg"><img title="" alt="" class="editorial " src="https://s.yimg.com/os/publish-images/sports/2014-04-14/70b749a0-c3f9-11e3-ac8c-9126fcc8f2bc_playerstowatch.jpg" align="middle" width="630"></span></div></span> <p><strong>SWIPE LEFT ON … T.J. Oshie, </strong>who is battling through a concussion and has actually been terrible in the postseason in his three previous trips: two goals and three assists in 19 games. No shootouts in the playoffs, sir.</p> <p><strong>SWIPE RIGHT ON … Patrick Kane, </strong>last season’s Conn Smythe winner, who should be rested and ready for the first round. If Quenneville uses him off the top two lines, that could be an easier defensive assignment for one of the league’s most dynamc scorers.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>PREDICTION</strong></p> <span id="yui_3_0_0-2-1397755690909" class="yui-editorial-embed"><div class="yom-fig-frame" style="width:100%;text-align:center;margin:auto;"><span id="schemaorg"><img title="" alt="" class="editorial " src="https://s.yimg.com/os/publish-images/sports/2014-04-17/c63c8a30-c64b-11e3-b577-9da3c058ea4f_tinderpickhawks.jpg" align="middle" width="630"></span></div></span> <p>Blackhawks in six. The Blues are getting healthy at the right time, but so is Chicago. We’re still worried about the St. Louis offense, and whether Miller can give them what they traded for in goal. It wouldn’t shock us to see the Blues win, but it says here Blackhawks in six.</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:20:32 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,13ccd7ad-16b2-332d-8a2f-7c419a51605c-l:1 Mike Rupp suspended four games for Oshie hit, as Hitchcock calls Walz's comments 'disgusting' https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/ken-hitchcock-calls-wes-walz-s-support-of-rupp-hit-on-oshie--disgusting-181625296.html Even more concerning than the St. Louis Blues 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, their fourth consecutive defeat, was the loss of T.J. Oshie, who left the game in the second period after suffering a vicious hit from Mike Rupp.

Carrying the puck up the boards, Oshie passed it off to Vladimir Sobotka at the point, then began to curl to the inside of the ice. There, Rupp stepped into him. The hit was late, it was to the head, and Oshie suffered an injury. For this, Rupp has been suspended four games:

It's a damning verdict, and Patrick Burke pulls no punches in explaining why it's suspendable.

"Well after Oshie releases the puck, Rupp drives his left shoulder into Oshie's head, making it the main point of contact and causing an injury. This is both an illegal check to the head and interference.

"If he wants to attempt to hit Oshie, he must do so within the allowable timeframe and in a legal manner. He does neither. Rupp hits Oshie at a point when he is no longer to be hit and in doing so, he takes an angle that picks Oshie's head."

The hit is nigh indefensible.

Which is what makes the defence from former Wild player turned analyst Wes Walz, tweeted a little earlier in the day, so strange:

The "send a message" comment refers to a late March article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where both Barrett Jackman and Alex Pietrangelo stressed the importance of establishing their game against a Wild team that looked, at that time, like their probable first-round playoff opponents. 

But one assumes headhunting is hardly the sort of message-sending they were alluding to. I would say that Walz's comments were off-base. 

Ken Hitchcock went one step further, calling them disgusting.

"The comments by Wes Walz, knowing the [Wild] coaching staff the way I do, I don’t believe they would condone those comments," he told Jeremy Rutherford, "and quite frankly with a player getting hurt like that, they’re just disgusting."

Backing up Hitchcock's comments was Wild coach Darryl Sydor, who made sure to note that the hit wasn't an attempt to send a message. "We didn't mark anybody," he said. 

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Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:46:24 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,1557598f-d639-3cc3-91a2-3975e8d9f8dd-l:1
Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Why Mike Gillis was canned; the Dave Bolland problem https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-daddy-power-rankings--why-mike-gillis-was-canned--the-dave-bolland-problem-212520910.html [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

6. Holding the bag

The Canucks weren't exactly a mess this year and the underlying numbers point to their having been mostly unlucky, but nonetheless they're going to miss the playoffs; and in a market like that, someone had to pay.

And so it was that Mike Gillis was let go after years of being viewed as perhaps one of the 10 best GMs in the league. I wrote a few weeks ago that this was inevitable, though one strains to see how doing it now, rather than after the end of the season, does anything but distract from this pointless final few games.

Some would call that childish. They'd be right.

But make no mistake, the reason he's being fired is not the missing of the playoffs or even the Luongo trade, which was a small miracle. It's the Schneider trade. And it's the fact that John Tortorella is being given the NHL Coaching Credibility Club-mandated benefit of the doubt. "It takes time to learn a system," and so on. It matters not that basically everyone on the team save for Mike Santorelli has underperformed expectations with Tortorella in charge, which should logically indicate a problem other than "a down year for (put player name here)."

The Schneider trade is what begot so many of the team's problems. From a perception standpoint, as well as one of performance. If the Luongo trade is wrangled at any point in the last few years, none of this is being discussed, and Gillis still has a job. But he asked for the moon for too long, dragged the drama too far, and in the end got too little in return.

The ultimate benefit of trading Luongo is no longer answering questions about who's the starter, and getting out of that contract. That they got any assets back at all is something of a coup. But that doesn't matter in the short term. The team is worse. Gillis signed Luongo to that poison contract, then had the league reverse engineer its CBA to punish him. If the latter hadn't happened, who cares about the rest?

It was indeed time for Gillis to go, but the how and why get a little cloudy here. Doesn't really matter now, I guess.

5. Zac Rinaldo, why don't you come to your senses?

There's going to come a time, and one can't be too sure when it will be, exactly, when the so-called “rats” of this league are run out of it with pitchforks and torches. The problem with this is that there's no real way to say when it will happen, except that it won't be any time soon.

The problem is that teams keep employing them. Obviously. They only get so many chances these days, as we've seen with Patrick Kaleta and Matt Cooke. They're told they can either reform or take a hike, and those two, at least, have chosen to take the former tack in hopes of earning a few million dollars more. Can't really blame them. Even Brad Marchand, as sneaky-dirty a player as there was in the game just a few years ago, has largely shaped up and stopped trying to injure people who had slightly aggrieved him.

Cooke and Marchand, though, at least had the benefit of being reasonably good and useful hockey players beyond their repeated and obvious attempts to injure opponents. Kaleta did not, and boy did Gary Bettman ever drop the hammer on that dude earlier this season as a consequence.

One guy who falls more into the Kaleta realm in terms of injuriousness/bad-at-hockeyness is Zac Rinaldo, who was suspended this week for a negligible amount of games given his status as a repeat offender. (Having been suspended in Feb. 2012, and fined for two separate incidents of ultra-violence in the same game just a week before that. Since then, he's gone more than 100 games without trying to kill someone, which is good and admirable, as these things go.)

Then Sunday night he tried to remove Chad Ruhwedel's head late in a nothing game, in which the Flyers were already dominating. Left his feet, targeted the head, gave him a concussion, the whole nine yards. Clear intent to injure. Match penalty and a suspension.

The reason he got so few games, though, should be obvious. As blatant as this was, it also came in Game 77 (and against a prospect who's only just now making his way into the NHL, rather than a star), meaning that there were only four games left for the Flyers in the regular season. Convenient how that suspension worked out so he wouldn't have to miss any playoff games, isn't it?

But this is exactly the kind of person the Department of Player Safety should be hitting with seemingly outlandish suspensions. In much the way Rinaldo laughed at picking up two separate fines for one game just over two years ago (saying, “The slew-foot really shouldn't be in the game but 6-nothing we were down and someone had to stir the pot,” which is just about the most reprehensible, unapologetic thing he could have said), a suspension this small means nothing to him.

Another failure of the league's supplementary discipline system because factors other than player safety (the playoffs, optics, etc.) matter more to DOPS than the thing that's in their department's name. Not hard to see why no one ever learns anything.

4. Anyone who wants to trade for Evander Kane

It hasn't been the greatest season in Winnipeg for Evander Kane. He's only seventh on the team in scoring, with just 17 goals and 22 assists despite getting more than 20 minutes a night. Part of this is due to his low shooting percentage (7.1, versus a career average of 9), and despite a career-high shot rate of 3.97 per game, which is second in the league behind only Alex Ovechkin.

But to that point, he went into the weekend with only two goals in his last 21 games (on 72 shots, or 2.8 percent, which is deeply unlucky), and consequently found himself healthy-scratched against Toronto on Saturday. Coach Paul Maurice has not divulged a reason for this, but it might have to do with the lawsuit he's facing for assault, or the fact that he was spotted drinking a beer behind the bench at a Raptors game the night before.

On Monday, when Kane and the Jets returned to Winnipeg, the forward was not really willing to answer any questions about the issue, and of course the local media tried to goad him, asking if he would like to be traded, and saying he brought an “attitude” to the proceedings.

One even said a guy walking down the street wearing a Kane jersey should be “embarrassed.”

Weird how this kind of talk wasn't thrown around when Ondrej Pavelec got popped for a DUI.

The thing is, though, that these media guys are right. Kane 100 percent should want out. And whoever trades for him this summer is going to get a gallon of milk for quart prices.

3. An eye for an eye, unless it's certain people's eyes in which case that kind of stuff has no place in the game

Things got a little ugly in Saturday night's Avalanche/Blues game, and it led to a lot of pearl-clutching about the way in which stars are treated by other players. Except not in the way you might expect.

All the trouble started when Patrick Bordeleau, a more or less useless hockey player who has no business being on an NHL roster, but who has somehow gotten into 123 games over the past two seasons, took a run at St. Louis's No. 2 defenseman and U.S. Olympian Kevin Shattenkirk. Got his elbow up, that kind of thing. Shattenkirk was fine, apart from a little blood on the face, but boy did that ever piss off the Blues bench, as you might expect. A guy who gets seven minutes a night going high on one who plays 21 will do that.

Now, normally in these situations you send out Roman Polak or someone like that to sort someone out, but Blues captain David Backes decided to take matters into his own hands and show the Avs that if they want to go at one the Blues' stars, the Blues would go at one of theirs. The star he opted to go after was Nathan MacKinnon. They wrestled for a little while, and in the end took offsetting minors (Backes for cross checking, MacKinnon for roughing), with the Blues captain also getting dinged with a 10-minute misconduct. Fair enough, really.

So who was upset about this Hammurabian doling out of frontier justice? Don Cherry and the people who think like him. Really. Because, you see, Li'l Natey MacKinnon is just a li'l fella and he don't fight even a li'l bit!!! And big meanie boy David Backes is a big ol' bully and there's no way he should be allowed to get away with that kinda stuff no sir. Not on a li'l 18 year old kid who is really just a li'l guy after all!! If you wanna fight someone, why not pick on someone yer own size Dave you big ol' punk. This was a gutless move, yessiree. No honor for brainless thug David Backes.

Now suppose the situation is reversed. Polak takes a run at Jan Hejda, draws blood. And Paul Stastny tries to get Patrik Berglund to fight him. It's the same principle, right? But would there be this outrage about it? One has to assume that the answer is no. And it's not because Berglund is 25, or because Berglund has never been in a fight. It's not even because he wasn't the No. 1 overall pick, because if anyone tried that with, say, Sidney Crosby, everyone would be fine with it. It's because of all of those things are true: MacKinnon is 18 and never fights and was the No. 1 pick.

Now look, I agree that this was a dumb thing for Backes to do, but the reason why isn't that MacKinnon is a high-quality rookie. It's that if he'd done it to anyone it would be an asinine thing to do. Again, the Blues have Polak, who's okay, and Ryan Reaves, who like Bordeleau sucks at hockey but is a hell of a face-puncher. They should serve as pretty hefty deterrents, under the caveman ways espoused by many un-evolved knuckle-draggers, but did not in this case. Why? Who's to say? And it's not like Backes going after MacKinnon is some mismatch. He's probably the second-best player on the entire Blues roster (behind Alex Pietrangelo) and thus posed, in terms of player-quality, an “equal fight” to MacKinnon despite having considerable size on him. If Reaves tries to feed MacKinnon, then your “honor” beef is perhaps more legitimate.

This is just further evidence of morons wanting to Please Think Of The Children only in certain cases when it suits their argument. The law cannot be doled out this selectively (and indeed, arbitrarily) if it is to be taken seriously.

And it shouldn't be. And it isn't. Not by fans or pundits or players. Not really. Unless they personally disapprove of it for idiotic reasons. In which case it has no place in the game.

2. Being Dave Bolland

Much has been made of the Toronto hype machine and those who gleefully and reflexively duck their heads in the sand when they hear anything that even sounds like “corsi,” but gee whiz if they haven't been outdoing themselves for the last few days.

With the season more or less over, at least from the point of view that the remaining games are effectively exhibitions, the attentions in Toronto have turned to who will be signed, and re-signed this summer, with many agreeing that Dave Bolland should be chief among them.

One problem with that: Dave Bolland reportedly wants $40 million over the next eight years.


Dave Bolland is a lot of things, but “worth $40 million” is absolutely not one of them. And so the question for the Leafs becomes whether they think he's worth anywhere near that? Obviously the can afford to give every player on the roster $5 million per season if this is a cap-free world, but that's going to be about 1/14th or so of the cap next season, and their roster is already littered with dead-weight overpayments (Bozak and Phaneuf and of course Clarkson, among several others).

And the thing is, there isn't one person saying, “Well Dave Bolland is definitely worth $5 million a season until he's 35 years old.” But what they are saying is, “You have to give him that anyway.” Because you see his value on the ice, as a 40-point third-line center, is such that it cannot be quantified with mere statistics. This is because he is viewed in Toronto as being somewhat talismanic. At the time all this talk was really kicking into overdrive, the Leafs had enjoyed his services for just 23 games, and they'd only won 11 of them, but many of those losses were during that long recent losing streak, so something was clearly wrong before he came back healthy. Prior to his injury in early November, the Leafs had won 10 of his 15 games, so clearly he is magic.

So magic, in fact, that it should come as no surprise Darren Dreger is even floating the idea of the team trading more productive players (i.e. the oft-injured Joffrey Lupul) to free up cap space they could then use to “help Bolland.”

Help him do what? Who can say. But he needs all the help he can get.

1. Jeremy Jacobs (...wait, is that right? It is? Okay.)

Jeremy Jacobs gets a lot of flak from a lot of hockey fans and for good reason. He's driven all three of the Gary Bettman lockouts because he feels the players are greedy and should be shaken down at every available opportunity. He raises ticket prices regularly, and he is very much a real-life Mr. Burns. But you have to give him credit where it's due.

This summer, the TD Garden will begin the early stages of a two-year $70 million renovation. Cost to the city's taxpayers? Zero dollars. Unless you buy Bruins tickets, prices for which are going up 20 percent in a lot of cases.

But you have to give Jacobs credit: He's only charging what the market will bear for tickets, and people are going to grumble about paying an extra $1,000 for their seats or whatever, but they're also going to pay that money. At least in this case, people are getting something for their money — maybe not anything especially tangible with relation to their in-game experience — but something nonetheless. They pay because the team wins.

Jacobs is often painted as greedy, and it's easy to see why, but the fact that he didn't even bother trying to wrangle with the city to get something — anything — out of residents, in the way that, say, the Florida Panthers are trying and the Phoenix Coyotes have already done, is at the very least refreshing.

Again, unless you buy Bruins tickets. But would you rather see some of that money be put into a new concourse or shoveled onto Jacobs' money pile?

(Not ranked this week: Anyone who doesn't watch the NCAA Frozen Four starting tomorrow night.

We'll have a preview on Puck Daddy tomorrow morning (or maybe afternoon, I don't know!!!) but the point is that this is one of the best hockey weekends of the year, and if you miss it, you're a sucker!)

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Wed, 09 Apr 2014 14:25:20 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,002943d3-2933-314e-b663-68c4cc09942e-l:1
Help Backes, Oshie and Pietrangelo find their missing Sochi Olympic bags https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/help-backes--oshie-and-pietrangelo-find-their-missing-sochi-olympic-bags-164849605.html The St. Louis Blues have put out an A.B.B. – an All Bags Bulletin.

Center David Backes (USA), winger T.J. Oshie (USA) and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (Canada) are all missing team bags from the Sochi Olympics.

They actually made it back to the U.S., where the Blues say FedEx picked up the luggage at Newark International Airport in New Jersey. But only 18 of the 21 pieces of luggage were returned to the team.

One of the bags contained a significant amount of Team USA autographed memorabilia belonging to Backes that he planned on using for a charity event this month. (And who wouldn’t want to bid highly to commemorate our fourth-place medal?)

If you have any information about the bags, please send it over to Dan O’Neal of the Blues at DO'Neill@stlblues.com.

Obviously we’re happy to hear that the missing bags didn’t contain a gold medal. Or a puck used to beat the Russians in a shootout. Or, like, 10 dogs, in another player’s case.

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Fri, 07 Mar 2014 08:48:49 PST nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,e6b2f1f5-e679-38df-aa25-7cf4e98fba54-l:1
Fantasy Hockey: Why Kyle Turris is a stud, Mike Smith is a dud https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/fantasy-hockey-why-kyle-turris-stud-mike-smith-210925193--nhl.html Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.

It must be nice to have your second line become the hottest line in the league while your top offensive player battles through a slump. And that's exactly what's happening in Chicago. While Patrick Kane has managed just three points in his last eight games, the trio of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp is on fire. If you want to know why this team is a Cup contender every year, you can start there.

Meanwhile, as the Toronto Twitterverse whines about a lack of a No. 1 center, Tyler Bozak is going nuts on the scoresheet. And over in Tampa, the Lightning are saying "Steven who?"

Here's a report of the hottest lines in the NHL, courtesy of Frozen Pool:

There's no Sidney Crosby on this list because the Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis injuries had him switching linemates faster than Bob Murray denies Jonas Hiller trade rumors.

Studs...

These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...

Kyle Turris, Ottawa Senators (7-4-3-7, plus-3, 2 PIM, 20 SOG, and 2 PPPts) - The most interesting thing about those seven games noted above is not the production. We've known about Turris' potential for years. Actually, it's the fact that they include the four games that Jason Spezza was sidelined, as well as three games with Spezza back in the lineup - and yet Turris didn't lose any ice time. It's now Spezza playing the role of 'second fiddle'.

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (6-2-7-9, plus-4, 0 PIM, 16 SOG, and 4 PPPts) - After a slump that saw Pietrangelo manage just six points in 17 games, he stepped it up, secured his spot with Team Canada, and continued on. He's back on the 60-point pace again.

Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings (16-9-8-17, plus-7, 12 PIM, 63 SOG) - The man who will be know in Canada over the rest of January as "the guy who took Claude Giroux's spot" is showing why he deserves a look on Sidney Crosby's line in Sochi. He has 42 goals in his last 85 games playing for a team not big on scoring goals. And with Crosby feeding him pucks?

Teddy Purcell, Tampa Bay Lightning (9-1-9-10, plus-6, 0 PIM, 13 SOG) - Purcell has never been a PIM guy. In fact, he makes Kyle Wellwood look like Zac Rinaldo. But because owners drafted him accordingly, they're happy with the two stat categories that he's helping with right now.

Duds

Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...

Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes (0-4-0, 3.40 GAA, 0.873 SP) - Smith's last regulation win was December 21 and he's only had three regulation wins since November 16. Man, did I ever sound like a Leafs blogger just now.

Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues (8-0-2-2, plus-3, 2 PIM, 7 SOG) - Bouwmeester started the campaign with 19 points in 23 games, but he has just nine in 22 since then. Seven shots on goal over the course of eight games, it's not difficult to put your finger on the problem here.

David Perron, Edmonton Oilers (7-0-2-2, minus-5, 2 PIM, 13 SOG) - As with Bouwmeester, the problem here is shooting, or lack thereof. Perron was averaging over three shots per game before this slump. Not playing with any of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle anymore…could also be a tiny factor.

Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (6-0-1-1, minus-3, 0 PIM, 22 SOG) - Now here's a slump that can't be attributed to a refusal to shoot. The Stars have lost six in a row. Teams, like players, get hot and cold. This is just one of those things and I'd be surprised if it lasted any longer.

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...

Ryan Clowe, New Jersey Devils (5-1-6-7, plus-3, 2 PIM, 14 SOG, 2 PPPts) – While I don't have a lot of faith in this being for real, I do feel obligated to bring the hot streak and waiver-wire candidate to your attention since I've been so vocal about Clowe being pretty much done fantasy-wise… and this contract being so terrible. Just 9% owned in Yahoo.

Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs (9-5-6-11, even, 4 PIM, 14 SOG) – Bozak owners don't care what label you put on him. "Number One Center", or "Number Two Center", or "Number-One-Center-Wannabe", or "Third-Line Checker", or "Hot Dog Guy". Whatever. They're just enjoying all the points while the Bozak haters continue arguing with the Bozak lovers.

Ryan Garbutt, Dallas Stars (23-7-8-15, plus-5, 28 PIM, 52 SOG) – Garbutt is putting up all these points without exposure to the power play and rarely seeing his ice time top 14 minutes. Pick him up for the hits and penalty minutes. Keep him for the goals and assists.

Calvin de Haan, New York Islanders (5-1-6-7, plus-4, 8 PIM, 5 SOG) – Unless things change with de Haan's situation (no power-play time right now), this is a very short-term hot streak. But well worth the pick up for the time being and he certainly has my attention again in keeper leagues.

Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche (12-5-5-10, plus-6, 12 PIM, 15 SOG, and 6 PPPts) – Barrie has struggled at times and has been a healthy scratch often, especially early on. But his game is rounding out and his production of late should keep him in the lineup now. Especially with Erik Johnson possibly sidelined.

Patrick Maroon, Anaheim Ducks (11-1-7-8, plus-1, 36 PIM, 18 SOG) – Maroon has picked up at least five minutes in penalties in five of his last six games, and he finished scrimmage with some junior players the game against the Canucks Thursday with a couple of assists. A must own in roto leagues with any kind of depth.

Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues (5-4-1-5, plus-5, 0 PIM, 16 SOG) – It's not often that you see a big, young player with Berglund's skill move sideways for so long when it comes to offense. How much longer do we have to watch him put up 45 points? Maybe TJ Oshie can explain to him that there is another level one can strive for. At any rate, Berglund does tend to have his little hot runs and this is one of them.

Heating Up?

Here's where I'll fire off a few names of players who may be at the very beginning of a nice little run. Just a gut feeling, but worth looking into and/or taking a chance on:

Olli Määttä, Pittsburgh; Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim; Brad Marchand, Boston; Tyler Ennis, Buffalo; Ryan Ellis, Nashville; Devan Dubnyk, Nashville; Ben Scrivens, Edmonton; Mark Letestu, Columbus.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.

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Thu, 16 Jan 2014 13:09:25 PST Dobber Hockey nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,ab836553-780a-3838-b863-d865e3c6ae10-l:1
NHL Awards 2013-14: Who’s winning at the midpoint? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-2013-14-winning-midpoint-150846058--nhl.html Every team has played at least 41 games as of Wednesday night. So it's about time we review the NHL's first half of the 2013-14 season and hand out some awards to those who are deserving.

We polled the Puck Daddy staff for their top five players for the Hart, Vezina, Calder, Norris, Jack Adams and Selke.

Please hand out some awards of your own in the comments.

(You can find Nick Cotsonika's awards column here.)

Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy Editor

Hart
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Ryan Getzlaf
3. Alex Ovechkin
4. Joe Thornton
5. Patrick Kane

I hesitate to put Crosby over since it’s really a two-man show in Pittsburgh (on two different lines, unlike in Anaheim), but you can’t deny the point total or the way Sid’s been able to keep the ship steady through injuries. But Getzlaf’s performance this season has been incredible.

Vezina
1. Tuukka Rask
2. Josh Harding
3. Ben Bishop
4. Carey Price
5. Ryan Miller

Rask is, at this moment, the best goalie in the world. I’ve seen more of Harding than Bishop, and he’s been dominant. I left Marc-Andre Fleury off my top five because I think his numbers are the benefit of Jacques Martin’s system in front of him than any revelatory performance on his part.

Calder
1. Tomas Hertl
2. Nathan MacKinnon
3. Chris Kreider
4. Torey Krug
5. Hampus Lindholm

Have to still give Hertl the nod here as the rookie that’s made the biggest impression, although I expect he’ll be overtaken by MacKinnon, Kreider or Nichushkin. Lindholm is your Jonas Brodin of 2014.

Norris
1. Duncan Keith
2. Ryan Suter
3. P.K. Subban
4. Alex Pietrangelo
5. Shea Weber

Keith’s arguably having his best season offensively and defensively for the Blackhawks. Suter’s nearly 30-minutes per night can’t be ignored. Weber’s probably the most underrated star this season in the NHL, playing really well on a struggling team.

Jack Adams
1. Patrick Roy
2. Jon Cooper
3. Michel Therrien
4. Bruce Boudreau
5. Joel Quenneville

Patrick Roy shocked the world with the Avs and then kept them in contention after that shock subsided. Cooper has led the Lightning through Stamkos’ injury. Therrien has done a remarkable job with the Habs as well.

Selke
1. Patrice Bergeron
2. Jonathan Toews
3. Pavel Datsyuk
4. Anze Kopitar
5. Marian Hossa

Bergeron remains the lynchpin up front for one of the best defensive teams in hockey, but I’d say he and Toews are neck and neck with Datsyuk for the Selke. Hossa’s been an outstanding defensive winger for years, but wingers win this award about as often as Ovechkin does.

***

Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy Associate Editor

Hart
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Jonathan Toews
3. Alex Ovechkin
4. Ryan Getzlaf
5. Ben Bishop

Somehow, as the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup continually gets battered by injuries are the weeks go on, Crosby is able to keep himself out of the trainers' room. A healthy Sid is an MVP-candidate Sid. His 45 games as of today are the most he's played since the 2009-10 season, the last time he hit 100 points. With 65 points already, he's headed toward a fifth 100-plus point campaign.

Vezina
1. Ben Bishop
2. Tuukka Rask
3. Ryan Miller
4. Josh Harding
5. Carey Price

Martin St. Louis deserves plenty of love for what's he's been able to do in the absence of Steven Stamkos, but without the play of Bishop, the Tampa Bay Lightning wouldn't be third in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the Boston Bruins. He's tied for third among eligible netminders with a 1.86 goals against average, tied with Tuukka Rask for the NHL-lead in shutouts (4) and second in save percentage (.935). He's also sporting a .945 even-strength save percentage.

Calder
1. Tomas Hertl
2. Nathan MacKinnon
3. Torey Krug
4. Valeri Nichuskin
5. Hampus Lindholm

The winner of this mid-season award won't be the same as the one announced in Las Vegas in June. Hertl's injury will knock him out of contention, but there's no denying his 15 goals and 25 points in 35 games is an impressive start to his Sharks career.

Norris
1. Duncan Keith
2. Drew Doughty
3. Zdeno Chara
4. Ryan Suter
5. Alex Pietrangelo

It's a tough group to pick from because you could have several choices here and not be wrong at the midway point. In the end, it's Keith, who leads defensemen in scoring with 42 points and is just behind Doughty in possession among these five.

Jack Adams
1. Dan Bylsma
2. Bruce Boudreau
3. Ken Hitchcock
4. Jon Cooper
5. Patrick Roy

No team has lost more man games to injury than the Penguins (253). yet there they are fourth overall in the NHL and tops in the Eastern Conference with 65 points. While Pittsburgh might cruise to another division title and no. 1 conference seed, Cooper and Roy could threaten for the Adams should the Lightning and/or Avs remain in the playoff picture in their respective conferences.

Selke
1. Jonathan Toews
2. Patrice Bergeron
3. Alex Steen
4. Anze Kopitar
5. Henrik Zetterberg

Whether it's in the face-off circle, defensive zone, offensive zone, Toews is a master. He and Bergeron could trade off the Selke every other year and no one would complain.

***

Harrison Mooney, Puck Daddy Associate Editor

Hart
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Duncan Keith
3. Ryan Getzlaf
4. Alex Ovechkin
5. P.K. Subban

Is there anybody doing what Sidney Crosby is doing right now? The dude is unquestionably the best player in the world. He scores like crazy, he makes everyone around him better, and he terrifies defenders. Sometimes he's downright unstoppable. It's Sidney Crosby and then everybody else.

Vezina
1. Ben Bishop
2. Josh Harding
3. Tuukka Rask
4. Carey Price
5. Jonathan Bernier

People scoffed when Steve Yzerman opted to acquire Ben Bishop on the cheap rather than bidding on Roberto Luongo. But he looks pretty smart now. Bishop has been a huge -- and I do mean literally huge -- part of Tampa's resurgence, not to mention the way they've been able to tread water without Steven Stamkos. His even-strength save percentage is the best among starters, he leads the league in shutouts, he's second in wins and save percentage, and fourth in goals against average. He's killing it right now.

Calder
1. Valeri Nichushkin
2. Seth Jones
3. Aleksander Barkov
4. Nathan MacKinnon
5. Torey Krug

There was a time when it looked like Tomas Hertl was going to run away with this award, but now that he appears to be on the shelf for the remainder of the season, the race has opened up considerably. Right now, Nichushkin is my pick. He looks the least like a rookie out there, and his place alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin has given the Stars one of the best lines in hockey.

Norris
1. Duncan Keith
2. P.K. Subban
3. Zdeno Chara
4. Matt Niskanen
5. Drew Doughty

Keith looks well on his way to his second Norris. He's got the point that get you noticed -- 42, tops among NHL defenceman -- and he's also chewing up minutes, shutting down opposition forwards, and driving the Blackhawks' league-best attack.

Jack Adams
1. Jon Cooper
2. Darryl Sutter
3. Joel Quenneville
4. Michel Therrien
5. Ken Hitchcock

The Jack Adams is usually about the coach who guides him team to an otherwise unexplainable performance, and this year, that guy is Cooper, who has turned the Lightning into a contender in the East. He's gotten help from some great goaltending, no doubt, but he's also done it without Steven Stamkos for a long stretch, and with a line-up full of kids.

Selke
1. Patrice Bergeron
2. Jonathan Toews
3. Justin Williams
4. Antoine Vermette
5. Mikko Koivu

Bergeron remains the best defensive forward in the game. Enough said.

Ryan Lambert, Puck Daddy Columnist

Hart
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Ryan Getzlaf
3. Alex Ovechkin
4. Jonathan Toews
5. Martin St. Louis

Seems a pretty simple argument to make. Crosby is the best player alive and the rest of the league is just playing at participating in the same sport as him. It's a whole other level. With that having been said, the rest of the field is perhaps going to be unfairly overlooked. What Ryan Getzlaf has done in Anaheim is nothing short of remarkable, Alex Ovechkin can't stop scoring, Toews is a three-zone marvel, etc. Martin St. Louis, meanwhile, makes the list because without him the Bolts would be dead in the water.

Vezina
1. Tuukka Rask
2. Ben Bishop
3. Josh Harding
4. Jonathan Bernier
5. Carey Price

Tuukka Rask is the best goaltender on the planet right now, and playing like it. Bishop is also playing at about the same level, but I'm not so easily convinced he can keep it up. Harding would probably be the guy if not for his games-played problem (understandable though it may be). Fill out the rest of the list as you see fit. Bernier and Price are as credible fourth- and fifth-place candidates as you'll find.

Calder
1. Tomas Hertl
2. Nathan MacKinnon
3. Torey Krug
4. Chris Kreider
5. Valeri Nichushkin

This isn't going to hold up, obviously, thanks to Hertl's injury, but man what a start. MacKinnon looks for real as well. Krug is benefiting largely from the judicious coaching of Claude Julien, who's not letting him anywhere near good competition. Kreider and Nichushkin both started making their pushes later than the rest of the field, and thus could be in much better shape by the end of the season.

Norris
1. Duncan Keith
2. Zdeno Chara
3. Drew Doughty
4. Alex Pietrangelo
5. P.K. Subban

Most of these guys are possession monsters, all of them face tough, tough, tough competition. Pick whoever you like from the first four and say he deserves the Norris and I'll say, "You got it, bud." I'm adding Subban as No. 5 even though he's well back of the pack simply because Montreal gets bossed around every game and he's one of just five(!) Habs with positive possession.

Jack Adams
1. Dan Bylsma
2. Ken Hitchcock
3. Bruce Boudreau
4. Joel Quenneville
5. Patrick Roy

Bylsma's team being anywhere near top of the league given what it's gone through is a miracle. Roy's team being anywhere near the middle of the league, let alone the top 10, is a slightly more minor one given the personnel. The rest of the guys just coach juggernauts, and therefore must be doing something very right.

Selke
1. Jonathan Toews
2. Patrice Bergeron
3. Anze Kopitar
4. Alex Steen
5. Henrik Zetterberg

Again, pick any of the top three and you'll be perfectly fine and justified in your choice. I was shocked to see Steen's numbers; he faces the toughest competition of anyone on the Blues, starts most of his shifts in the D-zone, and does nothing but push the puck forward and score. It's remarkable, but he's also hurt. Tough bounce. The inclusion of Zetterberg is deserved, and hopefully puts to rest the idea that Pavel Datsyuk is an elite defensive player. He's not even the best on his own team, and he starts more of his shifts in the attacking zone than every Red Wing but Jakub Kindl and Stephen Weiss.

***

Jen Neale, Puck Daddy writer

Hart
1. Ryan Getzlaf
2. Sidney Crosby
3. Alexander Ovechkin
4. Ben Bishop
5. Patrick Kane

Playing in southern California doesn't afford Getzlaf the attention he deserves. Sidney Crosby has more points and Alexander Ovechkin has more goals than Ryan Getzlaf. (Insert obvious hair joke here.) They also happen to play in the weaker conference and in the weakest division of the entire league. Sid and Ovi don't have to go against Los Angeles and San Jose multiple times in one season like Getzlaf does. Getzlaf, Ovi and Sid face the top lines of their opposition. Using the most basic stat of plus/minus, Getzlaf is a plus-17; where Sid is plus-11 and Ovi is minus-17.

Getzlaf is now doing what was expected of him five years ago when his career was in a downfall, he's is making the players around him better. Case and point, line-mate Dustin Penner. Penner has already surpassed his point totals of the past two seasons in fewer games played. Getzlaf was the one who went out on a line and convinced Bob Murray to bring Penner back.

Finally, when Bobby Ryan was shipped out, that was 30+ goals gone. His replacement, Jakob Silfverberg, has been injured a majority of the season leaving that goal-scoring gap wide open. Getzlaf, who has always been an assist-only guy, stepped up to make up the difference; Getzlaf has 20 goals after 41 games - his career high is 25 goals. Getzy's plus/minus would probably be higher if he didn't play on the Ducks below-average penalty kill (another area where Sid and Ovi don't play). [Ed. Note: Jen here. Brain fart, I know. I am so mad at myself. If I wasn't on Weight Watchers, I'd be eating my feelings ;)]

Vezina
1. Ben Bishop
2. Marc-Andre Fleury
3. Antti Niemi
4. Tuukka Rask
5. Josh Harding

In five seconds, name the Lightning's top four on defense. Not so easy, right? Ben Bishop doesn't have guys like Zdeno Chara, Ryan Suter, Kris Letang, Shea Weber, etc. in front of him. He also doesn't have the luxury right now of an offensive juggernaut like Steven Stamkos to pad his lead in games. He's managed to keep the Lightning competitive in games and near the top of the East. There are goalies with better save percentages and goals against but the key is winning. The Lightning are winning with Bishop in the net.

Calder
1. Tomas Hertl
2. Nathan MacKinnon
3. Tory Krug
4. Valeri Nichushkin
5. Hampus Lindholm

Since these are the mid-season awards, the Calder should be 1A and 1B because Hertl's injury will keep him out of the lineup for a while. Hertl should be applauded for reaching 25 points in 35 games as a rookie. The Sharks are missing those extra goals; even more so now with Logan Couture out of the line up for a few weeks.

My 1B winner is Nathan MacKinnon. He has passed Hertl in points and is about to tie him in goals. I look at Nate as having a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Everyone was obsessed with Seth Jones up to the draft. Everyone was sure Jones was going to go first. It ends up being MacKinnon. Then the comparisons to Sidney Crosby start because they're from the same town. Crosby is a once in a generation talent, that's just not fair.

MacKinnon's draft report lauds his skill but states he needs to bulk up before he can be productive at the NHL level. Instead of being sent down to get bigger, Patrick Roy decided to keep MacKinnon up with the Avs, making Nate one of the youngest players in the NHL at 18 years old; he won't turn 19 until September. He is contributing to a team that wasn't expected to do anything this year. In an 11 game stretch, he scored eight goals and two assists. He's currently tied with Ryan O'Reilly for fourth on the Avs in scoring.

Norris
1. Duncan Keith
2. Zdeno Chara
3. Ryan Suter
4. Shea Weber
5. Cam Fowler

I don't do fancy stats. They're too complicated for me. After P.K. Subban won the award last season, the Norris has officially become the offensive-defenseman award, not for being the complete package or for just good, solid defense. With that in mind, Duncan Keith is the best offensive-defenseman right now. He's the highest scoring d-man and 15th overall.

Jack Adams
1. Patrick Roy
2. Jon Cooper
3. Ken Hitchcock
4. Bruce Boudreau
5. Craig Berube

There were ZERO expectations for the Colorado Avalanche this year. New coach, young team, iffy goaltending. It was like they were automatically given a pass to be bad again. Well, everyone knows what happened to start the season; Patrick Roy went crazy-pants on Bruce Boudreau and a pane of glass. Some say this was a strategic move by Roy to reflect a new beginning in Colorado. (I think he's just got some anger management issues.)

Whatever effect the first game freakout had on the Avalanche, it worked.The Avs shocked everyone by going 15-5-0 in their first 20 games including destroying teams like Chicago and Anaheim. Roy got a group of kids - who were more interested in planning their Vegas vacations in the offseason last year - to buy in to what he's selling. He's had handle distractions off the ice with Semyon Varlamov but still managed to get great goaltending out of him and Jean-Sebastien Giguere through it all. The Avs are 26-12-4 through 42 games, seated in the final playoff spot in the central and separated by seven points from Minnesota.

Selke
1. Ryan Kesler
2. Patrice Bergeron
3. Jonathan Toews
4. Anze Kopitar
5. Pavel Datsyuk

As I said with the Norris, I don't do fancy stats. I go by what I see and read. The sexy pick is always going to Patrice Bergeron or Jonathan Toews. Totally understandable considering their team's standings within the league. I'm going out of left field here and pick Ryan Kesler.

Kesler won his only Selke in 2011. He hasn't been the same - until this season. For the first time, in a long time, Kesler is healthy. He's back to being the dick he was when he first won the trophy years ago. His face-off percentage is average (51%) but that's not all this award is based on. Of all forwards, he is second in total TOI only to Sidney Crosby. In the league, he's fifth in game winning goals (5), seventh in total shots taken (153) and ninth in power play goals (7). He's tied with Bergeron in takeaways with 29. Kesler has had a revolving door of wingers due to injuries. He's still managed to contribute without consistent linemates as Bergeron and Toews have.

Sam McCaig, Yahoo Sports NHL editor

Hart
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Ryan Getzlaf
3. Patrick Kane
4. Alex Ovechkin
5. Alexander Steen

Vezina
1. Ben Bishop
2. Carey Price
3. Tuukka Rask
4. Josh Harding
5. Antti Niemi

Calder
1. Nathan MacKinnon
2. Torey Krug
3. Tomas Hertl
4. Valeri Nichushkin
5. Alexsander Barkov

Norris
1. Duncan Keith
2. Alex Pietrangelo
3. Ryan Suter
4. P.K. Subban
5. Jay Bouwmeester

Jack Adams
1. Jon Cooper
2. Patrick Roy
3. Ken Hitchcock
4. Dan Bylsma
5. Bruce Boudreau

Selke
1. Jonathan Toews
2. Alex Steen
3. Patrice Bergeron
4. Marian Hossa
5. Henrik Zetterberg

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Wed, 08 Jan 2014 07:08:46 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,66ceabcc-b676-3b26-8273-ab67c13de93d-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Schenn guts it out for Flyers; Crosby crushes Canucks https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-schenn-guts-flyers-crosby-crushes-070253064--nhl.html

With his ceremonial face off, Gene Simmons handles the ceremonial face-off.

