• Halloween match-up: Ducks’ Perry vs. Stars’ Seguin

    Bryan Mcwilliam
    Dallas Stars v New York Islanders

    There are four games on a spooky Friday night Halloween schedule for the NHL, the biggest belongs to a match-up between the Anaheim Ducks – tops in the Western Conference with 16 points – and the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

    The squads feature formidable line-ups that include stars such as: Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf, but tonight’s big match-up will feature the top goal scorer in the NHL in the Ducks’ Corey Perry – who is tied with Rick Nash – and the Stars’ Tyler Seguin, who is tied for most points in the league.

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  • Ducks’ Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf remain an elite NHL duo

    The Hockey News
    perrygetzlaf

    By Dominik Luszczyszyn

    They’ve been one of the league’s most dominant duos over the past few years and they’ve kept that going to start this season. The Ducks are one of the top teams in the league once again with an 8-3-0 record, and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry both – with 12 points – are a big reason why. Together, they’re an elite force.

    Over the last five years the two have played together for 4,618 minutes at 5-on-5. In that time they’ve dominated the scoresheet (57.8 percent of the goals) despite being just decent at dominating territory (51.6 percent of shot attempts). Superstars can do that because they can consistently outscore the average NHLer. So Getzlaf and Perry are great together. Duh. Apart is where things get more interesting and could show why the pair is so dominant. Read more

  • Flyers equipment manager pulls hilarious snake prank

    Jared Clinton
    Flyers-fans

    After winning just one of their first six contests, the Philadelphia Flyers have gone on to rattle off three wins in their next four. You could say it’s thanks to timely scoring, improved goaltending, or, in this case, a loose locker room.

    Derek Settlemyre, the head equipment manager for the Flyers, knows his job and does it well. He also knows how to pull a pretty great prank. Read more

  • Hiring Scott Stevens would make player safety department top heavy with bruisers

    Ken Campbell
    Paul Kariya after a Scott Stevens hit. Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images/NHLI)

    Well, there seems to be no shortage of outrage that Scott Stevens is being seriously considered for a post with the NHL’s department of player safety. That has something to do with the fact that if the department of player safety existed and had its current mandate when Stevens played, he would have been called on the carpet so often he probably would have had his own parking spot.

    But to suggest Stevens played outside the rules is absurd. In fact, he played entirely inside the rules. The fact that the NHL’s rules, or lack of them, allowed players to take runs from the other end of the ice, lift their feet and drill their elbows into their opponents’ skulls when applying open-ice hits was not Stevens’ fault. The fact is Stevens was not a dirty player at all, he was a devastating open-ice hitter. He played 1,635 games and was suspended only twice for a total of four games. And of his 2,785 career penalty minutes, only eight of them were for elbowing penalties. Never once was Stevens suspended for one of his hits.

    The league has its share of rambunctious players deciding now whether or not the guys on the ice will be suspended. The guy who runs the department, Stephane Quintal, was certainly no shrinking violet, with more than 1,300 penalty minutes. Chris Pronger was suspended eight times during his career and was one of the dirtiest players of all-time. And take a look who has run that department in recent years – Brian Burke, Colin Campbell and Brendan Shanahan – none of whom you’d like to meet in a corner.

    But the department has also employed Brian Leetch, a skilled defenseman whose highest PIM total for a season was 67. And a big part of the decision making group includes Patrick Burke and Damian Echevarrieta, who have never played a shift at the pro level. It also includes hockey operations people Colin Campbell, Mike Murphy and Kris King, all former players.

    So, yeah, if Stevens is added to that group it is a little top-heavy with guys who played a physical game. And there’s certainly nothing terribly wrong with that, but wouldn’t you for once like to see a guy like Mike Bossy or Pierre Turgeon be part of the decision-making process? You know, just to even things out a little. After all, if there’s always a place for guys with multiple suspensions and penalty minutes in the thousands, surely it could be balanced out with a couple of guys who won the Lady Byng Trophy and approached the game from a different perspective.

    But that just doesn’t seem to be the way this league rolls. In fact, the department of player safety’s own mission statement reads this way: “We are committed to making the game as safe as possible for our players,” which is all good. But then it goes on to say, “while preserving the intensely physical, competitive and passionate nature of hockey.” Which is basically the NHL’s way of saying, “Yeah, we want the players to be safe, but make no mistake, we have no intention of turning this game into four-on-four ringette.”

