• Zdeno Chara’s knee injury puts major strain on Bruins’ already thinned-out defense corps

    Adam Proteau
    Zdeno Chara (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    (NOTE – This post has been updated twice. See below.)

    The Boston Bruins’ blueline took a salary cap-related hit prior to the season with the trading of veteran Johnny Boychuk – and it got another scare with potentially bigger ramifications Thursday when captain Zdeno Chara left the team’s game against the Islanders with an undisclosed injury. His final shift of the game ended with 8:12 remaining in the first period, and Bruins coach Claude Julien offered no update on his condition after Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Isles.

    On his last shift Thursday, Chara laid into Isles captain John Tavares with a solid check, but didn’t give any indication he was injured on the play: Read more

  • Corey Perry: a root canal at the DMV for opponents – and a worthy Hart candidate

    Adam Proteau
    Corey Perry (Getty Images)

    In posting two hat tricks already this season, Ducks right winger Corey Perry is reminding NHL fans the Hart Trophy-winning season he had in 2010-11 was not mere chance occurrence. He and center Ryan Getzlaf have already combined for 10 goals and 20 points, and having two consistent Hart Trophy candidates in the lineup is, of course, one of the key reasons (if not the key) to their team’s success.

    But what Perry has that sets him apart – what gave Anaheim one of the little extra edges it needed to win the Stanley Cup in 2007 – is the simple, unmistakable fact he’s fresh out of damns to give, and that includes giving a damn about having his supply of damns restocked. And at 29 years of age, he looks to be more dangerous than ever and primed to challenge his career-best 50-goal, 98-point, Rocket Richard-winning ’10-11 campaign. Read more

  • THN Analytics: Visualizing the Trade

    The Hockey News
    Boychuk, Okposo and Tavares

    By Benjamin Wendorf – special to THN

    Midseason trades are a bit of a curiosity in the NHL; they’re usually, at least on one side, expressions of immediate purpose – though intuitively both teams are getting someone they want. From a player’s perspective, it’s revolutionary, even if the results don’t show it: a new home, new fan base, new teammates.

    Analytically, a trade is an immediate sliding of variables for both teams, as all at once depth and deployment are affected. In the past, a player trade was often discussed as a matter of whether a player “catches on” with their new team, the idea being that when a player catches on, they score more points. Think of how successful the Minnesota Wild’s trade for Guillaume Latendresse looked in 2009-10, when he put up 37 points in 55 games, or Colorado’s 2010-11 acquisition of Tomas Fleischmann that yielded 21 points in 22 games. Read more

  • Can Nicklas Backstrom become the highest-scoring Swede of all-time?

    Ken Campbell
    Nicklas Backstrom. (Photo by Patrick Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Nicklas Backstrom quietly scored his 500th career point against the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday night.

    He did it quietly because Backstrom does everything quietly. That has something to do with the fact that he’s Swedish and, remarkably like almost all his countrymen, is singularly unimpressed with himself. It also has something to do with the fact that he plays alongside Alex Ovechkin, a larger-than-life figure who is comfortable in the spotlight. Backstrom is more than happy to allow Ovechkin to soak up all the adulation, and have to handle the pressure that comes with being an NHL superstar. Read more

  • Enraged Sudbury Wolves coach to reporter: “F— you!”

    Matt Larkin
    Sudbury Wolves coach Paul Fixter lost it on a reporter after his team's 10th straight loss.

    If you’re a football fan, you know the best coach tirades don’t always come from the professional ranks. Ask Mike Gundy. And while the likes of John Tortorella get the headlines in the NHL, major junior can provide us with gems, too.

    Tuesday night was a tough one for the Sudbury Wolves, who lost 7-2 to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyounds. The season has been nothing short of hellish for the Wolves, who are 1-10-0 and have lost 10 straight since winning their opener. They’ve been outscored 49-19.

    Coach Paul Fixter decided he was simply fed up while answering post-game questions from reporters. The first interviewer, CTV’s Lincoln Louttit, grinds his way through few awkward silences, trying to get Fixter’s thoughts on the obvious: that he’s frustrated with his team’s play. But the real fireworks start around the 0:55 mark when off-camera interviewer Peter Ruicci of the Sault Star questions the team’s work ethic:

    Read more

  • PK Subban’s Halloween costume is a Thriller

    Jared Clinton
    P.K. Subban (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

    In a lot of ways, PK Subban could remind you of a young Michael Jackson: they’re both incredible at what they do, they’re both almost unanimously loved, and they have similar dance moves.

    All right, fine, we can’t be sure about that last part, but chances are the young Canadiens defenseman at least busted out a few of his finest MJ impressions at the Habs Halloween bash, where the young superstar donned his finest Thriller attire: Read more

  • David Clarkson doesn’t fear the THN cover curse – and he’s fighting back

    Matt Larkin
    David Clarkson has started 2014-15 strongly after a nightmarish 2013-14.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Do hockey players believe in curses? The easy answer is “Of course not.” An athlete who lets superstitions dictate his game isn’t made for The Show. But if there were ever a player to start believing, could you blame David Clarkson?

    In the summer of 2013, fresh off landing a seven-year, $36.8-million contract, Clarkson appeared on THN’s cover, postured as Toronto’s next great fan favorite. He grew up a diehard Leafs fan, so he happily posed for the shoot, after which we photoshopped blue blood trickling down his cheek.

    He was positioned for a season he’d never forget. And while that did come to pass, it wasn’t what he imagined. There was the 10-game suspension to start the year after he left the bench to join a fight during a pre-season game. There was the gruesome elbow gash that cost him eight contests. And there were the slumps. A man expected to chip in 20 to 30 goals gave Toronto five in 60 games.

    This September, excited to have a blank slate, Clarkson broke his cheekbone in a fight with Buffalo’s Cody McCormick just days before the season started. Ugh. Even the most scientific person would start to wonder about a hex at that point.

    “It definitely went through my head,” Clarkson said. “It was tough. After hitting that reset button and feeling good this year and doing everything I did over the summer, to break the bone, that wasn’t fun.”

    Read more

  • Female goaltender Noora Raty makes hockey history

    Raty

    Before 1,120 fans, Noora Raty made Finnish hockey history when she became the first Finnish woman to suit up for play in the Finnish second league, Mestis.

    A two-time NCAA champion, Raty has arguably been the gold standard of women’s hockey goaltending. Over her time in the NCAA, she set records for career save percentage (.949), all-time wins (114), and wins in a single season (38). Oh, and she also posted 17 shutouts in a single season, 43 over her career, and has an undefeated season under her belt.

    Raty was twice named the NCAA female player of the year, and her list of honors is an exhausting read. That’s why it was so shocking when, following Finland’s elimination from medal contention at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Finnish goaltender let slip that it may have been her last game – not just for the national team, but entirely. Read more