No. 1 Star: John Tavares, New York Islanders

Tavares remained red hot in the Islanders' 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, picking up 3 assists to extend his point streak to 7 games. Tavares has an absurd 16 points in that span.

No. 2 Star: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Crosby wasn't all that good through for much of Pittsburgh's visit to the Vancouver Canucks, but he poured it on at the end, assisting on Kris Letang's goal to cut the lead to 4-3 and then scoring the game-tying goal 16 seconds later. Both goals came with the net empty. Then he scored the shootout winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins stole one, 5-4, over the Vancouver Canucks.

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No. 3 Star: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning winger was the standout in a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, breaking the tie in the third period, then icing the game with an empty-netter. He also registered a game-high six shots. He may have been a little upset about something.

Honorable Mention: Brayden Schenn took a strange skate cut to the cut, but came back to score the overtime winner as the Philadelphia Flyers held off the New Jersey Devils for a 3-2 win:

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Matthias Ekholm's first NHL goal was the game-winner as the Nashville Predators knocked off the San Jose Sharks by a score of 3-2... The Phoenix Coyotes got multi-point games from 7 different players in a 6-0 rout of the Calgary Flames... Alex Pietrangelo had two assists as the St. Louis Blues beat up on the Edmonton Oilers, 5-2... Mathieu Perrault scored twice in the Anaheim Ducks' 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins... Nino Neiderreiter scored the shootout winner as the Minnesota Wild held off the Los Angeles Kings, 2-1. Darcy Kuemper was the difference. The Wild were outshot 40 to 17.

Did You Know? The Canucks have surrendered the game-tying goal within the final two minutes three times during their current five-game losing streak.

Dishonorable Mention: Randy Carlyle felt 3 of the 4 goals Jonathan Bernier surrendered were ones he should have had. I definitely agree about this one:

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... Winnipeg mustered just 14 shots on goal versus Tampa Bay... Calgary is bad... rough night for Tuukka Rask, who allowed 5 goals on 20 shots...

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Tue, 07 Jan 2014 23:02:53 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,efff7466-6c51-3ea7-a5a2-1d6242641d58-l:1
Meet Team Canada’s Olympic hockey team for Sochi 2014; who got snubbed? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/meet-team-canada-olympic-hockey-team-sochi-2014-162809218--nhl.html <p><img src="https://s.yimg.com/os/en/blogs/sptusnhlexperts/112829959.jpg" align="right" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-76117" title="Getty Images" alt="" width="630" height="374"/ >Hockey Canada and general manager Steve Yzerman revealed their team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Tuesday morning in Toronto.</p> <p>As expected, there were some expected choices and some absolute stunners. The team's roster:</p> <p><strong>Forwards</strong></p> <p>Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars<br /> Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins<br /> Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings<br /> Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins<br /> Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche<br /> Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks<br /> Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins<br /> Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks<br /> Rick Nash, New York Rangers<br /> Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks<br /> Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks<br /> Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning<br /> John Tavares, New York Islanders<br /> Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks</p> <p><strong>Defense</strong></p> <p>Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues<br /> Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings<br /> Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks<br /> Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks<br /> Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues<br /> P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens<br /> Marc Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks<br /> Shea Weber, Nashville Predators</p> <p><strong>Goalies</strong></p> <p>Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks<br /> Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens<br /> Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes</p> <p>Among the snubs for Team Canada ...</p> <p><strong>Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks:<strong> </strong></strong>The veteran blueliner might have been bumped for PK Subban, another mobile defender who can run the power play point.</p> <p><strong><strong><strong>Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks: </strong></strong></strong>The forward is out a month with hand surgery, and was left off the roster.</p> <p><strong>Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks: </strong> The Cup-winning goalie struggled this season, and lost out to Smith.</p> <p><strong>Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers: </strong> He struggled mightily to start the season, caught fire, but couldn't reestablish himself after being a preseason lock.</p> <p><strong>Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes: </strong> A Vancouver 2010 selection, injuries slowed up this year.</p> <p><strong>Marty St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning: </strong> Despite playing for Yzerman's team, the veteran winger might have been passed over in favor of Kunitz.</p> <p><strong><strong> </strong></strong></p> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 08:28:09 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c0c4e49c-a07f-330f-8abf-6f088cffd90d-l:1 Team Canada 2014 Sochi Olympics men’s hockey roster: The final odds https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/team-canada-2014-sochi-olympics-men-hockey-roster-092347311--nhl.html On Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. ET, the wait will be over and we’ll finally know the 14 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies that Hockey Canada and GM Steve Yzerman have selected to go for the gold in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Based on everything we’ve seen and heard, here are the final odds for the Team Canada selections. Check out Puck Daddy’s final roster selections here.

1-to-1 (Locks)

Forwards (9): Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks; Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche; Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks; Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks; Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks; Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning; John Tavares, New York Islanders; Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks.

Defense (6): Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues; Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks; Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings; Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks; Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues; Shea Weber, Nashville Predators.

Goalies (2): Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks; Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens.

2-to-1

Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston Bruins

The Selke-winning center was a 2010 Olympian for Yzerman, a clutch playoff performer and one of the best faceoff men in the world. Close to a lock.

Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers forward makes the TSN cut but not the Sportsnet squad. After nearly playing himself off the team at the start of the season, he got his groove back. Not a lock, but a favorite.

Rick Nash, LW, New York Rangers

TSN and Sportsnet both have him on the roster, so that edges him into near-lock range. But Team Canada has to be unfazed by his health and inconsistent season, with the hope that he hits his offensive stride as the Sochi Games arrive (not a bad wager, in fact).

Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes

The consensus third goalie choice for many, Smith appears like he’s headed for Sochi as the Goalie No One Hopes To See Play For Canada.

Marty St. Louis, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

There’s still a chance Yzerman leaves St. Louis off the team; hell, he’s already done it once with the Vancouver 2010 roster. He’s challenging for a spot on a crowded right side, but his skating and his ability to mesh with nearly any linemate make him an asset. He’s carried the Bolts since Stamkos’s injury. That should be enough.

P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens

It’s been rumored that Subban’s spot is “50/50” headed into selection day, but it’s looking more and more that the Norris winner is going to make the cut. Which is, of course, a no-brainer, given his offensive spark and skating ability. Which is, of course, a bummer for headline writers ready with their “P.K. Snubban” bold-faced type.

3-to-1

Jamie Benn, F, Dallas Stars

The infamous Olympic camp snub played his way into the conversation this season, until his numbers fell off last month. He’s got better odds than teammate Tyler Seguin, and his coach is an assistant under Mike Babcock, but he’s still not a lock to make the final roster.

Chris Kunitz, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins

As Crosby’s linemate, and a former winger for Getzlaf and Perry, Kunitz obviously has a place in this lineup. But can you make the argument that he’s a more deserving candidate than the other forwards on the bubble? Or does his chemistry with the top line center trump all of that?

Eric Staal, F, Carolina Hurricanes

The Canes star was on the bubble for TSN and didn’t make the final cut for Sportsnet. It could come down to Staal vs. Nash as a big body on the wing, and the expectation is that Nash gets the nod. (He made the cut for both TSN and Sportsnet.) Staal’s injuries don’t help.

Marc Edouard Vlasic, D, San Jose Sharks

A left-handed shot and one that’s had an outstanding season and may have played his way onto the team. He brings some offense to a stout defensive game that’s taken the next step under assistant coach Larry Robinson.

5-to-1

Jeff Carter, F, Los Angeles Kings

He’s got Darryl Sutter’s vote and he’s had a strong goal-scoring season; the question is whether Carter can emerge from a pack of talented forwards to make the final cut.

Corey Crawford, G, Chicago Blackhawks

If it’s not Smith, it’ll be the Blackhawks Cup-winning goalie. Did his injury harm his chances to impress the Team Canada brass, or was the impression already made?

Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames

Oh, what could have been if the Flames captain had been healthy.

Patrick Marleau, F, San Jose Sharks

His speed would be an asset on international ice, and he had five points in seven games for the Canadians in Vancouver. But neither TSN nor Sportsnet had him in their final projections for Team Canada.

James Neal, F, Pittsburgh Penguins

Despite having the numbers and the support of his teammates, Neal hasn’t been in the conversation for Team Canada. Perhaps if Stamkos wasn’t on his way back he’d get a stronger look. But this still could be a surprise addition.

Brent Seabrook, D, Chicago Blackhawks

Would be the ideal partner for Keith and was an Yzerman selection in 2010, but he might need to be sacrificed for a left-handed shot on the blue line.

Marc Staal, D, New York Rangers

A left-handed shot the Canadians covet, but hasn’t had the season necessary to warrant inclusion.

10-to-1

Taylor Hall, LW, Edmonton Oilers

How do you leave that speed, that offensive skill back home if you’re Team Canada? Well, first, because you’re Team Canada, and there are a few options ahead of Hall on the depth chart. Plus, you know: Defense.

Dan Hamhuis, D, Vancouver Canucks

Another player on the radar because he’s a left-handed shot. Take a number, sir.

Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

A sub-par year submarined any shot at the roster.

Joe Thornton, C, San Jose Sharks

Depriving the world of a gold medal celebration that might require a black dot over his pants.

20-to-1

The Field

Including Milan Lucic, Mike Richards, Tyler Seguin, Marc-Andre Fleury et al.

100-to-1

Bobby Ryan, F, Ottawa Senators

We’ll assume he didn’t rush through a citizenship change in the hours after his Team USA snub, but you never know.

800-to-1

Colton Orr, F, Toronto Maple Leafs

Oh, right, Brian Burke’s with Team USA. Nevermind.

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Tue, 07 Jan 2014 01:23:47 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,6d01fcd0-09b4-3a0c-bf31-83f76eb03f51-l:1
Who makes Canada’s Olympic hockey team for Sochi 2014? Yahoo Sports picks the roster https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/makes-canada-olympic-hockey-team-sochi-2014-yahoo-184228697--nhl.html It’s nearly time to formally announce the Canadian Olympic players that’ll compete for (their) gold in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

We revealed our picks for the U.S. team earlier this week. Now, it’s time to justify our picks for Team Canada.


Nick Cotsonika, Yahoo NHL writer

John Tavares-Sidney Crosby-Steven Stamkos
Chris Kunitz-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Matt Duchene-Jonathan Toews-Claude Giroux
Logan Couture-Joe Thornton-Martin St. Louis

Patrice Bergeron, Patrick Sharp
Duncan Keith-Drew Doughty
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Shea Weber
Brent Seabrook, P.K. Subban

Carey Price
Roberto Luongo
Josh Harding

Brutal. Just brutal.

The Canadians are so stacked that great players will be left off the roster, especially up front, especially in the middle. Crosby, Getzlaf and Toews are locks to be the top three centermen. Thornton should be right with them – still elite at both ends of the ice. Other centermen can move to the wing. Tavares has played left wing on big ice before – in Switzerland during the lockout last season, most recently – and Stamkos could be lethal on Crosby’s right wing if recovered from a broken leg. Duchene has the speed Team Canada officials have said they want for this tournament. Giroux has bounced back from a poor start. Coach Mike Babcock knows Couture well, having faced his San Jose team in the NHL often, and Couture knows Babcock’s system well, because Sharks coach Todd McLellan once was Babcock’s assistant in Detroit.

Some would leave Kunitz off the team, but he belongs on one of the top two lines. He has played and produced at the highest level with Crosby in Pittsburgh and with Getzlaf and Perry in Anaheim. There is a reason he clicks with great players on winning teams – he did it with Evgeni Malkin, too – and he doesn’t get enough credit for what he has done on his own. Martin St. Louis is on the bubble, partly because of his age and his size and the big ice, but he won the NHL scoring title last season and has kept producing with Stamkos injured this season. He’s a fiery veteran whom executive director Steve Yzerman knows well as the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Crosby will be captain, or maybe Toews, but St. Louis could be captain, too. How do you not put him on the team? Bergeron brings faceoff prowess and shutdown defense. Sharp edges other elite forwards because he can play all three forward positions – important flexibility in case of chemistry and injury problems.

Toughest omissions: Jamie Benn, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin.

The top two defensive pairs are set in stone. Vlasic cracks the top six and pairs with the likes of Weber because he is someone Babcock can trust – an important issue. The Canadians have a ton of firepower already. Their relative weakness is in goal. There will be little practice time, and the medal round will be single elimination. Babcock doesn’t need more offense at this point. He needs safety. Which brings us to P.K. Subban. He is the reigning Norris Trophy winner and belongs on the team, but will he crack the lineup in the medal round? Seabrook lands the other depth spot because of his skill and experience.

Price has played well enough to earn the starting spot in net at this point. Luongo, in goal for gold in Vancouver, belongs as the backup. The third spot should go to Harding if healthy and ready, not for his made-for-TV Olympic story in battling MS, but purely for his performance this season.

Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy editor

Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Steven Stamkos
Logan Couture-Jonathan Toews-Matt Duchene
Patrick Marleau-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Patrice Bergeron-John Tavares-Martin St. Louis
Matt DuchenePatrick Sharp, Joe Thornton

Duncan Keith-Drew Doughty
Jay Bouwmeester-Shea Weber
PK Subban-Alex Pietrangelo
Brent Seabrook, Dan Boyle

Roberto Luongo
Carey Price
Mike Smith

Here's the "A" team. If they fail to win gold, GM Steve Yzerman's roster selections will be thoroughly examined and criticized, but it isn't like he'll be lacking talent; which is why chemistry might be the thinking in putting together his Canadian squad. That's where the Kunitz/Crosby, Toews/Sharp and Getzlaf/Perry combos come in. The Duck and Blackhawk pairs were likely heading to Sochi anyway, but Kunitz's inclusion has been a hotly debated topic.

Stamkos will be on the roster up until the minute he's ruled out, if that happens. Duchene could find himself in that spot, which would give Claude Giroux an opportunity to be named to the team.

In net, just like the U.S., it'll be Luongo and Price as the top two goalies. The third spot will see Mike Smith in that role after he's earned the chance with several solid seasons, Butt Goal and all.

Harrison Mooney, Puck Daddy Editor

Claude Giroux - Sidney Crosby - John Tavares
Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Matt Duchene
Jamie Benn - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Steven Stamkos - Patrice Bergeron - Martin St. Louis
Logan Couture, Taylor Hall

Duncan Keith - Drew Doughty
P.K. Subban - Shea Weber
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Dan Hamhuis - Brent Seabrook

Roberto Luongo
Carey Price
Josh Harding

So many forwards to choose from. The trick with Canada is deciding who you want your four centres to be, and then going from there. I think three are unquestioned: Crosby, Toews, and Bergeron. As for the fourth, I think Ryan Getzlaf has played his way onto this team, and when he comes pre-loaded with a superstar winger in Perry, you have to go with that. Plug a huge, mobile natural left winger in on the other side -- as I've done with Jamie Benn, who's played his way onto this team in place of Rick Nash, in my opinion -- and you're laughing.

Same goes for Toews and Sharp, and Stamkos and St. Louis. The only line that doesn't have a pre-loaded pair is the Crosby line, and considering the guys he's played with over the years, I think Crosby can make it work with Giroux and Tavares.

The more I think about it, the more I think there's a right answer for Canada's top-six defencemen, and this is it. Keith and Doughty are locked, and they played together last Olympics. They're a ready-made pair. Same goes for Bouwmeester and Pietrangelo, who are the stars of the St. Louis blueline. That gives you two sturdy defensive pairs that have a history, and that's great. For the final pair, I think you trust P.K. Subban with the adjustment to the left side, pair him with the NHL's best in Weber, and let the magic happen. There will probably be magic.

Seabrook is probably a lock as an alternate, which leaves Team Canada with one choice: the alternate left D-man. It's a toss-up between Dan Hamhuis and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, in this guy's opinion, and here there's no wrong answer. I'd go Hamhuis, but I'll admit I've seen a lot more of him than Vlasic. Either one is a safe bet.

The top two goaltenders are going to be Luongo and Price. I have no doubt on this. As for the third, this is where it could be one of a number of guys. I think you have to pick the Canadian that's playing the best, and for my money, that's Josh Harding.


Ryan Lambert, Puck Daddy columnist

Cory Conacher - Stephen Weiss - David Clarkson
Bryan Bickell - Joe Colborne - Steve Bernier
Jay Rosehill - Chris Kelly - Chuck Kobasew
Alex Burrows - Jay McClement - Rene Bourque

Extras: Shawn Thornton, Chris Neil

Travis Hamonic - Cory Sarich
Luke Schenn - Kyle Quincey
Robyn Regehr - Shane O'Brien

Extras: Matt Carkner, Sidney Crosby (defense only)

Devan Dubnyk
Brian Elliott
Dan Ellis

This is a good roster for Canada and I'd like to see them bring it. Lots of toughness throughout this lineup.

Jen Neale, Puck Daddy writer

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Steven Stamkos
Matt Duchene - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Jeff Carter
John Tavares - Tyler Seguin - Jamie Benn

Extra forwards: Joe Thornton, Martin St. Louis

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Drew Doughty - Shea Weber
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Extra defensemen: Francois Beauchemin and PK Subban

Marc-Andre Fleury
Carey Price
Roberto Luongo

Team Canada is best served by building their forward core by bringing in established pairings on each line and then fill in the holes with complementary players (that's what she said...?).

Line one starts with Kunitz and Crosby and brings in Steven Stamkos. All Stamkos does is score goals and Kunitz and Crosby are more than capable of getting him the puck.

Line two is Anaheim's 'twins', Getzlaf and Perry with the addition of Matt Duchene. Duchene is the Canadian version of Bobby Ryan but a way better skater and he forechecks.

Line three adds Jeff Carter to Chicago's Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews. Carter gives Toews a sniper at each wing to kick a puck back to on the face-off.

Finally, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn from Dallas with John Tavaras. Tavaras put the entire Islanders team on his back last season and took them to the playoffs. No matter who you put him with, he's going to score. Joe Thornton and Martin St. Louis are both producing in the NHL but they are older than the rest of the lot. A significant amount of travel could negatively impact them; however, after a few days of acclimation they could be inserted anywhere in the forward core.

This group is comprised of mainly offensive defensemen. Keeping Keith and Seabrook together goes along the lines of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' No reason to breakup a pairing that just won another Cup together. The saying could apply to Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester on most nights but recently Ken Hitchcock has broken them up to shake up the Blues. Doughty and Weber would be fun to watch. They're offensive defensemen who are very physical. The latter, in an international game, could be their downfall. An additional pairing of Beauchemin and Subban would be a great for Canada and they'll never consider it. Beauchemin is a stay at home defenseman who is used to playing with active, young offensive-defensemen like Subban. The Russians are a big hitting team; these two could replace Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester to beef up Canada's lineup in that game.

Team Canada is scared of Marc-Andre Fleury. Canadian team officials will never say it, but the fear is of another Fleury meltdown in net. That has to be the only reason he's not automatically selected as the starter for Canada. Why else would they leave a guy off their roster who is playing his best hockey in years? His sports psychologist can travel with the team! I'd be more concerned about Carey Price. His penchant for giving up multiple goals in a game is always an issue. That's probably why the Canadians will bring along reliable safety-blanket Roberto Luongo. He took over for Martin Brodeur in Vancouver and the Canadians went home with the gold.

Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy Editor

John Tavares-Sidney Crosby-Steven Stamkos
Matt Duchene-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Sharp
Eric Staal-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Logan Couture-Patrice Bergeron-Claude Giroux
Chris Kunitz, Marty St. Louis

Duncan Keith-Drew Doughty
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Shea Weber
Brent Seabrook, P.K. Subban

Carey Price
Roberto Luongo
Mike Smith

Thank the hockey gods Steven Stamkos will be healthy for Sochi, so this rag-tag group of nobodies has a chance to compete for at least the bronze. Canada without Stamkos? Basically Slovenia without Anze Kopitar.

With Stamkos in place, the lineup fills out quite nicely. The Blackhawks connection between Toews and Sharp is strong. You can put anyone with Getzlaf and Perry Patrice Bergeron on the fourth line? This is just unfair.

I like Kunitz as a utility player that can play with Sid or with the Anaheim Ducks boys. St. Louis gets the nod over Jamie Benn and Taylor Hall because they don't play in Tampa.

Ditto the defense, where the top four is outstanding and Subban remains the wild card.

I nearly slotted Marc-Andre Fleury as the third goalie, but I can’t imagine Team Canada can ignore his playoff meltdowns, considering the pressure if he actually saw the ice in Sochi.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 10:42:28 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,db2da4fa-754f-3f93-af06-346547b7b616-l:1
Stunning Numbers: Blackhawks’ early perfection and Derek Dorsett’s road kill https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/stunning-numbers-blackhawks-early-perfection-derek-dorsett-road-165211605--nhl.html Stunning Numbers is an occasional look at stats and figures from around the NHL

1

The number of games the Buffalo Sabres have won when scoring first. Granted, it’s only happened seven times in 37 games, worst in the NHL this season …

0

The number of times the Chicago Blackhawks have lost in regulation when scoring first, going 20-0-4 in 39 games. They're the only team in the NHL that's yet to lose in the first 60 when scoring first.

.917

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ winning percentage when scoring first, which they’ve done 24 times in 39 games for a 22-2-0 record.

.792

The shorthanded save percentage of Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators, the lowest for any goalie that’s faced at least 90 shots from an opposing power play. He’s given up 25 power-play goals in 25 games.

26

The number of power-play goals surrendered by Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes in 31 games, most in the NHL. Smith gave up 24 in 34 games last season.

32.6

The number of shifts per game for Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues through 36 games, best in the NHL. (Technically he’s tied with Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames, but Gio’s only played 19 games.)

59

The number of seconds played per shift for Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, tops in the NHL. Green and Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins were the NHL’s only 1-minute men last season.

9

The difference between Cory Schneider’s career appearances in the NHL (115) and Martin Brodeur’s career shutouts (124). So yes, Brodeur has more games in which he didn’t allow a goal than Schneider has games in which he appeared between the pipes.

61

The difference between the penalty minutes taken by New York Rangers pest Derek Dorsett on the road (72 in 15 games) and at home (11 in 18 games). Looks like someone hates room service.

62.3

The corsi-for percentage for Justin Williams of the Los Angeles Kings this season, best in the NHL according to Extra Skater. For the un-initiated, corsi measures a player's goals, shots on net, shots that miss the net and shots that are blocked, as a way to measure puck possession.

Plus-10.7

The corsi-for percentage of Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins relative to the corsi-for for the Bruins when he’s not on the ice. Which is to say they’re a much better possession team when Bergeron’s not sitting on the pine.

Minus-25

Meanwhile in more frivolous stats, the plus/minus for Nail Yakupov this season through 37 games, by far the worst in the NHL among 790 players. He’s now a minus-29 for his career. Alex Galchenyuk, taken third overall in the 2012 draft, is a plus-11. Guess it’s all who you know.

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Tue, 24 Dec 2013 08:52:11 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,27277986-0f8d-35bd-a492-cc6739643bdc-l:1
The 10 greatest hockey games of 2013 (Puck Daddy Year in Review) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/10-greatest-hockey-games-2013-puck-daddy-review-144952386--nhl.html (Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)

Look, we all know that Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs is going to make a list of the 10 greatest games of 2013. It’s just a question of where.

Let’s find out, shall we, with Puck Daddy’s Top 10 games of 2013:

10. Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues (Game 5, Western Conference quarterfinals, May 9)

“We played a hell of a hockey game,” lamented Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock, and that’s the truth. After Alex Pietrangelo tied the game with 44 seconds left, Slava Voynov scored eight minutes into overtime to give the Kings the 3-2 win and a 3-2 series lead.

9. Canada vs. Russia (World Junior Bronze Medal Game, Jan. 5)

They played it in an arena, but it might as well have been on a pond: Russia defeated the Canadians 6-5 on a Valeri Nichushkin overtime goal. As the Globe & Mail put it: “a wild, unstructured, exhausting pond-hockey to determine who would stand as the third best junior hockey team in the world.”

8. Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins (Game 4, Stanley Cup Final, June 19)

Throw out the defensive schemes and watch the firewagon hockey happen. The teams scored six goals during a chaotic 18-minute span, including one of the wackiest goals of the playoffs from Patrice Bergeron. Brent Seabrook scored in OT for the 6-5 Chicago win and a series tie.

7. Chicago Blackhawks at Calgary Flames (Feb. 3)

We witnessed some spectacular goaltending in the last year, but this performance by Ray Emery might rank near the top: He made 45 saves and three more in the shootout to defeat the Calgary Flames, 3-2. Said Joel Quenneville: “You’ve got to call the cops after that performance. We stole two points. He was spectacular. I’ve never ever been out-chanced, outplayed like that in my life. It was a special performance, and it continued in the shootout.”

To top it off, Marian Hossa sent the game into overtime with a goal with 2.1 seconds left in regulation, 33 seconds after it looked like Jay Bouwmeester had won it. The win continued a streak of nine games with at least a point, a streak that would go on to reach historic proportions.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens (March 2)

An insane game, in Michel Therrien’s first meeting against his former team. Five lead changes, 13 goals and an overtime game-winner from Brandon Sutter. Just unpredictable, messy fun. "That kind of game is great for the fans, but it's what gives coaches gray hair," said Therrien.

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5. Yale vs. Minnesota (NCAA West Regional, March 29)

Yale was the No. 4 seed (No. 15 overall) in the West Regional. Minnesota was the first seed. The Bulldogs stunned the Gophers with two goals, and led by that margin with 12 minutes left in the game. Goals by Minnesota’s Nate Schmidt and Zach Budish tied it. The teams went to overtime to win or go home. And Jesse Root won it for Yale eight seconds (!) into overtime. Yale would go on to win the Frozen Four, their first Div. 1 title in school history.

4. Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks (Game 7, Western Conference semifinals, May 29)

The last playoff game between these two storied rivals as Central Division foes, in a win-or-go-home battle that was the epitome of Game 7 intensity. It’s infamous for the goal that wasn’t: Niklas Hjalmarsson’s potential game-winner wiped away by Stephen Walkom’s odd matching minors call late in the third. It’s famous for Brent Seabrook’s OT game-winner to send the Blackhawks to the conference finals.

3. Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins (Game 6, Stanley Cup Final, June 24)

“Seventeen seconds” entered into Boston sports infamy thanks to goals by Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland in the final 1:16 of the third period to give the Blackhawks the 3-2 win and their second Stanley Cup in four seasons. "I still can't believe that finish. Oh, my God, we never quit," said goalie Corey Crawford. Sigh … if only this had been a Game 7. That’s only thing keeping it at the No. 3 spot.

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2. Kelowna Rockets vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL quarterfinals, April 3)

In Game 7 of the WHL quarterfinals, Seattle’s Luke Lockhart tied what had been a thrilling game with seven seconds remaining in the third. But Tyson Baillie would take the T-Birds from ecstasy to agony, scoring at 5:10 of overtime to eliminate Seattle. It completed a hat trick for Baillie in a 3-2 win, in which he was the Rockets’ offense.

1. Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins (Game 7, Eastern Conference quarterfinals, May 13)

Could it be anything else?

The Leafs led 4-1 at 5:29 of the third period. Nathan Horton made it 4-2 just under four minutes later. The Leafs still led by that margin with less than two minutes in regulation. Then Milan Lucic scored to make it 4-3. And then Patrice Bergeron scored 31 seconds later, with 51 seconds left in regulation, to tie the game.

And then Bergeron scored at 6:05 of overtime to crush the hopes and dreams of Leafs fans, like these folks in their living room (SOME NSFW LANGUAGE):

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Greg Wyshynski is the editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Tue, 17 Dec 2013 06:49:52 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f4dae0c1-e664-3917-bea3-6e73b14b6fea-l:1
Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Shorthanded Penguins vs. Leafs; Jack Johnson’s conference curve https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-daddy-viewing-guide-shorthanded-penguins-vs-leafs-000251040--nhl.html Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

Create-a-Caption: "TORONTO, ON- DECEMBER 14: Air Canada Centres employees picketed outside of the ACC prior to the Maple Leaf game on Saturday, December 14, 2013. The Teamster union members are on strike and demanding an increase in wages. (Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

• • •

Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET

Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET

Preview: St. Louis Blues at Ottawa Senators, 7:30 p.m. ET

Preview: Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET

• • •

Five things to know about tonight's NHL games ...

1. Lil' Ulf Is In. Injuries to the Penguins defense means that Phillip Samuelsson makes his debut tonight, and his dad couldn't be happier.

2. Blues Big 2 Split? Ken Hitchcock split up top defensive pairing Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester against the Blue Jackets; will they have new dance partners this game as well?

3. You Don't Know Jack. Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on realignment, with the Jets in town: “I don’t think it’s a blessing we’re in the East, other than travel, and to be honest that’s overrated. I think the Eastern Conference teams throw a completely different challenge at you than what we’re accustomed to. There is definitely a learning curve.”

4. Lehtonen The Way. Kari Lehtonen is expected to start for Dallas, and is 8-3-2 in his career against Colorado with a 2.52 GAA and .918 save percentage.

5. Leafs Are Healthy. Joffrey Lupul, on Toronto finally getting some healthy bodies together at the same time: “It should make us a little harder to defend. It should take the pressure off Phil (Kessel) and his line a little bit. And it gives us an opportunity, when we’re down in a game we feel like we can come back. We’ve had to battle through some injuries but that’s probably the strength of our team, when you look at our roster as a whole.”

Bold Prediction: Sidney Crosby will be on "24/7" next weekend. We know, BOLD!

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Mon, 16 Dec 2013 16:02:51 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f2b0c067-dbaf-37cc-a6b1-6a34d026c5fc-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Talbot earns first shutout; four points for Hanzal https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-talbot-earns-first-shutout-four-062951055--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Cam Talbot, New York Rangers

Making his fifth start, Talbot improved to 4-1 with 1-0 shutout over the Montreal Canadiens, the first of his career. Ryan Callahan provided the offense with a first period power play tally and Talbot made 22 stops. Talbot's numbers through five games: 1.58 goals against average, .943 save percentage -- all coming on the road.

No. 2 Star: Martin Hanzal, Phoenix Coyotes

Hanzal ended his night with four points and helped the Coyotes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3. It's unknown if he called "bank" before scoring his goal in the first period:

Lauri Korpikoski chipped in a goal and two assists and Radim Vrbata added a trio of helpers as the Coyotes snapped the Lightning's seven-game winning streak against the Western Conference. Rookie Connor Murphy, playing in his first NHL game, scored his first career goal.

No. 3 Star: Marek Mazanec, Nashville Predators

Mazanac earned his first NHL win with a 39-save night during Nashville's 7-2 thrashing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Craig Smith recorded three points and five other Predators chipped in a pair each as they set a season high in goals scored.

Honorable mention: A pair of goals by Jaromir Jagr and 27 saves from Martin Brodeur helped the New Jersey Devils upend the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. The goals were Nos. 687 and 688 of Jagr's career, putting him two behind Mario Lemieux for ninth all-time. Adam Larsson scored his first goal since Nov. 26, 2011 ... Frans Nielsen scored the only goal in the shootout (the 27th of his career) to help give the New York Islanders a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. John Tavares recorded two points and Josh Bailey snapped his 10-game pointless streak in the win. The Islanders improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven games against the Red Wings ... Pavel Datsyuk scored a pair of goals while playing in his 800th NHL game, including this one from a ridiculous angle to force overtime:

Alex Steen scored his NHL-leading 17th goal and Roman Polak joined him with a goal and an assist as the St. Louis Blues downed the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Steen extended his scoring streak to 13 games, the longest for the Blues since Pierre Turgeon's 15-game one in 1999-2000. The win was Ken Hitchcock's 618th of his career, placing him ninth all-time among NHL head coaches ... Eric Staal and Nathan Gerbe scored shorthanded goals 57 seconds apart for Carolina:

A night after losing to the Buffalo Sabres 3-1, the Maple Leafs got revenge by doubling them up 4-2. James van Riemsdyk, back on the wing, scored a pair in the first period to help build an eventual 3-0 Toronto lead. Mason Raymond had a goal and an assist, while James Reimer stopped 33 shots ... Florida Panthers netminder Tim Thomas stopped 32 shots to earn his 200th NHL victory during a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Tom Gilbert had three helpers, while Scottie Upshall chipped in a pair of his own for the Panthers ... Devan Dubnyk's 32 saves and third period goals from Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky, David Perron and Boyd Gordon helped the Edmonton Oilers overcome a 2-0 deficit to down the Calgary Flames 4-2 in the "Battle of Alberta."

Did You Know? The shutout was the first by the Rangers in Montreal since Eddie Giacomin did it on Feb. 25, 1967. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Not a good night for old goaltenders as Evgeni Nabokov and Nikolai Khabibhulin left their respective games with lower-body injuries ... Detroit has dropped six straight ... Alex Semin had to leave the game in the first period with an upper-body injury after a hit from Alex Pietrangelo.

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Sat, 16 Nov 2013 22:29:51 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c91b864e-bc23-336b-8d19-36dba7b65968-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Lecavalier tricks Isles; Niemi blanks Habs https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-lecavalier-tricks-isles-niemi-blanks-052847081--nhl.html

Small child sums up tonight's Habs result.

No. 1 Star: Vincent Lecavalier, Philadelphia Flyers

It's been a while since the Flyers scored more than three goals and behind Lecavalier's fifth career hat trick, Philadelphia downed the New York Islanders 5-2.

No. 2 Stars: Antti Niemi, Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

The Sharks needed only 22 saves from Niemi and a pair of goals by Couture to blank the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. The shutout was Niemi's 25th of his career. Patrick Marleau assisted on both of Couture's goals. According to the AP, this was the first win by the Sharks in Montreal since Dec. 2002.

No. 3 Star: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes

No lead was safe as the Coyotes edged the Edmonton Oilers 5-4. Ekman-Larsson provided a pair of assists, including one on Keith Yandle's tying goal in the third period before completing a three-point night with a power play tally of his own with 7:37 left.

Honorable mention: In his first game back on Long Island, former Islanders captain Mark Streit recorded a pair of assists ... Radim Vrbata recorded three assists ... The Coyotes scored on two of six power play opportunities ... Tyler Pitlick scored his first NHL goal for the Oilers ... In his 600th NHL game, Jason Pominville came up big scoring twice as the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Niklas Backstrom made 33 saves and Mikael Granlund recorded a pair of assists. ... Two third period goals by Martin St. Louis and Ondrej Palat helped the Tampa Bay Lightning come from behind and beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. ... After falling behind 3-1 in the first period, the New Jersey Devils made a comeback and completed it by scoring four times on the power play, including two in the final 1:08 by Marek Zidlicky and Andy Greene:

James Reimer had never lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in regulation in four previous meetings and that streak continued with a 37-save performance during a 4-1 Toronto Maple Leafs victory. Three third period goals, including Dave Bolland's second of the night coming via an empty-netter, gave Reimer the win in his first start since Oct. 17 ... The New York Rangers finished their nine-game road trip to start the season with a 3-2 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings. Derick Brassard beat Jimmy Howard with 12.9 seconds remaining in the extra session to send Detroit to their fourth straight loss. Rookie netminder Cam Talbot made 32 saves for his first career NHL win:

Behind 35 stops from Ondrej Pavelec and Andrew Ladd's goal in the shootout, the Winnipeg Jets edged the Dallas Stars 2-1 to end a three-game losing streak ... Alex Steen scored twice to tie Alex Ovechkin for the NHL led with 10 and Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 shots as the St. Louis Blues routed the Nashville Predators 6-1. T.J. Oshie, Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes, Jay Bouweester and Alex Pietrangelo each recorded two points ... A three-point night by Mike Cammalleri and a 27 saves from Karri Ramo helped the Calgary Flames upend the Washington Capitals 5-2. Jiri Hudler recorded an assist and now has points in 10 of Calgary's first 11 games.

Did You Know? This was the first time in 12 games dating back to last season that the Flyers scored at least three goals.

Disonorable mention: Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi left the game in the first period after a David Clarkson hit. He was diagnosed with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated in Pittsburgh ... The loss ended Chicago's seven game points streak ... Braden Holtby was pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots in the opening 12:48.

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Sat, 26 Oct 2013 22:28:47 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,82288f50-445c-33c1-ad88-625fe2aec567-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Carter’s big night vs. Sens; Steen’s late goal beats Blackhawks https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-carter-big-night-vs-sens-053845531--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings

The Kings built up a 3-0 first period lead only to see it dissolve as the Ottawa Senators came back to force overtime. But on the power play early in the extra frame, Carter completed his three-point night (2 power play goals, 1 assist) by deflecting in a Mike Richards shot to give LA a 4-3 victory.

No. 2 Star: Alex Steen, St. Louis Blues

In one of the best games of the young season, Steen's goal with 21.1 seconds left in the third period broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Blues a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Steen's third of the season came as a product of a Blackhawks' pinch, which led to a 3-on-1 for St. Louis:

No. 3 Star: Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames

Calgary almost blew another big lead, but hung on to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Flames rookie Monahan helped build a 3-0 lead with a first period goal and an assist nine minutes later on Sven Baertschi's first of the season. His goal came after some nice creativity in the build-up:

Honorable mention: Carter was also 8-for-10 on draws ... Dustin Brown scored his first two goals of the season in the opening period ... Richards and Anze Kopitar each recorded a pair of assists ... Bobby Ryan scored his first goal as a Senator in the losing effort ... Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 shots as he and the Blues begin the season 3-0-0 ... Alex Pietrangelo recorded two assists, including one on Steen's winner ... Despite the loss, the Blackhawks were successful on the power play, cashing in on both opportunities ... Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews all chipped in two points apiece ... Andrei Markov recorded his 400th career NHL point ... Joey MacDonald made 33 saves for his second win of the season. He flashed he double pad stack in the second period to deny Markov:

Did You Know? "The Blues (3-0) matched their best start to a season, also done in the 1969-70 and 1993-94 campaigns." (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Kane's goal snapped St. Louis' penalty kill streak at 11 straight and ended Halak's shutout streak at 111:52 ... Clarke MacArthur's hooking call late in the third period set the Kings up for their winning overtime goal.

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Wed, 09 Oct 2013 22:38:45 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,d05ac706-b06e-36c9-a4cc-4a018eaa722b-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Fleury blanks Devils; Vrbata’s hat trick; Caps rally vs. Flames https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-fleury-blanks-devils-vrbata-hat-045728065--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

Behind his 27 saves, Fleury led the Penguins to a 3-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils. Sidney Crosby, Chuck Kobasew and Craig Adams, who was playing in his 800th NHL game, all scored for the home side. The shutout was the 24th of Fleury's career and the win was his 250th. One of his stops included this late pad save on Ryane Clowe:

No. 2 Star: Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes

Vrbata's fifth career hat trick (natural) led the way for the Coyotes during their 4-1 win over the New York Rangers. Mike Smith made 23 saves and Martin Hanzal recorded a pair of helpers. Smith frustrated the Rangers all night, like for example...:

No. 3 Star: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

The Calgary Flames built up 3-0 and 4-1 leads until Ovechkin took over, scoring twice late in the second period and adding one of two Capital shootout goals during a 5-4 victory. Ovechkin finished with a three-point night after assisting on Nicklas Backstrom's game-tying power play goal with 5:50 left in regulation. Marcus Johansson recorded three assists.

