By Randy Schultz
Following his graduation from West Point in 1959, Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins received an invitation to participate in a Detroit Red Wings practice.
Dawkins had played hockey growing up in Michigan and was good enough to make the West Point varsity team. He got the invite through a friend, went to practice, warmed up with the Wings and then played in a scrimmage.
“When I lined up to take the faceoff,” Dawkins says. “I looked to my right and Gordie Howe was my right winger.”
From blockbuster trades to harrowing human dramas, there was a lot to remember in 2013-14. And that’s not even counting the fact the schedule got a bit squished thanks to a
little ol’ tournament called the Olympics. Here’s a look at the top 20 moments that defined the greatest hockey league in the world this year.
Tomas Hertl’s four goals vs. New York, Oct. 8, 2013
In just his third NHL game, the rookie Tomas Hertl put up his statement performance with four goals in 11 minutes of playing time against the Rangers. Hertl’s final goal was a breakaway between-the-legs instant classic that drew gushing reviews from most of the hockey world and the occasional dissenter, such as then-Washington coach Adam Oates, who said the move was disrespectful. Nonetheless, Hertl became a frontrunner for the Calder Trophy from that game until mid-December, when he required knee surgery after being hit by L.A.’s Dustin Brown. Marty Biron, the goaltender who gave up Hertl’s famous goal, would play just one more NHL game before retiring.
2. T.J. Oshie’s shootout heroics vs. Russia, Feb. 15, 2014
It was the most anticipated matchup of the Olympic round-robin, a Cold War classic starring the United States and the host Russians. Controversial Russian President Vladimir Putin was even in the building as the two rivals went at each other for 65 minutes without resolving matters. So with the score tied 2-2, the game went to a shootout where, under IIHF rules, only the first three shooters had to be different. So with the score still tied, Team USA sent out Blues winger T.J. Oshie five additional times in a row, while Russia countered with Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk. Oshie finished with four goals to win the match for America and earn the nickname ‘T.J. Sochi’. Read more
BY MATT COSMAN
Hockey is a game of numbers, with a little luck mixed in, and nowhere is that more evident than at the NHL draft. Lottery balls determine which team gets first dibs on the player they think is the best available. Randomness is heavily incorporated into the system, and while it’s fair, it leaves us with an endless string of possibilities of who could have ended up where.
From 1995 to 2013, all 14 non-playoff teams were entered into a lottery and had the chance of moving up a maximum of four spots in the draft. Thus, only the top five teams had a shot at the first-overall pick. But as of the 2013 draft, all 14 teams have a shot at it. The last-place team has the best chance (25 percent) at the first-overall pick, while each following non-playoff team has decreasing odds.
In the 18 draft lotteries, the pick has been robbed from the last-place team 10 times. These are the players they chose, and the other teams they almost went to.
1998 – Vincent Lecavalier
While the San Jose Sharks were the victors of the 1998 draft lottery, the Tampa Bay Lightning had previously acquired the right to swap picks with them. With hyped-up prospect Vincent Lecavalier within their reach, the Lightning pulled the trigger and claimed him with the first-overall pick. As close as he was to becoming a Shark, it was originally the Florida Panthers’ pick the Sharks had picked up. Unfortunately for the Panthers, that’s just one of the plethora of bad decisions they’ve made with high draft picks. Read more
Have you ever wanted to ask Montreal Canadiens superstar P.K. Subban a question? Now’s your chance, because the next cover story for THN magazine will be a question-and-answer with Subban – and all the questions will come from fans!
To have your question considered, email it directly to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post it in the comments section below. THN will select the best questions – and if your submission is chosen, you could win a complimentary digital subscription! Good luck, and thanks in advance.
By Matt Cosman
Players put down the sticks and picked up the paddles Thursday, as host Dominic Moore and a handful of other NHLers came together for a night of ping-pong at Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto to raise money and awareness for two causes that have greatly affected Moore’s life.
This year’s Smashfest raised $140,000 for concussions and cancer research. That’s in addition to the $100,000 raised at last year’s event.
“Rare cancers are definitely underrepresented in terms of funding,” said Moore. “And concussions – there’s so much room to go in terms of understanding how they work, and treatments and awareness.”
Fans had the opportunity to interact with players, while some were lucky enough to play alongside an NHLer in the doubles tournament.
Money raised goes toward The Katie Moore Foundation for rare cancers and The Steve Moore Foundation, dedicated to Dominic’s brother Steve, who suffered a career-ending concussion in March 2004. Dominic’s wife, Katie, passed away last year from a rare form of liver cancer. Read more
The best American hockey team of all time didn’t need a miracle.
No U.S. team has ever achieved more fame than the 1980 Olympic squad that stunned the Soviet Union in the semifinal before completing the ‘Miracle on Ice’ by beating Finland for gold in Lake Placid, N.Y.
That squad’s spectacular rise is one of the best stories in sports history, period. The reason for that, though, is because it was the ultimate underdog tale, a group – as they’ve so often been described – of rag-tag college kids shocking the world.
The shock was still there 16 years later at the next big triumph for Team USA, but it was more about how good the team was rather than the fact it took on the world and won.
The American team that beat Canada in a best-of-three final at the 1996 World Cup is the best collection ever to wear stars and stripes. It was a coming out party for Team USA, which rolled through the round-robin, toppled Russia in the semifinal and bounced back from a Game 1 overtime loss in the final to earn consecutive victories over Canada in Montreal to win the tournament previously known as the Canada Cup. Read more
The 2014 Free Agent Frenzy (aka, Overpay Day) is upon us and the gates are open. Which teams will land this year’s biggest fish and how much will they have to pay to land them?
It’s not the best free agent crop, but useful players can still be had. Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle top the list of defensemen available, while Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller will look for a new home in net. Up front, Jarome Iginla, Thomas Vanek, Ales Hemsky and Paul Stastny will look to get their homerun deal. Where do they best fit.
What do you want your favorite team to do today, and what do you think of the moves? Let us know in the comments section below as THN breaks down each signing as it happens.
With July 1 just a day away, we take a look at what each team is looking for heading into the free agent frenzy. Depending on who you ask, there’s either not much to choose from or a buffet of talent available.
Regardless, there’s always something for every club…
Anaheim: The Ducks are convinced they have the real deal in soon-to-be 21-year-old goalie John Gibson and he’s ready for the NHL, so they can let Jonas Hiller walk. Frederik Andersen showed this season he’s at least a capable backup, if not more. Gibson and Andersen make less than $2 million combined for the next two seasons, meaning Anaheim can divert more capital to adding another top-four defenseman and skilled forward. Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu coming off the books frees up another $4.5 million. Anaheim would like to keep defender Stephane Robidas, but he’s 37 and makes a healthy $3.3 million.
Arizona: Radim Vrbata was a bargain signing in 2011 when the Coyotes retained him for $9 million over three seasons. Since then, the 32-year-old Czech has been a top-line player and scored at an 82-game pace of 29 goals and 60 points. That should earn him north of $5 million on the open market if the Coyotes are unable to keep him. The team was very happy with the way Thomas Greiss filled in as backup and injury replacement to Mike Smith. The 28-year-old German posted a superior GAA and SP to Smith’s. Because Greiss is young and a UFA, the Coyotes will have to pay dearly to keep him. Read more