Josh Elliott is a stay-at-home web editor for Post-to-Post on weekends and a contributor to The Hockey News magazine. From drafts to contracts to trades, he loves the business of hockey and plays nothing but Dynasty Mode in EA’s NHL video games. He’s a Western Journalism grad, a hockey addict and a closet comic book junkie.
It’s been five years since we’ve seen a scoring race this exciting.
Flash back to 2009-10, when the ‘Greatest Player in the World’ debate was in full swing and Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin were neck-and-neck-and-neck in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.
The whole contest came down to the last game of the season on Apr. 11, when Crosby scored two goals, Stamkos tallied one and Ovechkin failed to score. Ovechkin had the lead going into the day, but couldn’t keep up as Crosby and Stamkos passed him.
Crosby and Stamkos ended up splitting the hardware with 51-goal seasons, while Ovechkin fell one goal short in 10 fewer games played.
Not since then have the goal scoring leader and the runner-up been one goal apart at the end of the season.
Sunday’s contest between the St. Louis Blues and Florida Panthers turned out to be a goalie duel, and the kid they call ‘Moose’ ended up winning with a 40-save performance highlighted by a diving glove catch.
Brian Elliott was under siege in the third period as his Blues tried to hold on to a one-goal lead. The Panthers peppered the net, firing 15 shots on net in a span of 4:29 before St. Louis manage to get a shot at the other end.
But Elliott stood tall in the face of all that rubber, and made a potentially game-saving stop on Aleksander Barkov.
Officially, the Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”
There’s nothing in there about faceoff percentage, yet that stat seems to have become one of the most important criteria for picking the Selke winner. Faceoff winning percentage comes up in the Selke conversation just as often as stats like plus-minus, shorthanded minutes and point production.
The problem with that is wingers are rarely taken seriously as potential Selke candidates.
Love it or hate it, the shootout tiebreaker is a platform for the league’s best players to showcase their skills.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks combined for one of the most spectacular shootouts of the season on Sunday in a contest that saw the likes of Sidney Crosby, David Perron and Kris Letang go up against Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.
The Blackhawks came out on top by a score of 2-1 in a shootout full of theatrics and short on saves.
Every goal was worth a replay, but Sidney Crosby’s pop-fly score was one of the best of the bunch.
Former NHL defenceman Steve Montador was found dead inside his Mississauga home early Sunday morning. He was 35 years old.
Peel Regional Police say a friend found Montador dead at about 2 a.m. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Police say an autopsy will be conducted but no foul play is suspected.
“It appears to be natural causes,” police said.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic and a first-round draft pick in 2015.
Franson and Santorelli will be useful additions to the playoff-bound Predators, who sit first in the NHL and will be even better after this deal. Both players are on expiring contracts, with Franson pulling in $3.3 million this year and Santorelli making $1.5 million.
Toronto, on the other hand, gets a first-round pick, a middling prospect and an over-the-hill veteran who will be gone this summer.
Franson had six goals and 32 points in 55 games with the Maple Leafs this season, his fourth with the club since he was originally acquired from Nashville in 2011. He was second on the team in average ice time at 21:23.
Alain Vigneault became the 21st coach in NHL history to win 500 games behind the bench with his Rangers’ convincing 5-1 victory over Arizona on Saturday.
New York’s win made Vigneault the fourth-fastest coach to 500 wins in NHL history – a feat he accomplished in just 942 career games behind the bench with the Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens.
Vigneault guided the Rangers to the Stanley Cup final is his first season in New York last year, and has them poised to return to the playoffs again.
There must have been something in the air in Denver on Saturday.
How else do you explain a fourth-line fighter getting first star honours after picking up 30 penalty minutes and getting kicked out of the game?
Colorado’s Cody McLeod fought twice, played 8:58 and took four shots on net to nab top honours in the game. Nevermind that his teammates outscored the Dallas Stars 4-1.
No, it was clearly McLeod’s game-changing dust-up with Jason Demers in the third period that turned the tide.