Honorable mention: Marc Staal scored a power play goal in his return from an eye injury ... Patrice Bergeron's shorthanded goal was the insurance tally as the Boston Bruins downed the Tampa Bay Lighting 3-1. Chris Kelly opened the scoring on a penalty shot in the first period and Tuukka Rask made 32 saves. Jarome Iginla and Radko Gudas set off some early fireworks with this tilt:

Dating back to the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, the Bruins have won eight straight home games against the Lightning. According to Elias, the Bruins are the first NHL team to ever score their first goal of the season on a penalty shot ... Washington cashed in on two of their three power plays and won 46 of 75 faceoffs ... The St. Louis Blues scored three times in the opening 9:45 en route to a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators. David Backes, Alex Steen and Alex Pietrangelo each had two points and Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves. Two of the four Blues goals came via the power play ... Tim Thomas's debut with the Florida Panthers was a success. Two goals from Marcel Goc and 25 saves from Thomas was good enough for a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars ... Jeff Carter scored the game-tying goal with 6:46 left in the third and potted the game-deciding goal in the shootout as the Los Angeles Kings edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Jonathan Quick made 27 stops and Willie Mitchell played his first game since Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final ... First NHL goals Thursday night from Connor Carrick of the Capitals and Aleksander Barkov of the Panthers ... After falling behind 1-0, the San Jose Sharks scored four unanswered goals as they beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Justin Braun, Brent Burns, Tommy Wingels and Patrick Marleau all lit the lamp for the Sharks, while Antti Niemi made 21 stops.

Did You Know? Barkov became the youngest goal scorer in NHL history at 18 years and 31 days. (@jhiitela)

Dishonorable mention: The Lightning failed on all five of their power play attempts ... Braden Holtby was pulled after allowing three goals on the first 11 shots he faced ... Pekka Rinne was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots ... Jack Hillen left the game in the first period after taking this hit from Lance Bouma:

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Thu, 03 Oct 2013 21:57:28 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,438e122e-51ad-3b20-9565-a88826379e20-l:1
Coaches upset by Rolston fine; Ovechkin to bear torch; EA picks Blues to win Cup (Puck Headlines) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/coaches-upset-rolston-fine-ovechkin-bear-torch-ea-191459223--nhl.html Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• One of hockey's coolest traditions continues, as the Chicago Blackhawks have their names etched into the Stanley Cup.

• Denis Brodeur, the legendary sports photographer and father of Martin Brodeur, has died. [Renaud Lavoie]

• NHL coaches are pretty upset with the fine to Ron Rolston. Said one coach: “So what am I supposed to do now? Do I call the ref over and call timeout so I can call Colie Campbell and ask him who I can put on the ice?" [Toronto Sun]

• According to EA Sports' simulation, the St. Louis Blues will win the Stanley Cup this season, with Alex Pietrangelo winning the Conn Smythe. [EA Sports]

• Speaking of early projections, the Ottawa Senators are pretty excited that ESPN thinks they're hockey's best team. Seems odd to put that much stock into the opinion of an outlet that doesn't know who Bobby Ryan is. [6th Sens]

• Alex Ovechkin will be the first Russian torchbearer for the Sochi Olympics. [NHL]

• NBCSN will debut two new hockey shows, 'NHL Rivals' and 'NHL Top 10'. [SB Nation]

• Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell: style icons. [Patrick Varvatos]

• Brendan Shanahan responds to Marc-Edouard Vlasic's questions about consistency. He's nice about it, but we all know Vlasic just made his list. [Working the Corners]

• Logos for eight funny fantasy hockey team names, like Letangry Birds. [The Whistle]

• Acadie-Bathurst Titan’s Lucas Grundy gets a match penalty for hair-pulling during a fight. [Buzzing the Net]

• Roman Josi is the forgotten man in Nashville. [Smashville 24/7]

• 7th Rounder Mackenzie Weegar could be a draft day steal for the Florida Panthers. [Panther Parkway]

• Battle of California previews new division rivals the Vancouver Canucks. [PITB]

• Rather than the NHL draft lottery, what if the league had a short tournament for the first overall pick between the bottom four teams? [On Goal Analysis]

• The Florida Panthers love their new ownership. [Sun Sentinel]

• Can Griffin Reinhart crack the New York Islanders' roster? [Lighthouse Hockey]

• Nice little profile piece on Bill Daly, Gary Bettman's trusted deputy. [Sports Business Daily]

• Dave Lozo: fighting in hockey is prehistoric and needs to go. [The Score]

• Tour the new Pegula Ice Arena, home to Penn State's men's and women's ice hockey teams. [Centre Daily]

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Thu, 26 Sep 2013 12:14:59 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,fa2fd52c-1808-3e85-b6b8-16c95e55dc98-l:1
St. Louis Blues, 2013-14 (Puck Daddy Gold Medal Preview) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/st-louis-blues-2013-14-puck-daddy-gold-221153210--nhl.html (Ed. Note: It’s an Olympic year in the NHL. So, naturally, we decided to use the trappings of the Winter Games to p sreview all 30 teams for the 2013-14 NHL season. Who takes the gold? Who falls on their triple-axel? Read on and find out!)

The St. Louis Blues entered the truncated 2012-13 season with great expectations, following a 109-point season under Ken Hitchcock in the previous campaign. They had the coaching, the goaltending and the bright young talent to contend for the Stanley Cup, said the pundits.

Yet at the end of March, the Blues were outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, thanks to key players underperforming and a few injuries. GM Doug Armstrong got aggressive, acquiring Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold around the trade deadline. The defense solidified, goalie Brian Elliott recaptured his game and the Blues surged into the playoffs in the No. 4 seed.

Alas, their run would end in the first round with a quarterfinals loss to the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in six games.

Have the Blues learned enough from their misfires to finally contend for the Cup? Have they done enough in the offseason to take the next step?

Jake Allen is a fairly talented goaltender.

The biggest move in the offseason came when St. Louis traded David Perron, a career Blues player, to the Edmonton Oilers for winger Magnus Paajarvi, who brings offensive potential and a friendlier contract.

Derek Roy was signed for 1 year and $4 million in an attempt to bolster the Blues' scoring at center. Maxim Lapierre signed for two years to add more agitation to the St. Louis lineup. Keith Aucoin was signed from the Islanders. Veteran Brenden Morrow found a home with the Blues on the wing. We imagine his relationships with the GM, coach and some guy named Hull didn't hurt.

Kris Russell was traded to the Flames, while Jamie Langenbrunner was among the players the Blues opted not to bring back. Andy MacDonald, sadly, retired.

Forward: Quick ... who led the St. Louis Blues in scoring last year?

The answer is Chris Stewart, much to everyone's surprise. But the shortened season lessened the negative impact of his streakiness, and the power forward led the Blues in goals and points en route to a new 2-year, $8.3-million contact. He'll be paired with Derek Roy, as the Blues hope to get the most out of both investments. Sophomore Vladimir Tarasenko, whose brilliant rookie season was derailed by injury, could get a look with them. So could Morrow. But it appears Jaden Schwartz will have the first chance to solidify that role.

David Backes took a step back last season offensively, posting the worst goals-per-game (0.13) of his career. Patrik Berglund, however, posted the best goal-scoring numbers of his career with 17 in 48 games.

Backes will skate with T.J. Oshie again this season, and they've seen time with Alex Steen. Berglund, meanwhile, has been centering a tantalizing offensive line with Paajarvi and Tarasenko.

Vladimir Sobotka should have the final center spot locked down, and the Blues have a slew of players -- Morrow, Chris Porter, Dmitrij Jaskin, Lapierre, Reaves, Adam Cracknell and others -- who could skate with him.

Defense: His contract issues settled, Alex Pietrangelo can refocus on blossoming into the Norris-caliber D-man he seems destined to become. He led the Blues in average ice time (25:07) last season and was their leading defensive scorer. His pairing with Bouwmeester proved so beneficial that the Blues handed J-Bouw a new contract as well. (And hey, he finally played in the playoffs. Yippee!)

Kevin Shattenkirk, who may have stolen the spotlight from Petro at times last season, had 23 points last season He skated with Leopold last season, but could see time with veteran stay-at-homer Barret Jackman. Leopold, meanwhile, could be with Roman Polak, as Ian Cole waits his turn.

Goalies: A blessing of riches or a major headache. Elliott regained his form after a disastrous start (darn new contract!) to post a 2.28 GAA in 24 games. Jaroslav Halak had a better GAA (2.14) but was just 6-5-1 on the season. Enter rookie Jake Allen, who had the best save percentage (.904) of the three and was 9-4 for the Blues. He's on a two-way contract, which means he's the odd-man out, but Allen's making things very uncomfortable for both incumbents.

Armstrong aggressively made his blue line better at the trade deadline last season, but hasn't made the same splash at the forward spot. Roy could work, Morrow could find his game again, but overall Armstrong is giving the players on the roster the chance to find the right mix. The Perron trade was a wake-up call that the Blues aren't content with one-and-done playoff appearances.

Ken Hitchcock is one of the best coaches in hockey, and someone that's shown he can get this team playing great hockey in the regular season. He's built a strong foundation, and now gets his first training camp with the team to reinforce it. Can he finally get this group over the hump in the postseason?

Say, have you heard the news?

Alex Pietrangelo. You could do a lot worse than building your team around a 23-year-old star defenseman. He leads one of the better blue lines in the conference.

The goaltending. Having three No. 1s when others can't seem to establish one seems greedy.

Backes. It's an Olympic year. You know he's coming to play.

The offense. The Blues are never going to be a scoring juggernaut, but they've yet to find offensive consistency under Hitchcock or reach the heights of their 2010-11 campaign of 2.88 goals per game.

The Blues should be right there with Chicago for the Central Division title, and then the real season starts. They have the players. They have the goaltending. They just need to put it all together. And, perhaps, avoid playing the LA Kings. That too.

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Wed, 25 Sep 2013 15:11:53 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,1cc25244-0d87-3d01-b07c-de23432f2041-l:1
What We Learned: Delusions, lies and intellectual dishonesty in the NHL https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-delusions-lies-intellectual-dishonesty-nhl-133845124--nhl.html Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Only one team every year gets to win the Stanley Cup. Only four get to win their divisions. Only 16 get to make the playoffs. These are the basic measuring sticks for success in an NHL season and it has always been a little strange to see the ways in which teams will view themselves as being capable of doing one of the above things when all the evidence screams out that no, of course they cannot.

A good example cropped up late last week when the Calgary Flames' training camp opened and some wise person had the audacity ask the players what their expectations were for this year, given that they are dreadful at just about every position and any reasonable human being thinks they're going to get creamed in significantly more than half of their games this season. The Flames, as you might expect, thought that was a load of garbage, because what else are they going to say?

Here's newly-acquired TJ Galiardi on the subject:

"Since I’ve been here, to be honest, it kinda pisses me off when I hear people say all these negative things, 'Oh yeah, have fun finishing last,' stuff like that, even from people from Calgary. People like that should just not bother talking."

While he's certainly not going to have fun, finishing last, whether it's in the division or the entire league, seems a rather likely outcome after 82 games that are sure to be brutally boring. But there is, or at least should be, a fine line between "People shouldn't make fun of me in the streets for playing on this team," and thinking you can make the playoffs with a roster such as this, which Galiardi said is at least a possibility.

Likewise, you can see this kind of misplaced confidence on a more macro level all over the league as well. Often, this revolves around goaltending in particular.

Dan Bylsma, for example, recently said of the Marc-Andre Fleury/Tomas Vokoun battery the Penguins will roll out the "best tandem in the league," which caused anyone on earth who watched a single Penguins playoff game for two seconds before their ears started bleeding and they had to be rushed to the hospital. This is a patently and demonstrably absurd statement to make, but make it he did, and everyone outside the Penguins dressing room (and, one assumes, at least a few within) had a hearty laugh about it.

This was also the case down the road in Philadelphia, where owner Ed Snider held court on Friday and said of the Flyers' goaltending, "Our goaltending situation, I think is solid, and I would be very disappointed if it is not. … What is in the past, I don't really want to talk about, but right now we have two outstanding goalies who I think are going to do a great job for us."

This, obviously, started a flood of jokes about Snider's disappointment preparedness because the team's goalies this season are, despite their having been named the second coming of Bernie Parent and receiving a first-place Vezina vote last season, respectively, Steve Mason and Ray Emery.

Anyone who is being honest with themselves does not think that's a goaltending situation that will be "solid" in the traditional sense. Their being league-average or better would be a very fortuitous outcome for the Flyers, given the way their defense is composed (favoring quantity over any sort of appreciable quality) and the fact that this is Steve Mason and Ray Emery we're talking about.

And that's fine. The Flyers have rolled out similarly underwhelming goaltending batteries in the past and been very good; not too long they even made the Stanley Cup Final in this way, though you can chalk about 86 percent of that up to Chris Pronger's presence on the roster. Oliver Lauridsen probably won't be able to replicate that.

So what it comes down to, I think, is something Jay Feaster of all people took to talking about recently: Intellectual honesty.

There's a big difference between saying, "The Flames could make the playoffs," or "Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun are the best goaltending tandem in the league," or "The Flyers' goaltending will be disappointing if it's not at least solid," and coming back away from the ledge a little bit. Players, coaches, and owners can say that there will be challenges without saying that a team or particular situation stinks, or even if they don't want to go that far, they don't have to take the illogical leaps above.

Going from saying the Flames will finish last to doing better than people expect, or that Fleury and Vokoun are the best tandem on the planet as opposed to good and reliable, or that Mason and Emery would be disappointing if they weren't at least solid.

Professional pride and so forth, I understand, but these are crazy pronouncements. The Flames are going to be in the bottom two or three in the league, and the Penguins' and Flyers' goaltending is going to be above average and just about at the league median if they're lucky this season.

There's nothing wrong with any of that. That's reality.

There's a big difference between having high expectations and asking for the moon.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Who stands to benefit most from the Bobby Ryan trade? Why, it's Kyle Palmieri, who will fill Ryan's role playing alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Unfortunately for him, this isn't a contract year.

Boston Bruins: The Bruins could use Zdeno Chara to screen the goalie instead of playing the point on power plays. On the one hand, it's hard to advocate taking the hardest shot in NHL history away from a place where he can bomb it in, but on the other, having him in front of goal will be like having goalies try to see around a mountain.

Buffalo Sabres: The reason Tyler Myers was so bad last year was the pressure of playing under a massive contract, and also that he isn't nearly as good as the contract would have you believe in the first place. Remember, he took a pretty big step back after his first two seasons thanks in large part to injury, but the idea that he can be worth $5.5 million this season by thinking positive, well, I'd really doubt that.

Calgary Flames: The Flames and Oilers, rather fittingly, both picked up wins in a pair of split-squad games. Calgary's came in a shootout, which is notable because it means Calgary actually beat someone in a shootout and that never happens.

Carolina Hurricanes: At a recent Hurricanes scrimmage, players were divided up into Team Eric and Team Jordan, leaving Jared to sulk on the bench about how it's not fair he doesn't have his own team and Coach Muller totally likes Eric and Jordan the best ughhh they're such suck-ups! GOD! I'm going to my room.

Chicago Blackhawks: Danny Wirtz brought the Stanley Cup to Riotfest in Chicago over the weekend. Of all the legendary artists at the festival that he could have hung out with (The Replacements, Bob Mould, the Pixies, Rancid, Bad Religion, Joan Jett, Saul Williams, Guided by Voices, Dinosaur Jr., Suicidal Tendencies, etc. etc. etc.), who got to have the Stanley Cup on stage during their set? That's right, it was Fall Out Boy.

Colorado Avalanche: Ryan O'Reilly's move to the wing seems to have been one hell of a good idea; he and Matt Duchene have ripped up training camp so far. "Wow," Patrick Roy after a scrimmage. “It was a nice clinic out there. I mean Matty and Ryan seem to work really well together. Ryan’s a smart guy, he’s so good along the wall, making room for Dutchy. They click really well. I thought it was great."

Columbus Blue Jackets: Three more years for Jared Boll in Columbus, which seems like an awful long time to give a guy who gets 8 minutes a night. But at $1.7 million a season, that's… oh wait that's way too much money.

Dallas Stars: I have news for you: If you think any backup goalie (let alone Dan Ellis) is going to be the thing that catapults you into the postseason, you are wrong.

Detroit Red Wings: With Tomas Tatar all but assured a roster spot with the Wings this season, how many insufferable "sauce" jokes from those idiots who say things like, "For the boys!" a lot can we expect? A trillion?

Edmonton Oilers: The goal by David Perron starting at 1:10 of this video was the only one out of eight the Oilers scored this weekend that wasn't from within two inches of the crease. So here it is.

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

Florida Panthers: "Brad Boyes hopes to bring goal-scoring skills to the Panthers." Well, about that…

Los Angeles Kings: There seems to be a few open slots on the Kings' defense, and seemingly that includes the one you probably would have thought was occupied by the currently-injured Willie Mitchel. Said Darryl Sutter, " If we're healthy, nobody's taking Drew's place. Nobody's taking Slava's place. Nobody's taking Greener's place. Nobody's taking Robyn's place. After that, there's holes there."

Minnesota Wild: This is so great. Local newspaper editor thinks the Wild's defense will be "a lot better" than last season, what with Jonas Brodeen and Keith Ballard. If this Brodeen kid is as good as Jonas Brodin they're gonna be real solid for sure. "We were eliminated in five games by Chicago," and ,"The first preseason game is Tuesday or Wednesday. What a great time of the year." This is highlight-reel stuff. Indeed.

Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens signed Zach Fucale over the weekend but he's going to spend the year in juniors anyway. So why sign him? Why not I guess.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: Milwaukee Admirals coach Dean Evason on the Preds' newly-signed wing Matt Hendricks: "He plays the game the right way, but he plays for his teammates." You hate to sign guys who play the wrong way for selfish reasons.

New Jersey Devils: Jaromir Jagr is still faking that lower-body injury. Which by the way is a great way to get out of training camp and/or second grade.

New York Islanders: The Islanders are really trying to forget that they made the playoffs last year. They should ask Dan Bylsma for whatever pills helped him forget how awful Fleury was.

New York Rangers: Chris Kreider might get a chance to play with Brad Richards and Rick Nash to start the season, and if that doesn't work out, maybe John Tortorella was right to put him in the minors.

Ottawa Senators: Jason Spezza being named captain of the Senators instead of Erik Karlsson is a really nice shift away from that recent trend of "very young but really good guy" getting it.

Philadelphia Flyers: Matt Read getting a chance to bounce back alongside Sean Couturier after both had rough 2013 seasons. You see, because his goals per game dipped to 0.26 and his points fell to 0.57. Couturier, meanwhile, saw his shooting percentage drop some 53 percent. I can't imagine there's much of a chance they don't "bounce back."

Phoenix Coyotes: How you know Phoenix isn't a good hockey market, part 10,201: "Phoenix Coyotes center Mike Ribeiro portrays tough guy, refined family man." Mike Ribeiro, tough guy. I'll be laughing all week.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins don't allow fights at training camp. Hey, let's also extend that to the regular season and playoffs. You know, since the same principles of not wanting guys to get hurt doing something that stupid applies then, too.

San Jose Sharks: Brad Stuart thinks he'll be good to the go for the Sharks' season opener, after suffering a lower-body injury over the summer. He'll probably be a third-pairing defenseman. Who makes $3.6 million.

St. Louis Blues: There was only one loser in the whole situation where Alex Pietrangelo signed that big-money, long-term deal. It was Ryan Whitney, who was brought into St. Louis on a tryout largely on the basis of Pietrangelo potentially refusing to sign until after the season started.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Bolts will name their new captain on October 1 and it's really a shame that Marty St. Louis probably won't get it.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs somehow haven't been able to trade good ol' John-Michael Liles and save themselves some room against the cap. Wow I wonder why.

Vancouver Canucks: The good news about this whole "The Canucks need to tighten up their defense" thing is that their coach is now John Tortorella.

Washington Capitals: The NHL apparently created a rule that players can no longer tuck their jerseys in. Alex Ovechkin isn't happy.

Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are really looking forward to the contributions of Michael Frolik and in theory they should be, but actual practice hasn't always worked itself out that way in his career.

Gold Star Award
I got to watch actual NHL players play actual hockey on actual TV this weekend. What a world.
Minus of the Weekend

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of GBLIII. My how time flies.
Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "mrinsane" is living up to the billing.

To St. Louis: Brayden Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Samuel Morin, Nick Cousins and 1rst round 2014

vs

To Philly: Alex Pietrangelo and 4th round pick 2015

Thank you.
Signoff
If you give a Valentine to a sixth grade boy, girls are gonna think you're... sensitive.

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

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Mon, 16 Sep 2013 06:38:45 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,b1ffc2c5-ecd2-30f1-aa35-775475ecc415-l:1
Blues, Alex Pietrangelo agree to seven-year extension, avoid lengthy holdout https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/blues-alex-pietrangelo-agree-seven-extension-avoid-lengthy-193807539--nhl.html

In his first three full seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Alex Pietrangelo has grown into one of the NHL's best young defencemen, which is pretty much ideal for him because after three full seasons, young players get to negotiate new contracts. Sweet!

It's less ideal if you're the team that has to pay him, of course, and the Blues resisted giving Pietrangelo all the money for all the years for as long as they could, but even they had to know how this was going to turn out: the kid was going to get paid. On Friday, St. Louis made it so, announcing a seven-year, $45.5 million contract for their number one defenceman, an identical deal to the one Erik Karlsson signed with the Senators last summer. From the Blues:

St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager/Alt. Governor Doug Armstrong announced the club has agreed to terms on a seven-year deal for defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

“We’re excited to have Alex in the fold for the next seven years as he will continue be a key component of our franchise,” said Armstrong. “He is an elite defenseman in this league and will be for years to come.”

The seven-year deal means that Pietrangelo is surrendering three years of unrestricted free agent status, and the contract is structured to reward him for doing so, jumping into the $7 million a year range just as he'd likely be able to command it on the open market (unless he falls off in a big way, in which case, whoops, shoulda done a bridge deal, I guess).

It's possible that the Blues could have shaved this down a little bit with more time, but doing so likely would have required letting him miss the rest of training camp and, potentially, the beginning of the season. That clearly didn't appeal to St. Louis.

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Fri, 13 Sep 2013 12:38:07 PDT Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f758f518-6a56-3201-8988-0ecff9d674ab-l:1
NHL Training Camp 2013: Puck Daddy’s guide to Western Conference preseason storylines https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-training-camp-2013-puck-daddy-guide-western-180740104--nhl.html Rejoice, friends, for hockey hath finally returned unto our lives…

The NHL opens its 2013-14 season training camps this week. Earlier, we gave you a look at the Eastern Conference and its new friends in Detroit and Columbus.

Now it's time to focus on the West, home to the Stanley Cup champions, Teemu Selanne and now the Winnipeg Jets, too.

Enjoy!

CENTRAL DIVISION

Chicago Blackhawks (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena (100 Compton Family Ice Arena, Notre Dame, IN)/ United Center

The Storyline: Second line center. Brandon Pirri, who led the AHL in scoring last season, is going to be given a solid audition as the Blackhawks' No. 2 behind Jonathan Toews. Should he fail to grab the brass ring, last year’s rookie sensation Brandon Saad might get a shot, with Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc lingering as the darkest of dark horses.

The Subplot: Ben Smith vs. Jeremy Morin. With Michael Frolik in Winnipeg, there’s competition to fill his role on the fourth line and on the PK. Smith gained fame as an emergency fill-in for Marian Hossa in the playoffs. The Daily Herald sees Morin as his chief competition, with a combination of offense and grit.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Kyle Beach once had two fights during prospects camp.

Colorado Avalanche (Training Camp Roster)

Where: South Suburban Family Sports Center in Centennial, CO.

The Storyline: Ryan O'Reilly’s big shift. Jeff Marek’s favorite player moves from the middle to left wing this season, skating with Matt Duchene at center and P.A. Parenteau at right wing. It was necessitated when Nathan MacKinnon was taken first overall; will O’Reilly thrive on the wing in the last year of his offer-sheeted contract (thanks, Calgary)?

The Subplot: Camp Roy. It’s Saint Patrick’s first NHL training camp as a head coach; what discernible differences will become apparent in the preseason between a Patrick Roy Avs team and what preceded it?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Guillaume Desbiens had 118 penalty minutes for the Chicago Wolves last season and will look to make an impression in camp.

Dallas Stars (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Fort Worth Convention Center (1201 Houston St, Fort Worth, TX)

The Storyline: Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn get positional. Seguin was a winger with the center-laden Bruins, but was acquired to become the Stars’ No. 1 pivot. Jamie Benn was a left wing in juniors but played center for the Stars, and now he’s shifted back to the wing -- at least for the moment.

The Subplot: Valeri Nichushkin was a “man child” at the Traverse City Prospects tournament, and the 2013 No. 10 overall pick is going to have “every opportunity to be on our team,” assistant GM Les Jackson told NHL.com. Don’t underestimate the importance of Sergei Gonchar on the roster to help facilitate this offensive dynamo’s transition to the NHL.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: If super pest Antoine Roussel channels his boundless energy the wrong way, someone could pay the price.

Minnesota Wild (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Xcel Energy Center.

The Storyline: The youth movement up front. Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula will all be given chances to make an impact on the team. Coyle, Granlund and Haula are all going to be vying for the No. 2 center spot behind Mikko Koivu. And let’s not forget Matt Dumba on defense, too.

The Subplot: Dave Steckel wins faceoffs. While the Wild have Zenon Konopka on the roster, Steckel is a big body they don’t necessarily have up the middle.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Carter “The Sandman” Sandlak is an OHL camp invitee who had two fights at the Traverse City tournament.

Nashville Predators (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Centennial Sportsplex (222 25th Ave N, Nashville); Bridgestone Arena.

The Storyline: Seth Jones is the storyline. The Predators’ top pick in the 2013 draft enters camp with a world of hype and expectations, but also with some practical questions about where he fits on this team. If the defenseman wants to play in the top four, it’d have to be on the left side; as Smashville 24/7 notes, it’s not the side he’s most familiar with as a right-handed shot.

The Subplot: Hey, breaking news, the Predators need to score more. That means some solid opportunities for young players who find the back of the net in the preseason to crack the lineup in the regular season. The Preds have roughly $4.6 million in cap space to add scoring in the preseason should they see fit.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Joonas Jarvinen is a fighter in the AHL with a name that sounds like something John Carter would have encountered on Barsoom.

St. Louis Blues (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Scottrade Center.

The Storyline: Who plays with Derek Roy? The Blues’ new center, in on a 1-year deal, is a playmaker unlike the team’s other two primary centers in David Backes and Patrik Berglund, who take it to the net more than dish it. Which wingers will click with Roy?

The Subplot: Without Alex Pietrangelo in camp due to contract negotiations, the Blues turned to veteran Ryan Whitney. Is he simply a place holder for Petro, or someone that could stick with the team when the star defenseman returns?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: We’re not entirely sure, but we’d like to see David Backes tune up a Canadian teammate to kick-off his pre-Olympics Inglorious Backes spree.

Winnipeg Jets (Training Camp Roster)

Where: MTS Centre and MTS Iceplex.

The Storyline: Are the kids finally ready? The Jets have been waiting for 20-year-old center Mark Scheifele and 19-year-old defenseman Jacob Trouba to be ready to snag significant ice time. In the case of the former, the team desperately needs more scoring from the center spot. Is he a true No. 1 in the waiting?

The Subplot: Dustin Byfuglien is so … fit? Gary Lawless believes the defenseman is 30 pounds lighter than when he arrived at camp last season. Wonder why oh right he wants to make the Olympics.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Evander Kane. Oh, wait, are we talking about traffic tickets?

PACIFIC DIVISION

Anaheim Ducks (Training Camp Roster)

Where: THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE (300 West Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim)

The Storyline: Life without Bobby Ryan. The forward, traded to the Ottawa Senators during the offseason, was a key offensive weapon whether he was skating as a three-headed monster with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry or starring on the second line. So who replaces him?

Kyle Palmieri probably has a job to lose. Sniper Jakob Silfverberg, acquired from Ottawa, will be given a chance to win a top six job. But could a strong camp elevate Emerson Etem into a prime time role in his sophomore season?

The Subplot: Hey, remember Kyle Cumiskey? The former Colorado Avalanche defenseman played for MODO last season in Sweden, and comes to camp with the Ducks anticipating that Sheldon Souray will miss several months of the regular season. Added to the intrigue: Cumiskey was actually Ducks property through the 2011-12 season, played 57 games in the AHL, didn’t see any NHL action and then signed with MODO with the Ducks still having his rights.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Oh hi, Zach “Huggy Bear” Stortini.

Calgary Flames (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Winsport, 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary

The Storyline: For the first time since 2003, there’s an actual goalie competition in Calgary thanks to the retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff. KHL vet Karri Ramo (of the notorious YouTube lowlights) could have the inside track, but NHL journeyman Joey MacDonald will be in the mix along with Swiss goalie Reto Berra, who came over in the Jay Bouwmeester trade. If this group inspires thoughts that the Flames might add a goalie in the preseason, it’s probably because they should.

The Subplot: Post-Iginla, who gets the ‘C’? Mike Cammalleri, who is captain material? A veteran like Curtis Glencross, who wore the ‘A’? Or perhaps someone like Mark Giordano that’ll be in Calgary for a bit?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: If Brian Burke is your new head of state, best that you all fight in camp. #Truculence

Edmonton Oilers (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Millennium Place in Sherwood Park/Rexall Place

The Storyline: Taylor Hall to center. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins injured, the Oilers appear primed to move Hall to center to start the season if RNH can’t answer the bell. The Copper & Blue spells out why this might not be a temporary move.

The Subplot: The rest of the defense. With Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry and the Schultzes taking up the top four spots and Andrew Ference filling the fifth, the Oilers have one hole to fill on defense. Jonathan Willis sees it as a competition between Denis Grebeshkov, Anton Belov, Corey Potter and Philip Larsen, with Larsen in a ‘make or break’ camp.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: IDK, Ben Eager seems the type.

Los Angeles Kings (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Toyota Sports Center.

The Storyline: The return of Willie Mitchell. The veteran defenseman with the long stick returns to the Kings after missing all of last season with knee issues. Can he make it back for LA, which could use a stay-at-home D-man after Rob Scuderi left for the Penguins?

The Subplot: Someone is going to back up Jonathan Quick. Will it be Ben Scrivens, acquired in the Jonathan Bernier trade? Will it be veteran camp invitee Mathieu Garon? Will it be some minor leaguer you’ve never heard of?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Daniel Carcillo is cray-cray.

Phoenix Coyotes (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Jobing.com Arena.

The Storyline: Who wants to be Mike Ribeiro’s friend? The Coyotes are hoping they signed a No. 1 center that’ll have instant chemistry with Mikkel Boedker and Shane Doan.

The Subplot: As the Arizona Republic notes, there is exactly one spot on defense open with Michael Stone, David Schlemko, David Rundblad, Chris Summers and Brandon Gormley in the mix to play next to Rusty Klesla. Trade winds a-blowin’?

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Hey, it’s preseason for Paul Bissonnette’s fists, too.

San Jose Sharks (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Sharks Ice at San Jose (1500 S 10th St., San Jose).

The Storyline: Where does Tyler Kennedy fit? The former Penguins winger could slot with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, or could end up with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, or drop down to the third line. It’s really up to Kennedy, and his performance in the preseason.

The Subplot: Who’s behind Antti Niemi? Thomas Greiss is now in Phoenix. Alex Stalock would seem to have the inside track for the gig, but CSN Bay Area notes that Harri Sateri (great name) will battle for the job.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: We’ll go ahead and assume that Matt Pelech, of the 238 PIMs in 58 games in the AHL last season, is a feisty one.

Vancouver Canucks (Training Camp Roster)

Where: Rogers Arena.

The Storyline: John Tortorella’s bite. The volcanic coach takes over a Vancouver Canucks team with a simple mandate: Make them tougher and tougher to play against. He says the team needs “more bite.” What, having Alex Burrows on the roster isn’t enough?

The Subplot: No. 3 center. It’s Jordan Schroeder’s job to lose, but watch out for Bo Horvat, whom the Canucks would love to make the big roster, showing an immediate payoff for the Cory Schneider trade.

Dude Most Likely To Fight In Camp: Maybe Zack Kassian knocks someone out off the faceoff to play to his new coach’s affinities.

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Wed, 11 Sep 2013 11:07:40 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,126a8c11-43cc-3b03-904b-0da6c4b1ae8a-l:1
Alex Pietrangelo talks break off for St. Louis Blues; defenseman won’t report to camp https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/alex-pietrangelo-talks-break-off-st-louis-blues-132940508--nhl.html The St. Louis Blues announced on Wednesday morning that restricted free agent defenseman Alex Pietrangelo would not be on the Blues’ roster at the start of training camp.

“Talks between the Blues and Alex’s camp have broken off for now and Alex will not be reporting for our camp today,” said GM Doug Armstrong.

As we covered previously, the Blues were prepared for life without Alex Pietrangelo during training camp. The contract talks with Petro involved a max term contract somewhere between Erik Karlsson ($6.5 million AAV over seven years) or Drew Doughty ($7 million AAV over 8 years) money.

Andy Strickland recently opined on that contract’s issues:

The Pietrangelo contract is a complicated one. Not necessarily because of the dollars but with no arbitration deadline to work off of both sides have the luxury of standing firm for as long as they want. Technically the two sides have until December 1st, the deadline restricted free agents have to sign if they want to play NHL hockey this season.

Ugh. Well that’s not good.

Armstrong has been steadfast that Pietrangelo will be with the St. Louis Blues this season because he has faith that the process just needs time to play out and because, we assume, he knows the offer sheet system in the NHL is a toothless joke.

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Wed, 11 Sep 2013 06:29:40 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,505f4873-043c-3302-a087-790657fb349a-l:1
What We Learned: Derek Stepan should get paid, NY Rangers deserve criticism https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-derek-stepan-paid-ny-rangers-deserve-criticism-131242501--nhl.html Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

The signings of Marcus Johansson and Mikkel Boedker seemed to signal that better-publicized cases of Nazem Kadri and Alex Pietrangelo would be wrapped up due to their players' acquiescence to the demands of their teams.

This of course ignores how much better the latter two players have been in their time in the world's best hockey league than the former; but largely lost in all this is the fact that Derek Stepan, too, remains unsigned in New York and seems likely to get shorted by Glen Sather if he wants a contract at all, which one would assume he does.

If anything, Stepan is and should be a more interesting case than Kadri, due to the much longer history of success in the league (three full seasons, 0.66 points per game in 212 career appearances).

Not that Pietrangelo has anything to show anyone a thing about his game, in the way that critics have some sort of point in implying Kadri does, but that applies to Stepan, too. He had 51 points as a 21-year-old sophomore in 2011-12, and followed that up with an identical-to-Kadri 18 goals and 44 points in the shortened season. Just as Dave Nonis is getting rightly roasted for signing everyone before his promising young center, so too should Sather be receiving the same criticism.

The Rangers have, as of this moment, $2.1 million in cap space, and even the most cynical wag — wryly observing that Stepan has been largely sheltered in his career to this point, getting favorable zone starts against mostly soft competition and, to his credit, destroying it — can't say with a straight face that this is the kind of money a player of Stepan's caliber should even consider taking. You'd have to think that he lines up as the Rangers' No. 2 center, and that the team could ill afford to go without him for any period of time, given that with their new coach they likely have aspirations of, you know, making the playoffs and being good this season and so on.

Unless you're deeply invested in contorting your argument to an absurd position, there is no question as to what Stepan deserves, at least within an acceptable range, because his value is apparent. The issue, though, is that the Rangers obviously don't have the ability to give him that much.

Should they have used an amnesty buyout Brad Richards or, say, Arron Asham or Darroll Powe to give themselves a little more wiggle room? You can probably make the case that they should have, given their not having done so is the reason they cannot re-sign a 23-year-old kid who went nearly a point-a-game last year.

So what is, or at least should be, the question, then? It seems to me that it should be about how this isn't getting more publicity. In an Olympic year, a young kid who looks like a pretty good bet to make the American team might start the season without a team.

Another rather germane question, one raised by several people in the last few days, is why no one has offer-sheeted Stepan.

Tyler Dellow floated the particularly intriguing idea of the Islanders doing so, because what do they really have to lose by inking him long-term to a deal in the neighborhood of, say, $5 million? A Tavares/Stepan 1-2 setup down the middle for the next five years or so seems rather conducive to repeated playoff appearances, does it not?

That, of course, will never happen because that's simply not how the NHL works, but obviously something has to give here. Unlike Nonis, Sather did not shell out like a drunken and already-spendthrift sailor on mediocre parts. The guys he re-signed or brought aboard, are useful and still a good value despite their cost (Ryan McDonagh) or useful and cheap at the very least (Benoit Pouliot).

This is, really, a case of the Rangers being victimized by the cap coming down, by a wholly arbitrary amount, but if you're making a choice between Pouliot and Stepan that's not a choice at all. It comes down to having the ability to clean up your own house before you start bringing new things into it, and while Pouliot is a perfectly fine depth player that can help a team win, Stepan is a future centerpiece for the Rangers. This is about priorities (which Sather has gotten all out of order) and managing moving parts (which he simply hasn't done).

Where are the articles claiming he's inept?

Where are the demands that Stepan take less than market value for the good of the team to prove that he wants to play in New York and as a show of good faith in his ability to earn later on, when the Rangers do have cap space (and next season, they're set up to have more than $37 million of it, thanks to 18 currently-signed guys coming off the books)?

Where is even the remotest of raised eyebrows over this issue?

Perhaps Kadri's case, sexier and more controversial since it's being negotiated through the media at this point, has already gotten everyone's brows furrowed enough as it is.

But that doesn't mean this isn't a case of a high-profile team in a major market punting a contract situation that should have been handled with ease, and months ago.

You have to pay guys like Stepan. He has nothing left to prove.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: So the Anaheim Ducks run a high school hockey league in California, and it recently grew to 28 teams, double the amount that competed last year. Now teams from San Diego to San Jose are in it, and that's pretty crazy if you think about it. Those schools are like seven hours apart.

Boston Bruins: The Bruins still haven't decided who's going to back up Tuukka Rask next season but it could very well end up being rookie Niklas Svedberg. That would certainly open up room for Malcolm Subban to get more time in Providence, which seems like it should be the goal.

Buffalo Sabres: Tom Vanek on the Sabres' chances this season: "I think we have to be on top of our game to beat the Detroits and those kinds of teams." Yeah and even then, probably not. The good news for Vanek is that he'll be gone from Buffalo forever before the trade deadline.

Calgary Flames: Everyone is still, understandably, talking about Brian Burke taking over the Calgary Flames' hockey ops department and having direct authority over Jay Feaster, presumably so he doesn't have another series of missteps in handling what is now a rebuild process in everything except name. But the major concern has to be that while he can certainly veto whatever deals Feaster might want to make, the management is still inexplicably screaming about the necessity of winning and I wonder whether this kind of thing signals a move away from the "pile up picks and prospects" type of rebuild and toward one of the ill-fated "do it on the fly" type of rebuilds instead. Because that kind of thing would be disastrous, obviously.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes lost 7-5 in a prospects game at the Traverse City rookie tournament, and it's really nice to see such a pervasive organizational commitment to having no defense whatsoever.

Chicago Blackhawks: Stan Bowman says he's going to make sure the Blackhawks keep Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane forever but the way he's giving out money this summer — in committing a combined $14.1 million against the cap to Bryan Bickell, Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson for at least the next four years — it's going to cost him roughly a trillion dollars (U.S.) to follow through on that promise.

Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche have 19 guys on one-way deals headed into camp, and four more on two-ways who were NHL regulars last season so that's 23 guys. Meaning the roster is set. Meaning the other 35 guys invited to their training camp are gonna feel really stupid when Patrick Roy posts the cut list I bet and Gabe Landeskog is high-fiving Steve Downie in front of it and laughing a lot.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Boone Jenner wants to make the Blue Jackets' roster this season. If he doesn't, he'll cry and whine like he did any time he elbowed someone in the face at World Juniors (which was often). Boohoone Jenner strikes again.

Dallas Stars: The Stars changed almost everything this offseason; their coach and their GM and like half their roster and even their jerseys. But the one thing they didn't change is the fact that they're not very good.

Detroit Red Wings: Pavel Datsyuk is happy to be back in Detroit and that says it all.

Edmonton Oilers: Naming a captain for the Oilers doesn't seem like something that's going to be easy. Most of their older guys seem on their way out. Most of their younger guys don't seem like they've done enough to differentiate themselves from the pack. I hope it's Nail Yakupov.

