The Hockey News

THN.com Roundtable: How would you improve the All-Star Game?

The Hockey News
2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

On Sunday, the NHL will descend on Nashville for the 61st All-Star Game. Depending on who you ask the game is either an institution, a showcase for the league’s best players, or a waste of time that resembles nothing like real hockey.

Over the past 10 years, especially, the game has lost some luster. It has been skipped five times due to either Olympic conflicts or lockouts, and has undergone several format changes.

There’s no denying the All-Star Game is at least a little broken. So how do we fix it? Here’s how:

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Hockey’s future about to get a lot sharper with introduction 4K broadcasts

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New Crowdsource Bus

By Jacob Cohen and Matthew Stamper

If you’ve always wanted to watch NHL games in such great detail that you can count every hair in Brent Burns’ beard, then Rogers’ latest innovation will have you bubbling with excitement. Saturday’s contest between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre will be broadcast in 4K, the first hockey game ever to do so.

Canada’s leading national sports broadcasters are taking steps to let fans watching at home see every detail of the game. The Raptors’ win over the Celtics Wednesday night on TSN was the first-ever live 4K broadcast in North America. Saturday’s Original Six matchup on Sportsnet will be the first of eight NHL games to be broadcast in 4K.

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THN.com Roundtable: Which bubble teams will make, or miss, the playoffs?

Matt Duchene and Shea Weber. (Getty Images)

The NHL standings are very close. The league has rarely seen the kind of parity being displayed so far this season. More than halfway through the season you can count on one hand the number of teams that are already out of playoff contention.

While teams like the Capitals and Kings start to run away with their divisions, there are a number of teams stuck right in the middle, right on the crowded playoff bubble.

As the all-star break approaches, here are our picks for playoff bubble teams that will be in or out of the playoffs come April.

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This Week in The Hockey News magazine: February 15, 2016

The Hockey News

Cover_400x546It’s THN’s annual Rookie Issue, with features on the best freshmen from around the NHL. This year, meet Dylan Larkin, the next Jonathan Toews. Also profiled: Connor McDavid, Artemi Panarin, Jack Eichel, Robby Fabbri, Jared McCann and many more.

In addition:

We talk to several rookies, past and present, to see how adjusting to live in the NHL as a teen has changed over the years.

The Coyotes young pups are leading an expedited rebuild – but will it be enough to keep them in Arizona?

The impact of the NHL’s new rule changes – is 3-on-3 OT and the coach’s challenge living up to the hype?

We preview the NHL All-Star game, with an eye on fan “favourite,” John Scott.

Catching up with ex-NHL enforcer Cam Janssen as he laps up European history, a few pints and all the love thrown his way in the United Kingdom.

How Shane Doan remains a finely tuned machine despite having many miles on the odometer.

We pay homage to  the late Dickie Moore, one of hockey’s most underrated stars.

A wrap of the World Junior Championship in Finland – did the home country’s victory shake up the draft rankings?

Pick up a copy at your local newsstand, buy it from the THN store or digitally on your IPad or through PressReader, Kobo, Google PlayZinio or Nook. You can also subscribe at thehockeynews.com.

Darius Kasparaitis putting retirement on hold to join Lithuanian national team

The Hockey News
Darius Kasparaitis. (Getty Images)

By Dan Marrazza

South Florida is known for a lot of things.

Sunny weather? Sure. Beaches? Definitely. Large retiree community? It’s always been there.

Although South Florida has the reputation for being a popular place to retire, it’s the only area of the United States where 43-year-old hockey players remain active.

Jaromir Jagr, perhaps you’ve heard about. Darius Kasparaitis, Jagr’s former teammate with the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers and fellow member of the 43-year-olds club, you may have forgotten.

Although it’s been nine years since he last played in the NHL and seven since he finished his professional career in the Kontinental Hockey League, Kasparaitis has resumed training from his Miami home in preparation of taking one last kick at the can with the Lithuanian national team.

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THN.com Roundtable: Which young star will reach the 500-goal mark?

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Vladimir Tarasenko and Tyler Seguin. (Getty Images)

On Sunday night, Alex Ovechkin became the 43rd player in NHL history to score 500 goals. At just 30 years old and with 800 games under his belt, Ovechkin has a lot more goals in him.

There are couple more veteran active players expected to join him in the 500 club. Marian Hossa sits at 493 and could also hit the mark this year. Patrick Marleau sits at 470 and could conceivably get there next year.

But what about the younger generation of players? The NHL is flush with young snipers, many of whom are far off now, but could one day reach 500 goals.

Here are our picks for players currently under 25 years old who will reach the 500-goal plateau:

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Believe it or not, Marc-Andre Fleury is on pace to match the win totals of NHL’s greats

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Marc-Andre Fleury. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

By Shelly Anderson

With his flexible body, omnipresent smile and an infectious joie de vivre, Marc-Andre Fleury seems eternally young. Truth is, he turned 31 Nov. 28, and he’s had to make some adjustments. “I used to not stretch at all, and I could do the splits no problem,” he said. “Now I’ve got to work at it a little harder.”

Nowadays, his ritual before he takes the ice includes a stretching routine. He’s made some other tweaks in his preparation and his performance, many of them an outgrowth of his work with third-year goaltending coach Mike Bales.

Indications are that Fleury, though getting older, is still getting better. That raises some questions about what his legacy will be and where his place in history might be when he hangs up his skates, which seemingly won’t be for years to come.

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THN.com Roundtable: Four bold predictions for 2016

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Steven Stamkos (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Here are our predictions for what’s to come in 2016.

 

The Lightning will re-sign Stamkos — then trade him

 

Steven Stamkos will sign an eight-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning matching dollar-for-dollar the $84 million deals signed by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews…then immediately be traded to the Detroit Red Wings along with Jonathan Drouin just before the trade deadline.

Faced with the prospect of losing him for nothing, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will orchestrate a “sign-and-trade” deal for Stamkos with the Red Wings that will allow Stamkos to go to the team of his choice and get an eight-year deal, getting around the seven-year deal he would have had to sign with Detroit if he were to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Read more