• Can Devils win with a lineup of senior citizens?

    Ken Campbell
    The New Jersey Devils, led by Jaromir Jagr. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    There is no truth to the rumor that the New Jersey Devils had extra defibrillators on hand when their players showed up for fitness testing on the first day of training camp today. But you can understand how these things get started.

    When the Devils opened camp, they did so with a decidedly older bent to their roster of hopefuls. Among those who are in Devils camp this fall on tryouts are defensemen Tomas Kaberle and Mike Komisarek, center Scott Gomez, right winger Jordin Tootoo and left winger Ruslan Fedotenko. Combined number of NHL games last season: 89. Combined age: 171 years and 93 days. Read more

  • THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Washington Capitals

    The Hockey News
    Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    2013-14 record: 38-30-14

    Acquisitions: Kris Newbury, Tim Kennedy, Chris Conner, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters

    Departures: Tyson Strachan, Mikhail Grabovski, Joel Rechlicz, Jaroslav Halak, Tom Poti

    Top five fantasy players: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Joel Ward, Mike Green, Marcus Johansson

    Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
    Boom: A leaky defensive team went out and made big moves to rectify the situation, beginning with the hiring of coach Barry Trotz, the former Nashville bench boss. He’s been teaching staunch systems for years, and his new troops in Washington are intrigued by what he can instill. He’ll have a couple new assets on the back end in free agents Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, who both swung over from Pittsburgh. So right off the hop, the Capitals are much deeper on defense, with Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Mike Green still in the fold. Read more

  • WHL preview: Who will rule in 2014-15

    Ryan Kennedy
    Portland's Nic Petan (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

    Last season, the Western League’s Edmonton Oil Kings toppled Guelph of the Ontario League to win the Memorial Cup. Can the Oil Kings get back on top, despite losing a bunch of players and coach Derek Laxdal? Their old foes from Portland are still dangerous, while some new names are rising up, too. I consulted with a crew of experts from the region to put together power rankings for the league, then added one name to know for each team:

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  • Watch Steven Stamkos break stuff with his shot

    Rory Boylen
    stamkosshot

    If you’re asked “who has the best shot in the NHL today” you might come back with an answer of Shea Weber or Zdeno Chara or Alex Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos. These players have hard, accurate shots and are among the best goal scorers at their position.

    We used to have to imagine all the stuff they could break with their shots. They could break a TV, a gum ball machine, a stack of lego, a fish tank…the possibilities are endless.

    No longer do we have to imagine what it would look like for one of these players to blow up this list of things by firing a puck at them. In Bauer’s latest ad, Stamkos takes aim at all these things and more. This is pretty entertaining to watch. Read more

  • The top 10 fighters to watch this season

    Brian McGrattan and Patrick Bordeleau (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    If you like a good scrap, you might find yourself a bit under siege lately in the hockey world. Regulations are tightening up, though the powers-that-be still maintain that organic fights, rather than staged bouts, are still part of the game. And even though enforcers such as Paul Bissonnette and Colton Orr appear to have uphill battles in returning to the NHL this season, there are still plenty of scrappers to watch. With a shout-out to hockeyfights.com as a research tool, here are the best:

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  • Maple Leafs assistant calls out Phil Kessel – will Toronto overreact?

    Rory Boylen
    Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

    Steve Spott hasn’t been behind the Toronto Maple Leafs bench for even one game yet and his relationship with star player Phil Kessel is already the subject of an article in the Toronto Star.

    On Wednesday, the Star’s Dave Feschuk wrote about Spott working with Kessel on a new defensive zone breakout strategy where he wanted the winger to come across the blueline to force the defenseman back, instead of staying on his own side of the ice. Spott was talking about the exchange he had with the Leafs’ top player to a group of minor hockey coaches who were attending a coach’s clinic where Spott was a guest.

    Some of those minor hockey coaches told Feschuk about Spott’s anecdotes – and how Kessel didn’t agree with Spott’s play design.

    From the Star:

    “Spotter said that when he went to Phil (with the breakout play), Phil said, I’m not doing it,” said one of the attendees, a former professional player.

    Said another: “Spott was saying (that) these are the things I’ve got to deal with now that I’ve never had to deal with. In the AHL (where Spott coached last season with the Toronto Marlies), when you’re the coach what you say goes. Whereas now that I’m here (in the NHL), I’ve got a guy telling me: No. I’m not going to do that.” Read more

  • When booze, smokes and a hint of sex paid our salaries

    Jason Kay
    Great moments in smoking

    Today’s trends, tomorrow’s humor.

    We’re pretty proud of our history at The Hockey News, with our rich and unique library dating back to 1947. But some of the content in our rearview mirror is curious, and some is downright hilarious.

    Take the advertising. For the first few decades of our existence, the primary purchasers of space were alcohol and tobacco companies, targeting predominately a male audience. There were smaller, quaint ads, selling everything from local restaurants to skate sharpening to ice paint, but the vices drove the revenue machine.

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  • Hi, Minnesota? It’s me, Marty Brodeur. I’d like to apply for a job

    Matt Larkin
    The Wild need goaltending help, and free agent Martin Brodeur awaits an opportunity. (Getty Images)

    It’s a tough time to play goalie for the Minnesota Wild. Josh Harding, fresh off an outstanding season in which he led the league in goals-against average and save percentage, already had a major hurdle to climb two days ago. Multiple sclerosis would limit his ability to handle a full starter’s workload. Things went from bad to worse for Harding Wednesday when he broke his foot. The details remain foggy, but so far we know Harding kicked a wall after an off-ice altercation with a teammate. He’s out indefinitely.

    Next up is Darcy Kuemper, 24, who was good but not great in chunks of starting duty last season. In theory, he could step right into Harding’s role, but he’s a restricted free agent and contract talks have not gone well. Wild coach Mike Yeo and GM Chuck Fletcher publicly expressed their frustration about the process. Kuemper has even threatened to bolt for the Kontinental League. Kuemper wants a one-way deal, but the Wild prefer a two-way. Kuemper apparently hasn’t quite played well enough to win the organization’s confidence.

    That leaves Niklas Backstrom as the “sure thing.” The Finn is 36 and fresh off core muscle surgery. He looked like a shell of his old self when he did play last season. He’s supposedly healthy now, but he’s only healthy relative to his 2013-14 self.

    Minnesota’s net situation is dire enough that GM Chuck Fletcher invited Ilya Bryzgalov back for a training camp tryout. Bryzgalov accepted. Maybe Fletcher simply wants to up the heat on Kuemper’s camp. Or maybe the Wild believe they can get by with a Backstrom/Bryzgalov tandem. Bryz was brilliant at times for Minnesota down the stretch last spring after coming over at the trade deadline, going 7-1-3 with a 2.12 GAA and .911 SP. He left a lot to be desired in the playoffs, however, losing six of nine starts with a yucky .885 SP. That’s the problem with Bryzgalov. You never know when he might Bryzgalov things up.

    And that’s where I see an opportunity in Minnesota. Martin Brodeur, this is your cue.

    Read more