    Shouldn’t a department of player safety be concerned with making the game as safe as possible for all its players, full stop? Why does it need to be concerned with anything else. Decide whether a player’s safety was put at risk and whether the incident surrounding it broke the rules. That’s about it.

    The league is capable of penalizing bad hits such as the John Moore hit on Erik Haula without fearing having hitting removed from the game. Case in point, was the Eric Gryba hit on Artem Anisimov. Anisimov was hurt on the play, largely because his helmet popped off, but the department saw the hit as a legal shoulder-to-chest hit that had a bad outcome. It decided no suspension was warranted and there’s no trouble with that.

    But it would indeed be nice if the people making those decisions weren’t tilted so heavily in the direction of the guys who used to make those kinds of hits rather than receive them.

  • Panthers Spanish goal call will be the best thing you hear all season

    Jared Clinton
    Florida Panthers. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Move over, Randy Moller. There’s a new goal call in town.

    Moller, the Florida Panthers radio play-by-play man, is known for his boisterous, pop-culture laden goal calls. In his own way, he injected fun into the broadcasts and made each individual tally notable. That said, not even he could have touched this.

    It took the Panthers first radio broadcast in Spanish to change hockey goal calls forever: Read more

  • Rochester bookie pleads guilty: What does it mean for Thomas Vanek?

    Ryan Kennedy
    Thomas Vanek (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It began in late July, when Minnesota Wild left winger Thomas Vanek made a surprising appearance at a federal government building in Rochester, N.Y., where the Austrian national had once played for the American League’s Americans. Vanek was co-operating with investigators in a gambling probe and no charges were laid against the hockey player.

    But with one of the men charged in the case pleading guilty to money laundering on Thursday, Vanek’s name is back in the news.

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  • From Dodgeball to Forrest Gump, the best costumes of hockey Halloween

    GreeneClown

    Halloween is a time when you get to take on a new persona and be that person you’ve always wanted to be. It’s the time to take some risks, dress as something bold or hilarious, and have a good time.

    Or, if you’re Buffalo Sabres’ captain Brian Gionta, it is another day of the year that you can dress up as a hockey player.

    Gionta, along with a number of other NHLers, took part in a video session with the league to discuss some of their favorite costumes as kids: Read more

  • Sam Reinhart sent back to junior – but he has a master plan

    Matt Larkin
    Sam Reinhart wants to ensure he doesn't get complacent upon returning to junior. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

    What happens when you’re caught between man among boys and boy among men?

    It’s a question Jonathan Drouin had to answer a year ago, and it’s the same one Buffalo mega-prospect Sam Reinhart faces now. The Sabres announced Friday they were returning Reinhart to the Western League’s Kootenay Ice. At 18, he’s far from eligible for the American League, and he’d played his ninth NHL game, meaning one more would burn a year of his entry-level contract.

    And the truth is Reinhart belongs in junior. Taken second overall in last June’s draft, he’s an oustanding prospect, a heady two-way center who can make everyone around him better. His superb hockey sense made plenty of scouts call him the draft class’ most NHL-ready player, but watching him this season suggested otherwise. His 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame isn’t quite ready to do battle against grown men. Tuesday when the Sabres visited Toronto, it was one of those games that had you checking the box score afterward to make sure he played. He was a non-entity, registering one shot and little else in 12:41 of ice time. That was largely the case through Reinhart’s first nine NHL games, in which he averaged 10:21 and managed one assist and three shots. In that tiny sample, his 31.1 Fenwick Close rating was 565th out of 568 qualifying NHLers.

    Those numbers aren’t meant to harp on Reinhart. He has an outstanding career ahead of him. They do, however, suggest the Sabres were smart to send him down. And, to his credit, he gets it. I spoke with him after Tuesday’s game in Toronto. The elephant in the hallway was that he had one more game until his probable return to the WHL. In his short stay, he learned plenty. He lists veterans Brian Gionta, Cody McCormick, Matt Moulson and Josh Gorges as hugely helpful with their day-to-day advice. And game situations opened his eyes as well.

    “Obviously you knew it was going to be a challenge,” Reinhart said. “It’s the best thing in the world, and to try and make the jump is difficult. The biggest thing I’ve tried to focus on and learned is the pace and intensity. It’s not as much the speed skating up and down the ice – it’s the overall speed and intensity with the puck. To want the puck, that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned.”

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