Jason Kay is the Editor in Chief of The Hockey News and has been with the brand since 1989. No, that's not a typo. Born in England, raised in Toronto, he arrived in his home and adopted land as a baby in 1967, just in time to see the Maple Leafs win their last Stanley Cup. A stay-at-home defenseman once upon a time, Kay knows his NHL dreams are long dead, but he hasn't given up hope of winning the Brier.
Montreal Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin, known as a hard-core prankster during his playing days, is the subject of some guffaws thanks to a viral video.
Bergevin did his happy dance after Dale Weise scored the overtime goal for the Habs over Tampa Bay the other night, celebrating with moves rarely seen in NHL arenas. Quebec-based Les Satiriques took the footage and ran with it, creating a “Dance Party” mix that’s widely making the rounds. Read more
Ryan Getzlaf’s puck-in-the-puss last night wasn’t your classic shot block, but it has started to stir the age-old debate: is it a good idea for players to throw themselves in front of cannonading vulcanized rubber?
The issue is multi-pronged.
For starters, does it help the cause? The recent data says not necessarily and certainly not always. Take last night’s games. The Ducks topped the six teams who played, with an eye-popping 28 blocks, and held off a Dallas rally. The next three in terms of number of blocks – Columbus, Tampa and the Stars – each lost.
That small sample size mirrors the final tallies from the 2013 playoffs. None of the top five teams in shot blocks per game made it out of the second round. The champion Chicago Blackhawks ranked 12th in blocks per playoff game among the 16 participants.
If nothing else, the storylines would be riveting.
The San Jose Sharks, a team that has traditionally underperformed in the playoffs, chasing ultimate glory against the Boston Bruins, the club that let an imminent Stanley Cup final Game 7 slip through its grasp last June in a matter of 16 agonizing seconds. Both are seeking forms of redemption.
Then there’s Jarome Iginla and Joe Thornton, two likeable, greying superstars whom most everyone would like to see earn that elusive first Cup. For Thornton, there’d be the added twist of trying to earn the title over the club that drafted and traded him away in 2005-06, in the middle of his Hart Trophy season.
It didn’t take long for Stephane Quintal to be thrust into the spotlight.
On the same day Brendan Shanahan is officially introduced to the Toronto media, his successor as NHL chief disciplinarian – at least for the time being – will have to review and decide how much supplemental punishment is in order for Calgary’s Paul Byron following his dangerous hit on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin.
Most importantly, however, let’s hope the Canucks star, who missed time earlier in the campaign with a concussion, didn’t suffer serious injury. He lay motionless on the ice briefly following the hit from behind and was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He appeared to move his fingers on the video replay and early reports were that he had movement in his extremities and his prognosis was good.
Marc-Andre Fleury channeled the ghost of Dominik Hasek last night when he made an incredible save on Detroit’s Daniel Alfredsson in the shootout.
OK, so Hasek isn’t deceased and Alfie could have done a better job of elevating the puck, but the point is Fleury is still a difference-maker. Usually in a good way. He reinforced last night, as he has done much of the season, he has as high a skill and athleticism level of any goalie on the planet.
The latest chapter in the Detroit-Colorado rivalry is being written in video sessions, practice rinks and dressing rooms. In place of blood, there’s chalk; instead of punching, there’s planning.
This showdown isn’t even face-to-face. It’s the virtual battle between Patrick Roy and Mike Babcock for the Jack Adams Award.
Naturally, if you try to talk to either man about the coach-of-the-year honor, they’ll deflect. It’s not a fight. For them, it’s about team success, one game, one period, one shift at a time. You know the clichés.
But to those of us either in fandom, or paid to observe, the matchup is intriguing.
Signs, signs everywhere a sign. But mostly in Philadelphia.
That’s the major finding of a completely unscientific, whimsical search we did on fans with placards in NHL arenas.
Spectators in rinks across North America love to hold up Bristol board to get attention from players, cameras and Jumbotrons, but the City of Brotherly Love seems particularly enamored of the practice. Maybe it can be traced back to Sign Man, Dave Leonardi, the local who started spreading his gospel at the old Spectrum beginning in 1972.
In last night’s pivotal Toronto-Boston game, Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin was whistled for holding with 1:14 remaining in the third period. The score was tied 3-3 and, as the Bruins didn’t manage to get the winner before the end of regulation, Kulemin served the final 46 seconds in overtime.
If Toronto had been up 3-2, however, Kulemin’s two-minute penalty would have been commuted to a 1:14 sentence and the Bruins would have been short-changed on their chance to tie the game at its most crucial juncture. (Never mind the call on Kulemin – and the subsequent one in OT on Torey Krug – were suspect).
It’s a niggling flaw in the system that when a team takes a penalty with fewer than two minutes remaining, it’s no longer a two-minute minor. It’s a 1:45 minor. Or 0:37 minor. Or 0:03 minor.