Florida Panthers: Nick Bjugstad thinks he has a pretty good chance to make the Panthers this season and I'd say that's probably true since he's going to be their No. 2 center.

Los Angeles Kings: Defensive prospect Derek Forbort took a puck in the face over the summer and still has a big red mark where it hit him. "I should have had a visor on," he says. Why doesn't every hockey player think this all the time?

Minnesota Wild: A real-life thing Mike Yeo said out loud and presumably kept a straight face while saying: "I hate that people think that we’re a dump-and-chase team." I don't know where they would have gotten that impression, right?

Montreal Canadiens: A couple of Habs defensive prospects say they're not bothered by the team signing Douglas Murray this summer due in large part to the fact that they are probably both significantly better than him.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: Seth Jones says that this season he's going to try to cram his success down the throats of the Avs, Panthers and Lightning for not taking him. A true patriot and great human, that Seth Jones.

New Jersey Devils: Looks like the Devils are going to give at least a few rookies a very good chance to make the team, which means they don't have anyone more convincing to trot out instead and thus are going to be awful this year. Have a nice season, Devs fans.

New York Islanders: John Tavares will be named Islanders captain later today and this will come as a shock to the 97.8 percent of NHL fans who would have sworn up and down that he was already. That also serves as a fun reminder of the contract the Flyers gave former captain Mark Streit. It's really bad!

New York Rangers: Yes, people who write about the Rangers are still complaining about how John Tortorella dealt with the media. I can't imagine why he didn't like dealing with reporters.

Ottawa Senators: Kyle Turris and Patrick Wiercioch recently helped a bunch of minor hockey players and their parents pick out hockey equipment for the coming season, and were contractually obligated to scream at them if they didn't buy Kevlar socks.

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers have a ton of defensemen on the team and Paul Holmgren isn't worried about the situation. I'm assuming that's because most of them are super-old, not very good, or both.

Phoenix Coyotes: Signing Mikkel Boedker for another two years is a good move for the Coyotes. Despite what everyone said, though, this contract should have no bearing whatsoever on anything Nazem Kadri does or does not do.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The Pirates are actually good this season, I guess, and the Penguins are planning to do something special to honor them this season. Whatever you do, though, don't make Marc-Andre Fleury catch for them.

San Jose Sharks: Single-game tickets and the new Sharks jerseys both go on sale next Saturday and I swear I forgot they even had new jerseys because of how awful Buffalo's thirds are. I forgot all jerseys except that one existed.

St. Louis Blues: If the Blues sign Ryan Whitney as a stopgap while they try to lock up Alex Pietrangelo I think they're going to be extremely disappointed with how all of that went.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Will Ben Bishop be the starter for the Lightning this year? Hell, will anyone?

Toronto Maple Leafs: What do you think is a "winning mentality?" Do you think Leafs prospect Garrett Sparks can pass it on to say, oh I don't know, James Reimer? Anyone else on the Leafs, maybe? That would help I bet.

Vancouver Canucks: Oh god it's going to be a whole season of headlines like this, isn't it?

Washington Capitals: Adam Oates seems likely to keep newly re-signed Marcus Johansson on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom, where he spent the majority of the last half of this past season and had some pretty strong success. After all, he went 5-16-21 in the final 23 games of the regular season, but one wonders how much of that was entirely due to Alex Ovechkin shooting the lights out at a wholly unsustainable and never-to-be-repeated rate? Almost of it? That seems likely.

Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are trying to go bigger this season. The irony of a team with Dustin Byfuglien trying to get bigger is so delicious Dustin Byfuglien ate it.

Gold Star Award
I just want give Canada the biggest props possible for having a black and gold jersey at the Olympics. When America is scoring a million goals against them it will feel more natural because Marc-Andre Fleury or something? I don't know, that's a joke that needed a little more time in the oven but it's too late now.

Minus of the Weekend
Shout out to Jonathan Cheechoo for saying 7,500 KHL fans at an arena in Croatia are "louder" than NHL fans. You know, because Cheechoo has only the vaguest memories of people in an NHL arena making any noises other than screaming, "You suck Cheechoo" when he got his doors blown off in transition and fell down because he's the worst skater alive. And by the way, just to underscore how crap the KHL is: Cheechoo had two goals in his first game over there.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "geebaan" says this is "just a crazy idea" and I'm inclined to agree with him or her.

Vancouver:
The Sedins
Chris Tanev

to

Nashville:
Shea Weber
Colin Wilson

Signoff
Your mother is so ugly it affects her self-esteem.

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

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Mon, 09 Sep 2013 06:12:42 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,b080bc1d-b3f6-32c3-9c06-049948ac6a5e-l:1
St. Louis Blues preparing Alex Pietrangelo contingency plan with Ryan Whitney https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/st-louis-blues-preparing-alex-pietrangelo-contingency-plan-152056013--nhl.html Alex Pietrangelo is going to be a member of the St. Louis Blues this season, eventually. That much is certain. But you can’t blame the team for taking a few precautions in case he misses a chunk of training camp as an unsigned restricted free agent.

GM Doug Armstrong told STLToday.com that the Blues are mulling over the “what ifs” on Pietrangelo’s absence from camp:

“I’ve talked to the coaches about the ‘what ifs’ on a few different situations,” Armstrong said. “We’re not going to replace Alex in eight days. We’re not going to replace him in eight years. Our goal is to get him signed and when we get him signed, he’ll be here.

“But we do have to have the proper amount of players to run practices and to make sure that we’re getting what we want out of those exhibition games. We want players getting ready to play, but we don’t want to overburden them. With him out, is it going to increase the burden on other players or do we find a way to fill that from the outside?”

That means bringing in a veteran defenseman that can at least mimic the role Pietrangelo plays on the ice. Both Andy Strickland and Bob McKenzie report that player is former Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney, who … well, at the very least he used to have a game that resembled Pietrangelo’s.

Whitney would come to Blues camp on a Professional Tryout Contract, but nothing's been finalized, according to Strickland.

As for the Pietrangelo negotiations, McKenzie reports that the two sides are working on an 8-year max term contract, but the question remains if he’ll get Erik Karlsson ($6.5 million AAV over seven years) or Drew Doughty ($7 million AAV over 8 years) money.

Strickland broke it down thusly:

The Blues don’t need further proof to confirm the notion that Pietrangelo is a very good player. That they already know. How good is somewhat foggy just three full seasons into his career. There’s no question Pietrangelo is the undisputed number one D-man on the Blues roster and will continue to be for at least the next seven to eight years. There have been comparisons made with the contracts signed by Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson whose resumes were a little more defined at the time they signed their lofty extensions. Again we know Pietrangelo is good, but do we truly know how he fits in with the best players at his position in the NHL?

Doughty was a Norris finalist as a 19 year-old in his second NHL season, Karlsson was coming off a Norris Trophy winning season before officially becoming filthy rich at only 21 years of age.

If timing is everything this didn’t exactly work out as Pietrangelo had hoped who is arguably coming off of his weakest NHL season. In fairness, his weakest year is still better than the best season for most D-men in the league. As I’ve said before, even when Pietrangelo is struggling he still bails you out of trouble.

Whatever the case, the Blues would seem destined to have over $16 million in cap space dedicated to three defenseman through 2017: Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk ($4.25 million) and Jay Bouwmeester ($5.4 million). But that's a solid foundation around which to build.

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Thu, 05 Sep 2013 08:20:56 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,ed7bde3f-908d-3edc-a0d6-3386bb1a0447-l:1
Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Breaking down the best studs and sleepers at defense https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/yahoo-fantasy-hockey-breaking-down-best-studs-sleepers-134452007--nhl.html

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey is open for the 2013-14 season. To help give you a better chance to win your league, our pals at Dobber Hockey are returning for another season. They'll be breaking down the top forwards, defense and goalies, and also giving you some sleepers to keep an eye on. Today, it's defensemen.

by Steve Laidlaw

The King

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators – Karlsson is the best defenseman in fantasy hockey. It’s not up for debate. Yes, he has only flashed one transcendent season and yes he is coming off of a sliced Achilles but that doesn’t matter because no one is as good as he is, period.

Two Princes

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins – Letang’s production is more the result of optimal surroundings. He gets to skate with two of the absolute best in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. In fantasy hockey you don’t fault him for that. You do, however, fault him for being injury prone and rest assured - Letang is a Band-Aid Boy extraordinaire. If he could skate for 82 games in a season he could contend with Karlsson but since he can’t, he can’t.

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens – Backed up his contract demands with a breakout season in 2013 tying for the league lead in (defensemen) scoring with 38 points in 42 games. No one questions his talent but can he bring that sort of consistency for 82 games?

Sign up your team and league today.

The Court Jester

Mike Green, Washington Capitals – Green is in a class of his own in fantasy hockey because there is no telling what he’ll do from week to week, let alone season to season. We know his talent is immense but he’s so injury prone that even when he’s in the lineup he might still be hurt. Take him too early and he could sink your team. Wait too late to grab him and you could be letting a top five defenseman slip away.

The Stars

Time to do away with the royal court theme. These next few players are the rest of the true fantasy stars on defense.

Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets – Big Buff has apparently taken to off-season fitness this summer. That could mean restaurant bankruptcies big things for an already productive defenseman. Don’t rule out a move back to forward either, which would be of added bonus for Byfuglien.

Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes – Oliver Ekman-Larsson has overtaken Yandle as the top defenseman in Phoenix but Yandle is still the more dynamic offensive defenseman. There’s no reason to believe Yandle won’t continue to be a top blueliner.

Shea Weber, Nashville Predators – Didn’t miss a beat last season following the departure of Ryan Suter to Minnesota. Weber is as steady as they come.

Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks – The top defenseman on Chicago’s loaded roster? Yes please.

Christian Ehrhoff, Buffalo Sabres – It would be easy to crap on Ehrhoff for being a key part of the Sabres’ failed spending spree of 2011 but he is the lone player who has really worked out for the Sabres. He won’t blow you away but he’s a smart playmaker and capable power-play quarterback.

Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild – No one skated more minutes than Ryan Suter last season. His offensive breakout was certainly a reflection of this.

Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers – A proven and capable scoring defenseman who will get a load of minutes yet again for the Panthers. No reason to expect he won’t be productive once again.

Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs – Phaneuf is a lightning rod for media criticism but that really doesn’t matter for fantasy hockey. What matters is that Phaneuf skates big minutes for the Leafs and has a cannon of a shot that he unleashes more than but a handful of other defensemen in the NHL.

Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings – No longer in the shadow of the great Nick Lidstrom, Kronwall is now the top defenseman on the Red Wings and producing like it.

Tobias Enstrom, Winnipeg Jets – If fantasy hockey were more forgiving it would be understandable if you had forgotten about Enstrom. But fantasy hockey is definitely not forgiving. Enstrom has been banged up for much of the past two seasons but prior to that he recorded back-to-back 50-point efforts. The talent is still there. Look for him to bounce back with a healthy year.

Alex Edler, Vancouver Canucks – The most productive defenseman in Vancouver over the past few years, even the arrival of a new coach shouldn’t dissuade you from taking the Canucks top defenseman.

Sign up your team and league today.

The Veterans

Don’t sleep on these next few guys. They may be old but they still have a lot to offer your fantasy team.

Mark Streit, Philadelphia Flyers – Moving to Philadelphia from Long Island really won’t affect Streit all that much. He’s still a top notch fantasy defenseman.

Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers – At his age Timonen should probably be in decline, just don’t tell him that. With 29 points in 45 games last season, Timonen put in another ageless effort. Streit’s arrival could knock him down a peg or two, though.

Sergei Gonchar, Dallas Stars – Gonchar still has some gas left in the tank but does he have enough to play 82 games? Keep in mind he will also likely be playing a number of games for Russia at the Olympics, which could wear him out.

Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks – Boyle’s minutes took a significant dive last season as the Sharks looked to keep him well rested for the playoffs. Fortunately, for Boyle a significant drop in minutes can still mean he sees well over 20 minutes per game. He’s still very smart and very talented and definitely the Sharks’ best defenseman.

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins – Took a bit of a step back last season, which could be a sign that he’s in decline. More likely that’s just a blip on the radar and he’ll be back to his 40-point ways.

Lubomir Visnovsky, New York Islanders – Three seasons ago Visnovsky led all NHL defensemen in scoring. He may have slowed down but he still has a lot of talent. With the departure of Mark Streit this offseason Visnovsky is now the undisputed top defenseman on Long Island, which could be a very productive position.

Ascendant Youngsters

These guys are well on their way to becoming perennial top defensemen in fantasy hockey, all they need to do is prove to us they can do it year after year.

Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers – Schultz is already a star finishing tied for 12th in defensemen scoring last season but he has potential for so much more going into his sophomore campaign. He could be a top five scorer if all goes well.

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings – Doughty plays too big a role to get back to the 59-point level that he achieved in his sophomore season. Still, he’s one of the best all-around defensemen in the NHL and is still productive year after year even if he’s not the scoring star we thought he was.

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues – Pietrangelo is dangerously close to becoming Doughty 2.0 in that he has loads of natural ability but is too important to his team to completely bust out. He has all the talent in the world but may never reach his upside.

Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues – Shattenkirk has the benefit of playing with a complete defenseman like Pietrangelo because it allows him to focus on the offensive side of things. The Blues don’t score nearly enough for Shattenkirk to reach his upside but 50 points is a definite possibility.

Slava Voynov, Los Angeles Kings – He has already passed Drew Doughty as the top offensive defenseman in Los Angeles and has a brand new contract to show for it. The Kings believe in him and you should too.

Michael Del Zotto, New York Rangers – MDZ is the incumbent top offensive defenseman on the Rangers with a history of solid offensive production. His youth offers optimism for more but even without more he’s still a fine producer.

Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars – Quietly put together a very productive season after being benched for one game last year. He has loads of talent but consistency is an issue. With a revamped roster and some help on the blue line this could be Goligoski’s breakout year.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes – Already the best defenseman on the Coyotes roster we are still finding out just how much potential OEL has. Temper your expectations for now but realize he has tremendous upside.

Dukes of Mediocrity

Okay, so we are going to dip back into the royal theme once more. These guys are good, just not stars.

Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames – Wideman is hardly a great NHL defenseman but he is a journeyman who keeps hanging around. He has proven at every stop in his career that when given the opportunity he can produce points. Wideman definitely has the opportunity to do so for Calgary.

Matt Carle, Tampa Bay Lightning – It may be unfortunate but Carle is the Lightning’s top defenseman and will receive big time minutes in all situations. He is probably no better than a 40-point guy but there is still value in knowing that he will be an average producer for your team.

Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks – Capable of producing serious fantasy numbers because he plays on such a stacked team, Seabrook is more of a stay-at-home type with limited upside.

Jack Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets – Leading candidate for captain of the “Good Stats/Terrible Player” team, Johnson is most certainly a liability for his squad. Fortunately for you this is fantasy and you only care about the good stats. Johnson has proven himself a capable 35-point scorer with upside for more.

Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks – More of a defensive defenseman, was never the less the Canucks’ highest scoring defenseman last season. Hamhuis doesn’t have a lot of upside but he is dialed in for at least 30 points.

John Carlson, Washington Capitals – It is always funny when a player produces at a perfectly acceptable clip for an average player but is seen as a disappointment because he has so much more potential. Carlson has produced at around a 35-point pace through his first three NHL seasons but could do so much better. He is easily the Capitals’ best defenseman, which forces him to play tough minutes and bumps down his offensive production. He has potential to improve his numbers but probably won’t.

Sign up your team and league today.

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Sat, 31 Aug 2013 06:44:52 PDT Dobber Hockey nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f5ee3f18-864b-3771-8b83-9507d0bd0359-l:1
What We Learned: Even with Grabovski, Capitals are just borderline playoff team https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-even-grabovski-capitals-just-borderline-playoff-team-105958945.html Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

The praise poured in pretty much all weekend for the Washington Capitals after they signed Mikhail Grabovski to a sweetheart $3 million, one-year deal on Friday, bringing the long-rumored contract into the realm of reality.

As well they should have. The decision to amnesty Grabovski was a comically bad one from Toronto, the kind you should have already come to expect from the Randy Carlyle/Dave Nonis two-headed-and-no-brained collective, and every team could use a player like him. That Washington won the sweepstakes with a relatively low bid of $3 million (and the apparent promise from Adam Oates that he's free to take all Kovalchuk-length power play shifts he wants) came as little surprise. The Caps are of course always trying to be in the Eastern European market and Grabovski seems, on the surface, to be a pretty good No. 2 center option behind Nicklas Backstrom. He certainly serves as an upgrade, in terms of both production and price point, from the now-departed Mike Ribeiro.

But the problem with the signing, and more importantly what people seem to think it means for the Capitals, is that it doesn't seem likely to matter very much. This does not instantly make the Capitals anything besides a borderline playoff threat at the absolute and very best, if everything breaks their way.

Let's not forget, this was a Capitals team that needed a resurgent MVP performance from the ghost of Alex Ovechkin (32 goals in 48 games after posting 32 and 38 in the previous two 82-game seasons, respectively), the highest power-play shooting percentage in the league (20.1, compared with an average of 13.6), the third-softest schedule in the league (behind only Winnipeg and Florida, and tied with Carolina and Tampa), just to get to 57 points.

That's the same number as Toronto got, and only two ahead of the Islanders, who finished eighth in the East.

Even supposing that the first two factors can be replicated — that Ovechkin will be able to score 0.82 goals per game for any reasonable stretch, as he did in March and April, and that the Caps power play can keep putting the puck in the net once on every five shots — the fact of the matter is that the days of wailing on three or four non-playoff teams, at least one of which always seems to be in the lottery, as part of their divisional schedule.

Recall if you will that the Capitals conceded 130 goals in 48 games last season, good for 16th in the league (only four better than everyone's favorite "Their defense is holding them back!" poster boys in Edmonton) against a division featuring offenses that averaged 2.69 goals per game.

By contrast, that horrific Flyers defense and goaltending situation last season, which gave up 141 goals, did so in a division in which opponents averaged 2.84 a night.

That latter fact is important because of that whole thing where the Caps, along with the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets, are coming into that division. The Southeast has, since the 2004-05 lockout, sent an average of 1.6 or so teams to the playoffs, compared with 3.4 for the Atlantic. Not once since they instituted the six-division system has the former sent more teams to postseason than the former.

What it all boils down to is that Washington beating a slew of crap divisional opponents this past season — that'd be 15 of their 27 wins against the Southeast in just 18 games — is something on which they cannot count going forward. The Flyers and Devils were the two Atlantic teams not to make the playoffs last season, and the Caps still only beat them once in three tries each (2-2-2, six points, who cares?). Against the Rangers, they gave up five of six points. Same goes for the Islanders. They didn't beat the Penguins once.

A guy like Mikhail Grabovski, or even a defenseman who is as proficient at his position as Grabovski is in the middle, doesn't solve the problem here. This is a team that scores a lot of goals, historically, and it's probably built to do that again next season. It doesn't play to defend, and that's a reasonable thing to do when your division is that bad. Whether allowing 32.3 shots a game, as they did last season, is a recipe for success against teams that can actually hurt you with goals of their own remains to be seen.

But you can make your own guesses about it. The Rangers showed in the playoffs what the Caps can really do against even underwhelming teams outside the Southeast, and while Ovechkin was more or less nowhere in evidence during that series, it seems unlikely that adding Grabovski does little to cure the team's ills.

That doesn't mean it wasn't a good signing. It just means it was a mostly inconsequential one. That's how it goes sometimes.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Don't forget to pick up your tickets for the Anaheim Ducks Golf Classic, which will be your last chance to golf with the Ducks until Day 1 of the playoffs.

Boston Bruins: Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight spent all summer at an Ottawa-area hockey school trying to improve their games so they can stick in the NHL this season, but the fun part is they're probably competing for the same spot.

Buffalo Sabres: "Can Mikhail Grigorenko bounce back?" What, from being mishandled by both a coach and GM who completely mishandled him as a rookie and burned a year of his ELC for no reason? Sure, I bet he can.

Calgary Flames: Sean Monahan won't go to Ottawa 67s training camp, but will instead attend the NHLPA Rookie Showcase next week. If Calgary burns a year of his RFA eligibility on a season in which they'll finish with roughly 75 points and a lottery pick, I'll never stop laughing.

Carolina Hurricanes: Cam Ward "wants to prove he’s an elite goaltender in the NHL." And I wanna be an astronaut. It's nice to have unobtainable goals.

Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane brought the Stanley Cup to Buffalo over the weekend, and Terry Pegula sat outside crying because that's the closest he's ever getting to it.

Colorado Avalanche: I've seen a decent amount of people expecting the Avalanche will take a big step forward but here's the thing: No they're not.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets tried to sign Douglas Murray this summer. You know, to get better? "Losing out" on him might be the best move they made all year.

Dallas Stars: Tyler Seguin wants to "taste" the Stanley Cup again. Bad news: 1) You play for the Stars. 2) Please don't put that in your mouth; you doesn't know where you've been.

Detroit Red Wings: A Grind Line reunion at the alumni game could happen. In that none of those guys have anything better to do.

Edmonton Oilers: Does Justin Schultz have a chance to make the Canadian Olympic team? If you're Canadian, you better hope not.

Florida Panthers: Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad, among others, will be at the Panthers' rookie tournament with Tampa, Boston and Nashville, so at the very least they don't have to worry about scoring goals.

Los Angeles Kings: Here's a whole bunch of stuff about how Drew Doughty was awesome last season. It's actually pretty interesting beyond the whole "Well no kidding" angle you might expect.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild have close to $2.8 million in cap space. Will they use it to make any last-second improvements to the team? Well hey remember how the Wild lost all that money last season? Yeah exactly.

Montreal Canadiens: Here's a pretty interesting profile of Geoff Molson, in which he reveals he is an ultra-superstitious kook when watching Habs games.

Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: Everyone had a lot to say about Barry Trotz's assertion that the Wild "stole" Ryan Suter, most of it along the lines of "Well hey they didn't STEAL him, he just signed as a free agent fair and square." Except he more or less circumvented the salary cap to do it and thus Barry Trotz is right.

New Jersey Devils: Hey Travis Zajac - Don't screw it up.

New York Islanders: The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn and they're staying there. Get over it, guys.

New York Rangers: Apparently a lot of teams are sniffing around Brian Boyle, but Glen Sather is loath to offload him because he's a "great team guy" who still has "an upside." Brian Boyle is 28, so that latter part isn't true, and as for being a great team guy, well, lots of not-great players are.

Ottawa Senators: Daniel Alfredsson put his Ottawa home on the market, and maybe for a dirt-cheap price. So don't say he never gave anything back to the community.

Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux's golf-induced wrist injury is keeping him from this Canadian Olympic orientation camp which is fine because he's going to make the team no problem. He is, after all, the Best Player In The World.

Phoenix Coyotes: Five for Howling is trying to figure out who had the best rookie season in Coyotes history and the answer is Teemu Selanne when he scored 76 but he's not on the list for the reason that they are reverse-Winnipegging this poll and pretending the Jets didn't exist. Which is funny because when the team moves in five years its new city might do that with Phoenix and they'd be doing it with good reason.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The media is hoping so hard that Marc-Andre Fleury turns it around thanks to his new sports psychologist and goalie coach so it validates all the crap they spewed about how great he was right up until Tomas Vokoun stole the starting job from him. If it somehow happens (it won't) the told-you-sos are going to be out of control.

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks are hosting three home preseason games, and tickets go on sale today. What better way to throw $40 out the window?

St. Louis Blues: Talks with Alex Pietrangelo are still "ongoing." Oh just sign him already. Give him what he wants. Just do it.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Victor Hedman says he's gotten nothing but positive responses from his open opposition to Russia's anti-gay laws, so I'm guessing he didn't talk to Pavel Datsyuk.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs and Nazem Kadri are still way apart on their contract negotiations, and you'd expect they'll stay that way for a while.

Vancouver Canucks: Tickets to the Heritage Classic aren't exactly moving too quickly. Why, it's almost like six outdoor games in the space of two or three months is a stupid idea that's awful.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin and a few other Russian Olympians had a look at a bunch of the Sochi sites dressed like a tour group from the mid-1990s.

Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are now selling team gear out of a truck. Nothing at all seems shady about that.

Gold Star Award
I love all this stuff about how Roberto Luongo is gonna play for the Canucks this season. Wow way to gut out being a highly-paid No. 1 goalie after his team was mean to him. I guess he'll just have to console himself with the more than $6.7 million he'll take home this season. Tough life.

Minus of the Weekend
Something really funny is going on with HockeyBuzz writer Travis Yost, whose account on that site was hacked — leading to the deletion of every post since January 2012 — and whose Twitter account disappeared Sunday morning. Yost, you'll recall, is the writer who dug up a lot of uncomfortable stuff about Sens owner Eugene Melnyk's finances months before the Ottawa media got onto it. Yost drew his own dot-connecting conclusions about who was behind such a thing (and those posts were likewise deleted more than once), and the answer was, well, predictable.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "friendpatrol" has my favorite swap of the summer.

To Ottawa:
Toews
Seabrook

To Chicago:
Spezza
Karlsson

Haha, man.

Signoff
Don't smile, son, you're a workin' man.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 03:59:58 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,e046dd60-b2e7-3d0b-bf33-25dd36442e23-l:1
What We Learned: What are the Blues trying to accomplish with Alex Pietrangelo? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-blues-trying-accomplish-alex-pietrangelo-135510967.html

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

The last time we heard a word about Alex Pietrangelo and the status of his ongoing negotiations with the St. Louis Blues was a week ago, when he officially became the all-time leader in "RFAs it took the Blues the longest to re-sign."

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong says no news isn't necessarily bad or good news, it's just the way of the world. Pietrangelo is the one player the Blues have left to re-sign, and they have a little more than $7.6 million in cap space, according to CapGeek, in which to do it. Right now, it appears that this is the sticking point. Pietrangelo and Co. want something along the lines of $7 million, the Blues don't want to go more than $6 million.

You certainly see the situation from both sides: Pietrangelo can argue that he's legitimately one of the best young defensemen in the league today, and thus should be pair along the lines of someone like Drew Doughty or Erik Karlsson, who make $7 million and $6.5 million against the cap, respectively. The Blues can argue that they don't want to go into the season with just $600,000 or so in cap space, and certainly must be taking the Oliver Ekman-Larsson ($5.5 million) or Zach Bogosian ($5.14 million) extensions this year as being the baselines for such a deal. There are also a few cautionary tales like Tyler Myers' deal.

The problem with the latter approach is this: Pietrangelo and Co. know for sure that with the cap set to explode in the next few years, something in the neighborhood of even $7 million for a 23-year-old who's already close to Norris caliber will look like a bargain in two or three seasons — along the same lines, it's still next to impossible to understand why Ekman-Larsson took the money he did for six years — and thus seem likely to demand a short-term deal and split the difference on money. That allows him to make this very decent cash now and then back a Brinks truck up to his house in two or three years when the cap's closer to $80 million. The Blues, for their part, will probably push for something closer to five or six years as the term on that deal, in an effort to get him closer to 30 years old for his next contract.

I suppose it once again comes down to the argument over the validity of bridge contracts as a means of saving you money in the long run, especially under this new CBA which limits term for the first time ever. And the thing is, too, that if you look at the Blues' D corps, the idea behind giving Pietrangelo similar term and only about 11 percent more per year than Jay Bouwmeester seems ludicrous. Bouwmeester will make $5.4 million against the cap until 2019, and Pietrangelo should, by rights, be making considerably more than Bouwmeester in a fair and rational universe.

Armstrong may not want to start fans worrying with all these assurances that with training camp still five weeks away, a deal can get done, but the memory of P.K. Subban's holdout has to be dancing through their heads. The now-Norris Trophy-holding defenseman sat out all of training camp and six games this season and took a dirt-cheap contract that's now going to end up costing the Habs a large amount of money down the road.

Of course, most bridge deals are designed to keep player costs extremely low, and the idea that Pietrangelo might be seeking a higher-value one is extremely interesting, and one that could better serve players going forward. Pietrangelo has very little to "prove" to the Blues, and thus a deal that would pay him something like $3 million a year would be pointless.

So now, the Blues are essentially getting down to haggling over $1 million against the cap for a small number of years — fractions of a percent — and it doesn't really make a lot of sense, really. If $6 million means you're renegotiating in two or three years, and $7 million means you're getting the same player for seven or eight seasons, then this would appear to be the easiest decision Armstrong has made all summer.

It's a million dollars. In the NHL, that's almost nothing. Why play hardball here? It only hurts you in the end. Maybe Armstrong and Marc Bergevin can start a support group.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Doesn't seem like Teemu Selanne is necessarily dialed in to play for the Ducks next season. He might retire, but he's also openly talking about going to another team. I hope it's the Avs!

Boston Bruins: Remember when the Bruins traded 21-year-old Tyler Seguin over concerns that he wasn't scoring enough (his points-per-game having dropped from 0.83 to 0.67)? It strikes me as funny that everyone is hyped for Loui Eriksson, then, given that his points per game fell from 0.87 to 0.6 despite his getting more minutes a night. How fast does everyone turn on him when that trend continues, do you think?

Buffalo Sabres: Drew Stafford will be 28 by the end of October and had 18 points in 46 games last season. Is he in the Sabres' future plans? Well for their sake I hope not.

Calgary Flames: Calgary draft pick and great American hero Jon Gillies was only kind of mediocre for the majority of the recent National Junior Evaluation Camp and turned in a world-beating performance against Canada on Saturday due to how awful Canada is at everything.

Carolina Hurricanes: From the context clues here, Zach Boychuk seems to be looking for a one-way contract, which strikes me as being unlikely because he played a total of 13 NHL games for three different teams last season.

Chicago Blackhawks: Steve Montador won't be back with the Blackhawks next year, because he signed in the KHL instead, but mostly because they used a compliance buyout on him.

Colorado Avalanche: Ryan O'Reilly seems pretty excited to move to left wing for a guy who just got displaced by a rookie with zero (0) NHL games under his belt.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets have hired Jody Shelley as a team ambassador, which given how his career went, leads me to assume it will involve him walking up to people on the street and punching them until they promise to buy tickets. I think it's a good marketing strategy.

Dallas Stars: If you're a Stars fan, here are two sentences you don't want to read right in a row: "One, Nill knows they have no No.1 defenseman without Gonchar. Two, Gonchar adds a lot of intangibles."

Detroit Red Wings: It's starting to look really unlikely that Danny Cleary will re-sign in Detroit, which leads one to wonder if he's going to sign anywhere. I assume the only reason they kept him around this long was nostalgia, so…

Edmonton Oilers: Remember how hard Justin Schultz dropped off late in the season last year? Well, here's his reasoning: "At times, I was feeling fatigued because I wasn’t used to that many games." Good news, kid. They want you to play 82 in the NHL this time around.

Florida Panthers: Here's a fun reminder that Scottie Upshall has played 53 games in the first two seasons of a four-year contract that will pay him $14 million by the time it's over. Man, remember when Dale Tallon signed every mediocre UFA in the league for way too much money that time? What a world.

Los Angeles Kings: The vast, vast majority of Kings fans thought Mike Richards' season was worthy of no less than a B grade, despite the fact that he only got to 32 points in 48 games despite shooting 14.6 percent. Imagine what happens if he ever gets anything close to a point a game ever again.

Minnesota Wild: GM Chuck Fletcher on Ryan Suter and Zach Parise just one year into their 13-year contracts: "You hear horror stories of all these big free-agent signings that don't pan out…" Well, see, umm.

Montreal Canadiens: On Brandon Prust's three-year anniversary with his girlfriend, he was golfing. But he sent flowers. Good luck to you, a non-NHL player, trying to get away with that.

Nashville Predators: Can the Preds be competitive in Conference III? I think they're probably the fourth-best team in it, but I can see them finishing ahead of Minnesota because it's Minnesota.

New Jersey Devils: Philadelphia 76ers billionaire owner Joshua Harris seems poised to buy the Devils. Wow, an ownership kerfuffle cleared up in just a few weeks rather than several years? It's like I don't even know this league any more.

New York Islanders: John Tavares seems poised to captain the Islanders this season, and that's a fun reminder that he somehow wasn't the captain before this and Mark Streit was instead.

New York Rangers: Looks like the Rangers will be without Ryan Callahan for the first month of the season or so, which is a bummer because he's awesome and fun to watch.

Ottawa Senators: Eugene Melnyk is still crying about how much money Daniel Alfredsson wanted. He realizes his team just got Bobby Ryan, right? Bobby Ryan scores 30 a year like clockwork. The last time Alfredsson got there was 2008. You caught the good bounce here, Euge. Take it easy.

Philadelphia Flyers: About once a week I am reminded that the Flyers plan to go into the season with a goaltending tandem of Steve Mason (who is awful) and Ray Emery (who's a disaster waiting to happen with a larger workload). I would like to thank NHL.com for giving me that reminder this week.

Phoenix Coyotes: Someone in Arizona is just now realizing that the Coyotes are going to leave an NHL team-shaped hole in the side of Jobing.com Arena the second they get that five-year out clause to kick in.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Jacques Martin being added to the Penguins' coaching staff seems like a really good move, doesn't it?

San Jose Sharks: "Is it Stanley Cup or bust for the San Jose Sharks this year?" It's that for every team every year. Like, by definition.

St. Louis Blues: One guy Ken Hitchcock loves? Dmitrij Jaskin. "He's 20 going on 26," Hitch says. He's also one of the reasons they felt comfortable clearing out David Perron.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Bolts hired former University of Denver coach George Gwozdecky as an assistant, which should be interesting. He was one of the best coaches in college hockey over the past decade or more.

Toronto Maple Leafs: David Clarkson says the reason he picked No. 71 with the Leafs isn't because it's the reverse of Wendel Clark's number. And if you believe that, I have a 29-year-old "gritty" right wing on a $36.75 million, seven-year contract who's never come close to 50 points to trade you.

Vancouver Canucks: Jason Garrison has worked hard this summer on improving his skating. This was actually a very interesting read.

Washington Capitals: ENIGMATIC RUSSIAN UPDATE: This time it is two-team All-Star Alex Ovechkin who is enigmatic!

Winnipeg Jets: Stirling-Rawdon, population 5,000, will get an NHL preseason game in September after it won a contest to become last year's Kraft Hockeyville, only to have the event wiped out by the lockout. Too bad they have to watch the Jets.

Gold Star Award

Shout out to Sidney Crosby. I wouldn't want to sit next to Pittsburgh residents any longer than I had to either.

Minus of the Weekend

"The Gretzky trade severely hurt hockey in all of Canada," writes a person who clearly missed all the weepy, insipid coverage of the stupid thing all damn week.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "Beendair Donedat" is trying to help someone with this?

To Montreal: Wayne Simmonds

To Philadelphia: 2014 1st round draft pick, Brendan Gallagher, defense prospect (one of Morgan Ellis or Dalton Thrower)

Signoff

Why not make every Super Bowl a tie so everyone gets a ring and no one is "bummed out," huh?

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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Mon, 12 Aug 2013 06:55:10 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,eb20f0a9-e36f-35a5-b692-cff156ae5623-l:1
What We Learned: NHL teams keep throwing money at their rotten cores https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-nhl-teams-keep-throwing-money-rotten-cores-131838848.html Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

About a week ago, the Winnipeg Jets got Zach Bogosian signed up for another seven years at more than $5.1 million per season, which is a lot of money and term for almost any player in the league.

There are a lot of reasons you would, if you had Bogosian as a restricted free agent, be very wise to make such a deal. He's very good in all three zones, he's young at just 23 years old and he's therefore part of what you would call your core. And where the last point is concerned, it's something that Jets worked on throughout the entire month of July. In addition to Bogosian, they also locked up Blake Wheeler for six years and Bryan Little for five.

That gave them three more good young players signed through at least the end of the 2017-18 season, in addition to Evander Kane and Tobias Enstrom. They also joined Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Grant Clitsome, Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele and Ondrej Pavelec, among players who were signed at least until the end of 2016.

These are, for the most part, big-money deals, only Scheifele, Clitsome and Trouba are making less than $3.9 million AAV against the cap during that time, and that would probably be higher if they'd done the smart thing and not let Alex Burmistrov walk to the KHL.

And it also leads neutral observers to a pretty simple question with a not so simple answer: "Why are the Jets committing a little more than $45.4 million per season to 11 guys who have wholly failed to get them into the playoffs?"

The thing I wrote last week about Blake Wheeler applies to pretty much all these guys (save for Pavelec, who is awful): These are perfectly good hockey players, and some of them are even great when they're playing to their capabilities. That you'd want to lock them up makes plenty of logical sense. But at the same time, the Jets are a garbage fire of a hockey team. They've earned just 134 points from their last 130 games, missing the playoffs in both seasons in Winnipeg, and don't seem likely to weasel their way in any time soon under the divisional realignment. It's almost impossible to think they're better than four of Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville and St. Louis, at least going into this season.

I get that teams want to be optimistic about their chances for improvement with young players especially, but a lot of these guys aren't exactly "young" at this point. Wheeler will be 27 by the time the season starts, Little's going to be 26 by year's end, Ladd's 27, Enstrom and Clitsome and Byfuglien are 28, Pavelec turns 26 at the end of the month. The point at which their production is statistically likely to increase has passed.

Certainly, even if you expect that Trouba and Scheifele can be impact NHLers in their rookie years, you're really not looking at much in the way of an improved roster around them (bringing aboard Michael Frolik and Devin Setoguchi doesn't count much) to carry you over the hump from being a slightly-better-than-.500 team, and that's not doing you any favors.

And the thing is, it's not like the Jets are alone in this strange trend.

Carolina has gone about getting everyone signed up for a good long time, and they're worse than Winnipeg. They have Eric and Jordan Staal, Alex Semin, Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Gleason and Cam Ward signed through 2016 to a combined $36.025 million against the cap.

Why? Who knows?

Phoenix, too, has Mike Ribeiro, Shane Doan, Antoine Vermette, Martin Hanzal, Lauri Korpikoski, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Keith Yandle and Mike Smith making a total of $36.567 million for the next two seasons. This is at least a little interesting because of how many actual old guys there are in that group, as half of them are already north of 30, but they've at least been to the playoffs in two of the last three years, including getting their brains bashed in by the Kings in the Western Conference Finals two years ago.

Of course, past success is no indicator of future success, and it seems that Smith in particular got paid on the basis of his one career outlier season, rather than this one and the several that preceded it.

The Coyotes are interesting, at least, insofar as Ribeiro is actually considered a reinforcement despite the numbers in Washington; and that they likely view last season as a hiccup or quirk of the shortened schedule, rather than a sign things need to overhaul. This was a mistake Calgary made for the better part of a decade, and it's therefore certainly nothing new, but look where that kind of thinking generally tends to land teams.

It would be truly shocking for any of these three teams to make the playoffs under an 82-game schedule, particularly thanks to the new divisions, and for the most part it seems as though that probability will continue more or less unabated for the next few years unless they get extraordinarily lucky. And with all this money being committed to these deeply mediocre "cores," it doesn't seem probable that meaningful reinforcements are going to be on their way before the cap hits $80 million or so, by which point it'll be time to start thinking about re-signing these guys.

Which GMs will do. Because it's important to retain your core, apparently.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne could be back with the Ducks next year "if he wants it bad." If he only kinda wants it, he can take a hike!

Boston Bruins: The Bruins are probably going to have to rely pretty heavily on relatively inexperienced NHL defensemen Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug, and Dougie Hamilton on the blue line next year, which doesn't sound like a recipe for disaster at all just kidding.

Buffalo Sabres: Statistics say the Sabres will probably be the worst team in the league this season. Sabres fans say statistics are bad and dumb and wrong.

Calgary Flames: The puck from Mark Cundari's first-ever NHL goal was supposed to be framed and sent to him, but it was being kept in the Saddledome when the flood hit, so that's probably not good news. "But I haven't gotten it yet, so, maybe I've gotta call someone down there and get them to send it over if they still have it," he said. Yup, that's concern No. 1 over there.

