Casey Ippolito

Casey Ippolito is a contributor to The Hockey News and thn.com. A former film student and creator of the now-defunct hockeycentric.com, the Toronto native recalls cap hits, draft history and handedness the way Raymond Babbitt recites the phone book. He spends his time on Twitter, playing rec league hockey and eating burritos. His initial ties to THN date back to 2008, when he submitted a "Fan Shootout" question to Kyle Wellwood.

25 years ago today, Wayne Gretzky broke the all-time scoring mark in astounding fashion

Casey Ippolito
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The Los Angeles Kings slaughtered the Edmonton Oilers 6-1 last night. Today’s Kings are a powerhouse, while today’s Oilers are a punchline. In 1989, both were model franchises. Almost entirely because of Wayne Gretzky. And today marks the anniversary of No. 99 setting his greatest record of all.

A quarter century ago, Gretzky broke the NHL’s all-time career points record, then held by his idol, Gordie Howe.

Howe had amassed his total of 1,850 thanks to consistency, and more so, longevity. Howe played 1,767 games across five decades, outlasting his peers and retiring at 52. Read more

Top 10: Most saves in a single Stanley Cup playoff run

Casey Ippolito
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Having gone to seven games in the three series leading to the Stanley Cup final, Jonathan Quick has been assaulted by numerous rounds of enemy fire in the 2014 playoffs. With 23 games under his belt and two wins away from glory, Quick has already tied Corey Crawford for a spot in the top 10 for most saves in a single post-season. The Kings may finish off the Rangers quickly, but if the Blueshirts hang around, No. 32 between the pipes in L.A. could ascend to the top of this list. Here’s the 10 netminders who’ve turned away the most rubber in a Stanley Cup tournament. Read more

Top 5: Points by a defenseman in a single playoff run

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At 24, Drew Doughty has already etched himself quite the legacy. The Max Kaminsky Trophy for the Ontario League’s best defenseman, two Olympic gold medals, a Stanley Cup, and perhaps a second league title on the way. At his current pace, leading the playoffs in defenseman scoring, a Conn Smythe Trophy could be Doughty’s next accolade.

With 17 points so far, Doughty’s playoff point total doesn’t quite crack the top 30 all-time highest-scoring playoff seasons by a defender. But with the potential to play six more games (though he’d surely rather play only three more), Doughty only needs four more points to leapfrog his way into the top 10. There’s a good chance he does, but there’s no chance he cracks the top three. Here’s the five most productive playoff runs by defensemen. Read more

St. Louis scores Game 4 overtime winner; Rangers one win away from Stanley Cup final

Casey Ippolito
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If Martin St-Louis wasn’t fed the puck and given the opportunity to end Game 4 the way he so beautifully did, he couldn’t have complained.

After all, he was robbed by Dustin Tokarski in the waning minutes of the third period when the puck arrived on his stick, practically alone in front. And earlier, he was one-on-one with the Habs goaltender and failed to convert on a breakaway. In a game that featured boatloads of prime scoring chances, No. 26 led the Rangers with five shots, and he didn’t convert until it mattered most. Read more

Top 10: 2014 unrestricted free agents with biggest cap hits

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It’s the new normal of the unrestricted free agency period: there’s not much talent on the market anymore. And the talent that is available? Veterans past their prime, many of whom hit the market after playing out massive deals.

There’s no way all 10 of the athletes on this list get a raise this summer. At least one will, and not surprisingly, it’s the player who’s a twentysomething and not a thirtysomething. However, they’ll all have numerous suitors. The insanity and desperation of GMs during UFA season is a certainty. Here’s the 10 players with the highest cap hits who will be unrestricted free agents on July 1.

10. Andrei Markov$5.75 million — age 35 (as of July 1)
If you have a few hours to kill, look up Markov’s injury history. Those knees have been through trench warfare. After scoring 64 points in 2008-09, the Mr. Bean lookalike played 45, then seven, then 13 games in the following three seasons. The Canadiens took a major risk by signing Markov to a three-year deal a season after he’d missed all but seven games, but the gamble paid — the Russian rearguard missed just one regular season game over the next two productive seasons. Despite his age and injury history, Markov should cash in with a deal that pays at least $4 million. Hard to see him signing anywhere but Montreal, but that’s how I felt about Sergei Gonchar before he left Pittsburgh for Ottawa as a 36-year-old. Read more

On eve of Memorial Cup final, Canadian Hockey League grads on display in Stanley Cup playoffs

Casey Ippolito
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The Memorial Cup, the annual tournament that features the distillation of the Canadian Hockey League’s three branches, is set to wrap up Sunday with the Guelph Storm taking on the Edmonton Oil Kings. Both clubs are brimming with talent and NHL draftees, a reflection of the CHL’s preeminent role in feeding young standouts to The Show.

The Storm are stacked with nine NHL draft choices: Kerby Rychel (CBJ, 19th in ’13), Jason Dickinson (DAL, 29th in ’13), Matt Finn (TOR, 35th in ’12), Brock McGinn (CAR, 47th in ’12), Tyler Bertuzzi (DET, 58th in ’13), Scott Kosmachuk (WPG, 70th in ’12), Justin Auger (LA, 103rd in ’13), Ben Harpur (OTT, 108th in ’13), Nick Ebert (LA, 211th in ’12). In addition to their drafted talent, late-bloomer Zack Mitchell was signed by the Wild in March, while speedster Robby Fabbri is a projected first-round pick in 2014. Read more