Jason Kay

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.

If the NHL expands, they must do right by all teams, new and old

Jason Kay
Render of proposed Las Vegas arena (MGM Resorts International)

There are three things dominating NHL expansion chatter: location, location and, yes, location. We get it. The notion of where to place the league’s next team(s) is sexy and emotional.

But the concept of growing the business by selling more franchises isn’t all shifts and giggles. There are multiple considerations and potential ramifications. Success in any given market comes with as much certainty as an Alex Ovechkin guaranteed win.

The league’s most recent forays paint a checkered picture. From 1998 to 2000, the NHL added four teams: Nashville, Atlanta (who high-tailed it to Winnipeg when things failed in Georgia), Minnesota and Columbus. In 59 combined seasons, the quartet has had 18 playoff appearances, about a 30 percent success rate. Overall, with other factors being equal, NHL teams today have a 53 percent chance of making it to mid-April. In those 18 appearances, the clubs have won a total of six rounds, four by the Wild and two by the Preds. None has won a Cup or made it to the final. Heck, the Thrashers/Jets have yet to win as much as a post-season game. Read more

Don’t look now, but the 2015-16 NHL schedule is here. Yes, already

Jason Kay
Hawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will celebrate their Cup win one more time on Oct. 7. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The NHL is on fire: Expansion, progressive rule changes, an epic draft, pending free agency, the anticipation of big trades…and next season’s schedule? Already?

Before sweaty-palmed teenagers even mount the stage and don a jersey and cap at the draft, fans of their teams know when and where all 82 games will be played in 2015-16. It’s the earliest release of a schedule in recent memory.

Here are some dates to circle for next season:

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The glaring flaw in the NHL’s playoff discipline process

Johnny Oduya winces as several members of the Lightning look on (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport)

In the second period of Monday night’s Game 3 win by Tampa Bay, Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov, on his way back to the bench for a line change, collides with Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya. Kucherov’s left skate takes Oduya’s legs out from under him and it was Blackhawk down. And perhaps out.

Kucherov received a two-minute minor for tripping, while Oduya received treatment for a likely injury. A key cog on the Hawks’ depleted blueline, Oduya left the game in the second and played reduced minutes in the third. He clearly wasn’t 100 percent.

There’s been some chatter that Kucherov’s move was a slew foot, an intentional act to upend his opponent – the old “accidental on purpose” play as it’s come to be known and as NBC’s Pierre McGuire alludes to in the video. Whether you agree with this take or not, Lightning fans needn’t worry about supplemental discipline. It wasn’t close enough, at this time of the year, for it to merit more than a cursory review.

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If you’re convinced Sam Bennett’s shot was a goal, check this out

Jason Kay
no goal

Sam Bennett’s apparent game-tying shot late in the third period sure looked in, didn’t it? There was white between the puck and the goal-line on the replays and freeze frames we all saw on Tuesday night.

If I were a Flames fan, I would have been red-hot mad, wondering how after the Martin Gelinas no-goal in the 2004 Stanley Cup final the NHL could have blown the same call twice against my team? How could the Toronto situation room possibly deem the evidence was inconclusive?

It’s all about perspective.

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P.K. Subban’s slash: shock and awesome all in one

Jason Kay

One small whack in the playoffs, one giant gouge for playoff-kind.

P.K. Subban’s tomahawk to Mark Stone’s wrist ignited an inferno of what is so controversial and so awesome about the NHL playoffs. It was a microcosm of a hockey fan’s favorite two months of the season, all captured in a few moments of the second period of the first game of Round 1.

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The Top 100 NHL players of all-time, throwback style

Jason Kay
top 100

In 1997, to celebrate our 50th anniversary, The Hockey News compiled and released an authoritative list of the Top 50 Players of All-Time.

Voters came from all areas of the hockey world: former players, coaches, GMs, scouts and media members. As a wise observer said at the time, the panel of 50 selectors wasn’t just credible, it was incredible.

The Top 50 project was followed by a sequel, the Top 100 Players of All-Time in which numbers 51-100 were announced.

Scan that lineup 18 years later and it’s, naturally, a Who’s Who of hockey royalty. Every player, with the exception of two, is either in the Hall of Fame or a shoo-in (Jaromir Jagr).

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Is Andrew Hammond here to stay or a flash in the pan?

Jason Kay
Andrew Hammond

In 2015, McDonald’s would not create a mascot called the Hamburglar. The character glamorizes theft and sets a bad example for our kids.

Fortunately, the patty-thieving villain was conceived in the morally bankrupt 1970s, when we didn’t think of the children, and as result we have the perfect nickname for the NHL’s current best story. Aside from the dead animal products being hurled onto the ice, what’s not to like about this stunning underdog? (Bruins and Panthers fans notwithstanding).

Once this glorious joy ride ends, however, what will become of Andrew Hammond? Is he a flash in the burger-frying pan or the real meal deal? While we’re pulling for the latter, history tells us not to bet our lunch money on it.

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When Ron MacLean was George Stroumboulopoulos

Jason Kay
Ron MacLean (Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

The George Stroumboulopoulos experiment at Sportsnet is still in its relatively early days, but that hasn’t stopped critics and fans from opining. The reviews have been mixed, with some old-school hockey viewers taking a harsh stance and millennials generally liking the work he’s doing.

A scan of some pointed comments on a website prompted one of my colleagues to state: “Nobody filling Ron MacLean’s shoes really had a chance.”

The reality is, 28 years ago, MacLean was in the exact same position as Stroumboulopoulos. He was the new kid on the block, replacing the highly respected Dave Hodge as the face of Hockey Night in Canada. MacLean had to battle aspersions that he was too young and lacked credibility.

Turns out, he filled Hodge’s chair rather nicely. A decade from now, we may be saying the same about Stroumboulopoulos.

The following story chronicles MacLean’s challenges in his early days on the job and the hurdles he had to overcome. It was written by Eric Duhatschek and appeared in The Hockey News’ now-defunct sibling publication, Inside Hockey, in November of 1987.

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