Alan Bass

Alan Bass has been a contributor for THN since 2009 and is the author of "The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever." A former Division II college hockey player from Cherry Hill, N.J., he graduated from Muhlenberg College with a degree in psychology. He is a firm believer that no sporting event on Earth beats Olympic hockey.

Highlight of the Night: Patrice Bergeron puts on the moves

Alan Bass
HON 2-9

With what would be the first of many daggers into the heart of the Ottawa Senators, Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron came in from the point and deked around Craig Anderson to pot home a pretty goal that put Boston up 3-0.

The Bruins would go on to win 7-2 to send themselves into the Olympics break with a with a stranglehold on first place in the Atlantic Division.

As Olympic break commences, NHL standings are as close as ever

Alan Bass
SON 2-8

When the final buzzer sounded in Dallas on Saturday night, the NHL officially broke for the 2014 Olympics. As the league’s stars board planes for Sochi, the league’s standings remain still for the next two weeks.

Fortunately for fans and league executives, those standings are as close as ever going into the last 20-some games of the season when players return on February 25.

In the Eastern Conference, Pittsburgh remains on top with 83 points, but Boston, on a hot streak recently, has caught up to within five points of the Penguins. Looking down to the two available Wild Card spots, currently Toronto and Detroit are holding down the fort, but five teams currently sit within three points of Detroit’s eighth seed. Altogether, just ten points separate 11 teams in the East (from third through 13th place). Surprisingly, the Washington Capitals are the lowest of those 11, as they sit 13th in the conference with 61 points.

In the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks lead the league with 85 points, but St. Louis and Chicago are both within one point of the top seed. Similarly parity exists on the left side of the continent, with four teams within three points of Phoenix’s eighth spot. Ten points separate seven teams in sixth through 12th place, with Nashville bringing up the rear.

With the new playoff format, the top-seeded team will play the lowest-ranked Wild Card team, while the top team in the opposite division will play the second Wild Card team. The second and third place teams in each division will face each other in the other two series of the first round.

This means that ending today, the first round would feature the Rangers and Flyers, the Penguins and Red Wings, San Jose and Los Angeles, and Chicago and Colorado, among others. The bottom line is that after we savor the magic of Olympic hockey and celebrate the gold medal winners (or mourn, depending on where we hail from), we are in for a wild ride to the finish of the 2013-14 NHL season. And the matchups we could see in the first round may be electrifying.

So enjoy the Olympics, and stay tuned to THN.com and our Post-to-Post blog for all of the updates direct from Sochi.

But be ready for even better hockey when we return home.

Top 10: NHL Olympic scorers by country

Alan Bass
TOP10 2-8

With the Olympic hockey tournament around the corner, NHL superstars are itching to get to Sochi to start the dream of eventually wearing a gold medal around their necks.

Read more

Devils fourth straight overtime game puts them on brink of playoff spot

Alan Bass
SON 2-7

For the fourth time in four games, the New Jersey Devils found themselves playing past 60 minutes. After a January 30 win against Dallas, a subsequent loss the next night against Nashville, and a second straight OT loss three nights later at the hands of Colorado, the Devils finally regained their footing, sneaking out a 2-1 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on home ice. Read more

Lightning Tie for First Place After Gutsy Win

Alan Bass
SON 1-11

After Steven Stamkos went down with his leg injury a few months ago, no one expected the Lightning would be up at the top of the Atlantic Division standings with just a few weeks to go before the Olympic break. Yet that’s exactly where Tampa Bay finds themselves after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon with a 6-3 win. Read more