Ken Campbell

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.

Time for star players to step up because NHL prepared to ditch Olympics

Ken Campbell
Sidney Crosby and Henrik Lundqvist (Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – Now is the time for the best players in the NHL to stand up the way they do when the Stanley Cup is on the line. Because if they don’t push the issue on Olympic participation, the NHL will be more than happy to trash the entire concept.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced the details of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will be played in Toronto Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016. Both sides spoke of the event in glowing terms and there was much singing from the same songbook. That’s because both sides stand to gain a mother lode of money from a World Cup. The profits for the event are split 50-50 between the NHLPA and the league, meaning they will not be part of Hockey Related Revenues and will have no bearing on the salary cap. Each side is free to take its money and do with it whatever it wants. Read more

Toronto to get All-Star Game and outdoor game in 2017: Source

Phil Kessel  (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – The Toronto Maple Leafs will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2017 with the All-Star Game and an outdoor game, a source with close ties to NHL ownership told thn.com.

And it looks as though the Winter Classic for 2016 will be held in Boston at Gillette Stadium with a game against the Montreal Canadiens. And, of course, the World Cup is scheduled for Toronto in 2016 with eight teams, including an all-star team made up of smaller hockey countries and a team of 23-and-under North Americans. Read more

Filip Forsberg gets that new-car smell in a big way

Ken Campbell
Forsberg and Nuge

COLUMBUS – Filip Forsberg went from having no cars to owning two in record time. The Nashville Predators rookie, who has been bumming rides from teammate Mattias Ekholm most of his first season in the NHL, bought a new Jaguar recently, then won a Honda Accord for being taken last overall in the all-star fantasy draft.

In a recent piece on Forsberg in THN’s Rookie Issue, Forsberg talked about not having a set of wheels. “That might change soon,” he said. Little did he know at the time he was going to have one too many cars before long.

“It was just a really fun thing to be here with the guys,” Forsberg said. “Hopefully I can play in another All-Star Game and move up in the draft in the future. And I get a car out of this. That’s not too bad either.”

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers, who was chosen second last in a fan vote, also received a Honda Accord. No word on whether it was equipped with a block heater.

Both Forsberg and Nugent-Hopkins said they would likely give the new car to a family member, “but you can never have too many cars,” Forsberg said.

Nugent-Hopkins said he expects members of his family back in Burnaby, B.C. will be vying for the prize.

“I’m expecting a few calls from family members lobbying for it,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “We’ll see who gets it.”

Team Foligno makes more coin, but Team Toews has the Cups and gold medals

Ken Campbell
Alex Ovechkin (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – We have no idea which team is going to win the All-Star Game Sunday afternoon, but we’re pretty sure which one is buying the drinks.

Boosted by the surprise late selection of Alex Ovechkin, Team Foligno broke the bank and shattered the NHL’s salary cap with a payroll of $122.91 million, more than $16 million more than Team Toews. The team also picked up $2.25 million in salary when it made a trade to acquire Phil Kessel for Tyler Seguin.

Where Team Toews is lacking at the pay window, however, it makes up for in team achievements. Led by the team captain, teammate Brent Seabrook and Patrik Elias, Team Toews has a total of 10 Stanley Cups, compared to nine for Team Foligno. And when it comes to Olympic gold medals, it’s not even close. Team Toews has 11 of them, while Team Foligno has just five. Read more

Steven Stamkos likely to stay in Tampa as NHL’s highest earner

Ken Campbell
Steven Stamkos (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

As of today, it’s looking more like Steven Stamkos is going to remain a member of the Tampa Bay Lighting for a long, long time. The only question now is whether or not he’ll sign the richest eight-year contract in NHL history this summer and become the league’s highest-paid player.

Stamkos, who has in the past been a little coy about his future with the Lightning, was a definitive as he’s ever been about his contract status. In fact, he set off something of a social media firestorm this summer when he retweeted a tweet from Adam Proteau suggesting Stamkos follow the lead of LeBron James and sign with his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stamkos’s deal with the Lightning expires after next season, but he and the Lightning can announce a contract extension as early as July 1. And that’s clearly what Stamkos wants to do at this point. Read more

Power Rankings: Ducks soar back to No. 1 spot

Ken Campbell
Anaheim Ducks  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

During Anaheim’s win over Calgary Wednesday night, Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen was so dehydrated from the flu that he had to have intravenous treatments between periods. Man, the Ducks must really want to avoid having to play Ilya Bryzgalov.

The win was the fifth in a row for the Ducks, making them one of the hottest teams in the NHL going into the all-star break and putting them, once again, at the top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more

How Bryan Murray helped me face my fears

Ken Campbell
Bryan Murray  (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

I woke up Wednesday morning on a stretcher in the recovery room at the hospital and the first thing that came to my mind was, “They’d better do this soon because these drugs are really starting to wear off.”

It was right around then the nurse came by and asked me whether I remembered speaking to the doctor. “Yeah, he came to talk to me while I was getting the anesthetic,” I said.

“You don’t remember talking to him after the procedure?” she said.

“What do you mean after? It hasn’t already been done, has it?” I asked. Read more

If this is the best the Leafs have, it’s time to tear it down

Ken Campbell
Phil Kessel . (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

So let’s take inventory from the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night. Four – four! – Leaf sweaters tossed to the ice, plus a waffle. Two fights, one win for each team. And, we’re told by Leafs coach Peter Horachek, that the Leafs outchanced the Hurricanes 29-19. One goal, for only the second time in five games and a fifth straight loss.

When asked about seeing sweaters tossed to the ice, Phil Kessel was as eloquent as he’s been since he joined the Maple Leafs. By Kessel’s standards, it was right there with Phil Esposito admonishing the fans of Canada during the 1972 Summit Series.

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