• Flames inexplicable run comes to an end, but it was never going to last

    Jared Clinton
    Calgary Flames v Florida Panthers

    Losers of six straight games, the numbers game has finally caught up to the Calgary Flames.

    Let’s not mistake this for grave dancing. It’s anything but. What it is, however, is yet another example of a team playing over their collective heads simply coming back to earth. And though the Flames may still be able to right the ship and fight for a playoff spot, it’s far more likely that the slide will continue and the team will simply start playing sub-.500 hockey. After all, it’s what has been coming all along. Read more

  • Gordie Howe improving: ‘We will never give up on Gordie,’ his son says

    Ken Campbell
    Wayne Gretzky Gordie Howe

    The son of Hall of Famer Gordie Howe confirms that his father’s recent recovery is going so well that there are tentative plans for him make a public appearance with Wayne Gretzky in February.

    Marty Howe confirmed his father could appear at the Kinsmen Celebrity Sports Dinner in Saskatoon alongside Gretzky Feb. 6. Howe, who had strokes in October and November and has severe dementia, has been at his daughter’s home in Lubbock, Texas, but could be ready to leave soon. The event, billed as a Tribute to Gordie Howe, has been in the works for about six months and was going to go ahead with or without Howe in attendance. Howe’s four children had planned on being at the event and if his condition allows, Gordie will be alongside them. That is certainly not a given at this point, but the Howe’s are optimistic.

    “As long as he keeps improving and doesn’t have another setback, we feel he should be well enough to travel,” Marty said in an email to thn.com. “We will never give up on Gordie and giving up is something Gordie has never done.” Read more

  • Clayton Stoner avoids discipline for Pacioretty hit. Here’s why the NHL got it wrong

    Matt Larkin
    Pacioretty hurt

    Swing and a miss, NHL player safety department.

    It was a particularly scary night for Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens. Pacioretty was already sensitive to dangerous hits, having sustained a career-threatening fractured vertebra in 2011 when Boston’s Zdeno Chara drove him into a stanchion. Chances are, ‘Patches’ experienced some traumatic flashbacks after last night’s collision with Anaheim blueliner Clayton Stoner.

    After Pacioretty “admired a pass,” as the homer-as-it-gets Anaheim broadcasters put it, Stoner sent him hurtling into the boards with a late hit. Pacioretty struggled to get back to his feet, was in obvious pain and was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons. Here’s a look at the play:

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  • Junior player assessed match penalty for incident with official, suspended for 365 days

    Jared Clinton
    Danton Ayotte (via Facebook)

    Danton Ayotte, who plays for the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Murray Oil Barons, is going to be watching from the sidelines for quite some time after Hockey Alberta suspended the winger for 365 days.

    The suspension comes in the wake of an incident involving a referee during the Oil Barons Dec. 6 game against the Brooks Bandits. The 19-year-old Ayotte was ejected in the first period, assessed a match penalty, and the ruling from Hockey Alberta came down yesterday. Read more

  • Giroux at it again, bites Gudbranson’s jersey. Has he snapped?

    Jared Clinton
    Claude Giroux (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Claude Giroux has had a strange year, to say the least. There was the incident over the summer in Ottawa involving a cop, he wiped some snot on a linesman, and now he’s gone and bitten Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

    That’s right. During Thursday’s game against the Panthers, Giroux was skating alongside the massive blueliner, turned to face him, bit his jersey, then tugged at it with his teeth. The whole thing is very strange to see: Read more

  • Panthers co-owner: “I’m not putting a gun to (anyone’s) head”

    Ken Campbell
    Florida Panthers (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    You have to give the Florida Panthers credit for having chutzpah. They’re in the process of convincing the politicians in their city that a hockey team few people watch or care about is the driving force behind all the business the arena creates and that it would be a white elephant without them there. They’re also adamant that a team that has only once in 16 years turned a profit and hasn’t repaid its loans can do so if only it gets help with its arena lease.

    And they might just be successful in doing it. Read more

  • How Minnesota ruined Montreal’s 2001 draft

    Ryan Kennedy
    Minnesota's Mikko Koivu (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The exciting and sometimes infuriating reality of the draft is how different teams view the same players. It’s common to hear a GM say “we didn’t expect him to be available when we picked,” and sometimes it’s true, but sometimes it’s just bluster. The other side of the coin is that some players are highly coveted by multiple teams, but only one can ultimately select him. One great example came in 2001, when Minnesota was picking right before Montreal.

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