• Suspend him or not: Massive hit leaves Gionta stunned, gets Bartkowski kicked out

    Jared Clinton
    Bartkowski Bruins featured

    Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski may be getting a call from the Department of Player Safety after a massive open ice check left Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta stunned.

    The hit occurred in the final six minutes of the first period of the Bruins tilt with the Sabres on Sunday night, and the impact was enough to send Gionta literally spiraling through the air: Read more

  • Don’t make Toews frown – Blackhawks captain stars in ’80s-inspired exercise video

    Josh Elliott
    Chicago Blackhawks exercise video

    The Chicago Blackhawks really want you “exercise” your right to vote for them in the All-Star Game, so they made a vintage ‘80s video to try and convince you.

    The video features a song praising captain Jonathan Toews as he poses for the camera in vintage 1980s workout gear. Toews is wearing a headband, wristbands, high socks and short-shorts, classic ‘80s style.

    “Vote for him – don’t make him frown!” says the voiceover, as Toews’ winning smile gets turned upside down before our very eyes. “You’ve got to exercise your right to vote. It’s the American way!”

    The video also shows clips of Toews scoring, fist-pumping, chucking his gloves (repeatedly) and generally being good at hockey.
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  • Top five teams who like to trade in first-round picks

    Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko

    With the holiday trade freeze upon us and the sprint to the trade deadline around the corner, some teams may be thinking about dealing a first-round pick to improve their chances in the new year.

    First-round picks are precious currency of the salary-capped NHL. They often produce cheap, controllable young talent to complement high-priced veterans, and they’re also the most consistently valuable trading chip every team has available.

    Since the 2004-05 lockout, many teams have built their rosters by wheeling and dealing in first-round picks. Sometimes a first-rounder helps seal the deal on a big-time player trade. Other times it’s compensation for a team selling off its vets at the trade deadline. And when the draft arrives in June, certain general managers love moving up or down in the first round with the help of an additional pick to sweeten the change in order.
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  • Toronto or Montreal: which will be the better WJC host?

    Ronnie Shuker
    Canada fans will go crazy in both Toronto and Montreal during the WJC. (2014 Toronto Star)

    The rivalry between Toronto and Montreal extends well beyond the ice. As the London and Paris of North America, the two cities have long respectfully despised one another, mirroring on the municipal level their hockey teams’ mutual dislike. And like any long-standing conflict, this civic feud is filled with stereotypes from both sides.

    Torontonians look at Montreal and see a city of European lassitude and lax morals with a fashion sense that falls somewhere between hipster and homeless. Montrealers, meanwhile, think Toronto is the third-largest city in the United States filled with stuck-up suits and anal urban tree-huggers who could all use a little cultural proctology.

    For two weeks over the holidays, however, Toronto and Montreal will kiss and make up to co-host the 2015 World Junior Championship, putting the WJC hype machine on its biggest stage ever. Read more

  • THN oral history: the 2005 Canadian world junior team, a.k.a. the greatest of all-time

    Jeff Carter, Corey Perry, Mike Richards and Danny Syvret were part of a stacked 2005 Canada squad. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

    Hungry for redemption. Fed by the greatest draft class ever. Boosted by the lockout. A perfect storm created the best world junior team in history. Ten years later, they share their story.

    With Ken Campbell & Matt Larkin

    The night is always 
darkest just before the dawn, and Canada’s greatest anguish on the World Junior Championship stage came one year before its greatest triumph. Flash back to Helsinki, Finland, 2004. Canada desperately wanted to be crowned hockey’s best under-20 nation after six long years in the cold. Since a five-year run of golds that ended in 1997, the Canadians had finished eighth, second, third, third, second and second, with each heartbreak worse than the last. They blew a 2-1 lead to Russia on Canadian ice to lose the 2003 final. Then, in Helsinki, the nightmare continued. Canada led upstart U.S. 3-1 entering the third period of the gold medal game. The U.S. stormed back to tie it and, with less than five minutes remaining in a 3-3 contest, Canada goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s clearing attempt bounced off teammate Braydon Coburn and into his own net. The Americans won their first world juniors ever. Canada’s drought reached seven years.

    BRAYDON COBURN, D: With Marc-Andre, it was just unlucky, I don’t even know how to explain it. It was just one of those things that happened.

    SIDNEY CROSBY, LW: You dream about playing for that team as a kid and winning gold, and to be up two goals going into the third, you think you’re in pretty good shape. All of a sudden, things turn quickly and you’re disappointed. You don’t know if you’ll get an opportunity to do it again.

    BRENT SEABROOK, D: It was fast. Once it started rolling downhill, it kept rolling, but you’ve got to give the Americans a lot of credit. They had a great team that year. Once they smelled blood, they kept going, but it’s a tough one to lose.

    NIGEL DAWES, LW: We really couldn’t believe what just happened and the way it happened. It took a bit of time to honestly get over it. We were at a loss for words and very disappointed with the way it went.

    BLAIR MACKASEY, HOCKEY CANADA HEAD SCOUT: It’s funny how the loss will stay with you a lot longer than the wins do. I remember someone congratulating me on winning two gold medals in a row at the juniors (in 2005 and 2006). The first thing out of my mouth was, “Yeah, but it should have been three.” I remember (Hockey Canada president) Bob Nicholson saying to me, “Get over it.” But I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

    COBURN: It’s heartbreaking. It’s the world juniors, it’s the pinnacle of junior hockey, and it’s a tough pill to swallow, but one of the things you learn in hockey right away is you move past those things. So it was a good thing for us returning guys that we got another crack at it, and I feel sorry for the guys who didn’t.

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  • Jannik Hansen ‘checked out’ OK after scary collapse on the bench

    Josh Elliott
    Jannik Hansen

    A frightening thing happened on the Vancouver Canucks’ bench Saturday night, when forward Jannik Hansen collapsed after taking a hit during the second period against the Calgary Flames.

    Hansen slumped over on the bench immediately after leaving the ice. His teammates rushed to his aid and signaled for help.

    He left the bench under his own power and was taken to hospital for further evaluation.
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  • Does the NHL discipline Willie Mitchell for hitting Kris Letang with a helmet?

    Josh Elliott
    Florida Panthers Willie Mitchell

    Tough NHLers like Willie Mitchell know how to solve their problems with their fists. So why did he grab Kris Letang‘s helmet and start hitting him with it on Saturday?

    The incident happened late in the first period of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-1 win over Florida.

    Mitchell grabbed Letang’s helmet off his head and smacked him with it as referees tried to separate the two in a melee near the Panthers net.
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