• The New Jersey Devils won a shootout. Seriously. This is not a prank.

    Adam Proteau
    Jacob Josefson, Ondrej Pavelec (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    The New Jersey Devils did something Thursday night they hadn’t done in exactly 600 days: emerge from an NHL shootout with a victory.

    That’s right, for the first time since March 10, 2013 – and with their fans looking on and dressed for Halloween – the Devils won in a shootout by beating the same Winnipeg Jets team they last beat in a shootout, and ended their NHL record 18-game losing streak in the process. They did so by recording the minimum number of goals a team can record in the shootout – a single goal from center Jacob Josefson: Read more

  • An NHL team in Las Vegas: a long-term long shot

    Adam Proteau
    Las Vegas (George Rose/Getty Images)

    Despite the typically demure comments NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is famous for making on the subject of expansion to Las Vegas, the rumblings continue to grow louder: on Thursday, a report had casino giant MGM Resorts International holding talks with a group looking to situate a team in the Nevada city.

    MGM is currently building a $350-million, 20,000-seat arena in the heart of the city – and their partner in the building is the Anschutz Entertainment Group. Anschutz as in Philip Anschutz, owner of the L.A. Kings and NHL power broker. If you want to get a foot in the door of the NHL, this is one of the ways you do it. Networking matters in this league. But if the NHL does decide to set up shop in the pre-eminent entertainment destination on the continent, there’s going to need to be some questions answered. Such as:

    1. How on earth are they going to market a non-traditional product such as hockey in a marketplace that has hundreds of other options for consumers to dispose of their disposable income?

    With all the glitz and glamor of the Vegas Strip fighting for the eyeballs and pocketbooks of tourists, what exactly can the NHL do to stand out from the rest of the pack? If you’re telling me an expansion team (with its lowered expectations and talent levels) in and of itself will be good enough to bring people through the doors, I’m telling you you’re wrong. The attraction can’t be the players on the roster, who will be the flotsam and jetsam of the league in an expansion draft. There’s also every chance the franchise will be mismanaged for years, if not decades (see Thrashers, Atlanta and Panthers, Florida). There has to be something more.

    2. Once the honeymoon period wears off, how does hockey stay relevant?

    There will be a certain amount of hype and happiness in Vegas if the NHL became the first professional sports league to operate there, but once that giddiness fades after a few years, there is next to no grassroots/amateur hockey scene in the area through which to reach young kids and cultivate them as players and fans. Absent that pipeline of support, what is going to grab the casual sports fan by the scruff of the neck and make them care about hockey? Read more

  • Top 10 NHL player name puns – they’re so bad they’re ‘good’

    Ronnie Shuker
    Carey Price

    Puns are like clichés: overused and annoying. At least this editor thinks so. Many headline writers in hockey, however, don’t agree, even at The Hockey News. THN’s other associate editor, Matt Larkin, is known as the office’s inveterate punster. Our associate senior writer, Ryan Kennedy, loves his goofy puns. Even our editor in chief, Jason Kay, gets positively giddy whenever he crafts a “good” pun.

    Except there are none. There’s no such thing as a good pun. Puns are like Nickelback songs: all of them are awful, at least in hockey headlines, in which they’re almost always perfectly pointless. Whither the headline writer’s logic goes, no one knows.

    With that in mind, here are the 10 NHL players who get punned most painfully, along with the headline writer’s…uh, er…“logic” behind each pun:

    Read more

  • Vintage Gordie Howe photo shows off his amazing physique

    Matt Larkin
    Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 4.43.26 PM

    Gordie Howe, one of the game’s true legends, suffered a serious stroke earlier this week. His condition remains serious but his family says it is improving.

    Amid the well wishes for Howe, 86, we’ve seen an outpour of nostalgia and people sharing their favorite memories of him, from his dominant play as the original power forward to the way he always took time for others and never minded being adored, as he understood what it felt like to be on the other end.

    We’ve also seen lots of Howe photos popping up, and the one above, of Howe fishing for tuna, blew me away. The imgur user who posted it said it best: “Now I know how he knocked so many people around.”

