The Hockey News

There will be bumps in the road, but Holtby an emerging star for Washington

The Hockey News
Braden Holtby (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

By Craig Hagerman

Braden Holtby wasn’t simply handed the role as the Washington Capitals starting netminder. No, he had to earn it.

Though he may have had a less than impressive outing against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night, allowing three goals on 12 shots after coming in for relief for Justin Peters in the second period and then being replaced to begin the third, the Lloydminster, Sask. native is still unquestionably Washington’s go to guy between the pipes. Read more

The Leafs are finally enjoying success on home ice

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New Jersey Devils v Toronto Maple Leafs

By Craig Hagerman

The Toronto Maple Leafs treated their fans to another blowout Saturday night, this time hanging a 6-2 beating on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

And with every ‘W’ the Leafs seem to chalk-up on home ice, the more the embarrassing 9-2 loss on the same Air Canada Centre ice to the Nashville Predators a week and a half ago seems to become a distant memory. Read more

Inspirational Mike Nichols still working towards getting back on the ice

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Nichols_644x428

By Chris Kazarian

At the end of June, 17-year-old Mike Nichols was drafted by the FHL’s Danbury Whalers. He regularly texts Maple Leafs left winger James van Riemsdyk and talks often with former New York Rangers star Adam Graves. And he was a featured guest on WFAN’s Boomer & Carton Show in November before heading to Madison Square Garden later that evening, celebrating his favorite team’s 5-0 blanking of the Pittsburgh Penguins inside the Rangers’ dressing room.

These days Nichols is living every teenager’s dream. Only it took a nightmare for him to get there. Read more

Cody Franson making Toronto Maple Leafs’ decision tougher with recent play

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Cody Franson. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

By Craig Hagerman

Before being held pointless in the Toronto Maple Leafs last two contests, defenseman Cody Franson had been riding a nine-game point streak (two goals and nine assists), the longest of his career and, at the time, the longest in the NHL. The numbers are great news for the player and team right now, but could very well result in Franson, an impending unrestricted free agent, leaving town if he and the Leafs can’t get a new deal done.

Franson, a Sicamous, B.C. native, has 14 points through 20 games and is on pace to collect 56 points, which would be by far his most productive season. He’s a plus-7 on the season, which is a huge improvement from his team-worst minus-20 in 2013-14. During the Leafs embarrassing 9-2 pounding at the hand of the Nashville Predators last week, Franson was actually even. Read more

Peter Holland earning Carlyle’s confidence with defensive play and offensive upside

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Holland Featured

By Craig Hagerman

Peter Holland scored his fifth goal of the season Saturday night in the Maple Leafs 4-1 win over the Red Wings, and it was a beauty.

Holland was able to fight off Gustav Nyquist after stripping the winger of the puck and roofing a perfectly placed wrist shot over the blocker of Jimmy Howard.

“I was able to strip the puck and drive the net and I saw at the corner of my eye it looked like he dropped a little bit,” said Holland, reflecting on his goal Saturday night. “I definitely wanted to get it on net and wanted to get it up I was just happy to see it go in.”

For Leafs coach Randy Carlyle the skill Holland showed on the play was not something he was surprised to see. Read more

Tie Domi talks charity work, forthcoming book, and his son, Max

The Hockey News
Tie Domi

By Craig Hagerman

Tie Domi was back at it, dropping the gloves Thursday night – the virtual gloves, that is.

The former Toronto Maple Leaf and fan favourite was on hand at Toronto’s Eaton Centre for the grand opening of the new Microsoft Store where lucky patrons in line had the chance to face the former winger in NHL 15 for the Xbox One.

For Domi, the appearance was a chance to do something that he rarely gets the opportunity to do, while promoting the great work that Microsoft does for the city of Toronto, the city he played nine seasons for and still calls home. Read more

Nashville finally has a top line and they’ve got Music City rocking

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Predators forwards Filip Forsberg (Left), James Neal (Middle), and Mike Ribeiro celebrate.

By Namish Modi

For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators appear to have a bona fide top line.

The newly constructed unit consisting of Mike Ribeiro, James Neal, and Filip Forsberg, along with new bench boss Peter Laviolette, has the Predators (12-5-2) playing a much different style of hockey than years past.

“It’s a big difference from the past couple of years from how Nashville has been playing,” Forsberg said. “It’s all good, Peter coming here with a more attacking and offensive type of game, I think we’ve been adjusting to that really good so far, and we have to keep doing that and keep working hard.” Read more

Predators blowout of Maple Leafs makes for night of firsts

The Hockey News
Taylor Beck (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Craig Hagerman

The 9-2 shelling of the Toronto Maple Leafs by the Nashville Predators Tuesday night crushed fans of the blue and white, shocked hockey fans around the league, and provided a lot of firsts in the process.

For the Leafs, Tuesday’s embarrassing loss on home ice was the first time in the team’s history that they had allowed more than eight goals against at the Air Canada Centre. The game was also the first time since 1991 that the Buds have allowed nine goals in a single game. Read more