Carolina Hurricanes: What the hell happened to Chad LaRose? After 10 years in the organization, he didn't show up for his annual exit interview with the coaching staff and hasn't answered a number of calls and texts. I knew he shouldn't have booked that summer vacation to the Bermuda Triangle.

Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Sharp recently did a commercial for the Illinois Lottery in which he pretended to be a room service waiter and brought food to a few Blackhawks fans. Incidentally, you probably have a better chance at having Patrick Sharp bring you room service than you do of winning the lottery, so that's fun.

Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene just got a massive new contract, an Olympic camp invite and is training with Sid Crosby all summer. So I guess things are going pretty well for Matt Duchene, except for that whole "being on the Avs" thing.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Well, folks, we found it. It's the most boring interview of all time, starring Jackets first-round pick Kerby Rychel. Truly a momentous day.

Dallas Stars: Here's something crazy: The 2013 Stars will only have six players on the roster who were with the team just two years ago. Six! If you can name all of them, you are Jim Nill.

Detroit Red Wings: You know who else's number they should retire in Detroit after Nick Lidstrom? Chris Osgood. Hahaha.

Edmonton Oilers: NHL.com really went out on a limb this weekend, saying that the Oilers "youthful core will be key" for this coming season. I don't know if I buy it. I mean, if Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Nail Yakupov, Justin Schultz and Devan Dubnyk don't perform to their capabilities, they could still be decent, right?

Florida Panthers: This says the Panthers' training camp will be interesting, and that will make it the only interesting thing about the 2013-14 Florida Panthers.

Los Angeles Kings: Kyle Clifford re-signed with the Kings for two years following a 14-point season, and will probably get a bigger role with Brad Richardson and Dustin Penner skipping town this summer.

Minnesota Wild: So the Wild are going to ask a lot of the young kids on their roster —your Charlie Coyles and Jason Zuckers and Mikael Granlunds and Nino Niederreiters — this season. Yeah, they're not going to make the playoffs.

Montreal Canadiens: Danny Briere is excited to join the Habs. Or, perhaps more accurately, he is excited someone is going to pay him a lot of money for the next two years after how the last season went.

Nashville Predators: The Predators All-Time Team really depressed the hell out of me.

New Jersey Devils: The Gatineau Olympiques just made a move that makes Anthony Brodeur a likely roster goaltender for next season, which may not be the best decision for him to make, from a developmental standpoint.

New York Islanders: Matt Carkner is really trying to not get injured this season because he's played just 51 regular-season games since 2011. Ah, but hey, the Islanders gave him three years anyway, so in the end does it really matter that much?

New York Rangers: Hey Ryan McDonagh, you're a 24-year-old and an outstanding defenseman who just got invited to Olympic camp so maybe you need to start scoring more points or something I guess.

Ottawa Senators: Is this the point at which newly re-signed Stephane Da Costa sticks with the Senators' big club? Maybe, maybe not. But it's almost certainly his last chance to do so.

Philadelphia Flyers: Peter Laviolette is excited and optimistic for the new season which leads me to believe he probably hasn't looked at the team's goaltending depth chart.

Phoenix Coyotes: The Coyotes are assuring everyone that they're going to complete their sale on time before the deadline. Which is to say, today. This is the ultimate "I'll believe it when I see it and not a second before" situation.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Boy isn't Sid Crosby great? Don't you just love him? Isn't he wonderful? He's still the biggest name in the sport. Wow he's the best. We can't get enough of him. Signed, The Pittsburgh Media.

San Jose Sharks: Jeepers creepers guys, One Direction all wore Sharks jerseys at a recent concert in San Jose. This kind of shameless nonsense makes the Sharks look so stupid, right? Who cares because boy bands are dumb and hockey is for real men only. Also, it's pretty cool when pro wrestlers do this same stuff in my opinion.

St. Louis Blues: The Blues say they aren't close to getting a new deal agreed with Alex Pietrangelo. They keep insisting that a "bajillionty" dollars isn't a thing they can offer him.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Nov. 27 will be Vinny Lecavalier's first game back in Tampa. Mark your calendars because, "But as far as Philly is concerned, the Flyers-Lightning rivalry is one of the most heated in Bolts team history." Did you know that? Did anyone? Is this because of that in-game 1-3-1 protest a few years ago? Conversely, on a list of rivals, where do you think the Flyers have the Lightning? A millionth place?

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are acting like they're not going to just hand Jonathan Bernier the No. 1 starter job the second training camp opens. So cute.

Vancouver Canucks: "Another 29 people, including two minors, have been charged in Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot." You get the feeling this is just what happens on a slow news day in Vancouver now.

Washington Capitals: Everyone seems to have agreed at this point that the Capitals have to be the team to make a run at Mikhail Grabovski but I wonder if it's based on anything more than "His name sounds Russian and he's a center."

Winnipeg Jets: "Why the Jets core wasn't ready upon relocating to Winnipeg." Blame Atlanta for everything! Lock up all the players that came to you from Atlanta anyway. That's the Winnipeg Way!

Gold Star Award

That Antoine Roussel story over the weekend is awesome. What a dude.
Minus of the Weekend
Had a nice conversation over the weekend about how poorly run the Leafs are. It's fun to laugh about hockey!

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week

User "Vatican Roulette" doesn't seem to understand how hockey works.

To Phoenix: Eriksson
Kelly

For

To Boston:
Yandle
Summers

Signoff

It was one of those lady cops ya hear about.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Red Wings fan favorite dies at 47
Is Ron Hainsey being blackballed in free agency?
NHL approves sale of Coyotes

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Mon, 05 Aug 2013 06:18:38 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,0b14c59b-8a26-344e-9393-f19be9f1cea0-l:1
Malkin on Kovalchuk; Hockey Night’s rights; baby boom due to lockout? (Puck Headlines) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/malkin-kovalchuk-hockey-night-rights-baby-boom-due-174450865.html Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• Here is Evgeni Malkin after being named to the Samsung GALAXY Team for the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games. Sadly, that's not an oversized check reflecting his new deal with the Penguins.

• Malkin on the "threat" of Russians bolting to the KHL following Ilya Kovalchuk: “Why would I look for something else? I have everything.” [Ria Novosti]

• Time is running out for CBC to lock up the rights to Hockey Night in Canada during their exclusive negotiation period. [Globe and Mail]

• St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong after re-signing Jay Bouwmeester: "We're entering a new phase in our organization with this current group. Now we're a place we're good players want to be." [Post-Dispatch]

• A report out of Portland says that Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen was ready to spend $200 million on the Phoenix Coyotes and relocate them to the northwest. [Portland Tribune]

• According to Aaron Ward, long-time NHL defenseman Toni Lydman is close to announcing his retirement. [TSN]

• Kyle Clifford has agreed to a two-year extension with the LA Kings. [Mayor's Manor]

• Kyle Turris on Daniel Alfredsson's return to Ottawa as a member of the Detroit Red Wings: “I think he should be extremely respected coming back (to Ottawa), and hopefully the fans appreciate everything he’s done and don’t judge him for this one decision." [Ottawa Citizen]

• Oliver Ekman-Larsson has his own underwear line. Sexiness ensues. [The Score]

• Looking at five of the NHL's best contracts. [Panther Parkway]

• Another buy out period is coming. Why the Leafs shouldn't pay John-Michael Liles a bunch of cash to not play for them. [The Leafs Nation]

• A hospital in Hamilton is seeing a baby boom, so naturally, if we dial it back nine months, we were in the midst of the lockout and well, people needed stuff to do! [Hamilton Spectator]

NHL 14 will see an improvement in the game's online modes. [Operation Sports]

• Why Zach Bogosian's contract will have no affect on the Alex Pietrangelo negotiations -- mostly because Petro is awesome. [St. Louis Gametime]

• Finally, via The Nosebleeds, here's Patrick Sharp, dressed a room service waiter, surprising some fans, including possibly Ric Flair or Phil Leotardo:

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Bobby Orr one of Bruins' all-time best
Blues bullish on Jay Bouwmeester for long term
Stars' Antoine Roussel offers to pay fans for jersey change

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Fri, 02 Aug 2013 10:44:50 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,9c649676-f2d9-3af1-88cd-31ecb70e096a-l:1
What Jay Bouwmeester’s 5-year deal means for future of St. Louis Blues https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/jay-bouwmeester-5-deal-means-future-st-louis-150451269.html The St. Louis Blues traded two players and a first-round pick for Jay Bouwmeester, it wasn’t clear if this would be a high-priced one-season-and-change rental or if the Blues intended on having Bouwmeester join them long term.

And if it was Option B … then at what cost, considering he has one more year on his contract with a $6.68 million cap hit.

On Thursday, the answer arrived: Bouwmeester agreed to a five-year, $27 million ($5.4 AAV) extension, which will begin in the 2014-15 season. (Hey, just like Seattle!)

So what does this money and term mean for the Blues going forward, and specifically for the still-unsigned Alex Pietrangelo?

First off, let’s state the obvious: Bouwmeester’s chemistry with Pietrangelo is a primary reason why he’s receiving this contract.

Despite not exactly conforming to the bruiser/skater template that fits so many defensive pairings, they proved to be great on both ends of the rink last season as a pair of puck-movers. Frankly, Bouwmeester helped Pietrangelo recapture his game after he struggled a bit during the middle part of the season. (Well, that’s a relative term; let’s just say he didn’t have Norris Trophy form.)

GM Doug Armstrong saw enough to tender the contract, according to STLToday.com:

The Blues don’t believe they’re making this move based on a small sample size. After the trade, Bouwmeester played only 14 regular-season games last season, posting one goal and six assists. Making his first appearance in the NHL playoffs, he had one assist in six games.

“It’s the body of work,” Armstrong said. “(Blues coach Ken Hitchcock) and I have both had the opportunity work with Jay for Team Canada. He’s a minute-munching 6-foot-3 guy that plays 25-plus minutes a night. Those don’t fall off trees.

“His offensive numbers in Calgary weren’t what they were in Florida. But I think that he should be a 40-point plus player for us. His history shows that he’s an 82-game player. There’s not a lot of concern when you talk about Jay Bouwmeester.”

Especially at a $5.4 million cap hit, which cures his of “Chris Drury Disease” and puts his salary in line with someone like Keith Yandle rather than Zdeno Chara.

But what about Pietrangelo, a restricted free agent still seeking a contract?

Kevin Shattenkirk signed for a $4.25 million cap hit and Bouwmeester signed for a $5.4 million hit. Is that the range? Does Pietrangelo fall somewhere in the middle? Or is he seeking $7 million a year, which was the Sports Illustrated estimate?

Armstrong doesn’t seem to have a desire to go eight years with a player a new deal, or at least his history of mid-range contracts with the Blues tells us that.

Here’s where things get a little nervous: Don Meehan. He reps Pietrangelo. He also reps P.K. Subban, who missed time with the Montreal Canadiens last year due to his RFA contract stalemate. Or course, it worked out pretty OK for Subban.

Brien Rea of Inside STL sees another potential issue, this one with the Blues’ payroll:

So assuming the Blues sign Alex Pietrangelo, here is another developing situation. Roughly $15-$16 million will be tied up in the team's top three defensemen -- Pietrangelo, Bouwmeester, and Shattenkirk. Based on the team's payroll spending the last two years of about $52 and $54 million, plus this current offseason sitting at $55 million, the Blues' budget projects about 25% of their total payroll each of the next few seasons would be tied up in their three defensive leaders.

Committing a chunk of your payroll like that causes trouble maintaining the depth needed for a playoff run.

However, if you're going to push the majority of your budget into a select group of players it might as well be on the back end because most coaches will tell you championship teams are built from the net out.

That’s true, and it will also allow the Blues to continue to do goaltending on the (relative) cheap. But the Blues were 17th in goals-per-game last season; should that amount of payroll be wrapped up in the blue line?

Considering all three defensemen contribute greatly offensively: yes. Get Pietrangelo done.

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Fri, 02 Aug 2013 08:04:51 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f04d5846-86bd-36cd-bf58-1cf1c2513b2b-l:1
What We Learned: Elegy for Joffrey Lupul’s views on advanced hockey stats https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/learned-elegy-joffrey-lupul-views-advanced-hockey-stats-131435216.html

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

There were few winners in the free agency period that began midday Friday, and the Toronto Maple Leafs were not included among them. As you might expect.

They're famously a poorly-run team, pretty much regardless of who's actually doing the running. John Ferguson, Jr., Brian Burke, and now Dave Nonis seem to have suffered, to varying degrees, from what we'll call Terry Pegula Disease: The financial ability to sign almost whomever they'd like leading to their dramatically overpaying just about anyone who comes through the door.

For example, to list of all the players to whom they have given big-money, long-term contracts in the last several years is to dig up some real head-scratchers.

Bryan McCabe got one such contract (five years, $28.75 million). So did Jason Blake (five years $20 million). And Mike Komisarek (five years, $22.5 million) and Mikhail Grabovski (five years, $27.5 million). Now you can add Tyler Bozak (five years, $22 million) and David Clarkson (seven years, $36.75 million) to the list of dramatically overpaid Toronto players – universally recognized as such the second their deals were signed.

The moves were widely criticized in the media; outside the non-Bruce Arthur, Randian objectivism on TSN's coverage, which stated almost across the board that everyone getting the absurd deals players tended to receive on Friday came only because they were worth it and good signings, and not because the NHL's GMs had collectively gone mad.

Often, those criticisms had little to do with points, and more to do with the fact that Bozak is a Corsi black hole and Clarkson, while a decent driver of possession, is extremely overrated as a points-producer as a result of one good season and because he brings "grit" to his team's lineup.
Enter Joffrey Lupul, who saw the flak his renewed/new teammates were catching with respect to whether they can help his team win, and decided things needed to be cleared up.

Sayeth Lupul [consider all mistakes sic in advance on both the first and second tweets]: "contracts aren't awarded by this CORSI i am hearing all about. They are awarded for an equal value of skill and depth (at a certain position … If you bring certain attributes and you play to win. I'll take you on my team 7 nights a week. Lets not look at this like Moneyball."

This is a problem for a few reasons.

The first is that "Corsi" is not an acronym. The second is the ongoing conflation of "advanced" statistics (insofar as just tracking something as simple as shot attempts and shooting percentage is "advanced") with “Moneyball,” a book that came out a decade ago and was about a low-budget baseball team exploited market inefficiencies to be competitive with spending-machine giants over the course of a 162-game season.

"Corsi" — the simple measure of shot attempts for and against at even strength — is largely not a market inefficiency in 2013.

A considerable percentage of teams league-wide, difficult though it may be to nail down an exact number, now use Corsi or some version of it to evaluate their own players, those on other teams and even prospects in junior leagues.

Some GMs and coaches have openly talked about these statistics, and it's important to keep in mind that just because a player or team or beat writer or fan doesn't understand something, doesn't mean no one else does. While you can't expect Joffrey Lupul to pour over Behind the Net after every game, you have to believe that most NHL clubs have someone doing it for them, and generating reports that can be used to inform lineup and personnel decisions.

The Maple Leafs appear to be one of the few teams to not do so.

The third issue that indicates what Lupul said is kind of dumb is that the Maple Leafs used the opposite of the “Moneyball” idea in making the decisions to re-sign Bozak and bring in Clarkson.

That, I suppose, is his point, but the fact remains that the Maple Leafs splashing the cash on every free agent in which they have interest is not the best business practice in a salary cap world; especially one in which the cap is declining for the first time ever and despite the fact that it will balloon again next summer.

Lupul's assertion that all he cares about is effort is probably the best you can expect from a professional hockey player, but saying that contracts are awarded with relation to skill is irksome. It's not as if the ability to out-possess one's opponent were not a demonstrable, repeatable, valuable skill. Nonis paid for the opposite: "chemistry" and "grit" and the hope that Clarkson starts producing more than 40 points a season every year despite his only ever having done it once in five full NHL seasons, and only then when shooting about one and a half times better than his career percentage.

The thing is, Clarkson and Bozak and the rest of the Leafs acquisitions this summer can "play to win" all they like, but statistics, which Lupul again has no reason to really understand, dictate that the effort will likely be for naught. The team will probably suffer more, not less, as a result of these signings. Their chances for a second straight playoff appearance are constrained already this year, thanks in large part to the Flortheast Division being probably the best in hockey and Detroit and Ottawa improving already this summer.

Top three teams make the postseason for sure; is Toronto better than those two and the Bruins? The answer is "obviously not." So then they're left to fight it out with the other teams in both their division and the PatrickPlus, which will likewise not go well for them.

They could get lucky, but they were already a little lucky to sneak in last year, and that's probably enough to convince the rational observer that their postseason hopes are probably DOA this year at least, if not for a few more years, on average. The Leafs will continue to be middling, and probably not one of the top eight teams in the conference, which isn't conducive to playoff appearances under the coming format. Period.

Simply put, Nonis is running the Maple Leafs with methods running counter to those that make a team successful. Randy Carlyle is coaching it more poorly than that. They've gone out and actively made themselves worse, not better, with these cement-shoe contracts, but at least they got the headlines. Making decisions on gut and feel and "the eye test" and further borderline-mystical factors has repeatedly proven unwise in baseball, where the modern "statistical revolution" began. It is starting to do so in hockey as well.

There's a reason only a few teams in either league don't buy the ever-growing preponderance of evidence at this point.

"Let's not look at this like Moneyball."

That's spoken like a true Maple Leaf.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: I love the Bobby Ryan trade for the Ducks. It doesn't help them right now, though they probably think they're set for a while after that second-in-the-West finish. They're not. However, Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen are strong prospects (added to an already-deep pool) that will make the Ducks much better in a few years.

Boston Bruins: Hey you! Get out of here with this logic! This is a great signing and all the result of Iginla realizing the Bruins AH FUH REAL.

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres have apparently reacquired Henrik Tallinder because they think it's going to make Tyler Myers good again. What a team.

Calgary Flames: Speaking of well-run organizations, when Jay Feaster is only making "minor" moves, I think that's a good thing. History has shown that his larger ones tend to go about as well as the Flames' coming season will. Which is to say not well at all.

Carolina Hurricanes: Counting on Mike Komisarek to be a solid contributor on the blue line seems like very risky business, but then this is Carolina we're talking about, so he's probably a significant upgrade from the damp sponge they were giving 12 minutes a night last season.

Chicago Blackhawks: Joel Quenneville took the Stanley Cup to Wrigley and threw out the first pitch, then Jim Cornelison sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." Meanwhile the Cubs fans paid tribute to Patrick Kane by puking in the bleachers.

Colorado Avalanche: Will drafting Nathan MacKinnon push Paul Stastny out of town? Well, stranger things have happened I guess, but counting on an 18-year-old to displace a perfectly serviceable NHL veteran center seems like a Bad Idea.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets as a cap-ceiling team. What a time to be alive.

Dallas Stars: That loud noise from about 2,000 miles northeast of Dallas late Saturday night was Peter Chiarelli giggling himself half to death.

Detroit Red Wings (alas, no longer Presented by Amway): I know Danny Cleary has been a Red Wing since time out of mind but when reports show Damien Brunner was asking for something like three years at $3.5 million per and you say, "Too rich for my blood," but then give a 34-year old with no knees to speak of $900,000 less per year than that for the same term, you're making a bad and awful decision.

Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Jones re-signed with Edmonton and they now have an NHL record one trillion third-line forwards on that team.

Florida Panthers: Wondering why the Panthers didn't re-sign Stephen Weiss, are you? Here's Dale Tallon: "We have a budget, and we have a budget we have to stick with. That's what the mandate is. It's all in the budget. So, that's what we're doing." Must be fun to be a GM for a team like that, especially if you're significantly overpaying Ed Jovanovski.

Los Angeles Kings: Starting to seem less and less likely that two-time Stanley Cup Champion Dustin Penner isn't generating much interest out there. But so much leadership! There's so much of it when you win a Cup. You're always so good in the room, automatically.

Minnesota Wild: Mikael Granlund centering the Wild's second line now that Matt Cullen is gone is pretty much the definition of addition by subtraction. Granlund is awesome.

Montreal Canadiens: "We want Brandon Prust to fight less…" Boy that's a good idea, Marc Bergevin. "…so we acquired George Parros to do it instead." No wait!!!!

Nashville Predators: Since the offseason began, the Predators have added American Hero Seth Jones, and five NCAA players including a backup goalie who went to UMass Lowell. I love this team. Preds forever.
New Jersey Devils: I swear that Ryane Clowe contract might be one of the worst since the 2004-05 lockout. No speed, three concussions in the last year and a half, 30 years old, coming off a three-goal season? Here's five years and almost $5 million per. Prove doubters wrong? Prove logic wrong.

New York Islanders: The Islanders signed maybe the only good ultra-long-term deal of the summer so far, in giving 22-year-old Travis Hamonic seven years. It's really only smart because he's 22 and improving, rather than 30 and not, but you gotta start somewhere.

New York Rangers: The Rangers are close to an extension with Ryan McDonagh, which would instantly become the smartest signing they could make this summer.

Ottawa Senators: Obviously the loss of Daniel Alfredsson to a division rival is symbolically devastating but the team is better on paper now, with the additions of Clarke MacArthur and Bobby Ryan, than it was at the start of last year. That's the real goal here, is it not?

Philadelphia Flyers: "Vincent Lecavalier expects a great season with the Flyers." Well, I wouldn't go pinning your hopes on it, bud.

Phoenix Coyotes: There are approximately 1,810 days until the Coyotes can leave Glendale. And now their fans have to pay more to go see a team they don't want to watch in the first place. Oh, but here's the money quote: "In fact, Coyotes fans have shown that they are among the most devoted in the NHL and perhaps all of professional sports." That was the reporter saying this. Not their new owner, not a team executive. The reporter. The article is amazing though. That's the Lock of the Week Thing You Should Read.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins added a defenseman to shore up their hemorrhaging blue line. What's next? Trading a defenseman. Wow!

San Jose Sharks: The Sharks are very wisely going to keep Brent Burns at forward next season. He really played well there. No-brainer.

St. Louis Blues: The Blues recently gave Derek Roy $4 million for some reason and now have to figure out a way to get Alex Pietrangelo, Chris Stewart and Jake Allen signed for less than $8 million. How will they convince Stewart and Allen to take below league minimum?

Tampa Bay Lightning: That's seriously so much money for Valtteri Filppula.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Dion Phaneuf got married over the weekend and you really have to think this will be one of those celebrity marriages with a Happy Ending. Okay that's a good joke, guys.

Vancouver Canucks: Iain MacIntyre is right - The only way to win at free agency this year was to not play.

Washington Capitals: Counterargument to that, though, is in Washington, where the Caps have gotten worse through attrition and will now find it far more difficult to make the playoffs.

Winnipeg Jets: Will Devin Setoguchi's no-problem 20 goals this season mean he Plays The Right Way or He's Not Living Up To His Potential? Only the Winnipeg media knows for sure.

Gold Star Award

You gotta give all the shout outs in the world to David Clarkson's agent. He saw that rube on the midway from quite a distance.

Minus of the Weekend

On the other hand, I really don't envy Clarkson having to live up to that deal when he's 33 and still has three years to go on it. They're going to throw garbage at him in the streets.

Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "jeromeo87" really wants to shake things up for the Hurricanes.

To Winnipeg:
Murphy, Dalpe/or Nash, 2nd
To Carolina:
Byfuglien

To Edmonton:
Ruutu, 3rd
To Carolina:
Hemsky

To New York:
McBain
To Carolina:
Boyle

Signoff

I expected better from someone who doesn't have any extracurricular activities.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness almost never over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don’t you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Report: Hurricanes, Sabres and Habs among Jaromir Jagr suitors
Ryan McDonagh, Rangers agree to six-year extension
Scott Niedermayer is a lock, but who else will make Hall of Fame?

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Mon, 08 Jul 2013 06:14:35 PDT Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,2f3b8de7-d042-3140-9867-252587abadac-l:1
Kevin Shattenkirk agrees to 4-year, $17 million extension with Blues https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/kevin-shattenkirk-agrees-4-17-million-extension-blues-204735621.html St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong's summer shopping list included a number of restricted free agents to consider bringing back next season. But being heavily under the salary cap ceiling and having over $20 million in cap space, according to CapGeek, will allow him to invest in the franchise's future.

After re-signing Patrik Berglund on Tuesday for one year, Armstrong gave Kevin Shattenkirk, one of his two lynchpins on defense, a four-year, $17 million extension, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch.

Shattenkirk has averaged 21:27 of ice time per game and 7 goals and 33 points over the last two seasons since coming over in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche in 2011.

With Shattenkirk locked up, that leaves remaining two big Blues RFAs remaining with Chris Stewart and Alex Pietrangelo. Armstrong told Rutherford on Tuesday that one negotiation won't affect another, which is true; but in Pietrangelo's case, his negotiations will certainly be affected by the recent re-signings by Roman Josi and Slava Voynov, as well as what Kris Letang might re-sign for in Pittsburgh (or elsewhere).

Basically, Pietrangelo is about to get paid.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

NHL video from Yahoo! Sports:

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Marian Hossa won't get buyout from Blackhawks
Lightning buy out captain Vince Lecavalier
Scouts rate the top 10 NHL prospects

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 13:47:35 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,9c2c5e7a-09bf-3d71-b79f-00beceb6e5e3-l:1
LA Kings win fourth straight, eliminate Blues for second straight year (Video) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/la-kings-win-fourth-straight-eliminate-blues-second-050247598.html "We knew we could win four games," Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick told NBCSN's Daryl Reaugh after Game 6. Quick, the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, rebounded after a shaky start to the series and helped backstop the Kings to four straight wins en route to eliminating the St. Louis Blues for the second straight year.

All six games were decided by one goal, with Game 6 ending as the third 2-1 final score of the series. Just to add to the late scoring drama of the series, Dustin Penner took until almost the final tick of the clock to put the Kings up 2-1 with 0.2 seconds left in the second period:

The Blues will have a long summer to look back and wonder where some of their top scorers disappeared to. David Perron, Andy McDonald and Chris Stewart went goalless in the series and combined for three assists. If not for Alex Steen (3 goals), this series might have ended sooner.

GM Doug Armstrong will be busy considering his options with Stewart, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Patrik Berglund scheduled to become restricted free agents.

However the rest of the first round finishes, the Kings will face a California opponent in either the San Jose Sharks or the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference semifinals.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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Fri, 10 May 2013 22:02:47 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,09bc4ebb-f162-37e6-8a4a-7563e9d5d636-l:1
Slava Voynov’s OT goal gives Kings 3-2 series lead over Blues (Video) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/slava-voynov-ot-goal-gives-kings-3-2-043809236.html Slava Voynov is embracing this hero role he's acquired over the last three games for the Kings.

The LA defenseman scored his second game-winning goal of the series in a 3-2 overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 5. The Kings head back to Staples Center on Friday night with a chance to eliminate the Blues for the second straight year.

After netting the only goal in LA's 1-0 win in Game 3, Voynov helped create the winning goal by denying Blues forward Jaden Schwartz a shot at one end, then coming down and beating Brian Elliott five-hold at the other end:

After Jeff Carter's second of the game 54 seconds into the third period gave the Kings a 2-1 lead, it was looking like the game would end in regulation, but Alex Pietrangelo's seeing-eye shot from the point beat Jonathan Quick with 44.1 seconds to go to force overtime.

How big have Voynov's contributions been? Including playoffs, the Kings are undefeated in the last 10 games he's scored a goal.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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Wed, 08 May 2013 21:38:09 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,8bcb5d81-043b-34da-8f56-b9a0da670c02-l:1
St. Louis Blues (4) vs. Los Angeles Kings (5): Puck Daddy’s NHL 2013 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/st-louis-blues-4-vs-los-angeles-kings-154236279.html On the way to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, the Kings dispatched the Blues in a sweep in the second round last season.

Lots went wrong for the Blues. Jaroslav Halak and Alex Pietrangelo were injured. And St. Louis was forever searching for momentum as of the Blues' six goals in the series, the Kings scored five times within eight minutes of those tallies. Things just never went St. Louis' way.

But that was last season. This season the Blues and Kings finished a point apart from one another, with St. Louis winning out on the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage. While home-ice isn't always a huge factor in series, the Kings haven't fared so well away from Staples Center. LA was 8-12-4 on the road this year.

It remains to be seen what sort of factor home-ice will play, but checking recent history, the Kings have won their last eight straight games over the Blues, including the sweep a year ago. Can the Blues derail LA's attempt at a repeat?

St. Louis Blues (4) vs. Los Angeles Kings (5)

April 30: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET.
May 2: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues, 9:30 p.m. ET.
May 4: St. Louis Blues at Los Angeles Kings, 10 p.m. ET.
May 6: St. Louis Blues at Los Angeles Kings, 10 p.m. ET
May 8: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues* TBD
May 10: St. Louis Blues at Los Angeles Kings* TBD
May 13: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues* TBD
*if necessary

Forwards

The Blues saw three forwards score double digit goals this season. Had he not missed 18 games, T.J. Oshie (7 goals) likely would have been the fourth. He's set to return in time for Game 1 on Tuesday.

St. Louis isn't going to wow you offensively, that's not Ken Hitchcock's style. They were 17th in the NHL averaging 2.58 goals per game and were 23rd in the league with 27.8 shots per game. But for them to knock off the Kings, the Blues will need performances out of their top guns that they haven't been providing of late. Chris Stewart has only scored three times in 19 games. Patrik Berglund three times in 20 games. And David Perron's put up just one goal in 20 games.

LA finished last season 29th in goals scored. Of course, they didn't have the benefit of a full season with Jeff Carter in the lineup. The Blue Jackets castaway was fourth in the Rocket Richard Trophy race this season with 26 goals and was helped out offensively by Dustin Brown (18 goals), Mike Richards (12), Justin Williams (11) and Anze Kopitar (10).

The production of their depth has been key and if Dustin Penner (2 goals, 14 points) can't find his scoring touch from a year ago, rookie Tyler Toffoli has filled in nicely with five points in 10 games. The Kings were 12th in the NHL with 29.8 shots per game. Getting the puck to the net, disrupting Brian Elliott's crease and capitalizing on those garbage-type goals will be the perfect recipe for another series win over St. Louis.

ADVANTAGE: Kings

Defense

The Kings only played six defensemen in all 20 playoff games last season. The injury bug didn't bite them en route to the Cup. This season, just in case, head coach Darryl Sutter will have extra bodies available for a rotation, if he chooses to. Robyn Regehr and Keaton Ellerby were brought over in trades, while rookie Jake Muzzin had a sold rookie season with 7 goals and 16 points while averaging 17:53 of ice time. Drew Doughty was the main offensive source last postseason for the Kings, but the presence of Muzzing and Slava Voynov (6 goals, 25 points) will help in that department.

Adding to an already top defense, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong brought in Jordan Leopold from Buffalo and Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary at the trade deadline. Besides the storyline of Bouwmeester playing in the postseason after 764 career NHL games, those two veterans shored up a deep blueline. St. Louis finished fifth in least goals allowed (115) and feature a good mix of offensive and strictly defensive-minded players. They will be put to the test by the Kings, who's rolling of four lines help them to the Cup last season.

ADVANTAGE: Blues

Goalies

The Kings rode Jonathan Quick's mind-boggling numbers to a Stanley Cup, but the franchise goaltender took a step back this season. Well, OK, a step back in Quick's world which ended with an 18-13-4 record, 2.45 goals against average and .902 save-percentage. Still decent numbers, but nothing like a season ago. Potentially troubling for Quick and the Kings are his numbers on the road. Quick was 5-9-3 away from Staples Center with a 3.11 GAA and .891 save-percentage. Compare that to 13-4-1 / 1.79 / .917 at home and it should make for an interesting opening two games of this series.

The duo of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott won the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2011-12. This year, the pair experienced their ups and downs, with rookie Jake Allen having to play the role of savior for brief time in March. Injuries caused Halak to start 15 games this season, with Elliott, in-between a stop in the AHL, in goal for 20 starts. It wasn't until the call up from Peoria that Elliott found his game and was 11-2-0 / 1.48 / .948 in April, earning himself the starting nod for Game 1. Struggling vs. the Kings last postseason with an inner-ear infection, Elliott is healthy now, but given his Jekyll and Hyde play, which Brian Elliott will the Kings see?

ADVANTAGE: Kings

Does Their Season Deserve an Asterisk?

The Kings and Blues were expected playoff teams before the season began and while St. Louis might like a few more games to allow their offensive to get in sync, they're both deserving of playing extra hockey.

Coaches

Both have Stanley Cups on their resume. Both have lost a Cup Final. Darryl Sutter and Ken Hitchcock know what it takes to find success as a coach in the NHL, but Sutter's ability to keep his voice fresh in the room and push the right buttons when needed has produced more recent success. That has continued into this season, where Sutter hasn't allowed a championship on their mantle to let complacency affect how LA enters the playoffs.

ADVANTAGE: Kings

Special Teams

A year ago, the Kings power play was in the midst of a 1-for-37 slump when they swept the Blues. Their penalty kill, on the other hand, was rolling after not allowing a goal on 17 St. Louis opportunities. Led by Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown (8 power play goals) and Mike Richards (6 PPGs), the Kings finished eighth in the NHL with 34 PPGs and were successful 19.9 percent of the time with the man advantage. Their kill was strong again at a 83.2 percent clip, and despite only two shorthanded goals on the season, LA can be incredibly dangerous with the likes Richards and Anze Kopitar out there.

The Blues improved on the power play from last season, going from 16.7 percent in 2011-12 to 19.5 in 2013. Chris Stewart (6 PPGs) and Patrik Berglund (5 PPGs) are their leaders, but the wealth is spread out on the power play with 13 different players scoring with the man advantage for St. Louis this season.

With a strong goalie tandem and one of the stingiest defenses in the league, it was no surprise that the Blues' penalty kill ranked seventh at 84.7 percent. Alex Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester will be the workhorses on the kill. Getting Oshie back healthy for Game 1 will be a big boost for that unit.

ADVANTAGE: Even

Playoff Anthems

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of Southern California are floundering. The Dodgers are under .500 after taking on millions in salary. The Lakers were swept in the first round; and LA still doesn't have an NFL team. Like play-by-play man Bob Miller said last June, the Kings are kings:

Brookroyal performed the official Blues playoff anthem last season. Seems rock-y enough to have another go this year:

Prediction

Kings in 6.

We know the Blues defense will be there, but which Brian Elliott will we see? And can their offense find a spark to get past the Kings? LA, on the other hand, have the offense led by Jeff Carter, who scored 8 goals and 13 points last postseason. They didn't experience the short summer that other Stanley Cup champions have and despite 48 games in the span of 99 days, they should be plenty refreshed for another run at a title.

In the end, the Kings' defense, with Jonathan Quick back in form, should stifle the Blues' lesser offense and move on to the second round.

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Tue, 30 Apr 2013 08:42:36 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,3fc2f187-6641-3d69-95d3-deccaded3dda-l:1
Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013: 16 people facing the most pressure in NHL postseason https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/stanley-cup-playoffs-2013-16-people-facing-most-150034004.html The Western Conference seedings are set, and the Eastern Conference will be settled after the Ottawa game at the Bruins on Sunday. We know who the 16 teams vying for the Stanley Cup are for the 2013 postseason.

So who is facing the most pressure?

Here are 16 people facing the heat:

Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins

Bylsma’s not exactly on the hot seat, what with the Penguins having rolled through the Eastern Conference regular season. But he’s the coach with the most talent on his roster, and that means the expectations are higher than they are for any other bench boss in the NHL postseason. The pieces are all there; how Bylsma manages them will determine whether Ray Shero has constructed a Cup winner or a paper champ.

Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins

He entered the final game of the season with seven goals in 45 games, but it’s been the lack of emotional engagement that’s been the real worry for the Bruins regarding their power forward. From Bud Barth of the Telegram:

Certainly, the fact that Lucic didn’t play during the lockout has taken a toll. Since he is a big body, conditioning is crucial to his game. He got off to a decent start — two goals in his first three games and 3-5-8 totals in his first 11 — but when the schedule became tougher, so did the road to offense for Lucic, who often looks tired.

… Other theories have been thrown out there — like this being Lucic’s first season with a wife and baby, and the fact that he just signed that lucrative extension, which will make him the highest-paid forward on the team next season (at $5.5 million) and second on the club only to defenseman Zdeno Chara.

Maybe one or both of those changes have played with his mind. The one thing that’s certain is that Lucic needs the physical edge to his game to excel, and the Bruins need a maximum performance from Lucic to have a legitimate shot at winning the Stanley Cup.

They don’t need Lucic to be an offensive juggernaut. They just need him to be a difference maker again.

Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

He probably can’t replicate the 1.95 GAA and .935 save percentage of his rookie postseason without a Dale Hunter system in front of him. But the 23 year old is the key to the team’s postseason hopes, even beyond star talent like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom – especially when it comes to the Capitals’ penalty kill, which is by far the weakest facet of their team.

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens

His newfound maturity has led to a Norris caliber season and the Canadiens to the fifth best power play in the regular season. Opponents are going to do everything they can to bring the hothead out of Subban. He’s been a catalyst for the Habs, and will need to again in the playoffs.

Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs

Was it finally hitting the wall? Was it the Don Cherry kiss of death? Whatever the case, Kadri went from a Hart Trophy dark horse to a player with one goal in his last 12 games. How far can they get without his offense?

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

The defensive wunderkind for the Sens returned to the lineup after a miraculous recovery from a sliced Achilles and apparently hasn’t missed a beat. His first foray into the playoffs last season resulted in one goal in seven games in a loss to the Rangers. They’ll need more from him this time. And hey, no “I missed all that time with the injury” excuses, Wolverine …

Rick Nash, New York Rangers

Nash was no doubt thrilled to hear about a “second season” for teams that qualify for the “playoffs”, having only spent four games in the postseason during his Columbus Blue Jackets career. The Rangers’ best forward at 21 goals in 44 games, Nash was brought to New York to add that bit of offense the team seems to lack in tightly played postseason games. This is his time.

Evgeni Nabokov, New York Islanders

Nabby has played more playoff games (80) than defenseman Thomas Hickey has played regular season games (39). Any Sharks fan can tell you the pattern: Nabokov will look unbeatable one game, human the next, and never makes that one key save the team needs in a series-changing moment. But he’s been every bit the MVP John Tavares was for New York in the regular season. He’s the key to the Isles scoring an upset.

Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

The pressure on Keith is two-fold. First, he’ll need to withstand the physical beating teams will attempt to lay on him and the Chicago defense, as Vancouver and Phoenix in the last two postseasons. Second, he’ll need to help turn around a Blackhawks power play that struggled to 19th in the regular season. Hey, maybe the Hawks become special teams juggernauts in the playoffs. Anything can happen. Maybe we’ll even see a female referee one day.

Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks

Boudreau has had great regular seasons before. But he’s never had a team advance past the second round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As he told the Washington Times: “You know what, I feel that there is a little bit of pressure because I don’t want to get a reputation and keep that reputation,” he said. “I’d be foolish not to think that. That would eat at me.”

Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks

When Kesler’s in beast mode, the Canucks become a Cup contender. Now that he’s healthy and making a successful shift to the wing with Derek Roy at center, Kesler could be a huge factor in establishing a scoring threat beyond the Sedins.

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues

His first run through the playoffs was short-circuited by injury. The Blues’ ice time leader (25:06) plays in every situation and leads a blue line that needs to be at its best in a series against San Jose Los Angeles. A goal would be nice, too, considering he hasn’t scored since March 7.

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks

Could it be anyone else? Everyone’s favorite postseason scapegoat followed two seasons of productivity (15 goals in 32 games) with five games without a point last postseason. He has one goal since March 28. Good times.

Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

After an inconsistent season following his Conn Smythe campaign, Quick had a strong April to propel the Kings into the postseason. Last time he backstopped the Kings in the playoffs, he left with a Cup ring, the MVP and a fat new contract. So what’s the encore?

Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings

In the first Red Wings’ first postseason without Nicklas Lidstrom since 1991, it falls to Kronwall to be the leader on the backline, as it has throughout the season. Can he be the 15 points in 22 games player he was the last time the Wings won the Cup?

Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild

The big gamble paid off for Minnesota, as Parise and Ryan Suter arrived and turned the Wild into a playoff team. Parise, who scored in the Wild’s clinching game, has solid postseason stats but was never a difference-maker in a series for the New Jersey Devils. If the Wild are to pull off the upset in Round 1, it’ll take Parise matching the playoff heroics of players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

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Sun, 28 Apr 2013 08:00:34 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,cb33e253-9649-30de-aaf8-04fcc614b9cf-l:1
Fantasy Hockey Stanley Cup Playoff Outlook: Western Conference https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/fantasy-hockey-stanley-cup-playoff-outlook-western-conference-161635905.html Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.

In keeping with yesterday's theme, it's time to cover the Western Conference. Because if we didn't, my OCD brain would probably explode.

And to kick off this second of two playoff primers, I'll turn to Frozen Pool for another riveting and relevant snapshot. Here are the Top 50 faceoff men of the past three weeks, minimum 135 faceoffs taken:

Anaheim Ducks

The Obvious - Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu.

The Sleepers - Although Kyle Palmieri has played all of five playoff games as a pro, his ability to score when it's needed most speaks volumes. He has five game winners out of his 10 goals. I also find it interesting that in his four playoff games for Syracuse in 2012 he took 21 shots…

Nick Bonino is another good secondary option. His lower-body injury kept him out for 21 games, but of the games he did play he has 11 points in his last 19. His ice time is also much higher than it was early in the season, at times topping 19 minutes.

Rookies to Watch - Defenseman Sami Vatanen has played five straight games, covering for the injured Luca Sbisa. Vatanen has two points in those games and next year could surprise you with strong numbers in what will still be a rookie-eligible season…

After a couple of recalls and demotions, Etem was brought to Anaheim for good in late February. He has chipped in some timely points, but for the most part his ice time is carefully controlled. Neither Etem nor Vatanen will likely make a playoff impact this year.

Don't Overrate - Early in the season, the Ducks relied on their secondary scoring. Now that the top line has been flying for a couple of months now, some of the other guys have slowed down. Francois Beauchemin has just two points in his last 13 games, Teemu Selanne (nine in last 34), Andrew Cogliano (one in his last eight), Daniel Winnik (12 in last 42), and Sheldon Souray (10 in his last 34).

Chicago Blackhawks

The Obvious - Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad and Duncan Keith.

The Sleepers - Dave Bolland always brings his 'A' game to the playoffs. In 49 career playoff games, his points-per-game average is 0.76, which is better than his best regular season…

Bryan Bickell is enjoying a career season and at 6-4, 233 pounds he reminds me of another huge refrigerator-type player who was a key cog in the Blackhawks 2010 Cup run…

Michael Frolik was arguably Chicago's best forward during their brief playoff stint a year ago, but would need decent linemates (Playoff Warrior Bolland would be ideal). Here are Chicago's line combinations for the past three games. This is a free report that can be found here for all teams.

As you can see, Frolik is not exactly playing with top liners.

Rookies to Watch - Saad has three points in his last eight games, but prior to that he was very much in the Calder Trophy conversation and should be a high draft pick this weekend.

Don't Overrate - Viktor Stalberg has just six points in his last 17 games and has just two power-play points all season…

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Obvious - Vinny Prospal, Marian Gaborik, Mark Letestu and Fedor Tyutin.

The Sleepers - Cam Atkinson suffered a high ankle sprain in the third game of the season and then he came back a little quickly. He was playing with some discomfort for a couple of weeks and it showed in his numbers. He had just six points in his first 18 games but has 10 in his last 16…

R.J. Umberger was a strong playoff performer for the Flyers and Blue Jackets (during their brief visit to the postseason in 2009). He has 13 goals in his last 21 playoff contests…

Brandon Dubinsky has been going nutty since returning from injury nine games ago. He has nine points and 37 PIM since April 4.

Rookies to Watch - Defenseman Dalton Prout plays with a lot of grit and intensity, gets tons of ice time, and he's a plus-14. That being said, he's not offensively gifted…

Fellow rearguard Tim Erixon has yet to show his offensive promise at the NHL level and will be a non-factor in all playoff pools.

Don't Overrate - To John Tortorella the casual fan, the name Gaborik brings a certain expectation. He won't reach that expectation. He's been good, but not great. Just seven points in 11 games since joining #Lumbus.

Detroit Red Wings

The Obvious - Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Damien Brunner, and Nicklas Lidstrom. Sigh.

The Sleepers - After a 66-point career season, Valtteri Filppula is having a hell of a time getting things going this year. Still, in his last five postseasons he has 46 points in 73 games (0.63 points per game) and in every year other than last year, his points-per-game in the playoffs exceeded his points-per-game in the season.

Rookies to Watch - Gustav Nyquist has show creativity and poise, more so with every game since being recalled a month ago. But it hasn't translated into points and there is some risk that he gets scratched now that veterans such as Todd Bertuzzi are returning from injury…

Brendan Smith makes for a nice dark horse if you see the Wings going deep. He has seven points in his last 14 games, although the arrival of Danny DeKeyser has seen Smith scratched on occasion. I think the target of the 'healthy scratch' is now focused exclusively on former Leafs Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo, so Smith should be a safe pick…

DeKeyser is this year's prized college free agent, but from a fantasy standpoint he holds little value. He's a defense-first kind of guy.

Don't Overrate - Johan Franzen, a playoff stud for so many years, has become a playoff dud the last two. He managed just four points in his last 13 postseason games. Prior to that, he had 59 in 51 playoff games, so you can see where our expectations have been for him. He'll need to get some of that magic back if the Wings hope to go deep.

Los Angeles Kings

The Obvious - Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty

The Sleepers - Trevor Lewis has always had the potential to play on the second line, but on a deep Los Angeles roster there were too many better options. He's still out of the top six mix, but his 14 points represent a career high, despite the shortened season. During the Cup run he had nine points in 20 games…

With three points in his last 18 games, Jake Muzzin has slowed down from the torrid pace he set in early March. But his ice time is still up there and he's still seeing a lot of power-play time. If the Kings go 20 games deep into the playoffs again, I can see Muzzin getting 10 points.

Rookies to Watch - Muzzin is the impact rookie on the Kings' roster, making a big splash when he posted 11 points in 13 games starting February 25. He's averaging upwards of 18 minutes per game…

Tyler Toffoli would be an impact rookie on 25 other teams, but on the Kings he's often been in the press box. This despite five points in nine games in which he averages 12 minutes of ice time. Barring an injury to someone in the top nine, Toffoli will take in these playoffs from the press box beside Dustin Penner.

Don't Overrate - Last year's big playoff surprise Dustin Penner has been back to his old tricks, playing his way out of the lineup on a few occasions. He's trying hard to shed his 'soft player' reputation - if you look at his year-over-year hits-per-game average it has gone steadily upwards from just over one hit every two games in 2009-10 to close to three hits every two games this year. But it hasn't been enough and he's a risky pick as a result.

Minnesota Wild

The Obvious - Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, Ryan Suter and Devin Setoguchi.

The Sleepers - Excuse Pierre-Marc Bouchard for taking a couple dozen games to get his timing back, after missing much of the last several seasons with concussions. Three consecutive healthy scratches in early March sparked him though, because he returned and has posted 14 points in 21 games…

Rookie Jonas Brodin is the Calder Trophy winner this year if you talk to Minnesota insiders. That won't happen, of course, since his stats don't reflect his near-flawless play. But Brodin is gobbling up the minutes and seeing PP time, and although eight points in his last 21 games aren't dazzling he could possibly build on that in the postseason.

Rookies to Watch - Besides Brodin, the only other safe rookie is Charlie Coyle. Coyle's ice time has inched upward and in the year's most important game Tuesday against L.A. he played over 20 minutes. He has 11 points in his last 26 games and is getting better with each game…

Mikael Granlund just might have the highest upside of any rookie in the NHL, but the consistency hasn't been there and the Wild have been handling him carefully - he's currently in the minors. He's not eligible to be a rookie again next year, as he's played 27 games.

Don't Overrate - Devin Setoguchi's hot production in March went down the tank in April when Matt Cullen was injured. Cullen has since returned, but is struggling.

San Jose Sharks

The Obvious - Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle.

The Sleepers - Martin Havlat, when he's not tripping over his skate laces and spraining something, can be a very good player. We were wondering if the injuries were adding up, though, when he started the season slowly. He has 12 points in his last 20 games, which is still weak by his standards, but better than his overall numbers show.

Rookies to Watch - Defenseman Matt Irwin was a free agent signed out of college in 2010. He transitioned seamlessly to the NHL this season and at one juncture he tallied seven points in nine games. He has been up and down, as happens with many rookies, and thus carries a risk.

Don't Overrate - Dan Boyle has 14 points in his last 40 games. He's not the stud blueliner he once was and shouldn't be counted on for a point every two games as his numbers indicate…

Patrick Marleau started the season with 14 points in six games, which is pretty impressive. Not as impressive are the ensuing 41 games. He has just 17 points in that span, which is very un-Marleau like.

St. Louis Blues

The Obvious - Chris Stewart, Alex Steen, David Backes, David Perron, Patrik Berglund, Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk.

The Sleepers - Andy McDonald was the Blues' top playoff scorer a year ago, with 10 points in nine games. Historically, he has always been productive in the postseason…

T.J. Oshie has been out since March with an ankle injury, but he'll be ready for the playoffs. His point total has been stuck at 20 as a result, keeping him off the radar of most of the casual hockey fans in your pool.

Rookies to Watch - The adrenalin has worn off of Vladimir Tarasenko, who looked like he was going to walk away with the Calder Trophy when he posted five points in his first two NHL games and 10 in his first eight. But he has just eight points in his last 29 contests and is pretty much out of the Calder conversation altogether…

Jaden Schwartz started off slowly and has picked things up a little bit, but not enough to warrant drafting unless you think the Blues will go to the Final.

Don't Overrate - Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had 13 points in his first 12 games, but just 10 in 35 games since. He should be drafted based on the latter number, and not the former.

Vancouver Canucks

The Obvious - Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Derek Roy, Jannik Hansen, Alex Burrows, Alexander Edler and Ryan Kesler.

The Sleepers - Jason Garrison has found his niche with his new team, posting eight points in his last 11 games, including four points on the power play…

Rookies to Watch - None.

Don't Overrate - Mason Raymond has just 16 points in 51 career playoff games. He has also slowed significantly since the trade deadline, when the Canucks added Derek Roy, not to mention the return to health of Kesler. Just not enough PP time to go around…

Roy has just five of his 27 points this year with the Canucks (11 games).

Six of Zack Kassian's 10 points were in the first eight games of the season. Since then, he has been snakebitten and has a greater chance of getting zero points in the playoffs than he has of getting six or seven.

Also, hey, I have an Interactive Playoff Draft List that I'm selling. It will make things way easier for you at the draft table.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.

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Fri, 26 Apr 2013 09:16:35 PDT Dobber Hockey nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,695cfe5a-a67e-3797-bcca-8fd89cd87642-l:1
Who are your NHL team’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? (Western Conference) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-team-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-western-conference-180924718--nhl.html Let’s just get it out of the way: Jonathan Toews is a Leonardo.

There’s really no discussion on this. He’s a leader. He’s confident and calm. He’s the one who manages his hot-headed partner. We’re also convinced he’s handy with Katana blades.

On Tuesday, we presented you with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle proxies for the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Now it’s time for the Western Conference.

To reset the personality types:

Leonardo (blue mask): The measured, valiant leader of the group. Strong and fearless.

Donatello (purple mask): The scientist who prefers to use intellect rather than his bo staff to solve conflicts. A bit shy.

Michelangelo (orange mask): The pizza-gobbling free spirit of the group whose “Cowabunga” launched a million T-shirts.

Raphael (red mask): The temperamental bad boy of the group. And he speaks with a New York accent!

We asked the Puck Daddy readership to check in with their choices for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proxies for all 30 NHL teams. Here are the Western Conference choices for hockey heroes on a half shell.

Chicago Blackhawks

Leonardo: Jonathan Towes because he's the leader.

Donatello: Patrick Sharp because he's undervalued.

Michelangelo: Patrick Kane because he's silly and a showboat.

Raphael: Marian Hossa because he's smart and has a long stick

- Paul Vogl

Leonardo: The leader/captain Jonathan Toews.

Donatello: The inventor, and quiet genius, Marian Hossa.

Michaelangelo: The party animal… Patrick Kane.

Raphael: The no-nonsense, dude with the 'tude Ray Emery.

For Fun:

Casey Jones: Michael Hanzdus-Former ally, left for awhile to pursue other things, now is currently back with the team to fight for another Cup

April: Any Ice-Girl

Shredder: Alain Vigneault

- Justin Dal Corobbo

Columbus Blue Jackets

Leonardo: Vinny Prospal - He's old and has been the de facto captain ever since Nash requested a trade.

Donatello: Sergei Bobrovsky - Had to mention him somewhere. He's a smart goaltender who makes saves based a lot on positional play as opposed to Hasek-like acrobatics

Michelangelo: Artem Anisimov - He's struck me as a bit of a fun lover ever since last year's 24/7 and always seems very lighthearted and has some of the best cellys in the league.

Raphael: Jared Boll - Would've been Dorsett prior to the trade deadline, but Jared Boll can be a bit of a hothead and is never afraid of a fight, even against guys twice his size.

- Mark Fairholm

Leonardo: Vinny Prospal. Measured, valiant leader? Check. Superb pointer finger? Check. Strong and fearless at age 38? Check.

Donatello: Marian Gaborik. Mad scientist with his stick. Does not engage physically, unless necessary. Unspoken best player of the group.

Michelangelo: Jack Johnson. Really...who can't see this guy as the unspoken heart and soul of just having fun and kicking ass?

Raphael: Jared Boll. Few tough guys in the NHL willingly fight him anymore. Especially after an off-season of working with MMA coaches.

Extra: Splinter... Jarmo. The new trade ninja. Dude knows what he is doing.

- Kevin Saarie

Detroit Red Wings

Leonardo: Leo is the leader so we have to go with Henrik Zetterberg although with the constant hair on his face he may be a master splinter nominee as well.

Donatello: The easiest of the four is Pavel Datsyuk as Donatello, the scientist and inventor

Michaelangelo: Michelangelo laid back surfer dude purely on looks would be Valteri Filpula.

Raphael: Raphael is the bad boy of the group. This is probably a toss up between Todd Bertuzzi and Jordin Tootoo but Tootoo gets the edge due to the fact he is actually playing. Bertuzzi as Shredder?

- Chris Breuker

Leonardo: Henrik Zetterberg. He's a natural leader, calm and collected.

Donatello: Pavel Datsyuk. He's a genius, possibly the smartest hockey player out there.

Michaelangelo: Dan Cleary. He's a bit of a goof sometimes but can come through in the clutch.

Raphael: Todd Bertuzzi. He's tough and sometimes a bit surly but he's loyal to his teammates.

Nashville Predators

Leonardo - David Legwand: old, experienced, fearless; the most veteran leader

Donatello - Colin Wilson: quiet and disciplined; talented; thinks his way around

Michelangelo - Paul Gaustad: easy-going; comic relief; at his best when it matters most

Raphael - Rich Clune: the team's bad boy; aggressive and quick to throw-down; sarcastic; loyal

- Tyler Pennington

St. Louis Blues

Leonardo: David Backes (Captain America, enough said).

Donatello: Jaden Schwartz (Least violent, hockey smarts off the charts, much like how Donatello uses his knowledge to solve conflicts).

Michelangelo: Kevin Shattenkirk (too easy).

Raphael: Vladimir Sobotka (under-appreaciated, but very gritty and aggressive).

- Patrick Spinner

Leonardo: David Backes, leader

Donatello: Alex Pietrangelo, brains

Michelangelo: TJ Oshie, jokester

Raphael: David Perron, headcase

April O'Neal: Roman Polak

Splinter: Coach Ken Hitchcock

Shredder: Barret Jackman

Footclan: everybody else

- Joe Miller


Calgary Flames

Leonardo; This is a title that would have been given to a certain #12 until a month ago, but now it falls to a reluctant Michael Cammalleri. Standing at what can generously be described as "5-9", Cammalleri still shows the tenacious and fearless leadership reminiscent of the leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That is until he gets pulled off the bench mid-game in January 2014 to abandon the sinking ship of the Calgary Flames, when he will get traded to the Dallas Stars to help them to a 9th place finish in the Western Conference.

Donatello: Just as this turtle possesses the unique skill of technical aptitude, Miikka Kiprusoff possesses the unique skill of being the only one in the locker room who can do the splits while a cigarette hangs out of his mouth. His ability to make James Reimer feel as if he is about to lose his job with only the use of a cell phone call to Dave Nonis rivals Donatello's knowledge of high-tech machinery.

Raphael: Often described as "aggressive" and "emotional", much like the Flames' resident enforcer Tim Jackman. Just as Raphael can use his anger and crazed nature to somehow slay enemies in combat, Tim Jackman is well known for using his "grit" and "sandpaper" to somehow earn Power-play time on Brent Sutter-coached teams.

Michelangelo: Seen as the younger, fun-loving member of the squad- much like Mikael Backlund. On a team that does not contain many entertaining players on Twitter, his relatively active Twitter account provides the same change-of-pace that Michelangelo's comic relief does. Michelangelo is known for coining such popular phrases as "Cowabunga!". Mikael Backlund is known for coining such popular phrases as "Whaddaya mean Brian McGrattan is one of my wingers?!"

Bonus: The role of Splinter is laid upon the portly leader of the Flames organization, Mr. Jay Feaster. Splinter is, of course, a rat. Feaster has been the metaphorical rat picking away at the corpse of fleeting Flames success from 2004, attempting to capitalize on any little bit of meat left on the bones from the last time this team won a playoff round. Oh, and speaking of meat... Jay Feaster fat joke.

- Scott Denoon


Colorado Avalanche

Leonardo: Matt Duchene - The true leader of the group, proficient in all forms of "combat", takes the serious approach.

Donatello: Ryan O'Reilly - Groomed by his father Brian O'Reilly, Ryan prefers to use his knowledge to solve conflicts (and contract disputes).

Michelangelo: Gabriel Landeskog - Young Captain with an easy-going personality and positive outlook.

Raphael: Steve Downie - The team's bad boy, he has an aggressive nature and seldom hesitates to throw the first punch.

Splinter: Jean-Sebastian Giguere - The rat of the bunch, also an adoptive father teaching his children the ways of the hockey player. No Vegas.

- Jonathan Cable

Edmonton Oilers

Leonardo: Shawn Horcoff. Wisdom of an old-pro, leads the way and gets the others to follow.

Donatello: Jordan Eberle. He just thinks and thinks, makes something out of nothing, and is good with his hands.

Raphael: Taylor Hall. Comes across as an a-hole, but is just doing what he’s doing because he wants to help the team. If you cross him, he will hurt you.

Michelangelo: Nail Yakupov. Young, spunky, zest for the game. Seems like a party dude too!

Honorable Mention:

The foot clan – Made up of dozens of Eric Belangers. Can only do one thing, and no matter how many of them you have, it will do no good. Just absolutely terrible and make no contributions whatsoever, you’d think you’d be better off without them anywhere, and you’d be right.

- Jake DesRoches

Leonardo: Taylor Hall, the natural leader.

Donatello: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he's the quiet one, his hockey IQ is rivaled only by Donatello's Bo Staff IQ.

Michelangelo: Jordan Eberle, he's easy going and everyone's favourite.

Raphael: Nail Yakupov, he's somewhat mysterious and prone to emotional extreme.

- Matt Sletto

Minnesota Wild

Leonardo: Zach Parise

Donatello: Miikko Koivu

Michelangelo: Cal Clutterbuck

Raphael: Zenon Konopka

- Justin Day

Leonardo: Zach Parise - Could have the 'C' on his sweater and definitely is the most well spoken on the team. Great leader, doesn't have the mean streak of Koivu.

Donatello: Jared Spurgeon - Only reason this guy is in the league is because what is between those two ears.

Michelangelo: Neck and neck between Cal Clutterbuck and Zenon Kenopka. Kenopka is almost too smart, but he is a goofball. I'd go with Clutterbuck, I mean take a gander at that mustache.

Raphael: Mikko Koivu - ask Michael Russo about his Surliness

- Chris Sigurdson

Vancouver Canucks

Leonardo: Henrik Sedin, leader of the pack, need I say more?

Donatello: Gonna go out on a limb and say Chris Higgins or Dan Hamhuis. They both step on the ice and are methodical with their work on offense or defense and just get the job done.

Michelangelo: Ryan Kesler for the Kesler bombs or Kevin Bieksa for fooling that reporter into thinking he was Kesler

Raphael: Max Lapierre, I think this is a no-brainer, the instigator/hot head.

- Tom Le

Leonardo: Unlike the Turtles, the Canucks aren’t led by Leonardo. They’re led by twin Donatellos. That said, the Sedins are basically inimitable aliens. I think most of us would agree that Ryan Kesler is the team’s spiritual leader, the one who leads by example. So let’s call him Leonardo.

Donatello: A player that prefers the cerebral over the physical? You just described a Sedin, my friend. I’m going to cheat and say that both Daniel and Henrik are Donatello, since they’re effectively the same person, as Daniel’s 905th NHL game demonstrated for us on Monday.

Michelangelo: Onto the wild child, and this one’s a toss-up. On one hand, Zack Kassian is beginning to get a bit of a reputation for his partying ways, and he’s certainly a free spirit. He’s weird as all Hell. But I think I’ll give this to Bieksa, who’s the quippiest interview and the most likely to spawn a catchphrase. Not to mention I think anybody who watches his game knows that he’s a bit unpredictable. We’ll give him the nod, although I suspect this is the one that will cause the most debate.

Raphael: And finally, Raphael. Now, Alex Burrows isn’t really a “bad boy”, per se. But he’s far and away the most likely to get in trouble. He’s the most antagonistic guy on the Canucks, and the one that always seems to be in the thick of things. Plus did someone say “accent”? Because Burrows’ accent is so thick, he could spread it on toast.

- Harrison Mooney


Anaheim Ducks

Leonardo: Teemu Selanne (obviously)

Donatello: Jonas Hiller

Michelangelo: Ryan Getzlaf

Raphael: Corey Perry

Bonus:

Splinter: Scotty Nieds

Krang: Boudreau

Casey Jones: Bobby Ryan

- Jen Neale

Dallas Stars

Leonardo: Stephane Robidas as Leonardo, the "leader"

Donatello: Loui Eriksson as Donatello, the genius!

Michelangelo: Vern Fiddler as Michelangelo, the "free-spirit" (see: The Bieksa)

Raphael: Antoine Roussel as Raphael, the bad boy

- Jen

Los Angeles Kings

Leonardo: Dustin Brown is Leonardo because he's the absolute leader that nobody can absolutely love. His constant tendency to seem divey and/or fall down reminds me of Leonardo's super-obnoxious need to teach me a lesson EVERY FIVE MINUTES... but still, he's the leader.

Donatello: Jeff Carter would be Donatello because he's got the pinpoint wrister accuracy that only a semi-geek would have because he practiced. Plus he looks kinda Canadienerdish.

Michelangelo: Dustin Penner is Michelangelo because he's got to be the Michelangelo of the Western Conference, if not the whole league. Most likely to say, "Cowabunga, Dude!" Plus, his bank shot empty net goal from last year shows his uncanny knack for party puck skills. Also, his twitter feed. Done.

Raphael: Jonathan Quick would be Raphael because the dude gets NUTS when he doesn't play well or has something go against him. Plus, he's too brash for his own good chasing pucks/pizza the way he does.

Bonus:

Anze Kopitar as Splinter. Veteran, been there forever, speaks with an accent.

Drew Doughty as Casey Jones. Sometimes he's there taking big swings with his stick... other times he's absolutely nowhere to be found.

- Joseph Isaac

Leonardo: Jeff Carter

Donatello: Anze Kopitar

Michelangelo: Dustin Penner

Raphael: Dustin Brown

Casey Jones: Jonathan Quick

- Paul Gofberg

San Jose Sharks

Leonardo: Leo is a brave, highly skilled leader who has the least personality of any of the turtles. Boringly does the right thing every time. That's Marleau, the Sharks former captain is extremely good at what he does, but as soon as he opens his mouth you fall asleep.

Donatello: The scientist of the group, often relying on gadgets? Well, look no further than Brent Burns and his robot sex pants.

Michelangelo: The goofy oddball of the group. I think that title goes to Couture. His random love of Bieber and other random crap from pop culture combined with that goofy smile cements his spot.

Raphael: Highly skilled loner with a temper. Now that the obvious and certifiably psychotic Ryane Clowe has moved on, that leaves Dan Boyle. Boyle has the most skill on the team and the temper to match. Often even tries to win games all on his own

- David McGuire

Phoenix Coyotes

Leonardo: Shane Doan, duh. More applicable when you think about the love/hate relationship Leo has.

Donatello: Oliver Ekman Larsson. Seems to be the smartest of our crew and is pretty good with a stick.

Michelangelo: Biznasty. Partier. Best when he is delivering one liners. Constantly has to justify why he is part of the team.

Raphael: Mike Smith. Cool but rude. Likes to stray from home and get blindsided from unsuspecting hordes of Foot soldiers.

- Shaun Guhy

Leonardo: Shane Doan. (duh) Doesn't really need any explanation

Donatello: Mikkel Boedker: He's smart. He's polite. He writes the blogs. So what if he can't find Phoenix on the weather map...

Michelangelo: Biz *IS* Michelangelo. 'nuff said.

Raphael: This has to be Mike Smith. Temperamental? Check. Attitude? Check. And if you poke him HE WILL TAKE YOUR STICK AND FREAKING BREAK IT IN FRONT OF YOU.

- Rachael

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Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:09:24 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,bb6ed6a9-643b-3b9a-b190-793e29551463-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Suddenly, Alex Ovechkin has Hart https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-suddenly-alex-ovechkin-hart-203424688--nhl.html (Ed. Note: This is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney, Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig and Yahoo! NHL scribe Nick Cotsonika. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

We’re in the final stages of the Puck Daddy NHL Awards Watch, and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is in the driver’s seat for most valuable player.

Sidney Crosby’s continued absence to injury opened the door for Ovechkin to be the highest placing skater for our Hart Trophy panel, after he was second to Sid in last week’s poll.

In fact, Crosby isn’t even second in the Hart voting any longer…

Coming up, the leaders for the major NHL awards …

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

Hart Trophy

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (18)
2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets (16)
3. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (16)
4. John Tavares, New York Islanders (15)
5. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (5)

What a race, huh? Ovechkin rallies to the top of the Hart standings, with Bobrovsky getting more first-place votes (2) than Crosby (1). John Tavares is the stalking horse, with Toews and Patrick Kane (3 votes) lagging behind.

Norris Trophy

1. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild (23)
2. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens (20)
3. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (10)
4. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes (6)
5. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks (5)

Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks and Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues also garnered some consideration, but in the end it was Suter continuing to lead Subban for best defenseman. Perhaps it comes down to time on ice? Suter's at 27:06; Subban is at 23:08.

Vezina Trophy

1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets (23)
2. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (18)
3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (12)
4. Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks (11)
5. Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild (3)

Bob continues to hold off Rask, with King Henrik moving into the top three for the first time this season. James Reimer, Corey Crawford and Cory Schneider also garnered support.

Calder Trophy

1. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (23)
2. Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens (21)
3. Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (11)
4. Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks (10)
5. Cory Conacher, Ottawa Senators (8)

Huberdeau continues to lead in goals (14) and is tied with Conacher in points (28). Gallagher is only one goal behind him. Can Huberdeau win the Calder if he doesn’t lead either rookie scoring category?

Jack Adams Award

1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (21)
2. Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators (14)
3. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks (13)
4. Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens (12)
5. Todd Richards, Columbus Blue Jackets (6)

Quenneville’s team is likely to win the President’s Trophy, and it’s looking like he might take home some hardware of his own. Richards makes the cut having led the Blue Jackets on an unlikely playoff journey. Just outside of the top five: Dan Bylsma, Randy Carlyle and Adam Oates.

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Tue, 23 Apr 2013 13:34:24 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,0558060f-2457-30e8-8880-017f664b8357-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Couture’s 4-point night; Brodeur records 121st shutout https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-couture-4-point-night-brodeur-060512744--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

Couture's 4-point night led the way as the Sharks defeated the Minnesota Wild 6-1. Martin Havlat scored twice and added an assist against his former team and goaltender Antti Niemi made 27 saves. The Sharks have won three in a row and are tied with the Kings for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. They're also 16-1-5 at HP Pavilion this year. One of Couture's assists came on a Havlat goal thanks to the young forwards' leaping abilities:

No. 2 Star: John Tavares, New York Islanders

Continuing to help the Islanders make a playoff push, while at the same time making a case for Hart Trophy consideration, Tavares scored twice and assisted on another as New York downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. After finding themselves down 2-0 early in the game, the Islanders responded with five straight to move within two points of the Leafs for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Brad Boyes chipped in three points, while Lubomir Visnovsky and Matt Moulson each recorded two.

No. 3 Star: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

The Devils netminder earned his 121st career shutout with a 23-save performance during a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ryan Carter, Matt D'Agostini and Adam Henrique all scored for New Jersey. The victory was the 667th of Brodeur's career and snapped the Devils' 10-game winless streak.

Honorable Mention: Dustin Byfuglien's goal 1:23 into overtime helped keep the Winnipeg Jets' playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Andrew Ladd helped set up that OT winner and assisted on two others. Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists. Ondrej Pavelec won save of the night honors with this paddle stop on Justin Faulk:

Brian Elliott came within seven seconds of recording his fourth shutout in six games, but Andy McDonald's shootout goal helped give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. It was the second game in a row that Elliott failed to allow a goal in the hootout ... Goals from Drew Doughty and Kyle Clifford were just enough as the Los Angeles Kings edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Jonathan Quick made 20 saves. Blue Jackets rookie Dalton Prout scored his first NHL goal in the loss ... Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello scored twice and Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves as the New York Rangers routed the Florida Panthers 6-1. Rick Nash added a goal and two assists and the Rangers power play scored on two of their four opportunities ... Brian Gionta scored his second of the night with 47 seconds left in regulation to help give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Carey Price won for the first time in four starts with 32 saves. Richard Panik gets goal of the night honors in a losing effort with this spin-o-rama:

Cody Eakin and Jamie Benn each scored a goal and added an assist and Kari Lehtonen made 37 saves in his first game back from injury as the Dallas Stars downed the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 ... Two goals from Kyle Turris and 18 saves by Craig Anderson helped lead the Ottawa Senators to a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. The Senators have won four straight.

Did You Know? The Devils and Flyers have never missed the playoffs in the same season. (MSG Network)

Dishonorable Mention: Scott Clemmensen was in net for all six Rangers goals ... Florida has dropped five of six ... After their loss, the Blue Jackets announced Matt Calvert suffered a broken finger and will be "out for a while" ... Radim Vrbata spoiled Brian Elliott's shutout, but not before Alex Pietrangelo took exception to a Martin Hanzal hit from behind. Check out his slash on Hanzal. Will he see supplemental discipline or get the Taylor Hall treatment?

Earlier, David Backes hit Oliver Ekman-Larsson from behind and the two sides scrummed:

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Thu, 18 Apr 2013 23:05:12 PDT Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,321fed44-9d44-3c1c-9a0b-f81cd8d3f652-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Can Alex Ovechkin steal Sidney Crosby’s Hart? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-alex-ovechkin-steal-sidney-crosby-134642581--nhl.html (Ed. Note: This is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney, Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig and Yahoo! NHL scribe Nick Cotsonika. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

Sidney Crosby has had the Hart Trophy on lockdown for nearly the entire NHL season. His 56 points in 36 games lead the NHL, and the Penguins’ middling results without him underscore this importance.

But look who’s entered the fray late in the game: His old rival Alex Ovechkin, who has led the Washington Capitals back to the Southeast Division lead and is on fire lately, with 21 points in his last 12 games.

Can Ovechkin’s late rally and Crosby’s injury combine to give the Hart to the Capitals captain for the third time?

Coming up, the leaders for the major NHL awards …

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

Hart Trophy

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (24)
2. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (19)
3. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (12)
4. John Tavares, New York Islanders (6)
5. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (6)

Absence makes the Hart grow fonder of Sidney Crosby, as the Penguins struggle without their MVP in the lineup. Ovechkin roared into the Hart race with a tremendous points binge. Just outside of the top five were Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos and Nazem Kadri.

Norris Trophy

1. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild (22)
2. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens (21)
3. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (10)

4. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes (8)
5. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (5
)

Subban’s outstanding season for the Habs has him neck and neck with workhorse Suter for the Norris. Letang’s point total can’t be ignored, while Ekman-Larsson continues to be the dark horse in the race. Pietrangelo barely edged Francois Beauchemin for the No. 5 spot.

Vezina Trophy

1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (22)
2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets (13)
3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (12)
4. Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild (6)
5. Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks (6)

Rask has created some distance in the Vezina race with his 1.95 GAA and 17 wins. The Bob has the Jackets still on the playoff bubble. Backstrom is one to watch as the Wild continue to thrive. Corey Crawford, Ray Emery, Cory Schneider and Henrik Lundqvist were also in the mix.

Calder Trophy

1. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (24)
2. Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens (18)
3. Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks (10)
4. Cory Conacher, Ottawa Senators (10)
5. Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (8)

The NHL rookie goal scoring leader continues to lead the Calder pack, but the more well-rounded Gallagher and Saad are making a late push. Guess the panel thought Conacher’s move to the Senators impacted his Calder chances in a negative sense.

Jack Adams Award

1. Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens (21)

2. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (19)
3. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks (13)

4. Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators (8)
5. Mike Yeo, Minnesota Wild (5)

Therrien hops to the top of the Adams race as his Canadiens continue to lead the Northeast. What else does Joel Quenneville have to do to win this thing? Also receiving some love were Todd Richards, Dan Bylsma and Randy Carlyle.

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Tue, 09 Apr 2013 06:46:42 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c3f3cfb4-addc-331a-8bbc-4971f5516f1b-l:1
Puck Daddy’s 2013 NHL Trade Deadline Report Card for all 30 teams https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/puck-daddy-2013-nhl-trade-deadline-report-card-001335069--nhl.html Remember the beginning of “The Avengers”? When Loki used his pokey-stick to hypnotize a bunch of military men and Hawkeye, and there were explosions and … some stuff happened?

Of course you don’t. You remember all the cool [expletive] that happened later in the movie, with Thor and Iron Man and the gigantic battle in New York City.

So, in essence, the 2013 NHL trade deadline day was “The Avengers”: Started tedious, then became sort of a classic later on, with blockbuster trades both made and not made (thanks, Luongo). Think of the Marian Gaborik deal as Hulk smashing Loki ...

Coming up, we grade all 30 teams on their trade deadlines, both on April 3 and in the days leading up to it.

Enjoy. Or cry. You know who you are.

Anaheim Ducks: B-

The Ducks added Matthew Lombardi for Brandon McMillan, getting a speedy center that could fit well in Bruce Boudreau’s system, as well as an expiring contract. They traded Jeff Deslauriers to the Minnesota Wild for future considerations and flipped Jay Rosehill for Harry Zolnierczyk in a swap of spare parts. The way the Ducks are going, they didn’t need to add much. So they didn’t.

Boston Bruins: B+

The Jaromir Jagr trade is an amazing bit of trolling by Peter Chiarelli after the Pittsburgh Penguins stole Jarome Iginla from him. But it’ll also help a perennially lousy power play that’s currently 24th in the NHL. Wade Redden for a seventh-round pick (or a sixth if he plays a playoff game) is a nice little depth move; if only we could travel back through time and tell a Bruins fan in 2005 that Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden would both be wearing Boston jerseys.

Buffalo Sabres: A-

If these are Darcy Regier’s final trades as Buffalo Sabres general manager, he went out guns blazin’. The Sabres pulled three second-round picks (and a conditional fifth) in trading Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold. Then came the big splash: Captain Jason Pominville and a fourth-rounder in 2014 to the Wild for Matt Hackett, Johan Larsson, a first-rounder in 2013 and a second-rounder in 2014. It’s a sea-change move for Buffalo, but a better than expected return.

Calgary Flames: C-

The silver lining in Jay Feaster’s dealing of Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester: Two first-round picks for a team in a full rebuild. But that’s about it when it comes to the Flames trading away a franchise icon and a defenseman that should have generated a bidding war. Granted, in Iginla’s case, the Flames couldn’t do anything but swallow what Ray Shero was serving them. But the return was underwhelming, and the cuts into the roster didn’t go deep enough.

Carolina Hurricanes: D+

The acquisition of Marc-Andre Bergeron looks rather essential with Joni Pitkanen done for the season. Having Ray Shero pass on claiming Jussi Jokinen and then have Jim Rutherford share the cost of a castoff … yikes. That was it for a Hurricanes team that’s scratching and clawing to remain in contention, and needed to do more to reverse course.

Chicago Blackhawks: B

Michal Handzus is fine for a fourth-liner who can win a faceoff. Sometimes the best deadline trades are the ones you don’t make. Hopefully that’s the case for the Blackhawks, who stood pat.

Colorado Avalanche: D+

Getting anything for Ryan O’Byrne – a pending free agent who hasn’t been good this season – was nice for GM Greg Sherman. Avs fans aren’t all that happy with Cameron Gaunce going to Dallas for Tomas Vincour. The bottom line is that one expected a bit more roster reshaping from the worst team in the West at the moment; maybe that comes in the summer, maybe with another general manager.

Columbus Blue Jackets: A

You want a fan wants? To know their team is in good hands. To know that management is going to be aggressively pursuing success while steadfastly protecting the future.

President John Davidson and GM Jarmo Kekalainen added Marian Gaborik, a star offensive talent, without surrendering any of their first-round picks – including the one owned by the Rangers. They added Blake Comeau for a fifth and found a taker for former Calder winner Steve Mason in the Philadelphia Flyers, which might be the single most psychologically damaging place to send Steve Mason not named Vancouver.

Gaborik may never find his form again. And the Blue Jackets may not win enough to make the playoffs this season. But their new leadership won something perhaps even more vital: The confidence and excitement of the fans.

Dallas Stars: B-

The Stars got a decent return for Jagr from the Bruins in Cody Payne and Lane MacDermid (along with a conditional second). Kevin Connauton, acquired for Derek Roy, can move the puck but can’t really get the “defense” side of defenseman down. Cameron Gaunce was an interesting addition. If you want to stretch this all the way back to Joe Morrow for Brenden Morrow, it wasn’t a disastrous deadline for the selling Stars, but that may be due to having Calgary as a basis for comparison.

Detroit Red Wings: F

Kent Huskins for a conditional seventh-rounder was all GM Ken Holland did at the deadline. They whiffed on Jay Bouwmeester and couldn’t entice Dallas to deal Jagr to them. As Holland said: "We made offers. At the end of the day, maybe somebody likes somebody else's players better." In the end, the Wings are still a win-now team, given their roster, but couldn’t add anything to the mix. But hey, at least it wasn't a first-rounder for Kyle Quincey again.

Edmonton Oilers: C+

The Oilers snagged Jerred Smithson from the Florida Panthers for a fifth, and that was that. No Ryan Whitney trade or Ales Hemsky trade or Nikolai Khabibulin trade or anything to help the blue line. Edmonton’s recent surge probably played into its hesitance to deal, and Steve Tambellini said as such in his postgame comments: “We trust this group.”

Florida Panthers: D+

Kudos for getting something for Jerred Smithson. Sorry everyone you wanted to trade was injured. Moving on…

Los Angeles Kings: A-

“Experience. Good guy in back. Fills our left side. Work him in.”