    Read more

  • Can Evander Kane save the Winnipeg Jets?

    Jared Clinton
    EKane

    When the Winnipeg Jets roll into Prudential Center Thursday night to take on the New Jersey Devils, they’ll be ecstatic to have Evander Kane back in the lineup.

    Kane, who was injured early in the Jets season opening 6-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, will be back alongside young gun Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler and be looking to give the Jets a offense a much-needed boost. Read more

  • Fear of failure: NHLers past and present reveal what keeps them up at night

    Ken Campbell
    Even in his St. Louis heyday, Brett Hull used to fear he'd never score another goal. (Ian Tomlinson/Allsport)

    Editor’s note: It’s almost Halloween, so it’s the perfect time to explore the spooky side of hockey. The following story appears in THN’s scariest edition ever: The Fear Issue. Grab a copy on newsstands today or order one here!

    Ray Ferraro remembers coming home from practice one day in 1990 and seeing the light on his answering machine blinking. The message was from Ed Johnston, his GM with the Hartford Whalers. Things weren’t going well. It was mid-November and Ferraro had scored only two goals in his first 15 games. He had scored at least 20 goals in each of his five full NHL seasons to that point, including seasons of 41 and 30 goals.

    But the blinking light and the message were a clear indication of what was coming and Ferraro knew it. He was getting traded, and before he returned Johnston’s call, he picked up a copy of The Hockey News that was on his kitchen table and began to desperately go through its pages.

    “I looked through the league trying to figure out who would want me,” Ferraro recalled, “and I couldn’t come up with anybody.”

    Almost a quarter of a century later, Ferraro’s vantage point allows him to see the game from a place where everything seems so easy. As a between-the-benches analyst for TSN, he’s far more comfortable in his abilities as a broadcaster than he ever was as an NHLer. He also has a front-row seat to the fear and uncertainty that can consume players. He can relate on an all-too-familiar level with the scorer who comes back to the bench muttering about a missed opportunity, questioning himself and wondering if this will be the time when he just can’t get out of this slump. He can see the fear in the eyes of the fourth-liners on two-way contracts and aging veterans who are hanging on by their fingertips. The ones who are playing scared are the guys who get rid of the puck as quickly as it lands on their sticks, since you can’t make a mistake if you don’t have the puck. They’re the ones who get it on their stick in the scoring zone, and yet somehow it all blows up.

    There’s a lot of fear in the game of hockey. With players bigger, stronger and more physical than ever before, the fear of injury is omnipresent. Those who fight for a living go into every game knowing there’s a chance they’ll get punched in the face with someone’s bare knuckles. It’s not a wonderful way to live. For star players, however, if there’s anyone who should be immune to the fear of their place in the game, it should be them.

    But it isn’t always. When Brett Hull was at the height of his talents and challenging Wayne Gretzky’s single-season record for goals, he was on top of the world. You’d think he’d wake up every morning gleefully thinking about how he was going to make some poor goalie’s life miserable that night. He might have had a goal or a hat trick the night before, but rather than brimming with confidence that he’d continue to score, Hull was wracked by insecurity.

    “I wake up every day scared to death that I’ll never score again,” Hull said at the time. “I’ve never talked to Wayne (Gretzky) about it and I’ve never heard him mention it, but when he first started, he was so awesome he had to have that inner fear of failure, or he never would have done as well as he did. I can’t even sleep at night sometimes.”

    Read more

  • Watch Aaron Ekblad butcher ‘Call Me Maybe’ in Panthers visit to children’s hospital

    Jared Clinton
    Aaron Ekblad (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

    Aaron Ekblad is a talented young defenseman who plays for the Florida Panthers. But did you know Aaron Ekblad is also a terrible singer who plays for the Florida Panthers?

    In a video captured by Panthers Vision, you can watch defensemen Ekblad, Willie Mitchell, Erik Gudbranson, Dylan Olsen, and Colby Robak visit The Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, with the big payoff coming shortly after the 1:16 mark: Read more