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.
It is rare, almost unheard of, for the Canadian government to name anything after anyone who is still alive. But when plans for the Gordie Howe International Bridge linking Windsor to Detroit were unveiled Thursday, it was a clear sign of the respect and admiration that Mr. Hockey still commands.
But according to Gordie’s son and fellow Hall of Famer Mark, nobody would have had to worry about the government bending that edict if the family hadn’t elected to have him undergo stem cell treatment in Mexico in December. A second round of treatments is scheduled for early June.
When it came to giving themselves the best chance at playoff success, the Washington Capitals had just about every box checked off. They had a new voice behind the bench, they had a big, grinding team that could win the battles of attrition, their superstar player was showing up, their goaltending was all-world, their secondary scoring was decent and their defense corps had a really good blend of punishers and two-way players.
Yet there they were Wednesday night, once again shaking hands at center ice as the losers of yet another playoff series, another Game 7 and another defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. Two things have to make it particularly grinding this time around. First, the Capitals were 141 seconds away from winning the series in five games. Second, in that same game, a goal by Matt Niskanen that would have provided the margin of victory in regulation time was waived off after Derek Stepan clearly pushed Joel Ward into Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
As the director of amateur scouting for the St. Louis Blues, Bill Armstrong took a trip through the Ontario League earlier this season with his teenage son Jamie in tow. In every arena, fans stopped Armstrong to share a memory that is now a quarter of a century old.
It was 25 years ago today that Armstrong became the most unlikely hero in Memorial Cup history, capping one of the most compelling and exciting tournaments ever with his goal at 2:05 of the second overtime period for the Oshawa Generals in their 4-3 victory over the Kitchener Rangers in front of a sold-out crowd at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.
In light of the Montreal Canadiens exiting the playoffs with a whimper Tuesday night, now is as good a time to ask the question. What exactly are the Montreal Canadiens? Are they a team on the rise that is a couple of pieces away from being a Stanley Cup winner or has their success been a mirage orchestrated by an all-world goaltender and a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman in the prime of his career?
The Canadiens will have to answer those questions this off-season. More specifically, GM Marc Bergevin will. On one hand, they were three points away from winning the Presidents’ Trophy. On the other hand, they were one of the worst possession teams in the NHL, had a terrible power play and looked very ordinary against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.
One of the doctors who examined former NHLer Steve Montador’s brain after his death in February said the damage to Montador’s brain was “extensive” and “florid.” And those findings will undoubtedly be used as key evidence in the lawsuit Montador’s family plans to file against the NHL within the next month.
Dr. Charles Tator, the project director at the Canadian Sports Concussion Project, to which Montador agreed to donate his brain, said the damage was not the worst he’s seen in the 16 brains of former athletes who had multiple concussions the project has examined, but the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) found in Montador’s brain was extensive and would have gotten worse had Montador lived longer. Montador was found dead in his Toronto home Feb. 15 at the age of 35, but an official cause of death has not been determined.
When Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz compared Alex Ovechkin to Hall of Famer Mark Messier after Game 1 of his team’s second-round series against the New York Rangers, he probably didn’t realize how soon his captain would have to prove him right.
Messier and Ovechkin are the only two players in NHL history to be named a first-team all-star at two different positions. Like Messier, Ovechkin has a rare blend of speed, skill and physicality. And now, like Messier, Ovechkin is putting himself out there by guaranteeing a victory, the way Messier did 21 years ago for the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final against the New Jersey Devils. Read more
Meg Hishmeh and her son, Blake, will spend Mother’s Day doing exactly what they’ve done for the better part of the past month. Blake will do four hours of therapy at a rehabilitation hospital in Denver, then they’ll watch the hockey games together.
Don’t worry, the story will have a happy ending when 18-year-old Blake is discharged May 20 and returns to finish up his high school year in New Jersey. And with him will be Meg, who took a break from her job as World’s Busiest Hockey Mom™ to help usher her son back to what it is expected to be a full recovery from a traumatic brain injury after a back flip off a jump at the Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado went horribly awry during spring break. Blake was airlifted from the ski hill and spent eight days in intensive care before being transferred to the rehab hospital on April 14. Read more
OSHAWA – Speed kills. You figure they’d know that in a city that exists because of the car industry. But instead of being an assembly line of sleek speedsters, the Oshawa Generals are driving the Erie Otters and their superstar nuts by commandeering the slow lane.
There are many, many reasons why Connor McDavid is special. One of the main ones is that he can do so many things at top speed. His ability to gain the zone with the puck and with speed is legendary. But he’s done next to nothing in the OHL final because the Generals have taken that aspect of the game almost completely away from him. Sure, the kid had some pretty good looks in Game 2 of the OHL championship series, a 5-1 drubbing of the Erie Otters by the Generals, but the Generals had an incredible amount of gap control. Almost non-existent were McDavid’s blinding zone entries and only a few times was he able to jump on loose pucks in the offensive zone. Read more