Ken Campbell, The Hockey News' senior writer, is in his second tour with the brand after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native once tried out for the Ontario League's Wolves as a 30-year-old. Needless to say, it didn't work out.
Like Dickie Dunn, I’m just trying to capture the spirit of the thing. Now that Johnstown, Pa., has been named the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA, the most pressing question is whether or not the members of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning will have to put on a pre-game fashion show. After all, nowhere in their contracts does it say they gotta make fools of themselves. Am I right?
(Note to reader: If you’re not familiar with the 1977 classic sports movie Slap Shot, which was robbed by Annie Hall for the Best Picture Oscar in 1978, move along because the rest of this will be completely foreign to you.) Read more
Wow. I mean, wow. The Royal Baby™, The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports™ and The Fight of the Century™ all on the same day. How much excitement and how many trademarks can society handle in 24 hours?
Yes, Saturday was a day for the stars to come out. And speaking of stars and excitement, did you catch that New York Rangers-Washington Capitals game Saturday afternoon? To quote Pittsburgh Penguins play-by-play man Mike Lange, “Get in the fast lane, Grandma! The bingo game is ready to roll!” Read more
The New York Rangers prospects of getting to the Eastern Conference final for the second straight spring depend on one factor – how much they’ll be able to blunt the sheer force of Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
After Game 1 of the series, Capitals coach Barry Trotz compared Ovechkin to one of the greatest leaders the game has ever seen when he likened Ovechkin to Mark Messier. At first blush, it seemed like one of those, “Hey, let’s not go getting all crazy here,” types of comments, but like Messier, Ovechkin is backing up his words. In Game 1 of the series, he taunted Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist by saying, “All series long, baby, all series,” after scoring on Lundqvist. Read more
When fans of the Anaheim Ducks watch games such as Thursday night’s thrashing of the Calgary Flames in Game 1 of their playoff series, there’s a good chance they thank their lucky stars that Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are under contract for the next four seasons. (Oh, and if you happen to have both of them in a playoff pool, you’re probably clicking your heels together today as well. Click-click.)
They’re also probably pretty happy that Perry had such a poor showing in the CHL Prospects Game in 2003 and that Getzlaf was likened to “a poor man’s Patrick Marleau,” in THN’s Draft Preview that year. Because if not, Getzlaf would not have tumbled to 19th and Perry to 28th in that year’s draft and the Ducks would not have had the chance to take them. Read more
Depending upon the whims of the management teams in Boston and St. Louis, we could be in for one of the most fascinating off-season games of coaching musical chairs we’ve seen in years – perhaps even ever.
With the Detroit Red Wings eliminated from the playoffs, the Mike Babcock Sweepstakes™ are about to begin. Todd McLellan is already on the market and Ken Hitchcock’s future is uncertain in St. Louis. Meanwhile, the new GM in Boston will have the opportunity to decide whether or not Claude Julien is going to be his head coach moving forward. Read more
The good news is Team USA at this year’s World Championship has a goal-a-game in the NHL among its forwards. The bad news is it’s a committee of eight guys. Of the 13 forwards named to this year’s team, there are just 84 goals at the NHL level this season. That’s six fewer than Sidney Crosby, Tyler Seguin and Claude Giroux have among them.
It’s strange how good the United States is at almost every level of hockey. It has owned the under-18 World Championship, recently picking up its sixth gold medal in the event in the past seven years. The Americans are a force at the World Junior and women’s level, but have been a bust on the international scene with their NHL players. Read more
If there is any sense of justice in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings will be without their best defenseman for Game 7 of their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night. And if the Department of Player Safety doesn’t suspend Niklas Kronwall for his hit on Nikita Kucherov in Game 6, it might as well find a nice, warm beach somewhere to spend the rest of the playoffs.
Because if Kronwall does not sit out at least Game 7 of the Lightning-Red Wings series, the NHL will have officially confirmed what much of the first round has already proved, that it has no intention of suspending anyone for anything in this year’s playoffs. Read more
If you ever need a case study in the stark contrasts that sometimes exist between on-ice perception and off-ice personality, you needn’t go much further than Marcel Pronovost. As rambunctious and dramatic as he was on the ice, he was as humble and respectful off it.
The man Ted Lindsay once called, “the most underrated defenseman every to play in the league,” Pronovost died Sunday in Windsor at the age of 84 after a series of illnesses. And the hockey world is a little less for having lost Pronovost, a man who devoted his life to the game and whose tentacles touched almost every aspect of it, from playing to coaching to scouting. And Pronovost enjoyed an enormous amount of success in all three. Read more