That was Darryl Sutter on Robin Regehr, and boy does he sound excited! But seriously: It’s a great addition for the defending champs, especially with his familiarity with Sutter. The Kings cleared out Davis Drewiske to Montreal for a fifth.

Minnesota Wild: A

The price for Jason Pominville was steep: goalie Matt Hackett, forward Johan Larsson, a 2013 first-round pick and a 2014 second-round pick. But the Buffalo Sabres captain is another hard-working forward that can play in any situation, and a near-perfect fit for the Wild outside of his $5.3 million cap hit next season. GM Chuck Fletcher was dealing from a position of strength, as the Wild are stacked with prospects. For example: Deal a Matt Hackett, and you still have a Darcy Kuemper on the roster.

Montreal Canadiens: A

An ‘A’? For doing nothing outside of adding Davis Drewiske? Yes. If there’s any team in the NHL that should have stood pat, it’s the Habs, who have thrived this season based on team chemistry. Let it ride, Marc Bergevin.

Nashville Predators: B+

Martin Erat wanted out and GM David Poile accommodated him: Shipping Erat and Michael Latta to the Washington Capitals for top prospect Filip Forsberg, who could be a star in waiting if his body develops. On paper, it’s an ‘B-plus’, but let’s see how this one develops. The Preds also acquired a bag of pucks for Scott Hannan.

New Jersey Devils: C-

Wait stop the presses Lou Lamoriello traded for a player that used to wear a Devils sweater …

Lamoriello put his faith in his team, only adding a fading Steve Sullivan for a seventh rounder from the Phoenix Coyotes. The Devils needed offensive help, but he didn’t have many assets to move and the cost was too high, according to the GM.

New York Islanders: B

Nothing from the Islanders, outside of a game of contract chicken with Mark Streit. The ‘B’ is for standing pat with a team that’s really come together this season and earned the chance to make the dance.

New York Rangers: B-

The New York Rangers had a whiff of desperation, with an undercurrent of frustration. Dealing a second, potentially another second and a third for Ryane Clowe was overpayment no matter if the Rangers sign him or not. It's on Clowe to prove otherwise. The Marian Gaborik trade was a salary dump for a player that had lost his way with the Rangers; the return has a player that the Rangers need (Derek Dorsett), a perennial enigma (Derick Brassard) and an underachiever (John Moore). (The Rangers also traded Blake Parlett and Steven Delisle to the Jackets.) Addition by subtraction? Perhaps. Enough of a kick in the behind to make the playoffs? John Tortorella better hope so

Ottawa Senators: B

Cory Conacher is 23 and works his behind off. He may never be the offensive player he’s been with the Lightning someplace else, but he’s got upside. GM Bryan Murray wanted a player and a pick for Ben Bishop, dealing from a position of goaltending strength. That’s what he got.

Philadelphia Flyers: D+

The Flyers waived the white flag on their season, failing to add a significant piece to rally for a playoff spot. (No, Adam Hall on waivers doesn’t count.) They couldn’t snag Keith Yandle, despite a hot pursuit. They couldn’t snag Ben Bishop from the Senators, instead opting for Steve Mason of the Blue Jackets. Who became available because the Blue Jackets traded for a goalie last year that ended up becoming their starter. Sergei something. Think he played with Philly at one point.

Phoenix Coyotes: B-

Raffi Torres earned a third-round pick from the San Jose Sharks (owned by Florida), which is about the right value for a rental of his nature. They got a seventh rounder from the Devils for Steve Sullivan and turned Matt Lombardi into Brandon McMillan, which isn’t bad at all. And they hung onto Keith Yandle, despite a push from teams like the Flyers to snag him.

Pittsburgh Penguins: A+

If you stretch he Penguins’ deadline back to the Brenden Morrow trade, then GM Ray Shero had one of the most successful deadlines on paper in recent memory. Joe Morrow for Brenden Morrow. The second-rounders for Douglas Murray. Two guys no one’s heard of and a first for Jarome Flippin’ Iginla. And then on deadline day, the Penguins deal for Jussi Jokinen and have the Carolina Hurricanes picking up some of the cost.

I want Ray Shero to general manage my life.

San Jose Sharks: A-

Sneaky good deadline for GM Doug Wilson. The return for Ryane Clowe – the Rangers’ second-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2013 draft, and a conditional second-round pick in the 2014 draft – was solid. So were the two second-rounders for Douglas Murray, who was replaced with a returning Scott Hannan (acquired from the Predators for a seventh rounder). Raffi Torres adds some veteran grit to the Sharks as well, as San Jose continues a playoff push while rebuilding on the fly.

St. Louis Blues: A-

The Jay Bouwmeester trade – for prospects Mark Cundari and Reto Berra, and a first-rounder – gives the Blues a formidable addition to their blueline, a partner for budding star Alex Pietrangelo and keeps the ex-Flame away from other Western Conference rivals. Jordan Leopold can help the blue line too. Up front, GM Doug Armstrong is rolling with what the Blues have (and what they have is a group that’s helped St. Louis to 10th in the NHL in goals).

Tampa Bay Lightning: B+

As I said here, the Ben Bishop trade is better than most give GM Steve Yzerman credit for making. It’s selling high on Cory Conacher, and it’s once again trying to do the goaltending on the cheap. But it’s way closer to a win-win, or an outright Lightning win, than many believe.

Toronto Maple Leafs: A-

Miikka Kiprusoff didn’t want to be a Leaf. Roberto Luongo might have wanted to be one, but the teams couldn’t settle on price. So Toronto ended up standing pat outside of a trade for Ryan O’Byrne, which is … fine. It’s great, in fact. This team has settled into a nice groove, it’s a playoff team, and GM Dave Nonis let them roll with the group that got them there. No need to be hasty for a budding – ugh, pun intended – contender.

Vancouver Canucks: B-

The Canucks continued to see the Roberto Luongo as a hockey trade rather than a salary dump, and hence he’s still a Canuck. The Derek Roy trade was a decent rental move and fills a vital need. Should GM Mike Gillis have done more? He probably would have were it not for a no-trade clause and a “sucky” contract.

Washington Capitals: B- (for now)

Acquiring Martin Erat (and Michael Latta) for Filip Forsberg is a move for now, made by a general manager that’s managing for now. He’s a top six forward on a team that desperately needed one. Yes, he’s signed through 2015 at a $4.5 million, but he’s the type of offensive player that’s in short order on the Caps’ roster. Giving up Filip Forsberg could be a titanic blunder in the long run, because he kid has that kind of talent. But he’s not an NHL player yet, and Erat is, and the Capitals are still in a win-now mindset. Or at least their GM is.

Winnipeg Jets: C

Signing Jacob Trouba might have been the only deadline move that matters for the Jets, who did nothing else on Wednesday outside of claiming Mike Santorelli off of waivers. Did Alexander Burmistrov for Drew Stafford almost happen?

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Wed, 03 Apr 2013 17:13:35 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,c48b551c-cd21-387d-b40e-a4e2d960dc3c-l:1
Jay Bouwmeester acquired by St. Louis Blues; could his playoff drought finally end? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/jay-bouwmeester-acquired-st-louis-blues-could-playoff-011451859--nhl.html As play began Monday night, the St. Louis Blues were not in a playoff seed in the Western Conference.

So Jay Bouwmeester will fit right in.

Bouwmeester, owner of the longest active streak of NHL regular-season games without a playoff appearance, was traded to the Blues on Monday night by the Calgary Flames as part of the steady deconstruction of their roster in an effort to win the draft lottery. Which, like, should have been their plan about three years ago.

From the Blues:

St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Monday the club has acquired defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary in exchange for defenseman Mark Cundari, the rights to goaltender Reto Berra and a conditional first round pick in 2013.

“We've been looking to acquire a top left-handed defenseman and Jay represents that and is an elite player in our game,” said Armstrong.

Bouwmeester, 29, has dressed in 33 games for the Flames this season, posting 15 points (six goals, nine assists) and 16 penalty minutes while ranking 13th among all defenseman in time on ice per game (25:09).

Berra was drafted No. 106 overall in the 2006 NHL Draft. He’s a 26-year-old goalie playing for Biel in the Swiss League. Dude can make miracles happen.

[Also: Report: Jaromir Jagr dealt to Bruins; Can he help topple Penguins?]

Cundari was signed as a free agent in 2009 and is a smallish two-way defenseman for the AHL Peoria Rivermen. He was an AHL All-Star in 2013.

According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN: "Flames also say if Blues miss the playoffs, that 1st round pick in 2013 becomes 4th-rounder this year and a 1st rd in 2014."

This marks the second significant upgrade on defense for the Blues ahead of the deadline.

Jordan Leipold was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres for a second-round pick and a conditional fifth. The hope there was that he would shore up Alex Pietrangelo, who has been inconsistent this season in playing with a few partners.

For all the blather about his contract – Bouwmeester has one more year on his contract with a $6.68 million cap hit – and his lack of playoff experience (to put it lightly), Bouwmeester remains a good puck-moving defenseman who brings offensive from the blue line – something that’s been problematic for the Blues this season.

He's always had a bit of Chris Drury disease: A player defined by his contract, rather than his play on the ice.

But oy vey … that cap hit next season, for the Blues. As St. Louis Game Time opined before the deal went down:

The things is, once the Blues get Bouwmeester, they have to pay him a lot of money in what should be the first year of some hefty new contracts for current players. Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo are both in their final years of their RFA entry level deals, and will command a paycheck that the Blues will presumably pay. Between those two contracts and Bouwmeester, that's a lot of money to spend on a defense that has the ability to be great but the tendency to be erratic.

In fact, the Blues have six RFAs and six UFAs – the latter group having its share of instant castoffs like Leipold and Wade Redden. The bottom line is that Bouwmeester gives this team a solid group in front of Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen.

And based on how their goaltending has sunk into the abyss this season, the Blues can use all the defense they can get.

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Mon, 01 Apr 2013 18:14:51 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,b908bcb9-4b50-3c8c-bae9-cd81b8136c6a-l:1
The sad saga of Dan Boyle, moveable object https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/sad-saga-dan-boyle-moveable-object-194817632--nhl.html Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks has been here before: Making great money, playing for a team that isn’t so great and hearing about his future being debated in the media.

The first time was in Summer 2008, when his six-year, $40-million contract was seen as an unnecessary expense by new Tampa Bay Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.

Trouble for them was that he had a no-trade clause. Trouble for Boyle was that it wasn’t a no-movement clause, so they threatened to drop him onto waivers where a team like the Atlanta Thrashers would had snatched him up.

His hand forced, Boyle accepted a trade to the San Jose Sharks for two players and two picks, lamented to the media that he “was misled, lied to and completely disrespected."

This year, Boyle’s name is again on the lips of pundits, with his contract set to expire in Summer 2014 and with a $6,666,667 million cap hit on a team that’s 12-10-6 and on the bubble in the West. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN has been banging the Boyle-to-the-New York Rangers drums, and Boyle’s heard the beat.

Boyle, 36, has a limited no-trade clause; could he be sacrificed at the deadline so the Sharks can rebuild on the fly?

He hopes he doesn’t move.

From CSNBayArea.com and Kevin Kurz:

“This is where I want to be. I don’t want to be anywhere else. You guys have been with me for five years and you know what I bring to the table. I don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s not fun to hear that.

“The only other time my name was involved was five years ago. Sometimes where there’s smoke there’s fire, and I hope in this case, it’s not the case. It’s hard not to pay attention to that stuff.”

Kurz points out that trading Boyle means trading the team’s ice time leader (23:21) and power-play quarterback; and that moving Brent Burns into that role is a complicated notion, what with his inconsistency on the blue line and his strong play as a forward this far.

Trading Boyle makes a lot of sense for the Sharks right now, especially if they wanted to get aggressive in the offseason; how about flipping that salary into an offer sheet for Alex Pietrangelo or Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues (just spit-ballin’ here)?

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Wed, 20 Mar 2013 12:48:17 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,a59b99c4-c006-3cb1-a910-243790f08864-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Tuukka Rask moves into Vezina lead; Crosby vs. Kane for MVP https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-tuukka-rask-moves-vezina-lead-165642783--nhl.html (Ed. Note: This is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney, Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig and Yahoo! NHL scribe Nick Cotsonika. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

The Boston Bruins have captured the Vezina Trophy twice since 2008-09, with Tim Thomas winning it both times. After he decided to take his talents to a bunker in an undisclosed location, Tuukka Rask inherited the starting gig.

Lo and behold, he’s the leading candidate for the Vezina in our latest NHL Awards Watch.

Can Rask win the big prize over division rivals like Carey Price and Craig Anderson, who’s still in the mix despite his injury? What about the Western Conference’s hottest goalie? You know, Sergei Bobrovsky? (Seriously? Yes, seriously.)

Coming up, the leaders for the major NHL awards as we pass the halfway mark of the season.

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

[Also: Where are the 'real' New York Rangers?]

Hart Trophy

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (25)
2. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (19)
3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (9)
4. Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes (8)
5. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (7)

Crosby was the unanimous choice for the Hart, continuing to push the Penguins to the top of the conference and Chris Kunitz into the Richard race. Kane keeps pace by leading the Blackhawks on another unbeaten streak. Getzlaf and Staal are the centerpieces of productive top lines. Stamkos leads the league in goals. John Tavares and Jonathan Toews were among the other vote-getters.

Norris Trophy

1. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (19)
2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes (18)
3. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild (17)
4. Francois Beauchemin, Anaheim Ducks (8)
5. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens (6)

Letang continues to lead a close field for the Norris, leading the NHL in points for a defenseman with 28. Ekman-Larsson is having an all-around great season, including 17 points and a plus-7. Suter is second in the NHL at 23 points for a defenseman, skating 27:20 a night. Beauchemin remains the top choice for defensive defensemen, while Subban has surpassed Andrei Markov as the Habs’ best D-man this season. The Blues’ duo of Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk linger outside the Top 5.

Vezina Trophy

1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (15)
2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (13)
3. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (12)
4. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (10)
5. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets (8)

Rask has the starts (20), the wins (14) and the stats (1.92 GAA) of a Vezina winner. Price leads the NHL in wins with 15 and has started 22 games. Anderson remains, for our money, the best goalie of the season but injuries have limited him to 15 games. Crawford has the numbers (1.79) but is sharing time with Ray Emery (11-0-0). Bobrovsky? Yes, Bobrovsky, who could be an MVP candidate too if the Jackets somehow make the cut.

Calder Trophy

1. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (18)
2. Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens (16)
3. Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning (14)
4. Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues (6)
5. Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (3)

FINALLY, a goalie makes the chart, as Jake Allen of the Blues received support on two ballots. He’s 8-1, but has only played 10 games. Huberdeau leads the freshmen with 12 goals, while Conacher has 21 points to lead all rookies. Gallagher has a ton of support for his all-around stellar season. Brodin tied with Brendan Dillon of the Dallas Stars, but was given a third-place vote while Dillon was down the ballot.

Jack Adams Award

1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (24)
2. Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators (16)
3. Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens (16)
4. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks (13)
5. Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings (2)

Coach Q still has a healthy lead, with MacLean edging Therrien in battle of Eastern Conference surprises. Boudreau’s Ducks are keeping pace with the Blackhawks. Babcock received a fourth-place vote, which was good enough to elevate him over Dan Bylsma, Claude Julien, Claude Noel and Mike Yeo in the field.

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Tue, 19 Mar 2013 09:56:42 PDT Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f81ebc90-f140-3cfd-9ad0-4044193d1beb-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Just give Joel Quenneville the Jack Adams already https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-just-joel-quenneville-jack-adams-174609358--nhl.html (Ed. Note: This is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney, Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig and Yahoo! NHL scribe Nick Cotsonika. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

The Chicago Blackhawks currently have a 92.8 percent chance of winning the President’s Trophy, and we’re in the beginning of March. Such is life when you’re 19-0-3, and off to the best start in NHL history.

Does that mean Joel Quenneville has the Jack Adams locked up? No, actually it doesn’t. There are other coaches in the NHL that it could be argued are doing more with less; and as Mike Babcock can tell you, winning Coach of the Year with a team that’s expected to do well isn’t easy.

Coming up, the Jack race and the other trophies in our weekly awards watch.

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

Hart Trophy

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (23)
2. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (22)
3. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (13)
4. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres (5)
5. John Tavares, New York Islanders (4)

Crosby over Kane again, but the margin has closed to one vote after the Blackhawks winger’s heroics over the weekend. Pekka Rinne drops out of the top five, while Thomas Vanek slides back in for a Sabres team that’s three points off the playoff pace – just like Tavares and the Islanders.

Norris Trophy

1. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (21)
2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes (17)
3. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues (13)
4. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (9)
5. Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens (5)

Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings and Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks were close. Letang spends a second week atop the Norris leaderboard, with Ekman-Larsson nearly doubling his support in placing second. The big news: Shattenkirk has passed his Blues teammate Pietrangelo for the first time.

Vezina Trophy

1. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (18)
2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (17)
3. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators (10)
4. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (8)
5. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (7)

Viktor Fasth falls out of the top five after one week, despite being 9-1-1 on the season for the Ducks. Anderson remains atop the Vezina ranking even though he’s been sidelined with an injury.

Calder Trophy

1. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (24)
2. Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning (15)
3. Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens (14)
3. Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers (11)
5. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (4)

All hail Jonathan Huberdeau, who takes over the top spot from Conacher. Watch this race develop: If Huberdeau leads the league in rookie goals, this award might be his just because he isn’t playing with the kind of offensive talent that Conacher is. Tarasenko’s injury has all but torpedoed his candidacy.

Jack Adams Award

1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (23)
2. Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens (18)
3. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks (14)
4. Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators (12)
5. Claude Julien, Boston Bruins (4)

While he wasn’t unanimous, Coach Q remains atop the Jack Adams rankings because, in case you haven’t noticed, the Blackhawks haven’t lost in regulation yet. Therrien’s conference-leading Habs trump Boudreau’s surprising Ducks.

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Tue, 05 Mar 2013 09:46:09 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,dc66a478-fcc1-3bb0-b2eb-0fc843d36daf-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Sidney Crosby vs. Patrick Kane; surprise leader for Norris https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-sidney-crosby-vs-patrick-kane-144446795--nhl.html

(Ed. Note: This is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney, Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig and Yahoo! NHL scribe Nick Cotsonika. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

Injuries can sometimes recast how one feels about awards candidates.

Henrik Sedin won the Hart in 2010 partially because of his play with Daniel Sedin injured, for example.

Do we think less of Craig Anderson when we see the Ottawa Senators not missing a beat in his absence? To that end: Do we think more of Paul MacLean when he’s leading an injured team than when that team’s healthy?

Do we think more of Sidney Crosby when he’s carrying the Penguins sans Evgeni Malkin?

Coming up, the latest NHL Awards Watch from Puck Daddy, in which Sid pushes for Hart and one of this teammates makes a surprise appearance at the top of an awards ranking.

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

Hart Trophy

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (20)
2. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (16)
3. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators (10)
4. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (9)
5. John Tavares, New York Islanders (8)

Crosby takes the top spot from Kane, and could solidify that lead if he leads the Penguins with Evgeni Malkin out. Anderson moves up a spot. Tavares, whose team isn’t in a playoff seed, makes the cut while Thomas Vanek, whose team is the Buffalo Sabres, falls out of the top five for the first time this season. Steven Stamkos, Henrik Zetterberg and Viktor Fasth also received consideration.

Norris Trophy

1. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (22)
2. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (17)
3. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes (9)
4. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues (9)
5. Francois Beauchemin, Anaheim Ducks (7)

Pietrangelo falls from the top spot for the first time, as the Penguins’ puck-moving D-man Letang is having an outstanding season. Ekman-Larsson moves up two spots as Andrei Markov – not the same player since PK Subban returned to the Montréal Canadiens – drops out. Coach Bruce Boudreau said defensive defenseman Beauchemin is having a fantastic season for the Ducks, and hey, he’s even scoring too.

Vezina Trophy

1. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (23)
2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators (16)
3. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (14)
4. Viktor Fasth, Anaheim Ducks (11)
5. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (8)

Anderson’s 1.49 GAA and .952 save percentage remain stellar as he recovers from an injury. Rinne’s 1.90 GAA is impressive, as he backstops one of the NHL’s worst offensive teams this season. Crawford is an outstanding 8-0-3 with a 1.50 GAA. Fasth took his first loss but remains a sensation. Price has started 15 games and won 10 of them.

Calder Trophy

1. Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning (23)
2. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (21)
3. Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens (10)
4. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (10)
5. Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers (11)

Sunshine State rookie race? Conacher claims the top spot for the first time, while Huberdeau’s 8-goal campaign with the Panthers has him second overall. Galchenyuk inches ahead of former Calder leader Tarasenko, currently battling an upper body injury. The same five players appeared on every ballot.

Jack Adams

1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (24)
2. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks (19)
3. Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators (14)
4. Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens (14)
5. Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators (2)

Since Chicago has decided never again to lose a game in regulation, Coach Q remains on top of the Adams race. Boudreau’s Ducks are trying to keep pace with the Blackhawks, and he’s trying to do the same here. MacLean’s working miracles through the Senators’ injuries. Therrien’s Habs are atop the conference, while Trotz has the Predators fourth in the West.

Superlatives

Most Surprisingly Terrible Plus/Minus Ratings

1. James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Jacob Josefson, New Jersey Devils
3. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

Neal has 18 points, yet is a minus-7, which should tell you a lot about his power-play proficiency. Josefson is a minus-10 for a Devils team that only has one other player above a minus-2. Doughty’s minus-6 remains a mystifying number for the preseason Norris favorite.

The NHL’s Road Warriors

1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
2. Saku Koivu, Anaheim Ducks
3. John Tavares, New York Islanders

Kane has scored 18 points in 10 games away from Chicago. Tavares has 14 including seven goals, in 10 games on the road. Koivu has 12 points in 10 games on the road for the Ducks, and just four in seven at home. He’s also a plus-10.

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Tue, 26 Feb 2013 06:44:46 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,e3dc32ea-d4d4-3b01-a01b-dda4a95fb2f8-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Ducks hunt Jack Adams, Vezina; Patrick Kane has Hart? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-ducks-hunt-jack-adams-vezina-163010663--nhl.html (Ed. Note: This is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney, Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig and Yahoo! NHL scribe Nick Cotsonika. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

How does one judge Viktor Fasth?

[Y! Sports Radio: Nick Cotsonika assesses the first month of the NHL season]

The Anaheim Ducks’ not-technically-a-rookie goalie has won his first eight starts this season, posting an astounding 1.78 GAA and a .933 save percentage. Yet it’s only been eight games, while other Vezina Trophy contenders have played upwards of 14 games (in the case of Pekka Rinne). Ah, but in a lockout-shortened season, eight games make up a larger percentage of the season than usual.

Here’s the Puck Daddy Awards Watch for Feb. 5.

In Fasth’s case, we might be looking at a Jim Carey redux: Back in 1995’s lockout-shortened campaign, Jim Carey of the Washington Capitals was up for the Vezina Trophy for winning 18 of 28 games and leading the Caps to the postseason.

He lost to Dominic Hasek. But then again, who didn’t?

Coming up, love for the Ducks; Patrick Kane vs. Sidney Crosby for the Hart; and some major movement in the Norris Trophy race.

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.


Hart Trophy

1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (17)
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (15)
3. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres (13)
4. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators (12)
5. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (8)

Is it that outlandish to think that the leading scorer from the NHL’s best team might win MVP?

Kane has 21 points on the season, trailing Vanek (25) and Crosby (24). Vanek’s problem is that his team might not make the playoffs; Crosby’s is a guy named Evgeni Malkin, who remains just six points back.

Rinne’s backstopping the worst offensive team in hockey at the moment. If Anderson can help drag the Erik Karlsson-less Senators to the postseason, it’ll be quite the feat.

Norris Trophy
1. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (21)
2. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (17)
3. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues (11)
4. Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens (7)
5. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes (5)

OEL actually tied Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins for No. 5 on this list, but the Coyotes defenseman was listed as the No. 3 choice on one ballot.

Pietrangelo averages 25:56 TOI and has 12 points. His partner in crime Kevin Shattenkirk leads the NHL with 14 points for a defenseman. Letang has eight points at even strength, while Markov has 10 points on the power play.

Vezina Trophy
1. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (21)
2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators (17)
3. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (12)
4. Viktor Fasth, Anaheim Ducks (10)
5. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (5)

Just like for the Hart, it’s Anderson vs. Rinne for the Vezina at the moment. Anderson’s 7-4-2 with a 1.61 GAA. Rinne is 6-3-4 with a 1.58 GAA.

But Fasth is the wild card here with his 8-0 start.

Crawford was third in the last ranking too. Roberto Luongo gets squeezed out of the top five, while Antti Niemi sinks along with the San Jose Sharks.

Calder Trophy
1. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (23)
2. Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning (22)
3. Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers (11)
4. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (8)
5. Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens (4)

Same old story, same old song and dance. The top three remain from the last NHL Awards Watch, although the margin between Tarasenko and Conacher has closed. Nail Yakupov was just edged by Galchenyuk, while Huberdeau enters the fray with nine points in 15 games.

Jack Adams Award
1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (21)
2. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks (20)
3. Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens (15)
4. Peter DeBoer, New Jersey Devils (7)
5. Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators (4)

Hey, didja hear the Sharks lost seven in a row? Hence, Todd McLellan falls from the top five. Hence, Todd McLellan didn’t receive a vote this week.

Boudreau rockets from five to two on the list, right behind the architect of the Blackhawks’ juggernaut. Trotz had the slight edge over Claude Julien, Kirk Muller and Randy Carlyle.

Superlatives

Biggest Shootout Beasts

1. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
2. Craig Smith, Nashville Predators
3. Viktor Fasth, Anaheim Ducks

Perry has four goals on five chances, with three game-deciding goals. Viktor Fasth is 4-0 in the shootout. And while Smith’s sophomore season has been rough, he’s 3-for-5 with a game-deciding goal for the Preds.

Best Power Players

1. John Tavares, New York Islanders
2. Mike Ribeiro, Washington Capitals
3. James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins

While the Isles power play has cooled off a little, Tavares has 10 points on the man advantage. Ribeiro has been the Capitals’ best offensive forward. Neal has more power-play goals (7) than goals at even strength (4).

Rookies We Had No Idea Were Rookies

1. Marcus Foglino, Buffalo Sabres
2. Richard Bachman, Dallas Stars
3. Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings

C’mon, admit it: You had no idea either.

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Tue, 19 Feb 2013 08:30:10 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,cbfdfb13-25f1-3ea3-bfce-5a3ffd9954f9-l:1
I didn’t think I’d ever be excited for a GM hiring, but here we are (Trending Topics) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/didn-t-think-d-ever-excited-gm-hiring-205554371--nhl.html

Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey, occasionally according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

One of the major problems with the NHL is how often you can predict things that will happen long before they do.

The Red Wings being great was something to which you could set your watch every August, and you could always bank on phenomenal performances from Sidney Crosby. There's very little fun in it, so when something unexpected happens, like the Coyotes quickly becoming a top-notch team when they hired Dave Tippett, or the Blues coming out of nowhere last season, or the Blackhawks returning to power a few years back before winning a Stanley Cup, it's always genuinely great to see.

And that's how I feel about the Blue Jackets hiring Jarmo Kekalainen as their general manager.

Scott Howson, for all the talk about how hard he tried and how his firing was more about going in a "different direction" than his personal job performance, was simply not a good NHL general manager. That much was obvious to anyone who saw how pathetically bungled the Rick Nash saga was, or his draft record, or most of his other trades, and the vast majority of his free agent signings.

But you have to give Howson this: He just set his successor up for an hilariously successful future.

Howson's drafting and trading over the last few years has accumulated a decent number of prospects that range from "good" to "very good," though to be fair maybe only one can be considered "great." They're mainly defensemen, like Ryan Murray (the benefit of picking second, one supposes), David Savard and Tim Erixon, as well as goaltender Oskar Dansk. No overwhelming prospects, but a good group nonetheless. Grabbing guys like Cam Atkinson hasn't hurt either. But overall there's a reason Hockey Prospectus and Hockey's Future have the Blue Jackets in the bottom half of the league when it comes to prospects.

Which is where Kekalainen comes in.

I knew he was well-regarded in the scouting world as a shrewd evaluator of talent and more to the point is often credited as being the guy who helped build the Ottawa Senators of the mid-2000s and St. Louis Blues of today. Those were, or are, both very good teams, but it wasn't until I saw the actual list of players Kekalainen personally drafted in three years with Ottawa and eight with St. Louis.

In chronological order: Marian Hossa (1997), Mike Fisher (1998), Martin Havlat and Chris Kelly (1999), Anton Volchenkov and Antoine Vermette (2000), Jason Spezza and Brooks Laich (2001), David Backes (2003), Roman Polak (2004), TJ Oshie and Ben Bishop (2005), Erik Johnson and Patrik Berglund (2006), Lars Eller and David Perron (2007), Alex Pietrangelo (2008), Vladimir Tarasenko (2010). And so on. That's an awful lot of solid or even spectacular NHLers to churn out over that many seasons with two different teams.

And now he brings all that drafting acumen to Columbus, where he has the benefit of three first-round picks this year (his own, as well as those of the Kings and Rangers), and could be in a position to signficantly improve his team in what is going to be a very deep draft. No matter what he chooses to do with those picks — use them, package some to move up, etc. — it's a pretty safe bet that they'll be well-spent.

A lot of people have praised this as being some sort of outside-the-box thinking on the Blue Jackets' part. Kekalainen is, after all, the first European general manager in NHL history. There may be some validity to the thinking that he can bring fresh ideas from his time as general manager of Jokerit and blend them with what he picked up in the North American game from his decades of playing and front office-ing on this side of the Atlantic.

But it wasn't really all that bold. Team president John Davidson would have known him and the quality of his work for years, and scouting director Paul Castron worked with him in Ottawa. Kekalainen was a familiar face to them; a guy they knew, but most NHL fans probably didn't.

If anything, the boldest part of this is that the Blue Jackets didn't even consider anyone else for the job. Usually there's a whole slew of guys from the GM's good old boys network that have to be considered first.

What is interesting, however, is that Kekalainen is very much an acolyte of the way in which hockey's now going. He thinks there's an incredible value in advanced stats, as do a number of other organizations throughout the NHL. I honestly don't know whether Scott Howson was a big fan of advanced stats, but given that their team staff page doesn't list anyone as being in charge of or involved with that type of thing, he probably wasn't.

Kekalainen likes them so much he's quoted on the latest Hockey Prospectus annual publication, saying, "Stats are facts...In the long run they hardly ever lie. Thorough analytical work, like that done by Hockey Prospectus, is needed to make a proper evaluation of them." That's a terribly refreshing thing for an NHL general manager to say.

It should be said that the Blue Jackets, even with this new GM so full of promise, have a long ways to go before they're going to be any kind of success story, and it could be years before the fruits of Kekalainen's coming labors become evident. They have good pieces around which to build, but this currently doesn't look anything like a playoff team, nor is it a destination that free agents will consider. Kekalainen will have a lot of work to do to turn both of those things around.

At the same time, though, I don't recall ever having seen the entire hockey media so uniformly assured that any GM hire will turn out as they are with this one.

It's just all so surprising. The Columbus Blue Jackets making actual good decisions? The potential for them to actually be competitive in a few years?

That's going to take some gettting used to, but I'm excited to try.

If you’ve got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via e-mail. He’ll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you’ll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you’re so inclined.

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Fri, 15 Feb 2013 12:55:54 PST Ryan Lambert nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,73a31008-b089-3a66-a873-71475e90a948-l:1
Jarmo Kekalainen takes the helm in Columbus, becomes first European NHL GM https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/jarmo-kekalainen-takes-helm-columbus-becomes-first-european-143302322--nhl.html

One could make the case for July 3 being named a Finnish national holiday. Not only is it the birthday of Teemu Selanne, the greatest human alive Finnish hockey player to ever play, but as it turns out, it's also the birthday of the first European General Manager in NHL history, Finnish-born Jarmo Kekalainen.

The Columbus Blue Jackets named Kekalainen as their replacement for the departing Scott Howson on Wednesday.

Kekalainen joins the Blue Jackets after three years as the GM of Jokerit (best known around these parts as the team that employs the puckish Jarkko Ruutu), but he does have some very pertinent NHL experience. He played 55 NHL games as a left winger, then transitioned into front-office work, spending five years as the director of player personnel for the Ottawa Senators.

More pertinent to this hiring, he worked closely with Columbus's President of hockey operations, John Davidson, when Davidson was the president in St. Louis. From the Jackets:

“Hockey is a truly global game and there are very few people whose knowledge of the game in North America and abroad surpasses that of Jarmo Kekalainen,” said Davidson. “He is intelligent, hard-working and a tremendous evaluator of talent. He is a terrific addition to the Blue Jackets family and will play an important role in our efforts to move our organization forward in the coming years.”

Kekalainen (pronounced kehk-uh-LIE-nehn) spent eight seasons with the St. Louis Blues from 2002-10 before joining Jokerit. He most recently served as the club’s assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting and was involved in all facets of hockey operations, including professional scouting efforts and overseeing the club’s amateur scouting and draft preparations. During his eight years in St. Louis, the Blues drafted players such as David Backes, Roman Polak, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo.

The Blue Jackets have had all sorts of issues since they arrived in the NHL, but the most glaring one has been the drafting and development of their prospects.

Rick Nash is the only Columbus draft pick to ever play in an All-Star Game. Despite 11 top 10 draft picks in the club's history, Columbus has only drafted 5 players that reached 100 NHL points; only one, Derick Brassard, is still with the club. Worse, none of Columbus's fab five were drafted after the first round.

The Jackets have struggled with their can't-miss prospects and struggled even more to find the diamonds in the rough that are the mark of a successful long-term franchise, so it's easy to see why Davidson would select a General Manager with a proven, reliable draft record, especially as Columbus approaches the strong 2014 NHL entry draft with three first-round picks, one of which could be another lottery selection.

"We know how important the draft is," he said in the team's introductory presser, "especially with a deep draft, and this one is a deep draft. As an organization, we've had a number of meetings already trying to set up how we're zeroing in on the draft itself and this is going to give Jarmo some time to jump into this."

Davidson stressed that this wasn't a knock against Scott Howson -- just a change in course. "Change was necessary," he said. "[The decision' comes from the gut. Jarmo is a driven man. He's going to help us in a lot of ways."

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

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Wed, 13 Feb 2013 06:33:02 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,9981a6be-5287-31f0-8e70-25c6034a6d64-l:1
After five straight losses, Blues need to ‘put the boots on’ to turn slide around https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/five-straight-losses-blues-put-boots-turn-around-145921209--nhl.html "That's what our whole team is about. We're not a team that relies on three or six guys. It's going to be a team effort every night. Some guys put the puck in the net one night and it's going to be picked up by other guys another night." - Barret Jackman, Jan. 31., via the Associated Press.

Two weeks ago things were chugging along as usual for the St. Louis Blues. When Barret Jackman championed the Blues' balanced contributions on Jan. 31, it came after a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, improving St. Louis' record to 6-1-0. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko was finding himself atop early Calder Trophy lists; Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott were again a strong tandem in the crease; Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk were playing Norris Trophy level hockey out of the back. Everything was in alignment. Life was good.

After a disappointing second round sweep at the hands of the No. 8-seeded and eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, the Blues entered this season with a bitter taste in their mouths. Their 109-point season went to waste and head coach Ken Hitchcock was going to use that as motivation and force his players to prove that their turnaround was no fluke.

But when Halak was injured on Feb. 1 against the Detroit Red Wings, the Blues' equilibrium was thrown off and Elliott was given the reigns with no one next to him to offer a push. He and the Blues have faltered since. Five straight losses was cause enough for Captain Backes to unleash a wakeup call after Monday's 4-1 defeat to the Kings.

From Lou Korac of NHL.com:

"We've got too many guys out there looking at the stat sheet wondering how many goals and assists, cookies they've got rather than taking a hit to make a play and getting run over so we can get a puck out so that your teammates can have a 3-on-2," Backes said. "Or so you can block a shot or kill a penalty when you really need it so we can stay in a game. We just don't have that desperation, that accountability, that responsibility to each other.

"The talking's done. We've said everything that needs to be said, gone over game plans and talked about strategy and ideology. It's time to put the boots on and go do it or else pack your bags and go home because it's slowly slipping, but there's time left where we can right the ship and play our hockey. When we play our hockey, we love our chances against anyone."

That's the complete opposite of how Scott Nichol described the identity of the team before the season began. "[T]here’s no selfishness, nobody cares about individual stats."

The Blues currently have the No. 1 ranked power play in the NHL (34.8 percent), and over this losing stretch have played well, capitalizing at a 39 percent clip. But as that's been their strength, it's also what has carried them. Of St. Louis' 38 goals 15 have come with the man advantage. Just 18 via even strength. Their top five goal scorers -- Patrik Berglund, Chris Stewart, T.J. Oshie and David Perron -- have each tallied just once in five games, while Tarasenko hasn't scored since their win over Columbus.

If Backes is suggesting there are guys in the room who are looking at their stat sheets, many aren't going to find much on them at the moment.

As the Blues prepared to play four of their next five games on the road, starting with a Wednesday matchup against Detroit, they'll likely have to do so with Elliott continuing to handle the load.

Halak was scheduled to return against the Kings on Monday but re-injured his groin during warmups, causing Elliott to fill in on short notice. A 3-0 LA lead by the middle of the second period and just 12 shots on net by the Blues to that point didn't aid in the comeback attempt.

But it wasn't just last night's game that has put the spotlight on the goaltending. Elliott has struggled in Halak's absence, losing all five games of this current skid. Hoping to provide a spark, Hitchcock challenged him by saying he needed to play better after their loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. Elliott and Halak have the nice contracts through next season; they're the ones who need to help dig out the current mess. Jake Allen's time isn't here yet.

After consecutive loss No. 5 on Monday, Hitchcock stressed that the Blues will only exit this pit that they're in if every one in that room works together to get out, not individually as Backes was mentioning. From Norm Sanders of the Belleville News Democrat:

"There's no cavalry coming," Hitchcock said. "There's no rescue party coming to take of us. We've got to do it ourselves."

Short season. Long season. Whatever. Good teams and bad teams will have these stretches. (Obviously, the good ones find a way to right the ship.) All the Blues need to do is look at early November 2011 when they sat 14th in the Western Conference, fired Davis Payne and brought in Hitchcock. The end result was the second best season in franchise history.

This time the challenge isn't as daunting -- the Blues are eighth in the West with 13 points, nine behind the Central Division and conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks, who have 22 -- but it's how they react to this current funk that will set the tone for the team the rest of the way.

Last year it was Hitchcock's new voice. What will be the spark for the Blues this time?

The boots have to go on now. There's plenty of work to do.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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Tue, 12 Feb 2013 06:59:21 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,f2fc4c1f-6d95-38cf-a822-fc1363240f11-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Vanek attacks the Hart; Boudreau, Therrien enter the Adams race https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-vanek-attacks-hart-boudreau-therrien-162107170--nhl.html (Ed. Note: This is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney, Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig and Yahoo! NHL scribe Nick Cotsonika. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

As we near the 10-game mark in this 48-game mini-marathon to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, some things are coming into focus.

Like the fact that Thomas Vanek may factor in on every goal the Sabres score this season. Like the fact that Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz are in a rookie death match in Edmonton. Like the fact that Michel Therrien may actually be the coach of the year. Raise your hand if you saw that coming.

[Also: Should Shawn Thornton have fought John Scott?]

Here are last week's awards.

Who are the favorites for the NHL’s major awards this week? Your friends at Puck Daddy have the answers.

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

Hart Trophy
1. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres (27)
2. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (16)
3. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks (14)
4. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (10)
5. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (5)

Marleau tumbles down from the top spot in last week’s rankings, which is understandable when Vanek is playing at an over two points-per-game pace. Anderson is 5-2-1, and that .964 save percentage is stellar. Stamkos gets the nod over Marty St. Louis, who also received votes. Price’s 6-1-0 record has powered the surprising Habs.

