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.
Two years ago at this time, Canadian hockey fans were all a Twitter about who would tend goal for them at the Olympics.
Carey Price wasn’t yet Carey Price, having finished tied for 10th in Vezina Trophy voting the previous season. Roberto Luongo was a co-favorite for Sochi, but he didn’t inspire universal confidence. Stoppers such as Mike Smith, Cam Ward and Corey Crawford were also blended into a situation that was screaming for someone to elevate.
Overall to that point in 2013-14, Canadian goalies comprised just 38 per cent of the NHL’s netminder population, far below the country’s representation among all positions (52 per cent). The Vezina had ceased to be a birthright of Canadians; Americans and Europeans won six consecutively before Price’s heroics last season. It had people wondering just what was wrong with Canadian goalie development.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.