Norris Trophy
1. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (22)
2. Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens (18)
3. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators (14)
4. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (10)
5. Tobias Enstrom, Winnipeg Jets (4)

What, no love for Shatt? Kevin Shattenkirk received some votes for the Norris, but when you’re playing in the shadow of Alex Pietrangelo, it’s tough to break through. Markov has been the best defenseman in the East. Karlsson and Letang are right with him. Enstrom is leading the NHL with 11 points, six of them on the power play.

Vezina Trophy
1. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (24)
2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (18)
3. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (11)
4. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks (9)
5. Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks (5)

Anderson has played in 8 games and has given up 9 goals. That’s sick. Price remains a work horse and a consistent performer. Crawford has benefited from strong defense in front of him, but has still played to a 1.66 GAA. Niemi’s been the backbone of the Sharks’ fast start. And then we come to Luongo, who is 3-0-2 and sports a 1.53 GAA. Can a backup goalie win the Vezina? (Dropping from last week: Martin Brodeur.)

Calder Trophy
1. Vladamir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (24)
2. Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning (21)
3. Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers (10)
4. Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers (9)
5. Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens (7)

Yakupov supplants Dougie Hamilton on this list. Otherwise, it’s the same collection as last week, with January Rookie of the Month Tarasenko leading the way, despite Conacher leading NHL rookies in scoring.

Jack Adams
1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (19)
2. Todd McLellan, San Jose Sharks (17)
3. Guy Boucher, Tampa Bay Lightning (15)
4. Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens (13)
5. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks (7)

Wow, what a battle here. The bench bosses for the two best teams in the West take the top spots, while Tampa’s plus-18 goal differential gives Boucher a boost. But look at those two old school characters filling out the ranking: Therrien has helped transform the Habs into contenders, while Boudreau’s Ducks are challenging for the division title. Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. …

Superlatives

Best Faceoff Man

1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
2. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
3. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

The Bruins’ Selke winner is leading the way on faceoffs again, at 63.5 percent. But check out Pavs’ 64.2 percent faceoff winning percentage away from the Joe, just edging Bergeron. Toews has a 61.2 winning percentage on 183 faceoffs.

Team Most Likely To Make a Panic Trade

1. Washington Capitals
2. Philadelphia Flyers
3. Toronto Maple Leafs

One assumes the Capitals are going to do something, even if it’s not Roberto Luongo. The local Philly media is banging the Bobby Ryan drums again. And how long will the Leafs' new owners allow them to linger under the bubble until a trade arrives?

Most Underwhelming Goalies

1. Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets
2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames

Fleury has had his moments, but he’s also been lit up by the Islanders and Leafs. Kipper has come out of the gate slowly, giving up five goals twice. But Pavelec has both faced a lot of shots and let more than his share in: Only Ryan Miller has allowed more, but Pavelec’s 23 in seven games is good for a 3.56 GAA.

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Tue, 05 Feb 2013 08:21:07 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,80adef48-8ae4-3c60-8bf0-5ae01cc3025a-l:1
NHL Awards Watch: Patrick Marleau has Hart; Anderson, Crawford for Vezina https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-awards-watch-patrick-marleau-hart-anderson-crawford-145919434--nhl.html (Ed. Note: Thus begins a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney and Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

Until he proves otherwise, Patrick Marleau is always going to have the “gutless” thing following him.

That’s thanks to Jeremy Roenick, who called out the San Jose Sharks forward on national television in 2011 for his lack of production in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So how does Roenick feel about Marleau’s nine goal start to the 2013 season?

From USA Today:

"I think Patrick is doing the things he needs to do to score goals," Roenick said.

"He's going to scoring holes. He's going to the high-traffic areas. If you look at his goals, he's had probably more prime scoring chances than anyone else in the National Hockey League. And Joe's putting the puck on his stick. If it leads to a Hart (trophy), or a Rocket Richard (trophy) or a Stanley Cup, it's great for him and even better for the Sharks."

So … not gutless then.

Where does Marleau rank in the Puck Daddy Hart Trophy voting? Coming up, the latest ballots for the Hart, Norris, Vezina, Calder and Adams in our weekly NHL Awards voting ... plus some other stuff.

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

Hart Trophy

1. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks (20)
2. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres (9)
3. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning (6)
4. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (5)
5. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (4)

To the surprise of no one, Marleau gets the unanimous nod as the best player on an undefeated (as of Monday night) San Jose Sharks team. He scored a goal in each of the Sharks’ first five games. It took Marleau 18 games to reach nine goals last season, and he only achieved that through a hat trick on Nov. 20.

Vanek’s nine points in four games was good enough for a distant second, even if the Sabres are struggling. St. Louis gets the credit for the Lightning’s positives with 11 points. Hossa and Crawford barely edged out Patrick Kane for the MVPs of the NHL’s other undefeated team.

Norris

1. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (19)
2. Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens (16)
3. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators (15)
4. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins (5)

5. Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues (3)

Pietrangelo (7 points) was second to Shattenkirk (8 points) in scoring for defensemen entering Tuesday, but is in the top five in blocked shots. Markov is healthy and has four goals on the season in four games, averaging a team high 25:18 TOI. Karlsson is playing at a point per game pace, and is a plus-5.

Chara is averaging 25:30 TOI and has five points, and is clearing keeping this spot warm until the love child of Jesus Christ and Bobby Orr (a.k.a. Dougie Hamilton) rightly takes it. More on him in a bit.

Vezina Trophy

1. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (15)
2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (15)
3. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils (9)

4. Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues (7)
5. Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks (5)

Anderson is rocking a 0.73 GAA and a .975 save percentage in four games, which by our metrics seems pretty good. Crawford has a 1.78 GAA and five victories, having faced just under 27 shots per game. Brodeur has a 1.69 GAA and yet another shutout. Halak is 3-0 and has a 1.69 GAA, outplaying Brian Elliott thus far. Niemi may be the beneficiary of the Sharks playing outstanding hockey, but a 2.01 GAA and a .933 save percentage isn’t too shabby.

Calder Trophy

1. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (20)
2. Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning (16)
3. Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers (12)
4. Dougie Hamilton, Boston Bruins (6)

5. Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens (3)

The Blues’ Russian rookie sweeps the top spot on all four ballots, with eight points in six games and for being the most exciting thing to hit St. Louis since the International Bowling Museum.

Conacher, Schultz and Hamilton were Nos. 2-4 on every ballot as well, as the Calder race someone solidified in the first week of the season. Galchenyuk earned the No. 5 spot on three ballots; Nail Yakupov was given the nod on another.

Bottom line: It’s Conacher trying to outscore Tarasenko and Hamilton trying to keep pace with Schultz at the moment.

Jack Adams Award

1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (17)
2. Todd McLellan, San Jose Sharks (15)

3. Peter DeBoer, New Jersey Devils (7)
4. Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues (7)
5. Claude Julien, Boston Bruins (4)

So the Blackhawks are undefeated because of coaching and the Sharks are undefeated because of Patrick Marleau? Poor McLellan. Dude can’t catch a break. Best advice we can share: Grow a mustache. A mighty, mighty mustache.

DeBoer has the Devils earning points in a post-Parise world. Hitchcock’s Blues remain the class of the West. Ditto Julien’s Bruins in the East.

Superlatives

Biggest Potential Playoff Absence

1. Philadelphia Flyers
2. Washington Capitals
3. Phoenix Coyotes

The Flyers have to make up ground while playing in one of the toughest divisions in the NHL, while the Capitals are still trying to find their identity two weeks into the season. The Coyotes could play themselves off this list in the next week.

Coach Most Likely To Be Canned First

1. Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche
2. Adam Oates, Washington Capitals
3. Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames

Sacco’s in Year 4 as head coach of the Avs, and might have to fall in his sword for a lineup that’s hindered by injuries and Ryan O’Reilly’s free agency. Oates is off to a rough start; and are the Flames so “win now” that they’d can Hartley for a boost?

Player Most Likely To Be Hit By a Massive Suspension

1. Tom Sestito, Philadelphia Flyers
2. Rene Bourque, Montreal Canadiens
3. Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

The first two have history, both in violent incidents and punishment from the NHL. As for Doan, Harrison Mooney writes: “Because he always does stuff that borders on suspension and the Coyotes aren't doing very well and I could just see it happening.”

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Tue, 29 Jan 2013 06:59:19 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,63c3d17d-cf49-36d8-a3f5-1f92d4f2d7df-l:1
NHL Three Stars: 4-point night for St. Louis, other St. Louis pays tribute to Musial https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-4-point-night-st-louis-035323108--nhl.html

Brian Elliott sporting a no. 6 Stan Musial jersey. The entire team wore Musial's name and number in warmup in a tribute to the St. Louis Cardinals legend.

No. 1 Star: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

The diminutive Lightning forward led the way for the Lightning in a 5-1 drubbing over the Philadelphia Flyers. Teddy Purcell added a goal and 2 assists, and Steven Stamkos contributed 1 and 1, but St. Louis was the standout with 4 helpers on the night, pushing him to 11 on the season. Shot of the night goes to Vincent Lecavalier, by the way, for this bottle rocket:

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

Get it? Bottle rocket? Because it was a rocket and it because it popped the water bottle? Man, I am great at this.

No. 2 Star: Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild

It wasn't enough, as the Wild fell 5-4 to the St. Louis Blues in overtime, but Parise gave his club 2 goals and an assist in the losing effort. David Perron and Alex Pietrangelo had 2 helpers each for St. Louis, and Vladimir Sobotka scored the game-winner.

No. 3 Star: Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks

Marleau remained amazing in the Sharks' 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. He didn't get the two goals he's been getting in every other game this season, but he still picked up a goal (he now has an absurd 9 on the year). He added an assist as the Sharks cruised to a 4-1 win over the Canucks. Joe Pavelski had two goals and Joe Thornton contributed 1 and 1.

Honourable mention: Craig Anderson made 33 saves in the Ottawa Senators' 2-1 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, unfortunately, he couldn't make a save in the shootout, as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and regulation time goal-scorer James Neal all beat him... Andrei Markov scored the overtime winner in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-3 triumph over the New Jersey Devils. Brendan Gallagher scored his first NHL goal, and Patrik Elias registered his 900th career point in the loss on the prettiest pass of the night:

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

The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings needed OT as well, and Nick Leddy was the hero in a 2-1 Hawks' win... Joel Ward scored a goal and added an assist as the Capitals got their first win of the season, a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Even more encouraging than the win, however, was who scored the game-winner: Alex Ovechkin, who notched his first of the season on the powerplay... John Tavares had a goal and 2 assists for the New York Islanders, but two quick goals by the Winnipeg Jets forced overtime, where Evander Kane made it a 5-4 final for the Jets...

Did you know? Pittsburgh's goal 13:13 into the first period versus Ottawa was the first even-strength goal Craig Anderson has allowed this season.

Dishonourable mention: The Sabres won 38% of their faceoffs versus Washington. In this aspect of the game, they are terrible right now... Ryane Clowe tied a Sharks' franchise record for most penalties in a game with 8... The New York Islanders led 4-2 with 10 minutes to go versus Winnipeg. Then they surrendered goals 65 seconds apart.

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Sun, 27 Jan 2013 19:53:23 PST Harrison Mooney nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,0a35db73-6b78-35ba-b722-98a756e5282c-l:1
NHL Three Stars: Tarasenko powers Blues; Miller frustrates Maple Leafs https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-three-stars-tarasenko-powers-blues-miller-frustrates-045540172--nhl.html No. 1 Star: Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

The Calder watch is on? The Blues rookie scored his third of the season, assisted on an Andy McDonald power-play goal and fed Alex Pietrangelo for the game winner as St. Louis sunk the Nashville Predators, 4-3.

No. 2 Star: Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

Miller was brilliant in stopping 34 shots in the Sabres’ 2-1 victory at the Toronto Maple Leafs, including 13 saves in the third period. Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville had the goals, while Nazem Kadri scored his second of the season for the Leafs.

No. 3 Star: Daniel Winnik, Anaheim Ducks

Ryan Getzlaf opened and closed the scoring for the Anaheim Ducks, who moved to 2-0 and held off the Calgary Flames, 5-4. But it was Daniel Winnik, of all people, who had a 3-point night with two goals and an assist. He scored in the first period to make it 3-0 for the Ducks, and then broke a 3-3 tie at 4:02 of the third. Winnik played 17:04 for Anaheim, and now has four goals on the season, tied for the NHL lead with Marian Hossa.

Honorable Mention: Tyler Seguin set up Brad Marchand’s regulation goal and scored a nasty shootout tally to help the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Chris Thorburn had the Jets goal. Tuukka Rask and Ondrej Pavelec both made 26 saves. … Damien Brunner’s shootout goal will be what’s remembered from it, but the Detroit Red Wings also owe their 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets to Pavel Datsyuk’s game-tying goal in the third from Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg. Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves in the loss. … The New York Islanders scored three times in the second period, once more in the third, and then held off a Tampa Bay Lightning rally in the third for a 4-3 win. John Tavares had two assists. Steven Stamkos scored his first of the season. … Kyle Turris scored twice in the first period to set the tone and give Craig Anderson all the offense he’d need in a 4-0 shutout of the Florida Panthers. Jakob Silfverberg scored his first NHL goal in the win. ... Curtis Glenncross had two goals and an assist in the Flames' loss. … Tyler Bozak was 22-for-30 on faceoffs for the Leafs. … Patrick Hornqvist had a goal and two assists for the Preds.

Did You Know?How amazing the Paul MacLean doppelganger is?

Dishonorable Mention: Matt Carle was a minus-3 for Tampa. … Nikita Nikitin and Fedor Tyutin were a minus-3 for the Jackets. … Jay Bouwmeester was a minus-3 for the Flames. … Patrick Kaleta had a Patrick Kaleta-ish 16 penalty minutes for the Sabres. … Jaroslav Halak was pulled after giving up three goals on 11 shots. ... Finally, if you aren’t a fan of fights off the opening faceoff, then you probably didn’t like the Lightning vs. Islanders game or the Wings vs. Jackets game, where Jordin Tootoo and Jared Boll had a tussle:

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Mon, 21 Jan 2013 20:55:40 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,4ce87b8a-8477-3fd2-9b40-42cc9a339aa7-l:1
Fantasy Hockey: Training Camp Battles, Western Conference https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/fantasy-hockey-training-camp-battles-western-conference-174112233--nhl.html

Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs is Puck Daddy’s resident fantasy hockey expert. Dobber can be criticized and ridiculed over at his own site, too. Follow him on Twitter (@DobberHockey), but only if you like cool tidbits on player trends.

The best thing to do after writing team-by-team stuff on the Eastern Conference is to follow it up with one about the West. That's just logic.

Anaheim Ducks

The battle: Kyle Palmieri vs. himself

The stakes: A top six spot

The lowdown: Palmieri did not look out of place during a couple of NHL stints, for the most part. As what happens to most prospects prior to making the jump full time, he was plagued by inconsistency. Even in the AHL this year he started off with 11 points in nine games before managing just five in his next 12 (and a minus-11 rating). He's lining up with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in training camp.

My call: He'll stick with the club, but will bounce in and out of the top six, ending with a middling 20 points that includes a couple of hot six-game runs.

Calgary Flames

The battle: Roman Cervenka vs. Sven Bärtschi vs. Jiri Hudler vs. Mikael Backlund vs. Curtis Glencross

The stakes: Three scoring-line spots

The lowdown: Cervenka and Hudler were the much-hyped acquisitions of the summer, targeted for the very reason that they can contribute on the second - or even the first - line. But Cervenka has been sidelined with a blood clot and Hudler has missed camp because his father unfortunately passed away this week. Bärtschi is coming off a great start to his pro career, though he kind of fizzled a little at the end with six points in 11 games for Abbotsford. Backlund put on a strong performance over in Sweden and has continued with that in training camp. And finally, Glencross is Glencross no matter the camp - a point every two games whether he plays with Tim Jackman or Jarome Iginla.

There are three spots open, not necessarily an entire second line as this team will mix and match. But if you assume Cervenka and Hudler have two of the three open spots, then the winner out of the other three could conceivably flirt with 30 points while the other two will be lucky to hit 20.

My call: Backlund is due.

Chicago Blackhawks

The battle: Viktor Stalberg vs. Brandon Saad vs. Michael Frolik

The stakes: A top six spot

The lowdown: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are in the top six. Indisputable. Dave Bolland is also being tried out as the second-line center and it looks like that will remain the situation for the near future. That leaves one spot for potential rookie sensation Saad, 24-year-old former 21-goal scorer Frolik, and Stalberg, who is coming off a 22-goal season himself. Stalberg is already seeing plenty of power-play practice time.

My call: Stalberg wins and, if healthy, scores 15 goals in 45 games. The only way Frolik gains fantasy relevance is if he is traded to a team that actually puts him on their power play. Amazingly, Frolik saw just 11 minutes of power-play time - total - all last season.

Colorado Avalanche

The battle: Mark Guy vs. Greg Sherman

The stakes: Ryan O'Reilly playing for the Avs this year.

The lowdown: I originally had a Stefan Elliott vs. Tyson Barrie penciled in here, but that was over before it started. Elliott has struggled in the AHL so far, while Barrie has flourished.

O'Reilly is coming off of a 55-point sophomore campaign. And while the Avs are trying to convince him that he's worth slightly less than what he is asking for, New Jersey hands Travis Zajac an eight-year contract worth $46 million and spoils everything. But one thing poolies need to keep in mind - when Matt Duchene was out of the lineup, O'Reilly had 19 points in 23 games (0.83). With Duchene in the lineup, O'Reilly had 36 in 58 (0.62). Duchene is healthy now, so do not overrate O'Reilly.

My call: The deal gets done in time for O'Reilly to get into the second game of the season.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The battle: David Savard vs. Tim Erixon vs. John Moore

The stakes: Secondary PP time

The lowdown: Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski run the first power-play unit from the blue line. There are three youngsters, rather unproven, who will do battle for PP apprenticeship. Moore didn't see any last season, his first in the NHL. Erixon was part of the team's return from the Rick Nash trade, while Savard saw 2:18 per game on average over the 31 games he played for the Jackets in 2011-12. Erixon (24 points) outscored Savard (22) and Moore (9) in AHL action after 34 games for Springfield.

My call: I think Moore makes the team as a defensive blueliner, while Savard wins the job. But Erixon will see several recalls throughout the campaign and have many chances to usurp Savard later.

Dallas Stars

The battle: Richard Bachman vs. Cristopher Nihlstorp

The stakes: Backup goalie job

The lowdown: Bachman was impressive last year, stealing Andrew Raycroft's job and at times even outplaying Kari Lehtonen. The Stars rewarded him by signing the most hyped European goaltender in Nihlstorp, who is 28 years old and thus didn't come all the way over to North America to get into AHL games. Nihlstorp has been fabulous in AHL action and equally impressive in training camp. Lehtonen is injured every season, be it for three weeks (like last year) or three months (as in 2007-2010), so the winner could see a nice chunk of games.

My call: The Stars will take the easy way out and keep three goalies. If Lehtonen stays healthy, this situation could get hairy by the end of February.

Detroit Red Wings

The battle: Damien Brunner vs. history

The stakes: A first-line spot

The lowdown: After Jiri Dopita, Janne Pesonen, Fabien Brunnstrom and Ville Leino, we now have Damien Brunner, a late-blooming European superstar. The difference this time is that Brunner got to play on a line with the superstar of the team he is joining, before he joined them. Henrik Zetterberg and Brunner created magic in the Swiss League - a league in which Brunner led in scoring for the third straight year. In camp he is already seeing action with Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. If this works out, he'll be an instant star. But of the above four examples, only Leino turned into anything and it took him two years to do it. So history tells us that Brunner will need time, at the very least.

My call: He makes for a great dark horse - I picked him myself late in one of my drafts. It's a tough call, but I lean towards the side of success. I'm buying into the hype.

Edmonton Oilers

The battle: Ryan Whitney vs. his ankle

The stakes: A return to form

The lowdown: After missing 88 games over the last two seasons with ankle and foot problems, Whitney got extra time to rest and heal up thanks to the lockout. He once had 59 points and 77 penalty minutes (2006-07). He repeated those numbers, pro-rated, when he first arrived with the Oilers, notching 27 points and 33 PIM in just 35 games (2009-10). The Oilers now have an embarrassment of young offensive talent, as well as a great puck-moving defense partner for the power play in Justin Schultz.

My call: The ankle holds up and Whitney rebounds. One of my favorite sleeper picks.

Los Angeles Kings

The battle: Dustin Penner vs. Simon Gagne vs. Andrei Loktionov

The stakes: A top six spot

The lowdown: Penner improved his game come playoff time, showing that he could be a second line player after all - something we doubted after watching him play the last two years. Gagne is a former first-line talent who has spent nearly as much time in the injury ward as Rick DiPietro. It's hard to stay razor-sharp when you're only playing one out of every three games. Loktionov is a skilled young player who needs extended time on an NHL scoring line, but up until this point just gets short trials there.

My call: Penner gets first dibs, as the Kings like size on that second line and Gagne adds a nice dimension to the third line. Loktionov will get another short look on a scoring line thanks to the Anze Kopitar injury, but it won't last long enough for him to prove anything.

Minnesota Wild

The battle: Pierre-Marc Bouchard vs. his concussion woes

The stakes: Reaching his NHL potential.

The lowdown: Bouchard is a talented player hit by concussion after concussion. Injuries started taking a toll right after his career high of 63 points in 2007-08. He was still trending upward at the time. Still only 28, he can still recapture his top six skills, but needs to catch a break. His training camp has been, by all accounts, very impressive. A full season could see him notch 40 points on this re-vamped Minnesota lineup.

My call: All we can do is hope, but I would feel comfortable with him playing at least 30 games and helping out a rotisserie team.

Nashville Predators

The battle: Roman Josi vs. Ryan Ellis for ...

The stakes: Playing time with Shea Weber

The other battle: Colin Wilson vs. Craig Smith

The other stakes: A second-line spot

The lowdown: Josi impressed last season with his poise and smarts, while Ellis was no slouch either. Ellis has the greater upside offensively, but Josi may be the closer Ryan Sutter clone. Playing with Weber will mean upwards of 25 points.

Wilson has improved with every season and on a lot of teams he would already be on the second line. Smith made a huge splash in 2011-12 as a rookie, but fizzled in the second half as he was unused to the 82-game schedule. The winner here will hit 30 points.

My call: Josi plays with Weber at even strength, Ellis will play with him on the PP. I know I waffled on that one…Smith takes the second-line job and hits 30 points.

Phoenix Coyotes

The battle: Michael Stone vs. David Rundblad vs. David Schlemko vs. Chris Summers

The stakes: The No. 6 spot on the blue line

The lowdown: The Coyotes have one of the deepest systems in the league when it comes to the blue line. Rundblad has the most upside, but struggled in his first year in North America. However, he's come on strong this season. Meanwhile, Stone and Summers are NHL ready, having impressed in stints in 2011-12. Schlemko has been on the NHL roster for over a year now, but injuries and the numbers game have kept him from getting regular duty.

My call: Stone will be No.6 and Schlemko No.7, pushing Rundblad to the minors. Summers may be kept up as a No.8. Something has to give here and I'm confident a trade will happen sooner rather than later. Until that happens, none of these players are draftable.

San Jose Sharks

The battle: James Sheppard vs. tough luck

The stakes: His career

The lowdown: James Sheppard was Gilbert Bruled into the NHL by the Wild. He was brought in too soon and his immense talent was quickly eroded by lack of confidence and ice time. And then he got beat up by an ATV and hasn't played a lot of hockey over the past two years. It's hard to believe, but Sheppard is only 24 years old. That's younger than Damien Brunner and the same age that Gustav Nyquist will be next year when he finally makes the jump to the Red Wings for good. Sheppard was understandably rusty to start the year for Worcester, managing just eight points in 18 games. But he's found his groove, posting 15 points in 16 games and has the inside track on an NHL job.

My call: Sheppard makes the Sharks on a depth line and remains healthy enough to work his way up to the third line, with spot duty in the top six.

St. Louis Blues

The battle: Nine forwards compete for PP time

The stakes: Obviously a spot on the power play pretty much bumps your production significantly.

The lowdown: Word out of St. Louis is that the team is going to roll with three power-play units. This is probably just the forwards, as the team will rotate Alex Pietrangelo, Kris Russell and Kevin Shattenkirk as much as they can. Alex Steen will also see time on the point. But the forwards will, by the sounds of it, each average about two minutes of PP time per game.

My call: It may take a dozen games or so, but someone will step up and show that he deserves more PP time than the others. My guess is rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, as he has the most raw talent. Provided Ken Hitchcock doesn't look at him and see Nikita Filatov.

Vancouver Canucks

The battle: Jordan Schroeder vs. Zach Kassian

The stakes: Top six and power-play time.

The lowdown: Ryan Kesler is sidelined for at least another six weeks, maybe longer. David Booth is sidelined for about six weeks as well. That leaves two very gaping holes up front. Kassian is the Canucks' prize acquisition (for Cody Hodgson) and they would love nothing more than for him to become their next Todd Bertuzzi. Schroeder has taken longer than expected to develop, but seems to be close to NHL-ready.

My call: Kassian will contribute, but not points. So he'll eventually find himself on the third line. Schroeder will surprise with a hot start, but won't be able to keep it up beyond the 10th game, leaving Canucks fans restless for Kesler's return.

Pick up my Fantasy Hockey Guide here - all are based on the 48-game season and frequently updated with injury notes.

Dobber can be criticized and ridiculed over at his own site, too. Follow him on Twitter (@DobberHockey), but only if you like cool tidbits on player trends.

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Fri, 18 Jan 2013 09:41:12 PST Dobber Hockey nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,534cd42c-c4f4-37a4-b6cc-7bc601e9978d-l:1
Mystery of Perry, Getzlaf; Roberto Luongo chatter; Pierre McGuire on 2013 season (Puck Headlines) https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/mystery-perry-getzlaf-roberto-luongo-chatter-pierre-mcguire-195847791--nhl.html Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

In which the New York Islanders are left wondering why they’re a one-model team. [Getty]

• Craig Custance looks at the biggest storyline for 2013: Where Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will play in 2014 and beyond. [E$PN]

• "They've been Anaheim Ducks from the start. I love those guys. They're winners, and I'm going to do everything in my power to sign them." [AP]

• Your New Jersey Devils captain: Bryce Salvador! [Fire & Ice]

• Thus ends the Tim Connolly Error with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as the fragile center is placed on waivers. [Toronto Sun]

• The Dallas Stars make their celebrity hirings official: “Mike Modano, who re-joins the club as Executive Advisor and Alternate Governor. Three-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Recchi has been hired to bolster the hockey operations department, while former Stars goaltender Marty Turco brings his unique talents to the club’s broadcasts.” So upset that Recchi is being given a job on the medical staff he so richly deserves. [Heika]

• The Chicago Blackhawks see your lockout bribe to the fans and raise you 1,000 jerseys and 250 pucks. [Blackhawks]

• As Bob McKenzie does, he has all the waiver wire action from today in the NHL, including Mike Santorelli and both Calgary backup goalies. [@TSNBobMcKenzie]

• Andreas Lilja is on waivers. In other news, the Philadelphia Flyers still have no idea how the CBA works. [BSH]

• Then again, our coverage of the Travis Zajac contract yesterday proves we don’t either. [McSorley’s Stick]

• Lighthouse Hockey has been doing some surreal parody pieces lately, and “The Rick DiPietro Injury History is a Hoax” is no different. [LH]

• Meanwhile, Bourne recasts DiPi has Jesus Christ with a wonky groin. [BHS]

• Roberto Luongo’s fake Gmail account is pretty damn funny. [The Whistle]

• The “Luongo Rule” won’t affect the Vancouver Canucks’ ability to trade Roberto Luongo, said the team that gave him that contract. [The Province]

• The Seth Jones/Nathan MacKinnon rivalry grows. [Buzzing The Net]

• No Ryan Strome for the New York Islanders makes us a little less excited about watching the New York Islanders. [Welland Tribune]

• Hey, remember how the Columbus Blue Jackets got three NHL players in return for Rick Nash. Make it two. [FS Ohio]

• Great news if you want more Don Cherry in your life. [Star]

• Cotsonika on the St. Louis Blues: “And it will help that they can roll four lines and lean on their structure. They have a Norris Trophy candidate leading their defense in Alex Pietrangelo, and they can rotate Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak in net. They had the equivalent of two No. 1 goalies last season, as Elliott and Halak shared the Jennings Trophy for the NHL's lowest goals-against average. If one falters, they always have the other one.” [Y! Sports]

• Not every Pittsburgh business is thriving because the Penguins are back: “I think it’s because we are a health food place and people would rather have their beer and wings on a game night then a salad,” Salad Café Owner Sarah Spencer said. [CBS Local]

• Finally … are you ready? Are you ready for PIERRE MCGUIRE FOR DAT AZZ?

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Thu, 17 Jan 2013 11:58:47 PST Greg Wyshynski nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,97f36337-3b7a-34a5-8477-c0775b799678-l:1
NHL 2013 odds: Who are the favorites for playoffs, awards and prop bets? https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-2013-odds-favorites-playoffs-awards-prop-bets-192856337--nhl.html It was last season where our friends at Bovada revealed their 2011-12 NHL player props that listed Evgeni Malkin as a 30/1 favorite for the Hart Trophy and 30/1 for the Art Ross Trophy. Coming off major knee surgery, there was no way to predict how dominant the Pittsburgh Penguins center would be; but given those odds, throwing some money down on both props turned out to be a very good value.

[Play fantasy hockey on Yahoo! Sports]

We know how the story ended, and if you were lucky enough to get in while the odds were still 30/1 for both, then you had plenty of beer money coming your way at the end of last June.

With the 2013 NHL season on the horizon is just over a week, Bovada released their individual player and team props for the upcoming year, plus odds to win each individual division.

Atlantic Division - Odds to win
New York Rangers +190
Pittsburgh Penguins +210
Philadelphia Flyers +250
New Jersey Devils +600
New York Islanders +1600

Northeast Division - Odds to win
Boston Bruins +130
Buffalo Sabres +300
Montreal Canadiens +500
Ottawa Senators +550
Toronto Maple Leafs +550

Southeast Division - Odds to win
Florida Panthers +450
Washington Capitals +225
Tampa Bay Lightning +300
Winnipeg Jets +900
Carolina Hurricanes +220

Central Division - Odds to win
St. Louis Blues +225
Nashville Predators +550
Detroit Red Wings +300
Chicago Blackhawks +150
Columbus Blue Jackets +2000

Northwest Division - Odds to win
Vancouver Canucks EVEN
Calgary Flames +1200
Colorado Avalanche +1200
Minnesota Wild +300
Edmonton Oilers +300

Pacific Division - Odds to win
Phoenix Coyotes +800
San Jose Sharks +275
Los Angeles Kings -125
Dallas Stars +800
Anaheim Ducks +800

After the jump, your NHL awards favorites, plus points over/unders for all 30 teams.

[Related: Puck Daddy's guide to ruling your fantasy hockey league ]

(Note: Bovada did not release odds for the Calder Trophy. "We will not be offering Rookie of the Year odds because with the shortened season there are no exhibition games and we do not know which rookies will make the team until 6 games into the season," said Bovada Sportsbook Manager Kevin Bradley.)

Who will win the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player?

Sidney Crosby (PIT) 4/1
Steven Stamkos (TB) 6/1
Alex Ovechkin (WAS) 13/2
Claude Giroux (PHI) 13/2
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 13/2
Henrik Sedin (VAN) 19/2
Brad Richards (NYR) 20/1
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 20/1
Eric Staal (CAR) 30/1
Phil Kessel (TOR) 30/1
Any Defenseman 30/1
Any Goaltender 5/1
Any Other Forward 11/5

Worth throwing something on any of the long shots listed? Eh, maybe not this year.

Who will win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Trophy as the NHL’s Top Goal Scorer?

Steven Stamkos (TB) 11/4
Alexander Ovechkin (WAS) 4/1
Sidney Crosby (PIT) 4/1
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 5/1
Daniel Sedin (VAN) 13/2
Rick Nash (NYR) 10/1
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) 14/1
Corey Perry (ANA) 18/1
Phil Kessel (TOR) 18/1
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 25/1
Jarome Iginla (CAL) 30/1
John Tavares (NYI) 30/1
Taylor Hall (EDM) 30/1
James Neal (PIT) 35/1
Patrick Marleau (SJ) 35/1
Jeff Carter (LA) 40/1
Patrick Sharp (CHI) 40/1
Field (Any Other Player) 25/1

Let's just give the trophy to Stamkos already and sit back and enjoy him gunning for 50 in 48, OK?

Who will win the James Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman?

Erik Karlsson (OTT) 4/1
Zdeno Chara (BOS) 9/2
Shea Weber (NAS) 13/2
Kris Letang (PIT) 7/1
Alex Pietrangelo (STL) 10/1
Ryan Suter (MIN) 10/1
Brian Campbell (FLA) 12/1
Dan Boyle (SJ) 12/1
Alexander Edler (VAN) 15/1
Dustin Byfuglien (WPG) 15/1
Dion Phaneuf (TOR) 20/1
P.K. Subban (MTL) 20/1
Keith Yandle (PHO) 22/1
Michael Del Zotto (NYR) 25/1
Tobias Enstrom (WPG) 25/1
Jack Johnson (CBJ) 30/1
Mark Giordano (CGY) 35/1
Mark Streit (NYI) 35/1
Field (Any Other Player) 9/1

The usual suspects at the top for the league's top defenseman. Pietrangelo, a future Norris winner at some point in his career, is looking pretty good at 10/1.

Who will win the Vezina Trophy for being the NHL’s top Goaltender?

Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) 4/1
Jonathan Quick (LA) 5/1
Pekka Rinne (NAS) 7/1
Ryan Miller (BUF) 8/1
Jimmy Howard (DET) 9/1
Cory Schneider (VAN) 12/1
Jaroslav Halak (STL) 12/1
Tuukka Rask (BOS) 12/1
Mike Smith (PHO) 15/1
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) 16/1
Martin Brodeur (NJ) 16/1
Cam Ward (CAR) 18/1
Carey Price (MON) 18/1
Roberto Luongo (VAN) 18/1
Niklas Backstrom (MIN) 20/1
Braden Holtby (WAS) 25/1
Kari Lehtonen (DAL) 35/1
Craig Anderson (OTT) 40/1
Ondrej Pavelec (WPG) 40/1
Semyon Varlamov (COL) 40/1
Devan Dubnyk (EDM) 50/1
Field (Any Other Player) 33/1

How far does Luongo's odds drop once if he's dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Who will win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s points leader?

Sidney Crosby (PIT) 11/4
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 5/1
Steven Stamkos (TB) 5/1
Alex Ovechkin (WAS) 6/1
Daniel Sedin (VAN) 8/1
Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) 14/1
Claude Giroux (PHI) 18/1
Henrik Sedin (VAN) 18/1
John Tavares (NYI) 18/1
Brad Richards (NYR) 20/1
Rick Nash (NYR) 28/1
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 30/1
Phil Kessel (TOR) 30/1
Martin St. Louis (TB) 35/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) 35/1
Corey Perry (ANA) 40/1
Henrik Zetterberg (DET) 40/1
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) 40/1
Jason Spezza (OTT) 40/1
Pavel Datsyuk (DET) 40/1
Eric Staal (CAR) 45/1
Joe Thornton (SJ) 45/1
Zach Parise (MIN) 45/1
Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) 50/1
James Neal (PIT) 55/1
Mikko Koivu (MIN) 55/1
Jordan Eberle (EDM) 85/1
Patrick Sharp (CHI) 85/1
Anze Kopitar (LA) 100/1
Jarome Iginla (CAL) 100/1
Field (Any Other Player) 25/1

This should be a really fun race to track between defending champion Malkin, a hopefully healthy Crosby, a return to form Ovechkin, and the goal-scoring machine in Stamkos. Can Henrik Sedin sneak in there with the top dogs at 18/1?

[Related: Winners and losers of the NHL lockout]

Now, here are the over/under points props for every team, along with odds on them making (or missing) the playoffs. (These are all based on the official schedule coming in at 48 games.)

Anaheim Ducks Regular Season Points: 53½
Anaheim Ducks to make the playoffs? Yes -140 No +110

Boston Bruins Regular Season Points: 57½
Boston Bruins to make the playoffs? Yes -900 No +550

Buffalo Sabres Regular Season Points: 54½
Buffalo Sabres to make the playoffs? Yes -165 No +135

Calgary Flames Regular Season Points: 50½
Calgary Flames to make the playoffs? Yes +425 No -625

Carolina Hurricanes Regular Season Points: 53½
Carolina Hurricanes to make the playoffs? Yes -215 No +175

Chicago Blackhawks Regular Season Points: 57½
Chicago Blackhawks to make the playoffs? Yes -800 No +500

Colorado Avalanche Regular Season Points: 52½
Colorado Avalanche to make the playoffs? Yes +400 No -600

Columbus Blue Jackets Regular Season Points: 47½
Columbus Blue Jackets to make the playoffs? Yes +475 No -700

Dallas Stars Regular Season Points: 52½
Dallas Stars to make the playoffs? Yes +350 No -500

Detroit Red Wings Regular Season Points: 56½
Detroit Red Wings to make the playoffs? Yes -290 No +230

Edmonton Oilers Regular Season Points: 53½
Edmonton Oilers to make the playoffs? Yes -125 No -105

Florida Panthers Regular Season Points: 52½
Florida Panthers to make the playoffs? Yes +300 No -400

Los Angeles Kings Regular Season Points: 58½
Los Angeles Kings to make the playoffs? Yes -900 No +550

Minnesota Wild Regular Season Points: 54½
Minnesota Wild to make the playoffs? Yes -265 No +205

Montreal Canadiens Regular Season Points: 53½
Montreal Canadiens to make the playoffs? Yes +200 No -260

Nashville Predators Regular Season Points: 53½
Nashville Predators to make the playoffs? Yes -165 No +135

New Jersey Devils Regular Season Points: 53½
New Jersey Devils to make the playoffs? Yes -135 No +105

New York Islanders Regular Season Points: 49½
New York Islanders to make the playoffs? Yes +475 No -700

New York Rangers Regular Season Points: 60½
New York Rangers to make the playoffs? Yes -900 No +550

Ottawa Senators Regular Season Points: 52½
Ottawa Senators to make the playoffs? Yes +350 No -500

Philadelphia Flyers Regular Season Points: 57½
Philadelphia Flyers Regular to make the playoffs? Yes -800 No +500

Phoenix Coyotes Regular Season Points: 50½
Phoenix Coyotes to make the playoffs? Yes +275 No -350

Pittsburgh Penguins Regular Season Points: 61½
Pittsburgh Penguins to make the playoffs? Yes -1000 No +600

San Jose Sharks Regular Season Points: 54½
San Jose Sharks to make the playoffs? Yes -165 No +135

St. Louis Blues Regular Season Points: 57½
St. Louis Blues to make the playoffs? Yes -800 No +500

Tampa Bay Lightning Regular Season Points: 53½
Tampa Bay Lightning to make the playoffs? Yes -145 No +115

Toronto Maple Leafs Regular Season Points: 53½
Toronto Maple Leafs to make the playoffs? Yes +200 No -260

Vancouver Canucks Regular Season Points: 58½
Vancouver Canucks to make the playoffs? Yes -1200 No +650

Washington Capitals Regular Season Points: 54½
Washington Capitals to make the playoffs? Yes -800 No +500

Winnipeg Jets Regular Season Points: 50½
Winnipeg Jets to make the playoffs? Yes +475 No -700

Be sure to check out your favorite team's Stanley Cup odds, which we brought you on Monday.

So where are you putting your money this season?

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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Thu, 10 Jan 2013 11:28:56 PST Sean Leahy nhl Puck Daddy urn:newsml:sports.yahoo,lego:19780928:top,article,54892ebe-9a7f-3bd6-b99a-92e24470fa5d-l:1